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Public Outcry over $1M Bus Stop

Friday, March 29, 2013

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A single pole and sign simply can’t compare to a new million-dollar bus shelter in Arlington, VA.

No, with its heated concrete floor, stainless-steel benches and architectural glass and steel canopy, the so-called “Super Stop” at Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive is the future of bus-stop design in the Washington D.C. suburb. Officials have 23 more stops planned.

Arlington County
Arlington County

Arlington County officials say the $1 million bus stop is the first of many.

But, as one might expect, the public is not too thrilled.

“Is this made of gold?” one commuter wondered to the Washington Post.

Besides the exorbitant price tag, the lavish Arlington County prototype has seats too cold to sit on and offers little shelter if the wind or rain blows in the wrong direction, reports say.

Officials Defend Project

Officials say the actual construction and fabrication of the stop cost $575,000, while $440,000 was spent on construction management and inspections. Federal and state transportation money paid 80 percent of the tab.

County officials have defended the stop, saying it was an investment in infrastructure to support the area’s renewal and anticipated growth.

The new stops will also accommodate streetcars planned for the area, but the rest of the stops won’t hit the million-dollar mark, officials say.

“Our goal, if at all possible, is to do it for less,” Dennis Leach, Arlington’s transportation director told the Washington Post. When prototypes are involved, Leach said, “you end up heavily front-loading on the costs.”

The rest of the stops are expected to run about $904,000 each.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Construction; Design; Infrastructure; Transportation

Comment from John Fauth, (3/29/2013, 8:46 AM)

Each occurrence is a refreshing reminder of responsible stewardship exhibited at all levels of government, as it relates to other people's money (ie: the taxpayers). Is anyone really surprised any more? Other than the astonishing indomitable spirit of a sufficient quantity of voters who believe that, given enough time, money and forgiveness, government will soon get it right.

Comment from Sarah Marble, (3/29/2013, 8:59 AM)

Anyone else find it ironic that there was a bother to heat the floor but not the stainless steel benches? Stainless steel benches are always cold unless they are burning hot from being in direct sunlight. I'm sure no one thought about the glass roof allowing the benches to get too hot either. I think the saying "measure twice, cut once" should be modified to "plan twice, build once" in these types of scenarios. The poor planning baffles me; function before form!!

Comment from David Johnson, (3/29/2013, 10:12 AM)

Someone(s) is getting a big time kick back. What I see should be able to be fabricated for less than $30K, add the installation concrete work, I am thinking $40K max. $1 million, ....maybe for all 23. Maybe the county officials there went to Californina on spring break and visited some of the "medical" dispensaries I have read about....

Comment from Donald L Crusan, (3/29/2013, 10:16 AM)

David, "medical" dispensaries, I thought that was FL and Rush Limbaugh's cocktail of choice, oxycotin. Seems most pill mills are in FL.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (4/2/2013, 3:09 PM)

Sarah - that is an excellent point. Arlington, VA only gets ~40" of rain per year. Hot sun is more of a concern - and the glass won't help.

Comment from Chuck Pease, (4/2/2013, 6:35 PM)

I am rapidly coming to the point, with all I see and hear and read, and am fast getting to a point where I dont recognize the country in which I live anymore. When does the insanity cease? Nothing surprises me anymore. I guess the rodents in VA will have it made with the heated concrete floor. Good grief!!!

Comment from John Royal, (4/3/2013, 8:44 AM)

I would agree that $1 million for a bus stop is excessive spending, but I would assume that the floor is heated for safety reasons - to eliminate snow and ice accumulation - rather than to make bus patrons more comfortable.

Comment from Jeff Laikind, (4/3/2013, 9:19 AM)

In the 80's I worked in a "distressed" part of a major city. This bus shelter would have been dismantled and sold for scrap in about a week.

Comment from John Fauth, (4/4/2013, 8:49 AM)

You folks are overly focused on the $ 1 million dollar cost of this original bus stop. But given some unique one-time costs associated with design and start up, subsequent versions will cost only $ 904,000. That's a $ 100,000 savings per each, times 23 more stops, means they've saved the taxpayers $ 2.3 million! Put that in the savings column.

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