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CTA riders cry foul over bus trim

August 27, 2012|By Tracy Swartz @tracyswartz | RedEye

When John Lyons was looking for a place to set up his optical business two years ago, transit access was a top priority. He chose his location in West Lakeview because the Lincoln Avenue bus stops near his business, which is about three blocks from the Paulina Brown Line stop.

"We have a very young patient base; they love public transportation," said Lyons, who runs Lyons Family Eye Care at 3250 N. Lincoln Ave. "I'm shocked that Lincoln Avenue, one of the most vibrant streets in Chicago, would be even considered for a stop of [CTA] service."

Lyons is one of more than 400 people, as of Monday morning, who have signed an online petition to "save the No. 11 Lincoln bus."

The CTA proposed last week splitting the No. 11 Lincoln route, which travels along Lincoln Avenue from Skokie to downtown, in half and eliminating service from the Western stop to the Fullerton stop.

The No. 11 is one of 26 routes that are up for total or partial elimination as part of a service change plan the CTA says will boost rail trips in crowded spots and decrease or eliminate service in areas with low ridership. The CTA said the Brown Line is a suitable alternative for the No. 11.

While the No. 11 Lincoln bus saw nearly 5,500 weekday riders last month, the portion that has been targeted for discontinuation sees about 2,500 riders, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said.

Still, 2,500 weekday riders is more riders than 52 of the CTA's 139 bus routes logs (19 of these 52 lines are up for discontinuation). One of these low ridership routes is scheduled to see more service.

Compared to rail, the No. 11 portion up for discontinuation saw more weekday riders last month than all but one Purple Line station and all but one station that solely serves the Pink Line.

On the online petition to save the No. 11 bus, riders wrote of concerns about the elderly and people with disabilities having to walk further to access public transportation. Meanwhile, business owners lamented that the cuts could set back Lincoln Avenue, which has been undergoing a revitalization.

The CTA is holding a meeting on Sept 4 at CTA headquarters, 567 W. Lake St. Riders can voice their opinions on the CTA's proposal.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said he's heard mixed reviews from riders since the proposal was introduced last week.

"Obviously, we've received a lot of positive feedback," Claypool said Monday at a press conference about the agency's free rides for Chicago Public Schools students on the first day of school. "There's been some indication of concern."

Claypool said the proposal is not a done deal. The CTA board is expected to vote on the proposal at its monthly board meeting Sept. 12. Changes to the routes would go into effect Dec. 16.

Red between the lines

Comments about the CTA's plan to close South Side Red Line stations for five months next year so the agency can upgrade stations and track are due Sept. 10. Go to transitchicago.com/redsouth for more information.

Stationary

A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note

This week: Sox/35th Red Line stop

More dominating than the Sox at the Sox/35th Red Line stop in Douglas? MillerCoors. The stop is one of two stations allowed to have alcohol ads beyond the borders of Montrose Avenue on the north and Roosevelt Road on the south. There are beer ads on the floor near the station entrance, on the platform and inside and outside rail cars. The price for this campaign, which runs from June through August, is $73,500, the CTA said.

Next up: Clinton stop on the Green and Pink Lines.

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