On Wednesday September 18th, a meeting was held at the Artists’ Frame Service, where representatives from the Chicago Transit Authority shared their plans to change Ashland Avenue into a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor.
Joe Iacobucci, strategic planning manager from the Chicago transit Authority presented the design for the designated center lane of the BRT system on Ashland Ave. (see picture above). Iacobucci discussed why BRT is needed and the positive outcomes of adding it. He provided examples of how it has proven to work well in other cities and how this can work on Ashland.
Ashland Ave. has one of the highest bus ridership’s of all CTA routes and it provides connections to a transit network of 7 El stations, 37 bus routes, and 2 Metra stations. The demand is there; it would provide faster speed/time up to an 83% increase, while making travel times more reliable and effective. Buses would run every 5 minutes 24/7. There would be a dedicated center lane for buses with a stop station every ½ mile. A new system of transit signal priority intersections and longer green lights would put into place. Left turn lanes will be removed and some left turns will no longer be permitted.
It sounds like a great plan for CTA commuters, but how will it affect businesses in the area? In areas that this has been implemented, it has shown that there is a minimal effect to businesses and it has not negatively affected businesses sales. BRT on Webster Ave in New York is an example of successful implementation. Their plan included truck loading zones to keep the curb clear for store deliveries. The time of day and locations were determined with the assistance of local businesses.
Businesses at the meeting voiced concern about their trucks not being able to make left turns because the layout will eliminate some left turn lanes. Iacobucci said “Left turns are very negotiable and decisions will be made on site by site location”. It is important for people to get involved in these meetings so that the block by block issues can be resolved pro-actively.
Public meetings will be continued to be held throughout the planning process. We encourage you to attend other meetings to share your feedback. The next upcoming meetings are TBA.
For more information on this project, please see: