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Claremont Approves Funding for Bus Shelter Enhancements

The city plans to replace its very large shelters with streamlined designs that still cast shade

4:13 PM PDT on June 8, 2023

The “Full Shelter” design for Claremont’s Foothill Transit bus stops.

On May 23 the Claremont City Council allocated a rough total of $930,000 for its Bus Shelter Enhancement Project. The funding comes from numerous sources: grant funds, Proposition A, Proposition 1 B, Proposition C, Foothill Transit, and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). 

The city has been developing a new design standard for its bus shelters since 2018 “that is unique to the City, blends transportation and public art, and is functional in its purpose,” according to a 2019 staff report by Community Services Director, Jeremy Swan.

The main reason for the redesign project is compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Swan’s report describes the current bus shelters in Claremont: “The two types of shelters currently in the City include either Craftsman or Spanish design features. Due to their architectural styling, they are rather massive and include bulky walls and large footprints that obstruct sight lines and pedestrian access. Neither type is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards and expanding either type to be ADA compliant would make them too large for placement at a typical City bus stop.”

A full-size bus shelter for Foothill Transit riders in downtown Claremont. Credit: Chris Greenspon/SBLA
A full-size bus shelter for Foothill Transit riders in downtown Claremont. Credit: Chris Greenspon/SBLA

There are differing features throughout the system of Pomona's roughly 80 Foothill Transit stops. The three city-approved concepts – designed by local architecture firm John Bohn Associates – are meant to bring shade, seating, and lighting to a variety of available spaces. The report states these are compliant with ADA and Foothill Transit standards.

Sticker shock warning: Some readers may think that bus shelters would cost something similar to backyard patio furniture. These end up being more like a small building made of durable, near indestructible, materials. Bus shelter costs quickly escalate into the tens of thousands of dollars. 

The “Full Shelter” design is a three-paneled, zigzag-shaped structure, with an asymmetrical “hipped-roof” canopy. The panels will be perforated to allow airflow, as extreme heat is more of a concern than rainfall in this area. The most innovative part of this design seems to be its openness. The report says, “Every attempt is made to maximize transit rider access by minimizing the structure's footprint and providing clearance for circulation underneath the canopy. This space enables riders to find some shade at almost any time and for almost any solar orientation [...] Depending on bus stop area constraints, additional shading screen panels can be installed to provide complete shading for all times and orientations.” The cost estimate for this design is $70,000 per unit, though it could also include additional fixed stools under the canopy. 

Next there’s the “Umbrella Shelter” design, meant for installation in tighter spaces, and requiring replacement of the bus stop poles themselves. The design is reminiscent of L.A. City's widely criticized La Sombrita pilot which is intended for similarly tight spots. Per the report, “A leaf shaped umbrella at the top of the pole will be adjustable, so the passengers can rotate it to provide more opportunities for shading. Where clearances permit, one seat will be affixed to the pole for passengers to use as they wait.” The cost estimate for this design is $50,000.

For an estimated $18,000, the city can build a “Mid-Sized Shelter,” which was proposed later in the design process for stops that can accommodate a larger shelter footprint than the Umbrella Shelter (six feet from the face of the curb), but not as much as the Full Shelter (twelve feet from the face of the curb). The Mid-Sized Shelter is meant for eight-to-twelve feet of right of way.

Across all three designs, the report states there is room for variation to suit a particular stop’s shade needs based on Solar Orientation. “Depending on the orientation of the bus stop, the sun impacts the person waiting at the stop in different ways. Shelters are designed to integrate different panels and/ or different sized panels dependent on orientation to provide shade as needed.”

Claremont’s top 30 most used bus stops have been prioritized for earliest construction starting this Fall after fabricators and installers are contracted. Among those, the top 11 will be the first stops built, and more funding is earmarked for additional stops in the future. The criteria for prioritization was based on annual ridership data, future development around stops, ridership by high demand user groups like students and seniors, and complete streets principles. See the prioritized stops charted below.

Streetsblog’s San Gabriel Valley coverage is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

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