Commandeered by is
INDIVIDUAL: Suburban bus commuter
GROUP SIZE: 205,368
NATURE OF GROUP: Daily bus commuters accessing Denver RTD buses via one of 10,129 active bus stops.
INCIDENCE OF SOCIOMETRY: This bus stop commandeered by: IS
This report was originally published on a tri-fold display
at Sociometry Fair 2008 in Chicago.
After a winter snow storm this IS special agent and suburban bus commuter found IS-self standing ankle deep in slushy brown snow-plow spray, unable to sit on the likewise fetid bus bench. I thought to is-self, “Why don’t they shovel off this bus stop!?”
After several minutes of cold contemplation (the #20 bus isn’t always on-time on snowy days), I wondered, “Who are THEY?” I use the stop, why should I expect someone else to take care of it? The RTD provided a great service – driving me downtown on a fairly reasonable schedule for $1.75. I realized it was unreasonable to expect them to also come shovel my bus stop for the same rate.
So, I procured what in the art industry we call “In Advance of a Broken Arm” and took it upon myself to clear off the stop after each storm – to the benefit of myself and the dozen or so of my neighbors who used the stop.
See all before and after photos
After several storms it occurred to me that I could officially adopt the bus stop. I began to look around at other bus stops for comparables. Adopted bus stops are unceremoniously adorned with a 6 inch square white placard with
(Your Name Here)
That is apparently where it stopped. Officially adopted stops weren’t shoveled. In fact they looked no better than my stop. I contacted RTD with an inquirey and received the following RE:
First I need you to know that this is a voluntary program only so there is no pay for this. The way the program works is we provide the trash can, bags for the can and a 12 X 12 sign that is attached to the pole and in exchange for doing this we ask that you take the full bag out of the trash can and throw it away with the rest of your trash. You have the choice of either wanting a can or not and we will provide bags either way. You will need to sign an agreement form that states what I just did above and allows you to tell us what you would like on your sign. After we receive the signed agreement form then we will install a can if requested, drop off bags and make up a sign with your information on it. A bus stop is only the stops that have a pole or a pole and a bench but not the enclosed ones which are called shelters and are already maintained. I hope this information helps you. If you need any further information, have questions please feel free to write me at my email address or you can call me at 303-299-6365.
Monica Thomas, RTD-Adopt-A-Stop Program Coordinator
My stop doesn’t have the trash issue endemic to stops in commercial areas. The issue was snow removal and maintenence. It occurred to me that by utilizing the IS guerilla public service technique, I could anonymously commandeer the bus stop and, as a consequence, be unencumbered by any formal commitment or rules of engagement.
After deciding to commandeer the bus stop my level of commitment to its aesthetic value became more intense. I removed the abandoned dirty green JOBS box to both facilitate thorough snow removal and improve the look of the stop.
I had grown to like living in suburban Lakewood partly due to driving past the “Welcome to Lakewood” sign on 26th and Wadsworth. The Lakewood slogan, “We Are Building an Inclusive Community”, really spoke to me. On a recent trip south on Wadsworth I was dismayed to see that someone had amateurishly defaced the sign in a poorly thought-out guerilla modification.
In response I decided to put my graphic arts skills to use and dramatically improve the look of the stop by replacing the ugly RE-MAX advertisement with a guerilla, yet sincere, Lakewood promotional advertisement.
With the new advertisement and the addition of a couple flower bowls my bus stop is now dramatically spruced up and ready for spring. By commandeering, rather than adopting, the stop I’ve been able to actually improve the location rather than taking ownership over the stop in name only.