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Chicago’s New BRT Push Will Be Linked to “Livability”

7:35 AM PDT on April 6, 2010

832432881_688c7184d6.jpgBogotá’s Transmilenio BRT. Could
Chicago get something like this? (Photo: the mikebot
via Flickr)

Today on the Streetsblog Network, we hear about new plans for Bus
Rapid Transit from the blog of the Metropolitan
Planning Council
(the MPC is "an independent, nonprofit,
nonpartisan organization…[that] serves communities and residents by
developing, promoting and implementing solutions for sound regional
growth").

A few years back, Chicago had a chance to develop pilot BRT routes,
but missed some key funding deadlines. The project was abandoned, but is
being taken up again now — with some interesting new angles prompted by
federal policy changes. The MPC blog reports:

Fast-forward to a few months ago, when the Federal TransitAdministration (FTA) announced a $280 million program to fund streetcar and BRT proposals. This encouraging news hasled to the revival of the CTA’s BRT plan but with a twist: projects must not only be shovel-ready, they also must demonstrate the relationshipto the sixlivability principles outlined by the federal government.  Theselivability principles ask transit agencies to consider the effects ofthe service on the surrounding areas, its ability to improve access tojobs and housing, and the potential to reduce environmental impacts inlocal communities.

MPC has been working with the Chicago Dept. of Transportation (CDOT)and CTA on a BRT Evaluation Study to analyze potential BRT routesthroughout the city, based on characteristics outlined by the livability principles. While current ridership is an important factor beingconsidered, the study also analyzes potential connections to existingCTA rail and Metra services, impacts of providing transit options inunderserved areas, and connections to employment centers and otherdestinations.

More from around the network: Utility
Cycling
has part one of an analysis of what’s right and wrong with
Google’s bike-there function. Cyclelicious
has the story of an 87-year-old woman who is still biking for
transportation, 74 years after she got her first bike. And Transit
Miami
has some pictures of what that city’s traffic looks like when
it’s moving about 6 mph.

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