Waiting for a bus in the rain, snow, heat or blistery wind just got a whole lot more comfortable.
Tuesday morning city and Lowell Regional Transit Authority officials gathered at Lincoln Park on Chelmsford Street at one of six brand new bus shelters installed throughout the city since late last year. Seven more will be installed in the spring.
The bus shelter program was born of a motion made by Mayor Patrick Murphy on the Council floor two years ago, one of several initiatives he has spearheaded in an effort to increase the use of and make public transit more convenient for residents.
Murphy went on to thank LRTA Executive Director Jim Scanlan and his staff for “their partnership with the city in providing this amenity to the riders,” as well as Department of Planning and Development design planner Sandy Swaile and the LRTA bus drivers for their input regarding where to best locate the shelters.
“It was the efforts of Tom (Henderson of the LRTA) and Rachel (Kisker of the DPD) that made this happen and make people like me and Bernie and the mayor look good,” said Scanlan, adding he is working with the city on Murphy’s other transportation initiatives including the expansion of Saturday and night time service.
The shelters were purchased by the LRTA using funding from a Federal Transportation Administration Grant from the U.S. Dept of Transportation. The city is responsible for installing and maintaining the shelters, eight of which are equipped with advertising cabinets — the revenue from which will offset the maintenance costs.
Not only will the shelters protect riders from the weather, said City Manager Bernie Lynch, but will also “serve as part of the overall effort to reinvigorate our neighborhoods,” by providing a space to display maps and other important neighborhood information.
So far, the DPW has completed or is close to completing installation at six locations: Gorham Street Firehouse, 799 Gorham Street; Maguire Park, Woodward Ave at Mammoth Road; Moulton Square, 6th Street at Jewett Street; Lincoln Park, Chelmsford Street at Lincoln Street; Shaughnessy Elementary School, 1158 Gorham Street; Westford St. at Stedman St.
Other locations where bus shelters will be installed include: D’Youville, 930 Varnum Street; Downtown on Market St. in front of the Leo A. Roy parking garage; Downtown on Merrimack Street in front of Smith Baker Center.
Other locations with which the Department of Planning and Development is coordinating with property owners to locate bus shelters include: Centennial Island Apartments, 576 Lawrence St.; and the Market Basket locations on Wood, Bridge and Broadway Streets.