America’s Sorriest Bus Stop: Portland, Oregon vs. Broomfield, Colorado

Streetsblog’s quest to highlight the deplorable walking environments and waiting conditions faced by American transit riders continues with the second match of the “Sorriest Bus Stop” tournament. (You can still vote on the first match — polls are open through the weekend.)

Today pits a bus stop in Portland, Oregon, against one in Broomfield, Colorado.

Portland, Oregon


This bus stop is on an elevated approach to Portland’s Morrison Bridge. Submitter Adam Herstein writes:

Bus stop is on a 1950’s-era bridge viaduct that doubles as a highway on/off ramp for Interstate 5. Multnomah County maintains the bridge, and TriMet is responsible for the bus stop. The bus stop can only be accessed by a steep staircase.

Here is the access point for the staircase:


Agencies in charge: Multnomah County, TriMet.

Pretty terrible. Let’s check out the competition.

Broomfield, Colorado

image1 (2)

This entry, located on US-287, comes from Aaron Schultz, who says:

This bus stop serving the city and county Broomfield and RTD (Regional Transportation District, both of whom should be shamed) sits on a highway, and could have taken me to school and to work, but there is no sidewalk to the bus stop, no bench, and the bus stop is on a sign forbidding pedestrians.

Furthermore, the bus stop could get more use, as a new spur is intended to alleviate traffic along the highway, and the bus connects to a regional station. However, the nearest pedestrian crossings are nearly a mile in either direction. This bus stop is the sorriest I’ve ever seen.

Agencies in charge: Colorado DOT, City and County of Broomfield, Denver Regional Transportation District.

Which is the sorriest? Vote away:

Which bus stop is the sorriest

  • Broomfield (58%, 427 Votes)
  • Portland (42%, 305 Votes)

Total Voters: 732

Here’s the map of the competitors so far, with today’s pair in green. We’ll be adding to it as the tournament progresses.

15 thoughts on America’s Sorriest Bus Stop: Portland, Oregon vs. Broomfield, Colorado

  1. Tough competition today. Putting the sign for the bus stop on top of a “No Pedestrians” sign is a compelling act of incompetence. But I had to vote for Portland because of the Social Safety implications of that scary-looking access.

  2. Yes. I was thinking the Portland was a gimme until seeing that No Peds sign at Broomfield.

  3. Call me crazy, but I actually like the bus stop in Portland, at least in theory. It looks like this is indeed a purpose-built platform with a staircase for the purpose of loading the bus. Used well, this type of design could make lemonade out of the lemons that are urban freeways and make a pretty kick-ass express bus type thing.

    Elevated rapid transit lines are a horrible eyesore as well, yet the streets beneath them tend to be very active places with pedestrians and storefronts. One of the major differences is that, as a pedestrian, one can actually make use of the elevated train line, whereas one cannot say the same about an elevated expressway. Imagine if the BQE had “stops” along it periodically that one could use to board an express bus. Perhaps it would seem a bit more useful to the car-free majority that lives around it, as opposed to just an eyesore?

  4. Yeah, I’d have to agree, No Peds sign on the same post as the bus stop. I mean, its just too perfect. You’d almost think the city was playing a joke. Sadly, because they’re not….they win.

  5. Forget Social Safety, here in Portland it’s actual Physical Safety in question. And local government is completely unwilling to do anything about it.

  6. Elevated rapid transit lines are not “a horrible eyesore.” Indeed, they tend to quickly fade into the urban background.

    The key issue of elevated lines (roads or rail) is their impact, and, as you say, how the space under and around them is used.

    Rail lines are generally less intrusive because (1) their noise pattern is not constant (an annoying noise is far easier to deal with if it only happens only 2% of the time), (2) the amount of atmospheric pollution is negligible, (3) elevated rail lines tend to be narrower than elevated highways, and (4) rail naturally tends to attract retail and housing around stations, as they generate a constant and sizeable influx of pedestrians likely to stop and shop given the opportunity.

    [The negative impacts of elevated highways can be mitigated to some degree by building them very high and making them very narrow, but this doesn’t seem to be U.S. practice…]

  7. I’ve used bus-stops like the Portland one, and not only is the direct danger from cars ridiculous, but even once you’ve extracted yourself from the immediate danger, you’re still in a giant-road-twisting-offramp-wasteland, near nothing, so you have to hike through this blasted landscape…

    The Broomfield stop, at least, looks kind of nice…

  8. The state of the art for elevated rail blends in nicely. Usually that’s a concrete viaduct perhaps 30 feet across, supported by a single row of pillars which can easily fit in the median of the road underneath it. The old school steel els were more intrusive and noisy, but even so the space under them is pretty actively used.

    Highways are invariably at least 80 feet across, noisy at all times, smelly, etc. In general nobody wants to live near an elevated highway. If we were smart in the US we would at least build them over or on top of existing buildings so they might be barely noticeable from street level.

  9. Again, while the Morrison Bridge stop looks horrible without context, otherwise the stop would be eliminated and passengers would have to walk over half a mile from Grand Avenue in order to access the Eastbank Esplanade and the employment areas under the bridge. In any event, due to weight restrictions on the bridge, the stop isn’t even in service, and the replacement stop looks a lot better.,-122.6651308,0a,73.7y,192.69h,93.79t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1so1jjXrmd59LKbVBItlG8_w!2e0?source=apiv3

  10. due to weight restrictions on the bridge

    To elaborate, a few years ago the bridge deck was reconstructed. They tried using a ‘fiber reinforced polymer’ as a cheap way to replace the metal grating on the lift span with something that would perform better in bad weather. Concrete is much heavier, and the less weight you add to the old bridge lift span the better. It didn’t work out as planned, and the new deck is falling apart shortly after being installed. There’s been litigation over the issue of course. Vehicles over 10 tons were banned and the speed limit lowered to prolong the life of the decaying deck until it can be replaced.

    Apparently it’s bad when the panels bounce like that.

    The Hawthorne stop westbound cyclists conflict with bus passengers instead of buses.

    This Barbur stop seems pretty bad too.

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