Los Angeles Unveils ‘Bus Stop’ To Advance ‘Gender Equity’, Immediately Gets Mocked

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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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The City of Los Angeles’s transportation department unveiled a new bus stop designed to provide commuters shade as part of its “Gender Equity Action Plan” Thursday, immediately prompting ridicule.

The city designed four bus stops called La Sombrita, meaning little shade, which were designed to provide light at night and shade during the day in an attempt to make female riders feel safer, according to local outlet Spectrum News. The project, which cost around $10,000 compared to a typical $50,000 bus shelter, drew immediate criticism online.

“Honestly… this is literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen and I literally study government waste for a living,” Patrick Hedger, executive director of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, wrote. “I’m obsessed with La Sombrita. I want to fly to LA to see it.”

“This sucks shit and I can’t believe you fucking hams spent 10,000 of our tax dollars on this instead of just building more actual bus shelters,” one Twitter user commented.

Instead of a traditional bus shelter with an overhang above the benches to protect travelers from the elements, La Sombrita is a narrow, tall structure that is meant to cast shade to nearby benches during some hours of the day. The new design “aims to make public transportation more affordable, efficient, and safe for all genders” and is “a direct response to feedback from women who rely on public transit, emphasizing their need for increased shade and lighting at bus stops,” the LA Department of Transportation (DOT) wrote on Facebook. (RELATED: Comedian Gets Bullied By Feminist Studies Major)

“They probably spent more time naming this than making sure it works,” one user wrote.

The structures were designed by women and for women, according to Spectrum News. The project was part of the Department of Transportation’s Gender Equity Action Plan, according to Kounkuey Design Initiative, an international design firm that was involved in the project.

A tweet from the LA DOT had garnered 28 likes and more than 200 replies, many of them negative, by Friday afternoon.

“So this initiative originated via a survey of women who rely on transit, who want more shade at bus stops. (Who doesn’t?) And what results is the smallest possible shade structure in the universe of shade structures. And this is branded as gender equity,” one Twitter user wrote.

One tweet showed an individual standing directly next to the bus stop structure on a sunny day and receiving virtually no shade as the structure’s shadow was cast at an angle that did not reach directly below it or to the benches beside it.

“Thank God taxpayer money is being spent on gender equity inclusive light posts,” the Twitter account Comfortably Smug wrote. “And of course to pay for INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL for the equity consultants to study the way to make the most gender equity inclusive light posts.”

“La Sombrita is a small part of a bigger project to make transit work better for everyone in Los Angeles. As its mission-driven designers, we are glad people have such strong feelings about the project,” Chelina Odbert, CEO of the Kounkuey Design Initiative, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We worked with real people all across Los Angeles, in city agencies and in neighborhoods, on addressing the many intersecting issues that people rightly noted stand in the way of a gender-equitable transit system. This first iteration of La Sombrita is a short pilot to allow transit users to test and refine a viable, low-cost, small-scale, design fix that helps improve things now. But it’s part of a larger action plan called ‘Next Stop’ that addresses the bigger issues in the longer term. It’ll be released later this year, and has not cost taxpayers a dime. The good news is: Feedback has always been part of the plan and is built into our process.”

The LA DOT did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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