The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the CTA unveiled designs yesterday for the anticipated Central Loop BRT Corridor. Calling it BRT may be a stretch, but this is a city that insists on using buzz words at every turn. Bus only lanes are painted in, stations are set on islands, boarding is level, and queue jumping will factor in at "key intersections", so it's more BRT than not. Let's hear it from the city's press release:
BRT plans for the Central Loop East-West Transit Corridor include designated bus-priority lanes on two miles of streets: Madison, Washington, Canal and Clinton. The Loop BRT corridor will serve Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, CTA subways and Navy Pier with more than 1,700 buses per day, making it one of the busiest bus routes in the nation.
As you see in the Washington Street rendering above, protected bike lanes are being coupled with the island stations and reconfigured street— a potential lightning rod for multi-way battles sure to come between bikers, walkers, drivers, and transit advocates. CDOT is in the process of acquiring a surface lot on the south side of Jackson between Canal and Clinton for the BRT's hub station, which would permit easy intermodal exchanges via Union Station. The Loop's buses carry 47% of the area's commuter traffic, and the new system would speed up travel times by three to nine minutes per trip. The budget for the BRT Corridor comes from a federal grant and local TIF funding. Officials hope to have it in action sometime next year.
·Press Release [City of Chicago]
·CTA and CDOT Unveil Proposed Designs for Central Loop BRT Corridor [Chi. Streetsblog]