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America’s Sorriest Bus Stop: Pittsburgh vs. Medford

Welcome to the first match in Streetsblog's third annual "Sorriest Bus Stop" competition.

Readers love to send us their nominations for the Sorriest Bus Stop bracket -- people ask me all year round if we're going to put on this tournament again. It's easy to see why.

There are just too many dreadful bus stops to count in America. Everyone knows the type -- uncomfortable, ugly, scary, hard to find. Places where you ordinarily wouldn't choose to spend a single minute, but have to wait too long as you peer down the street for the next bus to come. The people in charge should know just how bad they've made it for bus riders. Spotting an especially bad bus stop and sending it in to Streetsblog is your chance to show them.

This public shaming has put pressure on a few transit agencies and DOTs to take better care of their bus stops. It's an underappreciated ingredient in providing good transit: TransitCenter surveys consistently find that riders rate the walkability and comfort of bus stops as one of the most important aspects of their experience [PDF].

On to the first match. A precariously balanced Pittsburgh bus stop takes on a highway-side stop outside of Boston.

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh bus stop
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This entry in the Steel City comes from reader Noah Kahrs. He writes:

You'd think that a bus stop this close to Downtown Pittsburgh and just half a mile from a light rail station and major bike path would be reasonably accessible, but Pittsburgh's confusing road system gets in the way. This bus stop is alongside a four-lane highway that essentially serves as a full-speed connector between two major interstates, and has no sidewalks along the road. Instead, you can access the bus stop by a footbridge across the highway from Duquesne University, or via a lengthy rickety staircase from the bottom of a sheer 100-foot cliff.

Agencies responsible: Port Authority of Allegheny County, PennDOT.

Medford, Massachusetts

Medford bus stop
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Reader "Ken" (no last name given) submits this bus stop in Medford, Massschusetts, outside Boston:

I would like to nominate the MBTA Bus Stop on their 99 route, Highland Avenue at East Border Road in Medford, Massachusetts.

Highland Avenue and East Border Road are both controlled by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (which, despite the name, is more of a DOT agency) and provide zero pedestrian access to the stop. This is compounded by the lack of a sidewalk or any place to stand off the busy street. The vehicle lanes are 17 feet wide here, which encourages speed. Vehicle commuters use this route as a parallel to Interstate 93 to avoid traffic on the highway.

At one time, cycle lanes were striped, but with low quality paint which has worn away.

As this stop is primarily an evening commute home stop, in the winter, the lack of a crosswalk on either road makes travel extremely dangerous, as most of the neighborhood is across the street and darkness prevails.

Agencies responsible: MBTA, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Your vote determines which bus stop goes on to the second round.

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