The Chicago Transit Board today approved permanent changes to three bus experiments aimed at improving service for communities on Chicago’s South and West sides. The permanent changes make bus travel more convenient and provide stronger bus-rail system connections for riders of the #31 31st, #52 Kedzie, #94 California and #157 Streeterville/Taylor routes.
“The pandemic impacted daily travel habits for thousands of Chicagoans and these service changes reflect our responsiveness to the needs and desires of the communities we serve and those who are dependent on public transit services,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “It also is part of our work to expand our efforts to provide equitable service to all communities—especially those who rely on transit as a primary mode of transportation.”
These service changes are the result of CTA working with the surrounding communities and area partners, as well as part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Invest South/West community improvement initiative. Community support for each of the routes has been strong and has helped grow ridership since the experiments began.
Over the past several years, CTA staff monitored and assessed ridership and customer feedback which helped encourage the agency to make the service changes permanent.
Adopted #31 Route:
The #31 31st route will continue to provide service, Monday through Friday, between 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., approximately every 30 minutes, between the Lake Meadows Shopping Center (33rd Place and Martin Luther King Drive) and the Ashland Orange Line Station (see route map below).Based upon community support, CTA saw the clear need to fill this 1.5-mile gap in east/west service.
CTA began the #31 in September 2016. Ridership gradually increased over several months, but saw improved ridership after AM rush period service was added in fall 2019. This route now provides useful east/west service to approximately 10,000 previously underserved residents, with improved access to three rail lines and 12 bus routes, three major grocery stores, the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) campus, and the lakefront.
Realigned #52 / #94 Routes on Kedzie and California Avenues:
To provide riders with more streamlined service along Chicago’s street grid system, as well as improving connections to the California and Kedzie Green Line stations, the CTA is permanently adopting the realignment of the #52 Kedzie and #94 California bus routes, which now offer a new alignment that is more intuitive for Near Northwest side residents.
The #52 Kedzie route will continue to operate between 63rd/Kedzie and Chicago/Sacramento via Kedzie Avenue. Service will be provided from approximately 4:30 a.m.–11 p.m. on weekdays, 5 a.m.–10:40 p.m. on Saturdays, and 6 a.m.–10:40 p.m. on Sundays.
The #94 California route will continue to operate between 74th/Damen to Addison/Rockwell via California Avenue. Service along this route will be provided from approximately 3:40 a.m.-11:30 p.m. on weekdays, 4:40 a.m.–10:50 p.m. on Saturdays, and 5:20 a.m.–10:20 p.m. on Sundays.
Adopted #157 Streeterville/Taylor:
The #157 Streeterville/Taylor route will be permanently extended west of Ogden/California to the Pulaski Pink Line station, to help create direct transit connections and provide improved access the growing Ogden Corridor. With this extension, riders now have direct connections with the #21 Cermak, #52 Kedzie, #53 Pulaski and #82 Kimball/Homan bus routes, as well as the Pulaski and Central Park Pink Line stations.
For North Lawndale residents and other customers, this change in service means improved access to jobs, healthcare, schools and other services, including the Illinois Medical District (IMD), University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Mt. Sinai Hospital medical campus, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios and the Lawndale Christian Health Center. The route will continue to operate weekdays, from approximately 5:20 a.m.- 7:15 p.m.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council both recommended the introduction of bus service on Ogden Avenue, west of California, to support new development in the area.
The experiments for the #52, #94 and #157 routes began in June 2020 (see route maps below).
Annual costs associated with operation of the #31 and #157 pilots are approximately $1.1 million and are funded with CTA operating dollars. The realignment of the #52 Kedzie and #94 California routes are cost-neutral.