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Category Archives: Chicago traffic

BRT Roundup: ‘It Would Probably Be Like Rush Hour All Day’

The 30-day comment period on the Ashland Bus Rapid Transit ended Friday.

But the debate over the controversial plan is not over. A handful of stories on the Ashland BRT have popped up in the past few days and here’s a brief rundown.

First up, WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell does a great job of covering the issue. He starts with an interview of a veteran rider of the Ashland bus who says bus transit times have been increasing over years and he’d enjoy the benefits of BRT which have been touted by the CTA.

But then Mitchell rides shotgun with Dan Andrews making deliveries for Kennicott Brothers, a flower wholesaler. Andrews explains to a surprised Mitchell the drawbacks of reducing traffic to a single lane in each direction and how eliminating many, if not most left turns will force his company’s trucks onto neighborhood side streets.

“It Would Probably Be Like Rush Hour All Day”, Andrews tells WBEZ.

Major Accident Closes Southbound Lanes On Lake Shore Drive

A city Department of Streets and Sanitation truck flipped over on southbound Lake Shore Drive at Walton around 2 PM Wednesday afternoon.

Illiana Expressway Suffers Setback In CMAP No Confidence Vote

The Illiana Expressway project suffered a defeat at the hands of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning on Wednesday.

The board of directors of the region’s largest planning agency voted 10-4 not to include the proposed 47 mile expressway in its Go To 2040 plan according to the Northwest Indiana Times website.

The Go To 2040 plan is a long-term transportation and regional development plan that encompass Cook County and six other counties ringing Chicago.

The proposed tollway has the strong support of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois Department of Transportation which believes it will ease traffic congestion in the region. The Illiana Expressway would run 47 miles from Interstate 65 in Indiana to Interstate 55, near Wilmington, IL.

Lake Shore Drive Lane Closures For Resurfacing To Start Monday Night

Avoid the Drive — at least at night.

That’s the message the Illinois Department of Transportation is telling drivers, as a resurfacing project begins Monday night and continues overnight for the next five weeks.

The project will close two and sometimes three lanes in both directions between North Avenue and Balbo Drive from 8 p.m.-6 a.m. Monday through Thursday nights, according to IDOT.

Drivers will face long delays, and IDOT is recommending drivers allow extra time if they travel on that portion of Lake Shore Drive or avoid it altogether.

“Motorists should expect delays and are encouraged to take alternate routes,” said IDOT spokesman Paris Ervin.

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

2013 Fall Bridge Lift Begins Wednesday Morning

Wednesday morning marks the first day of the city’s annual fall bridge lift and drivers caught by a raised bridge should expect long waits.

At 9:30 AM, just after the morning rush hour subsides, the Lake Shore Drive bridge will be raised to allow the season’s first flotilla of sail boats to enter the Chicago River on their way to dry dock storage according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Every Wednesday at 9:30 AM and Saturday mornings at 9, from late September through mid November, a pair of city bridge tenders raise the 27 movable bridges sequentially along the main and south branches of the river to allow these tall masted ships to pass without obstruction.

The city schedules these “boat runs” in the spring and fall for boat captains to move their recreational boats from Lake Michigan to winter storage locations along the North and South Branches of the river.

Lawrence Avenue ‘Road Diet’ Construction Underway

Construction on Lawrence Ave. between Damen and Western is underway. Photo credit: Patty Wetli/DNA Info.

In its continuing efforts to slim down overly wide streets, the Chicago Department of Transportation began construction last week to put a stretch of Lawrence Avenue on a “road diet.”

According to DNA Info Chicago, Phase 1 of the project will concentrate on the area of Lawrence between Western and Damen. CDOT is taking the currently four lane street down to just three lanes–one traffic lane for each direction and a turning lane in the middle. In addition to this, sidewalks will be widened and a new bike lane will be added.

While Phase 1 will be completed this year, Phase 2, which will effect Lawrence between Damen and Clark, starts in 2014.

Here’s the full story from DNA Info, “Lawrence Avenue Streetscape Construction Gets Underway.”

Gov. Quinn Kicks Off Circle Interchange Construction Project

Aerial view of the Circle Interchange

With the goal of reducing traffic congestion in one of the nation’s most heavily traveled lengths of roadway, the Circle Interchange construction project kicked off on Wednesday.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was on hand at a press conference announcing the start of construction on the Morgan Street Bridge, the first part of the $475 million project.

“The Circle Interchange reconstruction is the state’s biggest and one of our most important construction projects,” Governor Quinn said. “Not only will this endeavor create thousands of jobs for Illinois workers, the new Circle Interchange will help local businesses and industry move products, and drivers will reduce the time they spend in their cars each day. By making these critical improvements today, we will guarantee the interchange is a safe, efficient and modern transportation hub for generations to come.”

Lawsuit May Delay Illiana Tollway

Chicago’s first and foremost urban planner, Daniel Burnham proposed it over a 100 years ago.

But now,according to WBEZ Radio, as the Illiana Tollway is just beginning to gain momentum, three environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in federal court which will most likely delay the project.

The three organizations filing suit include the Sierra Club, Openlands, and Midewin Heritage Associated.

The proposed east-west tollway is supposed to connect I-55 in Will County with I-65 in Lake County, Indiana and would be about 47 miles in length.

Why Does Traffic On The Kennedy Expressway Get Backed Up?

Why does traffic on the Kennedy Expressway backup at the Eden’s junction?

That’s the question asked and answered by WBEZ 91.5 FM resident historian John R. Schmidt.

Isn’t it simply too many vehicles traveling on too few miles of roadway? According to Schmidt, it has to do with how the expressway was originally constructed back in the 1950′s.

Schmidt says back then, all the city’s expressways were designed with the idea of allowing traffic to flow in and out of the city. Traffic engineers didn’t take into consideration the idea of local drivers using the expressways for local, crosstown driving–thus underestimating traffic volumes.

Summer Promises Heavier Traffic Due To Construction Chaos

What’s that old Chicago joke?

There are two seasons in Chicago. Winter and construction.

Unfortunately, the summer of 2013 promises to live up to that joke.

According to an extensive report in the Chicago Sun-Times, drivers will be feeling the pain of being caught in construction related traffic all over the greater Chicagoland area this summer.

Here’s a rundown of all the area’s major construction projects and how it will affect you getting to where you want to go: “Road construction may put a bump in summer travel.”