SORRIEST BUS STOP 2021: Boise vs. Orinda
This is the sixth first-round matchup in the Sweet 16 round of our annual Sorriest Bus Stop contest (voting continues through Thursday at 4 p.m. Eastern). In our previous first-round bouts, Narberth demolished Trenton, Quebec City advanced to the Abominable Eight with a complete destruction of Philadelphia and Queens devastated Lynchburg. Pittsburgh bested Littleton, too, but polls are still open in the battle of Chicago vs. Waltham. You can vote on this match-up and follow the full bracket at the bottom of the post.
When we talk about sorry bus stops, we’re not just talking about a shoddy sign on the pole. We’re talking about all the indignities that riders have to endure on the way to the waiting areas — and sometimes, that means pitting sustainable transportation user against sustainable transportation user.
Today, we’re looking at two cities that made an effort to connect their local bike and bus networks (yay!) but neglected to give transit commuters anywhere to stand besides directly in the designated path of a cyclist (boo.)
That’s right: it’s time for the battle of the bike lane bus stops.
Orinda’s Offensive Excuse for a Bus Stop
If a bus rider at this suburban stop tries to step out of the way of an oncoming cyclist, she’ll find her back up against the wall.
Located in the Bay Area suburb of Orinda, Calif., this hillside horror is located directly in a bike lane where cyclists can travel up to 20 miles per hour, endangering public transit riders and bike riders alike. (We had some trouble digging up Orinda’s specific regulations on whether Class 3 e-bikes are permitted on paths like these; if so, those suckers can go up to 28 miles per hour.) There’s no sidewalk to reach it, no concrete standing pad once you get there, and not a bench in sight. And of course, neither group of vulnerable road users are protected from the 45-mile per-hour traffic just beyond the painted bike lane — even though taking away just one of the four driving lanes would make everyone safer.
At least those trees up on the embankment might give riders a tiny bit of shade? But they also rain leaves down on riders’ heads in the fall — and when the actual rain comes, that shallow gutter directly in front of the stop probably overflows.
We know this stop looks like it’s marooned out in the middle of nowhere, but it’s actually just a couple of blocks from a high school, a church, and a busy strip of restaurants and shops. The people who use those community institutions deserve a great, protected bike lane and a great bus stop — and the County Connection should probably know that this stop in their network is bumping riders against the wall.
Boise’s Boneyard Blasphemy
Nothing quite reminds a cyclist of her own mortality quicker than a bollard-free bike lane … but a literal cemetery comes pretty close. And this one even has bus stop smack dab in the middle of it!
Though this Idaho abomination at least gives riders a little patch of ADA-inaccessible gravel to stand on once they get to the stop, they don’t have great options to step out of bike or car traffic on the way there. Someone was thoughtful enough to build a narrow strip of pavement to the north … and then used it to anchor hundreds of feet of decorative fencing that does nothing besides force walkers into the bike lane/gutter.
And of course, the three-lane road adjacent to the cyclepath is designed for high driver speeds, even if it’s technically signed for 30 miles per hour. There’s no crosswalk at the nearest intersection, either — though there is a freight train crossing.
Nominator Clancy jokes that “being next to the Morris Hill Cemetery may make for a short trip” for riders that risk a mid-block run to this sorry stop. For those who make it out alive, it’s also directly adjacent to Boise’s only synagogue, a preschool, and a small collection of shops, restaurants and hair salons, not to mention a large residential neighborhood.
The City of Trees was once ranked #21 on Bicycling Magazine’s best bike cities in America. Surely it could do better by cyclists and bus riders by redesigning this segment of the road to provide good amenities for them both.
Now it’s up to you, Streetsblogers: which multimodal mess needs a redesign more?
Here’s the bracket in case you’re following along at home.