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Bus Rapid Transit Project Planned For Central Loop, Union Station

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 21, 2013 4:00PM

The Chicago Department of Transportation and Chicago Transit Authority announced plans Wednesday for a bus rapid transit project in the Central Loop that would provide distinct separation traffic for motorists, bicycles and buses and build a transportation hub south of Union station that would allow public transit users to make easier connections between buses and trains.

The Central Loop East-West Transit Corridor will install two miles of BRT lanes on Madison, Canal Clinton and Washington Streets, serving Union Station, Navy Pier and the Ogilvie Transportation Center with 1,700 buses a day. It will be highlighted by colored pavement markings and enhanced signage clearly delineating the bus lanes; levelboarding; queue jumps for buses at key intersections; distinct bus shelters; bus tracker digital displays; sidewalk improvements and protected bike lanes.

The project will be funded by $7.3 million in TIF funds and a $24.3 million Federal Transit Administration grant, and is expected to get underway sometime in 2014. When next year? That’s the question CDOT spokesman Pete Scales couldn’t answer. Speaking with Chicagoist, Scales said the city is still working to acquire property for the project, namely a parking lot located south of Jackson between Canal and Clinton that will be the future transportation center providing bus shelters and a connection to an existing Amtrak underground passageway for passengers to access Union Station without crossing at street level.