Interstate 55 at blitz hour is a abundant abode to accept to an audiobook of “War and Peace.”
But it’s not so abundant if you appetite to get home on time. I-55 offers one of the affliction commutes in the Midwest and sees 12 hours of circadian congestion, with four crashes a day, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
To action bottleneck on the Stevenson Expressway, Gov. Bruce Rauner and IDOT aftermost year proposed abacus one accurate assessment lane in anniversary administration for the 25-mile amplitude amid I-355 and I-90/94, to be congenital by clandestine companies. The amplitude starts at Bolingbrook and touches such southwest suburbs as Burr Ridge, Hodgkins and Summit, added Chicago’s Southwest Side.
IDOT has now upped the ante and proposes accepting two new assessment lanes in anniversary administration from I-90/94 in the burghal to I-294, with one assessment lane in anniversary administration from I-294 to I-355.
The new plan would be added adorable to developers, who could pay for all or allotment of the architecture through a public-private partnership, which would accept to be accustomed by the Illinois General Assembly, explained IDOT activity administrator Steve Schilke. The Accumulation never voted on the initial, one-lane proposal. The Illinois Tollway would accept the appropriate of aboriginal abnegation on the project.
The new lanes would go into the accept breadth to the larboard of cartage and into the centermost median. The added lanes would not booty up any added of the right-of-way for I-55, so it would not intrude on clandestine property, Schilke said. Some addition would be bare at places area the artery curves, to accomplish abiding sightlines are safe, but this would still be aural the absolute right-of-way, he said.
The amount would be about $700 million, up from the $425 actor appraisal for accepting aloof one lane in anniversary direction.
Schilke and added IDOT admiral explained the abstraction to visitors at a accessible affair aftermost anniversary at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, home of the Chicago Fire soccer team.
The new lanes would be tolled for all users except Pace buses, which would go on the lanes free. Pace currently has a accepted bus-on-the-shoulder avenue forth I-55.
Trucks would not be accustomed on assessment lanes, which would be afar from the alfresco chargeless lanes by pavement striping. The ambition for cartage speeds on the assessment lanes would be about 45 mph, still lower than the acceleration absolute but faster than accepted blitz hour traffic, according to IDOT. Schilke did not apperceive how abundant the tolls ability be, but IDOT wants travelers to be able to use their I-Pass transponders, whether the Tollway or some clandestine abettor manages the system.
Schilke said IDOT advised application the accept for a new non-toll lane for all users, but absitively it would not break the bottleneck botheration and would accomplish things tougher for Pace buses, which would accept to appear off the accept and into accustomed traffic.
“Managed lanes are acceptable added accepted throughout the country because managed lanes absolutely atmosphere congestion,” Schilke said. Cartage on I-55 rose amid 14 to 28 percent amid 2000 and 2016, constant with bounded citizenry and bread-and-er beforehand patterns, said IDOT backer Gianna Urgo.
IDOT has to conduct addition ecology analysis of the project, now that a allocation of the activity calls for two lanes in anniversary administration instead of one, and will accept addition accessible affair aing spring. If aggregate is approved, the bureau could alpha attractive for contractors in 2019, Urgo said. The activity could be completed in 18 to 24 months, so it could be accomplished in 2021.
Not everyone’s crazy about the idea. Ron Burke, controlling administrator of the Alive Busline Alliance, which advocates for bicyclists, pedestrians and accessible transit, bidding affair that bigger highways would aloof accord to added drape and added jobs far from area bodies live.
“It contributes to development patterns that are not accessory to biking, walking and (public) transit,” Burke said. “It makes it added difficult for bodies who can’t allow a car or can’t drive a car to get around.” He said added cartage crashes appear with added cars on the road.
There is additionally an disinterestedness concern. Combinations of chargeless and assessment lanes are already acclimated in areas like Seattle, Atlanta and Miami, but assessment lanes are sometimes referred to as “Lexus” lanes, absorption the abstraction that wealthier bodies can aloof carapace out the banknote to acceleration up their commute.
The Metropolitan Planning Council, a Chicago-based accessible analysis group, has accurate development of one assessment lane in anniversary administration on I-55 aback 2010. But Busline Administrator Audrey Wennink said MPC would abutment two lanes in anniversary administration alone if they fit in the absolute average and accept amplitude afterwards abacus to the right-of-way, as IDOT is proposing, and if one of the two lanes were aloof for accessible transit.
“The accepted bearings of operating buses on a artery accept would annual from an advancement to an accurate lane area buses could accomplish at alike faster speeds and alike added buses could be added to acknowledge to accretion appeal for this blazon of service,” Wennink said.
The Chicago Metropolitan Bureau for Planning, which oversees acreage use and busline planning for the region, supports IDOT’s accomplishment to apparatus assessment lanes on I-55. Controlling Administrator Joe Szabo cautioned that any public-private adjustment would charge to be “carefully structured to assure the accessible interest.”
A common I-55 user said the abstraction of two new lanes in anniversary administration seemed “pretty solid.”
John Martinez, 53, a Chicago advocate from the Garfield Ridge neighborhood, said he knows it’s activity to be a bad morning if he sees cartage backed up on Central Avenue from the freeway on-ramp all the way to his abode a 52nd Street. If assessment lanes on I-55 would allay that pressure, he’s all for it.
“Chicagoans are a little afraid to change, but this is the future,” said Martinez, who came to aftermost week’s accessible meeting.
He said he anticipation the abstraction that those who could pay the assessment would get bigger cartage is “kind of classist,” but he hoped that cartage activity into assessment lanes would affluence bottleneck in the chargeless lanes.
“If a lot of bodies aren’t application these (free lanes), I’ll be flying,” Martinez said.
Another Chicago citizen at the meeting, retired postal artisan Steven Bahnsen, was added skeptical.
“My affair is if there’s an accident, there’s no shoulder,” Bahnsen said. “And area do you put the snow?”
IDOT affairs appearance attenuated 3.5 bottom amateur to the larboard of the proposed new lanes, admitting there would still be 12-foot amateur to the appropriate of the chargeless lanes.
About 180,000 CTA barter accept a little job to do afore the New Year — get a new Ventra card.
Ventra cards expire afterwards four years, and the aboriginal accumulation issued aback the CTA started the agenda cyberbanking acquittal adjustment in 2013 will expire Dec. 31. The blow of the cards expire through 2022, depending on aback they were purchased. The CTA has been reminding barter about expiring cards through ads on buses, on trains and in stations.
If you accept registered your card, this will not be a altercation — Ventra will acquaint you by email two months in beforehand that your agenda is expiring, and you will get addition one in the mail. You can annals your agenda at ventrachicago.com with your accepted address, and a new agenda will be mailed to you for free.
If you accept already registered your Ventra agenda but accept moved, be abiding Ventra has your accepted address.
Also, starting Monday, Dec. 18, the CTA will alpha arising cards with a new architecture aggressive by the “V” in Ventra with astern triangles in a arrangement of altered shades of blue. The CTA said this is a nod to Lake Michigan — it additionally looks like the aback of a arena card.
The new cards will assignment like the old cards, except they will no best action the prepaid debit annual affection that was an advantage aback the adjustment launched four years ago that accustomed barter to use the cards for both benumbed the “L” and affairs things. The CTA absitively there was not abundant appeal for this, in allotment because of added prepaid debit articles and cyberbanking acquittal options such as Apple Pay.
If you accept money on the debit allocation of the card, either absorb it down, align to alteration the funds to a new prepaid debit agenda offered by Money Network or accept the money refunded via check.
It was that prepaid advantage that makes the cards expire aback they do, by the way. Bank cards usually expire afterwards about four years, due to aegis features, explained CTA backer Tammy Chase. The new Ventra cards, which do not accept this feature, can aftermost 20 years.
There are currently 2 actor Ventra cards in alive use, Chase said.
Card cessation is aloof addition acumen for registering your Ventra card. Registration additionally allows you to get aback the $5 spent on the card, and protects balances in case the agenda is absent or stolen. The Tribune has appear that CTA riders absent out on added than $16 actor in refunds by declining to annals their cars, according to alteration bureau records.
Last week’s song was a blueprint acknowledgment about affair at a alternation station, afore a long, maybe permanent, separation. The performers were uncharitably labeled the “Pre-Fab Four.” The song was “Last Alternation to Clarksville” by The Monkees. David Eldridge of Evanston was aboriginal with the answer.
This week’s song describes how a Detroit accumulation band artisan puts calm his own Cadillac very, actual slowly, with the advice of some accompany and a big cafeteria box. What’s the song, and who performed it? The champ gets Tribune notebooks and baseball cards.
An I-55 assessment lane? Illinois gluttonous clandestine developers for activity to affluence bottleneck »
Tollway set to accessible new I-390 stretch; Chicago Water Taxi extends annual into mid-December »
Commentary: Commuter alert: Legislators accident killing IDOT’s plan to add I-55 assessment lanes »
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