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Monday, June 15, 2009

My new favorite bus stop

Long time readers will note that i occasionally post photos of some of the less attractive bus stops on the DATA system. I'd really like to do more of that, but the day job keeps getting in the way.

The two stops in the 1800 block of Avondale drive have been regular features here, mostly because they're the ones closest to my house that, if i used the bus, i'd end up spending a good portion of my day at. Fortunately for me, i am not one of those many Durham residents with no other options, because those bus stops are, quite frankly, degrading.

Last Friday afternoon, i was part of a team of 5 volunteers and two city officials conduction a ComNET survey of Avondale Drive. We found a number of items (graffiti, busted storm drains) that should be pretty easy to take care of, and some code violations that the city hasn't shown a lot of interest in enforcing in the past. In the past 7 years, i've probably walked up and down this stretch of Avondale Drive 50, maybe 75 times. And i've never noticed the mid-block bus stop, between the day care center and the first private house on the west side of the street. It turns out that, as the crow flies, this bus stop is even closer to my house than the ones down the hill. But i'd have to wade through the creek and cross a couple of back yards to get there, so i'll take my chances elsewhere, thanks.

It provides a full 1 square foot of clay to stand on while you're waiting for the bus, with little or no safe pedestrian access to either get to the stop, or cross the street once you've exited the bus. And a healthy helping of poison ivy (highlighted in yellow) while you wait.

I doubt that bus riders are terribly visible while they're waiting here.

This last picture requires some explanation. On this side of the street, the bus is heading downtown. so it's destination is the new transfer station, not Durham Regional Hospital. In fact, if you board the number 9 bus thinking that you're going to Durham Regional Hospital, you're in for a surprise when you get to the transfer station: "Note: Route 9 is connected to Route 11. When the bus arrives into the Downtown Transfer Facility from Route 9, it will depart and serve Route 11, Duke University and Hillsborough Road."

So not only is this bus not heading towards DRH, you're going to have to transfer to get to DRH once you get downtown.

So while we're all patting ourselves on the back that US News & World Report thinks our greenways make us one of the top 10 places to live, spare a thought for those Durhamites who have to rely on public transportation to get to their jobs, the grocery store, or the emergency room. This is what we offer those who have no choice.

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