Sorry Bus Stops, Round 1 Matchup: Nashville vs. Houston
Our annual contest begins with a southern clash.
Here’s at least one way to measure that bus infrastructure in this country is getting worse: Streetsblog USA’s annual “Sorry Bus Stop” competition attracted more than 50 entries this year — far more than in prior years.
Most entries (even the ones that weren’t bad enough to make our final round) were truly awful: bus stops along highways that offer no shade or protection, bus stops filled with weeds or trash, bus stops nestled right up against railroad tracks and busy roads.
We’ve narrowed down the four-dozen-plus entries to what we’ll call the “Sour 16” — the most uncomfortable, dangerous and depressing bus stops in the land. Over the next few days — call it “August Absurdity” — we’ll roll out our NCAA-style brackets.
Today, we’re pairing two fast-growing sunbelt towns with a lot of room for transit improvement. In this corner, boasting a recently failed transit referendum, it’s Nashville. And in the red corner, offering a car-centric culture so strong that it has a 23-lane highway, it’s Houston. Let’s get ready to fumble:
This bus stop is located on a four lane road, with no marked crossings in sight. The speed limit is typically 45 mph on this road; however, right now they are doing construction on this portion of the road, so one lane is closed. There have been six pedestrian crashes here in the last six years. There is also a street barrier and a ditch behind the bus stop, leaving nowhere for being to sit or be covered from the weather elements.
This entry comes to us from Allyn West. It’s located at West Park Drive, just to the east of the giant interchange known as the West Loop.
Why is it sorry? Well, context matters. It’s a typical Houston stop – it’s a pole in the ground. (Something like 80 percent of our stops are poles in the ground.) Nothing else makes you feel more like a first-class citizen. The wheelchair ramp is a nice touch, but of course there’s no sidewalk on that side of Westpark Drive, so anyone in a wheelchair would have to push for more than a tenth of mile from the nearest intersection in a narrow “bike lane” that’s littered with debris and not protected at all from four lanes of high-speed traffic. Speaking of which: The stop is in the middle of a 0.3-mile block, requiring a long walk to the nearest intersection to cross the street. (Remember that there’s no sidewalk, and the striping on the crosswalks is fading and peeling, if it’s there at all.) So, most people who get on or off here end up scampering across all that traffic.
Finally: This stop is on a low-frequency route – the buses come every 30 minutes – so, if you mistime it, you’re stuck in the humidity with no shade for 29 minutes, which might as well be forever.
The stop is served by Houston Metro. But West park Drive appears to be a local road, even though it is designed like a highway — so that falls on the City of Houston.
One cute thing about this stop is that appears to be ADA accessible but — yikes! — how would you access it in the first place with a wheelchair?
It’s up to you guys to tell us which of these sorry, sorry bus stops is the worst.