A great leap forward? Riding the entire Jeffery Jump express bus route

Array

7:58am After waking up at an ungodly hour, cycling to the CTA’s Fullerton stop, riding the Red Line south to 95th Street and pedaling a few more miles to the 103rd Street & Stony Island garage terminal, I board a shiny blue J14 Jeffery Jump express bus. As I load my cruiser onto the front bike rack, the driver calls out the open door, “Could you hurry up please? I gotta go.”

Launched on November 5, the Jump is a new service that’s the transit agency’s first venture into bus rapid transit (BRT), systems that create subway-like speeds for buses via car-free lanes and other timesavers. The Jump, funded with an $11 million Federal Transportation Administration grant, isn’t full-blown BRT. But it does include several pioneering features that will hopefully pave the way for bolder bus corridors downtown and on Ashland and Western avenues later this decade. I’m here to ride the entire sixteen-mile route from the Far South Side to the Loop, to see how these elements are working out.

Continue reading A great leap forward? Riding the entire Jeffery Jump express bus route

flattr this!

Might as well Jump! The CTA debuts a stepping-stone to bus rapid transit

Array

I’d been looking forward to riding the new J14 Jeffery Jump bus service for a few weeks now. It was a chance to participate in a small but significant turning point in the history of the CTA. The Jump is a new express bus along Jeffery Boulevard (2000 East) on the South Side, incorporating several elements of bus rapid transit (BRT) and hopefully paving the way for full-blown BRT downtown, on Ashland Avenue and/or Western Avenue within a few years.

In a nutshell, BRT brings buses up to subway-like speed via special infrastructure on the existing roadway, at a fraction of the cost of creating new rail lines. Ideally, BRT includes dedicated bus lanes, center running buses, stations in the median where customers pre-pay before boarding, traffic signals that turn green when a bus approaches and other features.

The Jump, funded by an $11 million Federal Transportation Administration grant, is essentially BRT lite, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Dedicated bus lanes only exist on a portion of the sixteen-miles Jeffery route, a two-mile stretch from 67th to 83rd Streets, and only during rush hours. From 7 – 9 am weekdays, parking is banned on the east side of the street to accommodate inbound bus traffic, and vice versa for outbound buses during the evening commute from 4 – 6 pm.

Continue reading Might as well Jump! The CTA debuts a stepping-stone to bus rapid transit

flattr this!

CTA getting neighborhoods ready for Jeffery Jump

Array

A Jeffery Jump station at 67th Street, just south of Jackson Park and where the bus route transitions to Lake Shore Drive. Rendering by the CTA. 

I visited several south side infrastructure projects yesterday, including the 31st Street cycle track (after a week, only two blocks striped) and South Chicago Avenue buffered bike lanes. I also caught some of the new features being built as part of the Chicago Transit Authority’s J14 Jeffery Jump bus service (what is currently the 14/Jeffery Express) that starts in November.

Array

The buses will have dedicated bus lanes from 67th Street to 83rd Street (north of 67th Street the route runs on Lake Shore Drive). New, very wide, lanes were striped recently, as seen here at 72nd Street in South Shore. The lanes are dedicated only in the peak direction, northbound from 7-9 AM and southbound from 4-6 PM. South of 83rd Street there are other improvements (triggering traffic signal to turn green sooner or stay green longer) and queue jumping) to give buses priority and realize 6 minutes travel time savings in the enhanced parts of the route.

Array

The J14 bus stops, every half mile instead of the 15/Jeffery Local’s 1/4 mile stop spacing, feature a blue strip along the curb (for about the length of the bus) to identify this as a Jeffery Jump station. Get more information about Jeffery Jump on the CTA’s website, or write your question in the comments below. Scroll down to see some graphic renderings of the proposed station design.

Array

The CTA advertises the Jeffery Jump service in a bus stop on the 30/South Chicago route, at the six-way intersection of 83rd Street, South Chicago Avenue, and Jeffery Boulevard. 

Array

Looking north along Jeffery Boulevard from 71st Street. The train tracks in the foreground belong to the Metra Electric South Chicago branch. Rendering by CTA. 

Array

This eye-level view shows a Jeffery Jump station at 71st Street. Rendering by CTA.

flattr this!