Skip to content

Letter: Could architecture students design better bus shelters?

Sudbury’s bus stops ‘which are often limited to a sign, and offer no shelter from the brutal winter climate we can get here’
The GOVA transit terminal in downtown Sudbury. (File)

Sudbury suffers from a case of bad transit. I don’t say this to disparage anyone in particular, but it’s no surprise that the system isn’t popular. 

Inconsistent arrival and departure times and little-to-no service in outlying areas are examples of the underlying causes and/or symptoms of an experience that leaves a lot to be desired. 

I believe that part of this issue is the state of the bus stops, which are often limited to a sign, and offer no shelter from the brutal winter climate we can get here, hardly sheltering anyone while they wait for a bus that may or may not come in the next 15 minutes.

Every year, the first year students at the McEwen School of Architecture design and build skating shelters for the Ramsey Lake skate path. These are great fun and add a touch of lively design to this well-loved activity. 

I have enjoyed seeing the ever-changing designs throughout the years of this continuous project. I believe wholeheartedly that this design-build practice is one which could be extended to the later years of the bachelor’s degree. 

Having graduated from there myself with a master’s degree, I’m certainly aware that my opinion might be biased, yet I believe there is much good to be found in integrating more design throughout our city.

Would it be possible to couple the design-build oriented programme offered at the school with our need for a better bus-shelter solution? 

Certainly, it wouldn’t be a realistic single-semester project, but perhaps as a way to generate ideas, and as a way to promote the growth of our transit sector through beautiful design, the idea has merit.

Perhaps, let’s say, a third-year student gets assigned this project. They first design a shelter and have it passed through the typical critique and revision process, which could include a member of the transit office. 

This design would then pass on to a team at the city, or even through one of our many local architecture firms who would finalise the design and have it approved by an engineer. 

While it does not solve some critical underlying issues, I believe that such a programme would incentivise the use of our transit system, make use of the knowledge being cultivated in our institutions, and foster a sense of responsibility, ownership, and pride in our city. 

I invite people to think about such a connection.

David Gagnon
Greater Sudbury