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Council Considers Adoption For City's "Sorriest" Bus Stops

Sarah Ramsey

Cincinnati could launch a pilot program allowing residents and businesses to adopt bus stops in the city.  
The idea comes after the Better Bus Coalition entered and won a contest for the sorriest bus stop in America. The city also had the second sorriest bus stop in North America.

Coalition member Mark Samaan said the stops could be divided between business districts and residential areas.

"We have gotten e-mails from individuals who say, 'Hey there's a stop near my house that I see every day, and how can I help make it better?' " Samaan said. "For those people, we think they would be great candidates for the residential bucket."

The coalition has been building benches to place at some bus stops so people waiting have a place to sit.  The city's code doesn't allow that and regulates what is permissible.

Council Member Chris Seelbach again expressed frustration the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) still hasn't addressed the need for benches at stops.

"It's like if they can't solve the simplest of problems that we've given them, and it's been two years, then are we really trusting them with tens of millions of dollars to run our bus system?" Seelbach said.

Seelbach said council provided SORTA with a solution to the bench issue. That included allowing limited advertising on the benches. Some stops now have benches with advertising placed by third parties, not the city or SORTA.

The coalition said there are about 4,800 bus stops in the city and many of them are in poor condition.

Council member P.G. Sittenfeld said it's an important issue.

"This is not just some frivolous, cosmetic project," Sittenfeld said. "Making the stops themselves presentable, safe, clean; that is a key step in restoring confidence in the system itself."

Sittenfeld suggested a meeting with city lawyers, SORTA and the coalition to work on guidelines for a pilot adoption program.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.