You’ve got to hand it to them, Roger Romanelli and his Ashland-Western Coalition anti-bus rapid transit group have done an effective job of organizing residents who oppose the CTA’s plan for fast, reliable transit on Ashland Avenue, garnering plenty of media attention. Now it’s time for some of Chicago’s 1,800-plus registered BRT supporters to become as visible and vocal as the NIMBYs.
Are you part of the quiet masses who want to see bus speeds nearly doubled on Ashland, with higher transit ridership, fewer cars, and less speeding by drivers? Do you support better connections to jobs, schools and medical appointments for tens of thousands of Chicagoans? Are you interested in safer pedestrian crossings, broader sidewalks and more green space on the street, which, along with the enhanced bus access, will result in more vibrant retail strips and higher property values?
If so, join Streetsblog Chicago and the Active Transportation Alliance for an Ashland BRT advocate social and BeeRT pub stroll on Tuesday, October 15, 5:30 p.m. at the Cobra Lounge, 235 North Ashland, just north of the Ashland/Lake ‘L’ stop. The event is free and open to the public. Enjoy complimentary appetizers courtesy of Active Trans while you share your enthusiasm for better transit with like-minded folks, get your photo taken with an interactive BRT poster and sign the petition endorsing the plan, if you haven’t already done so. Alliance staffers will make a short presentation about ways you can help support BRT, and the next steps for winning the battle over the future of Ashland. We’ll also have free “I [heart] Bus Rapid Transit” buttons, designed by Streetsblog and funded by the alliance.
At 7 p.m., Steven Vance and I will lead a walk south down Ashland, checking out existing conditions on the four- and six-lane roadway and discussing how BRT will help create a safer, more efficient and more liveable street. By coincidence, we’ll be passing by the First Baptist Congregational Church, 1613 West Washington, headquarters of the AWC, but we will maintain a respectful distance from the historic building. The .7-mile stroll will end at the Park Tavern gastropub, 1645 West Jackson. From there it’s a five-minute walk to the Blue Line’s Illinois Medical District stop.
Frustrated by the misinformation being spread about BRT by the AWC and other opponents? Don’t get angry, get organized. Help us provide a show of strength from some of the thousands of Chicagoans who want to see Ashland reconfigured to become a more sensible, equitable and humane street.
If you like, RSVP for the event on Facebook here.