What should our bus stop standards be?
Remember the debate in Chevy Chase DC about bus shelters? One resident opposed any bus shelters in front of her house because they "make the neighborhood feel urban." Neighbors suggest that instead of forcing people to stand in the rain, perhaps shelters in that area could reflect the local character.
WMATA is embarking on a project to develop guidelines for bus stops. They hope these guidelines will not only affect Metrobus stops, but also Circulator, Ride-On, The Bus, ART, and the many other individual local buses across the region. And there's a public meeting on the topic on Wednesday, December 17th, 5-7:30 pm at WMATA headquarters, 600 5th Street, NW.
But design is only one part of the scope of this project:
These guidelines will assist WMATA and its member jurisdictions in applying a more uniform method for stop location and design. The current spacing of stops along routes, and the impact of consolidating bus stops along corridors where stops are currently spaced very close together, will also be examined as part of this project.Many of our buses stop every single block. Each stop helps the riders who live right on that block, but slow down everyone else. We need to ensure that buses are still accessible to the elderly and people with disabilities; at the same time, many people would ride buses (and thus not contribute to traffic) if they moved faster. We need to find a balance.
John Catoe's general strategy, which he implemented in LA, is to combine some local buses with express buses. Still, there are many bus stops which we should still eliminate from our current routes today, before we have expresses, and on routes which will never see express service. This project aims to determine standards for when it's right and wrong to consolidate stops, beyond simply whether or not some neighbors scream loudly enough. In general, I think every third block is a reasonable spacing, since anyone only needs to walk along the route one block to reach a stop.
What do you think the standards should be? What other standards do we need, and what flexibility do we need to deviate from standards, for our bus stops?
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