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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Image of the Moment: The Meanest Bus Shelter in Town?

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Photograph taken by Dwight Williams - 19 August 2014. Used with permission.

Image: A newly installed city bus stop
Location: Rideau Street
Date of photo: August 19, 2014
Photographer: Dwight Williams

After recently leaving a writing workshop in Lowertown to start the trek back to our respective home neighbourhoods, a fellow participant and I happened upon this bus shelter. It’s one of a series of new shelters installed along the length of Rideau Street, and we were both struck by how it seemed to be designed as an antithesis to the concept of the bus shelter.

With no seating installed, the street-facing side is completely open to whatever weather is in motion at the time. The roof is also angled to let in the aforesaid weather. Is there a school of transit shelter design that holds such things to be virtues rather than flaws?

We’d like to know. We’d also be interested in hearing your opinions on the matter, whether based on experience here in Ottawa-Gatineau or elsewhere in the world.



  1. My initial reaction, the city is not concerned with the design.
    Perhaps, safety and security are the priority given the diverse population in the Rideau area. Forgo, a functional shelter for transit users and a “safer” place to sleep for the homeless? Apparently, it’s not about the people.

  2. I think it very much *is* about people – homeless people. This strikes me as an extension of the shelter designs that do include seats, but which seats are divided by arm-rests the better to preclude sleeping. No protection from the elements is presumably the next logical step.

  3. Some of the new ones even have just a half wall on one end. These will surely be ridiculous in winter. Vancouver has these little half-shelters because they don’t have our cold and snow. This wont be so effective here.

  4. Hey … I think I know the spot you’re referring to and a few weeks ago there was NO SHELTER at all. So … as inadequate as it is … it is a shelter!