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MAP: Compare bench locations to bus ridership

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: September 3, 2014 - 11:56 AM

Above: Passengers board at a bus stop with 134 daily boardings -- but no bench -- at Penn Avenue and Golden Valley Road.

U.S. Bench controls more than 1,100 benches that have shaped the street scape of Minneapolis and St. Paul for more than 50 years. But where are they, precisely?

Neither Minneapolis, St. Paul nor Metro Transit map the bench placement -- aside from receiving an annual list of their locations. Unlike bus shelters, Metro Transit has no ridership guidelines for bench installation.

Regulatory officials in Minneapolis and St. Paul provided the Star Tribune with U.S. Bench's lists of abbreviated locations ("Cedar @ Franklin," for example), which had to be manually converted into full addresses that could be geocoded.

The result is the map below, which shows that north Minneapolis has a particular dearth of benches along high-ridership corridors like Penn, Fremont and West Broadway. "Folks are saying the lack of seating and benches on the North Side is an issue,” said Michael McDowell, a transit organizer who has extensively surveyed north Minneapolis bus riders.

On a related note, a recent Star Tribune analysis showed that many high-ridership stops along Penn and Fremont also lack bus shelters despite qualifying for them.

Use the tool to compare bench locations with average weekday bus ridership. Have other findings? Leave them in the comments.

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