Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Four Corners may have America’s Sorriest Bus Stop

The bus stop on southbound Route 29 at Crestmoor Drive is one of the most dangerous bus stops imaginable.  It's built into a steep hill, and due to this terrain, there is no sidewalk leading to or from the stop from the North Four Corners side of the highway.  The stop can only be accessed by crossing 6 lanes of Route 29 in an area with no marked crosswalk.  The situation of the bus stop is so absurd, it is almost macabre.

Thanks to a competition at Streetsblog, our dangerous bus stop is in the running to become "America’s Sorriest Bus Stop".

Our sorry bus stop.  All photos by the author.

The bus stop was nominated by my friend and fellow blogger Dan Reed of Just Up The Pike.  The Streetsblog contest is a March Madness-style completion, where voters determine which bus stop is worse through 4 rounds.  Currently, the Crestmoor stop is in the Elite Eight, and it has far more votes than its current opponent, another sorry bus stop located in Asheville, NC.  The polls for this round close tonight, and it looks like the Crestmoor stop is headed for the Final Four (but vote for it here anyway!).

Upon seeing how much attention the stop was getting, I decided to walk up there today and get some pictures and videos of it.  Most of the photos used in articles about the stop thus far have been from Google Streetview, and I wanted to provide a better sense of what the stop is like from a pedestrian perspective

Looking south on Route 29 from the bus stop.
Looking north from the same spot.  

I live in Woodmoor, so had to access the stop from the other side of Route 29.  I've accessed the stop in the wintertime from the area of Kinsman Farm, but it's too overgrown to do in the summertime without a machete.  I crossed Route 29 at Crestmoor where there is a legally-existent but unmarked crosswalk.  Since no motorists will stop for a pedestrian in this area, the crossing resembles the classic game Frogger, where one waits for a gap to cross.  I crossed Route 29 to get to and from the stop, recording my crossing each time. 

I had to wait a while to make both crossings (I started recording when a gap in traffic was coming up), since the traffic flow is fairly constant, even with the signals at Trader Joe's and Southwood providing some gaps.  I got caught out in the middle during both crossings, since finding a point in time where all 6 lanes are clear proved difficult.  On the second crossing, I got stuck in the median for about 30 seconds.    

To a person exercising common sense, it's clear that a traffic light or even a marked crosswalk without a light would improve this situation (because something is better than nothing).  Last summer, my neighbor Ted Henson and I worked with Councilmember Hucker's office to request that the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) do something to improve safety at this crossing.  Despite our best efforts and reasoned arguments, the SHA refused to do anything, claiming that the intersection is reasonably safe in its present form, with no improvements needed.

The view as one waits in the median to reach the bus stop.  

An explanation of the SHA's bureaucratic thought process (which they explained in detail when they rejected our request for safety enhancements) is the topic of another post.  For now, I encourage all readers to go vote for this bus stop on Streetsblog, and to follow along as our stop proceeds into the Final Four round.  Maybe the dubious honor of "America’s Sorriest Bus Stop" will provide the embarrassment needed to make this intersection safer.     

Panoramic view from the stop.


  1. It's definitely in the running. Or, just remove the bus stop entirely. Better than playing Frogger.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I think the stop should be kept because it is convenient for hundreds of people who live in the back of Woodmoor, who would have to walk an additional 1,000 feet (on a long hill) to reach the next closest stop. I'll be writing a post soon about why the SHA claims they can't improve safety at the stop, and why I think their reasons for refusal are not good enough.

  2. Thanks so much for posting this. This bus stop is an active discouragement for Woodmoor residents to use public transportation. For those that do cross, it's a tragic death waiting to happen. Appreciate you making the trek and calling attention to our pathetic little stop!

  3. All this to try to get SHA to movemodern - if that's a useful hashtag! And we're now ahead in the semi finals! Sad but necessary competition to the bottom.