Today’s Headlines

  • 120-Plus People Showed Up for North Side BRT Hearing (Expired Meter)
  • More Writeups of the South Side Open House (DNA, Chicagoist, Medill)
  • Tranpo Experts: BRT Is an Affordable Way to Build New Rapid Transit Lines (Medill)
  • Father Pfleger Accuses CTA Union Boss of Killing Ex-Offender Program (Tribune)
  • All CTA Buses Have Been Outfitted With Better Ventra Software (Sun-Times)
  • Evanston Reaches 5.25-Percent Bike Mode Share (Active Trans)
  • London bike-Share Has Hit a Speed Bump, But Divvy Is Cruising Along (Crain’s)
  • Ambulance Driver, a Repeat Offender, Charged With DUI after Crash (RedEye)
  • Rahm: Winter Divvy Riding Is Safe, But Use Common Sense (DNA)
  • Online CTA Equipment Auction: Buy Yourself a Third Rail (Tribune, Chicagoist)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • I think there are some valid concerns about BRT but what I wish some of the opponents (like Wahl) would understand is that nobody can tell us where all those diverted cars are going to go. Nobody can possibly tell her that with accuracy. But research has found that the sort of catastrophic traffic that people predict will happen when traffic capacity is reduced often does not happen. The traffic just shifts around. I don’t think this is easily explained because people always assume car trips are a given, and won’t change. That’s just not true. People will adapt. People afraid of traffic on “their” side streets could also ask for traffic calming measures if they think cut-through traffic will be a problem.

  • Good comment, but I’d change that to “research has found that the sort of catastrophic traffic that people predict will happen when traffic capacity is reduced *almost always* does not happen.”

  • Right, in very limited cases it actually does happen, and I think that’s more common with cities that do not have this kind of grid system. Would have to look at those cases closely.

  • BlueFairlane

    One thing that I think would help this argument would be to cite this research in a very public, easily accessible way. It seems to me this is something very useful Streetsblog Chicago could do to establish a starting point for conversation. You could pick five or six or ten or however many examples of this research you want, pull from both academic and popular sources, and devote a corner of the page to listing those links. I know I, for one, would love to see what you’re citing when you say “research has found.” You can show us, and help direct the conversation.

  • Great suggestion – I’ll put this on my story idea list. Thanks!

  • That’s really awesome that Evanston has a 5.25% bike commuting rate! There are several “built environment” factors that make bicycling there comfortable without having so many bike lanes (because they only have a few). The rate of walking and transit is also good to see, given that they have great transit connections for bus and rail, and a compact downtown and environs.

  • This would be so much easier if so many journals weren’t under lock and key *cough* I mean lock and fee *cough*.

  • BlueFairlane

    That’s an unfortunate issue in the modern world. Perhaps simply a citation page, with links for those who either have access or would like to pay, would be useful.

  • bedhead1

    Honest question – when those bad traffic problems have happened, what have been the causes or unique factors involved? Has any research you’ve seen examined this?

  • Jim Mitchell

    Steven, I am not sure I understand this comment. What you say is generally true, but is it relevant to this discussion? You guys clearly must have access to these journals, otherwise John couldn’t have read the articles with the research he is alluding to and relying upon to prove his points above. I’d be more than happy to read your summaries of the articles (with citations) and not the articles themselves. Can’t you provide relevant quotes from these journal articles under fair use doctrine and then explain in your own words what the implications are?

  • I can’t find 10 articles. I could probably find 2-3 that aren’t locked. And those 2-3 would cite the other 7-8 articles that are behind journal paywalls.

    I need to find *all* of the articles, though, and not just the ones I can read without paying, to ensure I’m reading ones that aren’t refuted or contradicted by the others.

  • The specific research does not, but I am sure that you could look closer into each circumstance for details. The average traffic reduction (when traffic fell) was 21.9%. Median 11%. In the projects where traffic rose after vehicle capacity was reduced, the average was 7% increase; 3% median.

    It should also be noted the ones where traffic rose were mainly temporarily bridge closures. Some where traffic fell were highway lane closures. And all except one where traffic fell were bus lanes.

    I wonder if they’ve looked into how traffic in the Loop was with the Wells St bridge closed. I imagine many trips just shifted to other nearby streets. That’s likely what will happen here. That’s what happens in the majority of cases. The traffic just goes away.

  • BlueFairlane

    Can you say where you got those percentages?

  • Study called “Disappearing Traffic.” I am not sure if the article is behind a paywall. I do have a copy.

    The traffic fall percentages are quoted in the research. The ones where traffic rose are not so I put them in Excel and found the average and median.

  • BlueFairlane

    Do you recall the name of the author, or who published it?

  • S. Cairns, S. Atkins and P. Goodwin, in Municipal Engineer 151 Issue 1.

  • Jim Mitchell
  • That’s the study. I’m glad it’s open to everyone.

  • BlueFairlane

    Thanks!

  • Do you know if there are any figures for bike mode share by neighborhood in Chicago? I feel that while the city’s rate is relatively low, certain neighborhoods may have higher bike use.

  • You can look at tabulations by ZIP code on Census Reporter. Neighborhood-specific data is possible but tedious to put together.

    Here’s my ZIP code, 60618, which has parts of Avondale, North Center, and Lakeview.
    http://censusreporter.org/profiles/86000US60618/

    It shows a lower-than-city average bike commute mode share of 1.3%. The drive alone rate is 55%.

    For 60622, which includes parts of Wicker Park and West Town, the bike commute mode share is 4.4% while the drive alone rate is 42.2%.
    http://censusreporter.org/profiles/86000US60622/

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