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Faster bus to O’Hare eyed

The staff of the Regional Transportation Authority is recommending that its board approve plans for faster bus service from Evanston to O’Hare.


The staff of the Regional Transportation Authority is recommending that its board approve plans for faster bus service from Evanston to O’Hare.

The RTA is seeking public comment on that and 18 other projects around the metro area between now and Sept. 30.

The proposal from Pace, the suburban bus service, would provide what’s called arterial rapid transit service west along Dempster Street from the Davis Street transportation center in downtown Evanston and then south on Mannheim Road to the Kiss-n-fly parking lot at O’Hare airport.

Pace proposed six such routes in May, but only two received backing from the RTA staff for funding this year.

No cost estimate for the project was immediately available, but the 19 projects will be competing for over $11 million in federal, local and RTA funds when the RTA board meets to vote on the projects Oct. 15.

Under the arterial rapid transit service concept, bus drivers would use transponders to control traffic lights, prolonging green lights and shortening red lights when they are running late to shorten travel times.

Such projects often also involve providing bus shelters along the routes and considerably wider spacing of stops to further reduce travel times.

A recent study by Detroit’s transit planning agency pegged the capital costs of such a project at $300,000 to $450,000 per mile.

In May, Pace officials said they hoped the new bus service on Dempster could be running by 2013.

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