Livability and Bus Stops
“Livability” is a word I try to avoid when describing the urban environment. It has ceased to mean anything to me. It’s a mere buzzword [I'm not alone on this - great article can be read about it here and here].Yet, While I might not be able to pin-point what makes a place ‘livable’ – I can almost always point out what makes an area not livable.
Enter: This bus stop.
This is a bus stop located in south Minneapolis on S. 36th St. adjacent to Lakewood Cemetery between Girard and Hennepin. It is one of a half dozen stops along the road that are virtually inaccessible.
How to get there?
It appears as if there were once painted lines indicating a crosswalk on the Hennepin side, but they have since vanished; and there is no crosswalk on the Girard side. You’ll have to wait for traffic to stop. Once you cross the 3 lanes of traffic (at 35mph), you’ll arrive at the sidewalk along the cemetery fence.
You’ll have to navigate between the fence and the fire hydrant, or just walk in the street. When you count the lack of a curb cut, this might be the least ADA compliant bus stop in the State. The sidewalk isn’t wide – the end of the curb to the fence line is a little over 2 feet in length.
It’s no surprise that these stops are rarely visited despite their convenient access southward to Southdale, the Lakes and going north into downtown along popular routes. The routes (6, 23, 114, 115) are well traveled, especially the high-frequency 6-route. Yet, at these stops – nada.
There is a greater point here …
I don’t want to complain about individual bus stops. I’d rather concentrate on the larger scheme of things; which is that the stop along 36th St S. in Minneapolis is not unique. We have terrible bus stops!
This is along Interstate 394 in Minneapolis on a frontage road. Who in their right mind would use these bus stops? The stops are small, blue signs that read “BUS”. There are no time schedules or route details – just the word “BUS”. [Note: I do like the small consideration made on the lower image. Someone was kind enough to pick the weeds near the stop. At least one person cares]. I can’t imagine missing my bus at this stop – waiting 20 minutes while sitting on the curb, no shade, just watching cars zip by at the 40mph speed limit in the unbearable summer heat / winter freeze.
This is unacceptable
The routes running along 36th Ave S and I-394 are different – one route is traveled often and one is never traveled. Yet, the stops look are exactly the same! Governments have limited resources. Not every bus stop needs to be the deluxe version – but we should be better than the bare minimum. As long as we build bus stops to the bare minimum standard, that is exactly the type of ridership we’re likely to get.