The Chicago Transit Board today approved recommendations for both bus and rail service enhancements for the West Side and West Suburbs based on the results of CTA's West Side Corridor Study. The plan includes changes to 14 bus routes and two rail lines.
A total of five new bus routes will be created ? three express routes and two local routes ? four existing bus routes will be extended and routing and schedule improvements will be made for four additional bus routes. Two current bus routes will be incorporated into other routes. In addition, a new rail route will be created and service will be improved on another rail route. Customers will benefit from increased frequency of service, faster travel times and improved connections between CTA bus and rail service.
?The service enhancements will provide additional transit options that are designed to meet the needs of the growth in population and jobs throughout the West Side and West Suburbs," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. 'service improvements such as these not only benefit customers, but also the communities in which they live and work and the region overall."
The service plan represents a substantial investment in additional transit service for the West Side and West Suburban portion of CTA's service area. The bus service changes are scheduled to be implemented in June 2006 and the rail changes in July. All the changes will be tested during a 180-day experimental period. CTA staff will monitor service throughout the six month experiment and make adjustments accordingly if needed.
"In 2005, CTA ridership grew for the seventh year out of the past eight. CTA has worked hard over time to design service that is focused on customer needs, just as today's approved enhancements are," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?The service CTA provides is dynamic and adjustments are made based on the changing needs of the region. Throughout the experimental phase of West Side service improvements we will monitor performance and customer feedback to make sure that the improvements we have recommended are performing as expected."
West Side Corridor Service Enhancements:
New Bus Routes
#X9 Ashland Express (New Express Service)
The new express service will improve north-south connections to the Illinois Medical District and to the CTA's Orange, Green and Blue Lines. This route is in addition to the existing #9 Ashland route, which will continue to serve customers traveling shorter distances. The new express route will serve customers who travel longer distances and make connections at major transfer points.
#X20 Madison/Washington Express (New Express Service)
Travel speed will improve along the Madison corridor, especially for customers traveling from the far West Side to downtown. The #X20 will travel from Austin to Central Park on Madison, and from Central Park to Michigan on Washington in addition to CTA's existing #20 Madison bus route. By operating on Madison west of Central Park, the #X20 will reduce waiting times by providing customers at major intersections a choice between express or local service.
#38 Ogden/Taylor (New Local Route)
The #38 will operate from the Pulaski Blue Line station to Metra's West Loop station, traveling on Canal and Clinton to provide a new connection between Ogilvie and Union stations, UIC, the Illinois Medical District and the West Side.
#X54 Cicero Express (New Express Route)
This #X54 will travel from the Jefferson Park bus terminal along the Blue Line to the Midway station on the Orange Line, providing connections to O'Hare and Midway airports and improve travel speed along the Cicero corridor.
#127 Roosevelt/Madison Circulator (New Local Route)
The #127 will provide a link to the Roosevelt station on the Orange, Red and Green Lines, Metra stations and the Illinois Medical District. The #127 Roosevelt/Madison Circulator will supplement existing service on the #20 Madison and the #12 Roosevelt bus routes. The route will replace the current #127 NW/Madison route.
Routing and Schedule Improvements
The #7 Harrison will be rerouted to connect to the Polk Street station on the 54th/Cermak branch of the Blue Line at all times of operation. It will continue service to the Greyhound terminal, Domestic Violence Court, the Post Office and other nearby traffic generators. This route will work in conjunction with the54th/Cermak Blue Line traveling over the Paulina Connector, providing a transfer point to the east UIC campus and a choice of routes for customers traveling to UIC or downtown.
The route change will combine the #21 Cermak and #25 West Cermak service into one route and eliminate the need to transfer for customers traveling to North Riverside Park Mall on weekdays. Currently the #21 travels to the mall only on weekends. The current #25 West Cermak service will be absorbed into this route and the #25 will be eliminated.
The #37 will be changed to improve operations and service reliability by operating the north and south portion of the existing #37 Sedgwick/Ogden independently.
A change to the #52 route will improve the efficiency of both the #52 Kedzie/California and #52A South Kedzie. Service to 63rd Place will now occur at all times the route is in service. Currently service to 63rd Place occurs only in the early mornings and late evenings. The adjusted route will provide a one-seat ride to customers boarding north of the Kedzie Orange Line and traveling south of the Orange Line.
#52A South Kedzie
This route change complements the #52Kedzie/California adjustment and will improve travel in the corridor and the efficiency of both routes. The #52A South Kedzie service will terminate at the Kedzie Orange Line at all times. Transfer to the #52 Kedzie/California will be required for travel north of the Orange Line. The busiest portion of the routes will be supplemented by the extension of the #52 service to 63rd Place.
Service will be extended to Milwaukee/Imlay via Nagle. Currently the route ends at Wright College at Montrose. This adjustment will provide a one-seat ride north of Montrose.
The route will be extended south and link the Harlem Blue Line station on the O'Hare Branch of the Blue Line to the Harlem/Lake station on the Green Line in Oak Park. Connections to Metra rail stations on the Milwaukee West Line at Mont Clare and the Union Pacific West Line in Oak Park will also be provided.The #90 Harlem extension provides an O'Hare Airport connection via the Harlem Blue Line station for customers who are south of Grand.
The route will be modified to provide travel to Jefferson Park at all times and will provide a consistent north terminal. The #86 Narragansett/Ridgeland extension (detailed above) will travel on Nagle to Milwaukee/Imlay.
54th/Cermak Blue Line to Loop via Paulina Connector
The 54th/Cermak Blue Line train will be rerouted to travel to and from the Loop via the Paulina Connector at all times of operation. Customers will benefit from increased service levels and faster service. Direct service to the Loop elevated means enhanced connections to the Orange, Brown and Green Lines, Purple Line Express service and Metra. During rush hour commutes, Loop-bound customers will have the choice of the current 54th/Cermak Blue Line routing via the Dearborn subway and or elevated service via the Paulina Connector.
54th/Cermak Blue Line to O'Hare via subway
The service to the O'Hare branch from 54th/Cermak via the Dearborn Street subway will be maintained during AM/PM rush hours. In addition, bus service on the #7 Harrison will provide connections between UIC's east campus and the Illinois Medical District. Enhanced service to O'Hare will still be possible at other times through a free transfer at Clark and Lake.
Forest Park to O'Hare
The frequency of service on the Forest Park branch of the Blue Line will increase, especially during weekday off-peak hours and weekends. Customers who board trains on the Forest Park branch between the Medical Center and Forest Park will benefit from increased frequency of service at all times, including weekends, and improved access to CTA and Pace buses along the route.
The West Side Corridor study area included 10 East-West CTA bus routes, 14 North-South CTA bus routes and three CTA rail lines. CTA staff reviewed employment patterns, residential corridors and development trends and met with local elected officials. CTA staff used a computer model to analyze customer travel patterns on the rail system. The model identifies sequences of trips made using the same farecard to determine both the entry station and likely exit station used for each trip. New York City Transit, which has a similar rail fare collection system to CTA, uses a similar technique for rail scheduling and planning purposes.
In addition, CTA's planning staff used on-board customer surveys and conducted nine interactive community workshops in July and August 2004 with West Side Corridor residents to discuss the most effective way to link traffic generators and provide service where people live and where they want to travel. Information gathered from the survey and the workshops was considered in the development of the recommendations presented to the Board.
Information on all CTA service can by found by calling 836-7000 from any local area code or on the web site at www.transitchicago.com.###