Chicago’s Central Loop district is a nexus of business, commerce, and tourism. But traffic makes travel to and from major transportation hubs challenging. The city’s Central Loop BRT Corridor will relieve this headache.
Bus-only lanes along Washington and Madison streets will improve connections to Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Station, North Michigan Avenue, and Navy Pier. Six current bus routes will also benefit from BRT improvements.
By promoting transit, biking, and walking, the new corridor will make the Loop even more vibrant. In addition to bus-only lanes and other BRT improvements, the corridor with feature a new bus terminal at Union Station.
Service along the Central Loop Corridor is expected to begin in 2014. The project is financed by a $24.6 million Federal Transit Administration grant and $7.3 in local Tax Increment Financing funds.
The East-West Corridor would be served by 1,700 buses per day, making it one of the busiest bus routes in the nation. Improvements designed to make bus travel more reliable and appealing to customers would include:
Colored pavement markings and enhanced signage clearly delineating the bus lanesSignal priority for buses at key intersectionsBranded bus shelters at locations served by designated routes“Next Bus” BusTracker arrival signs at bus stops and nearby government and commercial locationsEnforcement through camera and video and monitoring feedsSidewalk improvements and installation of bicycle lanes on Loop streets
A new, off-street transportation center just south of Union Station is also part of the concept.
The project would meet the goals of the Chicago Central Area Action Plan by promoting transit, bicycle use and walking, thereby making the Central Area even more of an attractive place to do business, visit and live.
The project would also advance the priorities of Chicago’s Climate Action Plan which recommends bus rapid transit as one way to reduce dependence on autos, thereby reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
With funding now secured, CDOT planners—in conjunction with the CTA—will begin design and engineering work on the project. No construction timetable has yet been determined.
The CDOT grant from FTA was one of two Chicago received. The CTA received $10 million for bus rapid transit improvements along Jeffery Boulevard from 103rd Street/Stony Island to Jefferson/Washington. CDOT will work in conjunction with CTA on that project as well.