Metropolitan Transit Service and North County Transit District buses use county-maintained roads for some of their routes, and bus stop benches and shelters are also within county right-of-way. A 5-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote October 29 directed county staff to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with MTS and NCTD to update the county policy regarding transit benches and shelters within county right-of-way.
Board of Supervisors Policy J-31 addresses the placement of transit benches and shelters in county right-of-way. The policy includes requirements that the county’s Department of Public Works (DPW) consider any community planning group of community sponsor group recommendation prior to issuing an encroachment permit for the bench or shelter and that the applicant obtain written responses from the community advisory group. The design must conform with DPW and adopted community standards and guidelines, and any advertising must comply with the restrictions in Policy J-31.
The current MTS administration expressed concern with the requirement to obtain written responses from community planning groups. The supervisors’ October 29 action included waiving Policy J-31 to allow the Memorandum of Understanding to include conflicting provisions, although MTS as well as NCTD will still be required to notify the appropriate planning group and design review board prior to the installation of any new facilities.
“I think this is a really good effort,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
The advertising restrictions of Policy J-31 limit a bus shelter to two signs and limit bus shelter advertisements to six feet in height and four feet in width. Bus bench advertisements are limited to two feet in height and four feet in width. If a private community organization provides a non-advertising transit bench at an authorized transit stop the county can prohibit advertising on that permitted bench. Policy J-31 also includes location, design, agency identification, and insurance requirements.
Board policies are subject to periodic sunset review to determine if the policy should be maintained, modified, or eliminated. Policy J-31 will be reviewed for potential updates prior to Dec. 31, 2020.