Community Fights Bench-less Bus Stops

This is the bus bench at 25th and Fairfield, which is the only sign of a bus stop being there.
This is the bus bench at 25th and Fairfield, which is the only sign of a bus stop being there.

Lawrence, Kan. – Seeing people who are unable to stand being forced to at bus stops is something that has really spoken to the community. KT Walsh, a community member, in particular has decided that is it time for the Lawrence community, and for the city, to band together in order to make sure those who can’t stand have the option to sit.

Throughout Lawrence, more than half of the bus stops do not have a bench of any kind. One particular stop has been moved due to construction, and no longer has even a bus stop sign. The temporary stop is recognizable by a wooden bench and wooden sign created by the community.

“A lot of people with disabilities have to walk from the shelter and it’s hard for them. It’d be nice if they put a bench. It was convenient with the stop back there and I wish they would move it back,” Lynda Smith, a regular bus user and community member, said. “I don’t know who put this bench here but it was awful nice of them.”

The stop at 25th and Fairfield came from 26th and Fairfield stop and may have to stay at least a year. This stop gets a lot of traffic from the Lawrence Community Shelter and the Douglas County Jail.

The original stop got its own bench just under a year ago, but the bench is unable to move as it is cemented into the ground. The new stop is now bench-less and signless, with no mention at the original stop of where it moved to. However, it is stated in the bus schedule for the 2015-2016 year that 25th and Fairfield is the official stop.

During the Aug. 25 Lawrence City Commission meeting, Walsh presented to the council that there have been some complaints with the movement of the bus stop. She also shared positive news, by showing the many different bus stop benches throughout Lawrence that have been created by various community members.

“This is great,” said Walsh. “It’s a movement.”

Each day, new benches, chairs, signs and trash cans are arriving at different stops. And according to the LJ World, the city’s Public Transit Advisory Committee approved Sept. 8 to install benches at 15 bus stops.

Walsh has asked all of the community member to help out.

“Everybody who is listening, everybody in this room, everybody at home, if you would start looking for sturdy chairs, painting bus stop, put them by the bus stops,” said Walsh. “We can take care of this together.”

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