The Chainlink

The Tribune is reporting that the center running configuration of Ashland has been selected over Western.

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-cta-ashland-bus-rapid-transi...

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It will be interesting to see the design.  The article says about 90% of parking will remain, there will be "streetscaping" in the center, there will be wider sidewalks in some areas, and the bus lane will be down the center.  Does this mean there will only be one car lane?  As wide as Ashland is, I do not see how they can do all of that and leave two car lanes in each direction.

I'm all for more rapid transit solutions.  Building more L lines is prohibitively expensive these days so BRT is a good solution.  The current bus system we have now is not very convenient as taking the bus anywhere is worse than driving as far as time is concerned as the buses are driving in the same traffic every other motor vehicle is driving in, plus all the stops.   BRT is a great idea, but...

What I don't understand is why they are focusing so much on more "spokes" going in and out of the city and ignoring the need to connect these spokes to each other with loops further out than the central Loop downtown. 

Going anywhere on the L requires going all the way downtown to transfer and come back out on another spoke unless the place you happen to be going to is on the way towards or away from the loop on the same line you are on now. 

Connecting the spokes seems like it would improve transit much better than adding more spokes, and isn't addressing the real needs of a more convenient system.  The spoke system simply continues the urban/suburban sprawl paradigm instead of creating inter-city transportation.   The "live out, and work in" daily commuter model simply perpetuates more sprawl IMHO. 

This Ashland BRT--although it is pretty far east--does connect "spokes".  According to the WBEZ article(s), the initial phase will connect the Orange line at Ashland with the Blue Line at Division.  Also, if it goes to Cortland, it will make connecting with the UP NW and UP N Metra lines much easier.
 
James BlackHeron said:

I'm all for more rapid transit solutions.  Building more L lines is prohibitively expensive these days so BRT is a good solution.  The current bus system we have now is not very convenient as taking the bus anywhere is worse than driving as far as time is concerned as the buses are driving in the same traffic every other motor vehicle is driving in, plus all the stops.   BRT is a great idea, but...

What I don't understand is why they are focusing so much on more "spokes" going in and out of the city and ignoring the need to connect these spokes to each other with loops further out than the central Loop downtown. 

Going anywhere on the L requires going all the way downtown to transfer and come back out on another spoke unless the place you happen to be going to is on the way towards or away from the loop on the same line you are on now. 

Connecting the spokes seems like it would improve transit much better than adding more spokes, and isn't addressing the real needs of a more convenient system.  The spoke system simply continues the urban/suburban sprawl paradigm instead of creating inter-city transportation.   The "live out, and work in" daily commuter model simply perpetuates more sprawl IMHO. 

While it might connect spokes, it doesn't really do a great job of it.

I have a hard time believing that getting off the Blue line and taking the Ashland BRT bus down to the Orange line is going to be any faster (or more convenient) than simply transferring from the Blue to the Orange at the Clark station. 

Ashland is skimming the downtown pretty close IMHO and is sort of duplicating what we already have (at least it is creating more capacity North/South for peak times.)  If they had taken the Western option it'd be a little further West and would be more of an "outer loop" than what Ashland is. 

I am looking forward to seeing what they do next with BRT.

If they would run the Ashland line much further North and connect to the Brown line that would be cool.  

If they were to turn the corner at Division and go East and connect the Blue to the Red & Brown lines that would be awesome. Maybe head West on Division and pick up points that direction too.    Do the same thing on the South end of the Ashland BRT with a line that Runs East to the other L lines at that latitude and maybe West to link up the Pink too in a more direct shot to the Orange. 

This all would make too much sense so don't count on them ever doing it. 

Lisa Curcio 4.0 mi said:

This Ashland BRT--although it is pretty far east--does connect "spokes".  According to the WBEZ article(s), the initial phase will connect the Orange line at Ashland with the Blue Line at Division.  Also, if it goes to Cortland, it will make connecting with the UP NW and UP N Metra lines much easier.
 

Awesome.

Linking L lines, and especially Metra stations, is a much needed addition to the CTA system.  It seems very little thought was put into the placement of the Metra stations and linking them to the L.   It's true that they were limited to a great extent by where the existing tracks ran and where the previous stations were located on older commuter train lines.      

I know the bus goes by all the  Metra stations, but seriously, you can often walk faster than the bus moves.   Buses ARE traffic, not really a solution to or alternative way arond traffic congestion.   Hopefully the BRT can be set up well enough so that it isn't as effected by auto traffic and its sprawling congestion. 

Cameron 7.5 mi said:

Also the Green and Pink Lines at Ashland/Lake in the initial segment. The planned extension will also link the Brown Line at Paulina, the Green Line at 63rd/Ashland and the Metra RI. A north/south connector like this is a positive move away from more spokes.

Lisa Curcio 4.0 mi said:

This Ashland BRT--although it is pretty far east--does connect "spokes".  According to the WBEZ article(s), the initial phase will connect the Orange line at Ashland with the Blue Line at Division.  Also, if it goes to Cortland, it will make connecting with the UP NW and UP N Metra lines much easier.
 

Get ready for more car traffic on Damen.

Reminds me of the Toronto TTC streetcars, in a way. Things seemed to move very smoothly with this type of setup there.

We've been advocating for this and are happy that the center-lane configuration was chosen.

We put out a statement of support with Metropolitan Planning Council and here's a blog we just posted.

Blog is copied/pasted below.

Thanks much,

Ethan Spotts, Active Trans

Next stop on Ashland Ave.: Bus Rapid Transit

Transit riders rejoice! A new day is dawning for public transportation in Chicago.

This morning the CTA released initial details on their vision for bringing Bus Rapid Transit to Ashland Avenue, beginning with a stretch between 31st Street and Cortland Street.

For those of us who care about bringing world-class public transit to Chicago, the announcement is cause for celebration (and it’s Friday!). A special thanks to the 1,300 of you who contacted your aldermen to support this project.

As explained in this handy infographic that Riders for Better Transit released last fall, BRT is a new mode of public transit that reinvents the bus. It offers a faster transit option that runs on existing streets, but with the convenience and reliability of a train.

Sounds great! But like many transit options, the devil is in the details.

Today’s announcement reflects a big win for all of us. The city chose a street configuration with center-running bus-only lanes, which we endorsed last year, because we believe it can provide the greatest improvement to transit service while making the street more pedestrian- and business-friendly.

All of these things add up to an efficient and easy system that’s a whole lot better than a regular old bus. And none of this would have happened without the input and energy of passionate advocates like you. Thank you for being involved.

Stay tuned for more news on BRT and other important transit topics by signing up for the Riders For Better Transit email list.

You can also like us on facebook.

Image courtesy of BRT Chicago. 

I'm conflicted. Seems like a good idea, but how many millions did they just spend ripping up Ashland and putting in all those planters a few years back. Now lets tear the whole thing up again... for $160 million... And how long has it been since they killed the ashland express? A year? This seems to accomplish almost the same thing at a massively higher cost.

The Ashland BRT looks great.  Other contenders for ring road type connectors would be BRT on Cicero or Harlem.  Especially Cicero: BRT from Midway Airport to Jefferson Park terminal could make for a good connection from airport to airport, as well as tie together a number of L lines.  And getting from the southwest side of the city to the northwest, right now via the Loop, is a very slow slog.

And, CTA, can we get ANY kind of bus, even a daylight-hours-every-half-hour-bus on streets like Elston or Clybourn?  Those streets are miserable to reach via bus right now.  They used to have bus service when they were full of factories.  They lost the buses when they became deserted ghost towns in the 1970's.  Now, they have shopping and living potential and can definitely use some sort of public transit again.

Someone is about to make a killing selling the CTA left-door buses.

True. Or just drive the old ones British-style, reversed from the car flow, like UP North Metra trains.

Tricolor said:

Someone is about to make a killing selling the CTA left-door buses.

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