Homeless in Vancouver: Putting a stop to parking in bus stops

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      Look how these three transit buses were ganging up on that poor SUV yesterday afternoon. It was plain rude the way they were honking. How was the driver supposed to place their McDonald’s order over all that racket, I ask you?

      No matter that the SUV was parked at a marked bus stop…two feet from the curb…at 4 p.m. during rush hour.

      What’s my point? That the frequency of vehicles trying to park here is increasing—particularly on weekend evenings. Maybe it’s legal now?

      Why don’t bus stops say “bus stop” anymore?

      What the SUV saw. On top is a city no-stopping sign. Below, a TransLink bus stop sign.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      All the vehicles I have seen park in this bus stop have B.C. license plates, which I take to mean that the drivers all have a valid B.C. drivers license. It follows then that they know they’re not allowed to park or stop in a bus stop zone, so what’s the problem?

      Well the signage itself for a start. It’s clearly not designed to be read and understood by drivers at all, on any level. It’s only meant to be read by pedestrians standing in close—the text is visually quite small.

      The sign is only trying to communicate to transit riders who already know it’s a bus stop. Only the city sign, above the bus stop sign, is aimed at cars. At a height of maybe 10feet, it obviously isn’t getting the job done.

      Vancouver is, I think, full of drivers who never take transit. The bus stop signage should at least clearly communicate “bus stop” to them.

      I’m naive enough to wonder if it would make a positive difference if our bus stops signs included the words “bus stop” and/or a much larger bus icon.

      It wasn’t too long ago that all bus stops were explicitly labeled with the words “bus stop”.

      Signs of this sort hung on in areas outside the city core until  2012 when TransLink began replacing them with a new style of “wayfinding” signage that, while certainly more visible, still doesn’t look like a bus stop sign.

      However, if the day comes when all bus stop signs across Metro Vancouver share the big “T” that consistency will help compliance. Drivers will only have to look for the “T” and they’ll be able to tell at a glance where the bus stops are without having to stop and read the fine print.

      T is for Taxi? Left: the old “Bus Stop” sign. Right: the new one, as of 2012

      Another thing this SUV demonstrates that I’m having real trouble with is the increasing tendency for vehicles along West Broadway to park a unique distance from the curb. The parked cars are less and less forming a nice straight line parallel to the curb—more a scatter plot distribution. It definitely adds a certain frisson to my cycling that I would happily do without.

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.


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      May 7, 2014 at 3:15pm

      I love it when gas prices go up


      May 8, 2014 at 8:31am

      That suv pos should have been towed. A towing company should have that bus stop staked out.


      May 22, 2014 at 1:34am

      I don't see any visual problem with that bus sign and no stopping sign. I think it is positioned well. But honestly, drivers don't give a damn about traffic signs anymore. They'll stop anywhere even if you put a big BUS STOP sign there. They don't care. It goes with pedestrians too. Many don't follow the traffic rules anymore. It's clearly red for the pedestrian but hey! Look at me cross the Granville downtown street on a red light! Many people have no common sense.