Join us to participate in the upcoming 2019 City:One Challenge. 

A bus stop as a community center

Our contribution would be to work with Port Authority, to identify a bus stop. Create drawings, and construction of the idea.

Photo of Peter Quintanilla
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Written by

Taking the bus can be time consuming, boring, and can result in a negative experience. In 2015, the University of London ran a program where they dressed up several bus stops in London, England, with different themes to enhance the experience. As a result, these bus stops become popular not only with riders, but also passers-by. In short, rather than being a utilitarian element, a bus stop became part of the public realm and was transformed into a community space.

In Pittsburgh, buses are used by many residents as the main mode of transportation. However, most stops lack shelter or seating. To this end, we are proposing to create a new type of bus stop – one that not only serves as a place to wait for the bus, but also engages the community:

  • Large areas of chalkboard painting to be used by children or riders to communicate and create art
  • Different types of seating – benches and swings – to create a more playful environment
  • A speaker to play low-volume classical music
  • Bicycle parking for commuters
  • Bicycle tool kit
  • Solar panels connected to USB charging plugs
  • A free library
  • LED light that is connected to the solar panels

This bus stop can be replicated in several neighborhoods and serve as a community gathering space that is pleasant and safe, while engaging the community through chalkboards and community boards. Children will be encouraged to draw on the boards, thereby making the bus stop an ever-changing art installation.

 This project encourages transit usage in Pittsburgh by showing how it can be a more engaging, fun and innovative experience.

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

The main users of this bus stop are the bus riders. However, as we heard time and time again, several people with physical challenges see bus stops as a place to engage others. Therefore this bus stop can become a community space that can engage walkers, bus riders, and bicyclist.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

This project is a partnership of Peter Quintanilla, Urban Design Studio Lead at Michael Baker International, and Dead DeCrease, Freelance Urbanist.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $25,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

For the initial pilot, we would renovate an existing bus stop, adding chalkboards, attaching swings, adding a bike rack and tools, and building a wooden shelf for the books. The next phase can include the building of a substantial bench with USB ports, LED lights, and solar panels.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

Success would be measured by the increased number of riders, users of the bike rack and tools, and walkers who gather at the bus stop.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of KatieWalsh 100

Hi Peter - many thanks for this idea - looks great! I think I don't need to ask you to add anything unless you know which bus stop you have in mind for your pilot? Reminds me of this great idea which was in Miami