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Livability grants

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I saw the article about the transit grants, indicated by the link on the home page.

As usual, I waited for the FTA announcement, as being the primary, and more reliable source. Here is a link to that.

The projects are on a smaller scale than even I thought, in particular:

-->The "downtown circulator"

  • The grantee is CDOT, which would seem consistent with the scope of the project. More detail is provided in the CDOT news release.
  • In the bus area, this is basically only for bus lanes, signal priority devices, and some bus stop amenities. In that the announcement refers to "surface streets to be used by seven CTA bus routes," it doesn't seem to contemplate any additional bus service. I guess primarily routes 124 and 157 get signal priority devices (plus anything thing else on Madison or Washington, according to CDOT).

  • BTW, there was the reverse bus lane experiment in the 70s, where, for instance, buses got a lane to go eastbound on Madison. I wonder what resulted in the end of that, although I think that building scaffolds extending into the curb lane had something to do with making that not feasible. I wonder if this proposal is subject to the same problem.
-->The Jeffery BRT
  • Again, note that this is $11 million out of the $193 million that Hilkevitch said the CTA wanted out of the Livability Program to implement the whole BRT plan, or relatively small potatoes. CTA probably doesn't need additional buses to do that.
  • I'm sure Mike Payne will be real happy about the statement "providing a high-quality transit link to the central business district, a corridor that lacks easy rail access." So much for the Metra Electric South Chicago Branch Gray Line service.

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I saw the article about the transit grants, indicated by the link on the home page.

As usual, I waited for the FTA announcement, as being the primary, and more reliable source. Here is a link to that.

The projects are on a smaller scale than even I thought, in particular:

-->The "downtown circulator"

  • The grantee is CDOT, which would seem consistent with the scope of the project. More detail is provided in the CDOT news release.
  • In the bus area, this is basically only for bus lanes, signal priority devices, and some bus stop amenities. In that the announcement refers to "surface streets to be used by seven CTA bus routes," it doesn't seem to contemplate any additional bus service. I guess primarily routes 124 and 157 get signal priority devices (plus anything thing else on Madison or Washington, according to CDOT).

  • BTW, there was the reverse bus lane experiment in the 70s, where, for instance, buses got a lane to go eastbound on Madison. I wonder what resulted in the end of that, although I think that building scaffolds extending into the curb lane had something to do with making that not feasible. I wonder if this proposal is subject to the same problem.
-->The Jeffery BRT
  • Again, note that this is $11 million out of the $193 million that Hilkevitch said the CTA wanted out of the Livability Program to implement the whole BRT plan, or relatively small potatoes. CTA probably doesn't need additional buses to do that.
  • I'm sure Mike Payne will be real happy about the statement "providing a high-quality transit link to the central business district, a corridor that lacks easy rail access." So much for the Metra Electric South Chicago Branch Gray Line service.

I just saw ABC7's report on this. Thanks for the extra info. From the way they reported it, it sounded as if CTA was trying make entirely new service to Navy Pier. Also they hadn't mentioned the Streeterville portion of that East-West Corridor part of the project. You also happened to confirm my thought that the South Side aspect of it is resurrection of Jeffery BRT. Since no extra buses are sought, it appears they're looking to transform the 14 into BRT style service.

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I'm a little bit confused by the seemingly contradictory statements here. According to the FTA site

The E-W Corridor BRT will consist of designated bus priority lanes on two miles of downtown surface streets to be used by seven CTA bus routes. The project includes bus signal priority, "next bus" information, and bus shelter branding. This project will connect Union Station through several districts in the downtown Loop to the Navy Pier. It will also expedite bus services through the downtown and serves a community not currently served by transit. Bicycle lanes, bus lanes and streetscape enhancements are also expected to be provided as part of the project.

Yet, the city's site says

Currently, seven bus routes use all or most of the proposed alignment.

So, either this project serves a "community" not currently served by transit, or "all or most of the proposed alignment" already sees service by seven bus routes.

I think the biggest improvement will be the proposed off-street bus terminal south of Union Station (presumably on that wasteful surface parking lot). That will make it considerably easier for tourists to figure out where to go to catch a bus.

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...

So, either this project serves a "community" not currently served by transit, or "all or most of the proposed alignment" already sees service by seven bus routes.

...

I think (as indicated to my reference to the Metra Electric) that either the feds were sold a bit of b.s., or don't proofread well.

In that both releases refer to 7 bus routes, I think that it is pretty clear that there isn't going to be new service. I count six on Madison (14, 20, 56, 60, 124, and 157), and I guess 125 gets counted for the Clinton and Canal segments.

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[snip]

I'm sure Mike Payne will be real happy about the statement "providing a high-quality transit link to the central business district, a corridor that lacks easy rail access." So much for the Metra Electric South Chicago Branch Gray Line service.

Actually, I don't think Mike is too bent out of shape about it [see the ChicagoTransit group on Yahoo! today]. :)

Recently I have only been on Jeffery Blvd on weekends. I'm wondering if Jeffery is wide enough to properly implement BRT.

Gene King

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Actually, I don't think Mike is too bent out of shape about it [see the ChicagoTransit group on Yahoo! today]. :)

Since you brought it up, I looked at Mike Payne's response. I guess he is not unhappy (a legal double negative), but thinking that a TOD is going to develop at 71st and Jeffery is certainly a bit of wishful thinking. After all, TOD was supposedly his main justification for the Gray Line, although it wasn't called TOD ten years ago (just that the areas around the stations needed development).

Recently I have only been on Jeffery Blvd on weekends. I'm wondering if Jeffery is wide enough to properly implement BRT.

In that 14 only stops at odd numbered streets, you already have a somewhat implementation, and I figure that for $11 million, Jeffery, like the downtown area, basically gets some street furniture, traffic signal priority, and next bus signs.

Even the full blown $150 million or $193 million BRT plan basically only contemplated banning parking during rush hour in the rush direction. I wonder how they can enforce that on Jeffery, which is essentially a residential street.

There hasn't been a separate release posted about Jeffery, but I bet that the "prepaid boarding areas" are also off the table. Neither the FTA nor the CDOT release give much of any detail.

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In that 14 only stops at odd numbered streets, you already have a somewhat implementation, and I figure that for $11 million, Jeffery, like the downtown area, basically gets some street furniture, traffic signal priority, and next bus signs.

Even the full blown $150 million or $193 million BRT plan basically only contemplated banning parking during rush hour in the rush direction. I wonder how they can enforce that on Jeffery, which is essentially a residential street.

There hasn't been a separate release posted about Jeffery, but I bet that the "prepaid boarding areas" are also off the table. Neither the FTA nor the CDOT release give much of any detail.

The project seems very scaled down to me. With no new buses, it's not practical to have prepaid boarding. So why then would you have a seperate boarding station. The buses currently in service are not designed for BRT. To me the project seems like an "X" service with signal priority. I was kind of shocked there was even a downtown corridor segment. This was not part of the original plan. By what I was reading, they intend in the long term to run an off street bus only lane for the downtown portion (like the one that runs down along the metra electric now to McCormick Place) Although that does sound good, it would add a little more to downtown if instead they changed the downtown segment to light rail.

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... By what I was reading, they intend in the long term to run an off street bus only lane for the downtown portion (like the one that runs down along the metra electric now to McCormick Place) Although that does sound good, it would add a little more to downtown if instead they changed the downtown segment to light rail.

I don't even see that much in it.

Although this grant is denoted "Chicago Central Area Transitway: E-W Corridor BRT (Urban Circulator)" it isn't, for instance, the Carroll Street Transitway, in which (after the light rail project obtained the adjective "defunct") a busway was proposed for the railroad right of way under the Merchandise Mart and (now) Trump Tower out to Navy Pier. It just looks like some bus lanes on the indicated streets.

Maybe, like saying that this part with respect to Jeffery is a stepping stone to the initial Congestion Reduction Demonstration program BRT plan, this might be a stepping stone to the Carroll Ave. plan. The CMAP page for the Central Area Transitway might give some indication of that, but this would be only $35M toward a $250-400M project according to them.

Interestingly, the Chicago one is the only one labeled "Urban Circulator" that does not involve historic trolley or light rail.

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I don't even see that much in it.

Although this grant is denoted "Chicago Central Area Transitway: E-W Corridor BRT (Urban Circulator)" it isn't, for instance, the Carroll Street Transitway, in which (after the light rail project obtained the adjective "defunct") a busway was proposed for the railroad right of way under the Merchandise Mart and (now) Trump Tower out to Navy Pier. It just looks like some bus lanes on the indicated streets.

Maybe, like saying that this part with respect to Jeffery is a stepping stone to the initial Congestion Reduction Demonstration program BRT plan, this might be a stepping stone to the Carroll Ave. plan. The CMAP page for the Central Area Transitway might give some indication of that, but this would be only $35M toward a $250-400M project according to them.

Interestingly, the Chicago one is the only one labeled "Urban Circulator" that does not involve historic trolley or light rail.

The downtown segment seems to me to be more tourist driven than average commuter driven. Wasn't the idea of BRT to ease the pain of stop go rush hour commuting? For some reason to me this project is more for the tourist than chicagoan. It's like the Feds did a switcheroo on us. Hopefully it gets better in the future.

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The downtown segment seems to me to be more tourist driven than average commuter driven. Wasn't the idea of BRT to ease the pain of stop go rush hour commuting? For some reason to me this project is more for the tourist than chicagoan. It's like the Feds did a switcheroo on us. Hopefully it gets better in the future.

I guess it depends how many people working downtown use Link Up passes to get from the two Metra stations to places outside walking distance from the two stations (and, I guess, don't use routes 120-123, which might really be the rationale for your comment). Commuters are certainly benefited from counting Route 125 as one of the benefiting routes.

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So with the BRT Service funded again with Federal Grants, we know where the routes will be(Two miles of designated bus-priority lanes would be built along Canal and Washington for northbound routes and Madison and Clinton for southbound routes) and what improvements will be done in the corridor(signal priority for buses at key intersections, branded bus shelters, electronic next bus signage powered by Bus Tracker, sidewalk improvements, bicycle lanes, and a new transportation center just south of Union Station), and even what routes will use the corridors(#14, #20, #56, #60, #124, #157, and #125). But what it doesn't mention is the buses themselves. Will they just be stock buses out of the garages that service these routes? Or does the grant include a little money to purchase a quantity of BRT-Styled Buses?

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Two questions crossed my mind when reading all the articles and comments about the grant in which cta just received,and those are, when does these new routes start and does that mean that some laid off workers will be going back to work? I have noticed that in all that I have read and heard, neither of the two questions were answered.

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So with the BRT Service funded again with Federal Grants, we know where the routes will be(Two miles of designated bus-priority lanes would be built along Canal and Washington for northbound routes and Madison and Clinton for southbound routes) and what improvements will be done in the corridor(signal priority for buses at key intersections, branded bus shelters, electronic "next bus" signage powered by Bus Tracker, sidewalk improvements, bicycle lanes, and a new transportation center just south of Union Station), and even what routes will use the corridors(#14, #20, #56, #60, #124, #157, and #125). But what it doesn't mention is the buses themselves. Will they just be stock buses out of the garages that service these routes? Or does the grant include a little money to purchase a quantity of BRT-Styled Buses?

Considering that what we think is a BRT type bus* costs about $900,000 each, what conclusion would you draw, especially since 14 gets $11 million and alone needs at least 26 buses to make the morning schedule (considering how many trips leave 103 before a bus gets back to 103). Based on your question, they are already $15 million in the hole. So, no.

________________

*As in the WMATA topic, a DE62LFA or equivalent.

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Two questions crossed my mind when reading all the articles and comments about the grant in which cta just received,and those are, when does these new routes start and does that mean that some laid off workers will be going back to work? I have noticed that in all that I have read and heard, neither of the two questions were answered.

I see that the moderator moved this here, where it belongs.

Anyway, if you read this topic, including the preceding post, you'll see that the numbers do not add up to doing either.

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Considering that what we think is a BRT type bus* costs about $900,000

The BRT type bus does look different than the standard bus, but to buy a bus for pennies less, all they need to do is order an amount of standard model buses(e.g: New Flyer D(E)40LF, New FlyerD(E)60LF, NOVA LFS) with a different paint scheme than the current stock and slap a BRT emblem on them. That'll give the CTA buses that are cheaper than the special BRT type bus.

We need different looking buses for this BRT project to work, Busjack. We can't take 30-40 of the current stock for this service, because then the regular routes will be facing more of a bus shortage), and then there are those passengers who only see what they want to see. Can you imagine how pissed off those passengers who can't read signs even if it's this big will be if they board these stock schemed buses turned BRT buses thinking "I'll just get off in two blocks" only to find out the bus' next stop is a State St. Red Line station or Union Station which we'll say is eight blocks from where the bus picked up the passengers. I can....

*Ding*

-"Hey, you missed my stop."

-"Excuse me, you missed my stop sir/ma'am!"

-"HEY, STOP THE DAMN BUS ALREADY!!!"

-"ALRIGHT, WHAT'S YOUR OPERATOR NUMBER!!! YOU SHOULD'VE BEEN ONE OF THOSE OPERATORS THE CTA LET GO!!!" *exits bus angrily while calling the CTA on his/her cell* I'm sure CTA5750 and cta_44499_FG will agree. They know about these kinds of passengers.

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At least for the downtown plan, no one has said anything about new routes or limited stops. So far, this plan sounds like nothing more than glorified bus lanes.

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The BRT type bus does look different than the standard bus, but to buy a bus for pennies less, all they need to do is order an amount of standard model buses(e.g: New Flyer D(E)40LF, New FlyerD(E)60LF, NOVA LFS) with a different paint scheme than the current stock and slap a BRT emblem on them. That'll give the CTA buses that are cheaper than the special BRT type bus.

We need different looking buses for this BRT project to work, Busjack. We can't take 30-40 of the current stock for this service, because then the regular routes will be facing more of a bus shortage), and then there are those passengers who only see what they want to see. .....

Basically, though, any type of DE60LF bus is going to cost at least $800,000, as did 4000-4207. Even if you are talking DE40LFs, that's $650,000 each.

Sure, you could wrap existing buses, but that's no big deal. I suppose, though, to preempt the argument that that would be forcing off the wraps of legitimate advertisers, the BRT could be wrapped as the "Jimmy John's BRT," sort of like the sponsored Cleveland HeathLine.

No bus shortage is anticipated, because the press releases talk about running 7 existing routes. There is not going to be a 157 and an X157.

As far as the rest on dummy passengers, 14 is already stop at only odd cross streets. If the riders now can't figure out the difference between a 14 Jeffery Express and 15 Jeffery Local, that problem isn't confounded. As far as the other 5 routes on Madison, there is no indication that it would be express in the bus lane zone between Clinton and Michigan; in fact that would defeat the purpose of adding the street furniture and next bus signs. (Update: I see that Kevin beat me to that point.)

Let's just face it; the feds approved a quick, dirty, and cheap project; in the Jeffery case for $11 million instead of the $193 million requested for the entire BRT project. It is sort of like the last days of the "transit mall" fad, where cities basically just proposed enough transit to get the grants. Chicago's State Street proves where that got us.

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Basically, though, any type of DE60LF bus is going to cost at least $800,000, as did 4000-4207. Even if you are talking DE40LFs, that's $650,000 each.

Sure, you could wrap existing buses, but that's no big deal. I suppose, though, to preempt the argument that that would be forcing off the wraps of legitimate advertisers, the BRT could be wrapped as the "Jimmy John's BRT," sort of like the sponsored Cleveland HeathLine.

No bus shortage is anticipated, because the press releases talk about running 7 existing routes. There is not going to be a 157 and an X157.

As far as the rest on dummy passengers, 14 is already stop at only odd cross streets. If the riders now can't figure out the difference between a 14 Jeffery Express and 15 Jeffery Local, that problem isn't confounded. As far as the other 5 routes on Madison, there is no indication that it would be express in the bus lane zone between Clinton and Michigan; in fact that would defeat the purpose of adding the street furniture and next bus signs. (Update: I see that Kevin beat me to that point.)

Let's just face it; the feds approved a quick, dirty, and cheap project; in the Jeffery case for $11 million instead of the $193 million requested for the entire BRT project. It is sort of like the last days of the "transit mall" fad, where cities basically just proposed enough transit to get the grants. Chicago's State Street proves where that got us.

As far as the #157 how does that work? When the bus runs in streeterville it is local and when on Madison or Clinton it is BRT? All buses on Madison would have to run as BRT's or with one bus lane the locals would hold up the expresses. As far as Jeffery, I don't really get why they would propose express service on a route with express service now. I would think with the recent service cuts some of the former "X" routes would make a good BRT pilot. There seems to be alot of question marks to this project. I don't know if a BRT project has ever been started without new buses. The project just needs more funding.

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As far as the #157 how does that work? When the bus runs in streeterville it is local and when on Madison or Clinton it is BRT? All buses on Madison would have to run as BRT's or with one bus lane the locals would hold up the expresses. As far as Jeffery, I don't really get why they would propose express service on a route with express service now. I would think with the recent service cuts some of the former "X" routes would make a good BRT pilot. There seems to be alot of question marks to this project. I don't know if a BRT project has ever been started without new buses. The project just needs more funding.

Basically, as Kevin points out, it is not a BRT project. Madison and the three other streets get the amenities, Streeterville (and Little Italy on the other side of 157) do not.

BTW, if you go back to the FTA press release, the downtown one isn't even called a BRT project, but a transitway or urban circulator. You and sw are reading too much into this

The Jeffery one is called a BRT corridor, but as you point out, 14 is also express, and as I said a couple of times, $11 million under a $193 million request isn't buying more than what was indicated for the downtown project.

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As far as the #157 how does that work? When the bus runs in streeterville it is local and when on Madison or Clinton it is BRT? All buses on Madison would have to run as BRT's or with one bus lane the locals would hold up the expresses. As far as Jeffery, I don't really get why they would propose express service on a route with express service now. I would think with the recent service cuts some of the former "X" routes would make a good BRT pilot. There seems to be alot of question marks to this project. I don't know if a BRT project has ever been started without new buses. The project just needs more funding.

On the FTA site there is no mention of BRT just "Urban Circulator/Bus and Bus Livability Project Descriptions". As has already been mentioned the Chicago one is the only Urban Circulator grant awarded that is not planned to be streetcars! On the CDOT page (see below) it is called BRT which in this case just means dedicated bus lane with fancy bus stops. There will not be any express operation along Madison or Clinton just faster journey times by using bus lanes and traffic signal priority. I am not convinced there is the money to do that - there certainly isn't any money for new vehicles so the routes will be run with the vehicles thay have now.

Having been delayed many times in the afternoon trying to get through the mess in front of Union Station on Canal on the 157, I am looking forward to a dedicated bus lane - however what are they going to do with the taxis!

The award for Jeffrey Boulevard is for BRT improvements (again probably bus lanes and some fancy shelters) using existing buses.

As it says in the CDOT document:-

"The East-West Transit Corridor bus rapid-transit plan would include designated bus-priority lanes on two miles of streets: Madison, Washington, Canal and Clinton. The corridor would serve Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Red and Blue Line subways, Streeterville and Navy Pier. Currently, seven bus routes use all or most of the proposed alignment.

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 lanes. Signal priority for buses at key intersections. Branded bus shelters at locations served by designated routes. “Next Bus” BusTracker arrival signs at bus stops and nearby government and commercial locations. Enforcement through camera and video and monitoring feeds. Sidewalk 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."

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BTW, if you go back to the FTA press release, the downtown one isn't even called a BRT project, but a transitway or urban circulator. You and sw are reading too much into this

Why does it say this then?

ILLINOIS

Project: Chicago Central Area Transitway: E-W Corridor BRT (Urban Circulator)

Sponsor: Chicago Department of Transportation

Amount: $24,650,000

The E-W Corridor BRT will consist of designated bus priority lanes on two miles of downtown surface streets to be used by seven CTA bus routes. The project includes bus signal priority, "next bus" information, and bus shelter branding. This project will connect Union Station through several districts in the downtown Loop to the Navy Pier. It will also expedite bus services through the downtown and serves a community not currently served by transit. Bicycle lanes, bus lanes and streetscape enhancements are also expected to be provided as part of the project.

Project: Jeffery BRT Corridor (Bus and Bus Livability)

Sponsor: Chicago Transit Authority

Amount: $11,000,000

This bus rapid transit project runs along 103rd Street and Stony Island to Jefferson and Washington Streets, providing a high-quality transit link to the central business district, a corridor that lacks easy rail access. More than 200,000 people live and nearly 600,000 jobs are located within a half mile of this corridor.

I see "BRT" appearing 4 times in this press release... twice for the E-W, or Downtown Corridor, and twice for the Jeffrey Corridor.

If you don't believe it, re-read the press release yourself. The downtown one is called a BRT project

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Why does it say this then?

ILLINOIS

Project: Chicago Central Area Transitway: E-W Corridor BRT (Urban Circulator)

Sponsor: Chicago Department of Transportation

Amount: $24,650,000

The E-W Corridor BRT will consist of designated bus priority lanes on two miles of downtown surface streets to be used by seven CTA bus routes. The project includes bus signal priority, "next bus" information, and bus shelter branding. This project will connect Union Station through several districts in the downtown Loop to the Navy Pier. It will also expedite bus services through the downtown and serves a community not currently served by transit. Bicycle lanes, bus lanes and streetscape enhancements are also expected to be provided as part of the project.

Project: Jeffery BRT Corridor (Bus and Bus Livability)

Sponsor: Chicago Transit Authority

Amount: $11,000,000

This bus rapid transit project runs along 103rd Street and Stony Island to Jefferson and Washington Streets, providing a high-quality transit link to the central business district, a corridor that lacks easy rail access. More than 200,000 people live and nearly 600,000 jobs are located within a half mile of this corridor.

I see "BRT" appearing 4 times in this press release... twice for the E-W, or Downtown Corridor, and twice for the Jeffrey Corridor.

If you don't believe it, re-read the press release yourself. The downtown one is called a BRT project

Because that is what the grant application title was submitted by CDOT. The FTA website has the following definition of an Urban Circulator:-

"Q: What is an Urban Circulator System?

A: Urban circulator systems such as streetcars and rubber-tire trolley lines provide a transportation option that connects urban destinations and foster the redevelopment of urban spaces into walkable mixed use, high density environments.

Typically, an urban circulator operates regular service within a closed loop – usually 3 miles or shorter in length – and serves an urban area such as the Portland Streetcar, the Denver 16th Street shuttlebus or the Lynx LYMMO in Orlando which is a bus-based fixed guideway. FTA believes projects that provide circulation through an urban area qualify, whether or not they have an actual loop as long as they follow a course that returns to the starting point and distributes riders around the area."

You don't distribute riders around the area by making it express.

I have the feeling that CDOT did not think it would be funded if BRT was not in the title as, at present, this is the buzz word in public transit! Only four of the succesful applications mention BRT (2 Chicago, 1 New York and 1 in Stockton, CA) and only one of those is for an Urban Circulator.

The requirements for the funds for bus based service are:-

"Be a corridor-based bus project with the following minimum elements:

* Substantial Transit Stations

* Signal Priority/Pre-emption (for Bus/LRT)

* Low Floor / Level Boarding Vehicles

* Special Branding of Service

* Frequent Service - 10 min peak/15 min off peak

* Service offered at least 14 hours per day"

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If you don't believe it, re-read the press release yourself. The downtown one is called a BRT project

As rmadison pointed out, there are errors in the releases. Are you going tell us that this "serves a community not currently served by transit," when, according to CDOT:

"The corridor would serve Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Red and Blue Line subways, Streeterville and Navy Pier. Currently, seven bus routes use all or most of the proposed alignment."

Do you have some secret information that one of the 7 bus lines is going to be extended, say to Lemont or even up Elston Ave., as part of the $34 million grant? If that happens, let us know.

I read busfan2847's last message as indicating that CDOT was able to shoehorn its application and I further infer that LaHood had to give something to the Illinois politicians that support him. If it were truly an urban circulator, they would have to bring back 127 Washington-Roosevelt Circulator (although the description says that it does not have to be an actual loop, so long as it returns) and get some light rail, vintage or rubber wheel trolley cars (say from the Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Company) to run it. I doubt that's happening, either. This is serving 7 existing bus routes

Again, I suggest counting how many buses are needed to cover 6 routes (no need to double count #14), and consider how far $34 million will go.

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One good thing about this is that they did not go for those fake rubber-tired "trolleys" [sic]. I never quite understood why anyone ever thought those would be a good idea. Take a truck chassis and poor suspension that make the things uncomfortable to ride, throw in some wooden seats that make them uncomfortable to sit on, and various other impractical design elements that make them difficult to keep climate-controlled, and this probably reminds people why they usually don't use public transit. It also probably manages to create some anti-rail sentiment in the mean time ("If streetcars are this crappy, why should we spend millions of dollars to build one?").

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