Chicago/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on May 28, 2024
Chicago's Commute to Get Swift with New Bus-Only Lanes on Chicago AvenueSource: David Wilson from Oak Park, Illinois, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Commuters on Chicago Avenue can expect a smoother and speedier bus ride. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) revealed plans to rev up bus service on one of the city’s most bustling routes. Starting this week, red bus-only lanes are being painted on Chicago Avenue between Sangamon Street and Larrabee Street, with the project set to wrap up the final touches between Grand Avenue and Campbell Avenue. This latest stretch is part of a nearly 3.9-mile stretch of dedicated lanes for the #66 Chicago Avenue route.

The addition of these lanes means that nearly 40% of the #66 route will have an exclusive path for buses. They're designed to liberate these vehicles from the clutches of traffic, ensuring they keep to their schedules. According to the CTA, these changes are a boon for the approximately 17,000 weekday riders who depend on the #66.

CDOT is also on the brink of starting construction to replace the existing, weary Chicago Avenue Bridge with a fresh one. Plans for sprucing up the Chicago-Halsted intersection are in the final design phase, promising a safer and more efficient crossroad. With buses having their own lanes—marked distinctly with red paint and running both ways—the expected outcome is buses that zip past stopped cars and ease the boarding process.

CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. highlighted the importance of the #66 Chicago Avenue route's reliability, particularly as it connects east and west Chicago neighborhoods. In a statement obtained by transitchicago.com, Carter said, "This latest addition builds on years of improvements made to this route, cumulatively speeding up average travel times by several minutes.” In a city where time is a currency, these enhancements stand to enrich the commuting experiences of thousands.

The new infrastructure is a highlight from the Better Streets for Buses Plan put forth by CDOT and CTA. It underscores a commitment to more efficient bus travel by carving out dedicated spaces for the city's buses and enhancing bus stops. CDOT Commissioner Tom Carney cited that “The new bus lanes on Chicago Avenue will help improve bus efficiency on this busy and growing corridor.” For Chicago's transit riders, a future of less gridlock and more green lights signals a welcomed change.

Chicago-Transportation & Infrastructure