Update: Lincoln Avenue Bus Route on CTA Chopping Block

By Patty Wetli | Wednesday, August 22, 2012

CTA may eliminate #11 Lincoln Avenue bus between Western and Fullerton. Credit: Flickr/davidwilson1949

In journalism lingo, it’s called burying the lead (technically “lede”). Deep into the second paragraph of today’s announcement from the CTA, which touted a new initiative to improve service, came the language that has a number of North Siders up in arms: “CTA has proposed discontinuing a small number of routes that duplicate existing service or that have extremely low ridership.”

One of those routes, it turns out, is the #11 Lincoln Avenue bus, specifically the stretch it covers between Western and Fullerton.

Riders bemoaned the loss, venting their frustration online: “Ugh. This destroys how I get to work,” wrote one.

The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce immediately dashed off a complaint on behalf of the local businesses it represents, particularly those along Lincoln between Belmont and Diversey: “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.” (As of publication, the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce had yet to respond to CSJ‘s request for comment.)

CTA concedes that #11 is a busy route. “We have pretty good ridership on this route,” said Tammy Chase, CTA spokersperson, citing statistics that show an average of 5,800 riders per weekday. “It’s not a ridership issue.”

Rather, service was considered duplicative with Brown Line rail stops. “There’s plenty of transportation there,” Chase said. East-west bus routes along major arterial streets shuttle passengers to and from Brown Line stations, she noted, and walking from even the Damen or Montrose stops to Lincoln is less than a mile. “We factored all this in.”

The bigger picture, according to Chase, is the need for CTA to add service where ridership is experiencing tremendous growth, which the agency opted to accomplish via route efficiencies as opposed to fare hikes.

Still, CTA’s proposal is just that, a proposal. A hearing to gather public feedback is scheduled for Sept. 4, 6 p.m., 567 W. Lake St. The CTA board will vote on the measure Sept. 12.

To contact CTA regarding the Lincoln bus, email feedback@transitchicago.com.

Update, 8/23/2012: Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) expressed his displeasure with the CTA’s decision to the Chicago Tribune. “I’m not happy about it,” said Ald. Ameya Pawar, 47th. “I want to make sure this cut is not disproportionately impacting low-income residents or seniors. We’re talking about making different parts of the city more affordable, increasing public transportation options. This kind of flies in the face of that.”

Update, 8/23/2012: A petition is circulating to save the #11 route at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-11-lincoln-avenue-bus/

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  • http://spudart.org/ spudart

    As a non-car owner, I love public transit. I’m advocate for more public transit. However, I live at Lawrence and Bell, just two blocks from Lincoln and Leland by the Western brown line stop, and I have to say that I don’t need the 11 Lincoln bus. In my ten years of living in Lincoln Square I’ve ridden that bus about four or five times from Division up to Leland. It’s simply too slow.

    And as this blog post points out, it’s redudant with the brown line. I don’t mind seeing it go. Would I would like to see is the Express 49 Western bus come back. That would be helpful.

  • jkarczek

    “…and walking from even the Damen or Montrose stops to Lincoln is less than a mile. ”

    By this logic, one could justify eliminating virtually any bus in the city. While I find the 11 convenient, it probably isn’t as essential as some other routes. Still, I hope they will keep it. If not, I wish the CTA would make the northbound exit at Addison a remote entrance as well, similar to the next stop at Paulina.

  • frotty

    So help me understand this: they’re increasing “route efficiencies” by displacing people from one transportation method to another? IE, all of the people that rely on the bus between western and fullerton will now pack *ALREADY OVERCROWDED* trains, causing a need for extra trains and placing more wear and tear on stations and the trains.

    Somehow I don’t think this will add up to much savings-wise, when I see useless renovations being done with 17 employees standing around on platforms randomly, and the bus stops themselves are simply too close together.

    That stretch of bus route could have 1/3 of the stops it does, and that would decrease travel time and increase fuel efficiency, while not simply shunting people to already obnoxious cattle-car train rides, and likely save more cash.

    Removing the stop and go of most bus routes (ashland literally has 2 stops within eyeshot of each other repeatedly) would cut down on maintenance and fuel costs more than any of these reschedulings would.

    You also need multiple, “redundant” methods of travel to spread out traffic so that maintenance is not so focused. It is clearly not a massive priority with the buslines, ride some that go through impoverished areas — they’re disgusting and not getting the north side makeovers that are poorly planned and redone like clockwork regardless of actual condition.

    A perfect example is cutting the Armitage bus service, which hits metra, blue line and brown line as well as the zoo and the beach. If the CTA had any sense of planning they’d have it turn around at Division / Clark to ALSO connect the red line. But instead service is cut?

    The solution here is to have more options during rush hours, not less, and only cut during non-peak times. Nobody needs the lincoln bus between western+fullerton between 9am and 5pm. But 7-9a and 5-7p it is sorely needed to alleviate the overburdened trains.

  • berkeleygirl

    For all those who consider walking under a mile no big deal, please do so with at least two full bags of groceries or taking a pet to the vet, as I do, in the middle of winter (preferably with snow blowing) or in pouring-down rain. I’m a fairly fit 54-year-old woman, but it’s not always easy. If I were elderly or mobility-impaired, I suppose I’d have to budget in more cab rides, which would also mean less $$$ for the CTA.

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