Construction on the CTA's first bus rapid transit (BRT) project will begin in spring of 2012 along Jeffery
Street Boulevard between 67th and 103rd streets after the agency's board on Wednesday gave it the go-ahead.
The CTA board approved a joint agreement with the Chicago Department of transportation to work cooperatively on the project. BRT is a special form of bus service that is aimed at providing faster, more efficient, and more reliable service than an ordinary bus line. Two common features of BRT are dedicated bus lanes and transit signal prioritization.
CDOT will be responsible for construction and street improvements along the Jeffery corridor. According to a CTA press release, "those items include information kiosks and street furniture such as landscaping and bike racks. Construction will include street, sidewalk, lighting and signal improvements, pavement markings and signage, customer boarding areas, ADA ramps, and the installation of software to time signal prioritization."
More project details from the release:
The agencies will collaborate on construction, operation and maintenance elements of the Jeffery BRT project. The CTA and CDOT will develop jointly all plans and specifications necessary for the project. The CTA will also purchase an interior bus LCD screen displaying real-time travel information, and upgrade the exterior appearance of the buses by introducing new designs, colors and lighting features to existing CTA vehicles.
Jeffery BRT is funded by an $11 million Federal Bus and Bus Facilities Livability Grant which was awarded to the CTA in 2010. The grant money covers the expenses of all project phases including the procurement, construction and maintenance items outlined in the CTA and CDOT agreement.
A second contract was also approved allowing the CTA to move forward with planning for BRT along the Western Corridor which includes Western and Ashland Avenues between Howard and 95th streets. After a competitive bidding process, the Chicago Transit Board approved a contract with Camp Dresser & McKee in the amount of $1.6 million. The entire contract amount is funded by a Federal Transit Administration grant previously awarded to the CTA.
The CTA board will meet again next Tuesday, Nov. 15, to consider and no doubt approve the 2012 budget presented last month by CTA President Forrest Claypool. The big unknown in that budget is whether the unions will agree to at least $80 million in work rule changes so the CTA can avoid fare hikes and/or service cuts.