This Tiny Roadside Refuge in Silver Spring Is Your Sorriest Bus Stop, America
The people have spoken, and the winner of Streetsblog’s 2016 Sorriest Bus Stop in America tournament is this beauty on Colesville Road in Silver Spring, Maryland.
In terms of pure danger, it’s hard to top this tiny refuge next to a state highway with no crossing to protect pedestrians from speeding traffic.
The last match in the 16-entry tourney was a bit of a blowout, with Silver Spring racking up more than 850 votes compared to about 200 votes for the other finalist, an unmarked, shelterless bus stop serving Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
Thanks to reader Dan Reed for submitting the winner. (Your Streetsblog t-shirt is in the mail.)
The Silver Spring entry also came away with the most impressive local coverage in the competition. The Washington Post got all three agencies responsible for this bus stop and the streets around it — WMATA, Montgomery County DOT, and the Maryland State Highway Association — on the record. All three pointed fingers at each other, unfortunately, which nicely encapsulates a key obstacle to better bus stops.
Testimonials from people who live in the area have been pouring in. They tell this bus stop makes them fear for their lives. Here’s one comment that came in during the final round:
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.
The good news: This bus stop might get safer soon.
Montgomery County spokesperson Esther Bowring said the county has spent $11 million improving crossings and bus stops at 3,000 locations, out of 3,400 that need improvement. At this location, she said, sidewalks were recently constructed on the other side of the road (to the left of the frame). The county has asked the Maryland State Highway Administration to look into adding a signalized crossing for pedestrians.
The county is also looking to improve walking connections from this residential community to other bus stops in the area, Bowring said.
Thanks to everyone who took part in the 2016 Sorriest Bus Stop competition by submitting entries or voting. Keep on tracking the sorry bus stops you come across — we’ll be taking entries next year in the quest to win safer walking conditions and dignified waiting environments for bus riders.
For now, here’s one last look at all the competitors this year and how the tournament shook out: