CDOT and CTA Announce New Dedicated Bus-Only Lanes Along Chicago Avenue

May 28, 2024

New Bus Lanes Will Improve Transit Efficiency on One of Chicago’s Most Popular Routes

Today, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced new investments on Chicago Avenue to further improve bus reliability for the for #66 Chicago Avenue route and reduce travel times on one of the city’s busiest corridors. This week, CDOT will  begin installing red bus-only lanes on Chicago Avenue between Sangamon Street and Larrabee Street and is completing the installation of new bus priority lanes between Grand Avenue and Campbell Avenue. This work builds upon previous transit projects on Chicago Avenue, creating a nearly continuous 3.9 mile bus lane from Grand to Ashland and from Milwaukee to Michigan Avenue.

Nearly 40% of the #66 Chicago Avenue route will include a bus lane with the completion of this latest project.

The new bus-only lane between Sangamon and Larrabee will complement CDOT’s upcoming project to replace the existing temporary Chicago Avenue Bridge over the river and the Chicago-Halsted viaduct. CDOT is finalizing design work, which includes upgrades to the Chicago-Halsted intersection to make it safer for all road users and enhance bus efficiency on Chicago Avenue.

Roughly half a mile of eastbound and westbound Chicago Avenue will soon feature a newly designated bus-only lane marked with red paint and text that will remain in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By providing a designated space for buses, the new lanes will help buses avoid getting stuck in traffic congestion and help keep other vehicles clear of areas where buses need priority, like bus stops. This helps buses travel faster and stay on schedule, and allows for easier boarding – making riding the bus a more reliable and attractive travel option. 

“The 66 Chicago Avenue route is one of our most frequent and most heavily utilized, providing roughly 17,000 rides on an average weekday, and our ability to efficiently move riders along that corridor is critical to connecting communities on the east and west sides of the city,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “This latest addition builds on years of improvements made to this route, cumulatively speeding up average travel times by several minutes.”

Chicago Avenue is part of a network of corridors identified in the Better Streets for Buses Plan released by CDOT and CTA last fall, which provides a framework for implementing bus priority infrastructure. The improved bus-only lanes are part of a variety of transit investments, including bus lanes and bus stop improvements throughout the City.

“Through the Better Streets for Buses Plan, CDOT and CTA are working together to improve every step of the transit experience – from building better bus stops, improving access to transit, and using infrastructure to achieve faster bus service,” said CDOT Commissioner Tom Carney. “The new bus lanes on Chicago Avenue will help improve bus efficiency on this busy and growing corridor.” 

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