Saturday, April 19, 2014

Getting A Bus Shelter for every bus stop in New York City

Recently we had a Citybench installed at 25th St and 8th Ave bus stop.

  Older adults   sit on it as they wait for a bus and really appreciate it's being there. Many people  would  have preferred a bus shelter there , but it ain't gonna happen for several reasons .

- Lack of room
 A bus shelter takes a certain minimum amount of space 
and that space is not available  at this site .Community board 4 had asked for over 50 bus shelters in Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen all were turned down due  space issues and we suspect hidden issues.


In 2005 NYC signed  a contract with Cemusa to install 3200 bus shelters in NYC. In 2013 an additional 200 shelters were installed. We now have somewhere's around 3500 bus shelters.

3500 bus shelters  may seem to be a large figure but it's not because there are over 15,000 bus stops in NYC. That means over 10,000 bus stops have no shelter.

Now if Cemusa could sell enough advertising to populate 15,000 bus shelters then I suspect we'd have 15,000  as we don't have 15,000 I think there is simply not enough advertising to support this number.

NYC has a bus shelter monoculture. Only one bus shelter model  that it installs the   Cenusa shelter, that comes in several different lengths and widths.. I don't know the actual cost but having looked at a number of shelters I'd  say a minimal  figure is  $30,000.At that  figure 10,000 shelters  would cost $300,000,000 (that's three hundred MILLION dollars) . If we add maintenance costs to the shelters it's a lot more.

The Cemusa shelter is tightly couples. All elements (seating, wind and  rain protection) reside in one package that takes up a lot of room. and will not fit at anty of the 52 locations we requested them at.

Alternative bus  shelters to the Cemusa bus shelter

I know our contract with cemusa does not preclude pplacing benches at bus stiops, but Does our contract with Cemusa preclude the installation of any other bus shelters at our bus stops? I don't know but even if it didn't installing shelters at all our stops would still cost a great deal.  A enclosed shelter that cost just $10,000 installed would still cost $100,000,000 to cover all bus stops and this figure does not cover the need to clean the shelters on a regular basis.

Is it possible to create a  bus shelter that  has a near zero footprint and costs a minimal amount?

The answer to this question is yes.

Near Zero Footprint
Here's a bus shelter design  that is being used in santa Monica California that has a near zero ground level footprint.


 One of the great things about this design is it's modular. In a location with little  room. a Single module has a very small ground level footprint, while offering both seating and rain protection. And unlike traditional bus shelters which are a one piece retungular object  the iifferent parts of a San Diego shelter can be mixed and matched and do not even have to physically connect.

 Big Blue Bus Shelter by Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects and Bruce Mau Design

(picture ) show pictures...
Because of the NYC subweay this sportlike many on 7th ave could not support a Cemusa shelter. It could support a Santa Monica style shelter.

There'sseating and  rain protection in the santa monica shelter but no wind protection..  The west side is getting a new 12th avenue bus line. It's very windy near the river, so you would not place one of these there. However inland where days that are both rainy AND  windy are rare they will protect MOST of the time. Now given that 10,000 bus stops offer no shelter at all, and that implementing  a design that protects peiople in all 10,000 stops  under all conditions all  of the time ain't gonna happen. A design that protecta  all  of them under most conditions all of the time is a pretty good deal.

  low cost?

Ten thousand shelters of the Santa Monica design will still cost big bucks. Is it possible to implement a similar design at a fraction of the cost? yes. by piggybacking on existing infrastructure?

Bus stops have poles with information for riders.

bus stop pole and guide-a-ride schedule box

By adding San Diego style umbrellas to them we don't have to put in new poles to create a single module bus shelter umbrella.  In Raleigh, NC  this was added to a bus stop pole.

Guerrilla Architecture: Bus Shelters in Raleigh


The raligh awning is not solid, here's an example of one that is that was installed on a pole byour own  34th Street Partnership,( the origibnators of DOT's Citybench)
launch photos
santa Monic styler Citclers could just as well be added to these poles. 

     !           !      !     !
(show block where multiple poles can all get umbrellas attached)

     __       __    __   __
     !           !      !     !

Modular Toolbox

Currently NYC offers  one bus shelterdesign  and one  bench design for all bus stops. Both of these are one design fits all solutions.  To offer shelter and seating at all 10,000 stops with we need a selecctions of designs with different foot prints and costs
\, so that no longer will people be told "it don't fit" and the city can afford to do all.

Wwhat's needed is   Multiple solutions athat can be mixed and match together

 As I stated before we have 10,000 bus stops without shelters To put standard shelters in all 10,000 bus stops is way too  expensive and in many cases there's not enough room. By creating a toolbox of  many low cost modular designs that piggyback on existing infrastructure we can do this.

Here's several more  possible designs that could be part of the toolbox

Citybench seating Module
 We  have citybenches at some of our  bus stops.   They are the first module that would be in this toolkit

How does wind flow in an urban street canyon? I susoect it will


 The branding banners that BIDS put up have no function other then orenementation

What about some "windshield banners at bus stops"

Combined zero footprint windshield
seating, rain, wind

 Tree Pit Seating Module
  A  Cemusa bus shelter cannot go wthin 5 feet of a tree pit A  citybench  cannot go wthin 3 feet of a tree pit . At bus stops The Myrtle Ave BID  the myrtle avenue tree pit guard is the bench  allowing for placement in spaces where  no  Cemusa shelter or citybench would be allowed. .. By turning the treepit into the seating we essentially create a  near zero footprint seating. module.

The folks at Softwalks can up with a great idea to dual purpose sidewalk sheds by adding seating to them
Our second prototype

many fire hydrants have

By attatching seats to these poles we once again piggybacxk on existing infrastructure, to create a low cost,  seat that only minimally adds another piece of frrniture to a sidewalk.