Top Cities

Chicago vs. Staten Island – Streetsblog USA

Editor’s note: This is the second match-up in the Final Four of our Sorriest Bus Stop competition. Polls are still open in our first match-up, Québec City vs. Lower Merion Township; be sure to scroll to the bottom to vote in this week’s contest and decide who will face off in our final showdown.

We’re rounding out the Final Four with two stops in major cities that are also major-league messes.

Both of these waiting areas won their respective rounds after hard-fought battles against worthy contenders in Albuquerque and Orinda, Calif. respectively. But there’s no doubt that they both deserve a spot in this bout — because they’re both pretty abysmal.

Let’s take a look.

The Staten Island Murder Shed

This New York City stop beat out a strong New Mexican rival in the second round, thanks to its lack of a sidewalk, overgrown vegetation, and a dark and spooky shed set way back from the road that no one in their right mind would use as a shelter.

And sure … maybe a little Photoshop helped out, too.

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Now, this outer-borough outrage doesn’t have nearly as much ridership as you might expect from the most transit rich city in America; the two lines its serves averaged just 2,126 weekday riders before COVID-19, which the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says makes this the “171st busiest of the 183 local bus routes.” But even less-popular routes deserve basic facilities — or at least the most basic gender-aware design principles, like eliminating dark places for creeps to lie in wait.

This sorry stop is maintained by the New York City Department of Transportation, which means it’s one of the contenders in this contest whose supervising agency probably has the authority to build riders a sidewalk to get there. Get on it, Big Apple.

Chicago’s On-Ramp Outrage

Lest our truly elite photo-editing skills unfairly tip the scales towards Staten Island, let’s visualize what would happen if Chicago Cubs’ mascot Clark tried to catch a ride at this nonsensical north-side waiting area.

We know he’s got pretty big paws, but man, this super-skinny stop sure doesn’t give him a lot of room to breathe.

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Like the Murder Shed, the On-Ramp Outrage is another stop in a big city that serves a relatively low-volume route; the 54A averaged just 710 weekday riders in 2019, down from 741 the year prior. But it’s not clear whether its popularity is waning simply because not a lot of riders need this route, or because they don’t feel safe waiting on a minuscule wedge of concrete sandwiched between a highway on-ramp and a high-speed arterial that’s known for horrifying traffic crash stats.

And if you think this one’s bad, check out the stop just down the street — even if Bears mascot Staley weren’t totally manspreading here, he still wouldn’t be able to fit onto that sidewalk-free shoulder.

So much for the “safety zone.”

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Does this Windy City waiting area have what it takes to blow away the competition? Or will the Big Apple take a bite out of the competition?

That’s enough tired puns out of us: it’s time to vote. Polls are open until Sunday, April 12 at 4 p.m. ET. 

Here’s the bracket if you’re following along at home.

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