John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
But how do you get to the top part of the big B?
For the easily confused, here's a bus stop that couldn't be clearer about what it is in letters measuring 14 feet tall and 7 feet wide.
The extremely literal "BUS STOP" went up in mid-July in Baltimore's Highlandtown neighborhood next to the headquarters of the Creative Alliance, the nonprofit group that helped erect it. The permanent installation was physically made by local sculptors working under the direction of mmmm..., the Spanish art collective that was also behind those the social interaction-encouraging "Meeting Bowls" in Times Square in 2011.
Each letter can accommodate up to four people and welcomes different kinds of posturing: Commuters can lie down in the curve of the S, for instance, and the B is designed to shelter physically disabled riders. Presumably you could use the U like a half-pipe for wicked skateboard tricks, but they probably wouldn't encourage it.
Here's Creative Alliance explaining how "BUS STOP" came to exist:
Highlandtown residents, at streetscape design workshops hosted by the Creative Alliance and Southeast CDC, requested an interactive bus shelter that made a statement for the Highlandtown Arts & Entertainment District. The artists mmmm… wanted to create a place for the community to enjoy, interact, and meet while waiting for the bus. Their mission was to transform the dull experience of waiting for the bus to an entertaining, leisurely space in the middle of the lively rhythm of Highlandtown.
Have a look: