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Searching for America’s Sorriest Bus Stop: Kingsport vs. St. Louis County

Last year's winner: St. Louis County. Photo: NextSTL via Google Maps
Last year's winner, an asphalt strip in suburban St. Louis. Photo: Google Maps via NextSTL
Image: Steph Reid via Streetsblog Chicago

Last month we asked readers to submit their nominations for the sorriest bus stop in America, and wow, was it hard to narrow the entries down to a field of 16. After some agonizing cuts, the single-elimination bracket is ready for your votes. Thank you to everyone who submitted a sorry bus stop.

Streetsblog puts together this tournament because the conditions around transit stops are important. According to TransitCenter's recent Who's On Board report [PDF], people who walk to transit also tend to use transit for all sorts of trips, not just commuting. In TransitCenter's survey of riders across the United States, waiting conditions rate only behind travel time, service frequency, and fare prices on the list of service improvements people value most.

As report author Steven Higashide writes:

A bus shelter is not a luxury; it provides a basic level of comfort and dignity to people waiting for transit. Some transit shelters in the Twin Cities, Buffalo, and other northern cities have button-activated heaters for use in cold weather; these and other design elements send a message that people who use transit are valued.

The sorriest bus stop tournament aims to name and shame the agencies responsible for creating uncomfortable, undignified conditions for riders. And remember it's the state and local DOTs that control the streets and probably bear more responsibility than the local transit agencies for the walking environment by these stops.

The first match-up pairs a stop in Kingsport, Tennessee (population 53,000), against one outside Maryville University in Town and Country, located in west St. Louis County. (A St. Louis County stop won the whole tournament last year.)

Kingsport, Tennessee

This stop on Memorial Boulevard in Kingsport comes to us from Bernard Finucane, who writes that the whole length of this street through the city is "awful."

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That little girl sitting on the curb in front of fast-moving traffic is really something.

Agencies in charge: Tennessee DOT, Kingsport Area Transit Service.

Town and Country, St. Louis County, Missouri

This bus stop by a highway ramp serves Maryville College in St. Louis County.

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Submitter Richard Bose sent this aerial view showing the bus stop in relation to the campus. "You have to walk through the grass to get there," Bose said.

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Agencies in charge: Missouri DOT, St. Louis County DOT, Metro St. Louis.

Those are two sorry, sorry bus stops. Vote for the worst below -- the polls are open through the end of the weekend.

To help track the tournament results, we'll be updating this map of the contenders as we go along:

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