Winterizing Transit

Today’s chill in the air tells us that the seasons are shifting, and soon Indianapolis will be in the midst of another winter. The winter season also brings about a tougher experience for Indy’s transit riders.  Poor route frequency, inadequate sidewalks, and few shelters all combine to make transit riding more difficult in the winter months.  Curt Ailes will soon have a post on some of the upcoming specific changes in these areas, but I thought I would talk about some of the positives of bus riding in the winter.  The first three are geared towards people who already travel by car, but the others are more general:

  • No car windshield ice scraping or brushing.
  • No driving on treacherous or traffic-bound roads.
  • No worries about parking the car in a snow bank to visit shops or friends.
  • A communal experience for the riders.  At the more popular stops, riders are generally not alone.  I’ve noticed an increase of conversations during the winter months.  Even the smallest chit chat in a public space can help a person feel more connected with their fellow residents.
  • Being outside in winter can actually be refreshing.  The farther north a city is, the more likely it is that the residents are willing to actually embrace winter weather.  Indy tends to hunker down and wish it were over.  Bus riders don’t have that luxury, but I think of that as a positive in general.

I’m glad to see that IndyGo is going to be increasing frequency and adding a new route.  Much more can be done on this, but it is a good start.

The new shelters around town are attractive, and we could use a lot more of them, although I’m skeptical that they provide sufficient cover in the winter:

Lastly, the city has so many needs for sidewalks and pathways that it is almost difficult to know where to start, but we are getting started on that as well:

Image Credit: Curtis Ailes

I would like it to be as easy and welcoming as possible to share in the experience of winter-time bus riding.  Hopefully these improvements and others will start to help in that process.

Comments 4

  • Bus stops need walls at least. They can add walls with he new bus stop design.

  • The best bus shelters in town are in long-term parking at Indianapolis International. They are mostly enclosed, and there are heat lamps.

    • Agreed, Chris. Those long-term shelters are great. Clean, simple lines, very functional. When I first saw the new glass enclosed shelters around town, I though the uplight fixtures were actually heat lamps. Maybe that’s something that could be easily added.

    • Interestingly, the “service interval” in LTP is about 15 minutes, which is shorter than anything IndyGo offers. But then again, customers pay more money to park in that lot versus an off-airport property, so IAA has to offer amenities.
      I’d hope that the new transit center will feature some kind of heating, either radiant steam heat in the sidwalks/platforms or heat lamps, or both.

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