It’s Time to Vote for the Sorriest Bus Stop in America

We asked you to point us to the nation’s worst bus stops and you answered. After receiving dozens of nominees from our readers, Streetsblog editors narrowed the pool down to eight very sorry bus stops.

These bus stops are ugly. Ugly! In a transportation system where public agencies never seem to lack the money for $800 million interchanges or $2 billion highway tunnels, bus stops become an afterthought. Many of these contenders are situated in the midst of car-oriented development without so much as a sidewalk or bench nearby, let alone a shelter. To make transit dignified and comfortable, we need to do better.

Help us crown America’s sorriest bus stop by voting below. Here are the contestants:

Pennsylvania Avenue in Forestville, Maryland

This entry comes to us from author and transit advocate Ben Ross. This is the same Pennsylvania Avenue that runs past the White House:

md_bus
Google Street View via Ben Ross

Cleveland’s No. 86 bus, along Route 237

This one was submitted by Tim Kovach of Cleveland. And it actually is a bus stop, believe it or not. The only indication is a small red and blue circle mounted below the I-71 sign (you’ll probably have to zoom in to see it). It’s not at all clear what bus riders are supposed to do when they get off here. Kovach blames inadequate transit funding from the state of Ohio, which devotes just 94 cents annually per resident to transit, although nearly 1 million people across the state lack access to cars.

Image via Tim Kovach
Google Street View via Tim Kovach

Nashville (Bellevue) Old Hickory Boulevard and Highway 70

This entry comes to us from commenter Coffee Partier, who says the carts are left by shoppers at a nearby Kroger who have to walk across a corner gas station to get to the bus. Extra points for the interrupted bike lane.

Nashville via Coffee Partier
Photo via Coffee Partier

Dallas — South Great Trinity Forest Way

Commenter AW82 writes:

This stop has no sidewalk, bench, or shelter. It is along an at-grade state highway with a 50 mph speed limit. Moderately-dense (for Dallas) apartments are across the road. The nearest marked crosswalk (or controlled intersection, for that matter) is 1 mile to the east.

Dallas via Disqus commenter Aw82
Google Street View via commenter Aw82

Baton Rouge

This beauty was submitted by Janet LaFleur via Twitter, with this caveat:

I’d nominate this one in Baton Rouge except they removed it. Now it’s a one-third-mile walk to next stop.

Twitter via Janet Lafleur
Google Street View via Janet Lafleur

Encinitas, California

This one comes from @imboande on Twitter, who succinctly sums up the progression from bad to worse:

A year prior, it had a bench.

Via Anders on Twitter
Photo via @imboande

Houston — 20th Street and Durham

Christopher Andrews in Houston says of this bus stop:

This is an intersection that, as a result of System Reimagining, will be a transfer point between two frequent routes: 20 Cavalcade (which will provide a connection to the Red Line light rail) and the new 50 Route… There’s no bus shelter, trash receptacle, light or bench. Houston’s sun, heat and sudden downpours can make waiting for a connecting bus a very unpleasant experience. There are also no crosswalk signals and inadequate crosswalk painting in all of the crosswalks. In a city that’s ruled by cars, pedestrians should have all the protection they can get if they must cross major thoroughfares to access frequent transit routes and transfer points.

Houston via Christopher Andrews
Photo via Christopher Andrews

St. Louis County

This comes to us via Alex Ihnen of NextSTL, who writes:

Short of a bus stop actually in a traffic lane, this must be the worst.

St. Louis County via NextSTL
Photo via NextSTL

True? You decide:

What is the sorriest bus stop in America?

  • St. Louis County (42%, 425 Votes)
  • Cleveland's No. 86 Bus, along Route 237 (22%, 221 Votes)
  • Encinitas (11%, 112 Votes)
  • Forestville, Pennsylvania Avenue (9%, 94 Votes)
  • Dallas, South Great Trinity Forest Way (8%, 83 Votes)
  • Baton Rouge (3%, 33 Votes)
  • Houston, 20th Street and Durham (3%, 33 Votes)
  • Nashville (Bellevue), Old Hickory Boulevard/Highway 70 (2%, 21 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,022

Loading ... Loading ...

Voting will close next Thursday, February 12. Thanks for your entries everyone and stay tuned.

  • The little girl waiting with her mom at that first death trap kills me.

  • Jeff

    The one in Cleveland is especially hilarious because it contrasts so well with the large, clear signage and accommodations provided for motorists.

  • ladyfleur

    Some more background on the bus stop in Baton Rouge: This stop is on the highway in front of my parents’ subdivision. Back in the early 1980s, my high school bus picked us up at the same location, except the road was only two lanes and we waited across the road. Now it’s four lanes and there’s a traffic light, but no crosswalk.

    As I said, this stop was relocated 1/3 mile west where there still is no crosswalk, but there is a sidewalk at least. There’s also a ghost bike for a man who was killed at the intersection a couple of years ago. And there’s also a ghost bike 2/3 of a mile east of this stop for a man who was killed by a drunk driver. The road is a death machine for anyone who dares use it without the protection of a vehicle.

    That said, it’s hard to fault CATS, the transit agency in Baton Rouge. In 1992 they had to fight for their very existence. If it weren’t for some deft and determined organizing in the African-American community, Baton Rouge would have been the largest city in the US without bus service.

  • Guest

    Oh, I wish I’d seen the nominations. Syracuse has an absolutely worthy challenger here: https://www.google.com/maps/@43.055297,-76.090757,3a,56.6y,331.5h,77.87t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s9QlhJsIv1DXPQ4-LtXgvwQ!2e0

  • Jim B. Johnson

    Oh, I wish I’d seen the nominations. Syracuse has an absolutely worthy challenger here:

  • Bolwerk

    The only thing sorry about most of those is how strangely remote they look. At least they all have standing room. My submission was at least as badly designed/ugly/inaccessible as any here, and probably a bigger death trap than all.

  • There’s a lot of quality contenders here for the worst, but a bus stop in the middle of a cloverleaf interchange is what in my mind puts the St. Louis County bus stop on top (err… bottom).

  • bud

    They ALL should “win”. Jeez.!

  • Ben

    I’m originally from Baton Rouge. Lived most of my life there. Your picture and description remind me just how bad it is there.

  • ladyfleur

    Baton Rouge is definitely not a place to live if you don’t want to or can’t drive. Where I live is suburban, but we can at least count on a crosswalk and a beg button at stop lights. Not so in Baton Rouge. BTW, this is Perkins Road at Pollard Parkway.

  • Emmily_Litella

    Not voting. There’s worse right here on Staten Island, though you may have a better chance of actually seeing a bus than in many other cities.

  • dlh

    Pennsylvania Avenue Forestville has no turnout lane, plus it seems that people actually use it…

  • They all look beautiful.

  • Bolwerk

    Pic? I want to see an NYC one worst than mine!

  • thielges

    And since the bus stop is on grass and the only way to walk to and from the stop is to walk on the grass, riders have to dodge the fire ant mounds or suffer painful and itchy bites. Or walk along the road.

  • Guest

    You will not survive long if you walk on the road. Look at how narrow the lane is. There’s a narrow sidewalk on the other side of the road and there is a stop light. No crosswalk, though, you’d be at the mercy of the people turning out of the subdivision across the street. Here’s the view.

  • ladyfleur

    You will not survive long if you walk on the road. Look at how narrow
    the lane is. There’s a narrow sidewalk on the other side of the road and
    there is a stop light. No crosswalk, though, you’d be at the mercy of
    the people turning out of the subdivision across the street.

  • @jdbig

    I may still vote for Minneapolis. Sandwiched between 6 southbound lanes (including a freeway on ramp) is this beauty:

  • Vinstar

    They all look horribly depressing for the people waiting at them. But that’s what it feels like to wait at any bus stop in general and part of the stigma of taking the bus which is you have to be poor and desperate enough to do it.

  • C Monroe

    that looks like a freeway. Notice the gas station on the other road…

  • C Monroe

    It is too hard to vote. All deserve recognition! Curious if they removed the bench from the Encinatas stop because if it was hit too many times by cars? Is the st louis on a freeway?

  • C Monroe

    I voted for the st louis because it looks like a freeway and the most likely to be killed because of the speed of cars. My second choice was Encinatas, because it lookslike the most likely to be hit, not killed but that entry below that was too late would be a tie in that regard. Cleveland is my third just because how badly it is marked.

  • C Monroe

    next year contender, remember.

  • C Monroe

    This used to be the worse one in my city but they took it out when they put in the sidewalk. Notice the two small concrete blocks, that is where the stop was…again not nearly as bad as most of these, my agency actually thinks about where the stops go…

  • davistrain

    And just another reminder that the managers of transit systems, the political appointees who oversee them, and the politicians who dole out the funding rarely, if ever, ride a local transit bus.

  • Coffee Partier

    I had to vote for @nextstl in the Worst Bus Stop submission. It must have been a joke in the planning office.

  • Jake Mecklenborg

    Here’s a photo I took in 1998 in Knoxville, TN.

  • JimLacey

    In New England transportation by bus has become better than by train and even more comfortably than by air. Time to fix up bus stops!

  • AJ

    I’ve always been shocked by that disaster of an interchange in such a transit-progressive, walkability-striving neighborhood. What drives me the most insane though is that the freeway is in a tunnel under this intersection. They busied the freeway only to create an equally unpleasant mess on top. SMH.

  • Drew

    Not the worst of them, but this Curb to Nowhere in Nashville always irritates me…

  • AJ

    I had to vote for Cleveland even though that St Louis stop is laughably absurd. The Cleveland bus stop is right across the road from Hopkins International Airport where I’m sure many bus riders work. Fortunately Cleveland has the Red Line Rapid to the airport if you’re coming from the city, but the poor unfortunate soles that have to commute from southwest of the airport have to risk this death trap daily.

  • Jonathan Hay

    it’s great that they spent extra money on bushes and such a nice bridge but did nothing for ped. The priorities are really clear.

  • Michael Ragsdale

    I voted Cleveland because (at first glance) the question is “what bus stop??”

  • Michael Ragsdale

    I wish I could’ve participated in this. My nomination for Williamsburg Area Transit Authority in James City County, Virginia: this is the Grey Line bus stop for their main office and bus garage heading towards the Williamsburg Transportation Center (Amtrak station). One picture is the bus stop and the other is the WATA building entrance.

  • St. Louis County seems to be on an actual grade separated freeway, in many places it would actually be illegal to use this bus stop. How in the world does this make sense.

  • Sam

    I used to live in Nashville, that kind of stop was pretty typical. The main issue with those stops was the sidewalk was always practically unusable. I nearly got hit by cars walking on the sidewalk more times than I care to try to remember, not to mention the bicyclists who didn’t have proper road space and so also used the sidewalks.

    I didn’t live far from this stop https://www.google.com/maps/@36.119687,-86.808705,3a,75y,89.47h,76.84t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sa-EASdR7iUhn45CnIZgEDA!2e0 which I think actually beats the one above. No sidewalks anywhere near it, then suddenly a small piece of concrete and a stop because why not? I never saw anyone use it and I don’t blame em.

  • Josh Diamond

    I would argue that none of these stops compare to this stop in Baltimore, where MTA operates. The stop (on Route 35) is on a little sliver of a curb, between a highway, and a highway off-ramp. That’s right, you have to cross a highway off-ramp just to get to the stop….

  • NolaDude

    I would humbly submit this doozie from Metairie, LA, just outside New Orleans: http://goo.gl/maps/IaERM

  • St. Louis Metro Transit

    About the St. Louis bus stop. The stop is on Lindbergh, a major north-south artery. The speed limit is 40 MPH in that section (it is not a freeway.) The overpass you see in the photo is Page Avenue, a major east-west artery. Vehicles use exit ramps to make the connection between the two streets, but there is no safe way for pedestrians to cross between Page and Lindbergh. So, the Page bus leaves Page Avenue, drops people off at that bus stop who need to transfer to the Lindbergh bus, and then returns to Page. It looks odd, but serves an important purpose.

  • Bolwerk

    Yes, it’s these literal death trap ones that are the worst. Almost nothing above literally traps you like this. They’re shabby, but mostly not exceptionally deadly.

    jdbig’s below was good too.

    Picture is mine from the Q39 in Queens, NYC.

  • Meanwhile, Cleveland’s actually is on a limited access highway.

  • jarendt

    From what I can see on Google maps, most of the businesses near this stop are off the picture on the left. Most people at this stop probably don’t have to cross the on ramp. They have to cross three lanes of traffic at North Point Rd. with a light but no crosswalk and then cross another three lanes of traffic with no signal at all on Pulaski.

  • oswel

    As a long-time transit planner, I can tell you that sometimes you find yourself in a situation where there is no good location for a bus stop. You then have to decide whether no stop is better than a bad stop. Local residents often advocate for the latter, as without a stop they’re stuck. Many jurisdictions don’t want to spend the money needed for even minimal physical improvements, figuring that’s “the bus system’s problem.” Transit systems, on the other hand, don’t want to set a precedent for making street improvements all over town. It’s a difficult situation, made worse by the reluctance of both governments and local residents to compromise auto speed for pedestrian safety. And, yes, this conflict often exists among residents within the same neighborhood. Let’s hope that the examples shown here are the exceptions rather than the rule.

  • C Monroe

    Sorry, concrete median…underpass..cloverleaf…no sidewalks..that is a highway even if you are trying to fool yourself and your agency.

  • WithheldName

    The Dallas one is a sweet death trap!

  • Buy_Used

    Can someone help here? From what I understand, these major priority and placement issues are exacerbated by relatively new federal rules that trigger ADA compliance for any bus stop improvements. In other words, you can’t do a $3,000 bench and slab upgrade; it’s a much greater expense. Maybe someone else can fill in the details.

    It kind of reminds me of the ADA rules that architects claim are the reason why so many Main Streets remain vacant: certain renovations trigger elevator construction, which puts many historic buildings on ice. I’m not schooled enough to comment on the relative merits of these rules, or whether some exclusions/thresholds are in order.

  • rdm24

    Did Encinitas remove the bench because a homeless person used it once?

  • rdm24

    Meanwhile, I bitch about the lack of a shade structure at my stop in Long Beach

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