MALONE — New eco-friendly bus stop shelters are coming to public transportation stops throughout the North Country.
The development of the new bus shelters — that feature green, living roofs — is a collaboration between Paul Smith’s College, the North Country Healthy Heart Network and the Franklin County Department of Highways.
“We’re excited to see Franklin County implement aspects of the Complete Streets plan we helped design,” said Andrew Cassata, healthy schools coordinator for the Saranac Lake-based Heart Network. “This project brings together public and private partners, and meshes public safety with environmentally sound practices.”
The shelter roofs were developed by students of Paul Smith’s Professor Deb Naybor’s social research and sustainability classes as a senior capstone project.
“Our students are expanding their interaction with local communities through building and design,” Naybor, of the college’s Environment and Society Department, said. “This latest project has students from all areas of study teaming up with The Heart Network and the Franklin County Highway Department to design bus shelters for areas throughout the North Country. By brainstorming and sketching their plans for public good, they’ve learned they can have a positive impact on their community and have their ideas heard. From bakers to foresters, the students are learning how to make the place they live more sustainable and safe.”
A living roof, or green roof, is partially or completely covered with vegetation and planted over a waterproof surface. These roofs promote insect life and pollination, while reducing greenhouse gases.
“This approach is also aesthetically pleasing,” Naybor said, “and when used on a bus shelter, they’re promoting a healthier environment in a place where this normally wouldn’t occur.”
According to the Heart Network, the students produced 40 initial designs for living roofs and the senior capstone students refined them to create a set of concepts that would be reviewed by the Highway Department.
On March 3, the Franklin County Board of Legislators authorized Highway Superintendent Edward Adams and County Manager Donna J. Kissane to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Heart Network.
Kissane said the county has been discussing shelters with the Heart Network for a couple years, and she worked with Heart Network Program Coordinator Andrea Goff on a contract.
“They are funding this and it will be great improvement for our public transportation ridership and aesthetically pleasing,” Kissane said. “We thank the Network and Paul Smith’s College for their efforts, design and state-of-the-art bus stops.”
According to the county board’s resolution, the partnership with the Heart Network will provide funds for signage and the bus shelters.
“It’s been a couple of years since the Franklin County Complete Streets Policy has been adopted, and we are excited to move from the planning phase to the implementation phase with projects throughout the county,” Kissane said. “We’re very excited to partner with the Heart Network and Paul Smith’s College to bring new bus shelters to our communities. The design is progressive and fits in with our area’s beautiful landscape. We appreciate the opportunity to highlight this project and extend our thanks to the Heart Network and the students at Paul Smith’s College.”
Franklin County will start construction with four pilot sites that utilize expenses from the Heart Network’s Creating Healthy Schools & Communities program.
The shelters are being constructed by St. Mary & Sons Transport, North Bangor.