Ashland transfer: No bus lane in BRT alternative

Ashland Bus Rapid Transit talk shifts into passing gear at the East Village Association's Aug. 5 meeting.

Two plans for express bus service are seeking EVA members' support. The Chicago Transit Authority hopes to reserve the inner two lanes of Ashland Avenue for new, high-capacity vehicles. Panning and policy specialists from the CTA plan to provide details Aug. 5, in a presentation postponed from July.

The CTA plan would limit BRT stops to every half-mile and remove left-turn lanes. Brenna Conway and Max Muller from the Active Transportation Alliance backed the configuration as July 1 EVA guest speakers. They advocate wide sidewalks and street parking to encourage foot traffic.

A competing plan from the Ashland-Western Coalition would instead revive the X9 Ashland Express bus in existing vehicle lanes. The buses would get traffic signal priority for longer green lights, a feature of the CTA project.

The coalition proposal was presented to the EVA board July 8. Roger Romanelli, executive director of the Randolph / Fulton Market Association, says bus-only lanes will snarl commercial truck traffic. His view is shared by Mike's Furniture at 1259 N. Ashland Ave., which maintains an active loading zone in the northbound parking lane. The coalition is collecting names for a petition against the Ashland placement.

EVA directors have not voted on either the CTA or coalition plan. In recent meetings they've been intrigued by the potential for Blue Line connections at the Polish Triangle and concerned about BRT traffic models and sustained funding.

The Aug. 5 meeting starts at 7pm in the Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.
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