CTA will reveal more detailed plans about Western/Ashland bus-only lanes today


The CTA is proposing 4 “design alternatives”, seen here. Some remove left-turn lanes, and some remove all or a portion of parking. Two run buses in center lane (faster for buses), and two run buses in a curbside and parking-side lane (potentially much slower for buses). 

In a series of three open house meetings, the first tonight, the Chicago Transit Authority will reveal the most detailed plans to date about bus rapid transit (BRT; with dedicated bus lanes) on Western and Ashland Avenues. Open house is a meeting style where attendees can freely view the information on large posters and discuss questions and concerns directly with CTA and Chicago Department of Transportation staff.

The CTA updated its website on Tuesday to add well-detailed and depicted information about the 4 different design alternatives proposed (how the the bus system would be configured).


A rendering created by Booth Hansen and Metropolitan Planning Council that shows what could be possible on Western Avenue (at Chicago Avenue; the building in the left background doesn’t exist). View more photos and renderings

Next week John will be publishing an update on the city’s CTA’s BRT initiatives based on an interview with BRT manager Chris Ziemann and info from one of this week’s open houses. The meeting details follow (and are available on our calendar):

Tuesday, October 16, 2012
5:30 to 7:30 PM
Iglesia Rebano Church
2435 W Division Street

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
5:30 to 7:30 PM
Lindblom Math and Science Academy
6130 S Wolcott Avenue

Thursday, October 18, 2012
5:30 to 7:30 PM
Lane Tech College Prep High School
2501 W Addison Street

Catch up on the project by reading our past coverage, or the Chicago Tribune’s preview article from Monday:

The two streets also connect with most CTA rail lines, cross multiple Metra rail lines and many residents who do not own cars live nearby, according to demographic data. BRT service is viewed by transit planners as potentially strengthening non-downtown north-south transit connections.

Riders for Better Transit, a campaign of the Active Transportation Alliance, posted a transit and BRT infographic last week detailing current statistics about transit usage in Chicago and comparing ridership figures between existing lines and the potential impact dedicated bus lanes on Western and Ashland would have. They are asking people to ask for center bus lanes (with center loading median), a single car lane in each direction, curbside car parking, and wide sidewalks. It’s not clear what other street configurations are possible, nor the feasibility of including a bikeway in the cross section (which has been asked about in the comments section on Active Transportation Alliance’s blog and in a conversation on Twitter with @stevevance).


The infographic; view full size.

When do cyclists crash?


Chart 1. The chart above shows the hourly activity of aggregated reported crashes in Illinois in 2010. It shows the hour of the day, that, throughout the year, saw the most injuries and fatalities. 

This post is fourth in a series on crash data sponsored by Jim Freeman, a Chicago lawyer specializing in pedestrian and bicycle crashes. Read the other posts in this series.

The League of Illinois Bicyclists (LIB) recently posted a link on its Facebook page to an event in August called “Designing for Bicycle Safety”, hosted by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). A person commented,

We can design for bike safety until we are blue in the face, but unless bicyclists come to their senses and buy lights and reflective clothing for riding after dark – there will continue to be needless rider deaths and incapacitating injuries. I believe this needs to be top priority in rider awareness education.

Safer infrastructure should be the top priority in all things bicycling, and when it comes to reducing crashes at night, we agree that encouraging cyclists to use lights at night is important (Get Lit!). I wanted to know just how many crashes occur at each hour of the day. As is usual when it comes to bike crash data crunching, it takes longer than I originally thought or planned to get the full answer. In essence, though, the majority of crashes and injuries occur during “evening rush hour” while the majority of fatalities, while very small, occurred at night.

Update July 27, 2012: New, interactive charts show the same data in different waysContinue reading When do cyclists crash?

Infographics show CTA’s operating revenues and where fares go

The Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Abogo project, to inform people across the country about the link between their housing and transportation costs, created two infographics that show the source of the Chicago Transit Authority’s funds for operating, as well as how your $2.25 is divvied.


Provided by Center for Neighborhood Technology

This infographic shows the funding sources for the CTA’s 2012 estimated operating budget. The CTA is required by state law to obtain 50% of its operating revenues from fares, but it appears that won’t be the case. The “Statutory Required Contribution” comprises the City of Chicago’s $3 million and Cook County’s $2 million.  Continue reading Infographics show CTA’s operating revenues and where fares go

Please move to the rear


Via this Tumblr, I found Aaron Kraus’s posters from the Courteous Transit Authority, a play on the CTA acronym, to encourage bus riders to move to the back. Well, not encourage so much as making moving to the rear of a bus sound like an adventure. Kraus, a visual designer for Roundarch, published the first poster (above) in December 2010. He created a new version (below) while updating his design portfolio.


I emailed Kraus to ask why he created these images. He’s been riding Chicago Transit Authority buses since moving to Chicago in 2006, and the 66/Chicago bus for two years. He explains:

They were created because I was tired of riding the bus with people who never seemed to walk to the back of the bus. I wish they had a more compelling origin story but that’s it. All in all, the 66 Chicago bus is a huge source of inspiration for me.

Thank you, Aaron, for trying to make transit a little more whimsical but also more efficient. Visit Kraus’s website. Oh, there’s one more poster in the collection, but it’s not family friendly (probably still safe for work, though).

Bike sharing around the world

Chicago is about to enter the big leagues in bike sharing. Read our analysis.


Cities in this chart:
Montreal, New York City, Barcelona, London, Paris, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, and Hangzhou, China.

In this race, the users win.

I updated the graphic on October 19, 2011, to better show the differences between systems. I had previously used circle diameter to compare systems where circle area was more appropriate. I also added Boston. Minneapolis was added on December 30, 2011.