Pillows, a chess board, markers, books and string lighting aren’t the kinds of things people are usually surrounded by while waiting for a bus.
But a new temporary shelter that went up this week in Minneapolis incorporates all of those things, part of a broader and continuing effort to enliven public spaces in the downtown core.
The temporary shelter – called “Living Room Station – Your Home Before You Get Home” – is located at the corner of South Sixth Street and Nicollet Mall, where more than 1,000 people board a bus each weekday.
Its installation is the product of a partnership between the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District and Metro Transit, which hope to gain some lessons learned that will shape future placemaking efforts not just at boarding areas but across downtown.
The “Living Room Station” near Nicollet Mall was designed by the Musicant Group and constructed with help from Onyx Cycles, a manufacturing company based in North Minneapolis. Rider feedback collected by the Youth Coordinating Board's Street Outreach Team helped inspire the design.
“In our built environment, everything can be so hard and synthetic,” said Max Musicant, the founder and principal at the Musicant Group. “Our use of durable but natural materials and color creates a sense of welcoming and invitation that I think is often missing.”
The shelter will be up through at least the end of the month and there will be live entertainment at the site each weekday from 3:30-5 p.m. (see schedule below).
Another project – which might or might not include a physical shelter – is in the works for a boarding area at South Sixth Street and Second Avenue South, outside the Capella Tower.
Ben Shardlow, the DID’s Director of Public Realm Initiatives, said downtown’s high-traffic boarding areas each present unique opportunities. Because of that, he said property owners, customers and other stakeholders should work together on innovative solutions.
“Our focus is on places that aren’t working as well as they could, and working together on novel solution that meet the need,” he said.
The project comes as Metro Transit replaces shelters in the City of Minneapolis that were privately owned until last year. New and replacement shelters are also being installed through the Better Bus Stops program.
"Living Room Station" Schedule of Events
> Friday, Oct. 23 – Singing in the Rain: music and umbrella escort from the station to the bus
> Monday, Oct. 26 – Pumpkin Carving: decorate the Living Room for the holidays!
> Tuesday, Oct. 27 – Family Game Night: board games while you wait for the bus
> Wednesday, Oct. 28 –Singing in the Rain: music and umbrella escort from the station to the bus
> Thursday, Oct. 29 – House Party: Live accordion, free apple cider and a good time
> Friday, Oct. 30 – Trick or Treat at Living Room Station!
> DID: Living Room Station offers activities, new environment
> Star Tribune: Temporary downtown Mpls. bus shelter offers the comfort of home
> Smaller shelter shown off at State Fair
> On West Broadway, shelters get a steward
Photo: Free cards and flowers were provided at "Living Room Station" on Wednesday, Oct. 21. View more photos courtesy The Musicant Group here.