London BRT: But some participants insist big questions still need answers

Lighting, benches and safety features are key.

A workshop to gauge public opinion on the look and feel of bus rapid transit stops and stations drew a crowd at the London Central Library on Wednesday night.

Many Londoners highlighted lights and other safety measures, perhaps even an emergency intercom system, as crucial features of the BRT stations.

But for others, the rapid transit shelters and other such details are an afterthought compared to the big questions — the design of the five BRT routes. That will be the focus of a series of public meetings next month.

Josephine Pepe, who owns Old North Optometry on Richmond Street, came to the workshop hoping to learn about the northern route slated to run past her business.

“It’s hard to plan. You don’t know what’s going on,” she said of Richmond Street and the inevitable widening of the road.

She cares about the stops and stations, too, but said it seems early to delve into those choices.

“They’re doing it in the wrong order. This stuff is important but it should come after they decide how wide (Richmond Street) is going to be.”

But others embraced the workshop, plastering post-it notes with ideas and filling out comment cards.

“It allows us to hear ideas we might not have considered,” said Andrea Rosebrugh, manager of public engagement for the BRT project.

Project director Jennie Ramsay said she was pleased with the turnout.

“It’s really important for people to be able to get excited about what these stops will be. They are going to be amenities and they are going to be things that are part of their community,” she said.

BRT stops and stations will stand out compared to other shelters.

“The amenities for rapid transit will be above and distinct what you’ll see on the local routes,” said John Ford, London Transit Commission’s director of transportation and planning.

The next set of public events will happen Dec. 11 to 14 in locations across the city.

Read more news of London on our site.

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