LA is ridiculed for $10,000 ‘life-changing’ bus shade poles for women and minorities that are too narrow for a single person to stand underneath
- Transportation officials held a press conference to unveil La Sombrita last week
- The structure is part of the department’s Gender Equity Action Plan
- Social media users have mocked the design, which consists of a pole attached to a thin, perforated metal crane
Los Angeles has been mocked over a bus shade described as ‘life-changing’ for women and minorities – but is too narrow for even a single person to stand under.
City transport officials held a press conference on Thursday to proudly unveil La Sombrita, the prototype bus shelter design which consists of a pole attached to a thin, perforated metal crane that has sparked ridicule on social media.
La Sombrita (the little shade) costs $10,000 and is part of the LA Department of Transportation (LADOT) Gender Equity Action Plan, which aims to ‘make significant progress to achieving gender equality by 2025.’
The project, with a total cost of $200,000, was reportedly informed by a resident advisory committee of women and ‘gender minorities’ who said lack of shade and lighting at bus stops was a top concern.
‘The lack of essential amenities like shade and lighting isn’t just a simple inconvenience. For women and gender minorities — half of our population — it can change the trajectory of their lives,’ said Chelina Odber, CEO of the Kounkuey Design Initiative, a nonprofit that designed the structure.
City transportation officials held a press conference on Thursday to unveil La Sombrita. Pictured right is Chelina Odber from the Kounkuey Design Initiative, which designed the shelter
One Twitter user shared a picture attempting to stand underneath the shade. ‘Sorry, you can’t stand under La Sombrita,’ he joked. ‘The shade is only for me’
Other online commentators, however, did not find the structure funny, and expressed anger at the city spending thousands on a project they see as useless
But soon after its unveiling, La Sombrita began making the rounds online, and not for the best reasons, as social media users began making fun of it and slamming city officials for the project.
One Twitter user shared a picture attempting to stand underneath the shade, but not being quite covered by it.
‘Sorry, you can’t stand under La Sombrita,’ he joked. ‘The shade is only for me.’
Other online commentators, however, did not find the structure funny, and expressed anger at the city spending thousands on a project they see as useless.
‘We are a rich city that only has problems because LA city gvt is full of grifting, scamming, corruption, waste, kickbacks, pay to play, and other rackets,’ said the Twitter user.
Another weighted in: ‘They designed this to provide shade at a bus stop. Many thousands of dollars for this f*****g joke. Ya’ll should be embarrassed.’
LADOT has defended La Sombrita, saying more traditional shelter would cost as much as $50,000, and claiming the city’s bureaucratic process prevents the building of larger shades that touch the sidewalk.
In order to build structures wide enough to actually provide shade, they would need input from other government departments. Instead, La Sombritas are attached to existing structures previously set up by LADOT.
LADOT also stood by the structure’s design on Twitter, posting a graphic that shoes how it ‘provides shade during the day and utilizes solar energy gathered to light the stop at night’
KDI noted the structure is not supposed to only provide shade, but also has ‘a solar-powered pedestrian light that illuminates the area around a stop’
Social media users have also been sharing images of the structure at night, saying the light does not provide much illumination
LADOT also stood by the structure’s design on Twitter, posting a graphic that shoes how it ‘provides shade during the day and utilizes solar energy gathered to light the stop at night.’
The Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) also defended its creation on Twitter, arguing La Sombrita was ‘designed to get to work fast within the current policy landscape.’
‘To avoid permit and multi-agency coordination, it had to meet these City standards: be less than 24″ wide, maintain 4ft clearance, be entirely on the pole, be durable, and be removable,’ the organization said.
KDI noted the structure is not supposed to only provide shade, but also has ‘a solar-powered pedestrian light that illuminates the area around a stop and adds visibility to the sidewalk at night.’
But social media users have also been sharing images of the structure at night, saying the light does not really provide much lighting and illuminates only the pole.
‘LA ladies, if you’re taking the bus, don’t leave home without an umbrella and a flashlight, because the incompetent voters in LA spent buttloads on a “shade” and “light” thing that provides neither,’ said one Twitter user alongside an image of La Sombrita at night.
Another Twitter user also shared an image of the structure at night and asked: ‘What the f**** does lighting the top of the metal (20 feet up) accomplish?
‘If we created a challenge to design the most absurd bus stop structure costing $10,000, this would win.’
There are currently four pilot La Sombritas in different LA neighborhoods. Each structure features a QR code for users to take a survey on how well they work and how they could be improved.
DailyMail.com has reached out to LADOT and KDI for comment on this story.
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