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Posts in Category: Shelters

Shelters

New guards designed to help keep the heat on 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Friday, November 16, 2018 5:00:00 PM

When cold weather arrives, customers a grateful for any warmth they can find. But on-demand shelter heaters are frequently vandalized, taking them out of service until they can be repaired. 

A new metal guard beginning to appear at some busy boarding locations could help prevent future damage and keep customers from waiting in the cold. 

The guards were designed by Licensed Journeyman Electrician Jim Davis, above, who sought an alternative to making persistent repairs. Davis and fellow electricians installed the new guards along the Marq2 corridor earlier this year, and began putting them in at select light rail stations this fall. The guards could be used more broadly going forward. Metro Transit maintains about 1,500 heaters systemwide. 

The custom stainless steel guards are being made by Metro Transit technicians.

The new guards have performed well, and Davis said he's hopeful they’ll continue to be successful. "If this isn’t the answer than it’s pretty darn close,” he said this week. 

Remember: Shelter heaters only work when temperatures are below 40 degrees. To report a broken heater, please contact Customer Relations

Community Shelters

Students ask how neighbors feel about nearby bus stops 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, July 26, 2018 12:05:00 PM

Sketch of a woman planting a bush at a bus stop sign

Metro Transit and community partners have spent a lot of time asking customers how they feel about their bus stop – questions that have led to investments in new shelters, light and other bus stop improvements.

Building on that work, students from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs set out to learn what nearby property owners, residents and workers felt about these locations. The student’s sought to answer three main questions:

  1. How do neighbors feel about nearby bus stops?
  2. What influences these feelings?
  3. How can neighbors become more engaged in creating better bus stops?

To answer these questions, in-person surveys were completed at nine bus stops with different demographics and physical attributes.

The survey found that, overall, bus stops are viewed as a valuable asset, improving walkability and access and potentially supporting local businesses. The survey also found that many community members had taken informal ownership of their nearby bus stop, shoveling snow and picking up litter, and were willing to partner with Metro Transit on future maintenance and improvement activities.

The findings led students to develop several recommendations and key objectives Metro Transit could focus on moving forward.

See the student’s recommendations and read their full report here.

Students who participated in the Capstone Project include: Joseph Ayers-Johnson, Kurt Howard, Casey Lauderdale, Joseph Polacek and Jake Schutt. Illustration courtesy Joseph Polacek.

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

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