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Walter Reed ‘Super Stop’ Now Open

by ARLnow.com March 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm 4,119 68 Comments

The first of 24 planned “Super Stop” bus stops on Columbia Pike opened this morning.

The stop, on Columbia Pike at the intersection with Walter Reed Drive, offers riders a brighter, more open and attractive take on the traditional sheltered bus stop. The stop features lighting, an electronic display that shows when the next buses are coming, and a number of unbranded newspaper boxes (not yet filled).

At any given time some 15 passengers can use the stop, which serves Metro 16 and ART 45 buses.

Completion of the stop was long delayed, hampered by “a number of unexpected issues regarding construction and new materials,” according to a project rep. The project was first approved in 2011.

Crews are expected to begin work this spring on a “Barton West” Super Stop near Penrose Square, followed by work on new stops at Columbus and Dinwiddie Streets later this summer.

  • John Fontain

    This cost more than a single family house? That’s nuts!

    • bender

      **That’s nuts!**

      That’s Arlington government.

    • Tommy

      I like it, and it is a welcome public feature. As a taxpayer, I applaud this, and an very glad we can afford this is still have the lowest tax rate in Northern Virginia.

      • Wayne Kubicki

        …along with the second highest average tax/fee burden.

        • drax

          Don’t you wish you were poor so you didn’t have to pay soooo much in taxes, Wayne?

    • ARL

      Did it?

  • Alex A..


  • AS
  • novasteve

    I’m just curious, if they barely can handle making a BUS STOP, how do you expect the street car to turn out any better, on time, or within budget?

    • FrenchyB

      Psst, I’ll let you in on a secret – they just finished building the first station for the streetcar.

      • ARL

        Uh-oh, someone figured it out.

  • Neighbor

    I want to know how much that newspaper box cost. First, if you want a physical daily paper, get a subscription. Second, why wouldn’t the newspaper vendors be responsible for paying for their own machine??

    • Jim

      The county rents them, and earns income. It makes money for the county, and doesn’t clutter the curb with plastic boxes that blow over in the wind.

      Do you complain without thinking?

      • Neighbor

        Or how about banning newspaper boxes there altogether and cutting a few thousand out of the budget? It’s just one example of form over function, especially for a project that went way over in cost before the newspaper box was installed. There’s also a Rite Aid right there that sells newspapers for those who do not have the electronic means to read the same content online.

        • ARL

          Once again: The county rents these boxes. The earn income for the county. They
          reduce clutter and safety issues caused by having plastic boxes on the
          curb. It’s a smart thing to do.

          • Neighbor

            In your opinion, it’s a smart thing to do. In my opinion, it’s a waste of money to provide a concession for a private enterprise. Do you have the numbers for how much rental income these things bring in? Are there even vendors lined up clamoring to rent the nine slots on this machine? It’s not a secret that print media in this country is bleeding money. How long will this investment take to pay for itself? If you have serious numbers (which is all I am asking for), then please share them for our benefit.

            The reduction of clutter and “safety issues caused by having plastic boxes” is a non-issue if you don’t allow them to put the boxes there in the first place. Despite your assumption to the contrary, I’m not opposed to infrastructure spending in this county. I am, however, against unwise spending in all its forms and a dollar here and a dollar there add up. The minute the costs went over budget, they should have been looking for cost savings elsewhere.

          • Always one

            Calm down, Sally.

          • ARL

            “In my opinion, it’s a waste of money to provide a concession for a
            private enterprise. Do you have the numbers for how much rental income
            these things bring in?”

            LOL, so your opinion is based on you knowing nothing.

        • Chris Slatt

          The Supreme Court says ya can’t ban newspaper boxes (1st amendment).

          • Neighbor

            Thanks for that insight, which is something I didn’t consider as an issue. I appreciate a reasonable response versus the rude responses of the other person. Seems like some of this is unsettled case law, e.g., a publisher could still install their own plastic box and then dare the county to remove it on First Amendment grounds, right?

        • JW

          What is this news”paper” you speak of?

          You NoVA proles really enjoy pissing other people’s money down a rat hole, I see.

    • Jim

      The county rents these boxes. The earn income for the county. They reduce clutter and safety issues caused by having plastic boxes on the curb. It’s a smart thing to do.

      • kim

        …except the plastic boxes on the curb are still there.

    • speonjosh

      First, everyone should live their lives the way I do.
      Second, I’m really good at complaining on the internet. Doing much else? Hmmm….

  • Chris M.

    So what were the final cost overruns? I hope no one gets caught in this thing when the rain is not falling perfectly straight. Looks like form over function.

    • Good ole days

      I remember when they called them bus shelters and they could actually keep you dry, now they call them Super Stops and your on your own, but look at the bright side with the schedue board you will now know how long you will stand out in the rain.

    • Suburban Not Urban

      Yea ARLNOW a real news report rather than a county press release would include info on the cost.

  • Mary-Austin

    What? This can’t be possible. The county told me riding a bus is only a negative thing. Who would want to use this?

    • confused

      when did they say that? They said MORE people will ride a streetcar than a bus (whichi is true) and that the street car will have more impact on development (which is possible). But since they subsidize a bus system, it pretty obvious they think riding the bus is a good thing.

    • ArlingtonWay

      As is noted by others above, I suspect this thing is intended to eventually be a streetcar stop. That’s why they made it look, as NovaSteve would say, like it was designed in Prague by a guy in a black turtleneck named Dieter. It’s a “bus” stop — get it? Wink. Wink.

  • Scott

    I’m very upset that the county spent money on something. They should have down xyz. Rabble, rabble, rabble!


    still don’t understand the incredibly stupid and naive SimCity mentality of traffic planners in Arlington and with WMATA…. The idea of putting bus stops near busy corners or on busy roads is a ridiculous practice that only makes roads more dangerous and congested. Whether it’s at this intersection, pershing and glebe, or any other…. the placement of bus stops, without a side pullover and so close to the intersection, have only added to traffic nightmare.

    • YTK

      ALL the roads here in Arlington Burgh are congested. Should we be lifted aloft onto Metro Hot Air Balloons instead?? God forbid you should ever need to catch a New York City bus on the streets of Manhattan.


        yea… exactly. And thank you for highlighting the part where i discuss hot air balloons, I was worried people would miss that.

    • drax

      Side pullover? Where?

      • bobbytiger

        Easy fix. The county is going to tare down the new stop, and move it back five feet. Unfortunately, that will affect the tomato stand this spring, but it has to be done.

    • Arlingtron

      Note that the bus doesn’t have it’s own lane to stop in. Buses stopping here block the right lane of traffic. Way to go..

      • Sim City

        Those stop lanes slow progress of the bus. Too bad, cars. Wait.

      • speonjosh

        To further aggravate you, you surely have noticed how Arlington is not only NOT installing pull over lanes for its bus stops, but is actively pushing the sidewalk out into the parking lane at some locations. (Including S Courthouse Rd at 8th St – a development that was supposed to result in multiple head on collisions by now but I think has only resulted in, wait, let me look it up, oh yeah, zero.) THis means that even in places where the bus was inclined to even dip into the parking lane, now it doesn’t have to. The bus is able to more quickly get on down the road, so that the 30 or so passengers can get to their destinations more quickly. One or two or three single-passenger cars are held up? I believe in Russia they say toughski shitski.


          let’s not s— ourselves on the efficiency of metro buses. I’m all for public transportation as a means of serving the poor and elderly, and think metro (the one efficient method of public transit here) should be greatly expanded (ggw has some great draw ups of what metro should be). I also am entirely in favor of promoting bike transit, and having lived in the city with the highest percentage of bicycle commuters in the US, I’m pretty familiar with seeing it done right. Unfortunately, the DC area in general and arlington in particular, appears to go for quantity over quality. Haphazardly throwing down dangerous bike lanes and plotting out an extremely inefficient bus system.

          Honestly, in terms of congestion alone, i think for every person who rides the bus instead of driving it’s actually adding 2+ cars to the road.

          the ratio you mention is barely a one-cheek attempt at quantifying the issue in terms of passengers on/off vs. cars held up and congestion. Often times you have a only a single passenger getting on(+1 stop) and off (+1 stop) = 2 points of hold/passenger… let’s say each stop requires a minimum 30 second stoppage…which is roughly 4-5 cars going by or forced into one of the more risky merge situations, likely more when the stop is located next to a busy intersection… then combined w/ the slowness, lack of acceleration & crappy drivers, they generally hold up at least 1-2 cars between stops. So even if 3-4 people get on/off at a particular stop, say a $700,000+ contraption of metal, glass and lcd’s with questionable aesthetics and functionality, and the bus is stopped for only a minute…. they’re holding up at least double the number of cars and encouraging merges in a congested environment, which given the talent and patience of local drivers, inevitably leads to more accidents.

          Honestly I’ve seen metrobuses ‘just chillin’ at the pershing & glebe intersection long enough to create 2-3 light change backups. Couple that with having bus stops every 200 ft, and you’re going to have a problem. Now i’m all for allowing the elderly, disabled and young kids under 12 get on/off wherever is most convenient and safe for them, but the ridiculous frequency of metrobus stops is abused by able-bodied adults.

          Create/implement a fine for failure to yield, but install pulloffs… they work and also make it much safer for all you bike hippies out there who know how ridiculous/dangerous it can be where bike/bus routes overlap.

          • speonjosh


    • speonjosh

      Troll alert. (Can’t possibly be anything else.)

    • mldickens

      Research done by SFMTA shows that, contrary to what you might think, putting in bulb-outs so buses don’t pull over out of traffic actually increases the speed of all traffic on the road, not just the buses.

  • G Clifford Prout

    Dinosaurs turned into bus fuel faster than it took to build this thing.

    • kevinp2

      LOL, awesome!

  • Clark Kent

    I like it cause like me it looks like nothing on the outside.

  • Roger

    I don’t think those LCD displays will help much since they aren’t in spanish.

    • Steve Martin

      ¿Dónde está casa de pee pee?

    • Maybe the display flips back and forth between english and spanish? And if not, what a good idea!

    • speonjosh

      Try getting out of your shell every now and then.

    • FrenchyB

      Q: Como se dice ‘Pentagon’ en Espanol?

      A: Pentagon.


  • YTK

    OMG! OMG!!! This is Earth Shaking news!! It took them MORE time to build this than it took for the Siena or Penrose Arms (or whatever it’s called) to be built!! THIS should last FOREVER!!!!


      will be kind of amusing when some maryland driver/gymnast flips onto this thing and destroys it within a year.

      • John Fontain

        Yep, and it’s highly likely that this will happen at some point.

        • YTK

          Then they should place a Froyo stand near that bus stop to facilitate this phenomenon.

      • novasteve

        It will be a Toyota (inc Lexus) SUV with an automatic transmission.

  • YTK

    Then shall we look for a new Barton West SuperStop somewhere around the year 2015????

  • novasteve

    Didn’t it take less time to build the Empire State Building?

  • cpike

    I am all for upgraded bus stops along the pike, but while this new stop is pretty you should NEVER NEVER build a bus stop that doesn’t protect people from the wind. When it’s cold and raining the sides of those old p.o.s. bus shelters are on occasion the best part of my commute. The people who designed this clearly don’t ride buses.

    • YTK

      Yepp the POS bus shelter that was there before they built this stupid bus “shelter” was much better . Unfortunately I know of two POS bus shelters that have one whole side missing — the glass/plexi was never replaced. One is in front of Rappahannock Coffee. The other I don;t remember.

    • I like the idea of a superstop, but I agree that form should not override function. We cannot continue to import sunshades from LA and expect to meet our NOVA transit riders’ needs.

    • Michael Brian Bentley

      The new stops in Seattle are like this. They’re more of a well-lighted place to stand with just a bit of weather protection, good for maybe a half-hour of standing.

  • Aaron

    This isn’t normal Internet complaining. This project deserves to be ridiculed. They shut down a busy sidewalk for well over a year for a bus stop. So incompetent.

    • FrenchyB

      And yet somehow you survived walking twenty feet out of your way.

      • Ben

        You can survive waterboarding too. Doesn’t mean it feels good.

  • AR

    First day of rain and everything was soaked. Designers should be flogged with wet noodles

  • Jesse

    That took forever. I thought it was a high school shop class project.

  • joe warren

    The county estimated about $500,000 for each shelter. The roof is stylish and so is the back wall. But, the roof is too high and the back wall doesn’t go up to the roof. Result: rain and wind coming into the shelter–more so than existing older shelters.


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