Today’s Headlines

  • Garcia: Ashland BRT Plan “May Never Be Appropriate for Approval” (Sun-Times)
  • Claypool: Rauner Cuts May Have Worse Effect on CTA Than We Originally Thought (Tribune)
  • Active Trans Releases 2015 Suburban Active Transportation Platform
  • Emanuel: Doubling the Maintenance Fund Means CDOT Is Ready for Pothole Season (DNA)
  • Both Arena & Garrido Endorse Emanuel’s Decision to Take Down Red Light Cams (DNA)
  • Aurora Principal Trying to “Help the School Heal” After Teens Killed in Crash (Tribune)
  • 3 Men Charged With Criminal Trespassing on the Bloomingdale Trail (DNA)
  • Can Uber Improve Security & Comfort for Female Passengers by Hiring More Women? (DNA)
  • 89-Year-Old Orland Park Man Looks Back at How Biking Has Enriched His Life (Tribune)
  • An Ode to Chicago’s Alley’s (Mas Context)
  • After Vandal Desecrate Underpass Shrine to Derrick Rose, Volunteers Help Rebuild It (CBS)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA.

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  • Wow. Kind of amazed at Garcia’s strong opposition to Ashland BRT, but in the actual text of the article the alternative being proposed is to take the money and reinstate widespread X lines (seldom-stopping express routes on already heavily used lines), which would be amazing.

    Why can’t we have X busses and also a dedicated-painted-lane BRT style thing? Money, basically. But if you can only have one of those I think citywide X routes would affect more people overall.

  • ohsweetnothing

    Wasn’t there a post on here awhile back showing that the X routes really weren’t much faster than the regular routes? Primarily because they’re stuck in the same traffic. If I have time I’ll look for it later today.

    EDIT to add that I’m not at all surprised. I said it last month, the first Alderman to endorse him is the same Alderman that seriously tried to compare Ashland BRT to the parking meter deal.

  • jeff wegerson

    Sorry Mr. Garcia but I beg to disagree.

    I will say this though about X-routes. I think they had the potential to be significantly improved. The problem for buses are bottleneck intersections where cars back up. The classic ones are the three street ones like Ashland/Belmont/Lincoln or Ashland/Fullerton/Clyborn. One solution for those intersections is an exclusive bus curb lane for some distance. Half-block, one block or even two blocks. I would call such routes BBRT or Bastard-BRT.

    In the end Mr. Garcia is simply un-sophisticated about transit. And either his advisers are similarly unsophisticated or he isn’t listening.

    As for voting for him, well yes, of course. It’s not even a lesser of two evils. It’s a flawed good person versus a sophisticated evil neo-liberal person. (Ok maybe that last bit is over the top.)

  • Not only were the X routes not much faster (around 15% faster), they split the frequency on the routes so that one often had to wait longer for the bus. This Master’s Thesis goes into pretty good detail on the problem.

  • It’s a shame phase 1 of Ashland BRT doesn’t extend to those 6-way intersections given that much of the Ashland bus’s unreliability originates there. (See plot below.)

    The Sun-Times article cites Tom Kaeser’s letter to the Sun-Times criticizing the EA’s analysis of vehicular traffic impacts. The transit advocate response was correct in that cost and inconvenience of the project is a drop in the bucket compared to building a missing link in our rapid transit network. However, while a small effect, several of Mr. Kaeser’s criticisms are valid. I addressed them in this post.

    The conclusion, with Ashland BRT, we can improve Chicago’s future and grow our transit network with near zero net present cost.

    – Travel time gains from the project for existing customers of the Ashland bus are slightly less the travel time costs for existing vehicles.
    – The capital cost of the project are offset by operational cost savings from having more productive buses.

  • What in the world is the plot showing? I can’t make heads or tails of it and it doesn’t appear to be labeled.

  • 15% on a crosstown commute is significant. Not having to fight their way into the curb lane and back out again every couple blocks really improved end-to-end for long commutes (and if you’ve got a short bus commute you don’t care as much), like taking Cicero from up past Belmont to somewhere south of 22nd.

  • Apologies,

    It’s all buses on Ashland on a weekday with time of day on the x axis. There’s significant bunching and gaps in the PM peak.

  • It’s the Jeffrey Jump, not the Ashland, btw. I’m kind of amazed that it goes from Museum Campus to 47th almost instantaneously (vertical lines). No traffic? wide streets?

  • It’s the 6. Sorry, wrong plot. Here’s Ashland.

  • The vertical lines are on south Lakeshore drive. It balls up a little in the peak period along Congress and north of I-55.

  • Fred

    Unless you have to let 3 non-express buses pass before you get an express one, in which case getting on the first non-express bus may have been faster. That’s the point Fbfree was trying to make. Saving 15 minutes on the bus doesn’t matter if you have to wait 15 extra minutes to get on the bus in the first place. Looking at door-to-door travel times paints a different picture than just looking at bus travel time in a vacuum.

  • duppie

    Garcia appears anti everything transportation advocates work for: Anti-BRT, anti-cams, anti-Belmont Flyover.
    I don’t see how any transportation advocate can vote for this guy. And I am not saying this because Emanuel is all that great, he isn’t. It’s just frustrating to see the Garcia’s complete indifference towards making Chicago’s streets safer for all users. Look at his transportation platform. Not once does it mention the words pedestrian or bicyclists. I think that says it all.

  • That is amazing. Is there a publically-available toy I could mess about with that generates these? I admit to curiosity about some other lines. :->

  • I’m posting csv files to here. I don’t have file creation fully automated, but I’ll keep posting new routes.

  • Then we’re back to the basic “run enough busses and with short enough headways to deal with ridership” problem, independent of the existence or lack of X busses.

  • T.G. Crewe

    Chuy seems to be more focused on being Anti Rahm ideas than anything else. All of his proposals are apparent suck ups to groups that feel slighted by the Mayor.

    Mainly Unions and Car enthusiasts.

  • Frankie_Machine

    Duppie, I tend to agree with you about Chuy’s wrongheaded positions on transportation issues. But I checked his website and it does in fact have a statement, albeit very general and only two sentences long, about pedestrian and bicycle safety. Maybe it was added in the last hour…

    Maybe we can get some questions asked at the three upcoming debates? And/or a petition to Chuy’s campaign? I want to vote for the guy, but these positions are making it difficult.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    The last public meetings for Ashland BRT were held in December 2013. 15 months later there is little or no additional information.

    There’s never been an economic study of how this would affect businesses, just fuzzy pronouncements by supporters that this will somehow work out to be this boon for small businesses.

    Where’s the money coming from? State money for CTA is drying up. The city has pension issues that must be paid for. And what are the serious chances that money is going to be found in Washington.

    Go out to the city taxpayers for more cash, might be the tipping point for many residents.

  • Yes, the X9 Ashland Express was only 1.6 mph faster than the 8.7 mph local bus, because it got stuck in traffic. Ashland BRT is projected to run at 15.9 mph. Here’s a comparison.

  • Jeff H

    When Garcia released that platform on election day, it didn’t have the last section on pedestrians and bikes. That was added about a week later. So while he has made a mention of it, it was really an afterthought.

  • That’s amazing. Bookmarking to keep checking. :-> I find myself most interested in the longest routes, as they have the most time to get ‘off’, and it’s interesting to watch for irregularities in the graph and see if they’re consistent spatially.

  • T.G. Crewe

    Are they as fuzzy as the Anti BRT studies?

    We need solid forward thinking about our future transit plans as well a city planning and Chuy has none. All I have seen is vote pandering with reopening closed schools, no BRT, thanks to the alphabet soup of Union Locals that supported me, big ups to my girl Karen Lewis etc.

    Being a Sloganeer is good for vote getting but there is no substance there. He may as well be saying “A unicorn in every driveway, and a bungalow for every union employee” with some of his ideas.

    Those pension issues are because the rank and file “Machine” believers keep voting in the Machine which has lied for decades to maintain their power while robbing their retirement accounts. Like an abused lover they keep coming back cause it will work out, right?

  • Most likely, 4/5 of the funding for Ashland BRT would come from federal grants, albeit with a 1/5 local match. The local match wouldn’t necessarily have to come from the state, and even Rauner might be willing to put up some state money to win the federal grant.

  • duppie

    Until Chuy shows some sound and responsible revenue sources for his proposed new spending, I will agree with you.

  • duppie

    This is where Chuy conveniently forgets how infrastructure financing works. He criticizes Rahm for planning to spend $480 million (on BRT and the Belmont flyover), while the city would be on the hook for less than $100 million. I would expect a person who spend his career in state and county government to better understand this.

    Not that Emanuel is a great candidate, but at least he knows how to keep the Washington grant spigot flowing. See the financing for the northside redline as a good example of this

  • A rider would save about a minute per mile on the express. Given that
    the average length of a ride on Ashland is only around 3 miles, the frequency of both the express and local buses would have to be very high for concurrent running to break even on travel time savings.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    Keeping the Washington grant spigot flowing… may not be as easy as you think. 1) We now have a republican congress. 2) My expectation is that there will be a republican president in two years (barring the nomination of some tea party wack-job). The financing of the northside redline was two or more years ago in the pipeline while we had democratic leadership.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    See my comments to Duppie above.

  • duppie

    Re: 2. I would not be surprised if the next President was born in your neighborhood :)

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    Well, if there isn’t any solid information available to the public about the economic impact by supporters of BRT, what you will get is the appearance of Ashland BRT being shoved down the throats of people without any open or honest discussions of long term concerns. Sounds like Machine politics at its best. Just like the parking meter deal, just like the traffic cams.

    If this is such a fabulous plan, lay out the economic benefits to the community with at least some honest conviction. The Metropolitan Planning Commission supports BRT and they have a whole raft of economists that work for them. In all this time, what has come of it?

    Ashland BRT will turn out to be a boondoggle of the highest order.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    Oh good, he or she’ll be gay. Cuz, I live in Edgewater :)

  • Agreed, it’s high time we had proportionate political representation for LGBT citizens. Pretty cool that, if Mell and Cappleman keep their jobs in the runoff, we’ll have four out LGBT aldermen. Actually, even if Cappleman loses, we still will, because his opponent is LGBT as well.

  • T.G. Crewe

    Look at how the neighbourhoods along the L have prospered recently, if you offer a solid N/S no Loop route how can it not help.

  • duppie

    It was a bit of an insider joke because I know you live in Edgewater. I do too.

    But did you know that Hillary Clinton hails from Edgewater? She was born in Edgewater Hospital and her parents lived on 5722 N Winthrop at the time of her birth.

  • I’m queer myself and Ramirez-Rosa’s campaigning was EPIC (we had campaign workers on my porch speaking earnestly at me over fifteen times, and the candidate HIMSELF three times) and I still had no idea he was gay until the day after the election, when some coverage called him “an out gay man.”

    Maybe he’s not closeted, but he sure as shit didn’t mention one breath of it in any of his literature or any of his face-to-face appearances.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    Not to take this thread off on a tangent, but despite the fact that I really like Hillary Clinton, having another election cycle with the politics of the extreme makes me weary. And I can only believe if she is nominated, no one from the sensible middle will be heard over the daily drumbeat of media outrage promulgated by extremes of the political spectrum.

  • duppie

    Proportionate political representation for LGBT citizens would require 2.85 Aldermen to be LGBT, not 4.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    Yes and the neighborhoods along the el generally have small businesses, very small lot sizes, are not going to lose half their auto traffic and are not going to have to deal with the no left turns.

    But the major intersections where the BRT is supposed to stop have businesses already in place, many located on Ashland because of the high traffic counts. So basically you believe if you kill off many of these businesses, Ashland is going to spring back into a cozy neighborhood just like, say Southport. But you have presented nothing except a wish and a prayer.

    And all I am saying if this is so wonderful, lay out the proof.

  • T.G. Crewe

    And you suggest it will kill these businesses without anything to back it up too.

    A car speeding by is less likely to stop and spend money than someone looking out the window of a bus or walking down a calm street.

    This left turn nonsense is just that, trucks will approach from another direction. Willing to bet most don’t turn left anyway. FedEx and UPS have proven the benifit on right turns in efficiency.

    We need a non Loop N/S corridor and the number of bus, Metra, L lines it intersects makes it a smart move.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    If your argument is so great, why in the last 15 months has support for BRT not grown? Has the city reached out to businesses to gain their support? No economic analysis. Imagine what would have happened if some comparitive analysis had been done of the parking meter deal before it had been done with a full public airing of the pros and cons? What a shame that the city which is going to spend our tax dollars is going to launch another poorly thought out plan without much consideration of the businesses that pay the employment taxes, pay the property taxes, collect the sales taxes, the restaurant taxes, the sign taxes, the taxes on our utilities and fees on everything. If this was the economic bonanza you claim it to be, someone should be able to put it out there for the public to see and convince businesses to get on board. There is nothing given to the public to make reasonably informed decisions.So just like the parking meter deal very little thought on the entire ramifications are being considered.

  • Kevin M

    Because all LGBT(QA) self-reported to the National Survey of
    Family Growth survey?

  • T.G. Crewe

    Parking meter deal benifits a few on Wall Street and was pushed through to help Daley find a solution to a hole in his budget, and enrich his family.

    BRT benifits all of Chicago and should be approved and implemented as a solution to a hole in our transit options.

    Ramifications of expanded transit on an already busy bus line are great. Where have you shown, aside from anecdotally, that it will be as bad as you claim?

  • rohmen

    I think the only real hope for Ashland BRT at this point is for the loop BRT buses to be so positively received that the scales tip back to a positive view regarding the value of BRT in general. Until there is a system in Chicago that supporters can point to with viable positive results, supporters are just not going to be able to convince the majority of people out there that are undecided regarding Ashland that it’s a good thing.

  • duppie

    If you have a better source of LGBT % of total population, I am all for it.

    My point was that the statement was just a mere opinion, not backed up by any data.

  • T.G. Crewe

    Survey: Investing in Mass Transit Key to Economic Growth and Job Creation –

    “Summary of findings:
    – A majority say that it is important to invest in public transportation to ensure communities continue to grow and thrive—Boston (91 percent agree), Chicago (71 percent agree), Nashville (63 percent agree) and Pittsburgh (89 percent agree).
    – Many also believe good public transportation helps improve the economy and create jobs—Boston (90 percent agree), Chicago (88 percent agree), Nashville (85 percent agree) and Pittsburgh (85 percent agree).
    – In addition, a majority of voters surveyed in each city support bringing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to their communities—Boston (52 percent support), Chicago (59 percent support), Nashville (77 percent support) and Pittsburgh (66 percent support).
    – More than six-in-ten voters in each city would take BRT instead of driving or other forms of public transit if it made their commute faster.
    – A majority of voters in the four cities say they would pay an additional 10 cents a day for better, more reliable public transportation options that reduce their commute—Boston (75 percent agree), Chicago (71 percent agree), Nashville (63 percent agree) and Pittsburgh (70 percent agree).
    – The surveys also showed that voters across the four cities found “reliability” and “accessibility” as the top benefits of BRT, followed by faster travel times.”

  • jeff wegerson

    I’ve been enjoying these graphs. I bet there is a way to shift the color of each run which might improve pattern recognition.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    I’d just vote for the best person, I don’t give a hoot as to their personal life. I hope we get to a time where that is the new normal.