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CTA Hosting De-Crowding Plan Hearing Tonight

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 4, 2012 6:25PM

The #11 Lincoln route would stop running from Fullerton to Western under CTA's de-crowding plan. (Photo credit: Bart Heird)

CTA is holding a hearing on its recently announced “de-crowding” plan 6 p.m. tonight at its headquarters downtown. (567 W. Lake St.) The plan—the first major restructuring of the transit system since 1997— would eliminate 12 underused bus routes and transfer the savings to adding train cars to every “L” route except the Yellow and Pink lines.

Not everyone is happy with the plan, specifically the part where service on the #11 Lincoln bus is cut from the Fullerton Avenue Red/Brown/Purple line station to Western Avenue: that’s arguably the part of the route that most needs to stay in place. The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to CTA that read:

"The #11 Lincoln Avenue bus service is critical to the Western side of Lakeview. Economic growth and new business development abounds on Lincoln Avenue right now. Did you know that nearly 150 jobs have been added on Lincoln Avenue between Belmont and Diversey since the beginning of the year? A local logistics firm is adding 125 jobs while new restaurants and retailers are beginning to fill in some store fronts which have been vacant for years. Additionally, existing businesses are investing in their own properties with fa├žade improvements and interior renovations. Lincoln Avenue is quickly becoming Chicago’s hot new commercial corridor and accessible public transportation fosters continued growth. The local work force and consumers rely on the #11 Bus to get them to this area of Lincoln Avenue. The elimination of bus service here may squash Lincoln Avenue’s Renaissance. We cannot allow that to happen.”

An online petition has been established that has already gathered more than its goal of 1,000 signatures. A website has been set up to chart the progress of saving the route. Meanwhile, the Active Transportation Alliance posted an editorial on the plan.

We’re glad the CTA is seeking the most efficient use of limited transit resources by updating routes to provide better service. But our region needs to add more trains and buses in addition to existing service levels, not instead of it. We need to keep an eye on why the CTA is making some of these hard choices. CTA’s plans illustrate just how severe the funding problem is for public transit in the Chicago region, to the point where CTA can only pay for much-needed system expansion by eliminating service somewhere else.