Adopt a shelter

Adopt a Shelter!


Some of the tags and damage spotted over the years.

If you’re a frequent transit user, you no doubt have the bus or train stop where you start most of your trips. Whether it’s a nice new shelter, a heated train stop, or just a pole in the grass – it’s the launching pad for whatever adventure you’re taking that day (or maybe just going to work!). That launching pad may not always be at its best – one day you might wake up to find that it’s been defaced with graffiti, hit by a car, or even just had its light burned out.

With over 960 shelters spread across the region, Metro Transit relies on regular riders to report those incidents, and to make sure that shelters are staying in good shape. As part of that process, they also have an Adopt-a-Shelter program, which encourages local residents, businesses, and other groups to “adopt” the shelter they frequent or are near, and regularly monitor its condition.

Adopt a shelter

Students from Brooklyn Center Secondary who adopted a shelter at 65th/Dupont, near the school, after it was installed in 2017. Photo provided by Metro Transit.

According to Drew Kerr, Public Relations Specialist for Metro Transit, out of those total 960 shelters though, only about 60 or so have been adopted. That can vary by region – for example in the City of Brooklyn Center almost every shelter has been adopted by a community group or business. According to Kerr, that took the hard work of a dedicated resident, Diane Sannes, who worked to get almost all shelters covered by someone.

Alex at bus shelter

Me, the day they put the sign up on the shelter.

A little over three years ago I started down the road to adopt my nearest bus shelter at 44th Ave S and Lake Street. I regularly ride the 21 with my kids, and I know how much a good shelter can make the difference when riding transit with young kids. When we’re stuck at night at a shelter with no light, or in winter at one with broken glass panels – it can turn the most fun part of our outing – getting there by bus – into a real challenge.

The process of adopting our shelter was straightforward – I interviewed for the adoption, which Kerr says helps ensure that individuals understand the full scope of the commitment they’re undertaking. From that moment on, I’ve served as an extra set of eyes and ears on the stop, reporting issues like tagging, vomit, and broken glass. The shelter has been tagged or otherwise defaced a few times, but thanks to the team at Metro Transit it’s always cleaned off within 24 hours of me reporting it.

While it’s not much, adopting my frequently used shelter has made me feel a little prouder every time I start my journey, and made every ride with my kids a little more special.Want to adopt your own shelter? The process is fairly easy – start here and learn more about all that’s involved.

Alex Tsatsoulis

About Alex Tsatsoulis

Alex is a Minneapolis resident, dad to two kids, and multi-modal advocate with a passion for making bicycling, transit, and walking fun and accessible for all. Alex's favorite bus line is the 21.

3 thoughts on “Adopt a Shelter!

  1. Pat ThompsonPat Thompson

    Does adopting a shelter include shoveling the snow at the shelter (or stop)? That seems like the most important thing of all, since it doesn’t get done by Metro Transit at almost any stops, and very few adjacent building-owners either.

  2. Scott

    Even when Metro Transit or neighbors shovel out a shelter, plows often come through to pile giant mounds back over it. Municipalities like Minneapolis should take responsibility for clearing snow at bus stops rather than putting it all on Metro Transit and adjacent property owners.

    1. Pat ThompsonPat Thompson

      Definitely true that it’s not a one-and-done to keep bus stops cleared between snowfalls. It makes the most sense that the immediately adjacent property owner or occupant would do it since they are right there and can see when it needs to be done. The other option is a crew dedicated just to this who continually sweeps through a particular route of stops, possibly in sync with the plow wakes, which would usually be the county rather than the city on bus routes.

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