Multi modal transfer station design

Ottawa will soon be getting a dozen or so LRT stations. We don’t know what the “final” design will be. ┬áThe PAC for those stations hasn’t met for months. I do hope it gets one last kick at the penultimate designs of the winning contractor. PACs can and do offer good advice, very practical, from the user perspective.

Until then, here’s a look at the Hyannis MA multi modal transfer station. Located in the downtown (such as there is in low density America) on former rail yards, it has a passenger rail terminus, the inter city bus station for buses to and from Boston, the tour bus facility, the city bus, and the local transit that runs from town to village up the coast of Cape Cod. There is lots of park and ride lot, and taxi pickup zones. It is a short and convenient walk to the ferry to Nantucket and elsewhere.

there exterior landscaping was lush and well done, but the architectural sign-age wasn’t upfront enough, so a more prominent sign was installed:
Alas, the “transportation centre” moniker is about as plain as the old attempt to rename “libraries” as “resource centres”. So, the plain term “bus station” was added.
the broad inviting walkway looked oversized for the volume of traffic, but was probably scaled to match the building and to be proportionate to the surroundings. The terminal building itself was in Cape Cod architectural style, of course.
the view from the station back towards main street and the road to the harbour. There were abundant drop off zones and bus storage zones, resulting in a facility that worked well for cars and buses but was very large for pedestrians. Architects do love back-less benches, and these granite ones look so comfy. The lack of bothersome trees would facilitate maintenance, and the trees actually installed were in the minimum-size sidewalk openings.
the large interior space was broken up into several more room-sized volumes
automatic doors. Notice the wind screen beyond the doors. The area is subject to breezes, not just when Tropical Storm Sandy blows by. There were also wind screens around the bus loading platforms.
The interior held the combined waiting areas, all indoors and heated (unlike Ottawa with its milder climate), with bus company offices upstairs, a tourist kiosk, info desks, and very nice washrooms
the station waiting area had wooden seating, in a traditional bus depot style. I did not test them for comfort. There was free WIFI.
The station was about a decade old, and was undergoing refurbishment and modernization. Crews were installing these monitors that presumably will soon have timetable info in addition to the route maps given in traditional map format and in the google view
The route map had lit up icons of buses, that blinked and moved along the route in real time, so you could always know where your bus was



2 thoughts on “Multi modal transfer station design

  1. Wow. I wish I was seeing the same level of thinking from the LRT station plans – if maybe a bit more compact and pedestrian friendly. And not every station of course, but it would certainly be useful where multiple modes / lines come together.

    This multi-modal “hub” approach, with a heated interior, real washrooms, lots of information, and staff on hand to sell tickets or answer questions, would be ideal for Bayview Station – particularly if it ever becomes a transfer point for STO passengers coming across the Prince of Wales Bridge (preferably by TRAIN). And this example shows it doesn’t have to be a Soviet-central-planning concrete and steel tube monstrosity like the old Lincoln Fields Station.

  2. I’m all for transforming some of the city’s isolated, lonely, scary and un-social bus stations into transit hubs – Bayview, VIA Train Stn, and maybe even Billings Bridge – would all work well.

    But what about beginning to incorporate these hubs with mixed-use development? Doing so greatly increases usage, proximity to services and residents, makes spaces more friendly and safe, and all in all, makes better use of space.

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