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CTA Introduces Loop Link Bus Service

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and the city of Chicago introduced the Loop Link, a major modernization of the downtown transportation network, on Dec. 20.

Seven of the eight Loop Link stations opened Dec. 20, while the eighth will open later this month.

Loop Link provides a balanced separation of CTA bus, bike and regular traffic in the downtown area, with dedicated bus and bike lanes on four streets. The new configuration is designed to improve reliability and speed for six CTA bus routes that travel the corridor and extend benefits to neighborhoods throughout the city.

Chicago DOT, CTA and Loop Link stakeholders organized an outreach and education campaign the week ahead of the launch to familiarize transit riders, bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians with the features of the new system.

“Loop Link will provide quicker and more reliable bus service to CTA customers,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. “This project will improve their transit experience and may attract new customers who want an affordable, convenient way to get downtown and across the Loop.”

The four Loop Link streets now feature red bus-only lanes, green bike-only lanes, enhanced signage and early traffic signals for buses at key intersections, all of which improve bus speeds and service efficiency and eliminate bottlenecks at congested portions of the Loop. Distinctive bus stations have large canopies for improved weather protection, raised platforms for easier boarding, CTA Bus Tracker screens and more seats.Loop Link also provides a more comfortable walking environment for pedestrians. Removing bus stations from sidewalks provides more room to walk and 19 crosswalks have been shortened to make crossing safer and easier.

The effort to tackle downtown congestion and improve safety received support from business and civic organizations and downtown stakeholders, and the Rockefeller Foundation has supported much of the civic work and advocacy for implementing BRT concepts in Chicago.
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