I often feel that this column complains too much. What can I say, there are a lot of problems with the T! But in an attempt to not get bogged down in negativity and nitpicking this week, it is worth stopping sometimes to appreciate what riders in our system have to be grateful for. Thankfully, the America’s Best Bus Stop competition over at the wonderful publication Streetsblog has given us a perfect opportunity to do just that.
If you’re not familiar, Streetsblog is an online publication writing about transportation, all sorts of urbanist news and analysis from many of America’s major metros. They are right near the end of their competition to find the best bus stop in the country, and one of Boston’snewest, nicest bus stops has an opportunity to take the crown.
The stop at Columbus Avenue and Walnut Avenue services a bunch of buses going through Roxbury, like the 22, 29 and 44. It was revitalized just last year to accompany the new bus lanes on Columbus Ave. The new Walnut Ave stop has a center lane design, which provides its own road diet, and it provides shelters, benches and at-level boarding for accessibility. Streetsblog also notes that it has audio cues for the visually impaired. I’d encourage you to take a look at some pictures — it is a really nice looking bus stop in addition to a well-functioning one. And that dedicated right of way? Immaculate.
It is also worth mentioning the other contender for the top spot, which currently has the most votes. This stop hails from Portland, Maine and is being recognized mostly for its mesmerizing visual design. The stop was designed by a Portland artist named Ebenezer Akakpo and is a valuable lesson in how to make public transit infrastructure not only welcoming and accessible but also cool. Hats off to Portland and Akakpo, and hats off to New England for winning this competition, no matter which stop gets the top spot.
Speaking personally, I know I’m biased, but I think the Walnut Ave stop in Roxbury deserves the crown. It’s just too good. But should the Portland stop win, hopefully policymakers will see that providing local artists with the opportunity to use their art in this context is a valuable endeavor.