Bus shelters are starting to reappear at stops around Annapolis as Creative Outdoor Advertising (COA) installs the first nine shelters this week.
The Florida-based company was contracted by the city in July to install 30 bus shelters and benches to replace the 80 shelters Clear Channel removed in February.
At the time, city officials were promised the new shelters would be installed within six to eight weeks.
"I’m incredibly disappointed," Mayor Josh Cohen said. "It’s unacceptable how slow the response has been. It’s disrespectful to our bus riders; they deserve better."
COA told city officials that the first nine shelters will be installed by Friday, and city parking specialist Iain Banks said their Plexiglas coverings and benches should be installed sometime next week.
"The major delay has been a delay in the actual production of these things from COA," Banks said. "We hope to have the remaining 21 shelters go in as soon as we can, but we imagine it may be another four weeks until the next installation of next nine."
Banks said the process was moving frustratingly slow.
Annapolis didn't pay COA for the shelters. The company installs them free of charge and collects the advertising revenue. The city will receive a 3 percent cut of that revenue starting in the fifth year of its 10-year contract.
"The idea of having bus shelters without the city having to pay for them is attractive, but one of the drawbacks is when it’s not within our control and something like this happens," Cohen said.
About 60,000 people ride Annapolis buses each month, which make more than 200 stops. Banks said not all stops will be getting shelters, but he hopes to have about 70 once the process is complete.
Cohen said the other 40 shelters will not be coming from COA. He and Transportation Director Richard Newell are considering two options: Use city funds to build the shelters or contract with a different company to supply the remainder.
Cohen said Newell has been talking informally with another company, but he declined to say who that is.
As for COA, Cohen said he is hopeful the shelters will arrive before winter snow. He said city officials have discussed the idea of breaking its contract with COA, but they decided against the idea because it wouldn't expedite the process.
"There are a variety of legal options, but my main focus is to get the shelters up," Cohen said. "If COA does not get the rest of them up quickly, we may very well pursue one of these venues."
Preliminary locations for the new shelters:
• West Street at Parole Street
• West Street at Chinquapin Round Road
• West Street at Cherry Grove Avenue
• West Street at Legion Avenue
• West Street at Solomons Island Road
• West Street at Katcef Street
• Riva Road at Holiday Court
• Riva Road at Hearne Road
• Riva Road at Truman Parkway
• Admiral Cochrane Drive at Harry Truman Parkway
• Forest Drive at Riva Road
• Forest Drive at Youngs Farm Road
• Forest Drive at Rosecrest Drive
• Forest Drive at Gemini Drive
• Forest Drive at Chaney Drive
• Forest Drive at South Cherry Grove
• Admiral Drive at Poplar
• Bestgate Road at Harbour Gate Drive
• Bestgate Road at Severn Grove Road
• Bestgate Road at Commerce Park Drive
• Jennifer Road south of Admiral Drive
• Jennifer Road at Medical Parkway
• Annapolis Mall Road
• Housley Road at Defense Highway