Bonus: The Chicago Transit Authority is building an auxiliary entrance at the Roosevelt Green and Orange Lines station, on the south side of Roosevelt, near the Starbucks, Jewel, and dry cleaners. This was previously exit-only. The new entrance will speed up trips for those who transfer from the eastbound #12 Roosevelt bus to this train station. Photo by the CTA.
There are six stories (five transit, and one bicycling) mentioned in this September 4th edition of Grid Bits. The Chicago Transit Authority has been very busy in the past few months.
Chicago Sun-Times will sponsor three years of the “first day of school free rides” program that gives all Chicago Public Schools students a free ride today and in 2013, and 2014.
Sun-Times Media is contributing more than $150,000 to the program, designed to promote first-day attendance for CPS elementary and high school students.
After multiple public hearings on its Red Line South track renewal project, the CTA is amending and expanding plans for alternative service. One of the improvements they’re adding is a new shuttle bus between Roosevelt Red/Green/Orange Lines to Cermak-Chinatown Red Line station.
In addition to the station upgrades on the North Side Main Line section of the Red Line, the CTA has added track work to eliminate slow zones:
“We hope to eliminate slow zones and shave two to three minutes off the commute in 2012 instead of having to wait (to do the work) until 2014,” [CTA President Forrest] Claypool said. “Why disrupt service twice for our customers, why close stations twice for our customers, why do it two years apart when we can take advantage of this opportunity?”
Crews work on Thorndale, which closed August 17, for six weeks.
The CTA has fired more than 6 times as many bus and rail workers in 2012 (up to August 20th) than in all of 2011. The Chicago Tribune reports on the agency’s “zero tolerance” stance, and how some workers are fighting back:
Discharges for several other key work violations, including absenteeism, which the CTA says costs the transit agency millions of dollars a year, are also occurring at a higher rate this year, the personnel data show. At the same time, the CTA is hiring more workers, mostly part-timers and temporary workers, compared with the previous two years, the records indicate.
The CTA is holding a hearing Tuesday night to discuss the “decrowding initiative” that adds more trains, more buses, but also eliminates 12 bus routes.
A public hearing will be held September 4, 2012 at CTA Headquarters, 567 W. Lake St., Chicago, at 6 p.m, to analyze proposed service changes and receive feedback from the public as to the best ways to improve the restructuring effort. The CTA Board will vote on the De-crowding Initiative at its next board meeting September 12, with the schedule changes to take place on December 16, 2012.
More information on this initiative is available from other sources:
- CTA webpage about the decrowding initiative
- CTA Tattler has easy-to-read details on all the changes to bus routes. The CTA has a goal to reduce the number of people per bus and per train car. The Pink and Yellow lines will not see changes.
- A petition to save route #11 Lincoln/Sedgwick and a website dedicated to that cause. The segment between the Western Brown Line and Fullerton Red Line would be eliminated. The route north of Western Brown Line would be known as #11 Lincoln and the route south of Fullerton Red Line would be known as #37 Sedgwick.
- Active Transportation Alliance editorial on decrowding plan
The very wide intersection at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street. Photo by Mike Steele.
Chris Fusco and Tina Sfondeles in the Chicago Sun-Times discuss bike crashes at intersections, particularly Halsted Street and Chicago Avenue, where the pavement has abysmal quality in multiple directions*, and at Chicago-Ogden-Milwaukee, the most crash-prone for cyclists in the city. The authors interview me, in which I explain the problem with signal phasing: its short duration can put cyclists in the intersection on a red light and in harm’s way.
The article interviews Leah Jones whose crash in 2010 might have been influenced by this phenomenon.
“It all squeezes into this intersection where there’s a ton of potholes and a really short yellow,” she says. “Even if you leave on a green, it could be really hard to get through the intersection before it goes red.”
Jones isn’t sure if the light on Halsted went from green to yellow to red while she tried to cross Chicago Avenue’s six lanes of traffic, a trip that was cut short when a woman driving an SUV east on Chicago crashed into her.
“She hit me full on,” recalls Jones, now 35. “Her bumper went into my thigh.”
* I believe the only intersection approach that is not awful is Chicago Avenue, west of Halsted Street. The intersection’s size also bothers me: 4 lanes southbound north of Chicago Avenue, 3 lanes northbound north of Chicago Avenue, and 3 lanes eastbound east of Halsted Street. None of these match the width of their continuing lanes on the other side of the intersection. Street and intersection width has an influence on driving speed and other behaviors, none of which lead to safe roads. Additionally, because of the detour caused by Goose Island/Halsted Street bridge construction, this area had (and still has) other issues.