Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bus Shelter Vandalized for, we've lost count

This month's vandalism.
It's become an all-to-familiar story: yet another another recently repaired bus shelter window found vandalized by morning commuters. It happened it May, was fixed and is now broken again.

In a recent memo to City Council, poor design of Alexandria's new standard bus shelters has been faulted in the repeated vandalism of the first of the stops introduced as part of multi-year effort. But some residents have been asking why the vandalism keeps happening. And it's not the only neighborhood bus shelter that has suffered damage.

Yesterday, for the 5th or 6th time (frankly, we've lost count), since it was installed last year, vandals destroyed three of the glass panels that encompass the back of the new bus shelter on Mt Vernon Avenue at West Reed Avenue. The Arlandrian has documented (and reported to authorities) as this damage was repeatedly visited upon the bus stop. The prior incident, however, had thankfully resulted in the arrest of the individual (or indviduals).

Cracked bus shelter panel...last month

This bus shelter was the first of new style of bus stop to be rolled out throughout Alexandria as part of an ambitious project over the next few year. The City had recently installed four new bus shelters as part of Alexandria’s Transportation & Environmental Services Department’s bus shelter replacement project. New bus shelters were installed at Mt Vernon Ave and Reed Ave, Duke Street at West Taylor Run Parkway, 301 N Beauregard Street, and 301 N Ripley Street.  While not all features were installed at this new stop, the new bus shelter designs feature following amenities including a modern design, ADA accessibility, bench seating with backrest, ability to display real time transit information on LED screens, solar or electric illumination and the ability to display bus maps and way-finding information.

But even as the community awaits these new bus shelters with (hopefully) vandal-proof design, another nearby bus shelter has been taken out of action for a different reason. The Del Ray Patch reported back in April on a car crash that completely destroyed the bus shelter on the other side of the street: the bus shelter for the northbound bus at West Glebe Road and Mt Vernon Avenue (Jeep Accelerates, Destroys Bus Shelter). That heavily utilized stop has been without its shelter for the last two months following that incident.

Photo of April bus shelter crash
from the Patch (credit: Drew Hansen)

Over the next three years, the City plans to relace over 40 Metrobus shelters and bus shelter concrete pads which were installed in the 1970s through grants provided by the Federal Highway Administration. Click here to view the City’s new bus shelter design and here for a map of a Metrobus shelter replacement location map.

In a memo to Alexandria City Council Plan director last month, Farrol Hamer described how the repeated vandalism has resulted in the a redesign of the shelters and a delay in replacement plan:

The City standard shelter is currently in the process of being redesigned after various issues with vandalism at the four initial locations. Studio 39 is the design consultant who is working on completing the redesign. Studio 39 has provided 90% drawings to City staff and will provide 95% drawings to City staff in the coming weeks. Studio 39 hopes to complete the redesign project by the middle to end of April 2013. This has delayed the Invitation to Bid (ITB) for the bus shelter installs City wide.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will need to approve the ITB before the City issues it (VDOT has a 90 day review process).The shelters at Mt. Vernon Avenue /Executive Avenue will be one of the first three locations which will be replaced once a vendor is selected through the ITB. If Studio 39 can provide the City with the 100% final design by the end of April 2013 and if the City can send the ITB to VDOT in May 2013, the ITB could be out for bid in September 2013. 

Previous related stories from The Arlandrian:

1 comment:

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