Transport

It’s Over! Vancouver Has ‘Sorriest Bus Stop’ – Streetsblog USA

It’s official! The sorriest bus stop in America is in … Canada!

The horrendous bus stop on the Lougheed Highway in Pitt Meadows, just outside of Vancouver, has won our annual contest, trouncing Cincinnati in a 58%-42% landslide.

Of course, there was a key mitigating factor.

During our three-day balloting, officials with the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Agency told Streetsblog that they had removed their extremely sorry bus stop in our finals, forcing remaining voters to make a choice: vote for the lone existing sorry bus stop finalist or make a sentimental selection to anoint Cincy as the winner given that it was so bad that the agency was shamed into fixing it.

In the end, voters spoke clearly: Vancouver, your stop is the sorriest in North America.

Readers of this contest likely saw this coming weeks ago, when Streetsblog first pared down dozens of entries into our Sweet 16 finalists. There was something about Vancouver’s abomination that stood out. Maybe it was the sad guy in the white shirt. Maybe it was the ugly jersey barrier. Maybe it was just the desolation.

Its victories were profound: This TransLink stop beat Beverly Hills in the opener with 77% of the vote. Then it trounced San Rafael with 90% of the vote, and made it to the finals by beating its Final Four challenger, Pittsburgh, by 59%-41% — a victory that led to a round of media coverage up north, with CBC  and the Vancouver Courirer doing their own stories about this sorry stop.

Final Sorry Bus Vote
The final vote!

Unlike SORTA, the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has not taken action to fix the stop, blaming TransLink for its decision “to designate this a bus stop” in the first place. The ministry added, “It’s concerning to hear that people using this bus stop don’t feel safe, and appreciate that this photo has been brought to our attention. We are in the process of setting up meetings with TransLink … to see what we can do to make the bus stop more adequate.”

Jason Lee, who submitted this stop, told StreetsblogUSA reporter Angie Schmitt that the ministry should look in the mirror:

Immediately to the northwest of this stop is the Pitt River Bridge. In 2009, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure completed a rebuilding of the bridge and an associated interchange at a cost of C$198 million. Just down the road in the opposite direction, the Ministry is currently creating an auxiliary lane – ostensibly to improve safety for commercial vehicles leaving a rail yard – at a cost C$6.2 million. Despite spending over C$200 million on this section of Lougheed Highway, there did not seem to be sufficient resources to improve safety for pedestrians and transit riders.

Lee was a tireless champion for making sure this sorry stop earned its badge of (dis)honor. His nominating petition provided ample evidence — even rainfall statistics! — that went far beyond a mere picture of a sad guy in the white shirt standing at a sorry stop. Lee wrote:

Lougheed Highway is a major arterial linking Vancouver’s exurbs with its inner-ring suburbs. It is also one of the most dangerous in British Columbia — ranking second in the entire province with 33 fatal crashes over the 10-year period between 2004 and 2013. … Bus stop 61452, located in the westbound direction of Lougheed Highway and Old Dewdney Trunk Road, is a major safety hazard. At that point, Lougheed Highway consists of four lanes in each direction (one of which is a bus lane), with speeds of 50 mph or higher. The bus stop pole is located atop a jersey barrier, which serves as a buffer between speeding cars and the edge of the roadway. Transit riders are forced to either a) wait on the other side of the jersey barrier, and then climb over it when the bus arrives, or b) wait on the highway side of barrier, directly exposed to traffic. Riders in wheelchairs must wait on the highway side of the barrier. The roadway can also be slick; that part of British Columbia’s Lower Mainland receives nearly 58 inches of precipitation per year, most of it concentrated during the dark winter months. This bus stop is a disaster waiting to happen. In my three decades of riding transit, I have never seen a bus stop designed like this. During my journey on the 701 less than two weeks ago, I saw a group of people climb over the jersey barrier to get on the bus. They appeared to be non-English speakers who were carrying buckets of berries they had harvested, captive riders who could easily have become the latest victims of speeding cars along Lougheed Highway.

That’s a sorry bus stop and certainly worthy of this great victory loss. But before we let everyone in Vancouver crack open the Champagne Molsons, let’s take one more longing look at just how bad the Cincinnati bus stop was…before SORTA fixed it:

The runner up is really bad, too.
The runner up is really bad, too.

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