Transpo Professionals: We Need Ashland BRT to Improve Access to Jobs

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CTA rendering of Ashland BRT.

After old-school traffic engineer Tom Kaeser was featured in the Sun-Times for his ten-page letter to the CTA predicting the Ashland BRT plan could be “a dagger in the heart of Chicago,” we deconstructed his arguments, as did City Pages’ Daniel Hertz. Earlier this week, a quartet of heavy-hitters from the local transportation scene got in on the action.

The group — Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning chief Randy Blankenhorn, Depaul’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development director Joseph Schwieterman, UIC Urban Transportation Center head Steve Schlickman, and Active Transportation Alliance director Ron Burke — sent a letter to the newspaper titled “We need Ashland rapid bus plan.”

After noting that Kaeser exaggerates the relatively minor negative effect BRT will have on car traffic flow, the transportation professionals argue we need to plan for a future where there are more people and jobs in the city, and fast, reliable buses are part of the solution:

Forecasts show that thousands more people each year will need to move through the Ashland corridor, yet because the streets are not getting wider, traffic problems will ensue. Transit is the only way to add more people in the same amount of space while managing congestion and improving mobility. The new Ashland line will be more reliable and move passengers nearly twice as fast as the current Ashland bus. It also creates a crucial north-south connection that circumvents downtown and connects to 37 bus lines, seven CTA stations and two Metra stations.

Read the full letter on the Sun-Times website.