Streetsblog Gets Action! Cincy Fixes “Sorry” Bus Stop

The runner up is really bad, too.
The runner up is really bad, too.

Talk about an October surprise!

Just as readers are energetically casting their ballots in the last round of our annual “Sorriest Bus Stops” contest, the Cincinnati-area transit agency overseeing one of the finalists says it will fix the horribly dangerous depot that is currently running neck-and-neck with its rival, Vancouver.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and unsafe condition this may have placed on our riders,” a spokesperson for Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Agency told Streetsblog. “We are currently in the process of evaluating all of our 4,000 plus bus stops to ensure they are located in the most safe and ideal locations.”

The spokesperson added that the “sorry” stop — on Daly Road in Springfield Township, just outside Cincinnati — will be eliminated as part of that review and relocated 340 feet to the south “to a safer location.”

In a perfect world, Streetsblog wouldn’t have to shame local transit agencies and transportation departments into making bus stops meet minimum safety standards. But clearly that’s not the world we live in yet. And it’s not the first time this competition has inspired some soul-searching — and led to some concrete improvements.

The runner-up “sorry” stop in our first tournament in 2016 — a sad pick-up spot outside Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals — was completely revamped the following year. It now has a safe waiting area for riders and even shelter, seating and a trash can. It wasn’t that the city or the transit agency couldn’t afford to build a nice bus stop — it was just overlooked, even though millions had been spent on parking structures for the stadium.

But the best response came from Boston, which had a stop that made it all the way to the Final Four in 2016 before losing to an even sorrier stop in Silver Spring, Md.

After the contest, Boston’s MBTA undertook a systemic evaluation of all its 8,000-plus bus stops, flagging a few hundred for safety and accessibility problems. Roughly 130 were eliminated and another 150 were improved. The Boston Globe reported last year that the agency had set aside $6 million in capital funding for the initiative.

Although transit agencies and cities historically haven’t been very attentive to these issues, we know they matter to riders. A 2016 survey by TransitCenter [PDF] found that safe and appealing waiting environments were among the most important considerations for transit users.

Eliminating a bad bus stop, as SORTA says it will do, can be sort of a cop-out. But in the agency’s defense, it appears there are two more bus stops — one in each direction — a short distance away. They aren’t fancy, but they aren’t behind guard rails on highway embankments, so that’s an improvement.

Here’s an image of one just a few blocks away.

Cincinnati bus stop 2

It’s unclear whether SORTA’s announcement will alter the voting in the final round of our contest, which, at press time, which Vancouver was leading by a very slim margin. Will Streetsblog readers affirm SORTA’s decision by giving what amounts to a posthumous “Sorriest Bus Stop” title, or will readers stuff the ballot box for Vancouver to shame transit officials there into fixing what is now, de facto, the sorriest bus stop in (North) America?

Readers, you have the final say. Vote here. Polls close at 11 p.m. Eastern time.

 

  • Jeff

    They removed, not improved, the bus stop. Is this a “victory”?

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    My two clarifying questions would be:
    a) How many riders does this stop have?
    b) Where is the next closest stop?

  • AMH

    At the risk of being a nitpick, I must point out that a bus stop and a depot are very different things.

  • Ian W

    To answer b), the stop in question is here:
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Daly+Rd+%26+Pinehollow+Dr/@39.2197172,-84.5306411,19z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x88404b65c79a0f89:0x8eaf45bfe1a6962f!8m2!3d39.219682!4d-84.5308632
    The stop prior is ~ 450 yards away and the stop after is ~220 yards after.

    Sounds like they are simply relocating ~ 100 yards south, to the other side of the overpass, very close to the next stop.

    Perhaps a better choice would have been 200 yards, resulting in more even stop distribution, but what do we know?

  • Bridget Moss, KCATA

    Point of clarification for Kansas City:
    The Kauffman stop wasn’t overlooked, and the transit agency did not have the funds for the scale of improvement that was eventually made. That year, the stadium complex underwent large renovations, and included an upgraded bus stop and several hundred feet of sidewalk from the stop.

  • Colby Spath

    “Just a few blocks away” can be pretty far for lesser able people…

  • Daphna

    Eliminating a bus stop is not a successful outcome. A successful outcome would be enhancing it and making it safer.

    This parallels the problem with the bridge on the Greenway in upper Manhattan near the George Washington Bridge (NYC, NY). Streetsblog wrote an article raising awareness of the unsatisfactory condition of the bike path bridge across the Amtrack railroad tracks. The result hoped for was that the bridge would be improved. Instead it was closed indefinitely. Now a crucial part of a bike path, with no decent alternative provided, is closed.

    Not good outcomes from raising awareness of unsafe conditions!!

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