A retired CDOT engineer has called the CTA’s plan for a dedicated bus lane in the center of a 16-mile stretch of Ashland Avenue “ill-conceived,” according to a Sun-Times story.
Tom Kaeser, a former 30-year traffic expert with the Chicago Department of Transportation, is speaking out now because “my life’s work was trying to make things work on the city’s street system, and here’s something I think is not going to help at all. It’s just going to be counterproductive.”
Kaeser also said the Ashland bus rapid transit (BRT) project is quite different from BRT projects in other cities that Ashland has been compared to. The streets with the other successful BRT projects have much greater lane capacity. Under the current BRT proposal – which the CTA says is still open to refinement – regular vehicular traffic would be relegated to one lane, with very limited left turns allowed.
Instead of making a left turn on Ashland, Kaeser estimates that as many as 1,000 vehicles per hour could divert from Ashland.
‘‘They use their modeling process and say the traffic will all spread out; no one will see the difference. I challenge that,’’ Kaeser told the Sun-Times. “Their analysis left something to be desired.’’
I have personally supported the Ashland BRT proposal, but this analysis from the CDOT expert does give me pause. We’ll have to see what the final proposal looks like. Certainly many businesses on Ashland are opposing the current plan.
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