A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Bus shelter: Sidewalk too thin?

Written January 8th, 2018 by Hasso Hering

In Monday’s afternoon drizzle, Albany Transit passengers wait for the bus on Washington Street in front of the post office.

This downtown bus stop of the Albany Transit System is only temporary, but passengers who wait there probably wouldn’t mind the benches and roof the old one had.

The former bus shelter on Broadalbin — complete with a roof and a place to sit — had to be closed in August because the $8.5 million downtown streetscape project widened the sidewalk and narrowed the street there.

On a bike ride Monday afternoon, I saw passengers waiting in the light rain at the replacement stop at the post office on Washington Street. This made me wonder how plans for a temporary shelter there were coming along.

“We are working on plans to install a shelter there,” emailed Chris Bailey, public works director for operations. And what’s holding it up? “The engineers are evaluating the concrete, and I believe it may have to be pulled up and repoured because it is not thick enough for the shelter anchors to hold. If I hear more about the schedule for its installation, I will let you know.”

I would have thought a bus shelter with a roof and steel posts would be heavy enough that it could just sit there and anchoring it would be no big deal. But then again, that’s the kind of thing a non-engineer might think, one that didn’t have to worry about somebody getting hurt in the unlikely event a west wind comes up and carries the shelter into a moving car on the street.

When the streetscape project is finished later this year (with any luck), the city plans to put bus stops on Ellsworth and Lyon Streets to replace the temporary one on Washington.

No word on how long the engineering evaluation of the sidewalk concrete will take. So it’s not clear when people will be able to step out of the rain as they wait for the No. 3 bus. (hh)


8 responses to “Bus shelter: Sidewalk too thin?”

  1. Reid Davis says:

    Hasso, we are a local ground penetrating radar provider, and may be able to help them with the thickness assessment. Would you be able to help me connect with Chris Bailey?

    Thank you,

    Reid Davis
    Concrete GPR
    Albany, OR

  2. Michael Dee says:

    How increadibly stupid! Just send a crew out to build a shelter, cut some holes and fill them with concrete. Cost almost nothing extra. Instead they will waste days of time and spend tons of our money. Probably end up rebuilding a perfectly good sidewalk. Idiots.

    • centrist says:

      Civil works standards often seem silly, but bear in mind that are driven by prior (often costly) errors. The shelter is a pretty big wind sail that will be connected to a sidewalk. It’s prudent to know whether that concrete will take the load.
      If you want something bad, that’s likely what you get. Building it right to start with heads off the drama of repairing a bad job.

  3. DSimpson says:

    Is it just me, or does the concrete in the picture look freshly poured? If so, it was presumably poured by the same contractor that is doing the rest of the downtown work. Are they not pouring to minimum specifications? It is unlikely they are pouring thicker than the minimum spec.

    • Mrs. Wood says:

      The concrete is freshly poured but it would have made no sense to increase the thickness of the concrete throughout the project when only one or two bus shelters will be erected. It is also unlikely that the exact location of the four anchors for the structure was known at the time the concrete was poured. But to answer your question: Minimum requirements for sidewalk thickness is not the same as minimum thickness needed to secure a structure within a sidewalk footprint.

  4. Bill Kapaun says:

    Before Wal Mart, I could take the #2 bus downtown, conduct my business and catch the #3 bus 20 minutes later. I could then transfer to #2 at 32nd & Jackson and be back to my starting point 1 hour later.
    Now it’s a 2 hour round trip + I would have to walk a couple blocks further from the stop. That may not be a big deal to most people, but some of us “older” people with various joint ailments may have a much more difficult time. I know I do.
    It’s simply easier for me to poke along on the bicycle and be back home in 40 minutes.
    OTOH, I don’t use nearly as many bus tickets now, so that saves a trip to go buy bus tickets.
    Good job City Planners!


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