It’s KC vs. Silver Spring in the Final Round of America’s Sorriest Bus Stop

This is it, folks — the championship round of Streetsblog’s Sorriest Bus Stop tournament.

Each of the 16 bus stops that competed this year — and the agencies who oversee them — deserved a thorough shaming. No transit rider should ever have to wait in the rain for a bus with no posted schedule, or walk in a ditch along an eight-lane highway after disembarking. These conditions are deplorable but all too common in American cities.

The two bus stops facing off today — in Kansas City and Silver Spring, Maryland — had some extra dreadful quality that sets them apart in the eyes of our voters.

Kansas City

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 1.28.51 PM

This baseball stadium bus stop bested sad stops in DC, St. Louis County, and Broomfield, Colorado, en route to the final round. It sits on the Blue Ridge Cut Off near Kauffman Stadium, where the Royals play. Not only does it lack shelter, but you can’t even tell it’s a bus stop.

Submitter Brian Curran says:

On top of being next to what’s effectively a highway, the stop is very poorly lit and next to impossible to find after a game (or for any other reason, with the lack of a sign). The nearest crosswalk is up at East Red Coat Drive. Coming to a game on the bus in the other direction, police had to stop traffic so my family could cross the 4+ lanes of cars, and then we had to walk across a giant parking lot and a few grassy areas to get to the stadium.
Agencies in charge: Missouri DOT, KCATA. If Kansas City wins, this would be the second year running that a bus stop on a MoDOT road emerges victorious in this contest.

Silver Spring

awful bus stop

In earlier rounds of competition, this bus stop on Route 29 by Crestmoor Drive in Silver Spring overcame bus stops in New Castle, Delaware, Asheville, and Boston.

After Silver Spring’s entry reached the Final Four, the Washington Post launched an investigation. WaPo reporter Luz Lazo determined that the stop is used by about 13 people per day. One person who lives nearby left a comment calling the stop terrifying. Maybe more people would catch the bus here if it were safe to access and a comfortable place to wait, she said:

This is my bus stop. I live in the neighborhood across the street. When I do take the bus, I have to walk down to the 4 corners stop about 1/2 mile away if I want to live to see my kids at night. Drivers go incredibly fast on 29 (Colesville) North and South. I would love to see an improvement made to this stop. The intersection at Crestmoor Drive and 29 is so dangerous that I was told when I moved into the neighborhood to never try to turn left onto 29 south when driving. There had been two fatal accidents, and my new elderly neighbor, with tears in his eyes, said “I knew both of them.” I took his advice and I am very careful when I am driving out of the neighborhood. Let alone ever trying to use this bus stop. Plenty of people use the bus in our neighborhood, and if this could be made safe (pedestrian bridge, anyone?) lots of people would use it every day.

When Lazo reached out to the Maryland State Highway Administration, Montgomery County, and DC Metro about how public agencies let such dangerous conditions persist at a bus stop, no one claimed responsibility.

But Montgomery County spokeswoman Esther Bowring did point out that the stop is ADA accessible — which makes sense, if you are lowered down from space.

So here we are at the final vote. Which is the sorriest bus stop of 2016?

Which bus stop is the sorriest?

  • Silver Spring (80%, 868 Votes)
  • Kansas City (20%, 214 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,082

Here’s the map of all the contestants:

And here is the nearly-complete bracket:


17 thoughts on It’s KC vs. Silver Spring in the Final Round of America’s Sorriest Bus Stop

  1. The stop is ADA accessible. Well that’s a joke. I mean, I guess its more or less equally 100% inaccessible to everyone regardless of ability, but that doesn’t make it better.

  2. Kansas City by a mile. Not only is there no sign there, but ALL the stops around Royals Stadium are terrible. This stadium probably employs hundreds of event workers and thousands of fans attend every game night. They deserve better than to be dropped off at a random ditch. By voting for the Silver Spring stop, you are asking for it to be eliminated, since the nearest stop is only 900 feet away.

  3. Silver Spring wins, hands down. I live here and, bad as KC is, you’re not likely to get killed using it. The Silver Spring stop has claimed the lives of people trying to reach it. I LIVE here, I know this first hand.

  4. I guess that’s one way around ADA regulations — just make it equally inaccessible to everyone. Sort of brilliant.

  5. I’m going with Kansas City, although it’s really close. Both are hard to get to, and both are not well marked. However, the KC one probably sees lots more use, and it’s harder to justify the lack of investment in the stop. Also, it’s the worse marked of the two stops.

  6. The one connection between these two worst stops – Former MoDOT commissioner Pete Rahn now runs Maryland’s State Highway Administration (which owns US 29), and has already responded that they will not put a crosswalk at this intersection.

  7. I live in Silver Spring, but went to a game at Kauffman last year. I’ve been to 20 of the 30 MLB Stadiums, and the traffic management as a whole in KC was the worst I’ve seen at any stadium, for any sport. Also, KC’s transit share is a ton lower than the DC suburbs, so fewer people depend on the buses there.

  8. I voted for Silver Springs. As others noted, the Kansas City bus stop won’t kill you. And the irony in Silver Springs is just so delicious… they went to all that effort to build a retaining wall and a bench, but never thought through how you would get there.

  9. @calwatch:disqus vs @patrickbsteg:disqus … both make good arguments. I also live near the Silver Spring bus stop and have walked that stretch of highway (as I commented in the prior round). Adding to the pathos is the fact that it is near Trader Joe’s, other neighborhood shopping, and a very nice riverside walking trail. So this SHOULD be a pedestrian friendly area. On the other hand, @calwatch says points out that this is how people who work at the stadium presumably travel to/from their jobs. How awful. So for their sake I’m voting for the away team. This time!

  10. I have driven by that KC spot tons of times and I voted for the DC one. At least in KC people are crossing a road with good sight lines and during events, there’s traffic management.

    My personal favorite KC one is getting improved only because a trail is going in at it. Spend millions on a soccer complex used by professional sports and nothing on the bus stop for it that already existed. It was literally at a muddy hole in the ground with no sidewalk from any direction. There was a stop light so it’s safe to cross to the soccer complex because KC’s municipal code allows crossing with a light.

  11. The new modot leadership still puts in way too much pavement it has no funding to maintain but it’s been building pedestrian paths on every new bridge. It’s a huge improvement to their credit. Their latest freeway project near me included zero new lanes!

  12. It likely gets very little use. Getting downtown from that spot is doable, getting back to most of the city outside the urban core is difficult. Most the city isn’t well covered by bus service

  13. I live on the street directly across from the Silver Spring bus stop. it is the scariest, craziest thing to try and get to this bus stop. We live in a neighborhood and area that heavily utilizes the buses. I will NOT use this bus stop, and I won’t let my kids do it either. If we could get a street light, or my dream, a pedestrian bridge, it would see TONS of use. I believe Colesville road is slated to become a new “rapid” transit corridor for buses. How the hell are they going to do that if we have to dance with death just to use this bus stop? Admittedly, there is another stop about 3/4 of a mile away. But that one is in a very, very busy intersection itself- it is doable, because there is a crosswalk, but it’s such a busy intersection that you still have to be very careful.

  14. Neither of these stops is ADA accessible. Obviously.

    It’s been ruled that transit agencies have to provide paratransit to anyone if they have a disability which prevents them from getting to the bus stop.

    Well, *every human* has a disability which prevents them from getting to these bus stops — lack of ability to fly.

    They might be able to claim that the stop itself doesn’t violate the ADA because it is 100% inaccessible to everyone. However, they’ll still be forced to provide paratransit to anyone who wants to use it. That’s the best line of attack against this nonsense. If enough people demand paratransit, the budget will force them to actually do something about the stop. (They might just stop stopping buses there.)

  15. Which, in the case of Silver Springs, is just fine as the nearest stop is 900 feet away (not 3/4 mile away, as that is the stop in the other direction). In the case of Kansas City, there is a stop on the south end of the property which is a bit better signed, and on the northbound side even has a bench. It could be upgraded with a pedestrian signal and a crosswalk.

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