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Experts and Advocates Weigh in on Rauner’s Proposal to Widen the Stevenson

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The Stevenson, just west of the Dan Ryan. Photo: Eric Allix Rogers

On Thursday, Governor Bruce Rauner announced a new proposal to address congestion on the Stevenson Expressway, aka I-55, by adding lanes. The construction would be financed via a public-private partnership, and the new lanes would be tolled. Revenue would go to the concessionaire, allowing them to recoup their investment.

The so-called “managed lanes” would be an option for drivers who are willing to pay a premium to bypass traffic, while the existing lanes would not be tolled. Some local transportation exports and advocated lauded the plan as a creative way to address congestion woes. But others argued that our region’s focus should be on providing better alternatives to single-occupant vehicle commutes, rather than simply building more capacity for them.

The proposed lanes would cover a 25-mile stretch of the Stevenson between the Dan Ryan Expressway and the Veteran’s Memorial Tollway, a segment that carries about 170,000 vehicles a day. The plan calls for adding at least one lane in each direction, at an estimated cost of $425 million. The P3 model would need to be approved by a majority of state lawmakers.

The new lanes would feature “congestion pricing” – the toll price would vary according to the number of cars in the managed lanes, as well as the rest of the expressway. Rauner said it’s possible that drivers with one or more passengers might be allowed to use the new lanes without paying a toll. The state hopes to finalize a design by this spring and start construction by late 2017.

The Metropolitan Planning Council pushed for several years in Springfield for legislation to enable this kind of public-private partnership, which passed in 2011. MPC executive vice president Peter Skosey said his organization applauds Rauner’s proposal, adding that adding capacity to I-55 is listed as a priority in the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s GO TO 2040 regional plan.

“Experience shows that simply adding another regular lane will not ease congestion in the long term: once that capacity is there, it will just fill up,” Skosey said. “Putting a variable-priced toll on that lane lets you manage demand and keep it free-flowing. If you’re really in a time crunch, you have the choice to take that lane.”

Skosey argued that the new lane would also make taking the bus a more attractive choice. “[Pace’s] current Bus-on-Shoulder service has been incredibly successful, but it isn’t able to use the shoulder for the whole corridor and it’s limited to 35 mph. This lane would give it a continuous path and let it go as fast as 55 mph, improving reliability and opening the door to more frequent service.”

Steve Schlickmann, the former head of UIC’s Urban Transportation Center, agreed that the governor’s plan makes sense. “The combination of high congestion in regular travel lanes and insufficient growth in federal and state funding to maintain Illinois roads and transit, makes I-55 managed toll lanes a reasonable approach to address congestion and to help pay for I-55’s on-going maintenance needs,” he said.

Read more…

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South Side Groups: Make the Metra Electric Run Like the CTA ‘L’

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The Metra Electric line stations in Kenwood, Hyde Park, and South Shore supports their walkable neighborhoods. Photo: Eric Rogers

A dozen neighborhood organizations, along with the Active Transportation Alliance and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, are calling for the Metra Electric line, with its three branches that run through several South Side communities, to operate like a CTA ‘L’ line.

The fourteen organizations signed a letter to the editor of the Chicago Maroon, the independent student newspaper of the University of Chicago, stating that if Metra Electric trains were operated more like the Blue and Red Lines, “[it] could unlock the enormous development potential of the South Side and South Suburbs.” They described the neighborhoods and places the trains already reach:

The Metra Electric serves many key destinations on the South Side, such as the University of Chicago, the Pullman district, Chicago State University, the Museum of Science and Industry, Governor’s State University, McCormick Place, the South Shore Cultural Center, and the proposed Lakeside Development. The communities surrounding its stations are densely populated and walkable, ideal areas for rapid transit development.

The groups are absolutely right that the areas around the stations would be ideal for rapid transit service. They specifically ask transit agency heads and elected officials to make the following happen:

  • integrate fares and schedules with CTA and Pace operations, because the Metra Electric “is hampered by a fare structure more appropriate for suburban lines”
  • allow for discounted transfers among Metra and CTA and Pace
  • increase frequencies to 10-15 minutes

Read more…

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Some Bus Service Will Be Better In 2016, But Better Funding Needed

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The CTA has had to make tradeoffs to add more and faster bus service on Ashland Avenue. Photo: Daniel Rangel

2016 just might be the year of the Chicago bus. The Chicago Transit Authority is restoring express service and speeding up local service on Ashland and Western avenues, running six bus routes on dedicated bus lanes downtown with the new “Loop Link” corridor, and piloting restored service on the #11-Lincoln and #31-31st Street bus routes. Pace will also be gearing up to launch the Pulse “Arterial Bus Rapid Transit” service on Milwaukee Avenue in 2017.

The CTA discontinued express routes on Ashland, Western, and other streets in 2010. The 31st Street route was cut in the late 1990s, and the Lincoln route was truncated in 2012. Red-painted bus-lanes were installed on Loop streets in the 2000s, but the lanes weren’t enforced, and they were allowed to fade.

What accounts for the new focus on bus service? For starters, the Chicago Department of Transportation is currently implementing projects that Gabe Klein initiated when he was commissioner between 2011 and 2013. CDOT completed the east-west portion of Loop Link this month, and has begun constructing the Union Station transit center for people to transfer between buses and trains.

In addition to Loop Link, the restored Ashland and Western bus service, which includes the addition of transit-priority stoplights, can be viewed as laying the groundwork for a possible bus rapid transit line on Ashland. The city did outreach and planning for the system in the early years of the Emanuel administration, but it’s currently on the back burner.

The restoration of the #11 and #31 lines can be credited to tireless advocacy by local aldermen and a dedicated group of transit riders and businesses called the Crosstown Bus Coalition Last but not least, Dorval Carter took over as CTA president this year, and he said he wanted to pay more attention to improving bus service.

Service changes come with caveats

However, these bus service changes, past and present, have involved tradeoffs. When the CTA cut the #11 route in 2012, it was done as part of the agency’s so-called “decrowding plan,” which added service to ‘L’ lines, including the Brown Line, which roughly parallels Lincoln. The current Ashland and Western improvements are possible in part because the CTA is eliminating 100 management positions, including some some layoffs. Read more…

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Why the North LSD Rehab Should Swap Mixed-Traffic Lanes for Transit Lanes

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Buses and cars on Lake Shore Drive during the evening rush. Photo: John Greenfield

[The Chicago Reader recently launched a new weekly transportation column written by Streetsblog Chicago editor John Greenfield. This partnership will allow Streetsblog to extend the reach of our livable streets advocacy. We’ll be syndicating a portion of the column on the day it comes out online; you can read the remainder on the Reader’s website or in print. The paper hits the streets on Thursdays.]

Earlier this month at a hearing on the North Lake Shore Drive reconstruction study—dubbed “Redefine the Drive”—officials assured the public that all options for rebuilding Chicago’s coastal highway are still on the table. But the Illinois Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over the drive, isn’t seriously considering the simplest way to help more people travel more efficiently: trading existing mixed-traffic lanes for bus-only lanes.

Immortalized in the eponymous song by local rock group Aliotta-Haynes-Jeremiah (R.I.P. bassist Mitch Aliotta, who passed away in July), the northern portion of Lake Shore Drive is 60 to 80 years old, and way overdue for a rehab. IDOT and the Chicago Department of Transportation are collaborating on the plan to rebuild the seven-mile section between Grand and Hollywood.

They expect to get approval for the design from the feds by 2018, with construction starting as early as 2019, pending available funding. The project could cost more than $1 billion and will take years to finish.

Starting in July 2013, the city and state transportation departments hosted a series of community meetings, where residents shared their ideas for the overhaul. In October 2014, the planners released a list of the 20 most popular ideas for the rehab, based on more than 1,600 comments from 330-plus attendees. “Improve transit service” came in second, after “Separate bike/pedestrian users on the Lakefront Trail.” Maintaining or improving driving conditions didn’t make the list.

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A vision of North Lake Shore Drive with rapid transit corridors and separated walking and biking paths published by 15 local civic organizations in July 2013. Image: Thom Greene

During the recent hearing at the Chicago History Museum, planners from IDOT noted that North Lake Shore Drive sees 70,000 transit trips a day on nine routes, accounting for one-fifth of all passenger trips on the drive.

IDOT projects that the population of the study area, bounded by Touhy, the Kennedy/Dan Ryan, and the Stevenson, will grow 15 to 20 percent by 2040, based on a state analysis of Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning data. The department predicts the number of transit trips on the drive will increase by the same amount during this period. However, they project the increase in car trips will be negligible, because new Chicagoans will mostly commute by transit, and some current residents will switch from cars to other modes.

To meet the growing demand for transit, the LSD project team is considering options for the drive like bus-on-shoulder (which already exists on some Pace lines) and bus-only lanes, possibly with rapid transit-style stations along the route. Light rail is even in the mix, although it would likely be cost-prohibitive.

Liberating transit riders from car-generated congestion via dedicated lanes is a no-brainer, since buses are exponentially more space-efficient than automobiles. The planners said cars on the drive carry an average of 1.2 people. Meanwhile, a 60-foot articulated CTA bus seats about 50 people (not counting standees) and takes up less room on the highway than two average-size cars, when you factor in the necessary distances between vehicles.

During the hearing, planners stressed they haven’t yet ruled out any options for reconfiguring the drive. But afterward, IDOT project and environmental studies section chief John Baczek told a different story to Charles Papanek, who reported on the meeting for Streetsblog .

Baczek said it’s unlikely any of the drive’s existing travel lanes will be converted to transit-only use, because this would reduce capacity for drivers, and the number of car trips isn’t expected to decrease. Therefore, he implied, adding dedicated bus lanes would probably require widening the highway.

Read the rest of the article on the Chicago Reader website.

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Chicago Should Take Over the North Lake Shore Drive Redesign Project

Lake Shore Drive: currently, and probably in the future unless Chicago takes over planning and design. Photo: Mike Travis

Last week, the Illinois Department of Transportation hosted the first public meeting on the North Lake Shore Drive reconstruction project in almost a year and a half. This state-jurisdiction road, which is located entirely within the city limits, currently restricts access to our lakefront. And since CTA “express” buses are forced to share travel lanes with cars, the buses are slowed to a crawl during peak-hour traffic jams.

After the meeting, an IDOT staffer said it’s unlikely that any existing mixed-traffic lanes on the drive will be converted to transit-only lanes as part of the redesign. Instead, transit lanes would probably only included as an add-on to the existing eight lanes.

However, the department’s own analysis projects that the population of project area will increase by 15-to-20 percent between 2010 and 2040, with negligible motor vehicle traffic growth.

The shoreline of Lake Michigan doesn’t need 30 more feet of asphalt. Moreover, if buses are removed from all the existing mixed-traffic lanes, even more space will be available for cars on than there is now, further encouraging driving.

IDOT’s backwards policy on lane conversions demonstrates why it would make sense for the city of Chicago to take over control of the highway. In recent years, the Chicago Department of Transportation has helped build several forward-thinking transit projects, such as the Loop Link express bus corridor, which opens this Sunday.

Ideally, Chicago wouldn’t have a lakefront highway at all. Barring that possibility, Lake Shore Drive should be transformed into a much smaller, park-oriented street, and/or moved underground. San Francisco converted a double-decker highway into a shoreline boulevard instead of rebuilding it. Madrid buried their river-hugging highway under a brand-new park.

Lake Shore Drive could also be capped, with the newly created land used for parks and public space, as was done with Boston’s Big Dig project. CDOT’s recent actions show that the city might take these ideas seriously.

Read more…

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IDOT Provides an Update on the North Lake Shore Drive Reconstruction Study

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IDOT is considering the possibility of extending Lake Shore Park east over the drive via a “land bridge.” Photo: Charles Papanek

Starting in 2013, the Illinois and Chicago transportation department have hosted a series of public meetings on the North Lake Shore Drive reconstruction study, dubbed “Redefine the Drive.” At a hearing in July 2014, planners introduced Chicagoans to the project’s latest purpose and needs statement (essentially a mission statement), while also asking attendees to chime in with their own ideas for the corridor.

IDOT seems to have been busy since that last meeting, but they still haven’t presented a preliminary list of design alternatives for improving the eight-lane highway. Instead, a hearing held last week at the Chicago History Museum served as a behind-the-scenes look at IDOT’s planning process.

First, the IDOT staffers presented data gathered at the July 2014 meeting. There were 330 attendees who left 750 comments, which included 1,600 ideas. That’s a good indication that the public is paying close attention to the project, even in its early stages.

Next, the planners discussed their methods for forecasting future travel demand on the drive, using data about upcoming transportation projects from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s Go To 2040 plan. The region the planners are studying is a wide area, bounded by Touhy Avenue to the north, I-90/94 to the west, I-55 to the south, and Lake Michigan to the east.

The data was surprising: The population of this area was predicted to grow 15-to-20 percent between 2010 and 2040 with negligible motor vehicle traffic growth. This info provides a massive boost to arguments for prioritizing transit in the redesign of the highway.

The presenters then talked about several potential roadway junction designs. Most are so complex that grade separation for pedestrian and bike routes was highly recommended. This seems to go against the spirit of an earlier statement from IDOT that Lakeshore Drive is a “boulevard through a park and not a highway.”

On the positive side, the planner said IDOT is open to relocating or even removing some of the junctions. The Wilson Avenue interchange is probably the best candidate for removal due to its close proximity to other junctions.

Next, the presenters discussed transit on the drive, including some noteworthy statistics. The highway sees 70,000 transit trips a day on nine bus routes, accounting for about one-fifth of all passenger trips. This number is projected to grow 15-20 percent by 2040, while the number of car trips will stay flat.

To address this growth in transit ridership, the project team is looking into many alternatives including bus-on-shoulder (like some existing PACE routes), dedicated bus lanes, and even light rail. Options like these would give transit the dedicated, traffic jam-free space it needs and deserves.

Other ideas included queue jumps for buses entering and exiting the drive, as well as bus-only exit ramps located in the center of the drive. Traffic signal priority, which extends green lights and shortens reds to keep buses from getting stuck at intersections, is also being considered.

Read more…

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IDOT Discusses the Future of Protected Bike Lanes on State Routes

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The Clybourn protected lanes have been a hit with cyclists. Photo: John Greenfield

Illinois Bicycle Lawyers - Mike Keating logo

The ribbon cutting for the Clybourn Avenue curb-protected bike lanes in Old Town on November 20 was a Kumbaya moment for the city and state transportation departments after years of conflict over protected lanes.

Soon after Chicago Department of Transportation opened the city’s first protect lane on Kinzie Street in July 201 the Illinois Department of Transportation began quietly blocking CDOT from installing protected bike lanes on state routes within the city. After Streetsblog’s Steven Vance broke the story of the ban in February 2013, IDOT claimed they needed three years of safety data on existing Chicago protected lanes.

The former heads of CDOT and IDOT have recently indicated that ex-governor Pat Quinn’s deputy chief of staff Sean O’Shea was the driving force behind the prohibition. Former city transportation chief Gabe Klein said the ban was actually motivated by “political and personality issues.”

After the ban was made public, the Active Transportation Alliance rallied supporters to send 3,000 emails to Quinn asking him to overturn it. The advocacy group also enlisted a coalition of business leaders to lobby the governor, including a meeting between the leaders and O’Shea.

These efforts, along with the outcry following the May 2013 crash on Clybourn that took the life of cyclist Bobby Cann, led the state to change its position on protected lanes. They agreed to build the curb-protected lane on Clybourn, a state route, as a pilot project, in cooperation with CDOT.

The lanes, which are separated from moving traffic by wide curbs, run on Clybourn between North Avenue and Division Street, and on Division from Clybourn to Orleans Street. IDOT bankrolled and constructed the lanes, with design assistance from CDOT, and the city is responsible for sweeping and plowing the lanes.

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CDOT plowed the Clybourn protected bike lanes after a snowfall last month. Photo: Marcus Moore, Yojimbo’s Garage

It’s worth noting that the new lanes aren’t actually fully complete yet. Bike-specific traffic signals at Division/Clybourn and Division/Orleans still haven’t been activated. CDOT is currently reviewing plans for the signals submitted by IDOT, and they should be completing the review in the near future.

At last month’s ribbon cutting, IDOT secretary Randy Blankenhorn implied that the two departments will collaborate on more protected lanes in the near future. “This is a project that’s time has come,” Blankenhorn said in a statement. “I look forward to working with… our transportation partners on finding other new ways to promote bike use in Chicago and throughout Illinois.”

The press release for the event said the Clybourn project is “part of an ongoing feasibility study by IDOT into expanding bicycle and pedestrian facilities on state routes.” It stated that Clybourn was chosen as the location for the pilot due to the street’s high volume of bicycle traffic and high pedestrian and bike crash rate. “Of the 93 injury-crashes that occurred along this stretch between 2008 and 2012, about 40 percent (30) involved pedestrians and bicyclists, even though they represent about 12 percent all of roadway users during peak traffic hours, according to IDOT statistics,” the release stated.

Both departments will collect before-and-after data on the Clybourn lanes’ effects on safety, street maintenance, and traffic flow to help develop guidelines for future protected lanes on state routes, according to the release.

Read more…

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CNT: Funding Not Spent According to Community Plans Has Less Impact

Despite plans that say municipalities and counties should build walkable communities near train stations, a lot of what transportation and economic development funds are spent on repaving roads.

Despite plans that say municipalities and counties should build walkable communities near train stations, a lot of what transportation and economic development funds are spent on is repaving roads.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology, a local community planning think tank, said that municipalities and public agencies are failing to follow their own plans. They’re investing public funds for the region in economic development and transportation projects in undeveloped areas or away from train stations.

CNT wrote in their new report, “Putting Places First,” that money is instead spent on repaving or enlarging roads, and projects that a municipality may already be comfortable building, even if that’s contrary to their adopted plan. The report said that the mindset about how we implement projects needs to change: “even though stakeholders increasingly agree about the need to stop sprawl, and communities make plans for more compact growth, implementation crawls.”

Chicagoland’s comprehensive plan, GO TO 2040, says that the 284 municipalities in its coverage area – all of whom voted to adopt the plan five years ago – should create walkable communities around transit or in vacant areas as infill development. The problem, the report said, is that each of the municipalities “must still navigate a complex web of funding streams, allocation criteria, and application schedules to get the money they need to play their roles in making this regional vision a reality.”

Turning the regional plan into a series of supportive, local plans has been successful, the report said, because the Chicagoland Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s Local Technical Assistance program and the Regional Transportation Authority’s Community Planning initiative have paid for and created 289 neighborhood and city-level plans since 1998. Municipalities have also created many plans on their own.

“We have plans in place, hundreds of them, that demonstrate local support to grow more compactly, near transit, and in line with GO TO 2040,” said Kyle Smith, a planner at CNT and who wrote the report. “But we’re not promising communities the resources they need to implement these plans.”

Read more…

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How Quinn Staffer Sean O’Shea Blocked Chicago’s Protected Bike Lane Efforts

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A man rides by the “ghost bike” memorial to Bobby Cann in one of the Clybourn protected lanes. Photo: John Greenfield

[The Chicago Reader recently launched a new weekly transportation column written by Streetsblog Chicago editor John Greenfield. This partnership will allow Streetsblog to extend the reach of our livable streets advocacy. We’ll be syndicating a portion of the column on the day it comes out online; you can read the remainder on the Reader’s website or in print. The paper hits the streets on Thursdays.]

On the evening of May 29, 2013, 26-year-old Bobby Cann was bicycling north on Larrabee from his job at Groupon, heading home to catch a Blackhawks game. Meanwhile, 28-year-old Ryne San Hamel was driving southeast on Clybourn. He’d been drinking in Wrigleyville after watching the Cubs defeat the Sox.

Just after 6:30 PM, the two men’s paths tragically collided. Police said San Hamel had been driving his Mercedes at least 50 mph when he struck Cann at the Larrabee intersection. The cyclist suffered horrific injuries and, despite the best efforts of bystanders and paramedics, he was dead within the hour.

San Hamel was found to have had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit. He’s being prosecuted for aggravated DUI, but the case hasn’t yet gone to trial.

Near the crash site, there’s a shrine with flowers, photographs, and a white-painted “ghost bike” that bears a placard with Cann’s image. On November 20 of this year, officials from the city and state transportation department cut the ribbon on curb-protected bike lanes on this stretch of Clybourn, plus a segment of Division.

These bike lanes, which are separated from traffic by wide concrete curbs that provide extra protection for riders, double as a memorial for the fallen cyclist. Friends and coworkers said Cann was always encouraging others to bike, and to do it safely.

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Sean O’Shea

Clybourn is only the second road in town to get this type of bikeway. Most Chicago protected lanes are located curbside and are separated from traffic by a striped buffer zone, flexible plastic posts, and parked cars.

The Clybourn lanes are also noteworthy because they’re the first protected lanes built on a state route within the city. That’s because in 2011, soon after the Chicago Department of Transportation opened the city’s first protected lanes on Kinzie, the state government began quietly blocking the city from installing protected lanes on state roads.

Forty percent of Chicago’s arterial streets are under Illinois Department of Transportation jurisdiction. These wide roadways generally have high crash rates, but CDOT is required to get approval from the state before making safety improvements to them.

The former heads of CDOT and IDOT, plus the director of the Active Transportation Alliance, now indicate that the chief architect of the three-year ban was ex-governor Pat Quinn’s deputy chief of staff Sean O’Shea.

The state claimed the reason for the prohibition was a need for more proof that protected lanes are safe. But former city transportation commissioner Gabe Klein says the ban was motivated by “political and personality issues.” (For full disclosure, Klein is currently a board member with the parent organization for Streetsblog Chicago, which I edit.)

It’s not certain what would have happened if the moratorium hadn’t been in place, or had been lifted earlier. But data suggests that Cann’s death, as well as other crashes, might have been prevented if protected lanes had been installed sooner on Clybourn and other state routes.

Here’s a timeline of how the ban occurred, and was ultimately overturned with the start of the Clybourn project, three years later.

Read the rest of the story on the Chicago Reader website.

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The ‘L’ Reduces Congestion on Highways More Than Widening Would

Blue Line on the Kennedy passing under Austin Ave. pedestrian overpass

A Blue Line train hits 55 mph on the way to O’Hare airport. Photo: Steven Vance

Yesterday, a road construction lobbying group tricked many local publications into promoting their highway expansion agenda.

In what’s become a common strategy for the road-building industry, the American Highway Users Alliance conducted a study called “Unclogging America’s Arteries 2015,” which reported that traffic congestion is really bad and, of course, adding more capacity for cars is the solution. Then they sent out a press release, counting on news outlets to spread the gospel. Since the report found that Chicago’s Kennedy Expressway has the worst bottleneck in the nation, The Tribune, Sun-Times, CBS, and WGN all took the bait and largely regurgitated the press release.

Time Out Chicago, in particular, accepted AHUA’s narrative hook, line, and sinker. Time Out went so far as to blame the CTA Blue Line, which runs down the median of the expressway, for standing in the way of fixing the traffic jam problem:

One immovable feature will force the road to be a bottleneck for the foreseeable future: the Blue Line. It prevents the Kennedy from expanding (the same applies for the Eisenhower Expressway on the West Side), which is a painful result of short-sighted 20th Century urban planning.

Time Out has it backwards. The real myopic urban planning was the decision to bulldoze hundreds of revenue-producing properties, displacing countless residents and businesses, to build the highway. Far from being foolish, the late-Sixties decision by planners and politicians to include a 55 mph rapid transit line in the median of the Kennedy was a savvy use of resources, since it was much cheaper than building a separate subway.

Granted, rapid transit is most useful when stops are located in the center of dense, walkable retail districts, and the middle of a highway isn’t the most pleasant place to wait for a train. But it’s fortunate that the powers that be chose to build new ‘L’ lines in the medians of the Kennedy, the Eisenhower, and the Dan Ryan, rather than not build them at all.

In the modern era, it’s short-sighted to think we can solve the traffic jam problem on urban highways by adding capacity, even though the road lobbyists would like us to believe otherwise. Time Out argued that the $420 million Jane Byrne Interchange expansion project and the $3.4 billion Elgin-O’Hare Expressway extension “will go a long way in reducing traffic on the North Side highway.”

On the contrary, highway expansion projects don’t reduce congestion in the long run. They provide temporary relief, but studies show that the extra capacity tends to encourage more car trips, a phenomenon known as induced demand, so the new lanes are soon filled with vehicles again.

The Blue Line deserves more far credit for fighting congestion than those costly road expansion projects because it provides commuters with an alternative to driving to and from downtown. That’s good for reducing traffic jams, good for the environment, and much healthier than a long, daily car commute.

Update 11/25/15 10:00 a.m.: After we pointed out the absurdity of the original Time Out post, they added the following text:

The Blue Line is a better option than a car for people traveling across the city. Chicago is one of three cities across the country where public transit to the airport is faster than driving. So if you can’t handle any more traffic on the Kennedy, consider trading in your car keys for a Ventra card.

Thanks to Streetsblog Chicago reader “objectathand” for alerting us.

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