Vienna's homemade bus shelters, built because the town got tired of waiting for long-promised Metro shelters to materialize have won one of the Virginia Municipal League's first annual "I wish I Had Thought of That" awards.

The four shelters, located on Maple Avenue (Rte. 123), Vienna's busiest thoroughfare, were built for about $380 each. The cost was cheap because the shelters were designed free of charge by the Vienna architectural firm of Kohler-Daniels and built with labor donated by students enrolled in the James Madison High School Maintenance and Repair Shop program.

The town provided the materials at cost, the Department of Public Works donated its services for post-hole digging and asphalt laying, and the Planning Office acquired the easements.

Metro's shelters cost about $3,000 - half for materials and half for installation. Metro planner Ray Russell said they are bigger (holding up to 20 people compared to Vienna's five) and made of "more durable" steel and glass (Vienna's are wooden.)

Russell said the design of Metro's shelters had to be approved by the D.C. Fine Arts Commission and the D.C. government's Public Space Committee. Installation costs is high, he said, because sometimes fences and walls have to be moved to accommodate the shelters.

"We could have built a cheaper shelter," Russell said, "but the (Metro) authority wanted something that would look attractive and stay up for a long time."