Pilot Project on Stevenson Expressway to Encourage Mass Transit Use, Improve Job Access, Ease Congestion and Offer Free Wi-Fi Service

Contact:
Grant Klinzman, GOV (o. 312-814-2158; c. 217-299-2448)
Guy Tridgell, IDOT (o. 312-814-4693; c. 312-519-2239)
Diane Palmer, RTA (o. 312-913-3282; c. 312-907-6902)
Patrick Wilmot, Pace (o. 847-228-4225; c. 847-217-3156)

CHICAGO – November 7, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn, joined by Illinois Department of Transportation, Regional Transportation Authority and Pace officials, today announced the Nov. 14 launch of the region’s first Bus on Shoulder program, a two-year pilot project that allows Pace buses on the Stevenson Expressway’s inside shoulder during heavy congestion. The joint effort of the IDOT, RTA and Pace, made possible by a $35 million commitment from Governor Quinn to improve the Stevenson Expressway, is designed to ease congestion, improve schedule reliability and reduce harmful emissions while offering free Wi-Fi service, a first for transit riders in the Chicago area.

“This program will give commuters a safe, reliable and convenient transportation alternative,” Governor Quinn said. “The buses will help ease congestion and improve air quality while keeping riders connected and productive with free Wi-Fi.”

Earlier this year, Governor Quinn signed legislation that allows Pace buses on the shoulders of designated highways. Under the new Bus on Shoulder program, Pace routes 755 and 855, which connect the southwest suburbs, downtown Chicago and the Illinois Medical District, will be allowed to use the inside inbound shoulder for the morning rush hour and inside outbound shoulder for the afternoon return trip, saving commuters valuable minutes when traffic is at its peak. The service, patterned after similar, successful programs in cities such as Minneapolis, Miami and Cincinnati, also will provide free Wi-Fi to customers.

“The RTA commends Pace and IDOT for their extraordinary efforts leading to the launch of our region’s first Bus on Shoulder project. Our agency is thrilled to have led planning efforts in a successful partnership with these agencies,” said RTA Board Chairman John S. Gates, Jr. “We thank Governor Quinn for his support. Commuters will be the beneficiaries of this new cost effective service that we anticipate will save them time, improve service reliability and reduce traffic congestion.”

As part of Governor Quinn’s directive to expand green transportation practices, a $35 million IDOT project this summer to resurface the Stevenson Expressway also improved the shoulders between Interstate 355 and Kedzie Avenue in anticipation of the Bus on Shoulder program. The additional $938,000 cost for items such as extra signs and pavement markings will be offset by federal funds awarded to projects that reduce congestion and improve air quality.

http://www.dot.il.gov/busonshoulder/index.html

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With three transit systems and more than two million riders a day, there is always something interesting going on at the RTA. Get the latest scoop on everything all in one place. For all media inquiries, please contact Susan Massel, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, at 312-913-3256 or at communications@rtachicago.org.