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Chicago Receives $36 Million From Feds For Two Bus Projects

By Lindsey Miller in News on Jul 8, 2010 8:20PM

Photo by bbonen.
Chicago will receive a $36 million grant for two CTA bus projects designed to improve transportation within the Loop and to the South Side. The grants were awarded as part of two competitive grant programs through the U.S. Dept. of Transportation totaling $293 million. "The process was very competitive. The FTA received 65 applications totaling more than $1 billion, all vying for a $130 million pot of money," Paul Griffo, Federal Transit Administration spokesperson, told Zach Behrens of our sister site LAist, referring to the first type of grant, Urban Circular. The FTA also received 281 applications totaling over $2 billion for the second type of grant, Bus and Bus Livability.

The first project, using $24.6 million of the funding, will establish a Chicago Central Area Transitway, designed to facilitate and speed bus traffic through the Loop. The project will serve Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, the CTA Red and Blue Lines, Streeterville and Navy Pier. Seven bus lines will use color-designated bus priority lanes created as a result of the project, as well as bus signal priority through intersections, "next bus" information, and bus shelter branding.

The DOT also notes that more bicycle lanes will be added in the Loop as a result of the project. We're hoping for buffered bike lanes like the ones proposed for New York City's First and Second Avenues.

The second project will receive $11 million in funding to better link parts of the South Side to the Loop. The Chicago Dept. of Transportation, which is in charge of both projects, says the improvements will run along Jeffery Boulevard from 103rd Street/Stony Island to Jefferson/Washington. Planners from the CDOT and the CTA will now begin design and engineering work on both projects but a construction timetable has yet to be determined.