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BusHunter

Surveyors at Belmont/Blue bus terminal

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Seen some surveyors with a clipboard today at Belmont/Blue. They weren't talking to people but they were watching the bus times. One I caught taking pictures of the bustracker, when no #77 came. I looked to see why he shot it and it said no buses for 16-17 minutes with five coming in 8 minutes. Later I looked it was 7 buses between 11-25 minutes. That's 7 buses in 14 minutes. And my eastbound wasn't too great either. a 3 pack. But that happens on the #77, cause it has massive ridership.

He should have saw it yesterday, it was like everyone called off and there were no extras to replace them, all buses were like 20 minutes apart and when my bus showed up, #6461, it had no destination sign. Then the supervisor at Kimball tells him to run it to Octavia and I was trying to get to Cumberland, so double fail, no one knows anything outside the bus or inside it. If it wasn't for me hearing the conversation, I could wait another 20 minutes as the follower was running empty right behind.  So i exit at Milwaukee catch the follower, he passes #6461 at Austin. Never to be seen again. So I guess at Harlem those riders were SOL.

The surveyors got me wondering, have there been alot of complaints with #77, or are they trying to fix the problem? The #66 seems to run smooth, I never really have to wait for a bus there. I don't know if it's the artics or newer equipment. All this stopping and going with old buses seems to have the #77 tripping on themselves. That could be another angle of this #1000 bus swap also.

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2 hours ago, Busjack said:

The new Miss Redeye  had a story yesterday about bus bunching. Maybe it has something to do with that.

Of course she would have to do like the rest of the media and use a frigging photo from 15-20 years ago with NF 5800s and MAN 4000s, both of which CTA has long retired years ago. xD More relevant to the thread is that one of the experts in the article said that it's a national problem and not one endemic only to Chicago and CTA. That of course should be no surprise given the auto makers aren't exactly hurting for sales these days and the American big three have long since worked themselves out of the near bankruptcies they found themselves set to fall into at the time of the Big Recession. Plus there are the stories both locally and nationally of how our expressways are over capacity causing the big rush hour delays we keep hearing of when speaking of the big cities especially. So I guess us bellyaching at CTA needed more perspective. 

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24 minutes ago, jajuan said:

More relevant to the thread is that one of the experts in the article said that it's a national problem and not one endemic only to Chicago and CTA.

I don't quite buy that cop out. CTA claimed that BusTracker with supervisors having it on their laptops would be a cure, and last year claimed that the Clever Devices Computer Aided Dispatch would be the cure. That part of the article at least implies that it wasn't:

Last year, CTA announced a $9 million system that uses GPS equipment already on CTA buses to monitor each bus's location and progress.

“While no technology will completely prevent all bus delays, the technology allows us to communicate directly and more quickly with our operators to improve service,” Tolman said.

My inference was that the "surveyors" BH saw was because BusTracker indicated that Belmont was all messed up, and finally someone was doing something about it.

 

24 minutes ago, jajuan said:

given the auto makers aren't exactly hurting for sales these days

But nobody has said that that explosion is in congested areas of the city. If we believe other things being thrown out there, businesses can't get Millennials to work in the suburbs, and they apparently all bike or use Uber, and certainly can't afford the parking, red light camera and other tickets, and other restraints on driving in the city.

But maybe whoever is now in charge of CDOT will figure out that choking off the streets to vehicular traffic with protected bike lanes, STATE LAW stop for pedestrians signs every half block, etc. also doesn't help the buses. Only thing that does is something like X9 and X49, if the street is wide enough to handle it. Belmont is not.

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4 minutes ago, Busjack said:

I don't quite buy that cop out. CTA claimed that BusTracker with supervisors having it on their laptops would be a cure, and last year claimed that the Clever Devices Computer Aided Dispatch would be the cure. That part of the article at least strongly implies that it wasn't.

But nobody has said that that explosion is in congested areas of the city. If we believe other things being thrown out there, businesses can't get Millennials to work in the suburbs, and they apparently all bike or use Uber, and certainly can't afford the parking, red light camera and other tickets, and other restraints on driving in the city.

But maybe whoever is now in charge of CDOT will figure out that choking off the streets to vehicular traffic with protected bike lanes, STATE LAW stop for pedestrians signs every half block, etc. also doesn't help the buses. Only thing that does is something like X9 and X49, if the street is wide enough to handle it. Belmont is not.

Basically it gets down to what CTA couldn't bring itself to admit given our snap solution culture, which is there is no quick solution to the problem. But you do have a point that CDOT does not help the matter with choking streets off for all these bike lanes and those flimsy stop for pedestrian signs. X3, X4 and X55 having operated along significant stretches of their routes on roadways no wider than Belmont would seem to at least partially eat at the theory that the street has to be as wide as Ashland or Western to handle an X## express route. (Up to half of the local #55's route is on streets just as wide as Belmont, and X55 still seemed to work using the exact same routing just with limited stops. )

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36 minutes ago, jajuan said:

X55 still seemed to work using the exact same routing j

X55 was cancelled at about the time they put in all the measures I described on 55th east of Cottage, and I don't think would work today. Garfield Blvd. is wide enough, but the population has been decimated. Only real justification for X55 today would be bypassing some stops essentially between St. Louis and Cicero, but they get limited service, anyway.

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Probably the best thing they could do is allow late buses to become limiteds or express' stopping only at major intersections, but sometimes traffic is so bad that doesn't help. But really all these major streets should have two forms of service express and non express. Then you can't have buses ganging up on each other because they are running different schedules. Belmont gets especially hurt by local service, as it's not out of the question to be doing most if not all local stops. Somewhere that needs to speed up. Why do we have streets like the #152 running up to 20-30 minutes faster than a #77? That tells you right there the street is too slow.

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22 hours ago, BusHunter said:

Probably the best thing they could do is allow late buses to become limiteds or express' stopping only at major intersections, but sometimes traffic is so bad that doesn't help. But really all these major streets should have two forms of service express and non express. Then you can't have buses ganging up on each other because they are running different schedules. Belmont gets especially hurt by local service, as it's not out of the question to be doing most if not all local stops. Somewhere that needs to speed up. Why do we have streets like the #152 running up to 20-30 minutes faster than a #77? That tells you right there the street is too slow.

Well the article did have the suggestion of running late buses express along different stretches similar to how CTA already does for late trains. 

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Chicago has very few east west arterials that are two lanes in each direction.  Peterson, Irving Park, North Ave, Roosevelt, Garfield, 87th and 95th streets come to mind.  Everything else is like Belmont.  With Belmont feeding the Kennedy from the West and Lake Shore Drive from Lakeview, there is no sign of relief from bus bunching no matter what is done, with the possible exception of eliminating parking on Belmont and possibly eliminating left turns at certain intersections which would only backup traffic at other intersections

 

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19 hours ago, artthouwill said:

Chicago has very few east west arterials that are two lanes in each direction.  Peterson, Irving Park, North Ave, Roosevelt, Garfield, 87th and 95th streets come to mind.  Everything else is like Belmont.  With Belmont feeding the Kennedy from the West and Lake Shore Drive from Lakeview, there is no sign of relief from bus bunching no matter what is done, with the possible exception of eliminating parking on Belmont and possibly eliminating left turns at certain intersections which would only backup traffic at other intersections

 

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I think it was Deb Mell that wanted to put bike lanes (protected I think) on Belmont around Western. Can you imagine what that would do to the traffic? There were other places that had two lanes but have been destroyed by bike lanes. Lawrence east of Western is one casualty of this. They tried to do north Milwaukee like this but it was met with protest. This is one reason why I don't drive in the city. It's a virtual parking lot.

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6 hours ago, BusHunter said:

I think it was Deb Mell that wanted to put bike lanes (protected I think) on Belmont around Western. Can you imagine what that would do to the traffic? There were other places that had two lanes but have been destroyed by bike lanes. Lawrence east of Western is one casualty of this. They tried to do north Milwaukee like this but it was met with protest. This is one reason why I don't drive in the city. It's a virtual parking lot.

Speaking of bike lanes, Division is undergoing the bike lane treatment. CTA has notices for bus stops in the vicinity near Damen as well as near Clark being moved or eliminated temporarily because of installation of bike lanes on Division.

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2 hours ago, west towns said:

Belmont is a mess just like lawrence.  What can be done?  Restrict parking? Put I turn arrows restrict left turns  use tsp?

All left turn arrows do is reduce the amount of left turners waiting at the light. It actually adds time to the light cycle. As far as buses adding express limited stop service would help especially when they have service intervals that are low anyway and if it doesn't cost the agency nothing then it should be experimented with. As far as highways, they want to come out with autonomous lanes that are faster than regular traffic. They claim that some of the incentives to autonomous rail is that you can beef up the frequency up to 90 seconds. That's really incredible and would come in handy on places like the red line, where they are slowly being overcrowded. I think in the future we'll have smart traffic lights that change only when it sees traffic. If cars are slowly being able to see the surroundings, the lights might as well see us as well.

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14 minutes ago, BusHunter said:

. I think in the future we'll have smart traffic lights that change only when it sees traffic

The traffic lights in the city are dumb (as admitted by Emanuel when he asked the RTA to pay for new ones on Ashland) The ones in the suburbs and nearly everywhere else have loop detectors in the pavement, or cameras on the arms where streetlights are normally attached (see this Streetview of Lake Cook Road). You don't get a green light or an arrow unless your car is on a detector. Sort of hard for motorcyclists though.

Of course, the big problem in the city is all the five and six way intersections, and you pictured a future new one. There was a reason the Western viaduct was there.

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27 minutes ago, BusHunter said:

Just hope they don't install turn arrows at Belmont/Western

They gotta do something to raise ticket revenue at at Area 3 Police HQs.

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36 minutes ago, BusHunter said:

Now I wonder if prepaid boarding was the result of this?

Probably. They had to have some data on bus delays, and this seems one response to that, just one we considered in hindsight. Maybe CTA had some foresight.

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