February 16, 2010

Bus stop upgrades: Concrete can change your life

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Did you know that Metro is carrying on a Bus Stop Enhancement program? Last year, 65 bus stops – mainly in St. Louis County – were upgraded to ADA compliance, thanks to a Freedom Grant  that Metro received from the FTA for this very purpose. This year, 115 additional stops have been flagged for upgrades.

Bus stops in St. Louis area that have already received ADA upgrades

Bus stops in St. Louis area that have already received ADA upgrades

Working list of bus stops to receive ADA-compliance upgrades in 2010

Working list of bus stops to receive ADA-compliance upgrades in 2010

A little background: The Americans With Disabilities Act was enacted in 1990 to provide protection against discrimination for individuals with disabilities. Part of that mission includes ensuring that public facilities, like courthouses and bus stops, are accessible to all. It’s particularly important for transit to be accessible, because people who are dependent on transit due to disability absolutely must be able to access our facilities! Our old bus stops were “grandfathered in” but any new stops we build have to be ADA-compliant. What to do about those old stops, though? We want to upgrade these stops to make our system as accessible as possible, even though the law says we don’t have to. That’s where the Freedom Grant comes in – it supplies the funds necessary to bring the old stops into compliance and provide much-needed mobility to our transit-dependent customers. I recently sat down with Dave Sander in Metro’s Engineering Department and with Lance Peterson and Linda Baker in Metro’s Planning Department to discuss Metro’s Bus Stop Enhancement program. Here’s what I learned:

  • Metro planners surveyed each one of our 9,100+ (at the time) bus stops to determine which were ADA-compliant and which were not.
  • Metro planners developed criteria to help prioritize which stops needed help first; factors included: Number of customers using the stop, whether the stop was a transfer point (a place where you can get off one bus and catch another), whether ADA-compliance was technically possible at a stop, who the stop serves, the condition of adjacent sidewalks, and more.
  • Metro partnered with Paraquad for input and reviewed customer complaints, along with the above criteria, to decide which stops would be addressed first.
Bad sidewalk at St. Louis Ave. & Newstead

Bad sidewalk at St. Louis Ave. & Newstead

“Enhancements” are different depending on the location of each stop, but include:

– creating the concrete “landing pad” for boarding the bus
– adding a concrete pad for a bench
– correcting the slope of adjacent sidewalks
– adding missing accessible curb ramps,

and even in some cases fixing sidewalks that were, as the planners put it, in “deplorable” condition – even if those sidewalks don’t technically belong to Metro. In some cases, fixing the sidewalks was the only way to get the slope down to ADA compliance. The planners then share that information with St. Louis County, the City, and the municipal streets departments to alert them when sidewalk conditions are bad. At the same time, Metro is using the information gained from this project to evaluate each bus route, stop by stop, to eliminate unnecessary stops and improve operating speeds and efficiency. And the planners are adding a unique stop number to each stop, so if customers have a question about schedules or routes, they can give their stop number to Customer Service when they call. The contractor is getting permits and, weather permitting, construction can start any time.

Do you have any bus stops to nominate for this program? If you do, let us know here at the blog and we’ll check with Planning to see whether your stop is on the list.

12 thoughts on “Bus stop upgrades: Concrete can change your life”

  1. Herbie says:

    A number of your bus stops planned for upgrades are along Grand, particularly between Lindell and Page, where the city is getting ready to construct a series of streetscape projects. Has Metro coordinated with the city on these related projects?

  2. Cheryl says:

    The bus stop on the north side of Pershing at 5330 Pershing is directly across from a large building with apartments mainly for elderly and disabled. Many disabled persons live in this building, yet the bus stop for going west is a narrow strip of concrete that would be unusable for someone in a wheelchair. Usually that sidewalk strip next to the curb is covered with mud or leaves. It is true that wheelchair users could go down the main sidewalk to a better bus stop, but the sidewalks are also in bad condition, often covered in water.

    This just points up that sidewalks need to be fixed too. I could not tell from the map if this stop was already planned for an upgrade.

  3. Cheryl says:

    Meant to say 5370 not 5330 Pershing. I’m sure there are many such sites used by the disabled that need upgrades.

  4. matt c says:

    The stops at SE & SW Taylor and West Pine both require the rider to cross a small patch of grass to get on the bus. At the intersection there is an apartment building that houses a large number or older residents. I’m sure the concrete landing pad you mentioned would be much appreciated.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Hey Herbie, one of the streetscape improvements in the Great Streets projects is upgraded transit facilities. Metro planners (and me!) sit on the advisory committees for the Great Streets projects so that we can closely coordinate with the project, provide our expertise, and help create the best possible experience for pedestrians, bikers, transit users, and drivers alike. That means that none of the bus stops in the Great Streets project zones are being upgraded under this grant, because they are already being addressed.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Cheryl and Matt, thanks for the pointers. Cheryl – that location actually has a fully accessible stop further down the block, so that stop is not currently on our list of upgrades. While it’s true that the sidewalks in that area can be a bummer, it’s really beyond the scope of what Metro can do with this project. And as you see from the picture in the blog post, there are some stops in such sorry states that they are being prioritized over (for instance) a stop that has a fully accessible stop nearby.

    Matt – that particular stop isn’t on our list at this time but you’re right – it’s a good place for a concrete landing pad!

  7. RTBones says:

    Any chance we will see some improved signage at bus stops along with these improvements?

    1. Courtney says:

      The signage aspect is a different function within the agency, but I know improved signage is one of the overall “improve signage” goals. I know that’s vague, but its an ongoing process.

  8. Herbie says:

    I’m familiar with the Great Streets projects that East-West Gateway has been promoting such as South Grand from Arsenal to McDonald. The segment from Lindell to Page, however, is not a Great Streets project and is a separate project being undertaken by the city.

    Concrete pad suggestion: southbound Warson Rd at Gateway Blvd

  9. Jennifer says:

    I’ll second that and also add that because this is an ADA-related grant, there will be tactile signage installed as part of the upgrade for visually impaired passengers…but not the bus schedule info you’re looking for, I’m afraid. That will have to come with a different funding package.

  10. RTBones says:

    Thank you for your responses, Courtney and Jennifer.

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