View Full Version : City bus stops may get makeover

03-28-2008, 07:23 AM
Bus stops to get a Tyler Media makeover
The Journal Record
March 28, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY – The days of ugly, blighted and outdated bus stop street furniture in Oklahoma City may be coming to an end.

Last year, Tyler Media bought a majority of the city’s street furniture, which includes bus benches and glassed-in shelters splashed with advertising, from Lamar Outdoor Advertising. Now Tony Tyler, of Tyler Media, is making the rounds to find out what certain districts in the city would like to see when the street furniture is improved and replaced.

One of Tyler’s first stops was the downtown business improvement district advisory board meeting this week. Chuck Wiggin, president of the BID board, said the topic of street furniture has come up in past meetings, which led to him inviting Tyler to speak.

“We really are interested in how to make these look better,” Wiggin said. Most of the benches and bus shelters seen around the city are older designs that Tyler said need to be updated to enhance the transit system, and to be aesthetically pleasing. “The benches and the shelters are from the 1970s and 1980s,” Tyler said. “They need to be improved and we realize that.”

Tyler Media has a contract with the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority to install and maintain street furniture and to collect the subsequent advertising revenue. In exchange, COTPA receives a place for people to sit while waiting for a bus. But choosing a design that is pleasing to specific parts of town is another challenge. Tyler said there are 6,000 bus stops in Oklahoma City, about 1,400 of those with pieces of street furniture.

COTPA reports that the Oklahoma City bus system covers 465 miles of the metropolitan area. Community input will be a key factor is determining bus stop design.“We need to know what you would like in your district,” Tyler said. COTPA, however, will make the ultimate decision on the bus stop and street furniture design.

The process was spurred on when in 2005 the AIA Central Oklahoma chapter held a competition for bus stop designs. In December 2005, a group of intern architects at Frankfurt-Short-Bruza Associates won the AIA award for their bus stop design in a competition that included 80 entries from 18 states and seven countries. The contest took place before Tyler Media purchased the street furniture and their contract with COTPA, but the design could play into future bus benches and shelters that could eventually be installed. But at least one downtown property owner expressed concern over the current design of the street furniture and possible replacements that might be installed.

Rick Dowell, of Dowell Properties Inc., said he would like to purchase the benches near his properties, create his own designs, pay COTPA for the purchase, and eliminate the advertising. Dowell said that would allow him to install benches that would complement his properties, and downtown, and do away with what he called gaudy ads that adorn many of the benches.

Tyler said he plans to meet with Dowell, and any other property owners, to take their concerns into consideration before any final decisions are made.

Brett Price, president of Urban Neighbors, a group of downtown residents and businesses, said bus stops are a vital part of an urban environment, but he wouldn’t mind seeing benches and bus shelters that were both pleasing to the eye and complementary to downtown. “Anything that would overall enhance the curb appeal downtown we would be in favor of it,” he said.

Another issue that will have to be addressed is making the street furniture and bus stops ADA accessible. Paula Falkenstein, director of the city’s General Services Department and the citywide ADA coordinator, said to be accessible, a bus stop must have a curb ramp and offer room to maneuver a wheelchair. But not every bus stop has to be accessible. Falkenstein said the ADA requires city, state and county services, programs and activities to be accessible when viewed in their entirety. Therefore the ADA assesses each community to determine the number of ADA-accessible services and programs that are required.

Tyler said all ideas and requirements will be looked at in an effort to work to improve the transit system and the aesthetics of street furniture around the city. He said one push will also be to install more shelters rather than just benches. Tyler said the current efforts to gather information are solely his company’s research as a contractor for COTPA. “Our job is to first serve the transit system, which is the city,” he said. “The challenge that we have is we’re trying to design a very compact shelter structure that suits the bus rider but isn’t too obtuse for an area.”

A bus stop in downtown Oklahoma City featuring Tyler Media advertising is seen Thursday afternoon. (Photo by James Keathley)

03-28-2008, 09:39 AM
I didn't realize that we had this kind of arrangement. With a media company that cares about what the stops look like (as Tyler seems to and Lamar apparently didn't), it's a great set up. We get new, nice bus stops and a private company pays for it. They get something in return, but that's a fair trade. Also great to see Dowell willing to buy and maintain some without advertising. All good news here.

03-28-2008, 09:41 AM
Outdated bus stop furniture?

How does a bench get outdated?

Do our bus stops need WiFi?

03-28-2008, 09:47 AM
Look at the stops for the Bricktown Trolley. It wouldn't be practical to put those in at every bus stop, but they're quite a bit nicer than the bus stop shelters.

There are also busy unsheltered stops that would benefit from having a shelter, and which also have high enough visibility that it would probably be cost effective for Tyler to install shelters. NW 23 and Penn comes to mind as an example.

03-28-2008, 09:48 AM
23 & Classen needs real work also.

03-28-2008, 10:03 AM
I really would like to see trees planted near the bus stops and alongside the shelters. In the worst heat of the summer riders would be more comfortable waiting and most of the year they would be sheilded from the sun. And our streetscapes would be all the nicer for it.

03-28-2008, 11:14 AM

Midtowner, you don't look at that and see outdated?

03-28-2008, 11:20 AM
jbrown, let's not forget that's probably the nicest bus stop in the city. Most are lucky to have those tacky wooden benches with a faux billboard nailed to the back of them and that's it. Some bus stops just have a cheap metal pole with a number on it that says the # of the bus stop and has the Metro Transit sticker on it. It's obvious our city needs a HUGE public transportation makeover and this will help. I just wish they were adding bus lanes in heavily trafficked areas like downtown, Sheridan, Reno, Classen, NW 10th, NW 23rd, Lincoln, and such. If nothing else, add partial bus lanes where bus stops are so buses can pull over and stop without disrupting traffic.

We need something like this:

Los Angeles


Here's a wiki link to BRT:

Bus rapid transit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (

03-28-2008, 08:19 PM
I know we are not getting anything like the above in the near future, but I would like to see something with a bit more shelter from cold winds and as one poster said maybe trees for shade... sure don't like the big ads on most of them. I guess almost anything will be an upgrade and better than what we have now.

03-28-2008, 08:26 PM
Well, the ads are what will pay for the shelters. Tyler is going above and beyond, in my opinion, even offering to replace these.

03-30-2008, 01:49 PM
The ads are a small price to pay, IMO, for real shelters.

03-30-2008, 03:03 PM
I would just be happy if they had benches at most of (or even all) of the stops. Nothing like sitting on a curb.