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posted: 9/17/2013 5:20 PM

DuPage towns not sold on bus shelters with ads

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DuPage County has been pushing a proposal to add bus shelters with advertising throughout the county, but most municipalities apparently aren't interested.

Members of the county board's public transit committee learned Tuesday that Woodridge is the only town to allow Pace bus shelters with advertising. While Carol Stream officials have said they're open to the idea, they haven't yet signed on.

"There's a resistance at the municipal level on these shelters," said county board member John Curran, who serves on the public transit committee.

A plan to build bus shelters with advertising was scrapped about eight years ago after several communities -- including Glen Ellyn, Lombard, Villa Park and Wheaton -- expressed concerns about the structures serving as small billboards.

County officials decided to revisit the issue because they want to encourage more residents to use Pace, the suburban bus service. Statistics show adding bus shelters helps boost ridership, officials say.

"They have been a success in Woodridge," said Curran, who lives there. "I think it's a great benefit for transit riders in that area. Other municipalities have been slow to embrace that concept."

Selling advertising must be part of the plan because that's what generates the money needed to build and maintain the shelters.

"I don't hear towns that want to pony up for these shelters," Curran said. "So how are they going to be paid for?"

To help county officials decide their next move, they want to determine what municipalities have local laws that would prevent shelters from having advertising.

County board member Robert Larsen said he understands why some might be opposed to having bus shelters, especially in residential areas.

"I don't care how you decorate it," he said, "Nobody wants to see a big bus shelter on their street."

But Larsen says that doesn't mean the county should abandon the bus shelter idea. He said more needs to be done to educate municipal leaders about it.

"It's obviously a long, slow process," Larsen said.

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