Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Two of Nation's Worst Bus Stops Are Right Here

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Two of Nation's Worst Bus Stops Are Right Here

Article excerpt

Here in Munhall, at one of America's sorriest bus stops, one step in any direction could be bad news.

One foot forward, and there's the high-speed traffic of Route 837. One step back, and there's a 20-foot sloped hill leading to railroad tracks. There's no bench, it's littered with trash and the only place to stand is on a 2-foot-by-2-foot gravel patch.

"It's pretty sad," said Dwane Gongaware, 44, of Whitaker. "It's in the same shape as it was 20 years ago, in the same spot. [Bus stops] usually have, like, glass or something around them, or at least a bench."

Now it's famous.

The bus stop, opposite Hilltop Street on the Port Authority's 61C inbound line, has made it to the second round in America's Sorriest Bus Stop Tournament, an annual online competition hosted by Streetsblog USA, a national website covering transit issues.

In a field of 16 notorious bus stops from across the country, the Munhall stop rolled over its first-round competition by about 500 votes, meaning that it was deemed the "worst" of two bus stops presented as a choice to the website's visitors. It is three wins away from being crowned America's sorriest, and Streetsblog USA editor Angie Schmitt said it has a pretty good chance of going all the way.

"If you were trying to navigate that road in a wheelchair, it would be terrifying," Ms. Schmitt said. "It really does put people in danger."

Whether it's the Port Authority of Allegheny County or the borough that bears responsibility for the condition of its bus stops is handled on a case-by-case basis. Munhall borough manager Joe Varhola said he hadn't heard of any complaints about the stop in question but said if he had, he would first contact the Port Authority.

Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie called the description and photo on the Streetsblog's tournament entry "misleading."

"The Authority placed a bus stop at the foot of Hilltop Drive, along River Road, so that people who live in that neighborhood would have access to a bus route -in this case, the 61C," Mr. Ritchie said in an emailed statement. "The break in the guide rail gives customers a place to wait off of the street for buses heading inbound. …

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