Coalition fears no left turns in opposing Ashland BRT

A coalition of residents and businesses along the Ashland corridor has started a grassroots campaign opposing the CTA's bus rapid transit plans along Ashland Avenue, reports DNAinfo Chicago.

A major point of disagreement is the elimination of "all left-turn lanes between 31st Place on the South Side and Cortland Avenue on the North Side, except for five turns connecting to the Stevenson, Eisenhower and Kennedy expressways" in the CTA's proposed Ashland Bus Rapid Transit plan.

DNAinfo has a great report for a meeting I didn't attend, so check it out. For its part, the CTA says that "as CTA and CDOT continue to gather feedback and comments from stakeholders and community members, that number [of allowed left turns] may be updated."

I think we can expect more opposition as groups learn the nitty-gritty of the BRT plan. Time will tell if the CTA changes the plan.

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  • Here's what will happen:
    Millions will be spent on this idiocy. Most to favored & connected construction companies & the rest to the consultants who do nothing but create Power Point slides & the assorted bullshit that goes with that.
    They will buy the left side boarding buses at a huge inflated cost because they will be special order due to the modifications necessary.
    Traffic will be a disaster on Ashland during the construction & force huge numbers to Western & Damen which will also suffer enormous traffic jams due to this.
    Passenger numbers for the Ashland bus will plummet due to the extra time it takes to get anywhere.

    The results:
    After all is complete, traffic will not move on Ashland, people won't use the "express" bus because they be scared to stand in the middle of the street. Cars & trucks will ignore the law about the reserved lane & there will be many crashes between them & the BRT buses.
    Emanuel will get kicked out over this waste & a new mayor will come in & declare it a failure & get rid of the BRT & just bring back the X9 bus which is what should have been done in the first place!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    But the X9 was always stuck in traffic, and will be again. Truly the best solution would be a new L line along Ashland—perhaps French style, the ones that run on rubber wheels. Until a generation comes along that, like our ancestors who built the L system, has imagination, that invests in its future, and where nimbyism no longer obstructs transportation plans that benefit the greater good, Ashland will be a parking lot during many hours of the day.

  • In reply to Sebastian Huydts:

    1. Give the X9 signal priority & move all the bus stops to the far corners. Even give them priority over car at the lights & let them go around traffic to get ahead of the cars.
    2. The French subways are hellishly complex & extremely expensive to run. Not only do they have the rubber tires, which have to run in a special guideway, they also must have the standard steel rails inside of that guideway so that the trains can switch from track to track or in case of flat tires.
    Then, there's the tires themselves. They wear out & must be replaced constantly, even worse, they create an intense amount of heat which means even shallow tunnels, like Chicago's, must have fan forced ventilation at all times, unlike the moving piston where the trains push out stale air & bring in fresh air. They also can't run well in snow if above ground.
    3. A subway under Ashland is foolish, it should be under Western from the Howard L all the way south to 119th & then east to the Ryan at 95th. Way more important than extending the Ryan to 130th, which is just to satisfy a few of the corrupt South Side reverends!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    On the last point, I disagree, since the boarding statistics (preclosure, of course) at 95th and all the bus routes funneled into the 95th station justify it. 103, 106, 111, 112, 115, 119, 352, 353 and 359 wouldn't have to go up to 95th.

    On the other hand, I contended last year that borrowing $240 million to redo the 95th bus terminal is a concession that the Red Line extension will not be done in our lifetimes.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    "people won't use the "express" bus because they be scared to stand in the middle of the street"

    Scooter, keep in mind these will be high level platforms like at 'L' stations, at the same height as the floor of the bus. If people are willing to wait in the expressway medians of the Kennedy, Dan Ryan, and Eisenhower for trains, then people will do so in much more pedestrian friendly environments for a rapid bus along Ashland Avenue.

  • Since they have their own lanes, why not run the buses left-handed (UK style)? That way you can use regular buses with doors on the right.

  • In reply to Olaf1:

    Because they will run over pedestrians not looking in that direction.

  • I see people have already gone through this pretty thoroughly. I've also seen headlines on that Streetsblog is really foaming over the NIMBYs, but it seems like they are aligned with Gabe Klein that streets are not for vehicular traffic.

    I've stated before that this project is only a consultant's relief grant, and it will never get past environmental review, let alone get funded. Also, if the plan is more left turns, it does not qualify under sections 5302 and 5309 as BRT, which has to be as separated as light rail would be, not that it would qualify under those parts of 49 USC in any event.

    And. as far a new subway, consider that the Red Line 130th extension has been in the consultant process for about 7 years and still has not hit the environmental review stage, and Emanuel says there is still no "source of funding." So what chance does the Paris in Englewood subway have.

    Scooter is correct; if they want to fix service on Ashland (and Western), CTA and CDOT would reinstitute the X9 and X49 and put Jump improvements on it. The might cost $100 million, not the $100 million a mile (or $1.6 billion) of this pie in the sky.

  • In reply to jack:

    "not the $100 million a mile (or $1.6 billion) of this pie in the sky."

    Making up numbers does no one any favors. Its $10 million per mile after the initial $120 million dollar, 5.5 mile rollout.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    You obviously know nothing about Chicago's corruption tax!

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    Turns out I was off a factor of 10, according to a presentation cited by Grid Chicago, but probably also was by the same factor on the Jump alternative (since the whole Jump project was $10 million). The figure there for the current proposed Ashland alternative is $175 million infrastructure (does not include fleet).

    Neither includes the cost of buses, which would be at least $1.5 million a bus (given that a DE60LFR just purchased was $940K. I count 27 buses on route 9 now, and while they are not artics, it isn't rush hour yet either.

    So, other than my brain fart, I stand on my point.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    And somehow my link turned into hash, so let's try again.

  • Eventually people will no longer drive their owned cars, at least in major metro areas. I suppose we can't really wait for that. I think they should just re-institute the express buses on Ashland and Western and leave it at that for now. There's really no point on spending all that money on BRT when it will be obsolete soon.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    I agree with most of what you say. The red light and speed cameras provide another implicit message that it doesn't pay to drive in the city, but if that's the case, the city won't make any money. Then Klein will have to fund the pedestrian bumpouts and bike lanes using something else.

  • Cheryl, transit will still have its market even in very dense cities like Chicago. Try ramming everyone in an automated car into the Loop or along a dense urban corridor like Ashland and see how that works for you.

    The whole point of BRT as well as truer forms of rapid transit is to move large numbers of people efficiently through dense urban corridors. Numbers of people it would be impossible to move solely through automobiles.

  • Don't agree with the lack of locations for left turns, btw. Granted, the design won't allow for safe left turns at unsignalized intersections, but every signalized intersection can and should have a "Left turn on arrow only" signal per this projects.

    There are roads featuring surface median light rail in Portland and Seattle (Burnside Street and MLK Jr. Way, respectively) that allow for "on arrow only" left turns at signalized intersections. No reason this can't be done on Ashland too.

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