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Duke considers adding bus shelters

Students who live on Central Campus will have one less reason to skip class on rainy days if plans to install new bus shelters are carried out.

Transportation Services is currently looking into the possibility of building more bus shelters and hopes to begin working on designs by the end of fall semester.

"We are identifying where shelters should be added," Cathy Reeve, director of parking and transportation services, wrote in an e-mail. "When determining need, criteria such as usage volumes and wait times for the bus are considered. Duke Transit is a highly used system, more so than most urban systems, and we provide these amenities where warranted for its customers' convenience and comfort."

The three areas targeted as potential locations for shelters are Swift Avenue near Campus Drive, and Anderson and Alexander streets on Central Campus. Additionally, a bus pad has been installed on Circuit Drive near Research Drive so that a shelter can be built to serve the Circuit Drive parking lot.

The first steps toward adding new bus shelters began last spring when the University conducted an initial assessment of current shelters and ridership.

"It has been a six-year battle, but we began making headway last year," said Cliff Davison, Duke Student Government vice president for facilities and athletics. "Now we are planning on creating a standard protocol for bus shelters on campus."

One reason the process has been so lengthy is the complexity of the Duke Transit system. The University Architect's office will design the shelters, which must then be approved by the Board of Trustees' facilities and environment subcommittee before construction begins.

Reeve said the goal is to complete the process before next semester so that a timeline for installation can be established in the spring.

"Bus shelters are a great thing to be developed," said Davison, a junior. "What we need is a well-lit, standardized facility where students can congregate and feel safe."

Presently, all the Central Campus bus shelters are on the West-to-East bus route, and Jon Law, Central Campus Council communications coordinator, said it is not uncommon to see students going to West waiting on the other side of the street in shelters.

"People do use the bus shelters, especially when it is raining or in the winter when it gets cold. The shelters are very helpful in blocking the wind," said Law, a junior.

Law added that shelters are also helpful for advertising. "One of the best things about bus shelters is that they can be used for flyering," he said. "Since Central Campus does not have any flyer stands, it's very useful in keeping students informed."

Some students, however, feel the additional shelters are not that necessary. "They have enough bus stops, which is what matters," said senior Nancy Bell, a Central Campus resident. "The fact that they are sheltered is irrelevant because they are in such central locations."

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