Bell Manor Loop is one of those loops that was born out of necessity and has outlived it’s usefulness.
In all fairness it is a very busy bus loop and serves as the eastern terminus of route 2 BARTON, one of the busiest bus routes in the whole Hamilton Street Railway transit network. It also has a second platform for 55A STONEY CREEK CENTRAL, which ducks in while traveling between Fruitland Road and Eastgate Square in both directions.
With all of the bus and pedestrian activity at this little protected bus loop, it suffers from a poor design and a high chance for pedestrian injury.
I speak from experience on that last one.
The Bell Manor Loop has been in operation for decades, in a design which has remained largely unchanged. The problem with the design is that in its current configuration buses cannot easily line up flush with the curb on either platform making getting off the bus as a passenger a very difficult and hazardous ordeal.
Typically when buses arrive at the curb there is a slight drop between the level of the bus and the sidewalk. Buses can lean and lower to lessen this drop. However because the curb at Bell Manor Loop is largely curved there it is next to impossible for a bus to line up, leaving a large gap between the bus and the curb, and also a large drop to the roadway below.
Last week, on a particularly rainy and wet day, I attempted to step from the bus to the curb, which was quite a stretch. I managed to slip on the edge of the sidewalk and come crashing to the ground. While I was mostly okay this brings to light a serious concern if this were anyone with an infirmity.
You’ll note from the photos below, taken of multiple buses over multiple days, this is not a one off. You can also see that platform 2, which is served by 55A STONEY CREEK CENTRAL (10 B-LINE EXPRESS), is very small. Typically buses stopping here are the 60′ articulated kind and neither the middle nor the back doors line up with a curb.
So what can be done?
In the short term the sidewalks can be adjusted to provide actual flush platforms (see Eastgate Transit Terminal). In the long term there is a vacant parcel of land on the opposite side of Bell Manor Street which has far more room for a proper loop.
And hey, if the city finally abolished area rating the 2 BARTON bus could actually travel further eastward on Barton Street as far as Fruitland Road, where the 55A terminates now. This would make the Bell Manor Loop unnecessary.