Bus Shelters Get Boost

Maybe you’ve seen them, and thought about them.

Maybe you’ve seen them, but never given them another thought.

“They” are the men and women who work in Westport, live elsewhere, and rely on Coastal Link buses to travel back and forth.

They wait, after hours of work, by the side of the road.

They stand in the heat of summer, in rain and sleet. They stand as cars race past, sometimes spraying water from puddles. When snows piles on the sidewalk, they stand in the road.

Our lack of concern, care and protection for bus riders is a townwide embarrassment.

Waiting for the bus. (Photos courtesy of Planning & Zoning Commission Bus Shelter Working Group

In May of 2009 — 2 months after launching “06880” — I wrote about this topic. Twelve years later, nothing has changed.

Finally, it might.

Last night, the Planning & Zoning Commission’s Economic Growth Subcommittee heard a presentation about the need for covered bus shelters.

3rd Selectman Melissa Kane — representing the Bus Shelter Working Group — addressed the need. They’ve worked for months with TEAM Westport, town officials and other stakeholders.

TEAM Westport chair Harold Bailey says:

Bus shelter support is a portal into the issue of who belongs in Westport. That is an issue upon which TEAM Westport is squarely focused. Citizens, workers and visitors use bus transportation, and  deserve protection from the elements when waiting for a bus.

Addressing this issue not only enhances the experiences of those who live, work and visit Westport, but sends a clear signal that all three truly “belong” here.

The working group has drafted language for a P&Z text amendment. They’ve reached out to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, which controls US 1 (the Post Road). State legislators Will Haskell, Jonathan Steinberg, Tony Hwang and Stephanie Thomas are all on board.

So are Westport officials, including 1st Selectman Jim Marpe and Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich.

Funds would come primarily from the state, and private groups. Some town money has already been earmarked.

Covered bus shelters would provide safety and shelter. They’d include information on routes and schedules.

They’d also be visible. That, in turn, would make bus riders — the men and women who work to make Westport work — more visible too.

There are not many ideas for improvements that should get 100% support, from 100% of the town.

This is one of them.

16 responses to “Bus Shelters Get Boost

  1. Charles Taylor

    Congratulations and 5 Stars to 06880 for publicizing this inequality facing working people in Westport! We are battling “speeders” and driver unconcern in Lexington , KY too. It’s a soulful step to build enclosed bus shelters!

  2. some people make race an element in everything. that belittles real issues of race and prejudice.

  3. A virtue signaling headline – and the list of things the town will never maintain quietly grows.

    • Michael Calise

      Morley we could sell the new compo bathroom as a private residence to finance the construction, ongoing graffiti removal and building maintenance.

      • Michael Nayor

        I guess we just can’t trust those people who use public transportation. The resulting destruction and defacement is inevitable.

        • Michael Calise

          FYI – Graffiti is inevitable. It is also highly unlikely that the users would be the perpetrators. Sorry to take away your sword Michael but I was just trying to insert a little realistic humor. Additional shelters would be a community benefit which is certainly worth considering. There are currently two shelters in town built by the Westport Rotary of which I was a member and participant at the time they were built.

  4. Larry Weisman

    Farhad Manjoo has an excellent Op Ed in today’s NY Times on the importance of busses.

    • Manjoo praises the buses in London, which I agree are good, but doesn’t mention one big reason why people choose not to ride public transportation in his own San Francisco Bay Area: a string of vicious, unprovoked assaults on passengers and staff committed by a small but aggressive minority of the mentally ill population.

      SF has a particularly permissive attitude toward aggressive vagrants and panhandlers, driven by progressive upper middle class elites like Manjoo himself who dominate the region’s politics.

      (Of course, they can afford to take Ubers when they deem public transit to be unsafe.)

      Ask anyone who lives in SF and they’ll tell you this is the truth.

  5. Here in Lexington, KY we’ve made a lot of progress with bus shelters by
    making them into art/design competition projects. It was around 2009 or so when we started Art in Motion (AIM) and some really clever and beautiful bus shelters emerged. I think we got about $150,000 in federal transportation funding to act as seed money. Some concepts used solar panels, one was made out of Ale-8-One (a local soft drink company) bottles, others had scuptural elements. Maybe the idea of creating bus shelters as art will get Westporters excited!

  6. Finally! And how about making cross-walks to get to bus shelters well-lit, and even marked by flashing lights?


  8. Bravo! I always wondered why there were no bus shelters or even actual bus stops. Having the shelters will do all the things your article mentions as well as make the bus as a mode of transportation more visible and therefore, more thought about.