September 4, 2012 Forest Claypool President, Chicago Transit Authority Terry Peterson Chairman, Chicago Transit Board 567

W Lake Street Chicago, lL 60661 Re: CTA Plan to Reduce Crowding / Bus Route #11 The CTA recently announced an initiative to reduce crowding on some of its busiest routes. Despite the fact that one of the proposals in the initiative calls for the elimination of the #11 Lincoln bus route, which runs through the northern portion of the 32nd Ward, I only became aware of the proposal when it was mentioned in the local press. As such, my constituents, businesses, and neighborhood organizations in the area were also caught off guard by the proposal. I applaud your efforts to look into ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the CTA’s overall service network. However, I encourage you to take a more comprehensive approach to assessing the advantages and disadvantages of eliminating such a highly utilized and longstanding route as the #11. The Lincoln bus service clearly serves a dual role in providing a link to the red line and downtown, but also by serving more local trips to retail establishments along Lincoln Avenue itself. Much of Lincoln Avenue is designated as a Pedestrian Street in the City of Chicago Zoning Code. This pedestrian designation means that Lincoln Avenue is characterized by first-floor retail establishments that are oriented to pedestrians and generally lack off-street surface parking spaces. This type of pedestrian orientation means that local businesses and other attractions are highly dependent upon alternatives to auto trips, which is highly desirable from a land use perspective. Rather than significant amounts of land and financial resources going towards the development of off-street parking, such areas can devote resources to supporting healthy, diverse, and attractive retail districts. Removing direct, local, and convenient service to these retail districts has the potential to negatively affect their vibrancy and undue significant efforts to maintain and build upon them. CTA’s ridership data reveals that this route served 1,659,004 rides in 2011, an increase of 6.1 percent, compared to a system-wide increase of 1.4 percent in bus rides in 2011. Through July 2012 ridership on the #11 is up again, increasing by 2.4 percent over the same period in 2011, compared to a system wide increase of 2.1 percent. Considering that year-to-date figures reveal that 37 different routes have seen declines in their ridership compared to 2011, it is difficult to understand how there are not other routes

that would be superior candidates for elimination or reductions in frequency of service, assuming fiscal constraints compel the CTA to reduce service in order to afford the proposed increases elsewhere. Based upon the minimal amount of information the CTA has made available on its decision to eliminate the #11 route, it appears as though the argument is based solely on the notion that the service is redundant to the brown line. If a more detailed analysis of the ridership on the #11 reveals that the overwhelming percentage of riders uses it to commute to and from downtown this rationale may have some merit. However, the value of this route must also be measured in terms of the service it provides to destinations all along the pedestrian oriented retail districts that characterize Lincoln Avenue. Cutting or reducing service on routes that riders have supported and residents and businesses have factored into their decisions concerning where to live and set up shop is ultimately counterproductive to encouraging the transit-oriented development patterns that are crucial to the long-term viability and vitality of the City of Chicago. I respectively request that the CTA and its Board delay the proposed changes to existing bus service on Lincoln Avenue and work with local residents and businesses to identify alternatives.


Scott Waguespack Alderman 32nd Ward Cc: West Lakeview Neighbors South Lakeview Neighbors Wrightwood Neighbors Association Lakeview Chamber of Commerce Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce Ron Burke, Executive Director, Active Transportation Alliance

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