Check out the recent transit-related posts on the Active Trans blog, Write of Way. 

 

May 24—Learn about bus rapid transit in the 25th Ward

May 24—Learn about bus rapid transit in the 25th Ward

Residents of the 25th Ward and surrounding areas are invited to attend an informational community meeting to learn about bus rapid transit, a great new transit option that could be coming to your area soon.

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is a NEW transit service that would provide a fast and affordable way to get around, offering the conveniences of light rail without the rails!

The CTA will be exploring the possibility of this service on Western and/or Ashland avenues in the coming months. Come learn how it could improve your commute!

Join us and learn more about this exciting project coming to the 25th Ward and voice your ideas or concerns about public transportation needs in your community.
 

Location: National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 West 19th Street
When: Thursday May 24th to 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Contact: Brenna Conway, Brenna@activetrans.org; (312) 427-3325 x 392.

Bus rapid transit may be in your transit future

Bus rapid transit may be in your transit future


Come to a public open house on the bus rapid transit project coming to Chicago's downtown. The open house will be held Wednesday, May 2 at 5 p.m. at the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Lecture Hall at 224 S. Michigan Ave. Learn more.


Did you know a new form of public transportation is coming to Chicago? It’s called bus rapid transit (BRT), and it will expand your transit options, making trips faster, more reliable and more convenient.

The photos pictured here show the BRT facilities in Mexico City.
 

Bus rapid transit provides the reliability, speed and quality of service of rail, but with the flexibility and cost efficiency of using buses on existing streets. Cities around the world--from Bogotá to Cleveland--have found BRT to be their best opportunity for expanding transit choices.

Don’t confuse BRT with your average city bus

Regular buses get held up by traffic congestion and lines of riders paying one-by-one as they board. This can lead to delays, bus bunching and slow travel speeds.

While regular buses average nine miles per hour, BRT’s limited stops and dedicated lanes with signal priority allow vehicles to travel faster while largely avoiding street congestion. BRT stations also function like train stations, with riders paying before they board--reducing time spent at each stop.

These are some of the core elements that set apart the most effective bus rapid transit systems:

Dedicated lanes help reduce traffic delays and road conflicts, making BRT vehicles faster and more reliable and making streets safer.

Pay-before-you-board stations reduce boarding times, while the permanence of stations provides economic development benefits similar to train stations.

Transit Signal Priority helps transit vehicles stay on time and reduces bunching by giving them preferential treatment at traffic lights.

At-grade boarding makes vehicles more accessible to seniors, people with disabilities and parents with strollers, while also reducing boarding time.

Check out a video of Bus Rapid Transit in action in Mexico City.

BRT in other US Cities

• Los Angeles, Calif.: The Metro Orange Line was so successful that a four-mile extension is under construction.

• Eugene, Ore.: The Emerald Express increased transit ridership by 74 percent and reduced trip times by 30 percent.

• Cleveland, Ohio: The Healthline, funded in part by private companies and institutions that benefit from the service, has generated more than $4 billion in new development and redevelopment along the route.

What can Chicagoans look forward to?

Chicago is developing three BRT routes, which will improve and enhance the city’s entire public transportation system. The Chicago BRT Task Force--which includes Active Transportation Alliance, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Civic Consulting Alliance, Metropolitan Planning Council, Urban Land Institute-Chicago, and other philanthropic, civic and nonprofit partners--is assisting CTA and CDOT as they develop Chicago’s system plan for BRT.

Later this year, the CTA will implement elements of BRT on the South Side along Jeffery Boulevard. Already a high-ridership bus route, Jeffery will be enhanced from 103rd Street and Stony Island Boulevard to the Loop, including dedicated lanes, limited stops, and enhanced stations between 67th and 83rd streets, as well as transit signal priority between 73rd and 84th streets.

Over the next couple months, the city will also begin public meetings for the East-West Transit Corridor and Western/Ashland Corridor.

The East-West Transit Corridor BRT plan includes designated bus-priority lanes on two miles of streets in Chicago’s Central Business District. The route would serve Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, the CTA Red and Blue Line subways, Streeterville and Navy Pier.

A new, off-street transportation center just south of Union Station is also part of the concept. By promoting transit, biking and walking, this new route would make the Loop an even more attractive place to do business, visit and live.

The city will also be studying the feasibility of BRT along Western and/or Ashland avenues, from Howard to 95th Street--approximately 21 miles.

Active Trans has been partnering with the Metropolitan Planning Council to conduct outreach for BRT in this corridor by meeting with aldermen and community organizations to spread the word about the benefits of a possible BRT route. A 2011 report by the nonprofit Metropolitan Planning Council, which outlined a vision for BRT in Chicago, ranked this route highly, not only because it would fill existing gaps in the city’s transit network, but also because of the high potential to spark economic and community development in the neighborhoods traversed by the route.
 

Public meeting on Bus Rapid Transit in the Loop May 2

Public meeting on Bus Rapid Transit in the Loop May 2

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), in partnership with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly, invites you to attend a public open house on bus rapid transit (BRT).

The meeting will be held Wednesday, May 2 at the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Lecture Hall at 224 S. Michigan Ave.

The new BRT service in the Loop will provide riders with fast and reliable connections throughout the central business district – from Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center through the Loop and over to Streeterville and Navy Pier.

The open house begins at 5 p.m.

Open session: 5 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Attendees can view and discuss project plans with CDOT, CTA and the project team. Written feedback can also be submitted at this time.

Presentation: 5:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Ald. Reilly and CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein will make introductory remarks on BRT. CDOT Deputy Commissioner Luann Hamilton will present the city’s plans for the Central Loop BRT project.

Open session: 6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Attendees have a final opportunity to view and discuss project plans with the project team and submit feedback.

49th Ward residents choose how to spend $1 million in infrastructure this week!

49th Ward residents choose how to spend $1 million in infrastructure this week!

If you live in Chicago's 49th Ward, you can help choose how to spend $1 million on neighborhood improvements this week!

Ald. Joe Moore uses a participatory budgeting process to decide how to allocate 49th Ward aldermanic menu money. This money can be spent on infrastructure improvements such as bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks, transit station amenities and street safety improvements.

Residents of the 49th Ward will have a say by choosing through a ballot process which projects get funded. If you live in the ward, you can choose to support projects that will make your neighborhood a better place for biking, walking and transit.

The Voting Assembly is this Saturday, April 28. Learn more about the projects on the ballot and the process.

Not sure if you're in the 49th Ward? Check here. 

Bus rapid transit is getting attention nationwide

Bus rapid transit is getting attention nationwide

Check it out! Bus rapid transit is getting a lot of attention all over the country. This article in The Fast Lane, a blog by US. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, discusses the new bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Austin, Texas, as well as BRT systems in Colorado and San Jose, California.

The article describes what makes bus rapid transit so great--namely giving the bus a dedicated lane where it doesn’t have to compete with cars.

This and other improvements to the route and stations allow bus service to operate efficiently and predictably, providing an experience that is more like riding the train.

Riders for Better Transit is working to bring BRT to Chicago. We’re excited about the potential new plans for BRT in the Loop, as well as along the Western/Ashland corridor. Stick with us for all the latest updates on the project!

Image courtesy of the CTA.

Thanks for a great Transit Day of Action!

Thanks for a great Transit Day of Action!

On Thursday, April 12, Riders for Better Transit held a second Day of Action to garner support for Transit Fast Forward—state legislation that will provide better funding for public transportation.

The evening started with passing out action alert flyers at Union Station. Then we headed to Boston Blackies restaurant for a few beers to celebrate our hard work!

Thanks to the help of our dedicated volunteers, around 12,000 flyers have been distributed in the past two months! Our goal is to increase the visibility of the bill and tell our elected officials that transit is important and should be well funded so that we can have a faster, more reliable transit system.

And a special thanks to Active Trans board member Steve Schlickman who encouraged his University of Illinois Chicago students to come help us out!

To volunteer or learn more, please contact Brenna Conway at brenna@activetrans.org.

Join the Riders for Better Transit Day of Action, April 12

Join the Riders for Better Transit Day of Action, April 12

Our last Day of Action was a great success! Over 30 volunteers came to help us pass out flyers and get the word out about Transit Fast Forward!

Time is running out to make this bill a priority for our state legislators!

Come help Riders for Better Transit spread the word about important transit legislation.

We’ll start the evening by passing out action alert flyers at a few downtown train stations, and then we’ll head to Boston Blackies restaurant for a few beers (cash bar) to celebrate our hard work!

Thursday, April 12th
5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Meet at Union Station

To volunteer, please RSVP to Brenna Conway, Brenna@activetrans.org

Transit Fast Forward changing the conversation around transit funding

Transit Fast Forward changing the conversation around transit funding

Riders for Better Transit had an exciting Transit Day of Action yesterday as we introduced new state legislation that would improve and expand Chicagoland transit service. Check out news coverage in Crain’s, the Daily Herald, the Chicago Tribune and Grid Chicago.

Photo courtesy of Grid Chicago.

“Congressional leaders in D.C. may be talking about cutting dedicated federal funding for transit, but in the Chicago region we know that the conversation needs to be about moving transportation forward, not backward,” says Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Trans.

Have you already asked your state legislators to support Transit Fast Forward? Please take action today! This will be a difficult battle, so we need to add every voice we can!

Transit Fast Forward (SB 3236) invests in faster, more reliable, more frequent and expanded transit service through a new, dedicated source of funding that will grow over time.

  • Indexes state motor fuel tax to inflation, adjusted annually
  • Directs new incremental revenue to the Public Transportation Fund; road funds unaffected
  • Applies only to the six counties served by CTA, Metra and Pace
  • Helps rebuild aging infrastructure and expand service with projects like Bus Rapid Transit
  • Helps transit agencies manage rising costs due to inflation and partially offset chronic funding shortfalls that have led to service cuts
  • Estimated 2013 increase in state motor fuel tax: two-fifths of a cent per gallon
  • Estimated new revenue for transit in 2013: $11.6 million
  • Estimated total new revenue for transit over first five years: $168 million
  • Last increase in state motor fuel tax: 1990
  • Increase in CTA train fare since 1990: 80 percent

Better transit means a better quality of life.

  • Transit reduces congestion and air pollution, gets people to work affordably and efficiently, attracts jobs, and is vital to the Chicago region’s economy.
  • CTA alone replaces about 400,000 vehicles on regional roads each work day.
  • Metra carries 50 percent of the commuters coming into downtown Chicago during peak hours; without Metra, 29 lanes of expressway would need to be built.
  • Transit investments create more jobs than roadway investments per dollar spent.

Thanks to those who helped with Riders for Better Transit Day of Action today!

Thanks to those who helped with Riders for Better Transit Day of Action today!

Thank you to all of the supporters who came out to help with the Riders for Better Transit Day of Action today.

We had nearly 30 volunteers passing out flyers featuring our current action alert, which demands better transit through investment by state government. With their help, we passed out over 6,000 flyers.

This is just the beginning. We have much more to do. These next few weeks are critical for the Transit Fast Forward bill as we build support in the state legislature.

As we continue to reach even more people, we could use your help as a volunteer:

Volunteer for Riders for Better Transit!
Be a Volunteer for a Transit Day of Action. For seven mornings in coming weeks, we'll be canvassing downtown Chicago train stops.

We'll be meeting at the Argo Tea on the corner of Dearborn Street and Madison Street in downtown Chicago, and then spread out to a few downtown train stops to pass out action alert flyers.

Mondays and Wednesdays, starting Wednesday, March 7 and continuing until Wednesday, March 28
7:30 a.m. - 9 a.m.
Argo Tea is at 45 W. Madison Street, at the corner of Dearborn and Madison streets.

If you could lend us a few of your mornings, that would be fantastic. To volunteer, please RSVP to campaign outreach intern Rosette Reynolds, reynoldsr11@gmail.com

ACTION ALERT: Urge your state legislators to support Transit Fast Forward!

ACTION ALERT: Urge your state legislators to support Transit Fast Forward!

Riders for Better Transit is holding a press conference and Day of Action today to introduce Transit Fast Forward -- state legislation that would improve and expand train and bus service in Chicagoland through better investment. This is an exciting step forward for our movement!

TAKE ACTION NOW: Tell your state legislators to support Transit Fast Forward today!

If Chicagoland wants to compete as a world-class region, then we need to invest in a 21st Century transit system to keep our economy moving and improve our quality of life. Our public transportation system should be moving forward, not backward!

Transit Fast Forward (SB 3236) would provide a new, dedicated source of funding for transit that will grow over time. It would generate an estimated $11.6 million in 2013, and a projected $168 million over the first five years. It indexes the state gas tax with inflation, a move that will dedicate an additional fraction of a penny per gallon to public transportation. The end result will be better commutes for drivers and transit riders alike.

New transit revenue could help build new stations, expand routes and service times, bring back express buses and eliminate slow zones. It could help prevent future service cuts and fare increases.

Today is also our first Transit Day of Action, with volunteers from Riders for Better Transit blanketing train stations across the Loop during the morning rush hour to spread the word about Transit Fast Forward. Please join our Day of Action by contacting your state legislators!

TAKE ACTION NOW: Tell your state legislators to support Transit Fast Forward today!

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