Today’s Headlines

  • CNT Study Finds 1 in 10 Cook County Residents Lives in a Transit Desert (RedEye)
  • Driver Who Killed Senior in Edgewater Held on $300K Bail (DNA)
  • Woman Injured in Metra Train Crash While Taking Photos on Tracks (NBC)
  • Help Requested to ID Cabbie Who Struck Cyclist in Lakeview, Fled (Keating)
  • Red Light Cam Opponents Accuse Cop of Intimidation at Protest (DNA)
  • Why Isn’t Chicago Observing National “Stop on Red Week”? (Expired Meter)
  • Police Conducted Safety Stings in 2 Nabes Last Weekend (Expired Meter)
  • Gazette Runs Yet Another Anti-Ashland BRT Article
  • Water Main Work at Diversey/Halsted Starts Today (DNA)
  • 1 Month Left to Transfer Balances From Old CTA Cards to Ventra (RedEye)
  • Active Trans Is Stoked About Big Marsh Park, “A Playground for Cycling”

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  • Paul Lester

    I’d never heard of Stop on Red Week before. Can you believe I’ve been stopping at red lights like a sucker 52 weeks out of the year?

  • R.A. Stewart

    I read Hilkevitch’s story on the CNT study—in the *real* newspaper :-) —and my first reaction was, “where are those numbers coming from??” One in ten? They clearly have a really stringent test for what constitutes a transit desert. At least 4 to 6 in ten would be my conservative estimate, by a more reasonable standard. And as for: “CTA officials, who reviewed the new study, said that more than 96 percent of the city of Chicago is not in what the study defined as a transit desert”—well, that is either a further demonstration that the study’s definition is so restricted as to be nearly useless, or a further demonstration of the CTA’s peculiar Soviet-era relationship to reality, or both. I’d like those CTA officials to try living in my neighborhood for six months without a car.

    That aside, it is good at least to have some coverage that recognizes what a poor transit system we have in the Chicago metro area.

  • Str0ng

    you ask “where are those numbers coming from??” and then reply with your own even more made up BS statistic:

    “At least 4 to 6 in ten would be my conservative estimate, by a more reasonable standard.”

  • R.A. Stewart

    “Made up” perhaps, but out of my own experience and observation living in one of the many neighborhoods of Chicago not blessed with ample public transportation, and driving through and working in suburbs with next to none.

    Do you honestly think 9 out of 10 residents of Cook County have access to adequate transit?

  • what_eva

    The definition is in the article:

    The study, key findings of which are
    disputed by the CTA, defined a transit desert as an area that has a high
    demand for transit but that is more than a half-mile from a rail stop,
    or at least one quarter of a mile from some form of express bus service
    or at least a bus route that offers service every 15 minutes or less.

    Obvious problem is that they’re going to go with “scheduled” for the 15 minute bus service metric. If reality is that bus bunching causes 3 buses to show up every 40 minutes, that’s not going to show up.

  • R.A. Stewart

    Good point. Another problem, though I don’t necessarily fault the authors of the study on this one, is how you measure high demand; and related to that, do you consider demand to be a given, or something that can be increased or decreased?

    I raise the last point because I witnessed what happened over several years to our neighborhood’s only convenient east-west bus line, which was standing-room-only when I moved into the area but gradually emptied out because it was so unreliable that riders–including me–were forced to find alternatives. Guess when the CTA chose to evaluate ridership on that route? That experience also taught me to take the CTA’s pronouncements about transit demand with much more than a grain of salt.

  • Str0ng

    Yes they are called buses. Chicago does not have the density necessary to support a Manhattan/Brooklyn style subway system. There is simply no denying that.

    Buses are most cost effective. If you are working in the suburbs and have a tough time getting there, move to hte suburbs. There isn’t going to be every possible direct connection.

    The hub and spoke style rail system is the most efficient style for a population of this density.

  • Anne A

    I think their definition is bullshit, because it leaves out huge areas where lots of folks would probably ride IF there was decent transit service in their area. CTA considered more than 96% of Chicago NOT to be a transit desert?!? Seriously? And what kind of fairyland were those folks living in when they made that statement? Large areas of the city are served by only 1 or 2 bus routes that take so long to travel more than a mile or 2 that they are effectively useless for most people.

  • Anne A

    IN many areas of the city, buses are so slow for distances over 1-2 miles that they are effectively useless for most people.

  • Str0ng

    Oh really? Other than downtown and River North I find that hard to believe, no offense.

  • Anne A

    Try riding the Belmont bus – any portion of the route, or buses on Ashland, Clark, Western, Diversey, Fullerton, Sheridan (local), King Dr (at rush hour)… I could go on. Sometimes it’s a matter of stop frequency, sometimes traffic congestion, or a combination of the two.

    Also, try ANY of the buses that run on Cicero between the orange line terminal at Midway and 87th. This section of Cicero is hugely congested for many hours of the day, and it typically takes at least 30 minutes to go just a few miles.

    I once rode the Ashland bus from 33rd to 95th on a Sunday afternoon. Stops were frequent, and many passengers had small children and or grocery carts. Some used wheelchairs. It took 75 minutes to travel that distance.. Friends who ride it more often tell me that slow speed is common for the Ashland bus.

    This is just a small selection of routes that are very slow if you need to take them for more than a mile or two. Perhaps you don’t have much experience taking buses in areas of the city other than the Loop and River North.

  • Anne A

    The Milwaukee Ave. bus through Wicker Park – Bucktown – Logan Sq. can be one of the slowest of them all. On more than one occasion, walking a distance of 1/2 mile or more, I have passed and stayed ahead of a particular bus that was bogged down in traffic and further handicapped by frequent stops. I wasn’t walking particularly fast either.

  • When I rode the Ashland bus from 95th to Irving Park, the average speed was 8 mph:

  • NorthSure

    #81 Lawrence crawls at most times of day. Too many cars and a ton of local stops.

  • Str0ng

    “Stops were frequent, and many passengers had small children and or grocery carts. ”

    FYI it’s not your personal limo. It’s called PUBLIC transit.

  • Str0ng

    Take the blue line.

  • cjlane

    “This is just a small selection of routes that are very slow if you need to take them for more than a mile or two.”

    Sounds like they are really slow if you *are* taking them only a mile or two.

  • Anne A

    Try taking them for 5-10 miles, which is the best transit many ‘hood get. Then they’re obscenely slow. Riding at 8 mph or less for a mile or two doesn’t take a huge chunk of time out of one’s day. Covering 8 miles at 8 mph takes over an hour.

    In some areas, bus routes may cross railroad grade crossing and have to wait for passing trains. This is another factor that can affect travel times.

  • Anne A

    I was merely describing the operating conditions – what I experienced that day, and what is typical on that route and many others.

  • Anne A

    If one is dealing with a walking disability or is physically vulnerable (fragile elderly person, women with small children, petite women, etc.), the blue line may not always be a workable option. For some, it may NEVER be a workable option due to walking distance, lack of ADA accessibility, dangerous locations, or all of the above. There are many reasons why bus service is needed, even in locations like Milwaukee or Lake where there is a parallel El line.

    Please consider that many other people have lives and physical abilities (or disabilities) that may be very different from your own.

  • Jeff H

    Also bring back the true Lincoln bus for this reason.

  • rohmen

    While I agree, I think your last line unfortunately describes every U.S. city outside of New York.

  • Str0ng

    public limo’s for everyone!

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    What really needs to be done is fair and affordable housing to be built in the suburbs.

    I feel for the individual profiled in the story that has to take two trains and two buses to get to the job. But unfortunately, we have pursued tax policies in this country that off-shored a lot of jobs that used to be better paying and nearby. (Shareholders pay significantly less tax on their dividends even if those dividends are derived from off shore manufacturing and services, so we in effect subsidize off-shoring our jobs).

    If the goal is to get people to the job centers (of which the article states 4 out of 5 of the job centers in the area are located in the suburbs) that really needs to be where the focus is. In the city having a bus, albeit a slow one, is better than no bus at all as compared to suburban locations. Getting people connected from suburban trains to their employers and back home is a good goal. Grandiose plans for building light rail on Lake Shore Drive, where there is already lots of buses and nearby trains should take a back seat.

  • skelter weeks

    CTA buses are VERY slow, and it’s not just because of traffic congestion or a lot of riders. I’ve personally seen many buses go slow on PURPOSE, probably because the union wants to save jobs. I biked past a Division street bus taking a ‘slow break’ on Friday morning. It’s apparently against CTA rules to have a speedy, efficient bus. I’m sure the riders appreciate the CTA for making them late/extending their ride with their fabulous transit service.

  • When I’ve been on such a bus, it’s usually because the bus is running ahead of schedule. It’s not speedy, but it is efficient to show up on time.

  • Anne A

    At least some of those “slow breaks” are intended to alleviate bus bunching.