“Sorriest Bus Stops” Contest Final Four Battle: Vancouver vs. Pittsburgh

Vancouver vs. Pittsburgh

There are just four finalists in Streetblog’s month-long “Sorriest Bus Stops in (North) America” competition — with voting ongoing in the battle between New Orleans and Cincinnati (vote now!).

Today, we look at the other Final Four matchup: Pittsburgh and Vancouver (yes, Canada is finally giving America’s curbside killers a run for their money).

It’s a battle for the ages.


vancouver bus stop

The Vancouver media is fired up about this one. And you can really see why: It is so, so bad.

Vancouver has just been mowing down the competition, besting really awful examples in San Rafael and Beverly Hills.

Jason Lee, who nominated this stop, thinks the transit agency, Translink, the transit agency that serves this stop, is actually probably one of the best, if not the best, transit agency in North America. The agency has seen impressive ridership growth, even while most U.S. agencies have suffered losses. Lee says it’s doing a great job servicing outer suburban areas like this one as well. You notice in this photo, the outer lane of the scary highway is a bus lane.

The Canadian Broadcasting Company made contact with the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation (which did not respond to our outreach). The agency said it is having discussions with Translink about how to either move the stop or make it safer. Gee, um, thanks?


pittsburgh bus stop

And now let’s take a moment to shame Pittsburgh. This lovely hilly city is the only metro area to have four bus stops featured in this competition in the last two years alone. That’s a badge of honor — or in this case, dishonor.

While this sorry bus stop is technically in the Borough of West View, we wonder: What is it about metro Pittsburgh that makes its bus stops so gallingly bad? Is it the terrain? The transit agency? We don’t know. But the city’s famously uneven terrain certainly contributes to the problem here, where a hill forces the bus stop up against a high-speed road with bad visibility.

A spokesman for the Port Authority of Allegheny County, which is responsible for the transit system, said it plans to eliminate this bus stop so people can use a safer one a short distance away.

Riders on this stop must access the stop from this set of concrete stairs.

pgh steps

You know the drill. Vote here:


11 thoughts on “Sorriest Bus Stops” Contest Final Four Battle: Vancouver vs. Pittsburgh

  1. ? The hidden history is that West View was developed as a streetcar suburb, and Center Avenue was the streetcar line. The streetcar came up from downtown Pittsburgh, past an amusement park (the northern equivalent of Kennywood), then curving around the hills of a leafy development.

    They threw a highway atop things and ripped out the streetcar, wrecking everything. The length of wide Center Avenue was repurposed for motorized speeding and parking, and life faded away. When I was a kid, we could still walk along this very stretch in relative safety, and there was a corner store not far away. The former amusement park is now a mall, so that store’s not around, either.

  2. There’s not grass to stand on at the Pittsburgh stop, either. I know this area well and the only place to stand is in the road – it’s a wooded hillside full of branches and debris. In the winter, the snow and ice makes it even more treacherous.

  3. Wow, that is great context. A classic interurban to the amusement park setup, eh? Looks like it was quite something, and now just a Kmart.

  4. As bad as the West View stop is, it pales when compared to the Vancouver stop. I also take exception to the description of Center Avenue as a high-speed “highway”. Cripes, it’s a two-lane street, through a narrow ravine typical in Pittsburgh, on a right-of-way that in its day used to be exclusively a streetcar line, as others have noted. And it’s posted at 25 mph…hardly “high-speed”. Vancouver, on the other hand….now that’s a highway. Vote Vancouver.

  5. Center Avenue is not the highway I alluded to, I was referring to the widening of Perry Highway (which does narrow a bit in West View) but even moreso I-279. Center Avenue is wide for a 2-lane street, due to its origin as a streetcar ROW.

  6. My family ended up with a couple of those fiberglass kiddie cars that ran on a rail. Best cars ever! Well, aside from Barney Rubble’s foot-powered wooden sports car.

  7. Okay, but I don’t see how that relates to this stop, which is at least a half-time from the highways you mention, and therefore have not even the slightest impact on it. And I was referring to the article’s reference to Center Avenue as “high-speed” .

  8. The irony being, of course, that those rides espoused the desire to control and drive a car of one’s own, rather than stand around waiting to sit in a crowded PCC streetcar.

  9. I’ll agree, the overall context of the Pitt Meadows stop takes the cake. Also, TWO bad bus stops tangentially related to William Pitt? Coincidence?

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