Credit: Darrow Montgomery

We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Why are some of the new Metrobus shelter benches tilted downward, causing you to slide off ?

They’re not supposed to be. The benches were designed in 2007 under a 20-year deal between the District and Clear Channel Adshel. The company builds and maintains the bus shelters; in exchange, it gets to sell their ad space. The city got $150 million for the deal, which—this being D.C.—included design input from nine community meetings. The idea, says District Department of Transportation spokesman John Lisle, was to strike a balance between easy-to-sit and difficult-to-camp, “comfortable while waiting for the bus but not comfortable enough to encourage people to sleep in the shelters.” Still, you aren’t supposed to slide off them: “That is not a standard design component,” Lisle says. Which could mean this is a case of user error.