Ashland Avenue is excellent choice for CTA's full-blown BRT route

Ashland Avenue is a great choice for installing a full-blown bus rapid transit (BRT) route in Chicago. The CTA and Chicago Department of Transportation - along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel - announced Friday that Ashland was chosen over Western Avenue.

The key component of the Ashland Avenue BRT route is a dedicated center bus lane in each direction with stops every half-mile. Bus will speed along Ashland aided by traffic signals programmed to give them priority. The first phase will be built between Cortland (just north of North Avenue) and 31st Street. This phase will cost about $116 million, not including the purchase of special buses. Service is expected to start no later than early 2016.

The #9 Ashland bus had 10.2 million total rides last year, 1 million more than the #49 Western, and serves the bustling medical district around Polk Street. Plus, the new BRT route would connect with seven CTA ‘L’ stations, two Metra stations, and 37 bus routes, and provide a "much-needed north-south transit connection outside of the downtown area," says the CTA.

The Ashland corridor provides access to nearly 133,800 jobs, including large employment centers such as the Illinois Medical District, and serves popular destinations like UIC, Malcolm X College, and the United Center. There are also 99 schools within walking distance of the proposed Ashland BRT.

“One in four households within walking distance of Ashland Avenue currently do not have a car,” said Metropolitan Planning Council Executive Vice President Peter Skosey. “By implementing BRT, a community that is not served well by the rail system will have better access to jobs and connectivity to the overall transit system.”

Here are other features of BRT on Ashland, according to the CTA:

  • Potential pre-payment for faster boarding, similar to ‘L’ stations.
  • Wide doors on left side of new, high-capacity vehicles.
  • Improved lighting, ADA ramps and real-time travel info.
  • More than 75 blocks of new streetscaping, including medians and sidewalks.
  • Parking and loading zones retained on both sides of the street.
  • One vehicle travel lane eliminated in each direction.
  • Left-hand turn lanes removed.

Also to accommodate BRT, the following adjustments would occur:

  • Elimination of two vehicle lanes (one lane in each direction), typically leaving one travel lane in each direction.
  • Small reduction in parking (92% retained) and loading zones (96% retained).
  • Removal of left turns.

Check out the CTA video explaining the elements of bus rapid transit.


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  • This will be a total disaster!
    Ashland is already overcrowded with car traffic in two lanes in each direction, now it will be backed up forever with the traffic squeezed into one lane. Some will go over to Damen or Western, but Damen is stop signs almost every block & Western is just like Ashland now, overloaded with cars.

    And the video was really funny when it showed "Reliable" & every 5 minutes.
    Not a chance in hell it will be reliable.
    And no left turns for miles on end?
    Winter will be even more fun as the city refuses to tow cars even after blizzards, so the right traffic lane is forced out by a few feet.

    Somehow, find the money, find the ambition & build a subway under Western from Howard & Paulina all the way to 119th Street!
    Make no little plans!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I don't agree that Ashland is overcrowded with car traffic. It's one of the fastest North/South streets available.

    Now, if they implement this plan, then you'd be right.

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    In reply to chris:

    You must not travel on Ashland during rush hour, which starts around 3:30.

    I don't travel the whole length of Ashland, but there are bottlenecks at the Metra overpasses south of Hubbard and again at Cortland. The streets narrow to one land at Hubbard, so unless the overpass is rebuilt and widened, I don't see how a bus express lane can be established.

    Rather than reconfiguring Ashland and investing the money in left loading buses, why not try a test run during rush hour by creating an express lane with traffic cones or barricades? It will be immediately apparent whether this plan is feasible.

    It's bad enough that car drivers have to subside public transportation with fuel taxes, must they also be punished with worsening traffic so that riders can save a measly 8 minutes per trip?

  • In reply to Karen F:

    Oh the poor car drivers are so oppressed. Fine, I'll stop paying the portion of my taxes that subsidize the cheap gas and the roads you drive on.

    And yes, gas is comparatively cheap in the US.

    You know what else? We could all decide to get off the buses and drive. Then we'd really be in your way.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Or we could all be like darkwing and create shell corporations to avoid RTA sales tax.

    BTW, I saw that Plass Appliance is going out of business, so that ploy didn't work for them.

  • In reply to Karen F:

    A test lane wouldn't work, because you'd need at least 6 months to see how people's travel habits change as a result of this service. It wouldn't be apparently immediately. It would be necessary to see over time how people adapt in response in this change to the city's transportation infrastructure.

    At the Kinzie Street viaduct, buses could operate in mixed traffic. Not ideal, but a legit option given that this is BRT and not Light Rail. The configuration at Cortland is odd, but still has two lanes each as last I saw, so the middle 2 lanes would be the ones for buses, with the outer ones for general traffic.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    So where will the money come from for such a expensive project?

  • In reply to trolleycoach:

    I don't know, but look to NYC which is spending billions on the Second Ave. subway, extending lines to the West Side rail yards projects & so many other rail programs.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    So you're the troll you posts these rants on Curbed. Good to know.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    I'm not a troll & I've never once even been to the Curbed site.

  • So will the car sharing lots by the BRT stations be all Zipcar, or will they allow I-Go in there as well?

    (I'm not expecting you to answer this Kevin, but maybe someone who reads this will know the answer.)

  • I saw that Chicago Bus had a number of posts on this & everyone thought it to be insane.
    Just bring back the X9, give it & all the Ashland buses signal priority & be done with it!
    In fact, give every bus in Chicago signal priority!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:


  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Thanks for mentioning that, thus I don't have to repeat here.

    But to summarize my main thought there--this is just some report for some consultant to justify the over $1 million grant. Until his Highness the Mayor comes up with $216 million, or even $116 million for the initial part--it ain't going to happen.

    Where's the O'Hare-Midway express train, Kevin? Or the Yellow Line to Old Orchard? Or even the Red Line to 130th?

  • In reply to jack:

    Where? Show me the money....

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Isn't that the point, Kevin?

    Why don't you ask your representative Schakowsky that?

    Do I have to repeat that continually?

  • In reply to jack:

    In the trash bin where they belong.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    Thank you. You definitely have reality.

    At the moment, the Mayor hasn't put the 130th St. one there, but in effect it is.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    From what I remember the X9 was only marginally faster than the 9. A full-on BRT would be much much faster. This is really the cheapest way to get actual rapid transit expansion in the city. A good BRT line is almost as fast as the train (sometimes faster), and easier and cheaper to construct and maintain. Signal priority doesn't do a whole lot if a bus is stuck in traffic. Dedicated lanes (and if they go with it, prepaid fares) really are essential to speeding up the buses.

  • In reply to Myshkin:

    If it is really an alternatives analysis, maybe CTA should reinstate the X9 with traffic signal priority and get a real baseline number.

    But I think that the consultant's aim is the opposite.

  • In reply to Myshkin:

    Yes it is cheaper to build a BRT, but then the people who build the rail line would not make any money.

  • "Also to accommodate BRT, the following adjustments would occur: Elimination of two vehicle lanes (one lane in each direction), typically leaving one travel lane in each direction."

    In other words, 50% less car lanes. "Adjustment" is quite an antiseptic term to use for that, isn't it?

  • "Potential pre-payment for faster boarding" One of the points given in the public meetings was "pre-payment for faster boarding". Seeing "potential" added since then is a disappointing diminishment of BRT and a step towards BRT-lite.

  • In reply to JohnT:

    I agree. They really need to make it a staple. All of that fare payment is a major slowdown.

  • In reply to Myshkin:

    So since they are supposed to be low floor boarding platforms, how do you keep someone from jumping the curb at the middle of the platform. There is no way of enforcing a prepaid fare area, such as what is on the L.

    If the Ventra touch system doesn't speed up boarding, nothing will. And don't tell me that CTA is going to hire fare inspectors on a bus.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yes Jack, there is a way to enforce prepaid boarding, and that is to use the "L" model - have barriers at the entrance so you can only enter after paying your fare.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    You didn't read what I posted. The barrier at the entrance doesn't prevent "someone from jumping the curb at the middle of the platform."

    The only thing I saw that would was the original Jeffery plan of fencing in the bus shelter. Then you are going to have drive by shootings.

  • In reply to jack:

    The solution to the fare evasion issue, given that making barriers work would be difficult, is to do one of the following:

    1. Fully enclose the waiting area, with doors that only open to the street when a bus pulls up to and aligns with them, or;

    2. Have prepayment occur on the platform, without any barriers. Dispatch plainclothes fare enforcement officers onto buses periodically to check that customers have properly paid. A fine of $250 or so for those who try riding for free.

    I used to live in Seattle, and at the first light rail station south of the now discontinued Ride Free zone downtown, such officers would board at least a third of the time I rode. People without a proper fare get fined and kicked off the train, and forced to wait for the next one.

  • In reply to bms2535:

    You must live in a perfectly safe world!
    Not only would it be dangerous to lock people behind a fare barrier,it would be illegal detention if they couldn't freely leave in an emergency, real or perceived,
    As for your #2, Los Angeles has that on it's commuter trains, subway or Orange Line BRT. I've never had my ticket checked once, not once when I rode any of them.
    The only time I ever had to show my ticket was when I rode the regular bus & flashed it to the driver when I boarded.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Scooter, that's LA's problem if they suck at enforcement. It doesn't have to happen in Chicago. And it certainly didn't in Seattle.

    And the barriers I'm talking about would only exist between passengers and the buses. The pedestrian entry to the platform would not be locked, with doors there optional. It could look something like this from the original BRT system in Curitiba, Brazil:

  • In reply to bms2535:

    they do something like that here in Denver on the light rail, my son got busted when he was a teen.

  • In reply to bms2535:

    Read your own writing:
    "1. Fully enclose the waiting area, with doors that only open to the street when a bus pulls up to and aligns with them"

    That locks people in.
    Both illegal & dangerous!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    With that, I was referring to the doors that actually face the bus lanes! Maybe I could have worded that statement a little better, my fault on that. Again, look at the image I provided, that's more along the lines of what I meant, except it would be a low-floor version of it.

    And do you really think I was literally proposing platforms that no one could get into or out of? That would mean zero ridership if you can't enter to begin with.

  • In reply to bms2535:

    bms: I'm replying to your last one, but realizing that you were not proposing the plexiglass mime training box in Mr. Boffo yesterday, I still think that either there is a fare collection enforcement problem, or a threat to the somewhat confined potential passengers in the paid area, especially since this line is proposed to go through some dangerous areas.

  • In reply to jack:

    Good point, this would not apply to the initial segment, but yeah, the whole proposed segment south of Pershing passes through some less than safe areas.

    Perhaps using open platforms a la Metra with periodic fare enforcement officers boarding at random stations is the way to go on this, i.e. my #2 suggestion.

  • In reply to bms2535:

    Darn the lack of reply buttons!

    On your last post, I'm not sure that the near west side portion has been pacified, either, but maybe the presence of the United Center and associated development has helped matters.

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    I am not thrilled about losing the car lanes on Ashland. It's the most reliable/fastest North/South street on the North side.

    Can you drive or pass in the bus lanes if there is no bus near?

  • In reply to PR in RP:

    I would hope not, that would defeat the purpose of a BRT

  • To all the naysayers out there worried about losing a driving lane on Ashland, here's the deadL

    Chicago and CTA committed to full-blown BRT. That means dedicated bus lanes. And that means eliminating either a travel lane or parking lane. So there goes the driving lane.

    I say let's see how it works out before we get so critical.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    So, do you have the $216 million to "see how it works?" The Mayor doesn't. All he has is a consultant's report.

    And what if it doesn't work after the $216 million? Sort of like the Block 37 station working after $330 million, isn't it?

  • In reply to jack:

    Not sure what the alternative is Jack. You must spend money to test theories. This happens to be a theory that is proven in many cities.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    So then you test theories the way the Jeffery Jump was tested; for $10 million.

    And you know what the alternative is--the feds laugh at the Chicago report and give the money to some other city. Have you seen any of the $185 million for BRT that was lost because Chicago didn't pass the parking tax increase in time?

    And what did we get for $330 million on block 37. I guess that tested the theory that Daley lost his focus and wanted a maglev.

    You cried last year that Congress didn't want to pass transit funding, and yet you are very willing to waste it.

  • In reply to jack:

    The Jeffery Jump isn't full blown BRT like what is planned for Ashland, the main key being dedicated bus lanes 24/7 in each direction. So it doesn't count as a legit BRT test line. The first segment of Ashland BRT would be just that, to see if it could be feasibly extended throughout the corridor. IBRT already works just fine in LA, Cleveland, and yes, even small Eugene, OR.

    You know what would be a big waste of money? Building an Ashland subway. No way the ridership is there for that.

  • I hope they plan on building a barrier between the travel lane and the bus lane. If they don't cars will inevitably still drive in the bus lane.

  • Having an empty lane when the BRT bus is not there seems like a waste of a resource. Why not have a system that allows the BRT bus to run like an emergency vehicle? Cars would have to give the right-of-way and it could be enforced with a photo camera on the BRT bus. Maybe there could also be some kind of advanced warning to alert drivers that a BRT bus is approaching in a few minutes. Also, why eliminate ALL left turns rather than only left turns where there is a station (in what used to be the left turn lane)?

  • In reply to Edgewater Roadie:

    Because one person stalled at a left lane would block up all traffic.

  • In reply to chris:

    So either:
    (1) one car stalled in the center lane will block 100% of traffic, or
    (2) someone ready to stall will pull into the bus lane, which is not separated from traffic, so as not to block other users of the one lane.

    In short, neither works.

  • In reply to jack:

    What's the center lane? There's only 2 lanes going each way.

    And by stalled, I meant coming to a stop waiting to make a left across traffic. Sorry for the confusion.

  • In reply to chris:

    In the renderings, at the corner there is a curb lane for right turns or presumably the 9 Local bus stop, the one traffic lane in the center, and the bus lane on the left.

  • In reply to chris:

    And you might have meant something else by stalled (the proper term would have been "waiting" for an opening in traffic), but then somebody better figure out a real stalled. Or an emergency when you have to get the fire department to the scene of a traffic accident or fire.

  • In reply to Edgewater Roadie:

    If the traffic volumes are so high that not all cars can pull over into the right lane, then this wouldn't work.

  • This will be a fiasco. Mark my words:It will enrage the upwardly mobile and politically connected who live along the Ashland corridor, and those who use it to traverse the city in their cars, and they will pitch a fit, the BRT will be shuttered, and then maybe, in 15 years, they will do what they should have done in the beginning, as Scooterlibby suggests; BUILD A SUBWAY.

  • In reply to boofoochoochoo:

    Not to say that it won't enrage those persons by the time of the first environmental review hearing, which will be decades before any federal funding would have arisen. I don't think that the federal government funds projects that have community opposition. Note my Yellow Line comment, above.

  • In reply to boofoochoochoo:

    I forgot to mention "remember the State Street Transit Mall?" Which might have prompted the "it will be shuttered" comment.

  • In reply to boofoochoochoo:

    Subway = too expensive, talking billions of $$$. The city's broke, right? BRT's the cost efficient solution for a project like this. The cost of building it (then removing it, if needed) would be far cheaper than building just a small segment of subway.

  • In reply to boofoochoochoo:

    Do you have any idea how much a new subway would cost. $10 Billion dollars minimum. The CTA and RTA cant even Run Metra, Pace and the CTA with the lines they have now. And it would be over a decade before the actual line opens.

  • I really don't see keeping cars out of the BRT lane when there's no bus in site is going to work, nor should it. Though fines should be huge for anyone driving in the lane and interfering with a bus.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Which gets to another point I made elsewhere.

    The only way this works is if some red light camera company affiliates with the city for both to cash in, while enforcing the bus lane and no left turns for 16 miles.

    That is if they can find a red light camera company that isn't paying bribes to get the city's business. Like that hasn't happened before ;-(

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    Honestly, this will be a disaster; actually, I'll be more clear, I hope this turns into a disaster that is quickly shuttered. Why don't they work on getting the bus to run more than every 20 minutes on a weekday afternoon? Or at least extend the route north of freaking Irving Park; as I recall, people live north of that. I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of building a subway under Western, but that's a pipe dream.

    I've lived in Chicago 14 years and have been taking public transit for some time, but I just don't buy the idea of turning Ashland into a 1-lane street for the sake of being able to get somewhere 5 minutes faster. The city's broke; they should focus on repairing infrastructure and extending train lines that are postponed year after year, rather than introduce yet another inefficient travel plan.

  • In reply to Sonka:

    Running the bus more often during off-peak hours is probably not going to increase transit usage all that much, although you could argue it could be a chicken and the egg problem.

    As for you saying the city is broke, then why would you propose they extend train lines?

  • In reply to chris:

    I think that the easy answer is that Chicago is not going to get either. The last time any rail line was extended here was the Orange Line in about 1993.

    And it certainly appears that if Emanuel could get the money for the 130th St extension (at least to 115th) that would be more efficient in reducing bus crowding at 95th. But Rahm has not held a press conference showing any credible source of funding, including a private partner he supposes is out there.

  • Yes nothing will happen without the money. The money can only come from the feds either for a specific plan or as emergency stimulus for "shovel ready". Granted that with the decline of the "American Empire" we may never see enough new federal money ever again to do this kind of thing. But that's a separate political discussion.

    And that's why BRT is so important. It is cheap enough and flexible enough that some versions may be possible with city/state money.

    And that's were real leadership comes in. Real leaders are willing to make some people unhappy or convince unhappy people to go along. Real leaders also don't get played by the rich. Daley lost on both accounts with the privatizing of the parking meters. He was afraid to make parkers unhappy by having the city own and charge market rates for parking and he got played by the rich who stole the franchise from the city.

    Our job, however, is to build a consensus amongst us readers here and be ready to push that consensus at every (meager) opportunity. I appreciate the deep cynicism here around the realities of money but at some point we begin to have a common understanding about that and people can then point out to the people who think they are being sophisticatedly cynical that they are being merely trollish.

    I am actually seeing a pretty strong consensus developing amongst the readers here. We all seem to truly get that a "real" BRT has a dedicated lane, pre-paid boarding, and signal priority. We get that a system without those functions is liable to failure. We get that automobile drivers are going to be made unhappy because "their" street will now be slower for them (unless enough of them are attracted to the BRT and get off of the street. Yes that is pie in the sky but sometimes it rains cats and dogs.) We get that merchants may be unhappy about parking loss.

    But this is the city. Get over it or move to the suburbs where cars as still king.

    I will now enter the fray over BRT stations and the potential ability to evade pre-payment. Don't worry about it. It's better to not include it in the initial budget in order to save money so as to get the damn thing built. Then if it becomes enough of a problen there will likely be technological solutions. If you have a stop where it is happening a lot then you could force all passengers there to pay on the bus, for instance. The point is install a system that works well enough for the budget available. Once it is up and running then the minor problems can be addressed piecemeal.

  • In reply to wegerje:

    The problem with your premise is that if you are counting out federal money and expect that state money will pay for it, then CTA has spent its share of the Build Illinois money (or at least $450 million of it) on the Red Line rebuild.

    While certain revenue flows were dedicated to the Build Illinois bond issues, that's drying up too, because the interest rate on those bonds has skyrocketed due to the state's other fiscal problems, including the pension mess and backlog on paying vendors.

    Then you are only talking about local money. Claypool is putting CTA in hock for his various repair projects and buying 1500 rail cars. So, Emanuel better come up with another source. Which he has not.

    And finally, if you think either vehicle owners, including commercial truck drivers,or fare evasion is trivial, I'm not buying it. Some followers of the CTA Tattler, who have basically taken the attitude that there is unlimited funding might think so, but wait until this ever gets to public hearings.

  • In reply to jack:

    I would hope that the empire will still be able to extend largesse for an other decade or two. As this round of austerity is going bust, more for Europe than us, there is a chance that the feds will return to funding states and cities again. I actually think there is a good chance that Chicago will see more fed money in the near future, 5-7 years. Another round of stimulus, and it ought to be better than the last, is sorely needed to revive employment. Besides transit money the whole HSR thing needs more.

    Your last sentence does not appear to be directed to me because I don't think there is unlimited funds.

    As for public hearings there is a good article about them up at Human Transit by Jarrett Walker. He has a very good handle on how public hearings should be handled. ( ) Now don't go off the rails on the seating configuration issue as that's just an example for his larger point that a hearing should offer choices that inform the public of the consequences of their choices.

    State money is always problematic and dependent upon the larger economy. Now if we had our own currency it would be different. But relative to the dollar we are like Spain or Italy in the Euro.

    I actually do think fare evasion is trivial. But then I think the whole system should be free. Think of all the savings that could come from not having the whole fare collection hassle. :) But fine, I'm happy to play that game. All I am saying is that that is a bridge we can cross when we get to it. And we are much more likely to get there and get there much cheaper if we don't over-design for a problem that may either turn out not to exist or exist in a manner different than we can imagine and design for now.

    Again, screw the complaining truck drivers. Again this is the city. If you don't like it then drive in the suburbs.

  • In reply to wegerje:

    On your last point, the real point is screw all of you who think food should be delivered to your local Whole Foods Market. Maybe you want to take public transit to shop in Niles. Or already do.

    Other than that, you are making pretty wild assumptions about economic recovery and what Congress will do, especially when states with disastrous economic policies like Illinois, California, and New York lose population to places that don't care about transit. That partially played out last year. I'm not betting on things getting better in that regard.

  • In reply to jack:

    Why do you make these broad straw-man like assertions? Did I say trucks should not be allowed to deliver to Whole Foods? Did you not understand that I was refering to the reality that doing business in the city means adjusting your habits to respect the different realities that exist in the city? Are you suggesting that all corner buildings be demolished so the street corners can be broadened so trucks can turn easier?

    California is now running a budget surplus. Do you know that? And if you are comparing Illinois with California then thank you!

    So you think the economy will remain depressed into the far future? Well then what is the purpose of engaging in a web discussion that is dependent upon some form of additional money?

    I am new to your ideas. When I see cynicism around money I assume it is like mine. But yours seems to be different.

    If it is going to happen then how do you see the funding for a BRT playing out?

  • In reply to wegerje:

    Speaking of strawmen, you take the cake.

    Your comment was "Again, screw the complaining truck drivers. Again this is the city. If you don't like it then drive in the suburbs." So, if that happens, how are goods supposed to be delivered to local merchants? They don't all have freight sidings.

    And the reason California is apparently now running a surplus is that they raised taxes. How is California job growth doing? And more in point, how is Illinois job growth doing? Or population trends?

    And for your final comment "If it is going to happen then how do you see the funding for a BRT playing out?" my answer above is clear. It is not going to happen, just like any transit extension plan since the Orange Line has not happened. The federal government gives out money (at least in this area) to keep consultants out of poverty. This project is no different.

  • In reply to jack:

    In my humble opinion you would be happier posting at a political blog. The people that post here tend to be too optimistic for what appear to be your tastes. If you never see BRT or other new rapid transit happening then, again, why bother posting here?

    You do not seem to understand that when I say "screw the complaining truck drivers" that I mean that all deliveries to the city need to be done by happy, city-loving truck drivers. That's how Whole Paycheck Foods will get their deliveries. Happy drivers who understand that delivering in the city requires more patience and Zen meditative qualities. Or perhaps specialized tools like sidewalk carts to shuttle from the truck to the store where there are no delivery sidings.

    As for economies like California and Illinois, again that is more a political economic issue not ideally suited for this blog. Growth and jobs are fiscal and monetary issues that tend to be influenced at the federal level. Not to say that individual states are totally powerless. One of the issues of "optimal currency regions" is the issue of the ease of population movement. That's one of the problems for the Euro. It's a lot harder for a Greek to move their family to Germany that for an Illinoisan to move to North Dakoka. So again a federal issue.

  • In reply to wegerje:

    Since you talk about communicating professionally, unless you have a psychology degree, it isn't your place to pontificate about my happiness.

    And politics is inextricably involved in these transit topics, from the CTA being run as a political arm of the city instead of by transit professionals, to the mayor having connections with the White House but not being able to get any funding, to the point I made about the composition of the House of Representatives--the states that care about transit have lost their numbers.

    And it is certainly unconstitutional to assume that only residents of the city may deliver goods there. Commerce clause, privileges and immunities of citizens, that sort of stuff. Don't complain when due to these type of obstructions to commerce, food prices suddenly soar.

  • In reply to wegerje:

    And as far as public hearings, CTA has a consistent pattern of the public be ignored, but the issue here is that CTA does not have control over the outcome, and no one is going to fund something over community opposition.

    Go back and research the results of the Yellow Line extension project hearings, including when the Mayor of Skokie organized a protest against the "locally preferred alternative."

  • In reply to jack:

    That is one of the points that Walker makes. The city can have control over the outcome of a public hearing. It is approached the same way a parent approaches giving their children choices. You offer choices to your child that you can deliver and you explain the consequences to them. As a parent I can tell you it works and it works well. And when your children are grown enough to engage in informed discussions then you have become comfortable with the possibilities of open ended discussions.

    Now many people here believe that they have educated themselves well enough to understand all the issues that transit professionals understand. And its possible that some of us actually have those skills. And if we do then by all means it behooves the CTA to engage with those of us as equals.

    Now me personally, for all I think I know about transit, the one thing I do know is that I am not a transit professional nor do I have that level of expertise. My only hope is that by engaging with an informed group as exists here that I as a member of a collective might share sufficient abilities to communicate intelligently with the CTA.

  • In reply to wegerje:

    But the CTA does not care, as demonstrated by "we listed at the hearings for the Crowd Reduction Plan...fare increase that wasn't a fare increase...Ventra ticket hearing," just two name three recent ones.

    Governance at the CTA is a sham. And what, if anything does Claypool know as a "transit professional?" He isn't one, not can he communicate in understandable English.

    And, as I mentioned before, it doesn't matter whether we can communicate with CTA, what matters is if CTA holds a sham hearing and then gets smacked down by any funding agency.

  • In reply to jack:

    "to" name

  • In reply to jack:

    and "listened".

    Maybe I'll proofread better before I hit "comment." Or maybe not.

  • In reply to jack:

    What would matter more would be if the CTA held a real hearing and got smacked down by a funding agency.

    But, again, I think you are repeating issues that everyone here already understands and agrees upon, namely that the CTA needs to do a better job communicating with first the general public and second and especially the transit educated and interested public represented at this blog and others.

    We all get that, sir. It is common knowledge and all it takes from you in your replies is a mere word or two reference. More then that starts to appear as trolling, no association intended.

  • In reply to wegerje:

    "... As this round of austerity is going bust, more for Europe than us, there is a chance that the feds will return to funding states and cities again. I actually think there is a good chance that Chicago will see more fed money in the near future, 5-7 years. Another round of stimulus, and it ought to be better than the last, is sorely needed to revive employment. Besides transit money the whole HSR thing needs more."

    What you say makes sense--pardon me for injecting my own cynicism here, but in the context of city, state, and Federal politics making sense is pretty much the kiss of death for a policy. I think we do, most of us, have a consensus that more investment in such public goods as transit would be good for economic revival, and certainly for quality of life. (And I also agree that austerity is not working out as expected in Europe, not for ordinary Europeans or their societies as a whole, but there--as here--we have to ask, "Cui bono?" and the answer says a lot about why austerity won't be abandoned soon there, and probably never here.) The painful reality is, politics drives funding, and the Party of No Transit has a lock on the House of Representatives for at least a decade and an effective veto in the Senate until they retake that body, whether that be in two years or four. So I don't see more funding from Washington for us terrorist-loving welfare leeches in the cities with our commie transit. And I very much hope that you are right on this issue and I am dead spang wrong.

  • Ashland is my second choice for BRT. Western is my first.

    But proposals for both are lacking, to my mind, a key ingredient, and that is a terminus at the Howard el stop. It is merely an historical accident that the Clark street bus goes to Howard and the Ashland doesn't. That reality needs reversal whether the BRT is built or not. End the Clark bus in Andersonville and continue the Ashland bus to Howard.

    Th Western BRT should turn on Howard and terminate at the el station, imho.

  • In reply to wegerje:

    No, you can't end the Clark bus in Andersonville, but the X9 should go to Clark/Devon & then turnback south.

    And Daley didn't get played on the meter deal.
    He now works for the creeps at Wm. Blair & Co., which is the consultant that recommended the meter deal.
    He gets about $350,000 a year from them.
    A nice legal way to bribe him for what he did in the past!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    You will have to educate me as to why the Clark bus cannot end in Andersonville. Could it not end in a similar fashion as the Damen bus ends? Could the Ashland bus not continue along the same route as the Clark bus does now from where Clark and Ashland combine? Or alternatively could not the Clark bus end at the Devon turn around?

    As for Daley getting played, well I never liked Daley so I prefer to think the worst and think he got played. They wanted him to feel good about getting played so they are paying him the 350k to spare his feelings.

    But yes perhaps thinking that he was a willing co-conspirator in a theft is a worse way to look at it. Then he is liable for some jail time. And there may be some room in the over-crowded prison system as I think they just let Ryan out.

  • In reply to wegerje:

    No, the Clark bus can't turn at Edgewater Ave. like the Damen bus as there's too many Clarks for that to work. A maximum of two Damens can wait there.
    Ending Clark at Devon was tried 40 years ago when they made every other daytime Clark end there.
    It was a disaster as there were waits of 40-60 minutes for buses north of Devon.
    Clark now runs on 10 minute headways for the entire route, although a few rush hour buses only go to Devon.
    While an express bus, such as the X9 could go further than Irving, a regular, stop-every-block bus like the 9 can't as the route is far too long for that to work. It would mean huge waits at times.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    der is da turnaround at Clark and Arthur. Just get all the 151s outtadere.

  • In reply to jack:

    Since I live right by it, I'm happy the 151 now ends there.
    There would be a lot more room there if they tore down that wretched "apartment building" in the middle of it that illegally gets city garbage pickup.
    Somehow, the owner has convinced the city it's condos. I'm sure cash was involved!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Thanks for the explanation.

    It seems that the experiment was conducted without the extension of the Ashland bus, which I understand is a route length issue. I suppose then the only regular bus option for Ashland to go to Howard is to break it into two. That would take care of the northern Clark issues. I have no reals sense of how important tight headways are to the merchants on Clark nor do I have a sense of the ridership and how many of those riders go a long ways on the Clark Bus. Clearly turning some around at Devon and some around at Edgewater and some around at Iriving would create some odd headways.

    It was just my two cents worth as I don't have a dog in that pony show. I'm not sure I even care if the Ashland BRT goes to Howard but I do feel strongly that the Western one should.

  • In reply to wegerje:

    If the Western BRT were to ever get built, I don't think that the 1 mile section of Howard between Western and the Red Line would have sufficient right-of-way to accommodate BRT.

    If the proposed Asbury Avenue Yellow Line station (as proposed by the City of Evanston) were to be built by the time Western BRT came on board, it would need just a couple blocks' extension north of Howard to connect with the 'L' system.

    Asbury doesn't have the ROW either for dedicated lanes, but the segment of it needed would be much shorter than the one needed on Howard to connect to the 'L'.

  • I was wondering if they're going to change where the #9 ends its NB route with this. I've never understood why it turns on Irving instead of somewhere farther north.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    The 9 ends at Irving because it was a streetcar in its past life & streetcars didn't run on boulevards, which is Ashland north of Irving.
    The idiotic CTA has rarely changed bus routes due to the restrictions placed on streetcars 100 years ago.


  • Transit really should be free. Someone brought that up earlier in the comments but I've thought that for years. It would be a lot cheaper for the RTA if they didn't have to collect fares.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    So, where are you going to come up with the $549 million of fare revenue reflected as received in 2012 in the 2013 CTA Budget Recommendations? Plus the additional capacity needed when it becomes a free service (harkening back to Free Rides for [All] Seniors).

    Illinois taxpayers really need another tax increase that accomplishes nothing. like the 2008 RTA tax increases and the income tax increases.

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