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‘In Service’ Inflatable Bus Shelter Offers Activities & New Environment At Downtown Minneapolis Bus Stop

03/17/2016, 9:30am CDT
By Mark Remme

This is the second project in a series built in partnership between MDID and Metro Transit focused on Tactical Urbanism Initiatives.

The second project of the ongoing Bus Stop Pilot Projects series produced by the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (MDID) in partnership with Metro Transit was unveiled this week outside Capella Tower, managed by Ryan Companies US, on 6th Street South between 2nd and 3rd Avenue South.

The project, called In Service, was designed by artist Emily Stover. It is an inflatable bus shelter and residency that provides space for riders to wait for their bus while exploring the everyday role of transit within a city. In Service features an inflated shelter in the form of a mass transit bus, and it includes pop-up activations ranging from informational material to refreshments for rush hour crowds. The In Service bus shelter will be available for use weekdays through Friday, March 25.

The Bus Stop Pilot Projects are an effort of MDID’s Tactical Urbanism Initiative, which aims to make downtown public spaces safer through temporary experiments. This project is the second of four proposed bus stop projects that are being created by different design-build teams. The next project will be rolled out this spring.

“The Downtown Improvement District annually conducts a Perception Survey, which gathers information from the public and helps us gauge how to enhance safety, cleanliness and greening downtown,” said Ben Shardlow, MDID’s Director of Public Realm Initiatives. “The Bus Stop Pilot Projects were created based off findings from our Perception Survey. We found some bus stops can be sites of special concern for perceived safety, and this pilot project offers an opportunity for us to bring creative thinkers together to improve the experience of riders, passers-by and adjacent stakeholders.”

Stover is an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design as well as a designer and public artist who works on temporary architecture and experimental art. She has completed projects at the Bakken Museum, the Art Shanty Project and the Walker Art Center. Stover creates work about land use, system design and urban infrastructure. Several guests will be invited to the In Service shelter create engaging activities for performances around themes of transportation, downtown life and service.

“Our downtown community is filled with daily commuters,” Stover said. “I want to give riders a playful space for celebrating transit and for enjoying the act of traveling together.”

MDID partnered with the University of Minnesota College of Design in 2014 on the Streetscape Lab, a pop-up workshop for student designers focused on tactical urbanism projects. The success of those projects led to a dialogue with Metro Transit, which in turn led to a MDID-Metro Transit partnership on pilot projects at high ridership stops downtown that do not currently have a shelter. A Request for Qualifications was issued by MDID in September 2015 to gather ideas from interested designers that could deliver creative ways to enhance bus stops throughout downtown.

The placement and design parameters for In Service was developed through conversations with Metro Transit staff, Capella Tower and MDID staff.


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