What bus rapid transit might look like on Western Avenue and Garfield Boulevard


Before view at Chicago Avenue and Western Avenue in West Town. 


After view at Chicago and Western. 

Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) provided high-resolution images of their renderings of what bus rapid transit (BRT) might look like in Chicago, specifically on two routes they recommend in their August 2011 study report. The renderings were created by Booth Hansen and MPC. See more photos after the jump. 


Before view 1 at Garfield Boulevard at the Green Line (Prairie Avenue) in Washington Park. 


After view 1 at Garfield at the Green Line. 


Before view 2 at Garfield Boulevard at the Green Line (Prairie Avenue). 


After view 2 at Garfield Boulevard at the Green Line. 

9 thoughts on “What bus rapid transit might look like on Western Avenue and Garfield Boulevard”

  1. This looks like the configuration of street cars in Europe,Canada or for that matter older days of Chicago.  Maybe we’ll bring them back 🙂

  2. I really hope we get this one day.  Riding the bus for any significant distance takes an eternity, especially during rush hour.  If the bus didn’t have to wait for cars to let it back into traffic every two blocks, the ride would go a lot faster.

  3. How frequently will the BRT stop?  I used to have a bus ride that stopped 26 times in 24 minutes — it took an eternity to get anywhere.

  4. How would you plow those BRT lanes?

    It seems like with any accumulation and weather below freezing you would get growing snow berms that would eat both the BRT lane and the single public lane. MPC, Gabe Klein and Enrique Peñalosa were all laughing when somebody asked ‘Who is responsible for plowing BRT lanes?’ at the Union Club meeting last August but it’s a legitimate question. 

    1. Below is a photo of NYC’s Second Avenue Select Bus Service for comparison. I think the smart way forward is just to continually improve the Express Bus service that used to serve these corridors (Western, Ashland, Irving Park) and stop considering BRT as some kind of third mode after buses and trains.

      I had an idea for off-bus fare collection that I think would work well in Chicago. Continue to have on-bus fare collection but also put off-bus fare meters at stops (similar to parking meter devices). Then you have honor-system boarding + audits of something like 1/20 or 1/50 riders with instant tickets for scofflaws. I think this would speed boarding with the minimal amount of infrastructure investment.

      (image: MTA)

  5. Interesting, but what makes the depicted improvements BRT? No dedicated, barrier-separated right-of-way, many at-grade conflicts, and single priority places an additional limit on how quickly busses will be able to travel.

    Looks like an improvement over what presently exists, but hardly what one can reasonably label “BRT.” ART, maybe, but certainly not BRT.

  6. For it to work on Western, north of Fullerton (at least), you need to eliminate on-street parking. 

  7. Why do the buses run down the center in the Chicago/Western pic? It seems to me you’re creating potential conflict for people getting on or off the bus, having to deal with cross traffic on a busy street just to get to the bus … not to mention the inevitable wreck that’s far more likely to take a car up and over the center than to the side. It looks dangerous, especially at night. 

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