Transit riders have spoken up throughout the planning process for the reconstruction of North Lake Shore Drive and that support is starting to show up in the project design.
A project team comprised of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Chicago Park District (CPD) plans to rebuild North Lake Shore Drive between Grand and Hollywood Avenues. The proposed project involves seven miles of the 8-lane Lake Shore Drive boulevard, including the 12 highway junctions and the surrounding parkland.
At a recent community task force meeting the project team announced the “dedicated transitway left” alternative, which includes adding a bus lane to the center of the drive in both directions, will be carried forward and further analyzed. Including a dedicated bus lane delivers the greatest benefit to bus speed and reliability, and would be strengthened by additional transit improvements at each junction (e.g. bus lanes at on and off ramps). See the full recap, presentation and materials from the community task force meeting.
Sign a letter to your elected officials in support of better transit service on North Lake Shore Drive.
Converting an existing travel lane to a bus lane -- rather than adding a new bus lane -- in each direction remains an option, as well, and will be analyzed at a future meeting.
Bus riders already account for more than 20 percent of users on Lake Shore Drive every day while taking up a fraction of the space that cars do.
This spring Active Trans led a coalition of 10 civic organizations that delivered a letter to the city and state calling for dedicated transit lanes on North Lake Shore Drive. The coalition’s preference is to convert a travel lane in each direction to upgrade transit service while increasing park space and access.
Add your name to the letter today.
Improved transit was the second biggest priority residents shared with IDOT at public meetings for the project. The top priority was creating separated trail space for people walking and people biking on the lakefront, which the Chicago Park District is already pursuing and expects to complete by the end of 2018.
This decision is a big win for transit riders, but the fight is far from over.
Over the next two years the project team will further analyze and narrow the list of potential alternatives and ultimately settle on a preferred design while seeking federal funding. Stay tuned for ways you can help make sure dedicated transit lanes are part of that design.