The Importance of Bus Stop Benches

Noticing a need in his community, a California mayor found a fast and affordable way to put seating at every bus stop in town.

2 minute read

December 25, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Google Maps view of bus stop wth bench and shelter in Emeryville, California

Google Maps / Emeryville, California

Writing in Streetsblog, Kea Wilson describes one mayor’s effort to place seating at every bus stop in his Bay Area town. John Bauters, mayor of Emeryville, California, pledged to install benches at every bus stop in his city—and did so in seven months. 

Bauters explained that bus stop seating was a no-brainer. “You don't need to study whether or not people need to sit — especially people who are older, people have mobility issues, people with children, people who've walked a long the way, or who are carrying things.”

Seating at bus stops can greatly improve the transit experience. “Studies have shown that the presence of benches and other transit amenities (read: basics) like shelters and nearby trees can encourage ridership and even decrease perceived wait time,” Wilson explains. 

While the Emeryville project is small compared to many cities, Bauters says “even his small city was not immune to the challenges of tight budgets and narrow rights-of-way where private property lines sometimes encroach on scarce bus stop space.” Bautner focused on finding an affordable, quick-build solution—a bench known as a “simmeseat”—that allowed his city to provide seating now, while planners look for longer-term fixes.

As Bauters puts it, “some of the most important and best things that we can do to improve livability and transportation choices in our city often go unnoticed by the vast majority of people, but they're greatly and deeply appreciated by the people who are in need.”

Wednesday, December 21, 2022 in Streetsblog USA

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