Ravenswood Will Be Connected To Ashland Bus When New Route Kicks In This Summer (2024)

RAVENSWOOD — This August, neighbors along Ashland Avenue who live north of Irving Park Road will be a short walk from a CTA bus connecting them to the Ravenswood Metra Station as well as other CTA trains and bus lines.

For more than a century, public transit commuters headed north on Ashland Avenue had their ride stop at Irving Park Road before the bus headed east to terminate at Clark and Belle Plaine, near Graceland Cemetery, CTA directorof serviceplanningand traffic engineering Jon Czerwinski said.

“This is a routing we’ve followed for a long time. It’s been in place since the Chicago surface lines operated streetcar service here all the way back to 1912,” Czerwinski said.

The route created a gap in service for anyone wanting to take public transit further north. But starting Aug. 25, the #9 Ashland bus will continue past Irving Park Road and now terminate at the newly renovated Ravenswood Metra station, 4800 N. Ravenswood Ave., Czerwinski said.

The #X9 route will remain unchanged.

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The new route is expected to make it easier for the 21,500 neighbors who live along the extension to get to the Metra UP-North line, the CTA’s #78 Montrose and #81 Lawrence buses as well as the proposed Ravenswood Greenway, officials said.

“This will obviously create a seamless connection with Metra; it’s just steps from the Metra entrance. There’s already a signage plan in the works to explain the connection between the two modes and also highlight some other connections in the neighborhood,” Czerwinski. said.

For a number of years, neighbors, including those living at Thorek Memorial Hospital’s affordable housing for seniors at 4950 N. Ashland Ave., have asked for the bus extension, Ald. Matt Martin (47th) said during a June 6 virtual meeting about the extension.

“We’d heard from residents for some time about this possibility, and feel that this extension will provide bus access to thousands of new neighbors, as well as connections to two new bus lines as well as the Ravenswood Metra,” Martin said.

Once the new route is running, Ashland will be getting 10 new bus stops, spaced about two blocks apart, Czerwinski said.

“We will need to remove some parking to make room for these bus stops along the way. But it’s only going to be about four spaces per stop. And then we’ll also be able to restore some parking for the current terminal along Clark Street. So we’ll be able to restore about 10 parking spaces at that location,” he said.

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Ashland Avenue is also slated to be resurfaced between this year and next. As part of that construction, Chicago Department of Transportation crews will install “bus bulbs” at the new bus stops, Czerwinski said. These function as curb extensions to better protect people from car and bus traffic by making pedestrians more visible while also shortening the crossing distance for them, he said.

“At the bus bulb, [buses] would stay in the lane of traffic so they don’t need to merge to the curb anymore. That actually reduces the space that the bus needs to access the stop,” Czerwinski said. “[Bus bulbs] will also allow the restoration of about 12 of these parking spots at the stops along Ashland.”

During last week’s meeting, some neighbors had concerns about losing parking for the new route as well as having bus traffic coming toWest Wilson Avenue, which experiences mostly residential traffic since its bus service was discontinued in 2012.

But the majority of neighbors who attended were in favor of the new route’s convenience and how it’ll more easily connect commercial and residential corridors along Ashland.

One neighbor even asked for officials to consider extending the route as far north as the new Metra station at Peterson and Ridge.

“I live on Lawrence and I can’t count the number of times that I’ve taken an Uber because I couldn’t rely on the connection between the Clark bus and the Ashland bus at Irving Park. So happy this is happening,” neighbor Shelby Sparkle said.

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Ravenswood Will Be Connected To Ashland Bus When New Route Kicks In This Summer (2024)
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