newmunishelter.jpgThe Chronicle today discovers the same issue with some Muni shelters that the Examiner reported last November: rider complaints that the agency’s new $30,000 (says the Ex, the Chron says $10,000) bus shelters aren’t that sheltering at all, continue to rise.

As the Ex first noted in their Nov 22 report, the (at the time) 91 new shelters’ design “leave(s) anywhere from one-quarter to one-third of the shelter open and vulnerable to The City’s precipitation patterns,” causing one rider the paper spoke to to say that “(t)he seats are always wet when it rains.”

In response, Olle Lundberg, CEO of the local firm responsible for the design, countered that “the seats will drain off very quickly” and that “(i)f rain’s going horizontal, there’s not much you can do.” At that time, MTA spokesperson Paul Rose told the Ex that they’d only received one complaint about rain-allowing shelters.

Fast forward to Jan 3, and the complaints continue to rise — according to today’s Chronicle report on the same design issue, 100 new shelters have now been erected, and they’ve now received four complaints from wet riders, up three from late November’s Ex report. “Hell yeah, I’ve gotten wet. It drips all down the back of my neck,” one daily rider told the paper.

The Chron also reports that Lundberg admits that “(r)ain would have to fall at a 45-degree angle to get between the roof and the frame.” For those of you how imperfectly recall their geometry, here’s a 45 degree angle, hardly the same thing as “horizontal,” and not a terribly unusual angle to see rain falling in SF.

“It does, without question, compromise the shelter aspect of the shelter…I agree with the people that said the old shelter kept them drier” Lundberg is now admitting, saying that the open and leaky design is necessary to allow people in wheelchairs to use the shelters.

However, according to Lundberg, “you’re talking about a condition where you wish you wouldn’t be on Muni anyway.” (Attempts by the Appeal to reach Lundberg to find out when one does wish they were on Muni were not successful at publication time.)

According to Rose, the four complaints are “a small number considering the system has roughly 700,000 boardings each day,” but that seems like a flawed equation to me — we’re actually talking about 3 complaints, regarding 100 shelters, in about 7 weeks.

Sure, still not the most serious nor the most complained about issue Muni faces, but it appears serious enough that Muni has changed their tune since the end of November, when Rose told the Ex Muni “does not have any plans to reconsider the design.”

Rose is now saying that, according to the Chron, “Muni could consider adding panels to some shelters if there is a need.” What do you think, Muni riders? Is there a need?

Eventually 1200 of Muni’s shelters will be replaced by shelters with this new design.

Photo: Clear Channel press release

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • Boris

    This story makes it readily apparent that nobody in charge at MUNI or City Hall actually uses public transportation. Anybody standing in the shelter notices that you’re less protected than the older design – do you need to count complaints?

    It would be great if somebody in charge used the system. It’s like the new gate design that slows people down and can be opened by putting your hand over the top. Did somebody in charge walk through the gates? Apparently not.

  • Boris

    This story makes it readily apparent that nobody in charge at MUNI or City Hall actually uses public transportation. Anybody standing in the shelter notices that you’re less protected than the older design – do you need to count complaints?

    It would be great if somebody in charge used the system. It’s like the new gate design that slows people down and can be opened by putting your hand over the top. Did somebody in charge walk through the gates? Apparently not.

  • Becca Klarin

    Over the past few weeks, I have yet to feel anything close to dry under one of these new “shelters”. I’ve even put up my umbrella UNDER the shelter because I’ve needed extra coverage. Seriously. What’s up with that? And no, the shelter seats do not dry off quickly– they stay wet! And nobody wants a damp ass during a rainstorm.

  • Becca Klarin

    Over the past few weeks, I have yet to feel anything close to dry under one of these new “shelters”. I’ve even put up my umbrella UNDER the shelter because I’ve needed extra coverage. Seriously. What’s up with that? And no, the shelter seats do not dry off quickly– they stay wet! And nobody wants a damp ass during a rainstorm.

  • moore

    There is also the fact that the seals are falling on the undulations on the roof. ( Why to the peaces meet a vally and not a peak? )

  • moore

    There is also the fact that the seals are falling on the undulations on the roof. ( Why to the peaces meet a vally and not a peak? )

  • areallyniceguy

    Exactly–both are maddening examples of things that are poorly designed because the people who are designing them aren’t actually using them.

  • areallyniceguy

    Exactly–both are maddening examples of things that are poorly designed because the people who are designing them aren’t actually using them.

  • Andrew Dalton

    I usually wish I was on Muni 10-15 minutes before I actually am.

  • Andrew Dalton

    I usually wish I was on Muni 10-15 minutes before I actually am.

  • frenchjr25

    Why do we need new shelters to begin with?

    If they cost $10,000 that makes $12 million for 1,200 shelters. If they cost $30,000 (which seems more likely since government is paying for it) the cost goes up to $36 million.

    This is crazy seeing the budget mess MUNI is in. Seems to me that it’s far past time for the Board of Supervisors to replace the entire command structure at MUNI with people that actually understand they are working for the people.

  • frenchjr25

    Why do we need new shelters to begin with?

    If they cost $10,000 that makes $12 million for 1,200 shelters. If they cost $30,000 (which seems more likely since government is paying for it) the cost goes up to $36 million.

    This is crazy seeing the budget mess MUNI is in. Seems to me that it’s far past time for the Board of Supervisors to replace the entire command structure at MUNI with people that actually understand they are working for the people.

  • Akit

    Lundberg, the creator of the junky shelters also created the new ticket booth at Geary & Presidio. That $400K booth looks like a cement block.

  • Akit

    Lundberg, the creator of the junky shelters also created the new ticket booth at Geary & Presidio. That $400K booth looks like a cement block.

  • irrelevance

    I’m pretty sure Clear Channel is footing the bill of creating and installing all the new shelters because the city is letting them exclusively advertise on them.

  • irrelevance

    I’m pretty sure Clear Channel is footing the bill of creating and installing all the new shelters because the city is letting them exclusively advertise on them.

  • LibertyHiller

    I’d rather have a shelter that leaks under some weather conditions than the boarded-up one we have at 21st and Chattanooga on the J-Church.

    (It seems that some yuppies moved into the neighborhood last summer and started whining about homeless people using it as a crashpad. Muni’s solution: make it unusable for everyone, instead of asking the cops to come through once per shift to roust any campers.)

  • LibertyHiller

    I’d rather have a shelter that leaks under some weather conditions than the boarded-up one we have at 21st and Chattanooga on the J-Church.

    (It seems that some yuppies moved into the neighborhood last summer and started whining about homeless people using it as a crashpad. Muni’s solution: make it unusable for everyone, instead of asking the cops to come through once per shift to roust any campers.)

  • bonusj

    What, are you going to melt in the rain you San Francisco whiny bitches! You have a wet ass?! Boo fricking hoo. It rains like that for a month tops and the rest of the year? Come Feb… No problems.

    I rather like Lundberg’s silly design. The others that were pitched by CBS Outdoor and Cemusa were boring as fuck. San Franciscan’s like crazy arty public infrastructure and Lundberg delivered like Timmy the freak. Now many, many people love them and eat that shit up (John King rides the Muni, no?). I for one am sorry that you so disapprove. Maybe you should try move to Oakland and rocking the AC Transit, I’ve heard the the shelters there are the bomb – Bulletproof, too. Regarding the Muni, Clear Channel delivered with a ton of cash and in case you didn’t catch the bajillion Rachel Gordon articles, the agency is fucking broke. Let them turn some tricks to keep the buses with tires.

    BTW: I had loads of respect for Lundberg, UNTIL he threw the wheelchairs under the bus. He takes a little flack and turns around and blames it on the damn handicaps… Now he fits perfectly high architect wanker stereotype. Alas. The Muni people that approved the design were transit users through and through. Indeed.

    Enjoy your pretty shelters! I certainly did.

  • bonusj

    What, are you going to melt in the rain you San Francisco whiny bitches! You have a wet ass?! Boo fricking hoo. It rains like that for a month tops and the rest of the year? Come Feb… No problems.

    I rather like Lundberg’s silly design. The others that were pitched by CBS Outdoor and Cemusa were boring as fuck. San Franciscan’s like crazy arty public infrastructure and Lundberg delivered like Timmy the freak. Now many, many people love them and eat that shit up (John King rides the Muni, no?). I for one am sorry that you so disapprove. Maybe you should try move to Oakland and rocking the AC Transit, I’ve heard the the shelters there are the bomb – Bulletproof, too. Regarding the Muni, Clear Channel delivered with a ton of cash and in case you didn’t catch the bajillion Rachel Gordon articles, the agency is fucking broke. Let them turn some tricks to keep the buses with tires.

    BTW: I had loads of respect for Lundberg, UNTIL he threw the wheelchairs under the bus. He takes a little flack and turns around and blames it on the damn handicaps… Now he fits perfectly high architect wanker stereotype. Alas. The Muni people that approved the design were transit users through and through. Indeed.

    Enjoy your pretty shelters! I certainly did.

  • Sergio Riccetti-Schubert

    It was falling straight down this morning and the seats were wet. Some of the panel connections on the roof were leaking in addition to the angle allowing water to drip in from the edge, and the texture of the seat plastic holds the water, despite Mr. Lundberg’s claim. The shelters are a disaster, and the city should force ClearChannel to pay to have them all replaced with a more competent design.

  • Brian Doucette

    Ever since they were installed i knew that they wouldn’t provide enough shelter. John King who critiques architecture for the Chronicle raved about these shelters, when I wrote to say I thought the design wouldn’t provide enough shelter in the rain , he replied,”we’ll see”. It burns me up to see these shelters, and here’s some of what I’ve noticed. When sitting the glass, on the end where the seats butt up to the glass, starts about 2 feet off the ground, exposing legs to rain and wind. Glass panels that are left off for easier wheelchair access are great, but if the panels are left off and there is a partial wall right up against a shelter or a sandy sloping hillside I can’t see someone in a wheel chair getting any use out of that missing panel. There’s one shelter at Page and Masonic that is backed up to a wall that comes about 3 thirds of the way up the back of the shelter, and there are no glass panels on the back of the shelter! At Geary and Divis. There are no side and no seats at that shelter (I’ve seen this in other parts of the city), nice for people coming back from the hospital. The comment about not being able to do anything about rain falling at a horizontal angle is typical, got an excuse for everything, the watch my back syndrome.