Today’s Headlines for Monday, November 6

  • Active Trans Releases Report With Recommendations to Speed Up Chicago Buses, Grow Ridership
  • Man Charged With Armed Robberies at Grand, Belmont Red Line Stations (Sun-Times)
  • As Crashes rise, Suburbs Try to Make Walking and Biking Safer (Daily Herald)
  • Has Chicago’s Commercial Real Estate Market Peaked? (Crain’s)
  • Logan Square’s LGBT-Friendly TOD Is Read to Rise (Curbed)
  • Autonomous Tenants Union Held an Anti-Displacement Protest in CTA-Friendly Albany Park
  • Romeoville Metra Stop Nearly Complete, Will include 123 Car-Parking Spots (Herald News)
  • Should “Downstate Illinois” Refer to Places Beyond the Metra Zone? (ProPublica)
  • Trek Bike Shop Will Open at 1647 N. Milwaukeee (DNAR.I.P.)
  • Party on Wayne! Aurora Is Getting a 900-Foot Bike/Ped Bridge Across the Fox River (Tribune)
  • Learn About Plans to Extend the Salt Creek Thursday 7 PM at Imperial Oak Brewing (Active Trans)

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  • planetshwoop

    I would love to see a ped bridge by Union station. (Or close off one of the streets during rush hour?)

    Also, the Daily Herald article shows the suburbs are making great progress in adding bike lanes. But in the end, it’s still those reckless bicyclists’ fault. The final two paragraphs:


    It’s not always the drivers’ fault, agrees Dave Simmons, instructor and president of Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove Village. He thinks the increase in crashes correlates to more cyclists venturing out, including novices.

    “A cyclist riding with earbuds or not signaling … they’re their own worst enemy,” Simmons said. “You have to be defensive. You have to be smart.”

  • Very good report by Active Trans on speeding up buses. For us here at Streetsblog there are no real surprises. I liked the approach of selecting some sample routes as specific examples. I particularly liked that they included specific points for bus bypass lanes and specific places for boarding speed ups. Those two improvements, it would seem, would have to represent the “biggest bangs for bucks” and “the lowest hanging fruits” for bus improvements.

    The bypass lanes are so low hanging that the CTA should be taking actual steps right now (really for the past several years) implementing them. First there are many defacto such lanes that could be formally declared and either signed and/or painted now. The CTA could also be taking away parking, space by space, partial block by partial block right now. They could be extending the bus stops at critical bottle necks longer and longer, a space at a time. In many cases just pull up the sign and move it back some. There are many stops where the metered parking is not being used fully on the block and there would be no net revenue loss to the “Daley Parking Steal” (errr Deal).

    Surge parking meters on critical blocks during rush hour are another approach which who knows in some cases might turn out to be revenue neutral at the same time as improving bus travel.

    I have witnessed the improved bus travel ability where a painted yet unprotected and even unbuffered bike lane improved bus travel because car drivers tended to move over just enough for bus drivers to use unparked stretches along with the bike lane leading to intersections and bus stops.

    Longer term the CTA could identify where metered parking could be moved to partial stretches of side streets. If the paid parking on a residential street is carefully tailored for businesses and residents, say 10 am to 3 pm, the residents might not even be inconvenienced. And if their street were also permit parkeded for residents only their concerns might decrease further.

    Even longer term the city and the CTA should be looking at houses on alleys serving arterials for purchase and conversion into mini-lots for parking.

    In any case great work Active Trans!

  • Tooscrapps

    Pedestrianize Monroe from the River to State with some limited access for deliveries.

  • Carter O’Brien

    I will preface by saying I think this is a great effort, and I’m fully on board with Chicago making changes to better accommodate rapid and reliable bus service.

    That said, I’m underwhelmed by the Belmont Blue Line “rapid boarding” experiment for multiple reasons. Here’s why:

    “The initial pilot program has shown positive results. CTA reports the Belmont Blue Line pilot resulted in an average time savings of 38
    seconds per bus, down from an average boarding time of 68 seconds, reducing boarding time by 56 percent.”

    Shaving 38 seconds off of the westbound bus at one single point does not balance out the several minutes it can take this bus to make the multiple turns required to get in and out of the Blue Line lot.

    It also doesn’t factor in how much this bus disrupts both the eastbound #77 and the northbound #82 Kimball. Not to mention passenger vehicles and cyclists, and pedestrians who are approaching the Blue Line and/or are just walking down Belmont on this block.

    The Belmont bus has no business not simply going straight. It seems to be modeled after the Diversey bus making a pitstop into the Logan Square station, but the key difference there is that the Diversey bus is already going to have to make a turn as it gets routed off of Diversey altogether.

    And this 38 second savings requires an actual CTA staff member to be on hand? I’m sorry, but this just continues a dysfunctional routing patterns and is a waste of limited resources. With fare cards boarding times are already minimal at this stage of the game. What CTA needs to do is improve chronic problems with bus bunching, CPD needs to enforce the no parking during rush hour signs, which is what *really* slows down the bus (as well as having to share that “lane” with passenger vehicles – just make it a dedicated bus lane, already), and IDOT needs to be brought into the 21st century regarding how they prioritize passenger vehicles getting to and from the highway over people/CTA living in the neighborhoods the highway cuts through.

  • Excellent points.

    Me, I would also try and create a two-turnstyle v shaped entry area where the bus front door opens. Similar, but weather proof, to the el station turnstyles it could double the payment function time of passenger entry. Of course, then there is the getting to a seat or standing area bottle neck, but that’s another story.

  • And the bridge! And extend the bridge over Wacker as well while we are at it, before alighting it onto the pedestrianized Monroe.

  • Jeremy

    Converting Stockton to metered spots would allow the city to remove metered spots elsewhere. There might be some push-back from nearby lot owners because hourly parking would be more available on Stockton. A large number of parkers on Stockton live nearby and are trying to avoid spending $150+ a month to their apartment/condo building (I used to do that).

  • Tooscrapps

    Remove all cars from Stockton and convert to bus/bike/ped only. Cul-de-sac Dickens and Webster for Zoo drop off and create an entrance for Chicago History Museum lot from Clark.

  • Deni

    I have been wanting this for so long! Stockton is a perfect place for banning cars and giving it over to transit and bikes. What a difference that would make for the 151 and 156 buses not to have all that car traffic to deal with, especially the 151 on summer weekends when it can crawl through the area by the zoo. I hadn’t thought of the cul-de-sac idea though.