St. Louis Stunner Runs Away With the Vote for America’s Sorriest Bus Stop

This bus stop in the St. Louis suburb of Lindbergh was the overwhelming favorite for sorriest bus stop. Photo: NextSTL
This bus stop in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights was the overwhelming favorite for sorriest bus stop. Image via NextSTL

In the end, it was never even close. This bus stop on Lindbergh Boulevard in suburban St. Louis won wire-to-wire in the voting for the Sorriest Bus Stop in America.

There was plenty of worthy competition, but something stood out about this stick in the ground next to what seems to be a divided highway. The only thing marking the stop is a single, lonely signpost — no sidewalk, no bench, and not much in the way of destinations.

The stop is actually an important connection point, as a spokesperson from St. Louis Metro Transit explained in the comments (we confirmed that it was in fact Metro):

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.

Metro spokesperson Patti Beck added: “We do need to help our customers get to where they need to go and there is no pedestrian infrastructure along those two major roads.” She said the agency tries to work with municipalities in its service area to ensure there is proper pedestrian infrastructure when possible.

Indeed, the lion’s share of the blame doesn’t lie with Metro, but with the public officials and agencies who have created such a far-flung, high-speed street network. Transit, walking, and amenities for bus passengers are afterthoughts.

The runner-up in the competition, with 221 votes, was this horror in Cleveland — which, by the way, actually is on a limited access highway. (The bus stop is marked only by a very tiny circle under the Interstate 71 sign.) This bus stop serves Cleveland Hopkins International Airport:

This Cleveland bus stop unloads on a limited access highway near the airport. Image: Tim Kovach
This Cleveland bus stop picks up and drops off passengers on a limited access highway near the airport. Image: Tim Kovach

One commenter who identified as a long-time transit planner explained how these types of debacles happen:

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.

All of our contenders bore witness to a transportation system where no expense is spared to save highway commuters a few moments, but basic amenities for transit are seen as optional. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Correction 2/17/15 8:29 a.m.: The caption originally reported the offending bus stop was in the suburb of Lindbergh. It is on Lindbergh Boulevard in Maryland Heights. 

  • Yes the problem with some of these horrible stops is that eliminating them would make life much worse for people who are forced to use them and instead would have to walk longer distances along the same poor conditions. One option is to detour the bus into private parking lots, as is done with major malls, but you need both approval of the owner, and you risk adding minutes to the trip to accommodate one person.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    It’s not a freeway but it’s wider than I-5 and has cloverleaf overpasses. What’s the difference?

  • Jeffrey Baker

    Bah, discus is eating all google maps links these days.

  • Gezellig

    Wow, by comparison the 1950s-era “bus pads” along Highway 101 in Marin County, California look positively civilized!

    http://vibrantbayarea.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Fullscreen-capture-4242013-123002-AM.bmp-300×163.jpg

    http://greatergreater.com/images/201308/112125-1.png

  • ladyfleur

    When I moved to Mountain View in 1986, there were similar “bus pads” at Moffett Field that had signs encouraging you to pick up hitchhiking servicemen.

  • calwatch

    The issue is that what probably was a standard intersection was converted into a freeway style cloverleaf. The counter to this would be a signalized intersection with triple lefts and channelizers like Valley View and Katella in Orange County, CA. That would not necessarily be more pedestrian friendly.

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/El+Torito/@33.8026793,-118.0287987,204m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x80dd2ecfe8973eb3:0x7b675c50d6fade4d

  • Ed Lincoln

    There’s no money left for bus stops when it’s all being used to subsidize pro sports teams!

  • tbatts666

    WE WIN!!!!

    Just to clarify a few things. This shot is from St Louis county, not St Louis City… The city has notably better infrastructure than the county, but we still aren’t that walkable.

    St Louis county is an amalgamation of some really affluent municipalities (Clayton), and some really bankrupt ones (Ferguson).

    These municipalities are always busy fighting over who gets the next big box store, and not really coordinating well with each other. (This may have something to do with how a bus stop ended up in such as bad place).

  • tbatts666

    You from STL?

    We are going to resist this. We shouldn’t let the Ram’s owner extort us out of money. There is already productive city at that site.

  • Margaret Williams

    And there is no suburb in St. Louis called Lindbergh…

  • WithheldName

    How the heck do you get there?? Walk for half a mile across highway medians?

  • Bruce

    Equally astounding is the incredibly skinny, totally unprotected “bike lane” at the same interchange. I hereby call for nominations for the Sorriest Bike Lane in America 2015!

  • john

    Lindbergh Blvd is part of the old 67 rural highway. Believe it or not there are numerous “Share the Road” with cyclists signs along this dangerous route where most drivers cruise at 65+ mph. It is definitely a pathetic bike lane as the StL area has pathetic bicycle advocacy groups that do not support separated/protected/safe bike lanes.

    Page Ave becomes a freeway just to the west of this intersection.

  • The article says that the Page Avenue bus exits Page Avenue, drives on Lindbergh, drops off riders at the pictured bus stop so they can transfer to the Lindbergh bus, and then re-enters Page Avenue.

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