29 April 2008

Transportation Secretary Peters manages to raise my ire yet again

Another update: The Trib changed their online headline to "Fighting traffic congestion could cost you," so now most people are decidedly against the idea. I'm amazed, simply amazed, by the number of people who insist that the best or only solution to traffic congestion is to widen the streets. And where would these extra lanes go? Been in the Loop lately? It's not like in the outer suburbs, where every once in a while you can just double the width of the road.

Update: More info and optimism (as usual) from the fine folks at the CBF over at bike>>blog:
Three new bike lanes spanning the length of the City!

"Imagine a bike lane on Western Avenue or any other major north/south corridor that currently has a middle turn lane. This dream may soon come true with the announcement today that Chicago received $153 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to reduce downtown congestion. One of the two projects that these funds will launch is a bus rapid transit program on four corridors. This is exciting on many levels. (It’s also the silver lining to the demise of New York’s promising congestion pricing project, from which these funds were reallocated)..."

Still not quite seeing the bike-bus connection here, but that could be because work has been sucking the life out of me such that I'm finding it nearly impossible to read anything at all that's not about gamma-ray bursts, possibly out of an overwhelming sense of guilt. Or else I'm not getting enough iron again. Anyway, bike>>blog links to Streetsblog, which shows photos and diagrams of what a rapid transit bus corridor looks like:
DOT Announces Five Bus Rapid Transit Corridors
Now that I can see what they're talking about (actual major infrastructure improvements, as opposed to simply repainting the lines on the street), consider my hopes raised somewhat. Huzzah.

She's here!!!

From the Chicago Tribune:
Chicago awarded $153 million by U.S. to ease traffic congestion: New parking meters, bus-only lanes among initiatives

"Federal and city officials announced today an ambitious plan to get more commuters out of their cars by freeing CTA buses from traffic congestion and speeding the ride to and from work in Chicago.

"Lanes dedicated to buses-only will be created on four major city corridors that were not immediately identified. One could be Lake Shore Drive.

"In addition, buses will make fewer stops—four to five blocks apart. Kiosks will be installed at the bus stops to enable passengers to pre-pay their fares and board quickly once the bus arrives.

"Technology will be added to some traffic signals to extend green lights for buses running behind schedule, much like the signal-priority equipment that gives the green to ambulances and fire trucks, officials said. Pace has experimented with the technology on Harlem Avenue in the suburbs.

"The programs are expected to start within a year. The Chicago area consistently ranks among the three worst areas of the U.S. in traffic gridlock.

"The federal government awarded Chicago more than $153 million in an effort to ease traffic congestion, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and Mayor Richard Daley announced Tuesday..."

Gee, I wonder what else could possibly ease traffic congestion in Chicago. If only there was some other way for people to get to work and back during peak rushhour times, some entirely different form of transportation! But what else could there possibly be?


One hundred fifty three million dollars. And not a damned cent for bicycle improvements.

If you happened to be at UIC* at the time, those flames you saw far to the southeast were the ones shooting out of my eyeballs in pure hatred.

Oh, FYI, Tulsa already had a bike-sharing program long before Washington, DC (see CycleDog). So the latter's is not, in fact, the first of its kind in the country. Nothing against Washingtonians, just gettin' that out there.

*I'm assuming this happened at UIC because that's where CLTV sent their reporter. I could be wrong.


At 29 April, 2008 13:59, Blogger reub2000 said...

Wait, why does it take $153 of federal money in order to charge more?

At 29 April, 2008 14:10, Blogger Jennifer said...

"Technology upgrades," probably. And the rumor mill says most of it is for the CTA, but everything still seems pretty vague right now.

And I've got work to do, so for now I'm just going to grumble.

At 29 April, 2008 14:41, Blogger Eric Allix Rogers said...

I had a negative reaction to some of the ideas they propose for buses, too. The only bicycle-related thought that really crossed my mind is whether bicycles would be allowed in the bus lanes. But it does seem that, overall, the focus of the things they announced is really on improving the traffic for those who persist in driving, by trying to get more people on buses. Some of the changes to buses could be good for the bus riders too, but not without tweaking them a bit.

Probably the biggest source of optimism, though, is that they just got the money, and they don't yet know exactly what they're going to do with it. A lot will change once they start allocating it, I'm sure, and pressure can be brought to bear.


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