Bus stop, bus stop, where’s the bus stop?

So much to learn from a simple picture. Take a gander at this bus stop from … somewhere…

[ late edit: photo by Klaus Beltzner, in Santa Cruz, CA]

So what’s so special?

First, look at the bus stop. It’s right at the corner, how convenient. And we accuse America of being given over to cars cars cars. It’s Ottawa that devotes intersections to cars and locates the bus stops mid block or at least several bus lengths away from the corner. Transit users : take a hike !

Second, it has convenient seating for two. It won’t win a comfort prize (neighbours are probably worried deplorables might sit there) but it is useful for the elderly, infirm, tired, children, parents … in short, almost everyone.

Third, there is a steel track running down the street, and a railway crossing sign, which suggests there is surface trains. Not expensively grade separated.

Fourth, nice tree cover right by the sidewalk, offering dappled shade and a pleasant walking and waiting place. In Ottawa, trees are relegated to death pits or sent off to segregated places.

Fifth, the attractive walkway and bus stop are constructed with plain ole concrete and asphalt. No fancy pavers to not get maintained, no raised intersection to drain to the crosswalk.

Sixth, look at that street light post. It’s beautiful, with decorative cast base. Ottawa can’t stand anything old, and must replace it with modern angular posts devoid of much character (Gatineau is better at this than Ottawa, having numerous new decorative fixture poles).

Seventh, there are no traffic lights, saving on a forest of poles, underground wiring, giant yellow steel blobs hung in the air dominating the view.

Eight, the place shown recognizes there are cyclists, with sharrows (admittedly not the best cycling infra) on the cross street, and wide demarked parking lanes on the receeding street, gently steering cyclists away from the dooring zone and calming traffic by narrowing the apparent road/lane width.

Nine, there is an absence of no parking / no stopping signs, with zones being denoted by a painted stripe on the curb. We had these in Halifax when I grew up. Admittedly, these may not work so well when it snows in Ottawa.

Anything I missed?

8 thoughts on “Bus stop, bus stop, where’s the bus stop?

  1. Behind the seats is a garden, separated from the sidewalk by a curb. The curb creates more depth of soil, acts as a water retention dam thus preventing runoff during and after a rainfall, and physical separation from pedestrians, all of which benefit the plants.

    1. Good Catch Benn, the back curbs really work to define the sidewalk and protect greenery. In Ottawa, we have them on Bronson north of Qway, on Preston, and on Somerset. In Toronto they have some, incl one case where the top flat part of the curb was angled back into the garden at 30 degrees, which gets overlapped with dirt, making the curb less massive in appearance.

      1. This type of curbing would help create a healthier environment for trees planted in Ottawa’s urban sidewalks. In addition to the benefits I noted above, the curb would also provide a barrier from sidewalk salt and snow removal machinery.

        I like the idea of the beveled curb top that you note in your comment, as it would make the idea of using the top of the curb as a stepping stone by pedestrians hurrying past a slower moving member of the species, or as a “rail” for skateboarders, less appealing.

  2. Anything I missed?

    About a quarter mile to the SW of the photograph there is a great topless beach. Not as accommodating as Wreck Beach in Vancouver or Red Rocks north of the Golden Gate but still a very pleasant family beach. Well worth the visit.

    Eric – you ran a story a week or so ago about the parking overload in the lot at the south end of the Champlain Bridge. I suspect the NCC cubicle denizens may read your blog to positive effect.

    Today I came off the Champlain and hiked to the East. On the return trip an hour later I noticed an RCMP cruiser sitting empty at the parking lot entrance. I walk this way regularly and this was an unusual sight. Arriving at the parking lot itself, I found an officer speaking with the owner of a parked SUV, one which had been in the same location an hour previously and which I suspect remained in the same spot all day.

    I was not a party to the discussion between officer and citizen but my sense of it is the police presence was intended to identify all day parkers and speak with vehicle owners as they returned from their day in the Tunney Pasture office park.

    If the police reporting indicates a significant number of daily long term users then I expect there will be a future initiative to provide metered parking (Help pay for WinterLude, Mosaic and fireworks!) or the erection of signage that discourages all day, all week parkers.

    If this is correct, then kudos to you for improving the built environment one post at a time. Cheers!

    1. fjf, I think this is the first time I have seen the same beach being referred to as both topless and a place for pleasant family outing.

      Parking meters work, but signs are a waste of metal. Signs require a parking control officer to attend twice before they issue a ticket.

      1. Ron: You would have to travel to Santa Cruz to see that it works. If you get to Vancouver you will find the same on Wreck Beach. If I remember correctly I was born both topless and bottomless and was not arrested.

        You are correct with both options you present. In philosophy and biz-speak this is known as the Law of the Excluded Middle. The City of Ottawa has unattended solar powered meters. You buy a ticket place it on the dash and you are good to go.

        You are correct that the City of Ottawa system requires an enforcement officer. But this is because no one has done a proper requirements analysis.

        A better system would required the driver purchase a ticket and accept a charge on a credit or debit card. You display the ticket on your dash and go about your business. On your return you resubmit the ticket and the system bills you for the total hours of parking used.

        The system may be easily programmed to permit a person parking for a set period of say 2 hours to not be billed. Someone parking for 3 hours would be billed. Someone parking all day, every day of the week would face charges equal to, or greater than, the charges at the various Tunney’s lots.

        The system would pay for itself.

        If the city modified its own metering system to something similar then it could do away with a lot of unnecessary and expensive labour which you are going to pay for twice. The first time payment will cover the actual hours on the job. The second set of payments will cover the costs of retirement. Given present demographics in Canada, the second charge will be considerably greater than the first charge and will likely include annual COLA escalator charges.

        You have paid for the street. You have paid for the parking bays. And you are going to pay through the nose for the labour costs involved.

        Your choice.

        1. fjf, I have no problem with clothing optional beaches, I was only pointing out that I found the juxtapositioning of topless and family friendly interesting.

          I like your idea regarding the “punch in/punch out” parking controls. I think the capital expenditure of setting up the system (gates, machines etc.) would be recovered in direct parking fees in a matter of months, before taking into account the illusion of a reduction in the parking control officer work force.

Comments are closed.