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VivaLFuego Apr 29, 2008 4:27 PM

Aaaaaaaaand, speaking of BRT...... ;) :D

http://www.dot.gov/affairs/dot6008.htm
Quote:

Originally Posted by DOT
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Selects Chicago to Receive More Than $153 million in Federal Funding to Reduce Traffic Congestion

CHICAGO – Chicago has been selected to receive more than $153 million in federal funds under a new congestion initiative, announced U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters. The innovative proposal will reduce traffic gridlock through the use of congestion pricing for street parking spaces and faster, more reliable bus service.
...
Peters explained the federal funds will be used to support Chicago’s creation of four pilot routes of a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network. The new BRT routes will have their own dedicated lanes and the buses will be equipped with technology to help speed them through traffic with priority right of way at busy signalized intersections. In addition, the CTA will be able to purchase new and cleaner hybrid engine vehicles, she said.

This is not a parody, nor is it April Fool's. A big THANK YOU is warranted for Sheldon Silver and the State of New York.

More details from the Trib article:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel...0,543062.story
Quote:

In addition to the bus-only lanes, buses will make fewer stops—four to five blocks apart. Kiosks will be installed at the bus stops to enable passengers to prepay their fares and board quickly once the bus arrives.
...
Fees for the downtown loading zone similarly have not yet been determined, but the goal is to discourage delivery trucks from making repeated trips to the same building each day, Daley said.

The mayor said the meter parking program and the express buses will complement each other, adding that he hopes Chicago eventually will have 100 miles of bus express lanes.

Peters said Los Angeles currently is testing express-lane buses, but Chicago will be the first major city to deploy such routes on a large scale.

OhioGuy Apr 29, 2008 5:15 PM

:previous: I just saw this on the noon news. I wonder what routes they're going to pick for the four pilot routes of a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network?

Quote:

In addition to the bus-only lanes, buses will make fewer stops—four to five blocks apart. Kiosks will be installed at the bus stops to enable passengers to prepay their fares and board quickly once the bus arrives.
I like that they'll be spreading out the stops to 4-5 blocks. The 2-3 block spacing on most bus routes is f*cking annoying.

Is the ticketing system more of an 'honor' type system? It doesn't seem as though there is anything preventing someone from hoping on the bus at one of the stops without paying at the kiosk, unless you continue to have just one person getting on the bus at a single time so that the driver can verify payment (which in turn would mean continued slowness). I guess you could sporadically ask to see tickets from riders to verify they've paid, but the bus driver wouldn't be able to do that since he/she'd be too busy driving. Which would mean the need for an additional CTA employee riding the bus to look at people's tickets (and hence more employment costs).

Abner Apr 29, 2008 5:41 PM

From the Tribune article: "To free buses from traffic congestion, dedicated bus-only lanes will be created on four major city corridors that were not immediately identified. One could be Lake Shore Drive."

Would they really start a program like this with bus lanes on Lake Shore Drive?

The article also mentions that some of the money will be used for new hybrid buses. I certainly hope that new buses will allow the CTA to retire some of the ancient buses with fake wood paneling. I wouldn't blame anybody for not wanting to ride one of those dinosaurs.

MayorOfChicago Apr 29, 2008 6:22 PM

Thank god they're moving the bus stops further apart. This has been REALLY annoying on a few routes I take, where certain stops are literally at each end of just ONE block.

I'm glad they're doing this, although it was rather sad to see how many people were commenting on the story on the Tribune website. Most of them thought this was a stupid idea, and that it's just going to add more traffic for all the cars driving, and will slow people down. Some even said we might as well get rid of buses because they just add to all the congestion on the streets. Many of them were suburban, and said it took way too long to take a bus to an orange line stop, then take that all the way downtown, then have to get to their destination. HELLO!? OH WELL! You live in the suburb, do you want to just say "screw you" to the 3 million people in the city so you can get downtown faster in your stupid car?

What streets do you think are canidates?

Lakeshore Drive (that'd be awesome)
Ashland
Western
Michigan Ave

?

Irving Park? Not sure if enough people use that bus though...

Mr Roboto Apr 29, 2008 6:51 PM

They need it on east - west streets on the north side, I think Irving park for sure. The problem is so many of those streets are already pretty narrow, like Diversey and Belmont.

schwerve Apr 29, 2008 7:36 PM

for whatever its worth, here's my BRT network:

Line 1) Orange Line-UIC-Clinton-Carroll-Michigan-Clark-Fullerton-Red/Brown Line/Depaul

Line 2) Chicago Ave-Milwaukee/Blue Line-Clinton-Monroe-Grant Park-South Lake Shore Drive

Line 3) Ogden/Pink Line-Damen-United Center-Monroe-Clinton-Carroll-Navy Pier

Line 3 is the traditional Transitway we've seen, 2 & 3 are designed to directly connect potential olympic locations (village, lincoln park, washington park) into the city. Each ties directly into the CTA at multiple locations and especially so if we build the WLTC and the Clinton Subway

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2287/...ecdafa71a5.jpg

emathias Apr 29, 2008 7:47 PM

I don't know which places they'll create bus lanes, but I kind hope they don't start with Lake Shore Drive. I'm not sure how they'd do that anyway, and it's really only at the very peak of rush hour that LSD is constrained for the express buses. If you made the right lane bus-only, you'd run into issues with people exiting, if you made it the left lane, buses would have to cross all the lanes joining and exiting, so I don't see the value so much.

I think Michigan Avenue would be great candidate for bus-only lanes, but I really wonder how bus-only lanes deal with right-turning vehicles. There are frequent cases of the right lane being blocked by right-turning vehicles, and at rush hour the right lane becomes a de-factor bus-only lane anyway because there's no room for cars.

It's still not clear to me how things like bus-only lanes help congestion in areas that are already extremely congested. Streeterville/Mag Mile really do cry out for some sort of completely separated pathway, whether it be a subway or an underground busway (a la Seattle).

As far as a combination of street layout possibilities and ridership goes, I think Western, 79th, Sheridan, Chicago Ave, King Drive, Cottage Grove, Ashland, Pulaski and Carroll Street (a man can hope, right?) would all make fine candidates. Personally I'd be disappointed in selecting LSD because most of the time it really doesn't need the help. If the city wanted to do something slick with LSD and buses, I think the most bang for the buck would be to put stoplights on the entrance ramps and put a bus-only lane leading onto the onramp and onto the Drive. That would help buses get onto the Drive as well as help prevent the Drive from being overwhelmed with cars at any given point (if done strictly) which would both help buses and cars (once they got on the drive, anyway).

ardecila Apr 29, 2008 8:29 PM

Finally, Chicago gets back to planning transportation improvements. Getting the funding isn't even a problem for this, since it's considered "experimental" for the US and FDOT is funding it to test the viability - plus, we gain from New York's political gridlock, despite our own.

Of course, most of us already KNOW that it will work if done properly. I imagine the kiosks working like a ticket-vending machine - you insert the payment, and it spits out a ticket of some kind that can be quickly scanned when you enter the bus (probably a bar code system). Or perhaps RFID technology is cheap enough now that each ticket can contain a disposable wireless chip, like a Chicago Card Junior.

Western will probably be one of the 4 pilot lines. I think Cermak will also be one, since Pace has planned BRT improvements on suburban Cermak for a long time. Ogden is also a possibility. What I'd like, though, is for them to invest some of the money on downtown bus lanes/kiosks, but at the busiest stops only, not along any particular route.

Marcu Apr 29, 2008 9:05 PM

^ Sounds like a great plan on paper. Of course implementation will be key.

intrepidDesign Apr 29, 2008 10:48 PM

Any word on the express lines going from the airports to B37?

emathias Apr 29, 2008 11:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by intrepidDesign (Post 3519204)
Any word on the express lines going from the airports to B37?

Not in our lifetime (I hope), unless all the other, more worthy projects, get magically funded.

Seriously, though, I think even with mayoral interest it's pretty low priority. B37 got the tunnel dug mainly because it was now or never for it.

VivaLFuego Apr 29, 2008 11:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by intrepidDesign (Post 3519204)
Any word on the express lines going from the airports to B37?

Nope. Once the Blue Line is operating at 70mph, there are two key benefits gained in re: airport access:
1. Reduced travel time
2. Reduced vehicle requirement to meet current scheduled headway, ergo opportunity to increase service frequency and reduce over-crowding

Both contribute to making the "existing" service viable as an Airport service; ditto for improving Loop signaling and increasing fleet size to increase frequency on the Orange Line for that line's rush hour overcrowding.

Then there's the whole downtown supertation, which unlike the last failed attempt at a downtown Airport superstation (now known colloquial as "the 203 N. LaSalle entrance to the Clark/Lake station"***), can't be easily used for regular service. Hmm.

re: service to Midway, I've timed the trip from Adams/Wabash to Midway at 20 minutes flat. That needs no improvement. There are two primary concerns:
1) peak period crowding, particularly departing in the PM rush, 2) integration of the Midway rail station with the airport terminal. 1) can be solved with moderately increased frequency, 2) is trickier...probably entails more moving walkways.

***Some may remember the "Loop Transportation Center" building as basically what B37 promised to be, but even a little more pumped up towards transportation given the large parking garage and rental car facility. Baggage check-in, ticketing, one seat ride to the airport.... perhaps that project could have been finished for ~$200 million rather than a new subway tunnel that doesn't have the benefit of being usable for normal service in the meantime? All a hypothetical now, of course...

the urban politician Apr 30, 2008 1:44 AM

I am very excited about this news regarding BRT in Chicago. That and increased congestion pricing are signs that the city is finally moving in the right direction in regards to transit.

One thing I'm curious about is whether these BRT routes will only exist during rush hour. It would be nice to see BRT routes running all day long 7 days a week.

nomarandlee Apr 30, 2008 11:26 AM

BRT routes?
 
Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,2565498.story
CTA ANNOUNCES EXPRESS BUS PLAN

Ride downtown —or pay the price
Busing to Loop will get easier. Driving? That will cost you.

The city plans to create bus-only lanes on four major city corridors within the next year, allowing Chicago Transit Authority buses to zip past cars that have been squeezed into fewer lanes. Routes could include Lake Shore Drive, and Ogden and Ashland Avenues..................
.....

emathias Apr 30, 2008 1:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chitowngza (Post 2028489)
Say I'm going to, for example, North/Damen/Milwaukee to party, or better still for my point, to see some buddies who live off the California stop on the O'Hare branch. Why am I going to want to take the Red Line to Chinatown, then hop the Circle Line which'll take me all that way back down to 31st and Ashland before turning back up to go to the Division stop, where I'd have to get off and either wait for the O'Hare train or (in the Wicker Park case) probably end up walking?
...

Quit making ridiculous strawman arguments. Your routing example is absurd and not what the Circle LIne is about. A more apt example would be going from 18th Street on the Pink Line to Roosevelt Rd. Currently it takes nine stops and both the Pink and the Green Lines to make that trip. With the Circle LIne, assuming no infill stations, it would take three stops on one line. Or, better yet, imagine you live at Chicago and Paulina (an already dense, vibrant area), 3/4 of a mile from the nearest "L" stop. With the most likely routing of the Circle Line, now you're only 1/4 mile from a stop that gets you to the Blue, Green or Pink Lines in 1 stop, or the Red, Brown or Purple Express in 2-3, depending on the station pattern.

the urban politician Apr 30, 2008 1:56 PM

^ Thanks, but we've already been discussing this.

The local media seems to be confusing the facts to the point that I don't know what to believe any more. One source is saying that parking meter rates will go up only, whereas another source say that parking meter and parking garage (city and private) rates will go up.

One source says that LSD will be one of the routes, but another source says that LSD will not be.

VivaLFuego Apr 30, 2008 4:12 PM

For some reason, Hilkevitch is throwing possible streets out there despite him really not having a clue which streets were picked. "Possibly" include Lake Shore, Ogden?

For reference, and since it is now published, I'll point out that Dick Durbin (who clearly was involved in obtaining this federal grant) mentioned that the pilot routes are likely to include Jeffrey, Halsted, Chicago, and 79th. I'd be more inclined to believe him than Hilkevitch's postulations...

Those seem like a decent route sampling, though I have alot of trouble seeing the connection between 79th street and downtown congestion. The others are more plausible and appropriate.

But of course, who knows what the Aldermen will have to say about all this...and who knows if Daley would be willing to ram it down their throats if they and their constituents disapprove of the plan? Not only removing parking spaces in the neighborhoods, but also the added loading/parking fees downtown. I'm not a city lawyer, but I think Daley and CDOT generally have the power to implement -most- of this without City Council approval, though I suspect the City Council would need to approve increases in parking rates, which is one of the cruxes of the whole thing.

chitowngza Apr 30, 2008 6:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3520429)
Quit making ridiculous strawman arguments. Your routing example is absurd and not what the Circle LIne is about. A more apt example would be going from 18th Street on the Pink Line to Roosevelt Rd. Currently it takes nine stops and both the Pink and the Green Lines to make that trip. With the Circle LIne, assuming no infill stations, it would take three stops on one line. Or, better yet, imagine you live at Chicago and Paulina (an already dense, vibrant area), 3/4 of a mile from the nearest "L" stop. With the most likely routing of the Circle Line, now you're only 1/4 mile from a stop that gets you to the Blue, Green or Pink Lines in 1 stop, or the Red, Brown or Purple Express in 2-3, depending on the station pattern.


How nice of you to bring up a 2-year old debate, without taking the time to understand my perspective, while taking the argument out of context to fit you, and not taking into account the changes in the system subsequently. I understand you're new to the forum, but no need to demonstrate that so apparently.

the urban politician May 1, 2008 1:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3520723)
For some reason, Hilkevitch is throwing possible streets out there despite him really not having a clue which streets were picked. "Possibly" include Lake Shore, Ogden?

For reference, and since it is now published, I'll point out that Dick Durbin (who clearly was involved in obtaining this federal grant) mentioned that the pilot routes are likely to include Jeffrey, Halsted, Chicago, and 79th. I'd be more inclined to believe him than Hilkevitch's postulations...

Those seem like a decent route sampling, though I have alot of trouble seeing the connection between 79th street and downtown congestion. The others are more plausible and appropriate.

But of course, who knows what the Aldermen will have to say about all this...and who knows if Daley would be willing to ram it down their throats if they and their constituents disapprove of the plan? Not only removing parking spaces in the neighborhoods, but also the added loading/parking fees downtown. I'm not a city lawyer, but I think Daley and CDOT generally have the power to implement -most- of this without City Council approval, though I suspect the City Council would need to approve increases in parking rates, which is one of the cruxes of the whole thing.

^ Viva, is there any particular reason why this can't be used as a great opportunity to kickstart the Carroll Avenue BRT? Why not make that one of the four pilot routes?

Also, what's the point of Jeffrey when Metra Electic already serves Hyde Park-to-downtown?

Mr Downtown May 1, 2008 3:03 AM

Jeffery runs down the spine of the dense Hyde Park and South Shore communities, with service every couple of minutes, and transfers to other CTA buses for those not working in the East Loop.

Metra Electric runs along the perimeter once or twice an hour and provides access to two stations in the East Loop.


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