Sun-Times Article on BRT NIMBYs Not As Awful As It Could Have Been

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Rosalind Rossi interviews a member of the Ashland-Western Coalition. Photo: John Greenfield

When I heard that the anti-bus rapid transit group the Ashland Western Coalition was staging a photo op and interview session for the Sun-Times, I expected the worst. The NIMBY group hadn’t received any coverage from the daily papers before this, but they’d gotten plenty of flattering writeups in local publications like DNAInfo, The Gazette and Patch.

Sun-Times transportation reporter Rosalind Rossi has shown a pro-car bias in articles like this one about a public input meeting on the Milwaukee protected bike lanes, which focused on drivers’ gripes about bicyclists. Her writeup of a recent, wide-ranging sustainable transportation roundtable centered almost exclusively on her own question to Congressman Mike Quigley about whether people on bikes should be required to display license plates.

Rossi specializes in David-and-Goliath stories of citizens taking on the city bureaucracy, so in a post last Friday I fretted that all the pro-BRT quotes in her article would come from CTA staffers:

Little media attention has been given to the dozens of businesses and organizations that are official supporters of the BRT plan, or the 1,700-plus residents who have signed a petition supporting the plan or contacted their aldermen to endorse it… If Rossi follows the template used by almost all local reporters so far, the responses to the coalition members’ claims will come from CTA officials, rather than the many business and community leaders, as well as everyday Chicagoans, who support the BRT plan.

Maybe I’m flattering myself, but I’d like to think that Rossi saw my post and it encouraged her to write a more balanced article. I’m happy to report that her piece isn’t as terrible as I thought it would be.

Sure, the article includes plenty of factual errors and half-truths. Rossi reports that BRT buses will stop every quarter mile, when the stop spacing will actually be every half mile. She describes BRT bus boarding as “ground-level,” when it will really be from a raised platform at the same level as the bus floor, facilitating entry for people with disabilities and seniors, and speeding boarding and travel for everyone else. She notes that cars and trucks will share a single lane with curbside local buses, failing to mention that the locals will run far less frequently than they do today, mostly to serve those who can’t or won’t travel an extra block or two to the BRT stations.

Rossi describes the BRT opponents as North Side residents when the coalition is actually made up of businesses and organizations on the Near West Side, including several located south of Madison Street. It’s also puzzling that the reporter doesn’t mention the AWC until the second-to-last paragraph of the article.

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CTA rendering of bus rapid transit on Ashland Avenue.

I dropped by the interview session the coalition organized yesterday morning at Orlando Glass and Trim, 641 North Ashland. It appears that all four of the residents quoted in the article as opposing BRT were among the dozen or so people who showed up for this pre-planned event. However, since the AWC isn’t mentioned until the end, the piece makes it seem like the opposition to BRT is coming from several different directions instead of just one noisy NIMBY group.

That said, Rossi also gave airtime to three pro-BRT individuals, and only one of them was a CTA spokesperson. In addition to quoting coalition members kvetching that the repurposing of car lanes and prohibition of most left turns on Ashland will create conditions “worse than carmageddon,” she also talked to Lee Crandell from the Active Transportation, who serves as a voice of reason.

“People say removing a traffic lane or prohibiting left turns will cause a traffic nightmare,” Crandell said. “A number of cities have done more transformation to their streets than this and none of the doomsday scenarios have come true.” He gave the example of a 2011 L.A. highway closure that was predicted to create vehicular mayhem but instead went smoothly.

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BRT supporters at Sunday's Open Streets on Milwaukee Avenue. Photo: Brenna Conway, Active Trans

Rossi also spoke with Matt Nardella, owner of the architecture firm Moss Design, an official supporter of the BRT plan, who pointed out that BRT will be good for businesses’ bottom line. “[By] making the street less car-oriented, you will make it a more hospitable place for pedestrians,” he told the reporter. “By making the street more hospitable, the more likely you are to improve the retail climate on the street.’’

Granted, Rossi didn’t interview any of the hundreds of everyday citizens who have endorsed BRT, let alone actually talk to someone waiting for or riding the grindingly slow, 8.7 mph #9 Ashland bus. But this article is a step in the right direction toward writing a conventional he-said/she-said treatment of the BRT story, not that that’s anything to brag about.

Rossi also got the scoop on a couple of new details about the plan, which the CTA’s Joe Iacobucci confirmed are accurate. She writes that the first 5.4-mile phase of BRT between 31st Street and Cortland Street will allow northbound left turns onto expressway ramps at Armitage, Robinson and Van Buren, and southbound left turns at Congress. She also noted that the environmental assessment for the plan will be released in mid-October, a couple of weeks later than previously projected by CTA officials, followed by 30 days of public comment.

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Ashland-Western Coalition leader Roger Romanelli at Orlando Glass. Photo: Mike Brockaway, DNA

Annoyingly, AWC leader Roger Romanelli gets the last word in the article, touting the coalition’s “Modern Express Bus” counter-proposal, which would maintain the status quo for drivers, but would provide even slower service than the old 10.3 mph #X9 Ashland Express. BRT will provide 15.9 mph rush hour service, including stops, a comparable speed to driving, which is what’s needed if we want to coax people out of their cars.

BRT is “potential carmeggedon, but it’s also a huge opportunity for change in our city if we choose a different approach,’’ Romanelli told Rossi. “For such a major change, Chicago deserves a choice.’’

He’s right about that last bit. Instead of continuing to prioritize driving, so that this inefficient, destructive mode is the only way to travel fast on Ashland, we need to give Chicagoans a choice. By providing the option of speedy, reliable BRT, we’ll allow people to choose a more affordable, healthier, smarter way to get where they need to go.

  • Anonymous

    “…She notes that cars and trucks will share a single lane with curbside local buses, failing to mention that the locals will run far less frequently than they do today”

    In essence, a tacit admission that a local/BRT split is a service cut for those unwilling or unable to walk a greater distance.

  • Anonymous

    “the first 5.4-mile phase of BRT between 31st Street and Cortland Street will allow northbound left turns onto expressway ramps at Armitage, Robinson and Van Buren”

    Robinson is south of 31st, and Armitage is north of Cortland, so I wouldn’t expect any left turn restrictions for a route from 31st to Cortland.

  • Right, no bones about it, the infrequent locals will be strictly for those can’t or won’t travel a block or two extra to catch a bus almost twice as fast.

  • Robinson is just south of 31st and Armitage is just north of Cortland, so those streets will be affected by the Phase I route.

  • Anonymous

    Just to be clear, do you support transit service cuts, especially with a disproportionate impact on ever-increasing elderly and disabled populations?

  • Anonymous

    How so?

  • Anonymous

    And sign-posting that they’ll cut the local completely just as soon as they have lack-of-use stats to support cutting it. Which I support doing ab initio, for the sake of honesty, if nothing else.

  • Overall, BRT will be a significant service increase. Yes, a small minority of mobility impaired people who absolutely can’t travel an extra block or two to the BRT stations for service twice as fast will have less frequent local service. Paratransit is another option for these folks.

  • Half a block. The BRT stations may extend that far.

  • Anonymous

    Another thing:

    “He gave the example of a 2011 L.A. highway closure that was predicted to create vehicular mayhem but instead went smoothly.”

    *EVERYONE* can make accommodations in their schedules for a 2 day, weekend, disruption. And, yes, everyone can also adjust to significant, permanent, changes, but comparing a 24/7/365 change to something that happened for a weekend (oh, ok, *2* weekends) is ridiculous, and not instructive about what happens with a permanent change. I’d rather that the example is the removal of 380 (the Embarcadero Freeway) in EsEff, which was a permanent change.

    The Chicago analog is saying: “We can just close LSD to motor vehicles permanently–nothing horrible happened to traffic flows after the Groundhog Day blizzard, or anytime that there’s a Bike the Drive event.” It’s just not the same thing.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks.

    But even under the most absurd over-lengthening of what a “block” means in Chicago, Armitage is more than 1/2 a block north of Cortland at Ashland. It’s ~650′ bt the two, which is what I would call a ‘standard’ Chicago block of 1/8 of a mile.

    Robinson is also 500′ south of Archer (where 31st would be, were it to cross Ashland), but some 1100 feet south of the Ashland Orange Line stop, which I expect (hope??) will be the actual location of the BRT station.

  • Anonymous

    “BRT will be a significant service increase.” Again, this is not true for many customers, who will have to deal with longer walks or infrequent service.

    Paratransit is extremely financially inefficient, carrying less than 1% of all customers in most transit agencies, yet consumes about 20-25% of system expenditures. Furthermore, to force existing fixed-route transit customers to use paratransit is to force customers to give up frequent, direct, (moderately) fast transit service and replace it with infrequent, indirect, expensive service which is far more inefficient under nearly every metric.

    Based on actual timetable comparisons, the bus stop penalty is about 20-30 seconds per stop, or about a minute per mile. As a negative correlation exists between number of trips and trip distance, and frequency is crucial, it is worth sacrificing one minute per mile to avoid sacrificing the independent mobility of societies most vulnerable citizens.

  • Peter

    I guess if you need to go left at North or Division to get on the Expressway you need to plan on going Wabansia, Blackhawlk, or cutting through the Jewel/Kmart parking lot.

  • Anonymous

    John, c’mon. We all know that, once the BRT is actually running the full length of the planned route (and maybe before!), the 9 is going away. It simply won’t have use stats to support continuing it.

  • Peter

    I think its funny that those who are “unwilling” to walk the 1/4 mile to the nearest BRT stop will still be able to use the local. If we are in this to speed things up… lets be serious about it! Keep the local for those who are ACTUALLY physically unable and make the other lazy people walk their tushes down the street. We are going to spend in excess of 200 million so some fat lazy dude can still ride the slow local?? Come on now! It will also be better for our national health care costs :-)

  • Anonymous

    Yep, that’s about it.

    Of course, there shouldn’t be too many who “need” to turn left onto North from Ashland (turning at Elston/Armitage or being local and avoiding Ashland), and doing Blackhawk-Paulina-Milwaukee (or Haddon-Milwaukee, if N-bound) isn’t *too* horrible to get to Division.

  • Anonymous

    The frequency will probably be 20 minutes during rush (which means 45 minutes bt bunches of 3 buses after the 1st 3 miles of the route), and 30 outside. The local 9 is a deadman walking once BRT starts.

  • Anonymous

    Can you define what you mean by the word “many” in the first paragraph? 1%? 10%? 50%?

  • Alex Oconnor

    Romanelli and his organization continuing to attempt to infect anyone who listens with his lies.

  • Anonymous

    Peter, can you honestly name one other business where supporters (and even some managers) can openly insult their customers (“lazy people”) and get away with it?

    For what its worth, travel models usually inflate walking and waiting time relative to riding time, as heat, snow, rain, broken sidewalks, stupid drivers, etc do not affect the customer.

  • Peter

    I’m a fellow user, neighbor, and citizen. I am not a business owner of any sort and, no I don’t have compassion for lazy people. Lazy people are rewarded enough in this country. I’ll leave it at that as it is a full blown topic of its own that is not on topic here. Like I said above. “We are going to spend in excess of 200 million so some fat lazy dude can still ride the slow local??” If Ashland is going Rapid… you better go all in!

    For the record. I am totally in favor of measures that help the physically unable/impaired.

  • Peter
  • That headline is totally inaccurate. See Lindsay Banks’ and my comments on Sun-Times piece.

  • Anonymous

    C’mon, Zmapper . . .

    If an individual has a disability precluding ability to walk a block [extra or otherwise] then s/he is likely using door-to-door paratransit service, a cab, or other transportation means. The “last-mile” problem has long precluded effective transit service for persons experiencing the level of disability rendering one unable to walk a block.

    As such, there is no disproportionate impact to either older Americans or persons with disabilities. It is a significant service for all persons presently able to use the existing service, as well as increases the likelihood that those now unwilling to use it do to slow and unreliable travel will actually leave a car at home or not buy one, choosing to take advantage of improved service instead.

    Don’t be ridiculous.

  • Anonymous

    “it is worth sacrificing one minute per mile to avoid sacrificing the independent mobility of societies most vulnerable citizens”

    ** BS alert **

    . . . no such sacrifice exists.

    You are presenting a false choice to advance your own agenda. Attempting to leverage sympathy for society’s “most vulnerable citizens” by presenting a false choice is insidious.

    Older Americans and persons with disabilities using the existing service will *benefit* through significantly improved service quality.

    If you genuinely care about service to persons of limited mobility, yet able to still take standard transit service, you’d support Ashland BRT rather than relegate such populations to slow and unreliable service.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    That’s great, but misses the point that a two-day closure is a crap comparison to a permanent change (on both sides of things–bad results of temporary closures aren’t good examples either). Had he cited as you did, it wouldn’t have made a snappy quote for the story.

  • Anonymous

    “You are presenting a false choice to advance your own agenda.”
    As you seem to know me better than me, please describe in detail what “my agenda” is.

    Additionally, if you have any qualms with the “20-30” seconds stop penalty average, please let me know. This number is derived from real-world schedules with every effort made to eliminate other variables, and for the purposes of this discussion, can be assumed to be accurate if applied to the Ashland corridor.

    “Older Americans…”
    As I have stated before and as John fully admits, local/limited splits divide frequency. For short trips (which more are made than long trips), frequency is the overriding constraint on trip time. Additionally, in order to benefit from the BRT improvements, walking time will increase. To further rub salt in the wound, most travel models penalize walking and waiting time more than riding time. Under a properly weighted travel time model, a single service with approximately 1/4 mile spacing will likely provide the quickest trip times for the majority of trips, with as many people within walking distance as practicable.

  • Anonymous

    I fully agree for some, the only practical option is door-to-door service like paratransit or taxicabs. However, these modes are expensive for both the user and the operator, and as a high-level policy goal, the use of other modes should be encouraged whenever practical.

    The ability and willingness for which people are willing to walk or wait is a continuous spectrum, while language necessitates to some extent the categorization of people. While there will always be those unable to walk even a few feet without assistance, and those willing to walk potentially miles to access transit, the vast majority of customers fall somewhere in between. Assuming a spectrum, for which on one side is “fully abled” and the other is “fully disabled” (for lack of better terms), shifting the dividing line of accessibility away from the “fully disabled” side harms those who may not be “fully disabled”, but may not be able or willing to travel further. It is this group that, if the alternative is walking a greater distance than normal transit is designed around, may shift towards expensive modes such as paratransit and taxis.

  • Roland Solinski

    Remember that 31st is only the endpoint of Phase I. After Phase II is built, buses will indeed stop at a station in the Ashland median.

    The whole concept of a bus turnaround is a crappy one unless there are a bunch of bus lines terminating there. Otherwise, it just punishes through bus riders with lots of delays. I don’t like the Orange Line stations for this reason.

  • Anonymous

    The Cortland station *can’t* go north of Cortland, it has to be south due to the Metra viaduct. I mentioned this a few months ago when it was announced that Cortland is the phase 1 north boundary. That puts the station on the south side of Cortland under the Kennedy overpass, which can be very dark and depressing. The viaduct makes a fairly easy end to the restricted lanes, keep the center bus only under the viaduct, open it up on the north side of it northbound. southbound the lanes can compress to one at the viaduct.

  • Anonymous

    Not really, cjlane. The original point was whether carmageddon ensues following roadway capacity reduction for cars. Your effort to make a different point is little more than an irrelevant distraction.

    With respect to the real point, which I did not miss despite the smoke you’re blowing, you wrote, “The Chicago analog is saying: ‘We can just close LSD to motor vehicles permanently–nothing horrible happened to traffic flows after the Groundhog Day blizzard, or anytime that there’s a Bike the Drive event.’ It’s just not the same thing.”

    The examples I cited above are hardly Groundhog Day exceptions. If your point – the one you you suggest that I am missing when I am simply dismissing it – is that the best example wasn’t used, that’s really quite a worthless point given a backdrop of sufficient examples that reliably demonstrate the point he was making, any one of which could have been substituted with the “snappiness” you suggest was ill-justified.

  • Anonymous

    That was a lot to write to simply say you were wrong in making the statement.

  • Anonymous

    “Furthermore, to force existing fixed-route transit customers to use
    paratransit is to force customers to give up frequent, direct,
    (moderately) fast transit service and replace it with infrequent,
    indirect, expensive service which is far more inefficient under nearly
    every metric.”

    What on earth are you talking about? Nobody is being forced from fixed route to paratransit. BRT more inefficient under nearly every metric??

    I’ll say it again, don’t be ridiculous.

    If you’re the sharpest tool the opposition has, they’re in a lot of trouble when it comes to advancing their Modern Era Bus concept.

  • Anonymous

    Your point is…?

    Additionally, kindly point out where in my above statement I am wrong. Until then, you are merely throwing around baseless accusations.

  • Anonymous

    “Nobody is being forced from fixed route to paratransit.” Again, for customers unable to travel a greater distance to their new stop, they are effectively forced onto costly, indirect, inefficient paratransit. Quick question: Do you know what you are doing 24 hours from now, and know those plans are set in stone? Paratransit customers are forced to.

    Additionally, I detest your baseless ad hominem attack where you claim I am a member of organizations I am not.

  • Anonymous

    Rather than using the “real-world schedules”, have you ever ridden the real-world bus that serves many different types of people in a wide range of mixed traffic conditions, Zmapper?

    Do it and then come back to chat about schedules and your math that relies upon their accuracy.

    How is your model validated, Zmapper, and under what conditions? Sounds to me that your effort to “eliminate other variables” eliminated those attached to the everyday experience of people that have to rely on buses to get from point A to point B. None of those variables are in the “real-world” schedule, incidentally.

    What variables did you eliminate, and what effect did that have on model outputs? Whose model are you running, as it sounds like you’re not running any model, but rather throwing terms around in an effort to increase the legitimacy of your statements, which, in reality, lack factual basis. For instance, “For short trips (which more are made than long trips)” – says what authority, or is that just thrown in because it suits you?

    Try looking at some of the RTA travel market analysis documents and the types of trips that Ashland BRT would serve and then come back to discuss what, precisely, you define as a short trip and how that is relevant to Ashland BRT. The quickest times on Ashland will never occur in mixed traffic as opposed to a dedicated bus lane during peak periods. Do you really believe that single service in mixed traffic at 1/4 mile stops will yield the quickest and most efficient service, and does your model produce that result? Maybe I’ve misunderstood your claims and representations, but it is clear that neither CMAP’s nor CTA’s work concludes with results similar to yours, and CMAP is running a model that expresses heavy preference for road/highway solutions.

    As for older Americans (the preferred label for senior citizens or old people), I see them speed walking down my block every morning when I walk my dog. I see them surfing (yeah, in the water not on a smart phone), even on the Great Lakes. I see them jogging on forest preserve and lakefront paths for distances I couldn’t do – not even if I were being chased. Our highway models miscalculate penalties for both walking and transit transfers, as they are validated using past data – data derived from investments that made driving the only alternative. People value travel time reliability, which Modern Era Bus proposed by the Save [Doom] Ashland sheeple can’t provide.

    Your suggestion that people can’t walk a block or two, and your modeling terms tossed about like day-old bread should be embarrassing for you.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, man.

    Let me ask the question this way: How many people do you estimate are presently able to ride the bus despite the “last mile” problem, despite burden of multiple transfers, despite the problem of weather, yet will be *unable* to walk an added block because of a change in stop location, and what data do you use to assert that claim?

  • Anonymous

    /

  • Anonymous

    To be clear, I never claimed that my (limited) schedule analysis was a model. It is a schedule analysis. I do not have a model. The use of the term model refers to penalties assigned to walking and waiting by other agencies. Relative to in-vehicle time, the TTC in Toronto penalizes waiting time 1.5, walking time 2.0, and transfers 10 minutes. See page nine: http://www.ttc.ca/PDF/Transit_Planning/service_improvements_2008.pdf

    By real-world schedules, I compared a local/limited route, one with roughly 1/4 mile spacing, and one one with 1/2 mile stop spacing, along the same route, at the same time of day, using the same fare payment method. While real life isn’t as “clean” as what schedules say, it is safe to assume that any reliability problems will affect both routes roughly equally. The detailed analysis is here: http://pedestrianobservations.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/are-express-trains-worth-it/#comment-10157

    I fully admit that one route split isn’t enough to develop an accurate estimate, and would like to explore additional local/limited splits as time permits.

    For instance, “For short trips (which more are made than long trips)” I don’t have a cite for this one because it is a basic concept. The majority of trips are made close to home, these being commuting, basic shopping, etc. For “higher order” services like specialty shopping or airports, people travel further away, but the key point is that these trips are not made as often as basic trips, which tend to be closer to home.

    You are falsely characterizing my position when you claim I support operating in mixed traffic. This is not true.

    “Do you really believe that single service in mixed traffic at 1/4 mile stops will yield the quickest and most efficient service”

    When frequency and waiting time are taken into account and properly weighted, yes. This is the crux of my argument.

    Your remarks about the travel patterns of older Americans are based entirely on personal observations and suffer from an anecdotal fallacy. An individuals mobility is more likely to be impaired more as they become older, as proportionally, more people in their 60’s and 70’s are likely to have mobility problems than people in their 20’s and 30’s.

    I would like to see how “highway models miscalculate penalties for both walking and transit transfers”, and why.

    Finally, I ask you to refrain from baseless ad-hominem attacks against me. To be clear once again, I am not a member of Save Ashland.

  • Anonymous

    I do not have a numerical estimate. Remember that as we are a free society with choice, customers who are *unwilling* to walk a greater distance to their stop must also be included.

  • Al Lux

    Is it possible for you write a response that doesn’t conclude with calling somone ridiculous, embarrassing, a bonehead, etc?

  • Yeah, let’s keep the dialogue civil guys. Please check out our comment policy if you need a refresher. Thanks. http://chi.streetsblog.org/about/comment-moderation-policy/

  • Anonymous

    Yes, we are a society with choice.

    A person unwilling to walk an extra block can choose to forgo the benefits of the service; there is no public obligation to design or invest in a manner that endeavors to accommodate that level of individual preference.

  • Anonymous

    According to Census LEHD data, over 41% of persons living within 1/2 mile of the Ashland alignment travel greater than 10 miles to their place of employment. While a simple majority travel less than 10 miles, there is a significant proportion – approaching 1/2 the total – that travel relatively long commutes given the density of the urbanized area
    being traversed. The proportion of trips in excess of five miles would skew the numbers even more toward long trips. Analysis that focuses on short
    trips, which I presume to be less than five miles (or likely some lesser distance) fails to account for many of the persons that would be riding the improved service, and perhaps even a majority of them.

    1 in 4 households within walking distance of Ashland do not own a car, so shaving time from one’s commute while also increasing reliability – making transit competitive with driving – is a big deal. CTA/CMAP modeling results indicate that Ashland BRT would yield up to an 83% increase in bus speeds during peak periods, and a 50% improvement in reliability – a result of the dedicated runway (and associated improvements, including signal priority, pre-paid level boarding, etc.) and stop spacing, not simply stop spacing and schedule. That can’t be accomplished with standard bus service operating in mixed traffic.

    Furthermore, the prospect of linking Ashland BRT to other investments currently advancing through planning stages is also something that your analysis overlooks; we’re building a network of new and improved service, not a single line running between one point north and one point south. For instance, it should be noted that the Illinois Department of
    Transportation is in the process of advancing a managed lane project on I-290. The Ashland BRT would connect to that managed lane at I-290, and I-290 will feature a high capacity transit amenity that connects transit riders to the three largest suburban employment centers: Naperville, Oak Brook/Lombard, and Schaumburg. There is not presently such an amenity in the I-290 corridor, though rail does provide service to roughly Harlem Avenue (Des Plaines, actually). The suburban employment centers offer a wide range of employment opportunities, from entry level service and retail positions to professional jobs, and the entry level jobs can be difficult to fill due to lack of transit access. At the same time, persons that are unemployed or under-employed can not not
    reasonably reach such jobs without a car.

    While your analysis examining 1/4 mile and 1/2 mile stops is interesting, it occurs in isolation from important variables with significant bearing on the question of whether Ashland BRT is a prudent and necessary investment. it is a severe methodological flaw to hold all variables beyond stop distance and schedule constant; doing so may simplify your analysis, but your conclusions are equally very limited in scope and applicability.

    In summary, the analysis you’ve provided isn’t relevant to the question of determining whether Ashland BRT constitutes a prudent and necessary public investment, but perhaps that was not your intent.

  • Anonymous

    Also, I do find it interesting that models, including the one you linked to, penalize transfers heavily – 10 minutes in your example, as you noted.

    I think it is time for some studies to update long-standing modeling assumptions related to such penalties. Do people really hate to transfer that much, or is it more a concern about reliability? For instance, people transfer on CTA heavy rail all the time. I have never heard anyone complain about it because the transfer is smooth and efficient. On the other hand, I hear people complain about bus transfers all the time. Why? Well it is a function of reliability of the transfer and the prospect of a significant wait penalty attached to missing a transfer to a route with either low service frequency or unreliable service due to operating in mixed traffic.

    What our transit system needs is reliability. A person needs to know what time to leave the house in the morning in order to be able to arrive to work on-time. The more uncertainty injected into that decision, the less likely one will make the trip by transit. There comes a point where even drivers will forgo trips due to travel time length or uncertainty.

    Our bus network suffers from uncertainty and Ashland BRT will remove much of that from the equation while also decreasing travel time. As for the potential for added walking distance, the benefits will outweigh the added time that *some* riders will experience in walking an extra block.

  • Anonymous

    If it’s so easy to substitute a *good* example, why’d he use a crap example?

    Yes, “carmaggedon” never ensues when everyone stays home. The 405 closure is a great example of the power of a media blitz.

  • Anonymous

    “Remember that 31st is only the endpoint of Phase I. After Phase II is built, buses will indeed stop at a station in the Ashland median.”

    Understood, but then is the correct inference that those will be the only 3 places to make left turns from 95th to IPR? Will left turns be permitted at 95th and IPR even?

    rhetorical questions, I think, but perhaps someone officially knows.

  • Anonymous

    Also, there’s abundant literature describing the benefits of road diets. FHWA’s Road Diet website links to an Institute of Transportation Engineers handbook, which relates:

    “Road Diet Handbook: Setting Trends for Livable Streets is a comprehensive guide for practitioners on the decision-making of the applicability of road diets. A road diet entails removing travel lanes from a roadway and utilizing the space for other uses and travel modes. Improvements have generated benefits to users of all modes of transportation, including transit riders, bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists. The resulting benefits include reduced vehicle speeds; improved mobility and access; reduced collisions and injuries; and improved livability and quality of life.”

  • cjlane, you’re also welcome to take me up on my offer of free dinner at the Handlebar (or a Malnati’s pizza) if you can find an example where repurposing travel lanes for BRT led to carmaggedon.

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