In the next phase of planning for its Ashland Avenue bus rapid transit (BRT) project, the CTA has released and is seeking public input on the environmental assessment (EA) it did over the summer.
For those unfamiliar with BRT, the main features of the 16-mile-long project from on Ashland from Irving Park to 95th Street include:
- Dedicated center running bus-only lane in each direction to keep buses out of general traffic
- Limited stops: approximately every half-mile and at CTA stations
- Transit Signal Priority intersections and longer green lights to keep traffic moving
- Potential for paying fares at the station before boarding, similar to ‘L’ stations
- Wide doors on left side of new, high-capacity vehicles
- Real-time bus arrival information at stations
- Improved lighting at stations
- ADA ramps at stations
- Maintains most existing medians
- Adds more than 75 blocks of new landscaped medians
- Retains approximately 90% of parking and loading zones on both sides of the street
In order to accommodate BRT, the following adjustments would occur, with some impacts to general traffic:
- Dedicating two general travel lanes (one in each direction) as center-running bus-only lanes, typically leaving one in each direction. Two auto travel lanes in each direction will remain where there are currently three travel lanes (between Lake Street and Roosevelt Road).
- Small reduction in parking; approximately 90% of parking and loading zones retained on both sides of the street.
- Most left turns removed; left turns at highway access points retained.
Over the summer, CTA and CDOT heard from various key stakeholders about this plan, including business owners who were opposed to the removal of the left turns. Thus, CTA and CDOT are considering options and modifications, including the implementation of additional left turns, based on continued feedback from the public.
The public hearings are set for 6 to 8 p.m. on:
- Dec. 10 at Benito Juarez Community Academy, 1450 W. Cermak Road
- Dec. 11 at Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, 1419 W. Blackhawk Street