As a Councilmember, I proposed an amendment to remove the dividers, saying they were unfriendly and anti-social. There would be many individual chairs for people who wanted to sit alone. Therefore it made sense to keep the benches open ‘for the sake of romance’ and couples who wanted to sit close, and ‘for the comfort of people of all sizes, and their stuff.’
This amendment was not deemed friendly by the maker of the main motion, who asked that it be voted upon separately. First-year Councilmember Kevin McKeown seconded my amendment, saying he supported ‘romantic cuddling’; adding that since the approved design would apply city wide, it would also be better for the neighborhoods to have “the added comfort factor of no dividers for their stops.”
Feinstein was describing a vote back in 1999, but he’s worried that Santa Monica staff may start eliminating these undivided bus benches for the Big Blue Bus stops without a proper discussion (see the new bus stop design rendering above). The fear is that homeless people will use the benches, but the evidence doesn’t seem to support the concern so far.
Meanwhile, romantically cuddle while you can at the Big Blue Bus stop bench.