How the Ashland BRT Would Change Chicago

The proposed Ashland Bus Rapid Transit line in Chicago, the latest effort in an ambitious multi-modal transportation investment plan by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Chicago DOT Commissioner Gabe Klein, is a game changer for an already unique city.
February 28, 2014, 1pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Matt Dellinger’s analysis begins with a description of Chicago’s unique qualities as an urban metropolis. First of all, Chicago is both car­-oriented and transit-­friendly, which explains why its recent plan for bus-rapid transit along Ashland Avenue became controversial. And, “[the] planned 16­-mile Ashland BRT would affect a cross­-section of Chicago that contains all of the city's ethnicities, income levels, and zoning types.”

The benefits of the line are to provide a north­-south transit corridor to connect the L lines without passing through downtown. The BRT proposal is a low-cost alternative to “a new rail link, the ‘Circle Line,’ which would have required new subway and elevated track at a cost of over a billion dollars,” reports Dellinger.

Most of Dellinger’s copy is devoted to sharing the voices of the project’s many proponents and opponents; both sides are reacting from an assumption that the proposed BRT would effect a fundamental change in the city of Chicago.

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Published on Thursday, February 27, 2014 in The Atlantic Cities
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