Bus Stop Bus Stop


Take a good close look at this bus stop.


It is the closest thing you find in Ottawa to a eye catching roadside transit amenity.

It is a bit strange when you actually look at it. I guess the poster picture on the right hand end panel has been cut in half to allow patrons to see approaching buses. And of course it is advertising.

I know Ottawans love to hate private businesses, and their advertising, wanting some sort of ART installation, with an explanatory plaque for those dummies out there that aren’t so enlightened.

But really, this IS a step up from the ordinary bus shelter which is simply plopped down on a concrete pad (if you are lucky) beside the sidewalk.

The Queensway is very nicely landscaped, as are many traffic sewers in Ottawa. Lipstick on a pig, etc.

Imagine if the Queensway on-ramps were all potholed dirt tracks with puddles. It would never happen. We wouldn’t put up with it.

People driving cars are too important. They need, they DESERVE restful greenery landscaping. Cadillac or KIA, you get landscaping.

People walking to the local bus stop? Often just a post with little sign on it. If you are lucky, a glass shelter too. And even if there is a sidewalk, the road engineers have decided that road surfaces, including crosswalks, can now double up as rain storage devices.Complain? Our engineering staff response … why would you go for a walk if it’s raining?


If we value people who drive, we landscape. If we valued people who take transit … then we would provide decent sidewalks to the bus routes, shelters, and a pleasant environment. Here’s a small attempt to make for a more pleasant bus stop along Merivale. Pavers. Newspaper kiosk. Bench. Probably used up the whole 59c budget too, but their heart was in the right place.


Here’s what we do if we want to promote transit usage, and win customers. Nice sense of place with decorative pavers. Info board. Water fountain for people and dogs. Bench. Bike rack. Trees (small yet, but they might grow). A nicely letter bus stop name on the roof. I cite these amenities as things that might make bus users feel valued.


Here’s one with an electronic info board, which might be useful. Note also the electronic stamper on the post for faster boarding:

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Where vandalism is an issue, or “screwdriver art” if you are a left wing crazy, etched or fritted glass can turn a humdrum glass panel into a work of art:


Is that a route poster in the window of the utility box, or is a LCD changeable display maybe even with real time info?

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An eye catching neighbourhood map and orientation board. It is not something suitable for many collector bus route stops. OC Transpo does a very good job today putting understandable local maps in transitway stations. Its time to expand that to other routes too.

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Sometimes certain blocks or traffic calmed streets are not open to cars. There is always signage for that. For motorists.

But in Ottawa, never to indicate to pedestrians and cyclists that there is a route for them. We simply cannot afford the little walking man decal. Or street signs on MUPs.

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Because people who take transit or walk or cycle don’t count.

We get what we cater to. And that’s still Ottawa = motor car city.



3 thoughts on “Bus Stop Bus Stop

  1. This report is pretty old, dating to the early 2000s, out of Cleveland.


    You might be interested in this too:


    And wrt your general point, I have been arguing for awhile that in a “walking city” or “transit city” a city needs to make its policies and practices congruent and focused on facilitating movement and use by pedestrians, transit riders, and cyclists, e.g.,

    snow clearance, http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2010/02/maintenance-of-way-agenda-for-walking.html

    night time lighting, http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2014/01/night-time-safety-rethinking-lighting.html

  2. Yes, but I think the maps provided could be more useful if they had simple ‘you are here’ dots. If you’re lost, you need to know where you are to get to where you’re going. In the stations, maps to which stop numbers are located where and what routes are at each of them.

  3. The flowers on the rooftop are lovely. That isn’t a poster cut in half on the right, it’s a sticker applied to the glass. The ornate bus top is lovely but would look totally out of place in Ottawa. Also there are no walls to shelter us from our horrible winters. The next example has amenities but what’s missing is a waste can. Those free papers plus everyone’s empty drink containers creat a huge mess. Lastly if only all screwdriver art was this well done. Here we get tags, love notes and obscenities. I think that covers it all for me.

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