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

Rapid Transit coming to Dempster Street

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A new state of the art rapid transit service is in development to take riders from Evanston to O’Hare International Airport. The Pulse Dempster Line will connect the communities of Evanston, Skokie, Morton Grove, Niles, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Rosemont along the major thoroughfare. 

The Dempster Line will be the second Pulse Line to be implemented, after the Milwaukee Line debuts in 2017. The Pulse Lines are being designed to provide faster, more frequent service with better accessibility to the most popular destinations along the two corridors.

The Dempster and Milwaukee Pulse Lines are part of a much bigger project, spearheaded by Pace Suburban Bus system, to expand public transit services in the Chicago suburbs. Pace plans to upgrade the suburban transit system by adding 24 arterial bus rapid transit (ART) routes, spanning over 655 miles on roads throughout the suburban regions. They also plan to expand the already successful suburban expressway service, where Pace buses use the shoulders as a passing lane, to 11 highways.

These upgrades are much needed to improve suburban connectivity, which is currently a major challenge in our region’s transit network. Our hub and spoke transit system feeds the downtown area but fails to connect neighborhoods between the spokes where many Chicagoland residents live and work.

The Pulse Dempster Line project began in late 2015 and is currently in the planning phase. Pace is coordinating with local communities and agencies to develop and refine preliminary design concepts and station locations. Through this data collection and outreach, Pace is prioritizing the connection of Pulse to other forms of travel including biking and walking infrastructure, and other public transit. The project’s Corridor Advisory Group (CAG) suggests that the project prioritize the line’s connections to Evanston’s new Divvy stations, local pedestrian/bicycle trails, and CTA and Metra lines. Another suggested component is the incorporation of Complete Streets design.

The CAG was created this year and meets regularly. CAG members include municipalities, community leaders and government agencies. Active Trans has also been involved in this planning process as an active CAG member. The CAG recently met on June 29 (pictured above) to discuss community transit needs, as well as station location and design. Design options for the Pulse lines include heated shelters and sidewalks, bike racks, landscaping and raised platforms. The buses will also include Transit Signal Priority.

Public meetings will be held next year to present the preliminary station locations and provide opportunities for public input. For more information about the public meetings, sign up for our advocacy alerts and we will let you know once they have been scheduled.

Expected to start running in 2019, the project is currently in the planning phase with plenty of opportunity for community input. Let Pace know what your priorities are for the Pulse Dempster Line. Submit a comment today!

Photo courtesy of Pace.