CTA will tweak California and Kedzie bus routes, provide long-awaited Ogden extension

The #157 Streeterville/Taylor route will be extended to serve the Pulaski Pink Line station. Photo: Jeff Zoline
The #157 Streeterville/Taylor route will be extended to serve the Pulaski Pink Line station. Photo: Jeff Zoline

This week the CTA board signed off on two new bus pilots, modifying the #52 Kedzie/California and #94 South California routes, and extending the #157 Streeterville/Taylor route. The agency says these changes will improve transit connections for several West Side neighborhoods.

“Even comparatively small changes to our bus routes can have a positive impact on overall transit service throughout Chicago,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. in a statement “By making these small changes we are creating new and much-needed transit connections that will help thousands of riders get to their destinations in a more reliable and efficient manner, while also help foster continued growth in these West Side communities.”

The changes will take effect in mid-April 2020, and the pilot will run for a year. During this time, CTA staff will keep track of ridership and customer feedback, and then make a recommendation to the board about whether to make the adjustments permanent.

In recent years the agency piloted new routes on Lincoln Avenue and 31st Street, but the service was only available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and ridership was modest. The Lincoln pilot was canceled, and the 31st route was almost nixed, but was given a reprieve after heavy lobbying from local residents and politicians.

#52 Kedzie/California & #94 South California Realignment

As part of the new plan, the CTA will rename and adjust the adjacent #52 Kedzie/California and #94 South California routes with the stated goal of providing riders with more streamlined service along the street grid, while improving connections to the Green Line.

Beginning on Sunday, April 19, the new #52 Kedzie route will only operate between 63rd/Kedzie and Chicago/Sacramento via Kedzie Avenue.

The old #52 California / Kedzie (red) and #94 South California (blue) routes will be replaced by the new #52 Kedzie (green) and #94 California routes. Image: John Greenfield via Google Maps
The old #52 California/Kedzie (red) and #94 South California (blue) routes will be replaced by the new #52 Kedzie (green) and #94 California (orange) routes. Routes are simplified and/or approximated Image: John Greenfield via Google Maps

All bus stops along California between Chicago and Addison previously served by the #52 will now be served by the new #94 California route, which will operate between 74th/Damen and Addison/Rockwell via California Avenue.

The #52 and #94 routes will continue operating with roughly the same frequency on weekdays and weekends. The CTA says the realignment pilot is cost-neutral.

#157 Streeterville/Taylor Extension

Starting on Monday, April 20, the CTA will extend the #157 route west of Ogden/California to the Pulaski Pink Line station. Currently the #157 runs between Chestnut Street/Lake Shore Drive and Ogden/California avenues. This extension is something that North Lawndale residents have been requesting for many years as a strategy to improve job access in a neighborhood with high unemployment.

Screen Shot 2020-01-17 at 2.20.18 PM
The current #157 Streeterville / Taylor route (red) and the extension (green.) The route is simplified and approximated. Image: John Greenfield via Google Maps

Extending the route west will create direct connections with the #21 Cermak, #52 Kedzie, #53 Pulaski and #82 Kimball/Homan routes, plus the Pulaski and Central Park Pink Line stations. The CTA notes that this will improve access to the Illinois Medical District, University of Illinois at Chicago, Mt. Sinai Hospital medical campus, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios and the Lawndale Christian Health Center.

The extension will cost about $550,000 for the year, bankrolled by CTA operating dollars.

Will these changes impact your commute for better or worse? Tell us about it in the comments.

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