On the corner of 3rd Street & Hennepin Avenue Downtown sits a lone and desolate bus shelter, a skeletal remnant of its former self. It lives in a parallel universe -- in the middle of traffic and city life but not a participating member. Its clock has lost its hands, its paint is peeling away and the windows badly need washing. Two forlorn trees flank the empty shelter, which at least, can protect waiting riders from raindrops. If there were ever a structure that needed to be on the show "Extreme Makeover," this one is it.
Bob Gibbons, Metro Transit's director of customer service, says that the ultimate fate for the shelter's home, the Nicollet Hotel Block, is being determined right now. The city is seeking development proposals for the site -- which is just across 3rd Street from the soon-to-be-glittering Downtown Library.
The city wants a housing/transportation development on the block; Gibbons said Metro Transit wants a customer waiting area and underground garage for 22-24 buses to park between routes. Currently, buses park on city streets. "Every two weeks, we have to shuffle buses around because businesses complain about lost parking," Gibbons said.
The decrepit shelter has cost the city a pretty penny; according to a city memo, it cost $140,000 just to relocate it from the 5th & Hennepin block when Block E's Shubert Theater moved there.