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MetroShadow

Fox Valley Division - Changes & Restructuring

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

Fox Valley (and Western DuPage), as a result of population density changes since the last restructuring 10 years ago, have proposed service changes that will affect Aurora, Naperville, and surrounding towns (later this year).

Changes of note:

  • 4 Routes are replaced
  • 3 Routes are modified (to accommodate displaced service)
  • 3 New Fixed-routes
  • 2 New Call-and-Rides (one new, one replacement route)
  • And a partridge in a Pace Tree.
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Ladies and Gentlemen,

Fox Valley (and Western DuPage), as a result of population density changes since the last restructuring 10 years ago, have proposed service changes that will affect Aurora, Naperville, and surrounding towns (later this year).

Changes of note:

  • 4 Routes are replaced
  • 3 Routes are modified (to accommodate displaced service)
  • 3 New Fixed-routes
  • 2 New Call-and-Rides (one new, one replacement route)
  • And a partridge in a Pace Tree.

​I give it two thumbs up!

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

Fox Valley (and Western DuPage), as a result of population density changes since the last restructuring 10 years ago, have proposed service changes that will affect Aurora, Naperville, and surrounding towns (later this year).

Changes of note:

  • 4 Routes are replaced
  • 3 Routes are modified (to accommodate displaced service)
  • 3 New Fixed-routes
  • 2 New Call-and-Rides (one new, one replacement route)
  • And a partridge in a Pace Tree.

​It looks from these proposals that most of the things they did 10 years ago didn't work. The circulators don't seem to have worked, and some have been replaced by Call and Rides. The through Randall Road one (529) also doesn't seem to have worked.

One thing that didn't work 10 years ago seems to be somewhat back--the Route 59 route,which previously couldn't support a paratransit vehicle between Fox Valley Mall and the stuff near the Tollway. The other thing that appears to be a blast from the very past is an actual Farnsworth bus. It also appears that they are seriously minimizing the Transit Center.

There was also a reference to the Hispanic population not riding the bus, but I figure there are reasons for Car Outlet ads.

Finally, 521 was justified mostly by school runs, so I wonder what school service will be provided.

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​It looks from these proposals that most of the things they did 10 years ago didn't work. The circulators don't seem to have worked, and some have been replaced by Call and Rides. The through Randall Road one (529) also doesn't seem to have worked.

One thing that didn't work 10 years ago seems to be somewhat back--the Route 59 route,which previously couldn't support a paratransit vehicle between Fox Valley Mall and the stuff near the Tollway. The other thing that appears to be a blast from the very past is an actual Farnsworth bus. It also appears that they are seriously minimizing the Transit Center.

There was also a reference to the Hispanic population not riding the bus, but I figure there are reasons for Car Outlet ads.

Finally, 521 was justified mostly by school runs, so I wonder what school service will be provided.

​Five things:

  1. It wasn't as if the initiative 10 years ago didn't work, it's just that it never accounted for the explosion of population growth over the last 10-12 years which made it ineffective today. It was functional, but as the outlet mall and the Route 59 corridor was built out, service didn't match travel patterns.
     
  2. The 535 (and was the other one 790?) was a rush hour shuttle, cut in the doomsday aftermath.
     
  3. Car outlet ads notwithstanding, despite the high Hispanic population, there are still plenty of zero-car households that might want to use transit.
     
  4. I'm sure there are school trips that are still needed, eventually.
     
  5. I'm not surprised, but I guess if it wasn't for Waubonsee and their new campus downtown, demand to Sugar Grove doesn't exist.
Edited by MetroShadow
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​Five things:

  1. It wasn't as if the initiative 10 years ago didn't work, it's just that it never accounted for the explosion of population growth over the last 10-12 years which made it ineffective today. It was functional, but as the outlet mall and the Route 59 corridor was built out, service didn't match travel patterns.
     

I make the "didn't work" conclusion based on that those routes that were added then are to be cut now. ​BusHunter had the various comments that the North Shore consultant proposal only meant cuts, but here Pace's introduction clearly means cuts:

Over the past two decades, the Fox Valley area has seen significant population growth, but ridership on public transit on buses in this area has dropped by 40% since 2000.

....

3. Replace routes that perform poorly, but maintain service to key destinations. Many of Pace’s Fox Valley-area routes fail to meet ridership goals and should be redesigned. Important community destinations will continue to be served in the new network, but we will work to find methods of serving them in new ways that can attract better ridership. (emphasis added)

This sure sounds like the Aurora version of the Crowd Reduction Plan. 559 and 722 get new service, but a heck of a lot else gets cuts, as I described above. I'll withhold judgment whether ridership will increase after the restructuring in the amount Pace claims. (The link to the market survey does not work.)

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3. Replace routes that perform poorly, but maintain service to key destinations. Many of Pace’s Fox Valley-area routes fail to meet ridership goals and should be redesigned. Important community destinations will continue to be served in the new network, but we will work to find methods of serving them in new ways that can attract better ridership. (emphasis added)

This sure sounds like the Aurora version of the Crowd Reduction Plan. 559 and 722 get new service, but a heck of a lot else gets cuts, as I described above. I'll withhold judgment whether ridership will increase after the restructuring in the amount Pace claims. (The link to the market survey does not work.)

​Remember the discussion from the North Shore kerfuffle, restructuring doesn't fully mean cuts. In the context of replacement service, most of those routes are getting an increase of span of service, not to mention better headway (40 minutes to 30 is still a increase). Hopefully this change will improve access (especially for Spanish-speaking residents and those not within a 5-10 minute walking distance).

Also: apparently not many people use the Aurora station as much as we thought.

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​Remember the discussion from the North Shore kerfuffle, restructuring doesn't fully mean cuts. In the context of replacement service, most of those routes are getting an increase of span of service, not to mention better headway (40 minutes to 30 is still a increase). Hopefully this change will improve access (especially for Spanish-speaking residents and those not within a 5-10 minute walking distance).

Also: apparently not many people use the Aurora station as much as we thought.

​Still the Crowd Reduction Plan rationale.

At least the whole south end of Aurora is proposed to get Call and Ride instead of nothing.

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.... (The link to the market survey does not work.)

It does now.

​It is going to take a while to get through this, and transit related questions start about page 45, after the methodology and demographics. However, relevant to a point I made above, 87% under the age of 35 and 87% of the Hispanics, and over 90% of the rest have access to a car. Also, only 19% are transit dependent or transit choosers.

Getting to the transit stuff, the respondents basically only used routes 530 and 533.

Maybe the statistic that forced this is that only about 40% of Pace riders and 16% of the total survey were satisfied. However, replacing circular routes was not a priority among those surveyed.

Finally, with regard to destinations to be served, I can't make heads or tails of the scatter diagrams, and it seems like the survey skewed the results by having explicit questions on Indian Trail (proposed 722) Route 59 (559) and Farnsworth (proposed 540).

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I work in Aurora now, but on the East portion of Aurora so the only bus I really get to see is the 530.  This will be some welcome changes for the area.  There are 2 obvious questions I have on this:

1. Would it be assumed correctly that more buses will be needed?  It would seem like the existing fleet at Fox Valley would not be enough to cover all of the routes, especially if the frequency is going to be more than less.  Perhaps empty out the remaining Eldos at NW if they haven't been sent off already.

2.  If the population has exploded so much in the last 10 years that more people are relying on Pace, would 40 footers be a consideration on some of the old/new routes?

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I work in Aurora now, but on the East portion of Aurora so the only bus I really get to see is the 530.  This will be some welcome changes for the area.  There are 2 obvious questions I have on this:

1. Would it be assumed correctly that more buses will be needed?  It would seem like the existing fleet at Fox Valley would not be enough to cover all of the routes, especially if the frequency is going to be more than less.  Perhaps empty out the remaining Eldos at NW if they haven't been sent off already.

2.  If the population has exploded so much in the last 10 years that more people are relying on Pace, would 40 footers be a consideration on some of the old/new routes?

1. Assuming the trade-offs and the new routes into the East, I would make the case for a small increase in equipment if not breaking even (to whether or not that includes paratransits is another question).
 

2. Unless a route (like 530) has a crush load, I don't see a reason to need a 35  40 footer. That is, unless ridership justifies the demand (but we won't find out until the changes begin).

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I work in Aurora now, but on the East portion of Aurora so the only bus I really get to see is the 530.  This will be some welcome changes for the area.  There are 2 obvious questions I have on this:

1. Would it be assumed correctly that more buses will be needed?  It would seem like the existing fleet at Fox Valley would not be enough to cover all of the routes, especially if the frequency is going to be more than less.  Perhaps empty out the remaining Eldos at NW if they haven't been sent off already.

2.  If the population has exploded so much in the last 10 years that more people are relying on Pace, would 40 footers be a consideration on some of the old/new routes?

1. Assuming the trade-offs and the new routes into the East, I would make the case for a small increase in equipment if not breaking even (to whether or not that includes paratransits is another question). 

2. Unless a route (like 530) has a crush load, I don't see a reason to need a 35  40 footer. That is, unless ridership justifies the demand (but we won't find out until the changes begin).

​The question basically comes down to whether what's being cut (521, 528, 529) is offset by what is added. Since the substitutions are Call and Rides, what may be added is community vehicles rather than buses.

Also, while the population has exploded, the numbers quoted by Pace on ridership indicates that demand has not exploded, unless one can infer that those who answered the survey are going to ride the new routes they ratified on the survey. The survey also said that the only routes those surveyed ride now are essentially 530 and 533, and the statistics on RTAMS seem to bear that out, if you make the combinations indicated below:

521	215 (part combined with 533)
524	181
528	107
529	296 (some saved as 802)
530	672
532	110 (some saved as 524)
533	157
802	227

You can also compare that to Joliet, where the major routes (501, 505, 507, 834) average 400+ to 700 passengers.

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Another question is when these services will take place, especially the Route 59 service.  Route 59 is going thru a massive reconstruction from just before Fox Valley Mall in Aurora to around Butterfield Road in the Warrenville/West Chicago area and that construction is still a year away from completion.  I've personally have seen major traffic backups in this area as some areas are down to one lane each way at the moment.  I'd have to believe it will take a bit of time for that route to kick in to avoid delays.  One might compare this to the reconstruction going on right now on LaGrange Road in Orland Park, which is currently affecting Route 379.  But I haven't been over there lately so I don't know how bad that area is right now for comparison.

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Another question is when these services will take place, especially the Route 59 service.  Route 59 is going thru a massive reconstruction from just before Fox Valley Mall in Aurora to around Butterfield Road in the Warrenville/West Chicago area and that construction is still a year away from completion.  I've personally have seen major traffic backups in this area as some areas are down to one lane each way at the moment.  I'd have to believe it will take a bit of time for that route to kick in to avoid delays.  One might compare this to the reconstruction going on right now on LaGrange Road in Orland Park, which is currently affecting Route 379.  But I haven't been over there lately so I don't know how bad that area is right now for comparison.

​The hearing page says "Pace staff plans to present the results of the public hearing to the Pace Board of Directors in August. Implementation of the plan is scheduled to take place in two phases, the first in October, which will focus on central Aurora and areas north of the city. The second phase is tentatively planned for December and will include proposed new service on and around the Route 59 corridor. "

But traffic is always going to be a mess on Ill.59.

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Has anything been said about the proposed changes in the Fox Valley area from the last meeting July 15th?

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Has anything been said about the proposed changes in the Fox Valley area from the last meeting July 15th?

I haven't heard anything yet. I had to move your post to this topic because of a duplication of the same topic. 

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No problem Garmon. I guess Pace will speak further on it during the Pace Monthly meeting next week. They had some nice proposals on the website but they should try to go further out like to Bolingbrook, Plainfield and Joliet. 

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No problem Garmon. I guess Pace will speak further on it during the Pace Monthly meeting next week. They had some nice proposals on the website but they should try to go further out like to Bolingbrook, Plainfield and Joliet. 

Having one or two routes between Bolingbrook and Joliet wouldn't be a bad idea or increase service on behalf of #834 depending on the ridership. The tricky part is Plainfield because I'm really not sure what's out there to have a local route serve that area. Hopefully something happens soon though.

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Having one or two routes between Bolingbrook and Joliet wouldn't be a bad idea or increase service on behalf of #834 depending on the ridership. The tricky part is Plainfield because I'm really not sure what's out there to have a local route serve that area. Hopefully something happens soon though.

There might be changes in that corridor, but that's beside the point.

The proposals go to the board next week. Details, Renardo, is here. (I think the jury is still out on what to do with 532, as a commuter route instead to the BNSF).

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No problem Garmon. I guess Pace will speak further on it during the Pace Monthly meeting next week. They had some nice proposals on the website but they should try to go further out like to Bolingbrook, Plainfield and Joliet. 

Having one or two routes between Bolingbrook and Joliet wouldn't be a bad idea or increase service on behalf of #834 depending on the ridership. The tricky part is Plainfield because I'm really not sure what's out there to have a local route serve that area. Hopefully something happens soon though.

At this point, the only thing to be said is if the Public Hearing resulted in anything different to be presented to the board than that already posted on the website. Given the ridership statistics,I doubt that anything persuasive was.

On the Bolingbrook issue, there was a proposal for a Weber Road flex bus as part of the South Cook-Will restructuring, but nothing ever came of that. I believe that was supposed to run between Joliet and Naperville.

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At this point, the only thing to be said is if the Public Hearing resulted in anything different to be presented to the board than that already posted on the website. Given the ridership statistics,I doubt that anything persuasive was.

On the Bolingbrook issue, there was a proposal for a Weber Road flex bus as part of the South Cook-Will restructuring, but nothing ever came of that. I believe that was supposed to run between Joliet and Naperville.

That may be an entirely different problem project in the next two years or so. It is believed that the argument may be used as a service to connect with BoS, along with making efficient use of 824 and 825. Weber may still be a thing in due time.

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There might be changes in that corridor, but that's beside the point.

The proposals go to the board next week. Details, Renardo, is here. (I think the jury is still out on what to do with 532, as a commuter route instead to the BNSF).

I'm not seeing that in the linked Daily Herald story. What seems to be the issue with 532 was that certain parts were to be replaced by the extended 524 in the vicinity of IMSA, but the part actually on Illinois Avenue would not have been (map). I suppose that the request for rush hour service can be construed as a "commuter route."

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At this point, the only thing to be said is if the Public Hearing resulted in anything different to be presented to the board than that already posted on the website. Given the ridership statistics,I doubt that anything persuasive was.

On the Bolingbrook issue, there was a proposal for a Weber Road flex bus as part of the South Cook-Will restructuring, but nothing ever came of that. I believe that was supposed to run between Joliet and Naperville.

How long ago that proposal was initiated?

That may be an entirely different problem project in the next two years or so. It is believed that the argument may be used as a service to connect with BoS, along with making efficient use of 824 and 825. Weber may still be a thing in due time.

I'm not seeing that in the linked Daily Herald story. What seems to be the issue with 532 was that certain parts were to be replaced by the extended 524 in the vicinity of IMSA, but the part actually on Illinois Avenue would not have been (map). I suppose that the request for rush hour service can be construed as a "commuter route."

Would it be fair to say lack of Sunday service playing some kind of factor towards this scenario?

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How long ago that proposal was initiated?

 

Would it be fair to say lack of Sunday service playing some kind of factor towards this scenario?

I'll answer both:

Weber was an advanced phase of the South Cook/Will Restructuring before the economy went south. To which phase or the original plan had the route start escapes me (assume Joliet Intermodal).

And Sunday service (or the lack of later Saturday service) was one of the factors of declining ridership, where the car might be more attractive (or you have no choice). 

Edited by MetroShadow
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Sunday service in Aurora, especially to the Outlet Mall, Woodmar off Orchard and Fox Valley would be really neat for that area. But how would they promote bus service to an area where they are pro automobile?

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I'll answer both:

Weber was an advanced phase of the South Cook/Will Restructuring before the economy went south. To which phase or the original plan had the route start escapes me (assume Joliet Intermodal).

And Sunday service (or the lack of later Saturday service) was one of the factors of declining ridership, where the car might be more attractive (or you have no choice). 

Ditto! Thanks! I'm not sure if it was a political, money, or any other stint in why Sunday service is so limited in the suburbs. 

Edited by garmon757
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