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. 

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

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Send Us Your Nominations for the Sorriest Bus Stop in America

Streetsblog’s “Sorriest Bus Stop in America” contest is back by popular demand. Last year, readers nominated dozens of forlorn bus stops to call attention to the daily indignities and dangers that bus riders have to put up with. This sad, windswept patch of grass between two highway-like roads in a St. Louis inner suburb took the […]

America’s Sorriest Bus Stop: Kansas City vs. St. Louis County

The second round of competition in the search for the Sorriest Bus Stop in America gets underway today. (The poll is still open until midnight in the Buffalo vs. Rochester match if you haven’t voted yet.) Two bus stops in Missouri go toe-to-toe today. Kansas City’s entry overcame some tough competition from D.C. in the first round. Meanwhile, St. Louis County — also […]

The Stress of Navigating Unwalkable Bus Stops With a Wheelchair

Pedestrian access to transit is important. A recent study by TransitCenter found that people who use transit most often tend to walk to the bus or train. But as our “Sorriest Bus Stop in America” contest highlighted, there are some very serious challenges on this front in American cities. The problem of lousy walking access to transit is compounded […]