Op-Ed: Invest More in Chicago's Buses

In addition to funding the city's roadways and trains, Chicago could use new federal infrastructure dollars to shore up its bus system and invest in bus rapid transit that would improve service for riders.

February 3, 2022, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Bus Priority Zones

ReanC / Shutterstock

In an opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune, Amy Rynell, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, argues that Chicago's efforts to revitalize its public transit system should focus on buses, particularly bus rapid transit (BRT). As Rynell writes, investing in BRT would bring other positive improvements to the city. "Investments in BRT often come with major upgrades for people walking and biking with wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes and stations that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. They spur neighborhood economic development, leading to more affordable housing and small businesses with access to rapid transit."

Rynell calls on city leaders to allocate more resources to bus service, asking "Why aren’t our transportation and transit agencies working together to pursue innovative, equity-focused investments in bus service?" Rynell then describes the city's failed Ashland Avenue BRT project, which she suspects is influencing the city's reluctance to invest in more buses. But Rynell argues in favor of reviving that plan, which was stopped due to opposition from local businesses. According to the article, the Ashland Avenue BRT plan was the most cost-effective proposal evaluated by the regional planning agency, and federal dollars could pay for a substantial portion of the cost of new BRT lines. In the meantime, Rynell also recommends upgrading service with dedicated bus lanes on the city's most-used routes.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022 in Chicago Tribune

Street-level view of sharrow symbol on asphalt with parked car in background

How Sharrows Became Cycling’s Most Hated Symbol

Originally designed as a low-cost way to encourage safer road sharing between bikes and cars, the sharrow has become a symbol of the lack of commitment to protected bike infrastructure in many cities.

August 2, 2022 - Denverite

A image of the World's Columbian Exposition overlayed with a picture of Keanu Reeves in the rain from the movie Point Break.

Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’

Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.

August 8, 2022 - Reel Chicago

View from middle of street in downtown Telluride, Colorado with mountains in background

Marrying Urban Identity and Economic Prosperity

A new book posits that truly successful communities have a strong economic base and a firmly rooted sense of place.

August 5, 2022 - Governing

Aerial view of Salida, Colorado with mountains in background

Colorado Workers Squeezed by Housing Crisis

In Colorado’s booming resort towns, even sleeping in your car has become an unaffordable luxury.

15 minutes ago - Denver Post

An aerial view of Los Angeles at dawn, with Westlake and MacArthur Park in the foreground and Downtown Los Angeles in the background.

Did L.A.’s Supportive Housing Bond Fail?

Six years after Prop HHH was passed, the fund appears to be delivering on its housing construction goals in the 10-year timeline. But the measure is being routinely criticized on all sides.

1 hour ago - Shelterforce Magazine

Women Public Space

Urban Design Through a Gender Lens

Building cities to be safe and accessible for women and LGBTQIA+ people has benefits for all users of public space.

2 hours ago - Architecture Daily

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.