Is the CTA reading this blog?

One week ago I wrote, "We should also seriously look into establishing bus-only lanes on key corridors like Western and Ashland and giving buses signal priority, both of which would reduce the traffic problems that eat up so much gas."

Today the CTA announced that it would receive $153 million of federal money to implement the first ten miles of a projected 100 mile system of bus-only lanes featuring signal priority, pre-paid boarding, and fixed stops every 4-5 blocks, in addition to several other initiatives.

This is wonderful news. Altho the plan is not a true bus rapid transit since it's not grade separated, bus-only lanes thruout the city is by far the most cost- and time-effective way to extend the system. Even on routes that arguable should be served by new rail lines, experimentation with dedicated bus lanes can serve as a first step forward.

The CTA said it would establish bus-only lanes on four key corridors, but has yet to specify what these would be. To start thinking about the possibilities, check out these numbers on the routes with the highest riderships, based on average 2007 weekday boardings (both local and express):

79th (32,847)
Ashland (31,527)
Western (29,904)
Cottage Grove (23,851)
Madison (22,309)
King Dr (21,582)
Clark (21,199)
If you count the various Lake Shore Dr buses together, ridership is highest in the city.

Obviously there are other factors to be taken into account, like how easy it would be to take a lane of traffic and how bad the congestion is right now.

Except the #6 express from Hyde Park to the Loop, I've never used any of these routes so I'm not too qualified to choose. But I would very much like to see Western included, as a first step toward the long-term goal of a Western Ave subway. The South Side, deprived as it is of transit, should also get at least one.


kyle said...

Let's hope we can continue to get more transit funding without too much structural adjustment. This grant was contingent on Chicago finalizing its privatization of the parking meters.

The next privatization attempt will probably be fare collection, as I'm pretty sure the CTA has already brought that up.

Chris said...

if the CTA is reading, i wanna say: WESTERN AVENUE!