County to Install Deluxe Bus Stops on the Pike

by ARLnow.com September 8, 2011 at 11:09 am 7,669 60 Comments

Work is expected to begin later this month on the first of two dozen enhanced bus stops that will eventually line the length of Columbia Pike.

The first of the so-called “Super Stops” will be built at Walter Reed Drive and the Pike. Work on two other stops — at Columbus and Dinwiddie Streets — is also expected to begin this fall, with a fourth Super Stop expected to be built at Barton Street, near Penrose Square, during the spring of 2012. Combined, the four stops serve more than 2,000 passengers per day.

The new stops will feature heated seats, floors, new lighting, glass windscreen walls enhanced weather protection, and electronic signs that will show bus arrival and departure information. The Super Stops will accommodate 10-15 riders, compared to the six riders who can fit in current bus shelters.

“Super Stops are the bus stop of the future,” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said in 2008, when the stops were first announced. Plans to offer WiFi internet access at each stop has been scrapped due to advances in smartphones and other consumer technology, according to county spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel.

After the first four “pilot” stops are built, Arlington expects to construct future stops at Navy Annex, Courthouse Road, Glebe Road, Monroe Street, George Mason Drive, Taylor and Thomas Streets, Buchanan Street and Greenbrier Street. Eventually, 24 Super Stops will be built. Officials say the stops will eventually serve as stops for the planned Columbia Pike streetcar.

While the new stops are under construction, existing bus stops will be relocated to the other end of the block.

Update at 12:55 p.m. — WMATA will oversee construction of the stops, with Arlington and the federal government footing the bill, which is estimated at $2.15 million first the first four three stops. Of that, $430,000, or 20 percent, will come from the county while the rest will come from federal highway funds, according to Whalen McDaniel. The remainder of the project will be about 90 percent funded by federal and state grants, with the rest coming from the county.

  • Larry the Table Guy

    They should call these Deluxe Homeless Crash Pads.

    • Newt

      My first thought exactly. They will be unusable in short order as they become expensive homeless shelters/toilets/storage areas.

      • Softball

        If we can’t keep people from using the W-L softball dugouts as homeless shelters, toilets, and drug dens, how are we going to keep them out of these?

  • Ren

    What would be super would be if buses going into DC during rushhour from Arlington had some kind of advantage over cars since a crammed bus can move 60 plus people in the same space as 3 single driver cars take up yet both have to sit in the same traffic to get over Roosevelt Bridge…Still, the shelters sound cool. Glad they didn’t spring for wifi.

  • ClizzleDizzle

    Something about lipstick on a pig.

    • Lou

      That’s no way to talk about Zimmerman.

      • Porky

        OK – now I’m insulted.

  • Bluemontsince1961

    Shoot, I wish they’d get some of those deluxe bus stops on Wilson Blvd! Heated seats and floors? Lighting? Electronic signs? Man, that’s living!

  • arlgirl

    When can I move in? Seriously, this is a totally insane use of taxpayer money. What are these people thinking?

    • NPGMBR

      Whats so insane about it? As a taxpayer I find it to be quite the good idea especially since it only comes in at 2m. That sounds cheap to me. Also, glad to see that County officials saw fit to remove WiFi connectivity since cell phones negate that service. Personally, I think we can do without heated seats but the rest I believe is a good investment in the community.

  • dallynd

    Really doesn’t sound like a good use of taxpayer money. I understand providing shelter but just maintaining those things has got to cost big bucks. Better to have more that are covered, period!

  • JimPB

    I hope the design and placements are better than the “enclosure” for passengers on the west side of the platform at the East Falls Church (EFC). Metro.

    Deficiency 1 — The “enclosure” is small in absolute capacity and relative to the passenger traffic at ERC.
    Deficiency 2 — The opening to the enclosure faces west, the prevailing direction from which cold winter winds come. Forget being well sheltered inside the enclosure from that wind.
    Deficiency 3 — The enclosure is well behind the last car of trains going into DC and beyond, but not so much, the first car of trains going to Vienna.

    Hope ARlCo gets and lets rider input govern the final design and placements. The Customer knows best.

  • Tom Lang

    Shucks, kinda hoping that there would be toilets, HD and a fridge, sigh, Hey, what’s all this talk about world class?

  • RosRes

    They should rename this site “TheGlassIsHalfEmpty.com”.

    • AllenB

      It is nice to know, though, that the whiners/complainers here are definitely in the minority when it comes to the rest of the Arlington residents.

      • RosRes

        AllenB – Too true! 🙂

  • Dennis Dimick

    It would be nice to get ANY bus stops AT ALL on the west end of Columbia Pike at Buchanan Street and Four Mile Run near SAUCA and the Goodwill.

    They were all taken out about a year ago due to “construction” that has never started. I have been told by WMATA that Arlington County asked for them to be removed. Why can’t “temporary” stops be reinstalled? Anything!

    Those of us why want and try to use buses are in a BUS DESERT now, no Columbia Pike bus stops for hundreds of yards along the whole south side of the Barcroft neighborhood. This hurts commuters and businesses.

    There used to be a bus stop at Wakefield Street, but it too was taken out. Only one remains at the southeast corner of the neighborhood at Taylor and another hundreds of yards away across Four Mile Run far to the west. Very inconvenient!

    Perhaps your reporters could do a story on this. We would be happy to have ANY kind of bus stops reinstated on our part of The Pike.

    • plus 1


      • plus 1

        Was told that the stops wouldn’t be back until early 2012; I wonder if that’s still the case since they had to redesign the whole project. It was removed last years (or was that late 2009, can’t rememember). Very long time to shut down the a stop that serves a lot of riders.

    • PikerGirl

      Good point about the west end. What ever did happen to the planned construction where Four Mile Run meets Columbia Pike? It would great to have the Buchanan street bus stop back in front of Sauca.

      • SaveDaveMcKenna

        Somehow slip-lanes should be blamed.

        • Richard Cranium

          Or the removal thereof.

  • Garden City

    Bus Mahal

  • steve85

    You idiots are missing the point. Is being constucted for the future Street Car. Just because it doesn’t involve your daily lives doesn’t mean that its a total waste. I think its a step in the right direction to get people to use transportation more. You girl scouts in N. Arlington would be praising it if it was along Wilson but with it being on the Pike its a problem

    • Richard Cranium

      Wow. Nice re-entrance to the fray.

      • speonjosh

        Yeah, steve85’s special brand of incoherence is part of what makes ARLnow what it is. This website is the best.

  • Brendan

    $700,000+ for a bus stop?!?!

    What the hell is going on here?

    • chipotle_addict

      Good question. You can build a nice sized single family home for half that.

      • CW

        Anywhere other than Arlington, you can build about ten of them for that.

        • Maria

          My bus stop consists of a sign, and we know Arlington can design and install one of those for what, about $12,500? Chump change.

          • 4Arl

            This reminds me of the Total cereal commercial. For just one of these fancy stops, you could buy 4 average US homes, build 20 regular bus shelters, or get 700 new CaBi bikes.

      • Tre

        You can buy a small sized plot of land for exactly that.

        • plus 1

          will that design keep out the rain?

  • Smoke_Jaguar4

    As someone who has stood at the Reagan National metro stop in 20F degree weather and 40 mph wind, waiting 20 minutes for the next train, I can appreciate the value of heated seats.

    The Columbia Pike transit system will become the ‘missing metro line’ for central Arlington. While it may now seem a little over the top, it makes perfect sense to upgrade passenger support to match those of the rail system. The time to build these is now, before the rest of the system is implemented to ensure passenger support is not overwhelmed.

    • RosRes


    • NPGMBR


  • Chris

    I for one welcome the new multi-purpose homeless shelters and outdoor urinals.

    • Bum McVagrant

      Me too!!

    • TP

      But who is going to keep the TP dispensers filled ???

  • John Fontain

    Two words: Boon. Doggle.

  • Civic Activist

    Each planned bus stop will cost more than the average single family home in Arlington. Which contibutor to County Board members’ campaigns won that contract ???

    • SaveDaveMcKenna

      We must consult the oracle of the brown flip-flips which coincidentally sits atop a free mulch pile.

  • Wilbur

    Let’s see. Um. I have an idea, a small idea, for how to reduce the Arlington budget….

  • speonjosh

    In general, I have supported the county’s efforts to use capital funds to improve the built environment in Arlington. I like sidewalks being added to residential streets. I approve of planted medians even when they take up existing traffic lanes. Outdoor art is swell. However, even I must say this might be a mite too far. Heated seats? Really? Really? At $700K each? For a bus stop? Even a trolley stop?

    And I do hope the actual design is not what is pictured, because that ain’t gonna keep any “weather” off anyone. I don’t know, maybe (probably) I should withhold judgement until seeing the final product. But it doesn’t sound good.

  • Hank

    $2mil for 3 bus stops??? You can build 3 mcmansions for that.

  • Hank Hill

    When is the PC obession with Columbia Pike going to end? It is never going to become another Clarendon/Courthouse.

  • Courthouse Resident

    I pray that Deluxe Bus Stop never comes to Courthouse. It will only attract the people who I wish to avoid while my property drops in value.

  • Arlwhenver

    An outrageous waste of Federal and State funds.

  • Lindsay

    wondering if all of you complaining about this even ride the bus on the Pike. This is AWESOME.

    For bus riders who are trying not to get killed and splashed on a daily basis … A nice and big bus shelter is worth every penny.

    Don’t you see us all huddled into 1 tiny shelter in 20* weather on the side of the road as you Speed by? Stop complaining.

    • Rebecca

      Thanks, Lindsay! I was thinking the same thing. I lived on the Pike for 2 years and took the bus to work and eventually all the time so long as the weather was right. I hated standing out in the rain waiting for a bus that is ALWAYS late. I’ve never seen any homeless people in the places where there ARE shelters, either.

      It’s bad enough having to ride a bus everywhere without dealing with horrible cold, heat or rain. Not all of us can live off our parents in metro accessible Courthouse, Arlgirl.

    • WhoMe!


      There is barely enough sidewalk to walk on in some sections of the county due to sidewalk seating and signage. I say put it to a vote. How will they find space for this bus stop? Wi-fi and heated seats… Did you ever think that someone will have to maintain those shelters. Where will the funding come from? I agree, having a larger bus shelter is a good idea but not one that costs $700,000. An expensive bus stop will not encourage more riders. In this day and age when we have so many people out of work and losing their homes, I think someone can find a better way to spend tax money. I would hate to see the poor slob whose car runs into one of these shelters and their insurance company has to pickup the cost for damage. This is what taxpayers complain about… pet projects that are funded by tax dollars.

    • Mike

      Sure, it’s better than a mere sign or ordinary bus-stop. I don’t think people are pissed that bus stops are being improved on base-ideological grounds. What’s irritating everyone is that for some small glass boxes with some lights in them, we’re paying $750,000 a pop.

      Think about that. You could build full-size f—ing rest-area for that money. Instead, you’ll be getting three small glass panels, a handful of floor tiles, a few light bulbs, and a bench with a radiator under it.

  • John

    Finally, a bus shelter that at least looks presentable. Who designed it? Looks like an HOK project from their transportation division.

  • Rosslyn

    This is not an appropriate use of public funds, at least as currently designed and budgeted. Local politicians take note — this would make a great campaign issue. Just run with the tagline of “heated seats.” Most taxpayers, when informed of this, will be against it.

  • Blur

    Way to go! A colossal waste of money on dumpy Columbia Pike. The bus stops will be destroyed in no time.

  • John Andre

    Those who oppose the streetcar won’t like the new bus stops…they are being presented as a “stalking horse” for the streetcar system.

  • John Andre

    In addition…why not a “super stop” at the busiest bus stop on the Pike…Court House Road???

  • Tanis

    As long as it covers from the rain/snow/wind, I don’t care what they look like. I honestly prefer the half cube looking ones.. Is this open all around, and has a roof?

  • JohnB
  • Kevin Diffily

    Seriously if you want people to use transit you have to make the bus/streetcars on par with metro. Every metro stop at the very least is covered and has seating so that you do not have to stand out in the rain. A pole in the ground with a couple signs stuck on it does not qualify as a high quality stop,

    There are fairly easy ways to make these unfriendly for unintended uses. Last I checked too this is Columbia Pike so it should be easy for police to spot unintended uses.


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