Bus vs. Cars: A Cornucopia Of Ashland BRT Coverage
With the Ashland Bus Rapid Transit project back in the news, the debate over the controversial plan is heating up.
So, the chef’s here at The Expired Meter have cooked up a feast of news stories and opinions to satisfy even the most insatiable consumers of local transportation news.
We start off the top of the menu with a palate cleansing starter of a discussion on the BRT from Chicago Tonight.
Carol Marin interviews Ald. George Cardenas (12th) who has reservations about the plan along with Metropolitan Planning Council Executive Vice President Peter Skosey, who’s organization is strongly supportive.
Next, you have a choice of delicious news items from the south–South Side of Chicago that is.
On Tuesday evening, the CTA hosted the first of two open houses at Benito Juarez High School at Ashland & Cermak. A small, mainly pro-BRT crowd showed up and we have three options to chose from.
DNA Info serves up a palatable but standard fare on the event, while Streetsblog Chicago starts its coverage of the event at a bar a few blocks away from the open house before following a crowd of Active Transportation Alliance inspired people to the school.While the crowd at the open house was mainly supportive of the BRT, the Sun-Times coverage focused on managers of two businesses who were upset they had not been in the loop on the project. One of the interviewees was the manager of the Costco in the 1300 block of S. Ashland who was quoted saying, “You don’t go to Costco in a bus. You go to Costco in a car because it’s bulk items.”
The next course we’re serving today is some meaty coverage of the second night of BRT hearings at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse.
Over 120 people showed up and many of them were not happy with the plan.
DNA Info’s Alisa Hauser had an excellent piece focusing mainly on BRT detractors, while Streetsblog Chicago’s John Greenfield concentrated on the opposition’s opposition to the open house format.
Now, for dessert, we have a selection of scrumptious sweets for you.
First, Our Urban Times, an online newspaper covering Wicker Park and Bucktown did an interview with Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) who has some strong words about the Ashland BRT. He says the rush to push through this project with many potential pitfalls before doing the city does its necessary due diligence is similar to what happened in the almost hilariously disastrous parking meter lease deal.
Our Urban Times quotes Waguespack saying:
“Many of the people who supported the parking meter deal are supporting this project,” explained Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward Alderman. “They are the same people who, a few years ago, while we were about to have agreement to remove parking along Halsted St. during rush hour and use dedicated curb service for buses, suddenly realized that the meter deal would make that impossible.
“They focus on one thing and they do not and will not look at the whole picture.”
Read the entire interview for more of the alderman’s insight into the issue.
Up second, we have Waguespack’s thoughts catching the attention of Streetsblog Chicago’s Greenfield–a forceful champion of the project. Greenfield spanks the alderman for having the audacity to even question the Ashland BRT, for giving the issue thoughtful and rational consideration and for daring to listen to the fears of his constituents. In Greenfield’s view, Waguespack has lost his credentials as a city council “progressive” for these anti-transit transgressions.”
We offer another tasty morsel from Streetsblog Chicago and the indefatigable Greenfield who takes on one of the most contentious issues proposed by the CTA–a ban on most left hand turns. Greenfield lays out the argument that banning left turns will not be the c carmageddon many BRT opponents believe this will be.
Finally, we have a refreshing and unique look at the Ashland BRT through prism of how cities are changing their approach to mass transit by forgoing expensive rail projects and moving toward bus rapid transit.
Medill Reports talks to DePaul University transportation expert Joseph Schwieterman and transportation analyst Chris Robling.
EDITOR’s NOTE: Photo courtesy of Streetsblog Chicago/John Greenfield’s Flickr page.