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Thread: Best/worst transit stops in your experience

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Best/worst transit stops in your experience

    Hi, I am working on a project that looks at urban design around transit stops (bus/tram). I am currently collecting examples of great and horrible stop around the world. I know there must be some fascinating examples around the world that I will never come across unless it is with your help; so I very much appreciate your input.

    If you can think of some great stops from your daily travels…
    1) Please tell me why (Design? Integration with surrounding land use? Excellent information? Innovative safety mechanism? etcetc)
    2) Please include a google streetview link so I can check it out myself, or of course a picture if you already have one

    For example, one of my favourites is eugensplatz station in Stuttgart, which is very well integrated with the adjacent park
    https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=eugens...325.86,,0,-3.2


    Thank you very much.
    Last edited by vxw; 13 Aug 2012 at 8:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Worst is kind of ambiguous when you're talking about transit stops. Seen plenty of stops on busy roads with no sidewalk, benches, or shelter. Transit stops are more or less afterthoughts in many locations.

    As for best, are you looking for more terminals or just shelter / stop design? The ones that stand out to me are more the former.

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    For a rural transit system centered on a city of 29,000, these aren't too shabby.

    This one has shelters that are incorporated into the ground floor of an old parking garage along its street frontage. (The garage is under reconstruction.) This softens the visual impact of the garage from the sidewalk.





    This one has a heated waiting area that includes a coffee/espresso bar, with free wi-fi. A carshare station is across the street.









    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Hi Dan,
    Thanks for the examples, those are fantastic. Reminds me of many of the waterbus-stops in venice where the adjacent businesses are integrated with the stops. They have special take-out windows where you dont have to leave the stop to get your food, There are also large displays that show when the bus is coming so the vendors can suggest what food you should order.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Las Vegas Boulevard......

    Las Vegas Boulevard must have THE worst examples of pedestrian access to mass transit for the population served.

    Just an observation......
    Skilled Adoxographer

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Best?

    The Ronald Reagan Roundabout in Wroclaw, Poland. Very impressive boulevard roundabout that has a combination bus/tram station in its center with superb pedestrian and bike connections to the nearby blocks. Some of the surrounding streetscape is rather blah architecturally (lots of dreary Commieblocks and equally banal Neomodern infill), but the accessibility is still superb, and at least the surrounding urban fabric is geared to mixed-use, medium-density occupancy (anything less than that in an urban/suburban setting is IMO just a colossal waste of money for all concerned: businesses, commuters, nearby residents, the transit agency, and local gov't). And the sidewalks will probably feel more comfortable once the street tree canopy matures. So what does the RRR offer?:

    - Pristine waiting platforms with countdown signs and maps.
    - Abundant stairs connecting all the platforms* w/ built-in side ramps for wheeling your bike, plus elevators for the handicapped.
    - Underground passages connecting all the platforms* like you'd see in a big downtown train station. Far from being gloomy, piss-soaked rat runs, these bright, music-enhanced corridors are lined with public art and small shops (newspapers, flowers, candy, cigarettes, snacks, etc.), plus they have public restrooms and direct entrances to neighboring blocks (a shopping mall and office complexes).
    - Traffic is exquisitely engineered: not only does the surrounding roundabout handle multitudes of cars and buses, but the trams and buses arriving in the center still manage to get there on time, every time.
    - Overall you feel like a pampered king/queen waiting for your bus or tram.

    *Why have stairs and passages if you can just walk across the tram tracks? Well, there often are so many transit vehicles arriving or departing (the frequency is insanely high) that an easy walk across the tracks isn't always possible. Hence the alternate circulation route.


    (Shopping mall is visible on the left edge of the photo.)


    Worst?

    Hell, there are so many! Any run-of-the-mill bus stop in the outer districts of big east coast cities like Baltimore or Philly. The downtown stops are alright (shelters, signs with up-to-date maps, benches, and maybe even a countdown marker), but outside the downtown you're lucky to get a simple route sign (let's hope it isn't faded, graffitied, or missing) next to the curb. And forget about extravagant benches. You're also lucky if your bus shows up on time, or even shows up at all. Overall you feel like a loser waiting for the bus (please let it show up!).


    http://baltimoreinnerspace.blogspot....ngs-mills.html

    ^This example is from the outskirts of Baltimore (Owings Mills metro station), and the sign - which refers to a discontinued bus route! - perfectly reflects the idiocies of American transit planning: disconnected, disparate, fortresslike, utterly useless AND incredibly expensive at the same time! This metro station is like the botched polar opposite of the RRR: the photo depicts the (nonexistent) path between the metro station and the tantalizing-close shopping mall.

    I'm betting the disconnected development around the Owings Mills metro station (and the cost of the station itself along with its accompanying infrastructure) was probably many, many times more expensive than the Ronald Reagan Roundabout and its accompanying infill, yet the results of the former are palpably inferior.

    There are plans to improve the Owings Mills metro stop with TOD-style development (the mall is dying), which, while an improvement overall, still (IMO) could be much better.

    Obviously you can't turn every transit stop into a Ronald Reagan Roundabout with impeccable connections to surrounding urban fabric, but it'd be nice if each one had at least (1) a route sign with maps and a countdown marker, (2) a shelter with bench, and (3) ample pedestrian-friendly connections to adjacent development (i.e. no trekking across "open space" wastelands to inwardly-turned, isolated building pods). Course, this might also require a major reorganization of stops (i.e. better-located but sparser - not on every block) and routes (gridded instead of redundantly layered onto an old outskirts-to-CBD radial pattern) to allow for a frequency that would actually be practical.
    Last edited by marcszar; 09 Sep 2012 at 9:05 PM.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Worst:

    I am going to be staying in a hotel in Santa Clarita, CA pretty soon and was considering using transit at some point in the trip. I went on streetview to do some recon and found out that this is where I would be catching the bus. The "stop" is indicated by that blue sign on the streetlight just to the left of the ground level Chevron sign. To understand the full extent of the ordeal that would be involved, check out the pedestrian conditions along the walking route to the hotel around the corner.

    Needless to say, I will be bumming rides from family and/or taking a cab, NOT using this bus system.

    This is just one example, but this is pretty typical for bus stops in suburban/exurban areas. There are probably thousands of similar (or worse!) stops across the country.

    Best:

    I'd have to go with Grand Central Terminal as my favorite transit stop. Stunning architecture, great food, martinis, and the ability to enter & exit the center of New York City on a TRAIN without dealing with any stop and go traffic. A great example of transit as the first class mode of travel.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    ^
    One thing I always notice in Grand Central or any other Beaux Arts era train station is how easily and effortlessly I can find my way around the complex and to the train with minimal reference to signage or attendants. Even the information kiosk at GCT is located in a logical place: smack dab in the middle of the concourse "under the clock" where lost, wandering souls will find it, not shunted to some dark corner cubbiehole near the restrooms!

    Those turn-of-the-century architects knew how to design and sequence congregational spaces in such a way that seems almost subconsciously intuitive: of course this is the way I go to get my ticket, and that must be the way to the concourse, and, oh yes, there are the platforms... I'm just speculating here, but maybe this kind of subconscious spatial familiarity/comfort in stations does a lot to maintain continued appreciation and support of a transit system.

    Contrast those spatially-intuitive prewar train stations with today's average airport (better yet, compare NYC's old Penn Station to the disgusting maze of confusing rat runs that replaced it, or 30th Street Station to Market East, etc.): you need to constantly refer to signs and maps to find your way around the chaotic, discombobulated interior mess. Not only that, but the starchitects behind many of today's transit buildings (and other public buildings) seem to be more interested in making pretentious, mystifying, egotistical "statements" than in creating clear, logical spaces and transitions. In fact today's architectural theories (like the crap spewed by people like Koolhaas and Libeskind) explicitly promote discomfort, anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty in the building's users. Not a recipe for a memorable, lovable, easily-navigable transit station...
    Last edited by marcszar; 10 Sep 2012 at 2:07 PM.

  9. #9
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    Bad design in Hackensack, NJ

    Not sure if you're looking for suburban, but this was my bus stop for a year and a half on my evening commute out of Hackensack, NJ every day. I do not miss this commute.



    To cross to the bus shelter required a dash across a blind, busy highway off ramp (Rt 4 E). Sidewalks were not maintained in the winter.

    Google Maps Link

    If you want to take a Google Tour, there are lots of stops along Rt 4 that are alcoves on the side of the highway that require walking down the shoulder to get back to a street.

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