The CTA is unfurling a stronger case for its Ashland Avenue Bus Rapid Transit proposal, as it wades deeper into a round of combative public meetings. Wednesday night's Wicker Park meeting gave a first taste of the agency's dealings with vocal neighborhood opposition that has organized itself into special interest groups (Ashland-Western Coalition chief among them). DNAinfo reports that many of the roughly 25 meeting participants identified themselves in opposition to the proposal, issuing the now-common refrain that Bus Rapid Transit is little more than a glorified Ashland Express Bus (which used to ply the avenue). The main differences, goes the argument, is BRT will eat up traffic lanes, send congestion to feeder streets, and cost businesses their customers. Meanwhile, a fact sheet deployed by the CTA points to rider demand, decreased travel times (up to 83% increase in bus speed), reliability, new streetscaping, and bolstered connections between many neighborhoods and CTA stations. The public engagement period is slated to run into the fall with project completion still at least a year away.
·Ashland BRT Fact Sheet (pdf) [CTA]
·City Makes Case for Ashland Express Bus Project [DNAinfo]
·BRT Watch [Curbed Chicago]
·City Paints Picture of Central Loop BRT Corridor [Curbed Chicago]