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Bus Shelters

Fulfilling our commitment to creating a better bus stop 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Tuesday, February 27, 2018 9:23:00 AM

A bus shelter on Nicollet Mall includes heat, light and real-time signs.

From General Manager Brian Lamb 

A little over three years ago, we committed to providing customers a better experience at the bus stop. 

Since then, we’ve installed shelters at nearly 200 locations, primarily in Minneapolis and St. Paul, where they either didn’t exist or needed to be replaced. Light and on-demand heaters have been included at many of these sites.  

Some of the region’s busiest boarding locations have also been improved. A dozen shelters with heat, light and real-time signs were installed along Nicollet Mall last month and a rapid bus-style shelter was recently built at Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue. 

Concrete pads that improve accessibility were also put in at more than two-dozen sites last year in a continued effort to make it easier for everyone to get around bus stops. 

And more improvements are on the way. 

As many as 80 more shelters will be installed this year, more than half of which will be at sites where there currently isn’t any protection from the elements. These plans also include replacing aged shelters that had previously been privately-owned and maintained. 

Next month, construction will begin on the region’s second rapid bus line, the C Line, which will bring two-dozen stations with shelters, real-time signs, security features and ticket vending machines to a corridor now served by Route 19. Similar plans are being made for the Route 5 corridor. 

Later this year, customers will also see newly-designed shelter schedules that provide clearer information and real-time signs at some shelter sites. 

Perhaps just a significant as these improvements, though, is the accompanying effort that’s been made, in partnership with several community partners and customers, to think about future bus stop investments.   

Assuming customers with less frequent service had longer waits, we’d used guidelines that led shelters to be placed in some suburban locations where we served relatively few customers.

After receiving community feedback and reviewing wait time data we recently revised those guidelines. Under the new guidelines, shelters will be considered at any site where there are more than 30 boardings a day, with a priority on sites that have more than 100 daily boardings. 

The guidelines also place a higher priority on locations that serve people with disabilities, older adults and those who are less likely to own a vehicle. Transfer points and boarding locations near healthcare or social service centers will also get greater consideration.

The new criteria are a clear demonstration of how equity, defined as equal access to opportunity for all, is guiding our work. 

As always, we want to hear about your bus stop experience and what you think can be done to make it even better. Please contact Customer Relations to share your thoughts.

Learn more about bus stop improvements 

Better Bus Stops

Map: Review recent and planned bus stop improvements

Guidelines for placing and removing waiting shelters

Using community wisdom to design Better Bus Stops

Do bus stop amenities like shelters and benches make waiting for the bus more tolerable?  Research from the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies suggests that yes, they do. 

Bus Good Question Light Rail Shelters Winter Weather

Good Question: Why do shelter heaters need to be replaced so frequently ? 

Posted by Marisa Helms | Thursday, November 16, 2017 10:26:00 AM

When the cold weather hits the metro area, customers who wait at hundreds of bus shelters and rail platforms have access to on-demand heaters that allow push-button activation when the temperature drops to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.

The heaters improve the customer's waiting experience, but they are fragile, subject to vandalism, and require constant care and replacement from maintenance staff.

Manager of Facilities Mike Maddio said every winter the 1,500 heat lamps throughout the system must be replaced again and again. This winter is no different, and Maddio estimates replacing the vandalized heaters has cost the agency tens of thousands of dollars over the past few years.

The heaters are made from one or more 12-inch glass tubes, and are targets for vandals, especially in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, Maddio said. Since early October, he said a staff of four electricians have replaced more than 400 heat lamps and are scheduled to replace another 800 in the coming weeks.

"It's daunting," Maddio said. "We fix one heater at 7 a.m. and by 2 p.m. it's destroyed again."

Catching vandals in the act isn't always possible, but, Transit Police Lt. Troy Schmitz said police will pursue criminal charges if they're are able to obtain video of the vandalism and identify suspects.

Bus Community Shelters

Shelters for small spaces introduced 

| Friday, July 29, 2016 9:58:00 AM

The “slim shelters” are two feet deep at the base but still have the standard four-foot deep rooftop to provide shade and protection from the elements. The shelters will also have a small bench and a location for transit information.A new type of waiting shelter that fits in locations with limited sidewalk space was introduced this week.

The “slim shelters” are two feet deep at the base but still have the standard four-foot deep rooftop to provide shade and protection from the elements. The shelters will also have a small bench and a location for transit information.

The new shelters were designed for bus stops where standard shelters — four or six feet deep at their base — would have gotten in the way of pedestrians. There are 40 sites where the new slim shelters could be installed over the next few years.

The shelters were developed with input from customers, members of the Transit Accessibility Advisory Committee and Metro Transit staff.

The new shelters are part of an ongoing effort to improve bus stops throughout the region through the Better Bus Stops program.

More than 40 new shelters are expected to be installed by the end of the year, including 18 slim shelters. Another 50 shelters that were privately owned and managed are also due to be replaced in St. Paul, Minneapolis, Roseville and West St. Paul this year.

Metro Transit continues to work with local community groups to get feedback that will influence potential changes to shelter placement guidelines and future bus stop improvements. The engagement efforts are focused on areas of concentrated poverty where more than half of residents are people of color.

A region-wide survey​ about bus stops is also ongoing.​

    > Photos: Slim Shelters

    > Better Bus Stops

    > Better Bus Stops Survey

Bus Community METRO Blue Line Shelters

In S. Minneapolis, new shelter ‘shines like a beacon’ 

| Tuesday, November 24, 2015 9:52:00 AM

Ann Erickson, owner of Keen Eye Coffee, Doris Overby, a neighborhood block leader, and Francy Scurato, also a neighborhood block leader, with the shelter they adopted at the corner of East 38th Street and South 28th Avenue. After years of campaigning, Standish-Ericsson resident Francy Scurato finally got her wish.

Earlier this year, Metro Transit removed a rusting, privately-owned shelter at the corner of East 38th Street and South 28th Avenue and put in its place a new agency-standard shelter with a bench, lighting and transit information.

On a recent morning, Scurato and others who advocated for the new shelter celebrated that victory and watched as a sign noting its adoption was centered and fastened into place. The sign includes the names of Hiawatha Square, a nearby condo, and Keen Eye Coffee, which is located just across the street.

By adopting the shelter through Metro Transit’s Adopt-A-Shelter program, Scurato, Keen Eye Coffee owner Ann Erickson and others agree to keep an eye on the site and to alert staff if any issues arise.

"Adopters are a great resource for our Facilities team, which has to cover a lot of ground," said Bill Hultberg, who manages the Adopt-A-Shelter program for Metro Transit. "We really appreciate their efforts and are happy to partner with them wherever we can."

If Scurato has noticed anything since the new shelter was installed, though, it’s that the shelter has become an invitation to take transit.

“Before, I think people were hesitant to use the shelter,” Scurato said after the sign was put into place. “Now it shines like a beacon and lights up the whole intersection. I’ve seen a lot of people using it.”

In 2014, Metro Transit took responsibility for shelters in Minneapolis that had been privately owned and operated. All such shelters will be replaced with Metro Transit shelters in the coming years. Shelters will also be placed at some locations where none had previously existed through the Better Bus Stops Program.

After giving up driving a few years ago, Scurato frequently finds herself standing in the shelter while waiting for the bus. Students at Roosevelt High School, neighbors and people visiting Keen Eye and other nearby businesses also use the stop, which is served by routes 22 and 23.

“A lot of our customers take transit, so it was kind of a no-brainer to be a part of it (adopting the shelter),” said Erickson, who opened her coffee shop two years ago.

Erickson, Scurato and others are hoping the shelter will lead to further improvements. The goal is to make the few blocks between the shelter and the METRO Blue Line’s 38th Street Station more inviting so people will be encouraged to hop off the train and explore the neighborhood.

“If you want people to come to the businesses on this street, you have to make it look nice,” Scurato said. “You can’t have dark streets and a beat-up shelter. This is a jumping little corner of town and with improvements like this we can make it even more so.”


 

Bus Community Shelters State Fair

Smaller shelter shown off at State Fair 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, September 02, 2015 10:08:00 AM

A student-designed waiting shelter with a reduced footprint and other innovative features is on display at the Minnesota State Fair. A student-designed waiting shelter with a reduced footprint and other innovative features is on display at the Minnesota State Fair. 

The shelter was designed by architecture graduate student Amy Van Gessel as part of a class at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design and School of Architecture. Mechanical engineering graduates Alex Beane and Andrew Frey also assisted in its creation.

Made of steel and recycled plastic, the shelter includes seating, a small tabletop, a bicycle rack and a light that could indicate the next expected bus departure. The shelter is four feet deep and 13-feet long, but can be adapted to site conditions and the expected ridership at a given bus stop.

Van Gessel said the design was partly inspired by a shelter from Paris that serves not just as a waiting area but a gathering space. The shelters include bike-sharing kiosks, lending libraries, tables and a few distinct seating areas.

“In most shelters, the only option is to sit,” Van Gessel said. “This is about providing more personal spaces.”

Fairgoers seeing the shelter outside the Eco Experience building have been struck by the shelter’s bold design but warm up to it on further inspection.

“It looks and feels very different than the traditional shelter, but once that kind of initial confusion wears off and people start kicking the wheels they start opening up and having some good comments and feedback,” said adjunct instructor James Garrett Jr, AIA, who led the design class. 

Garrett Jr. is the owner of St. Paul-based 4RM+ULA, which helped design stations on the METRO Green Line and Target Field Station.

Metro Transit’s Engineering & Facilities department challenged students in Garrett’s class to design a shelter that could be used in areas with space constraints and would be powered without a utility connection. Solar panels atop the shelter provide power for the shelter.

The student’s work and input received at the State Fair will help inform future shelter plans.

Metro Transit is installing 30 shelters at new locations this year through the Bus Stop Improvements Program. Another 60 new shelters are being installed at sites in Minneapolis in a continuing effort to replace advertising shelters that were privately owned and managed until last year.

Enviro-Tech, radiustrack, Mattson Macdonald Young Structural Engineers, Gausman & Moore, Rosco, Lumos and Powerfully Green also partnered on the shelter design project.

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