New bus plans, boarding rules for July 3 and 4 on CTA

The CTA prepares for two of its biggest ridership days — July 3 and 4 — with a new staging area for northbound buses and restrictions on bikes and strollers for both days, instead of just July 3 in years past.

Chicago fireworks 2008 Tribune.jpg

Chicago Tribune photo by Charles Cherney

Also, new large directional signs will be posted in the Loop, South Loop and Navy Pier to direct riders to bus and rail boarding locations. From the press release:

In general, customers leaving the Loop can board northbound buses along LaSalle,
southbound buses along Clark and westbound buses along Madison.  These boarding
locations were used for the Grant Park rally on election night and found to be
effective at getting crowds out of the Loop quickly and efficiently, and helped
reduce traffic congestion in the area.

The restrictions on bikes and strollers have been in place for many years on July 3, the traditional big fireworks nights at the downtown lakefront. But with July 3 a Friday and holiday for many, and July 4 on Saturday, the CTA is expecting bigger crowds than usual. That means no bikes on vehicles (though bus racks can be used), and all strollers must be folded up before boarding buses or trains.

Friday, July 3, is a holiday for many businesses. The CTA will operate on a Sunday schedule during the workday hours. “CTA
will add extra bus and rail service in the late afternoon as people begin to
make their way to Grant Park for the fireworks,” said a spokesperson. “The strongest demand for
service comes when the fireworks end because the majority of people leave Grant
Park at the same time and CTA will provide the same level of service to handle
the crowds as we have in previous years.”

UPDATE: There was a question in comments about Purple Line Express service on July 3. This CTA release tells us that the Express will not operate, as the CTA uses its Sunday/Holiday schedule. However, there will be extended service hours till about 2 am from Howard to Linden.

See the continuation for bus boarding details. And keep safe out there.

From this press release:

Following the fireworks, northbound customers should go to LaSalle Street
where they can find the  #22 Clark, #36 Broadway,  #146 Inner Drive/Michigan
Express,#147 Outer Drive Express and #151 Sheridan.. 

Southbound customers will be able to find the #3 King Drive, #4 Cottage
Grove, #29 State, #62 Archer buses on Clark Street.

Westbound customers can board #20 Madison, #56 Milwaukee and #60 Blue
Island/26th buses on Madison, west of Clark Street. The #126 Jackson route will
board on Adams at Clark. 

At Navy Pier, the #124 Navy Pier will board in front of Navy Pier near the
entrance of the Children’s Museum rather than on Grand at Streeter.  The #29 at
Navy Pier will board at the south end of Navy Pier in front of the entrance


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  • Wow. The CTA's going to operate a Sunday schedule on what's technically a work day (and not a federal holiday), and relocate northbound, southbound, and crosstown bus stops in the Loop? I hope those directional signs they're talking about are huge and overhead, because they're going to confuse about a million people trying to get home from downtown on Friday night.

  • In reply to MikeDoyle:


    It is being treated as a Federal holiday for most government workers. The stock markets are closed which closes a lot of businesses that are related to it. I would say that more people have this day off than not. It seems silly to have a bunch of empty buses running around when they could be used more efficiently for the extra crowds at the Taste/Fireworks.

  • In reply to MikeDoyle:

    What I find strange is whether or not July 3 is a holiday, July 4 is, and apparently the transit authorities are running Saturday schedules then. That might not make much difference for CTA, but it sure does for Pace, on which other than trunk routes do not operate on Sunday.

    I sort of see the don't run empty buses argument, but I also then don't see running regular schedule on the Friday after Thanksgiving, when I rode an articulated bus on 156 that had about 5 total passengers.

  • In reply to MikeDoyle:

    Will they run Purple Line Express routes like normal despite the Sunday/Holiday scheduling?

  • In reply to sargas:

    Sargas: This CTA release tells us that the Express will not operate, as the CTA uses its Sunday/Holiday schedule. However, there will be extended service hours till about 2 am from Howard to Linden.

  • In reply to sargas:

    Technically, it may be a holiday: See here.

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