CTA and CDOT Announce “Better Streets for Buses” Target Design Corridors

June 27, 2024

Five corridors across the city will be studied for potential infrastructure treatments

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) today announced the first five corridors that will be evaluated for bus priority infrastructure as part of the Better Streets for Buses Plan.

Utilizing an Invest in Cook grant to conduct a Bus Priority Corridor Study, CTA and CDOT plan to examine Pulaski Road, Western Avenue, Cottage Grove Avenue, Fullerton Avenue, and 55th Street. Nearly 74,000 riders travel through one of these five corridors across ten (10) bus routes on an average weekday.

"Our community's commitment to making our streets work better for all is the foundation of our Better Streets for Buses Plan," said Mayor Brandon Johnson. "I look forward to seeing how these corridor designs improve our city's greatest assets to benefit our current transit riders and incentivize others to utilize our public transportation network."

The study will develop concepts for robust bus priority improvements on each corridor from a “toolbox” of 19 potential street treatment options to facilitate a better bus riding experience. The study will present benefits and tradeoffs associated with different concepts, including at least one concept for each corridor that includes an uninterrupted dedicated bus lane for a significant segment, seek public input on community preferences and priorities, and refine concepts with the goal of developing bus priority streetscape plans that could be advanced to detailed design and construction.

“CTA is focused on improving every facet of our bus service with a goal of building a bus service that is frequent, reliable, fast, accessible, welcoming, and operating where and when people need it.,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. “I’m grateful for CDOT’s continued partnership in this endeavor, and the support from Cook County that is enabling us to pursue bus improvements on these critical corridors.”

"The Better Streets for Buses plan serves as a comprehensive guide for ongoing infrastructure improvements to make bus service more efficient, accessible, and appealing," said CDOT Commissioner Tom Carney. "The corridors announced today are essential for linking residents to key services, workplaces, and community spaces. We look forward to our continued close collaboration with CTA to advance meaningful improvements."

About the Better Streets for Buses Plan

Released in November 2023, the Better Streets for Buses Plan lays the groundwork for improved bus services citywide through ongoing investments in street, signal, and sidewalk infrastructure–all designed to achieve faster and more reliable bus service, improved access to bus stops, and better bus stops. This plan supports key transportation goals of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration, including improving bus reliability and coordination of infrastructure investments to improve transit.

During the public outreach process held in 2022, CTA and CDOT received feedback from more than 1,300 individuals throughout the city via the project website, a series of virtual public and community meetings, email, phone, text, and written comment cards.

Better Streets for Buses is a framework plan that offers a menu of improvements based on the needs of a specific corridor. Additional planning work is needed to develop specific designs; the Bus Priority Corridor Study will do just that for the five selected corridors and is a major step toward implementation of robust bus priority projects in Chicago.

In addition to long-term planning efforts, Better Streets for Buses is also guiding more immediate infrastructure investments to improve transit. CDOT recently completed installation of two new segments of bus priority lanes on Chicago Avenue, from Grand Avenue to Campbell Avenue and Sangamon Street to Larrabee Street. 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 - one of the city’s busiest bus corridors.

Previous Bus Priority projects have shown measurable improvement in bus speeds. Bus priority lanes installed on Chicago Avenue in 2022 improved bus speeds by 11% during peak period and bus priority lanes installed on Western Ave also in 2022 improved speeds by 21% during the peak period.

Implementation of additional and complementary bus service improvement projects will be ongoing through existing CTA-CDOT programs, like the Bus Priority Zones (BPZ) program. The BPZ Program consists of smaller scale street treatment projects that target pinch points on major bus corridors to improve bus service reliability across the entire route.

For more information, visit betterstreetsforbuses.com, email betterstreetsforbuses@transitchicago.com, or call 888-YOUR-CTA (888-968-7282) to be connected with someone from the Better Streets for Buses project team.

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