Waiting to catch a bus can mean standing for a while – unless, of course, you have a bench to sit on. Many Detroit bus stops lacked benches until a young college student decided to take the issue into his own hands. That’s when Sit On It Detroit, an organization that puts reclaimed-wood benches in bus stops, was born. It’s a simple concept that’s affecting more than just city bus stops.
Charles Molnar was a Wayne State University student who saw an issue: a lack of seating at public bus stops. Instead of complaining about it, he decided to become a part of the solution.
Molnar had never built a bench before, but he didn’t let that stop him. He had a simple design and, with that in mind, he gathered wood from abandoned houses and businesses in Detroit. Then, he called up a family friend to ask if he could use his warehouse as workspace. After a few weeks, the first bench was installed.
Kyle Bartell, a friend of Molnar’s and co-founder of Sit On It Detroit, had the idea to include a bookcase in each bench. He sees the bookcases as improvised public libraries that encourage literacy and give riders something to do while waiting for the bus.
“People are definitely using the books – we’re constantly refilling them,” Molnar said.
It’s been over a year since Sit On It Detroit was born, and Bartell and Molnar have installed more than 50 benches at bus stops throughout the city. Now, Sit On It Detroit works out of a workshop in downtown Detroit.
Supporters of the organization are encouraged to work with the founders to create their own benches. You can build the bench and decide which bus stop it goes to. It’s a great way to actively give back to the community this holiday season!
To find more information on what Sit On It Detroit is up to and how you can be involved, like them on Facebook.