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Chicago’s first protected bike lane on Kinzie St. increased ridership by 55 percent without increasing traffic congestion for cars.

Chicago’s first BRT to speed up east-west travel in Loop

Service will begin in the Loop Link corridor – Chicago’s first bus rapid transit project – on Sunday, December 20, the City of Chicago announced today

The Loop Link is an exciting improvement for the thousands of Chicagoans who ride the bus, bike and walk across the Loop every day.

The addition of dedicated bus lanes rightly gives transit riders priority downtown while freeing up space for protected bike lanes and people walking.

We urge the city to continue to improve the corridor by adding more features like prepaid boarding that will further speed up service.

In addition to red dedicated bus lanes on Madison St. and Washington Blvd. connecting Ogilvie and Union Stations to Michigan Ave., the project includes eight new downtown bus stations with better protection from weather for waiting passengers and raised platforms to ease the boarding process.

With the number of people biking downtown growing every year, new protected bike lanes will be added on Washington Blvd. and Randolph St., as well as a new two-way protected bike lane on Clinton St. that’s already being used.

The city is installing its first protected intersections at five spots along the corridor, allowing people riding bikes to more safely travel through these high-conflict areas where crashes most often occur.

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) have said they are continuing to test technology that would allow riders to pay before they board the bus and speed up the boarding process.

Active Trans spoke with transit riders from neighborhoods throughout Chicago who are excited about the potential benefits of the new additions to corridor. You can see some of their comments below.

We're also helping recruit volunteers to assist with on-street outreach to educate transit riders in the Loop about the project as well as people biking, walking and driving over the next few weeks.

Volunteers are needed for 2-hour shifts (7:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.) starting Tuesday December 15 through the first week of January. If you're interested in volunteering, contact Charlie Short at charlie.short@chicagocompletestreets.org or 312-744-8147.

Courtney Cobbs, 24-year-old social worker from Edgewater
“I ride the 20-Madison bus often and always add at least 20 to 30 minutes to the estimated travel time due to the congestion. The city needs to continue to invest more in transit to attract millennials, save money and improve access to jobs.”

Ian Adams, 29-year-old Ukrainian Village resident who works in the Loop
“Getting to the Loop is pretty straightforward, but transit within the loop is really lacking. I’ll likely ride the bus more often with the new corridor and ride my bike in the new protected bike lanes when the weather is good. I’m in business school in Streeterville and need to get across the Loop in the evenings when the streets are totally jammed.”\

John Aquilina, 64-year-old architecture and construction project manager
“I often need to make east-west trips across the Loop on a tight schedule and will likely ride the bus more often with the new corridor. Sometimes I avoid the Loop during rush hour because the congestion is so bad.”

Curtis Kuhn, 36-year-old consultant from Edgewater
“I never take the bus across the Loop because I can walk faster. If the bus was faster and more consistent, I’d be much more likely to consider it.”

Matt Carley, 27-year old Lakeview resident
“I frequently travel to Ogilvie and Union Stations to ride Metra to the suburbs to visit family and friends, and the dedicated bus lanes will save me time. I don’t have a car and rely on public transit and my bicycle to get around and truly experience the city.”