Express Lanes: A Change of Pace

New bus-only lanes could ease traffic on I-55

The CTA has been playing with the idea of bus-only lanes for a long while now, but it looks like suburban Pace will beat them to it.

Starting in spring 2010, Pace express buses will use bus-only lanes on the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) to dash past slower traffic between the Loop and the southwest suburbs.

Transit officials are hoping the new buses will lead to fewer commuters driving, which in turn will clear up traffic congestion and reduce pollution.

Best of all, the plan will not require any major infrastructure improvements, costing much less than new rail lines would.

The Regional Transportation Authority has estimated that commuters will save up to an hour per round-trip.

"That is an hour a day you get back—to spend with family—not to mention that if you get out of your car and ride this new service, you get to read, sleep, or just relax," Leanne Redden, RTA senior deputy executive director of strategic planning and regional programs, told the Tribune.

The RTA, which has scheduled to announce the plan later today, says there will be limited stops from Bolingbrook to as far east as the Dan Ryan or Lake Shore Drive.

Matt Bartosik, editor of Off the Rocks' next issue and "between blogs" blogger, gets queasy in stop-and-go traffic.

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