Given the scale of the MAG region, transit plays a critical role in extending the potential reach of active transportation trips and vice versa. Creating seamless connections to transit stops from walking and biking networks makes intermodal trips a viable and attractive option for getting around the region. Sidewalks should be considered on all streets within an acceptable walking distance of transit stops. For standard service transit this is considered to be a quarter mile. For high frequency transit/Light Rail many are willing to walk a half mile or more. For bicycle facilities not on transit streets, providing high comfort facilities that connect directly to transit is important and priority should be given to connecting to major stops or stations.

Projects that improve transit access are eligible for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding. Local agencies may find opportunities to work with Valley Metro and other transit providers to plan, design and construct active transportation infrastructure that improves access to transit.

Bus Stops and Shelters

A bus stop is a marked or signed location where buses stop for passengers to board or alight. The most basic bus stops have only a pole-mounted sign indicating the bus service provider and route(s). High frequency routes and higher volume stops generally have more passenger amenities such as benches, shelters, traveler information, trash receptacles, bicycle parking, and other features. Bus stops on urban streets are typically located at the natural curb line or on a bus bulb or transit island. Dedicated bus facilities may use medians. Bus service operations, curbside uses, posted speed limits, traffic volumes, transit frequency and typical bus dwell time all influence location decisions for bus stops.

Bus stops may be located on the “near-side” of an intersection before a signal or cross street, on the “far-side” after a bus has passed through an intersection, or at a mid-block location between intersections. Bus stop locations are determined based on a number of factors. These include intersection operations, bus routing, curbside conditions, transfer points, intersection geometry and sightlines, consideration of other street users, and major generators or destinations. The location of a bus stop can affect transit travel time, passenger safety, and roadway operations.

Generally, transit agencies prefer far-side stops when traffic flows are heavy, where there are sight distance problems, and where buses turn left. Near-side located bus stops may be appropriate where traffic flow is lower or where transit riders can more easily transfer without crossing the street. Near-side stops should not be placed at uncontrolled intersections. Stops can also be placed mid-block where there are major passenger generators or where space next to an intersection is insufficient.

Bus shelters should be transparent and well lit. Refer to the RPTA/Valley Metro Bus Stop Program and Standards’ for the minimum requirements for bus stops and shelter placement, as shown in Figure 4 and Figure 5.

Seating at or near bus shelters can improve passenger comfort, as can shade in the form of street trees or awnings. Seating need not be a unique and dedicated element, but may include leaning rails, planters, ledges, or other street elements.

Valley Metro Transit Stop
Minimum Requirements at Transit Stops (Valley Metro Bus Stop Design Guidelines)

Bus Stop Shelter Placement
Bus Stop Shelter Placement (Valley Metro Bus Stop Design Guidelines)

Structured Shade at Transit CenterStructured Shade at Transit Center.

Bus Bulbs

Bus bulbs are curb extensions that align the bus stop with the parking lane. This allows buses to stop and board passengers without leaving the travel lane. Bus bulbs help buses move faster and more reliably by decreasing the amount of time when merging in and out of traffic. Bus bulbs also provide additional space for transit shelters and other amenities, and room for people to wait outside of the sidewalk in constrained situations.

Bus Bulb (Seattle, WA)Bus Bulb (Seattle, WA).

Design Guide Resources

Separated Bike Lanes and Transit Stops

Where possible, separated bicycle lanes should be routed behind transit stops to eliminate conflicts between buses and bicyclists. This requires transit passengers crossing the separated bicycle lane to access the transit platform. The following ideas should be applied to convey expectations around transit stops:

  • Guide transit passengers to clearly marked crossing locations of the bikeway (by use of crosswalk markings, railing, planters, lean rails, etc.)
  • Provide a clear indication to bicyclists where they are expected to yield to pedestrians. In addition to the marked crosswalk, this might include additional pavement markings such as “SLOW.”
  • Preserve the required unobstructed space for pedestrians boarding and alighting within the transit platform and outside of the separated bicycle lane. ADA codes require a clear space 8 feet deep (measured from the face of curb) and 5 feet wide (measured parallel to the curb).
  • Consider bicyclist shy distance when locating bus shelters and other vertical objects
  • Provide clear sight lines between bicyclists and pedestrians (ensure bus shelter structure or advertisements do not block vision)
  • Consider transitioning the separated bicycle lane to sidewalk level in constrained situations
  • Coordinate with the transit provider to understand any additional transit stop requirements

Floating Transit Stop"Floating" Transit Stop (Seattle, WA).

Design Guide Resources

Transportation Planning Project Manager
Kay Bork