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Quinn Signs Off on Bus Shoulder-Riding Pilot Program

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 12, 2011 3:05PM

Folks who use the Stevenson Expressway for rush hour commutes will soon be watching buses pass by them on the shoulders as part of a pilot program Gov. Quinn signed into effect yesterday.

The "bus-on-shoulder" program will hopefully reduce travel times through the I-55 corridor, help maintain Pace and CTA bus schedules and (presumably) encourage more motorists to use public transportation to travel to and from work.

Using a $1.5 million federal grant for projects that improve air quality, RTA and Pace will launch the pilot program in the fall. They'll use routes 755 and 855, which run between the southwest suburbs, the Illinois Medical District and Downtown, to Stevenson Expressway’s inside shoulders between I-355 and Kedzie Avenue during the inbound morning and outbound afternoon commuting times. The shoulders will only be available when expressway traffic is slower than 35 MPH. Buses will be restricted to traveling no more than 15 MPH over the top traffic speed in the main lanes, never greater than 35 MPH. The shoulders will also be off limits during periods where they're being used for snow removal, maintenance, traffic stops or traffic breakdowns.

Call us cynical, but that leaves a very limited time frame for this program to be implemented. In fact, this program could be as fleeting as summer in Chicago.