The building of this
January 30, 2002 12:37 PM   Subscribe

The building of this has kept the average car driving commuter of my fair city enraged for 18 months. Not one person who complained to me, the token non-driver, knew that they were going to be wind-powered musical bus stops. Aren't they going to be happy when they find out? :) There's also an audio (RM) link here.
posted by vbfg (16 comments total)
Unfortunately it's not on my bus route home. I do get to use it when the Bulls are at home, just not for another two years when they move stadium. Huddersfield is at the other end of that road, I can't make up a reason to go there.
posted by vbfg at 12:46 PM on January 30, 2002

Is it just me, or does that article not make a lot of sense to someone who has no idea what they are talking about.
posted by benh57 at 12:51 PM on January 30, 2002

Same here benh. The first half of the article made as much sense as the lyrics to Radio Free Europe (bad one, sorry, the song's been in my head all day.)
posted by Tacodog at 12:56 PM on January 30, 2002

Ditto on the confusion. I have no idea what that's all about. Waiting at bus stops is a cause of death? Huh?

I do like this, though:

Two stops down, another Super Shelter has an electronic strip which tells passengers a range of stories, as they glance through angled side-panels to check if a bus is ever going to come.

What kind of stories, do you suppose?
posted by croutonsupafreak at 1:08 PM on January 30, 2002

Not to pile it on, but I found this paragraph particularly inscrutable:

Today's weather may not have helped, gusting a chilly drizzle down from Odsal Top and Wibsey, and explaining why the proverbial Bradfordian never removes his or her overcoat, even in July. But then the testing of a so-called Super Shelter requires rain, as well as the august presence of junior transport minister, John Spellar, plus the gold-chained lord mayor.

Is there a story with more lucid writing that explains this project?
posted by argybarg at 2:05 PM on January 30, 2002

It does look like a neat project. I would like to know more about the guided bus sytem that these stops are along, though.
posted by eckeric at 2:34 PM on January 30, 2002

Stiff upper lip writing and all that, wot?
posted by SpecialK at 2:36 PM on January 30, 2002

After studying hard in Bradford for the last 3 years, I am so glad to see the back of that place. Musical bus stops couldn't tempt me back. Neither could musical anything for that matter.

However, any article that features the word 'chuffed' goes down in my book as being a cracking piece of writing.
posted by ajbattrick at 2:41 PM on January 30, 2002

Hmn, here is a press release on the stops.
posted by eckeric at 2:43 PM on January 30, 2002

I guess I understand it better because I've lived with the worst consequences of it, i.e incessant bitching from work colleagues. :)

This road was a 6 lane carriageway linking the city centre with the motorway system and some other main arteries coming into Bradford. If you live south of Bradford and work in the city then you use this road or go round in circles in row after row after row of Victorian terrace houses. Bus transportation is relatively cheap, cheap compared to the rest of the country that is, and there are plenty of people filling busses. Plenty of busses come down this road too, a few routes virtually double back on themselves to use it in preference to other roads, and they caused delays themselves as they pulled in and out of traffic.

The solution they decided on was to turn this 6-lane highway into a 4-lane highway and dedicate those four lanes to cars and other vehicles. The two centre lanes (actually slightly more, the other four lanes are now super narrow) are walled off from the rest and form a normal one-lane-each-way road in the middle of the other road. This has broad pavements for pedestrians and numerous zebra crossings now run the length of the formerly divisive barrier to allow access.

Town planning is a sore point here. Bradford has had many wonderful and gorgeous buildings in the past but caught the 50s redevelopment bug. The city was bombed maybe twice in the war and was hardly damaged at all. The council of the time however decided they didn't want Bradford to be left behind the other major towns that had the core ripped out of them and were being rebuilt. To widen this road in the first place a number of exceptional and unique industrial buildings were knocked down. Some dark satanic mills remain that were modelled after Venetian and even some Byzantine architecture, but enough was lost for it to be something of a crime in my eyes.

Singing bus stops are scant compensation really, but at least they're coming up with schemes now that might preserve something of what's left.
posted by vbfg at 3:06 PM on January 30, 2002

The New Yorker in times of yore, i.e. prior to Tina Brown, would have these little "filler" items at the ends of articles, culled from newspapers and such -- quaint Police Blotter items from crime-free communities, Block that Metaphor! purple prose, and the rare item titled There'll Always be an England. These were invariably short, pithy, forceful letters to the Times on items of national interest, such as why the squirrels in the author's yard had begun fighting each other daily at dawn. I was so reminded of that reading this ...
posted by dhartung at 3:12 PM on January 30, 2002

> Is it just me, or does that article not make a lot of sense
> to someone who has no idea what they are talking
> about.

England and America, two countries separated by a common language.

> Some dark satanic mills remain that were modelled after
> Venetian and even some Byzantine architecture, '

I expect Soviet-style cinderblock rectangles would offend Blake less than things like these. I had no idea!
posted by jfuller at 4:27 PM on January 30, 2002

> prior to Tina Brown

Tina isn't still there, is she? Wasn't she in charge of the late, unlamented Talk? Has the New Yorker corpse revived any? Even dead batteries recover slightly if you let them alone for a bit.
posted by jfuller at 4:31 PM on January 30, 2002

Swerving off topic, yes, Tina left the magazine some years ago. As a New Yorker reader since childhood (my father since a teenager -- his going to the library to read the magazine is how he met my mom, more or less), I believe that Brown actually injected some life into the magazine by getting it to shake off its elitism and start reviewing, for example, rock music. She also took it in a silly, uncomfortable Vanity Fair direction that was quickly shaken off in return. (Though things like the filler items did not return, which is why my statement was factually correct if temporally confusing.) I think it's a fine magazine that is once again properly in the national discourse -- although The Atlantic is once again the premier magazine in that regard. Harper's, by contrast, seems determined to get lost in a wilderness of its own making.
posted by dhartung at 10:53 PM on January 30, 2002

> Some dark satanic mills remain that were modelled after
> Venetian and even some Byzantine architecture, '

I expect Soviet-style cinderblock rectangles would offend Blake less than things like these. I had no idea!

Here's an example. This is Salts Mill. It is now, as of late last year, a World Heritage Site putting it (on paper at least) on a par with the pyramids and the Great Wall. Salts Mill is ineresting because of the village that was built around it for the industrial workers. Salt built the village, including hospital, school, etc at the same time as the mill as a place to house workers away from the destructive influence of what he called drunken Bradford.

Blake was from the wrong side of the Pennines, his idea of industrial architecture is tainted with Lancastrianism.
posted by vbfg at 2:11 AM on January 31, 2002

A message from the original author:

Hope you don't mind me emailing but a friend put me on to the fascinating thread on metafilter about my lyrical piece on bus shelters on Guardian Unlimited

I'm more than happy to try to translate for anyone but feel i should apologise for clearly being so obscure. I can also add that i very much like most modern US fiction because of its clarity and the authors' ear for dialogue.

Anyway, if you can pass this on to your fellow correspondents, I'd be grateful (I couldn't work out how to do it myself, being old and in a rush). In the unlikely chance of any of them wanting to write a book about my journalism, they can always use the GU search engine to find endless other such treasures.

You can contact Martin here:

Martin DOT Wainwright AT guardian DOT co DOT uk
posted by vbfg at 5:52 AM on January 31, 2002

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