The CTA is proposing significant improvements to bus service along both South and North Lake Shore Drive. Customers using these routes will experience improved travel time to and from the Loop, new express service to downtown, improved east-west service connections, expanded express service hours and fewer transfers throughout their trips.
A 180-day experimental restructuring of 24 routes serving the Lake Shore corridor will begin August 31, and then be evaluated for its success in meeting customer demand throughout the following six months.
"Lake Shore Drive is a major connector between downtown and South and North Side neighborhoods," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. ?The proposed enhancements improve existing service, create new routes and adjust some routes to supplement key customer corridors. This plan effectively aligns service with customer needs and improves the efficiency of CTA's bus service for customers throughout those corridors."
Combined, the South and North Lake Shore Drive bus routes experienced a 17.6 percent increase in ridership over the last five years, the North Lake Shore routes increasing by 25 percent, and South Lake Shore routes increasing by seven percent. The bus routes affected by this proposal carry 15 percent of all CTA bus customers.
"Recent infrastructure improvements to Lake Shore Drive and Wacker Drive offer opportunities for CTA to complement those investments with enhanced services that provide more direct service," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?Bus routes along the Lake Shore Drive corridor have not been adjusted for growing ridership and changing travel patterns in decades. The changes are being implemented in response to ridership growth on express routes, customer comments, community input and changing ridership patterns."
Many of the routes affected by the proposed plan are currently concentrated along major traffic corridors. By realigning local routes to nearby streets and moving already full express buses to Lake Shore Drive earlier in the route, customers will have more and better options for service as well as faster trips. Total cost of the service improvements is estimated to be $2.8 million, an increase of 5.3 percent over the existing cost to operate the current routes.
"By investing in enhancements for this major corridor we are better allocating our resources," explained Kruesi. ?More efficient service improves customer satisfaction and better enables us to attract new customers to our system."
South Lake Shore Corridor
Currently, three routes operate in two express zones to serve the South Lake Shore corridor where ridership has increased by seven percent over the past five years. Service is highly concentrated along the Jeffery corridor resulting in frequent east-west transfers as part of the trip. Customers in Hyde Park often encounter crowded buses.
The proposed plan doubles the number of express zones and increases the number of routes from three to five, providing more direct express service to downtown. Direct service reduces the need for transfers and provides a faster, more reliable trip for customers.
A new #26 South Shore Express route will operate during weekday rush periods, peak direction only, between 106th/Ewing and downtown via Ewing, 92nd, Commercial, 83rd, South Shore and 67th to Lake Shore. After running express to Jackson, #26 buses will end their trips downtown via Michigan to Chicago.
A new #28 Stony Island Express route will operate downtown from 103rd between 4 a.m. and 1 a.m. daily via Stony Island, 56th, Lake Park and 47th to Lake Shore. After exiting Lake Shore/Columbus at Roosevelt, #28 express buses will operate north on Michigan and west on Adams to Union Station. Certain morning and afternoon rush hour trips will operate west to the Medical District.
Rush period buses on the #2 Hyde Park Express route will operate in both directions throughout the morning and afternoon weekday rush periods, and will be extended to the University of Chicago hospitals. Morning trips will originate at 57th/Hyde Park and operate via Cornell Drive, Midway Plaisance and Cottage Grove to Drexel Square, where they will return to the regular route east on Hyde Park and north on Lake Park to 47th for express trips downtown terminating at Navy Pier.
The #6 Jackson Park Express (formerly Jeffery Express) and #14 Jeffery Express (formerly South Lake Shore Express) routes will be improved to provide more midday and weekend express options. #6 express buses will operate daily from 4 a.m. until midnight, starting their trips north on South Shore Drive from 79th, going west on 67th to Stony Island and north over the existing route via Stony Island, 57th, Hyde Park, Lake Park, 47th and Lake Shore to downtown. #14 express buses will maintain their current routing from 103rd/Stony Island to Madison/Jefferson, making stops north on Jeffery to 67th before running express to downtown. Service will now operate in both directions from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily instead of operating during rush periods only.
A new #15 Jeffery route will operate daily between 103rd/Stony Island and 47th/Red Line, supplementing service along Jeffery. The #15 will provide service between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. with expanded service hours on East 51st Street.
Other South Side Route Changes
#1 Indiana/Hyde Park will operate during rush hour only and terminate at Drexel Square instead of 63rd/Stony Island. Customers will still have service all day because the #4 Cottage Grove will be routed (as it currently is on weekends) to serve portions of the #1 route (specifically Michigan and Indiana north of 35th Street). In addition, frequent and faster service between Hyde Park and Union Station will be provided by the new X28 Stony Island Express. This will improve service availability during rush hours in this corridor.
#X3 King Drive Express is being renamed from the existing #3L King Drive Limited. The #X3 will provide the same service as the #3L.
#X4 Cottage Grove Express operating weekday rush periods, peak direction only (5:30 a.m. " 9 a.m. northbound and 3 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. southbound), between 95th/St Lawrence and Michigan/Chicago. The route will make limited stops between 95th/Cottage Grove and Michigan/Roosevelt. The new route will provide faster service between the south portion of Cottage Grove and downtown. In addition, the limited stop route will provide new single ride service to North Michigan Avenue. This eliminates a transfer for many customers.
#47 47th is being extended from Green Line Station east to Lake Park, eliminating the need to transfer for many customers. The hours, frequency and days of service are unchanged.
#51 51st service east of the Red Line is replaced by #15 Jeffery service. This will make the #51 more reliable for customers west of the Red Line. The hours, frequency and days of service are unchanged.
#71/71st/South Shore route combined with #27 South Deering. Current routing along 71st Street will be unchanged. New routing south of 71st to 112th Torrence will be added. Instead of terminating at 71st/Yates, the route will continue over to South Shore, Exchange, Commercial and Torrence to 112th. Service hours remain unchanged (4:30 a.m. " 1:30 a.m.). A new direct link between 69th Red Line and the Southeast Side will be provided.
North Lake Shore Corridor
Along the North Lake Shore corridor, two large express zones to downtown currently serve customers. As a result of the changing demographics, the zones now encompass a high concentration of residents. Customers on the north end of the corridor travel on local service for a large portion of their express trip and passengers on the south end encounter crowded buses.
Express bus ridership has increased by 25 percent over the past five years along the corridor. The proposed plan doubles the number of zones that provide direct service to downtown, adding three new routes and modifying two rush-period routes and four all-day routes.
A new #134 Stockton/LaSalle Express route will operate during rush periods, peak direction only, between Belmont/Sheridan and Jackson/Wacker. After making local stops south via Sheridan and Stockton, #134 buses will enter Lake Shore at Fullerton for express trips to East Wacker. Buses will proceed west on Wacker, making stops at Michigan and State, south on LaSalle and west on Adams to Wacker.
The #135 Wilson/LaSalle Express rush period route will be modified and renamed the #135 Clarendon/LaSalle Express. Trips will start at Clarendon/Montrose, and proceed over the existing #135 route via Clarendon, Irving Park, Inner Lake Shore to Belmont where buses will enter Outer Lake Shore for express trips to East Wacker. Buses will proceed west on Wacker, making stops at Michigan and State, south on LaSalle and west on Adams to Wacker.
The #136 Sheridan/LaSalle Express will be modified to operate on Clarendon instead of Marine Drive between Lawrence and Montrose. Trips will operate express on Outer Lake Shore Drive between Irving Park and East Wacker Drive. Buses will proceed west on Wacker, making stops at Michigan and State, south on LaSalle and west on Adams to Wacker.
The #156 LaSalle will have additional service between North Avenue and downtown during the morning rush hour. This service expansion is designed to alleviate overcrowding in the corridor.
A new #143 Stockton/Michigan Express rush period route, peak direction only, will operate between Belmont/Sheridan and Washington/Michigan. Local stops will be made on Sheridan and Stockton from Belmont to Fullerton before the buses enter Lake Shore Drive for express trips to Oak/Michigan. Local stops will then be made on Michigan from Delaware to Washington.
A new #144 Marine/Michigan Express rush period route, peak direction only, will operate from Foster via Marine and Clarendon to Irving Park before running express on outer Lake Shore to Oak/Michigan and making local stops on Michigan from Delaware to Washington.
The current #145 Wilson/Michigan Express route will be modified to operate express between Irving Park (instead of Belmont) and Michigan/Oak. The route will operate in both directions on Michigan in the Loop.
The current #146 Marine/Michigan Express route will be renamed #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express and will be modified to operate on Clarendon (instead of Marine Drive), between Lawrence and Montrose. #146 buses will continue to enter Outer Lake Shore at Belmont for express trips to Oak/Michigan before proceeding south via Michigan and over the regular route to the Museum Campus.
New Sunday service and later weekday/Saturday service will be provided on the #147 Outer Drive Express route, which will operate from the Howard 'L' station to Michigan/Congress, running express on Lake Shore Drive from Foster to Oak/Michigan, and making local stops on Michigan from Delaware to Congress. Weekday and Saturday service will be extended to 1 a.m. #147 buses will run from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Sundays/holidays.
#151 Sheridan will terminate at Devon during hours the #147 is operating. The #147 route will cover all trips between Devon and Howard Monday through Saturday. On Sundays/holidays, the #151 will run all the way to Howard after8 p.m.
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