Greater City Providence

About that changed bus stop ad…

In my rant I pointed out that the ad in the bus shelter on Atwells at the arch had changed from Sunday to today.


December 2009 Blizzard


Garibaldi Park bus stop

Different ad.

Back in January, Bret asked RIPTA who is responsible for snow removal from the shelters. The answer:

Lamar Advertising owns and maintains THEIR bus shelters which are clearly marked with their name and the side advertising panel. Lamar generally removes the snow from their bus shelters in a timely manner. They do NOT remove snow from the sidewalks.

So, in the first photo you can clearly see that this is a Lamar shelter. Clearly between Sunday and today someone from Lamar was out to change the advertisement, and the shelter is clear. But what exactly does clear mean? Certainly clear should mean to the curb so that riders in the shelter can reach the bus, but does it?

Across the street, we have another Lamar shelter with the same ad, I don’t know if this ad went up since Sunday, but I suspect it did.

Atwells at Dominica Manor

This shelter is clear to the curb, but this is becaue Dominica Manor does the snow removal here.

So is Lamar tasked with clearing to the curb so riders can reach the bus, or just within the actual confines of the shelter?

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • So.. you think it should be the advertising company’s problem to remove snow? They provide shelter and income for the city so they can afford to provide public services… you know, like.. SNOW REMOVAL.

    If you don’t like it, get your city to remove the snow, don’t blame it on someone that has no responsibility to do so

  • From RIPTA:

    Lamar Advertising owns and maintains THEIR bus shelters which are clearly marked with their name and the side advertising panel. Lamar generally removes the snow from their bus shelters in a timely manner. They do NOT remove snow from the sidewalks.

    That was posted above, just putting it here to ensure that you actually read it. Lamar IS responsible for snow removal. The question is, are they responsible to clear to the curb, (which would make sense, why bother if not) or only within the actual footprint of the shelter itself. If it is to the curb, then they are not doing their job as contractually agreed to.

    Perhaps there is another vendor RIPTA could be dealing with that would remove all the snow. If the snow removal within the shelter is something that RIPTA is taking as a trade off, it is not worth it. They should take more of the ad revenue and not bother with Lamar being responsible for snow removal if they are only going to clear snow within the footprint of the shelter.

    If the advertising company agrees to remove the snow, then YES, I think they should remove it, it IS their responsibility, they have a contract with RIPTA.

  • umm, look at the picture, the snow isn’t even cleared from the footprint of the shelter!

  • I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it was and then the plows came by after to clear the parking lane and dumped snow back in it.

    That’s what happened last year. Someone FINALLY cleared the sidewalks at Garibaldi Park (the bus shelter wasn’t there last winter), then the plows came through and promptly dumped snow back on the sidewalk.

  • Ok, fine, so is there a “one time per storm only” clause in the agreement? Go back out and clear them again. No differant if it was caused by another storm.

  • While it seems stupid, another reason could be that the crew who changes signs isn’t charged with clearing the snow. They simply go from shelter to shelter changing the signs as quickly as possible. Stopping to shovel out the bus shelter would slow them down. I would think that Lamar like most large corporations probably contracts out snow removal to a local contractor.

    With regards to the contract. It sounds like RIPTA is saying it has no responsibility at all with the bus shelters. The way it usually works is that Lamar provides, erects, and maintains the shelters and makes their money off the add revenue generated. RIPTA probably gets a small cut of that revenue. Part of that maintenance probably includes keeping the shelter free of snow. That’s sidewalk, no curb etc. I assume that responsibility falls to the property owners along that section of sidewalk.

    RIPTA probably doesn’t want to get into shoveling out sidewalks in front the bus stops with shelters and have to deal with people complaining about not clearing all the bus stops along a route that do not have shelters. I know that it sounds silly and they or Lamar should take responsibility for the opening the curb at the at the shelter stops. However, I do know a few people who would expect the curb next to the sign on the telephone pole they usually walk to be cleared as well.

  • I agree with you on all points, especially that I don’t want to see RIPTA tasked with snow removal. I don’t see how they could do it.

    I don’t think currently however, there is anything in snow clearing regulations about bus stops, in fact, I’m sure there is not. If you have a bus stop on your frontage, nothing says you need to clear the bus stop to the curb. Is it fair to put that in the regulations? I say yes, it is part of living in the city, something you have to deal with when you live (or own a business) here.

    If there is nothing in the regulations that says it needs to be done, there is no one to complain to when it is not. Really, without regulation on such matters, the complaints and the responsibility is placed on RIPTA. Since abutters are not bound by law to clear bus stops, and Lamar seems to not be contractually obligated to clear to the curb, RIPTA has to do it themselves if they get enough complaints (and I doubt they will do it).

    Especially egregious here, is that the abutter is the city. See the post I just did further up, the city cleared the sidewalk, but not the bus stop to the curb.

    I think also what I am asking here, is what does RIPTA, and what to we as riders get from the Lamar agreement, and could we be getting something better, not just in so far as snow removal or lack thereof, but overall? As RIPTA builds support and looks at expansion and tries to figure out how to pay for it. Things like the Lamar contract should be looked at.

  • One would think that businesses that have bus stops in front of their doors would want to clear a path to the curb. After all, don’t those people who get on and off the buses support the businesses?

    I do think this should be in the regulations, not that it would matter though. We have regulations that state the snow is supposed to be removed within a certain period of time after the snowfall and a path of a certain width is supposed to be created, but those regulations are not enforced. So what difference would it make if we added to the regulations in our current state of enforcement?

    The city has no right to bitch, moan, whine, and cry about its economic condition when it can easily fine people who don’t abide by the city ordinances. Of course, I’m sure we’ll see property tax increases because of the financial status of the city, but we won’t see any return on that increase because the city services just plain suck. I am seeing asphalt on my street for the first time since before it started snowing late Saturday night. The city basically gave up on so many streets. There’s no room for street parking, but people still do it because they have to. There’s still hard packed snow covering the vast majority of the street. Sure, it’s a small side street, but do we not deserve the same level of plowing, albeit after the major streets get plowed? Perhaps if the city fined people, businesses, and property owners who did not clear snow according to the city ordinances, they’d be able to afford to send the plows out one more time AFTER the snow stops falling to clean up the side streets and make them safe.

Providence, RI
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