Monday, September 10, 2012

Call To Action: Save Uptown's Bus Routes

We are asking our readers to (1) take a moment to contact the CTA about two Uptown bus routes that will be eliminated and (2) spread the word to your friends to do the same.  And a third request:  Do it today, because the deadline for feedback is Tuesday, September 11th.

Here it is, in a nutshell:
  1. The CTA is going to eliminate what it refers to as "under-utilized" bus routes, including the #144 (Marine/Michigan Express) and the #145 (Wilson/Michigan Express)
  2. The new routes mean that the 148 will no longer run on Wilson.
  3. Wilson will have NO BUS ROUTES if this change takes place.
  4. Many in our community are unable to use the L stations because not a single Uptown station is handicapped-accessible.  These people will have no access to nearby public transportation.

Click to enlarge
Here are some good talking points about Uptown in general and the 145 bus in particular.  These are based on the outline produced by long-time Uptown resident Martin Tangora:

Route 145 has high ridership.
  • Route 145 is in the upper 30% of all CTA bus routes in ridership. Based on the CTA "Monthly Ridership Report, July 2012,"  it had a total of 1,244,366 rides. It ranks 34th among all routes.
  • The "de-crowding initiative" targets 8 routes for elimination; 145 has higher ridership than all the other seven combined.
  • Wilson Avenue has been a major east-west transportation route, from the lake to Western Avenue, for a century.
Route 145 is not duplicative of any other service on Wilson Avenue or nearby.
  • The Wilson & Broadway L station is slated for a major overhaul and upgrade.  Route 145 is by far the most important bus route serving the station.
  • The 78 Montrose bus runs along Wilson for a few blocks only. It does not go south toward downtown.
  • The Wilson Avenue neighborhood was built to a high density, predicated on good public transportation service.
  • The Beacon-Wilson stop is in front of a 12-story 156-unit apartment tower with zero parking spaces.
  • The Magnolia-Wilson stop is steps from a 6-story 140-unit apartment tower with zero parking spaces.
  • In the area around these two stops, there are 15 apartment hotels (a.k.a. “common-corridor buildings”) with zero parking.
  • Westbound Wilson buses serve All Saints Church, Ravenswood Medical Center, American Indian Center, & Levy Senior Center.
  • The Montrose 78 does not serve those community centers.
  • Southbound Wilson buses serve Michigan Avenue and its shopping, Streeterville and its hospitals, & Millennium Park & Grant Park with their museums.
  • The Montrose 78 does not serve those areas of the city. (Nor does the 81 Lawrence bus.)
  • It serves a dense neighborhood that was built for, and depends on, public transportation.
  • It is the sole surviving bus route on Wilson Avenue which only a generation ago had five.


  1. It is pretty clear that the 145 is the sacraficial lamb of the bunch. It's political suicide not to eliminate a single route on the north side, even if the data does not support elimination.

    When I used to take the 145 every day, it was great. It was either walk out my front door and hope a 145 bus comes quickly, or walk 10 mins to the train, which, I admit, is pretty reliable. Travel time was about the same on average, but I was lazy, esp. when I knew I had a long hard day of work ahead. For some in the community, the option to walk over to the train (which isn't as far as it seems) doesn't exist.

    Good luck to us saving this heavily used route! It's elimination will inconvenience a lot of taxpayers who contribute a lot to our community and city. Jury is out as to whether or not the alternative is an acceptable compromise for the "greater good."

  2. Then why not just eliminate the 144. You still get your elimination, and for the most part the service is duplicated by 145/148 on Claredon. Not that I want either of these eliminated, but if I needed a "sacrificial lamb" it should be the one with the least impact: 144

  3. @Uptown Rising - You make a good point (which I am sure will piss off a few people, but fewer than news of elimination of the 145). Also, your spelling is better than mine.

    This particular decision does not impact me as much as many others in Uptown. I just remember how great and PACKED the 145 was all the time and had to call it like I see it.

  4. Also, and I know this has been said here before, if you want to reduce crowding on the 148, try using an articulated bus! I swear they purposefully find the oldest bus in the system and use it on the line in the morning