Virginia Builds $1 Million “Super” Bus Stop
April 4, 2013 10:09 PM
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It expects to build 23 more at over $900,000 a piece
The city of Arlington just recently opened an
impressive bus stop
with a not-so-impressive price tag of $1 million.
The “super stop” in Arlington, Virginia is unlike any other bus stop. It has a custom designed roof made of glass and steel; a wall of etched glass; heaters in the floor; gorgeous landscaping, and concrete/stainless steel benches.
The bus stop has 10-inch high curbs, 90 feet of concrete and can shelter 15 people at a time while waiting for buses to arrive – all at a cost of $1 million.
The cost comes down to $575,000 for construction/fabrication and $440,000 for construction management and inspections, where federal/state money took care of 80 percent of the total price tag.
When Arlington citizens discovered the cost of the super stop, many were outraged.
“That’s ridiculous,” said Robin Stewart, a citizen who was waiting at the super stop. “From a citizen, from a voter, whoever put that budget through needs to get their butt canned. It’s an outrage.”
The super stop opened on March 11, and 23 more are planned for Arlington’s streetcars. The county has set aside $20.8 million for all of them, which is about $904,000 a piece.
The idea behind the fancy bus stops is to not only accommodate Arlington’s plans for its streetcars and buses (about 16,000 people use the Columbia Pike buses for transportation) but to also draw people to the area. New housing is expected to be built in the area over the next two decades, and the county hopes the bus stops will help it flourish.
“When you do a prototype, you end up heavily front-loading on the costs,” said Dennis Leach, Arlington’s transportation director. “These are more like high-capacity bus or rail stops.”
But citizens are concerned about the budget, saying that Arlington can build nice bus stops without having to spend $1 million.
“Oh my God. How much steel? How much cement? How much glass? One million? Bring them to court,” said Husain Hamid, who was waiting at the super stop. “People are hungry. People are sleeping on the street. It doesn’t need $1 million.”
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4/5/2013 2:53:50 PM
I lived in Arlington until 2011 and even then, a one bedroom condo would run ~$500-600k with a parking spot (Ballston, three blocks from either Virginia Square or Ballston metro stops). When I left, my 1BR apartment (with balcony, gym, underground parking, and washer/dryer) was $1600/month - the building's website now lists the same kind of unit for $1800.
$600k for a bus stop is perhaps high, but developing street-level public transit along Columbia Pike (where there isn't a metro line) seems pretty logical. It would likely also help raise property values in some of those areas.
$400k for 'inspections' seems out of line though...
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