Bus shelters: an ADA vignette

by Walter Olson on December 10, 2012

For many towns and cities, the cost of building to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements can put the price of bus shelters out of reach. However, there’s no legal requirement to build such shelters in the first place. So bus patrons are free to go right on standing outside in the chilly rain or hot sun [Matt Caywood, Greater Greater Washington]

{ 7 comments }

1 AMcA 12.10.12 at 1:50 pm

Reminds me of a funny exchange I saw in the Circuit Court of Cook County a couple years ago, where there was a case premised on the theory that a bus shelter was a defective product because it didn’t have a rear exit that would have permitted the plaintiff to escape an out of control car that struck the shelter. Even the Cook County judge was skeptical: “But counsel, it wouldn’t be much of a shelter then, would it?”

But naturally, a motion to dismiss wasn’t going to be sufficient to kill the case. Discovery and summary judgment (or a save the cost settlement) were clearly in order.

2 aaaa 12.10.12 at 3:33 pm

What exactly in ADA makes simple shelter much more expensive then non-ADA simple shelter and by how much? Article says that shelters prices range from $7,000 – $60,000 are those all ADA compliant or all ADA non-compliant?

If the town is buying $60,000 shelters and the only issue is additional price due to ADA compliance, can the town buy simpler ADA-compliant shelter for the same or less money instead (from the $7000-$10000 range)? The only concrete info on this states that ADA compliant shelter does not fit to some places.

3 boblipton 12.10.12 at 5:28 pm

As much as I despise the vague and litigation-inciting wording of the ADA, this one has me confused. In Manhattan, a bus shelter is two glass walls, a roof and a board with legs for people to sit on. It seems likely that the ADA is being used as an excuse. There are enough reasons to oppose the current wording without inventing spurious reasons.

Bob

4 Don 12.11.12 at 12:10 pm

It doesn’t take much added cost when people start talking ADA. Government has a choice, replace all their bus stops or remove all their bus stops.

Presented that choice, too many governments realize the cheapest solution is to not have shelters at all. Even if an ADA compliant shelter is only $7000, that is going to be more expensive than removing the non-compliant one.

5 GregS 12.11.12 at 1:17 pm

I think Don is right. The issue is probably not so much with building new shelters where none currently exist, as it is with having to replace existing shelters that are non-compliant.

6 aaaa 12.11.12 at 1:42 pm

@Don The article is not about removing old shelters, it is about not building new ones. According to article, old shelters have been removed because they attracted homeless, not because of ADA.

From the article: “Many cities have removed older bus shelters with wide, fixed benches, which had become viewed as havens for the homeless. Newer shelters are few and far between, and offer seating designed to deter or control people rather than comfortably accommodate them. ”

Then they mention that ADA raises shelter prices, but they do not state by how much.

7 peter 12.11.12 at 2:04 pm

“a bus shelter is two glass walls, a roof and a board with legs for people to sit on”

When you start reading the requirements of the ADA – not quite.

There is the need to provide a minimum clear area inside the shelter, a minimum clearance to get to the shelter, and then additional requirements for routes to embarkment including heights, clearances and obstacle clearances. Then there are specific requirements for route signs. It could be a whole new construction of the site, not just a new shelter.

That of course does not include the survey of the site, plans to be drawn up and the build to be checked to ensure it is in compliance. Each of these actions could cost $thousands to get the correct certifications. This is not including any extra works required to move street furniture that might be in the way.

See how even $7000 could be an understatement?

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