Building Benches for Bus Stops That Need them
Any frequent bus rider knows all stops aren’t created equal. Sorry bus stops can leave riders waiting without shelter or the all-important place to sit. While benches are an inexpensive amenity for cities to provide, many don’t, that can be where enterprising citizens come in.
Non-for-profit Tiny WPA in Philadelphia designed an accessibility friendly bench. "They don’t look like your typical benches: Part of the seat is raised higher than normal and angled upwards, with a vertical pole attached, to assist older adults in sitting down and standing up," Linda Poon writes for CityLab. In Los Angeles, one concerned citizen has been installing difficult-to-remove benches that wrap abound poles. These benches went in without city approval, and the artist was anonymously interviewed in the Los Angeles Times.
The Better Bus Coalition of Cincinnati has also installed guerrilla benches, chaining them to sign posts with the message “This bench supports bus riders more than the city does.” Lack of seating at bus stops has long been an issue in the city "where the city council, citing improper maintenance, began removing ad-sponsored benches back in 2006," Poon writes.
Comfortable bus stops are important, because they improve the quality of the experience for riders, but they also have other benefits. "Better amenities can boost ridership, according to a Transit Center report and, given the worrying state of bus use nationwide, installing better benches should be a low-cost way for cities to address a low-hanging fruit," Poon argues.