Riders for Better Transit has been advocating for bold Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plans on Western and Ashland for more than a year now, reaching out to aldermen, community groups and transit riders as the CTA and the Chicago Department of Transportation considered various potential plans for BRT.
More than 1,300 people have signed our petition supporting BRT, and back in October, we encouraged you to attend public meetings and support our preferred design for rethinking Western and Ashland: bus-only lanes in the center of the street instead of a car travel lane, maintaining wide sidewalks and on-street parking (see graphic below).
We're excited to see WBEZ is now reporting that the city is leaning toward our preferred design! We believe this design can best acheive the goals of making our streets more livable while significantly improving transportation options and spurring neighborhood economic activity. Other design options on the table include curb-aligned bus-only lanes, and removing a lane of parking and medians instead of a car travel lane. Here's an explanation of our preference:
What about bikes? We support CDOT's Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 (PDF), which includes a network of 650 miles of innovative new bike facilities, like protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways. The bike network plan factors in the potential BRT plans, providing good parallel and cross-routes, as well as segments of bike lanes on Western where it's a boulevard. The center-aligned option removing a car travel lane would also create a more livable street and better environment for biking compared to the current four-lane speedway.