7th Street Transit "Advantage" Bus Stops

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LRV Op Dude
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7th Street Transit "Advantage" Bus Stops

Postby LRV Op Dude » October 24th, 2012, 10:13 pm

I thought this subject needs its own tread.
by twincitizen » October 12th, 2012, 3:35 pm

From Metro Transit:

Image
Click to view the full image.

The bus stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis has grown to be the busiest in the state and beyond. Essentially at the epicenter of the Twin Cities urban core, it is a transfer point among many of our most popular north-south and east-west routes. However, unlike rail stations and transit centers that are designed to handle large numbers of people, the 7th & Nicollet bus stop has no clear spaces delineated for “walkers” and “waiters.” A new pilot project called WalkSafe addresses this.

About 4,300 customers board buses each weekday at 7th & Nicollet – a 13 percent increase over just three years ago. By comparison, the next busiest place for bus boardings is Brooklyn Center Transit Center at about 3,450 per weekday. The sidewalk on 7th has become very congested, particularly during afternoon peak travel times. This has made the area inaccessible for some and intimidating for others. In addition, it has attracted loiterers who can be difficult for police to distinguish from transit patrons.

WalkSafe is a combination of strategies to define walking and waiting areas for everyone. Bright sidewalk markings and signs make the full boundary of the 175-foot- long bus waiting area clear for our customers (see photo). Previously, those waiting for buses tended to gather near the middle of the stop against the wall of City Center. Now, customers are encouraged to gather in the waiting zone where benches have been moved, trash barrels have been added and news boxes removed. There’s also a new monitor displaying NexTrip predicted real-time bus departures for our customers.

Signs have been posted in the area to help warn against loitering and poor behavior at the stop, and Metro Transit Police and Minneapolis Police have coordinated with the City Attorney’s office for clear and effective enforcement of ordinances.

Customers and pedestrians have been asked to provide feedback on the WalkSafe pilot project by phone or via the Internet http://www.metrotransit.org/walksafe and we’ve already received many valuable comments. Project partners Metro Transit, City of Minneapolis, Downtown Council and property owners will continue to closely monitor and evaluate the project over the next several months. We will adjust strategies as needed.

This is one step toward a larger shared vision to better distribute boardings and improve the transit and pedestrian environment throughout downtown Minneapolis. We’re committed to working with these same project partners over the longer term to improve mobility, amenities and safety in the heart of the city.
Metro Transit Police: Man Obstructing Legal Process Tasered, Arrested
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police say a man obstructing the legal process was Tasered and arrested on a popular downtown Minneapolis block Monday afternoon.

Police say the man, 54-year-old Terrance Jackson, was interfering with pedestrian traffic and when he was asked to move several times, he didn’t. Jackson allegedly resisted arrest and police had no choice but to subdue and handcuff him.
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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby Lancestar2 » October 24th, 2012, 10:42 pm

wow glad they are trying something! Although even in the video you can see the rebels still not getting the concept. :roll: I think in the long term it would be nice to see a "bus shelter" like this

Image

perhaps a bit more stone to give some warmth for people waiting for the bus in winter an both sides would be smaller to allow more traffic flow. I think unless you have a physical barrier you won't solve the problem.

Unless you continue to taser everyone :twisted: ...which would be much cheaper! LA can have their high speed chases on tv we can have our bus stop taserings on local tv too!

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby seanrichardryan » October 24th, 2012, 11:35 pm

Exactly. Why isn't there even a bench? Or two? Busiest in the state and not even a cheap shelter?
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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby min-chi-cbus » October 25th, 2012, 7:31 am

Do you realize you used a photo of a bus shelter with a busted-out window and shards of glass all over the bench and sidewalk? Maybe this isn't the best example of a bus shelter if it's easy to blow out the windows! I like the earthy tones idea though.

In regard to the story about the Sidewalk Activist: there's ALWAYS going to be a bunch of miscreants who think that signs on the sidewalk suggesting where they wait for the bus is just The Man trying to bring him/her down and spit in his/her Kool Aid. This doesn't surprise me one bit, and I'd expect to see it continue on indefinitely -- until a full-blown protest or breaks out or people just stop trying to control society's misguided "trailblazers".

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby mulad » October 25th, 2012, 7:44 am

There is at least one bench there -- I think I see the legs of one poking out from under a bag someone is carrying in the distance -- but clearly this site deserves something better.

I'm not a big fan of the benches and bus shelters in the Twin Cities anyway. Benches are painted with a material that seems to retain moisture longer than anything else around -- at least if we're talking about the standard type. Some areas try to use some sort of stone material for seating, which tends to either be completely frozen in the winter or baking hot in the summer. Shelters also tend to be ovens in the summer, and often don't provide any shade. The fact is, I don't need to be protected from rain very often through the year -- protection from wind and the sun is more important to me. I think that shelters should have big opaque overhangs, since the sun angle usually means that the roof of a typical shelter is providing shade to a spot that is outside of the structure -- yet it's impossible to fit into that shadow unless you plank yourself at 45 degrees against it.

Many shelters are oriented to face away from the street, which doesn't make much sense to me. I've also been really annoyed by the etched glass they've been using in the past few years since it screws up my perception of motion. I can't sit inside comfortably, waiting for a bus to appear out of the corner of my eye -- I'm usually forced to wait outside or at least hang out in the entrance of the shelter.

I wish seating was much more common and comfortable, but in the very least it's nice to have something to lean up against -- that's probably one of the biggest flaws with these markings added at 7th & Nicollet, since lots of people like to do that. Small segments of fencing would probably help, preferably with some horizontal bars at a few different heights for people to tuck their elbows or feet into.

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby Nick » October 25th, 2012, 8:14 am

mulad wrote:Many shelters are oriented to face away from the street, which doesn't make much sense to me.
I think that's so snow doesn't get plowed into them in the winter.

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby woofner » October 25th, 2012, 8:50 am

There were a pair of benches at the far end of the stop - not sure if they moved them as their placement would have put them in the "walkway".

From the CBS article:
Cooper thinks Jackson may not have known he wasn’t following the rules set up to bring order at that corner.
Not that a neon green dotted line is not an obvious means of delineation, but I believe that some people aren't getting it. I would say that having the waiting traffic next to the traffic lane - while understandable in terms of accessing the transit vehicles - is a violation of the typical arrangement whereby the slowest-moving traffic is usually furthest from the center. In addition, the paving surface is the same for both "streams". So I don't think the setup is all that intuitive, although probably the best that can be done without spending money on infrastructure.

Some kind of waiting structure placed in the waiting area (very few people wait for the bus standing upright - most lean on something at least) would help, although it would also constrain an already-congested area.

If we care to think about the future and spend money on accommodating transit riders instead of just on channelizing and tasing them, consider the current arrangement of the street is this (south to north):

15' - pedestrian space
17' - curb use and through lane
11' - through lane
11' - through lane
11' - curb use
15' - pedestrian space

If they wanted to encourage transit use here, it could be:

13' - pedestrian space
10' - through lane
10' - through lane
12' - curb use (bus stop) and through lane
8' - platform
12' - curb use (route 5 bus stop)
15' - pedestrian space

That could probably be tweaked so the south sidewalk wouldn't need to be narrowed, or to give the poor car drivers a bit more space. But the structure of our downtown demands that there be a busy bus stop here - you can make transit less convenient but splitting the routes off to other streets or by making the stop an uncomfortable, occasionally oppressive place to wait, or you could actually try to make it work.
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Lancestar2

Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby Lancestar2 » October 25th, 2012, 10:40 am

min-chi-cbus wrote:Do you realize you used a photo of a bus shelter with a busted-out window and shards of glass all over the bench and sidewalk? Maybe this isn't the best example of a bus shelter if it's easy to blow out the windows! I like the earthy tones idea though.

In regard to the story about the Sidewalk Activist: there's ALWAYS going to be a bunch of miscreants who think that signs on the sidewalk suggesting where they wait for the bus is just The Man trying to bring him/her down and spit in his/her Kool Aid. This doesn't surprise me one bit, and I'd expect to see it continue on indefinitely -- until a full-blown protest or breaks out or people just stop trying to control society's misguided "trailblazers".
lol yes, I did realize that haha I was kinda lazy with my picture search but I still thought it was the prettiest bus shelter I could find fitting my vision. I think some type of hard plastic or whatever material they do use works decent enough for most shelters anyways. Also I noticed I left out that the shelter would be 2-3x longer given the huge traffic and would allow more seating as well.

wouldn't it be cool if each bus station had a shovel attached and some type of system that could give you a free 1.75 bus pass if you shovel out the bus shelter. I know it would never work in our modern society, but it does make a person think haha

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby mulad » October 25th, 2012, 11:16 am

The shelters around here primarily use glass too.

Snow plowing is an interesting excuse, but rotating the shelter is a way of attacking the symptom rather than the problem. Bus stop areas should get cleared more regularly, partly since the back doors of buses often become unusable because of piled-up snow.

I suppose this wouldn't be a popular idea, but my hometown would plow snow toward the center of the street in its small business district when I was a kid, and then come and scoop it up somehow a day or two later. It does screw with visibility, though, and makes it difficult for people accessing mid-block driveways. But at the same time, it removes the need for people and businesses who do have driveways from having to clear them out.

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby John » October 25th, 2012, 11:42 am

I get off at this bus stop frequently as part of my commute home from work. Having more of a constant police presence has toned down some of the overt drug dealing and unruly behavior a notch. And, while I applaud the efforts to better manage this bus stop's pedestrian circulation with the new delineation markers, they are pretty much ignored. Once again , the core issue has not been addressed with this bandaid approach. This intersection was not designed to be a transit center and transfer point for such a large number of people. It's way too small a space and that is the absolute reality and truth of the situation. The downtown bus route system needs to be reconfigured so that there are far fewer bus lines stopping there. And we need a new transit station center built ( in a larger and more appropriate space) with a strong security presence that effectively deters loitering and criminal activity.

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby mattaudio » October 25th, 2012, 11:43 am

I wonder if there would be a way to engineer a median or some other area with a snow melt system, or at least snow storage with a way to collect it during off hours.

On an 80 foot ROW, you could have the following for the main E/W freeway-connecting streets. On some blocks, the right parking lane or the entire slip lane + 2 parking lanes could be sacrificed for improved sidewalk area.
16' sidewalk
4' boulevard buffer / snow storage
11' traffic
11' traffic
4' boulevard buffer / snow storage / bus bulb space
6' parking / snow emergency snow storage / bus bulb space
10' slip lane / bike lane
6' parking with bumpouts
12' sidewalk

I'm not sure the best solution for bus spines... depends on if they would be two way, one way with traffic, etc.

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby Tcmetro » October 25th, 2012, 12:03 pm

Put in a bus bulb and call it a day. The only decent alternative to buses on 7th is 9th, but the 5, 19, and 22 use 7th to get to the north side, and you also lose access to HCMC.

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby mulad » October 25th, 2012, 3:01 pm

mattaudio wrote:I wonder if there would be a way to engineer a median or some other area with a snow melt system, or at least snow storage with a way to collect it during off hours.
For a one-way street like 7th, it seems like the easiest solution would just be to shove all the snow off to the left side of the street and sacrifice parking for a day, but this wanders into the realm of having to fiddle with Minneapolis's already confusing snow emergency rules.

I'm partly thinking about this in the context of bike lanes as well, since they often don't get cleared adequately either. We could use more trucks with auger attachments on the front end to scoop up snow directly, right away, rather than dealing with solidified mounds later. But of course that increases costs since a truck can only hold so much, and therefore a lot of them are needed.

But back to the topic at hand, I'm definitely in favor of a bulb-out, preferably with a raised platform to be at or close to the height of low-floor buses. That will give the necessary real-estate to have nice shelters where people can lean and sit and not feel dehumanized in the process.

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby woofner » October 25th, 2012, 5:10 pm

Nicollet Mall buses are regularly gridlocked by buses trying to squeeze into the 7th St stop after a few buses are already there. The stop is already about 180' long, and there's not much or any room to extend it down the block because the Marriot's front door is right there. Another option would be moving the stop to the other side of Nicollet, but if that's not politically feasible, I think another platform will be necessary.
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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby Lancestar2 » October 25th, 2012, 10:11 pm

John wrote:I get off at this bus stop frequently as part of my commute home from work. Having more of a constant police presence has toned down some of the overt drug dealing and unruly behavior a notch. And, while I applaud the efforts to better manage this bus stop's pedestrian circulation with the new delineation markers, they are pretty much ignored. Once again , the core issue has not been addressed with this bandaid approach. This intersection was not designed to be a transit center and transfer point for such a large number of people. It's way too small a space and that is the absolute reality and truth of the situation. The downtown bus route system needs to be reconfigured so that there are far fewer bus lines stopping there. And we need a new transit station center built ( in a larger and more appropriate space) with a strong security presence that effectively deters loitering and criminal activity.

What about splitting 1/3 of the buses at that bus stop and making them near-sided stops so they would stop before the crossing on Nicollet Move the taxi zone to the other side of the 7th ave (from North to South as the old taxi zone would be a bus stop) and possible another 1/3 could be move to a near-sided stop at Hennepin Ave. I don't like the idea of taking away space from possible usable space and converting it into spaces for people to wait for the bus. Although given it's the highest traffic bus stop in Minneapolis I guess special consideration would be in order.

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby Tcmetro » October 25th, 2012, 10:31 pm

Saks on 5th threw a hissy fit when the city wanted to put a bus stop in front of their store. Some sort of skip stop system would be nice though, in Seattle the buses only stop like 3 or 4 times in the CBD.

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby 1200onthemall » October 26th, 2012, 5:39 pm

I will not pretend I have any answer for this corner all I know is the current situation is nearly out of control for many reasons. At a certain point you wonder what else can be done that will make any difference. As i often do I walked thru this area as this was happening and I will say I was disgusted with the mob/crazy ass mentality that was very evident at the time, a sad comment on the community.

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby seanrichardryan » October 26th, 2012, 6:53 pm

The #5 could become an articulated streetcar corridor. Or old fashion double Decker buses ala 1930s London.
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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby Lancestar2 » October 26th, 2012, 9:28 pm

there is alot of extra space not used by the target center off of 7th :) I think it could be fashioned into a nice bus stop that could handle about 50% of the routes I think only 1/3 currently go that way but a few more express buses could be routed to pick up passengers there instead! :) As for saks 5th ave I wouldn't blame them... even dividing the stops might just make the problem area spread out 3 blocks! I just hope the staff who came up with the trash can with dotted lines idea really understands that it is only a band-aid and not a realistic solution.

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Re: Bus Stop on 7th Street at Nicollet Mall

Postby twincitizen » October 29th, 2012, 11:28 pm

I went down and experienced the stop for myself at about 6pm tonight. There was a transit cop on the corner, but he was not strictly enforcing the rules, as there were a handful of people leaning against the building. However, I was able to "comfortably" walk from end to end of the designated walking area. I almost stopped to take some photos, but I really didn't feel like getting tasered. By "comfortably" I will say that there were still plenty of people lingering in the walk area, and the cigarette smoke around this bus stop is unbearable. There was a young girl covering her face with her jacket sleeve to avoid breathing the 2nd-hand smoke. Metro Transit does not allow smoking in their shelters...so you can imagine how that would go if there were shelters here (obviously I agree that there should be a shelter here, I'm just saying there would be problems).

A few things related to the implementation of this walk/stand debacle, actually ongoing issues that should be fixed nonetheless:

1. The sidewalk itself is in TERRIBLE shape. Those weird little stone pavers were a bad idea, and they have not held up well. I'd be surprised if this was even considered ADA compliant anymore. Basically all of the grout is gone.

2. City Center needs to take that crap out of the windows at this corner. I can't believe that isn't in violation of some city ordinance for window obstruction; it's completely heinous.

3. I don't doubt for a second that there are people here not actually waiting for a bus, but just loitering. The 5 and 19 are Hi-Frequency routes for crying out loud. I find it hard to believe that 20-30 people can accumulate in that time at a single bus stop. Yeah, it was the tail end of rush hour, but I've seen the same thing at midday in the summer. This one would be tougher to enforce, but it's a big deal because the actual bus passengers who are behaving themselves are taking a bad rap because of the few scumbags that are just hanging out. This is one reason I support splitting some of the routes off (like moving the Rt 22 to 4th St).

4. This bus stop is LONG, probably 120' or more. Why are people waiting/leaning/sitting way back at the corner (near Nicollet) when the front door of the bus is most likely going to end up 100 feet away?? I would think this would cause longer dwell times, having to wait for folks to walk up to the front of the bus. This same thing ticks me off at the 7th/Hennepin (Block E) stop, where I transfer several times per week. At Block E, people insist on waiting against the building, under the awning, even on nice days, despite the fact that they know damn well the bus is going to stop 40' ahead. ARRRGGH. Although again, this is Metro Transit's fault (but actually the city's, as discussed earlier in the thread) for not putting a shelter in the proper bus stop location to direct folks where to wait.


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