They're two of the busiest north-south arteries in Chicago, but may soon have speedier public transit. According to the Sun-Times, the city is looking to bring express buses to Ashland and Western avenues. The new announcement puts the future of the planned Ashland Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in limbo, however, some city officials have said that the $160 million Ashland BRT plan is still on the table. At the announcement today, Mayor Emanuel indicated that the express bus lines for Western and Ashland could cut up to 22 minutes from their routes. He also stated that the Ashland BRT project is "way in the future."
The new announcement is certainly exciting for frequent bus commuters, as the plan is intended to relieve traveler congestion and the "slow, unpredictable trips" that these major lines are known for. While the express lines are expected to bump the average speed of Western and Ashland buses up just a notch to 10 miles per hour, experts still suggest that true bus rapid transit with dedicated lanes would contribute substantial gains and traveling speeds of up to 16 miles per hour. However, the Ashland BRT plan has been the center of controversy and could be a spendy project for the already cash-strapped city agency.
·Ashland BRT seems all but dead with return of Ashland, Western express buses [Sun-Times]
·CTA to Announce Express Bus Lines Along Ashland, Western [DNAinfo]
·Previous Ashland BRT coverage [Curbed Chicago]