New LA bus stop shelter scheme designed to improve lighting and shade raises eyebrows

New LA bus stop shelter scheme designed to improve lighting and shade raises eyebrows
Nurse dies after Los Angeles bus stop attack

A new scheme designed to improve lighting and shade at Los Angeles bus stops has raised eyebrows.

Four LA neighbourhoods are piloting 'La Sombrita' (a little shade) structures to protect female passengers by providing them with shade in the day and light at night. It is also designed to help people keep safe during periods of extreme heat.

The design process was led by the nonprofit Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI). It said: “La Sombrita 1.0 was designed within the existing design regulations to establish a baseline of what is possible. The participants in our resident advisory committee for the Gender Equity Action Plan expressed a clear need for lighting and shade, this is a way to move the needle on that, now.”

To some, it has gone down well. In a statement, Mayor Karen Bass called the pilot “a good step towards increasing the accessibility of our City’s public transportation system” adding that, “Improvements like La Sombrita will make our neighborhoods safer, healthier and more livable.”

LADOT Interim General Manager Connie Llanos noted that “Pilots like ‘La Sombrita’ allow us to test new, flexible, and low-cost ways to close gaps and remove barriers, getting us one step closer to providing Universal Basic Mobility in our City.”

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La Sombrita costs less than $10,000 compared with $50,000 for a more traditional shelter, according to the Los Angeles Transportation Department (LADOT).

Despite all this, the project was roasted on social media, with people pointing out its inadequacies and generally making a meme out of the whole thing:

The La Sombrita pilots are installed now through mid-August for a three-month evaluation. For each pilot neighborhood, LADOT and KDI will be collecting data on “La Sombrita’s impact on comfort during the hottest part of the afternoon and feelings of safety after dark through observation and surveys” and “findings from the evaluation will inform future design iterations.”

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