Raleigh bus riders may have more bus shelters in their future. Shelters and benches may get more artistic, too, reflecting the character of the surrounding neighborhood.
The Planning Commission’s Committee of the Whole this week endorsed new guidelines and design standards for bus stops.
Although the guide outlines general construction and design recommendations for new and existing shelters, benches and bus stops, future installation projects will be individually evaluated and elements can be adjusted to accommodate specific sites.
The guidelines were developed from past bids for amenity construction, as well as some new elements.
The guide will be voted for adoption by the Raleigh Transit Authority in July.
The committee recommended ideas such as recycling at bus stops and wireless Internet access for riders.
The city’s transit administrator David Eatman said Capital Area Transit considered wireless Internet access, but money is not available to pay for monthly service charges.
The committee also suggested stops incorporate more artistic, location-based elements, such as color for shelters or tables for stops near schools.
Committee members suggested getting volunteers, such as from nearby schools or the Eagle Scouts, involved in the design process to add signature touches to the stops.
Commission Member Steven Schuster said the goal is to keep the process as simple as possible.
“While I love the notion of Eagle Scouts involvement, if every stop is now different, and you’re trying to figure out how to maintain a hundred different stops using different materials designed by different people; what we don’t want is very quickly that it starts to deteriorate … so I recognize that where that balance is not a small challenge,” Shuster said.
The Department of Public Works maintains about 1,500 stops, including about 100 stops for North Carolina State University’s Wolfline bus system and 100 Triangle Transit stops. According to a CAT report, the city has about 59 shelters and 270 benches at bus stops.
Veolia Transportation helps maintain stops owned by the city as part of their contract, which includes operating their fixed routes. CAT is also responsible for maintenance of stops that are shared with local providers.
According to the design guide, the city contracted Wilbur Smith Associates to help build 100 bus stops in 2009. Since then, 39 stops have been completed, with 18 more expected within the coming months.
Eatman said for Capital Area Transit, this presents a new challenge.
“We’re just starting this process quite honestly; we’re in our infancy when it comes to stops and stop management. In the past, I think that there were passenger amenities out there, but they were just kind of there. Hopefully we’re going beyond that and coming up with a program where we know where they need to go, where to install them,” he said.