The original South Lakefront reconfiguration, August 2003, evaluations and December adjustments

A service of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Transit and Parking Committee and the HPKCC website,
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CTA information on Later changes to go into effect December 7

To Bus changes homepage, including the December 7 2003, May 2004 changes beyond.


CTA new routes/restructuring. Explanatory Flyers (which will be partially out of date as of December 7) are available at the Conference office and that of SECC. Or call office of Suzanne Te-beau (sp.?), CTA VP Community Affairs, 312 836-8602.

Tell them about it.: I:1-888-YOUR-CTA (968-7282) 7 am-8 pm weekdays, voice message other time; TTY: 1-888-CTA-TTY1(282-8891). E-mail
CTA Customer Service, Merchandise Mart Plaza, P.O. Box 3555, Chicago, IL 60654. (find there other pathways to news releases such as browse)


The Transit Task Force of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference opposed the switching of the routes of the #15 and #28 December 7 for the following reasons (more detail)

Here are the South Lake Shore Corridor adjustments relevant to Hyde Park and Kenwood riders. Analysis follows

#2 Hyde Park Express. Buses will substitute State and Balbo for the Michigan and Congress legs between State-Congress and Michigan-Balbo. Reason: reduce turns and traffic delays.
#6 Jackson Park Express. Southbound will continue south on State to Balbo thence east rather than turning east on Congress then south on Michigan to Balbo. Reason: reduce turns and traffic delays.

#15 Jeffery Local. Use Lake Park rather than Hyde Park Blvd. between 51st and 56th. Reason: speedy, efficient, more direct service.

#28 Stony Island Express. Divert to Hyde Park Blvd. rather than use Lake Park between 56th and 51st. Reason: improve (translation restore) downtown travel options for customers and reduce (tr. route-change induced) overcrowding on #6.

Eliminate the rush hour leg to the West Side Medical Center. Reason: underutilization, reliability problems from the Loop.

Last two northbound night trips to terminate at 47th (affecting post-midnight service).


The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Transit Task Force at its October 29 meeting decided to ask of CTA the following changes:

Two changes especially in the new bus routes would help riders and grow ridership:

  • move a significant proportion of articulated buses back to the 6 from 14 &15 as asked by Alderman Hairston- some are already being so shifted
  • reroute 28 downtown to return eastward via Washington and State (rather than Jackson and Michigan). This would bring the bus past many transportation connections and shopping/cultural/educational venues and give riders a choice of 6 or 28 on the key State Street return corridor.
    Note: CTA will propose that the 6 go south on State to Balbo and the 28 discontinue runs to the West Side Medical Center.
  • The Task Force remains disturbed that changes are repeatedly instituted with little community input and short notice. The Task Force will review the changes and talk to CTA.

The Task Force has since had to react to the changes due to go into effect December 7. Use this link to see what they are and Task Force response.

More on the Task Force/HPKCC Transportation Committee



Related and Unrelated changes:

The northern start terminus of the #6 is now the northeast corner of Wabash and Wacker--the bus comes west on Wacker and does not pass S. Water/Michigan. Note-like many other new shelters, this does not say what buses stop there!

From June 23, X55's first westbound stop will be 55th rather than 56th and there is a new stop at Kostner 4400 W.
Other recent changes:
Alderman Hairston reports that the 63rd Street bus will terminate just west of Lake Shore Drive by the coming underpass rather than at the Beach House to restore parking spaces and avoid pollution and safety hazards.

All-night service on #4 Cottage Grove bus has been extended from 59th to 63rd (which has all-night east-west buses), and the 170 Midway Plaisance bus now serves the 57th Metra stop as well as the 59th. Already the #173 now runs until 3 am between downtown/Lakeview and Hyde Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, although only at one hour intervals and the route shuts down for summer. The Orange line will go to 24 hours. 55X Garfield (with only12 stops from MSI to Cicero) so far seems to be doing very well and has recently been adjusted to move the first stop from 56th to 55th and a stop has been added at Kostner (4400 W).

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Overview of the six month trial and new routes

For full description go to and click on Lakefront Route Improvements. Maps with simple descriptions are included in the slide presentations. The PDF version may work better for you. Because that is unlikely to stay up very long, we will describe key elements here followed by maps, after a "losses" and "gainers" evaluation. We remind everyone that many community organizations as well as aldermen have been proposing components of these changes for years. These were probably among the community input taken into account in the planning stages. However, the input was largely surveys and counts- there was virtually no pubic involvement process. After the 180 day experiment went into effect over the Labor Day weekend and during the trial, we were promised, more meetings will be held, culminating in public hearings. But none of the latter are in sight.

A major restructuring of lakefront routes (express and local) will be tried for six months starting August 31 (first actual work day schedule September 2). Several routes will go further or for longer times; there will be more express routes geared to getting people downtown and to connections, and other routes will be recombined. Similar restructuring will occur on the north side lakefront routes. Gradually more corridor and sector restructuring will occur. The result is more of a "system" which yet serves more niche markets and puts resources where growing demand is (south lakefront ridership is up 7% in recent years, north up 25%) and on getting people to and from downtown and connections. The changed routes (maybe not incidentally) more than ever parallel the Metra Electric. Note that this is in addition to and intended to maximize other upgrades in recent years: the four UC routes, a rush hour X55, increased hours on the present #6, and some improvements on the Cottage Grove.

Note: if you have travel late, you may want to pick up route flyers for "owl" night service routes, designated with the prefix "N". Two of the main north-south ones in our area are N4 Cottage Grove Night (to 63rd only) and N5 South Shore Night. The latter serves South Shore using routing of #6 67/Stony to 79/South Shore, #15 67/Jeffery 75/Jeffery, #s 67, 71, 75, 95E, linking to the Red Line at 69th and 95th.


Gainers and losers

The HPKCC Transit Task Force at its June 25 meeting found very little not to like (unless it was a bit more or more tweaking here and there and the loss of East Hyde Park to and along 47th) about the change. We propose to monitor and log to see if there is improvement in bunching. The Transit Task Force gave specific comments at the open house in Hyde Park and a meeting with CTA staff that considered the broader context of CTA service.

The big question--with only so many buses, drivers, and dispatchers, will intervals (frequency, headways) between buses be lengthened? The answer:

CTA spokespersons say the changes give a combined headway of 5 minutes. (Or course, that's at locations where the routes parallel--you can't be waiting at two stops.) A CTA planner told this writer that CTA is "aware of the importance of managing the service to ensure it runs reliably, and this is one of the aims of the changes. The shorter route #6 should prove more reliable and we expect a longer Stony Island route will perform better than the current #6 as well. " The new long articulated buses will mainly be used as they come on line on the #14 and #28; #6 will have the standard new buses as the "Seattle Slews" are retired.

Who are the gainers?

There seem to be some loses or inconveniences in the proposed reconfiguration, such as or resulting from (not in an order of significance):



Rationale by CTA:

Overall system changes this year: Service plan for north and south Lake Shore Drive corridors, extension of four fixed-route experiments, permanent weekend hours for the Orange Line. Cost of Lake Shore Drive corridor projects: $2.8 million or 5.3 percent above current cost.

Why Redesign Lake Shore Services?


South Lake Shore routes: Currently two express zones (three routes 2, 6, 14) collect passengers nd operate directly to downtown. Service is highly concentrated into the Jeffery corridor, forcing east/west transfers. Customers on the north end of the zones face crowded buses.

Many routes are currently concentrated along major traffic corridors. By realigning local routes to nearby streets and moving already full express buses to Lake Shore Drive earlier in th route, customers will have more and better options for service as well as faster trips.

The proposed plan doubles the number of express zones and increases the number of routes from three to five, providing more direct express service to downtown. Direct service reduces the need for transfers and provides a faster, more reliable trip for customers. Note: the stops are not set forth in plans this writer has seen.

CTA is also adding a #X79 for those who transfer to that corridor. More and more X routes are being created.

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Note that CTA route actual leaving times tend to be earlier in the morning in the peak direction compared to the reverse direction and to be later in the evening peak direction than in the reverse direction. Generally, early evening means to 8 pm, mid evening means to 10 pm, and late evening means 1 am: so some of the new times on new routes do not exactly follow these guidelines (i.e. 9:15 pm)

In Hyde Park-Kenwood


#2 Hyde Park Express. Will now run both ways both rush hours (from 6 am) and have longer evening rush service. Morning: starts at 60th and Cottage north via Cottage, 51st, Lake Park, 47th to the drive. Returning buses--i.e. from Navy Pier and downtown exit the drive at 57th and go clockwise via Stony and 60th to layover point at Cottage, thence returning via Cottage, 51st.... Evening: coming from downtown circles the neighborhood counterclockwise via 47th, Lake Park, 51st, Cottage Grove, to layover at 60th, thence east on 60th, then Stony and 57th Drive to return downtown via Lake Shore Drive. Buses North terminus: Navy Pier. Uses State between Congress and Wacker, Michigan to Ohio (returns on Grand then Ontario to Michigan. Still only Mon-Fri and no mid-day hours. Long stretches on the south part of the circle as presently planned have no stops. Downtown you will have to watch the sign or on the bus to know whether the coming bus takes 51st west or the Drive to 57th then 60th. Also, stops are not yet known on the Stony to 60th and the Cottage legs.

Schedule: (terminus times) Northbound am 6 am-9:15 am, Northbound pm 4:30 pm-7 pm. Southbound am (exiting drive at 57th) 6:50 am-9:55 am. Southbound pm 3:30-6:35. Varies from 20 or 15 minute to 8 minute separations depending on time of day.

#X4 Cottage Grove. Weekday rush, peak direction only, 5:30-9, 3-6:30, 95th/St. Lawrence to Michigan/Chicago. Limited stops to Roosevelt Goes to Michigan-Chicago. Stays on King north of 35th. All stops north of Roosevelt. Terminus 95th /St Lawrence.

Schedule from terminus:
Weekday rush only Northbound5:40 am-8:45 pm, Southbound3:30 pm-6:35 pm.
Frequency: 12 minutes.

#6 (Jeffery) will be #6 Jackson Park Express. Times same except start 4 am and end at 1 am. (Origin changes to 79th and South Shore Drive; goes past South Shore Cultural Center and takes 67th to Stony, thence current route. Hours and days are unchanged, but frequency is reduced and this route will not have the new articulated buses. Hope is that increased reliability will compensate. Now goes past South Shore Cultural Center and southeast, bypassing the crowded Jeffery Corridor. Riders will have to switch to #15 local service for Jeffery from 67th to 103rd Torrence. Or one can use the #28 and go south on Stony. Note that the main transfer/pickup point for start of the trip south is now Wacker/Wabash, not South Water/Michigan.

Schedule. (We are not going to present the times as HPK is in the middle of the route and no schedule can be accurate.) Hours from terminus:
Weekdays Northbound 4 am-12 midnight, Southbound 4:50 am-1 am.
Saturdays Northbound 5 am-12 midnight, Southbound 5:55-1 am.
Sundays/Holidays Northbound 5 am-12:10 am, Southbound 5:45 am-1 am.

Frequency: 8-10 minutes rush periods, 10-15 all others. Specifically:
M-F Northbound 4 am-9 am 10 minutes, 9 am-3 pm 12 minutes, 3 pm-6 pm 10 minutes, 6-7 12 minutes, then 15 minutes until 12 am.

M-F Southbound 4:50 am to 9 10 minutes, 9-3 12 minutes, 3-6 10 or 8 minutes, 6-8 12 minutes, then 15 until 1 am.
Sat. similar with less close spacing periods. Northbound 5 am-12 am, Southbound 5:52 am-1 am.
Sun. Northbound starts at half hour intervals 5 am then 20 and 15 until 12:10 am. Southbound starts at 5:45 am at 15 to 20 until 1 am.

New #28 Stony Island Express. Daily, hours 3:30/3:45 am northbound (a little latter southbound)-12:45/1 am north bound and as late as 1:30 southbound. Via Stony, 56th, Lake Park, 47th, LSD, Roosevelt, Michigan, Adams to Union Station--some am and pm rush trips to West Side Medical Center.

Schedule: Hours from terminus
Weekdays Northbound 3:30 am-1 am, Southbound 4:30 am-1:30 am
Saturdays Northbound 3:30 am- 12:45 am, Southbound 4:30 am-1:40 am
Sunday/Holidays Northbound 3:30 am 12:50 am, Southbound 4:30 am- 1:40 am
Frequency 8-12 minutes rush hours, 10-15 minutes other times


#1 Indiana/Hyde Park. Service dropped between Drexel and 63rd becomes a rush-hour-only service 6 am-9 am, 2 pm-6:50 pm. (Substitute: Green Line, #3, #4 (#4X or 3 for King Drive north of 35th), new #15; freq. remains 12 minutes. May require more transfers.)

Schedule, weekday only. Northbound 6 am-9 am, 1:35 pm-6 pm, Southbound 6:15 am-9 am, 2:30-6:50 pm

#4 Cottage Grove. Has owl service as far south as 63rd Green Line, otherwise ?5 am-1 am?. Will now use Indiana and Michigan between 35th and Cermak making up for #1. (If you really need King north of 35th, transfer to #3 or X3 via #15, #47...) #4 will now go to Michigan and Chicago—doubtless to the great relief of those on Michigan who stop non-3 buses trying to get to Water Tower.
Schedule from terminus:

Weekdays Northbound 4:05 am-10:50 pm, Southbound 5:05 am-11:50 pm
Saturdays 4:20 am-10:50 pm, Southbound 5:25 am-11.50 pm
Sundays/holidays Northbound 4:50 am-10:50 pm, Southbound 5:50 am-11:50 pm

Frequency: 8-12 minutes. Owl 63rd/Cottage to Washington/State.

New #15 Jeffery Local. Daily 5 am-1 am from 103rd takes the #6 route, then E. Hyde Park/51st to the Red Line at 47th via Wentworth. Every 12 minutes rush hour, 15-20 other times.

#47. Will be extended from the Green Line to Lake Park. Service as per present #47. East 4 am-1 am, west 4-12:50. 9-12 minutes weekdays, 12-20 weekends/holidays

#51. Service dropped east of Red Line, replaced by #15. (Stops at c 8 pm. 12-15 minutes weekdays, 15-20 weekends/holidays.

To the south and west (in addition to any applicable above)

#X3 King Express (was Limited). Weekday rush. As is.

#14 renamed Jeffery Express. Runs both directions all days 4 am but to only 10 pm M-F, Sats 7:30-9:15, Sun/hol 8:30 am -9:15 pm. Keeps current route--north of 67th it uses the Drive. Downtown it uses the Madison corridor to the train stations.

Actual schedule from terminus:
Weekdays Northbond 4 am-10 pm, Southbound 5:15-10 pm
Saturdays Northbound 7:30 am-8 pm,Southbound 8:50 am-9:20 pm
Sundays/Holidays Northbound 8:30-8 pm, Southbound 9:45 am-9-15 pm
Frequency 3-6 minutes rush hours, 12-15 others

New #26 South Shore Express. Weekday rush, peak direction only, 8-12 minutes apart, 106th/Ewing, 92nd, Commercial, 83rd, South Shore, 67th, Lake Shore Drive (starting at Jeffery Dr.), Jackson, Michigan to Chicago.

Schedule from terminus:
Weekdays only Northbound 5:10 am-8:45 am, Southbound 3:20 pm-6:35 pm.

#71 will be combined with #27 to run to 112th and Torrence. 4:30am-1:30 am. Services Red Line at 69th. Fewer buses south of 73rd/Exchange.

Separate: new X79.


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First verdicts...

Almost 7 weeks into the experiment we are still hearing of lots of trouble- long delays and crowds of frustrated riders at stops on the #6, especially in the morning between 57th/Stony and 51st/Lake Park where the routing of the 6 and 28 diverge. People in East Hyde Park, it seems, want their 6 and want it coming reliably and not too far apart and with big buses they can hang strap in when their are no seats. CTA tells us they have been making adjustments, especially more buses on the #6.

CTA is saying the articulated buses are at one garage, the short new ones at another, and the routes are run from these different garages. Therefore short buses on the #6 express and articulated on the hardly-used new local #15. So crowding and waits abound, including downtown, since bunching still occurs. However, we did see instances in which at least some articulated buses were being used as 6s and 28s. Others say they are inconvenienced by change of the transfer stop downtown from South Water/Michigan to Wacker/Wabash.

It looks like ridership has picked up on the #28 but not to the extent that it is relieving the #6. It is generally praised, but arrivals can be far apart (including downtown), and would probably pick up more riders if it reached the east Loop at a more northerly point.

Another serious problems include the #4 Cottage Grove. For Hyde Parkers needing to go to Michael Reese/Advocate (partly because the Hyde Park Advocate Office is closing), this bus no longer goes where you need to go- a double transfer will be needed unless you hoof it to Cottage where you still need one transfer unless you take X4 (available rush hour only. You can take the #1 rush hour only from Drexel/51st.). People near Reese, Prairie Shores, Lake Meadows, and Dunbar are also very upset about this route change.

We've seen and heard complaints about the big buses being allocated to empty and bunched #15 route and of erratic service on the 28 Express, both routes being among promising route changes.

In conclusion, while holding great promise, the deficiencies so far in practice are 1) continuing insufficient and unreliable service, 2) several constituencies either stranded or having to use more rather than fewer transfers.


September 10: Hyde Park Herald. By Maurice Lee:

Area commuters give new bus routes mixed reviews

Last Tuesday [Sept. 2] morning's commute left many Hyde Parkers frustrated as they tried to make the right connections along the CTA' s new south lakefront routes. Commuters complained of delays--waiting as long as 30 minutes to catch buses out of the neighborhood--as the CTA worked to figure things out during the first official rush hour of its 180-day route revamp experiment, including the extended #2 Hyde Park and #28 Stony Island Express routes and the new #15 local route.

Hyde Parker Arthur Thurner seemed to sum up the mood of the morning when he asked, "Where in the devil is [my bus] this morning?"

Though Tuesday marked the beginning of the new #28 Stony Island Express route running express to downtown--and then on to the University of Illinois Hospitals campus--Hyde Parkers seemed to have trouble breaking old habits. The new express service on the #28 bus went largely unused while bus stops for the #6 remained packed.

Tenasia Alston said she did not know the #28 ran downtown, but would be glad to try the new route. Alston says the addition of the #28 Express will be a benefit to her morning commute because it gives her another option. "I could take either bus instead of just waiting here in line [for the #6]." said Alston.

According to CTA spokesman Robyn Ziegler, ridership should balance out as commuters become accustomed to the new routes. "People have been communicated with in many different ways and now they need to actually try to figure out [the new routes] out and use tem," said Ziegler.

The CTA had supervisors and volunteers out at bus stops to spread information about the changes and get commuters on the right buses.

But according to many riders, that meant waiting for buses that did not arrive. According to #28 rider Devera Kellogg, the new changes exacerbate already chronic schedule problems. "Those buses haven't adhered to schedule yet," said Kellogg. "I have a schedule and they are supposed to be running every eight to 10 minutes and I've been standing here 15 minutes, so I'm a little ticked."

Angela Hannah, a #6 rider, agreed. "So far today, [the new changes have not had] a positive impact because I've been waiting for about 20 minutes so far," said Hannah. "Whether or not it's going to turn around, I don't know."

But both agreed that the new routes could be good for the neighborhood if the CTa can work out the kinks. "I do think the route changes could be beneficial if the buses come on time," said Kellogg.

Commuter Evans Marshall hopes the CTA is able to make the changes work. Tuesday Marshall, who regularly uses the city's paratransit services to get to Stroger Hospital, was taking the #28 bus instead. Marshall called the direct service from Hyde Park to the West side hospital a "great idea" and hopes it is here to stay. "It's a blessing today for me to be able to get there," said Marshall.

[contacts given.]

...[W]e have an opportunity to tweak service in response to the feedback we get from commuters," said Ziegler.


Extend the #6 northward

Letter to the Hyde Park Herald by L. Rivers, September 17, 2003

To the Editor:

While I commend the Chicago Transit Authority on adding and changing the bus services to the South Side of Chicago, I feel once again that Hyde Park has been overlooked. The reason for this impression is that the bus services have not been extended to Chicago Avenue. I was able to ride the #6 bus during the first few weeks of the test period from north downtown (when there was not any advertising for it) and was quite impressed with the service, the convenience and the timely manner in which I arrived in the Hyde Park community.

The Hyde Parkers who work an shop in the north downtown district ar not being taken into consideration. Yes, there is the #2 which only runs during the rush hours and has been rerouted. The #173 only runs in the evening hours to accommodated the University of Chicago students and staff b ut not the Hyde Park community. The #26 (new) bus services the South Shore commuters with an express service to north downtown and the #X4 does not come into Hyde Park.

I would like to see the #6 Jackson Park express extended to Chicago Avenue during the entire duration that the bus is running . This will help the Hyde Park community not only for those who work in north downtown but also for those that shop and attend school.

I would also like to see our community serviced like our counterparts that are along the north lakefront from Lincoln Park to Sheridan road.

If any of you feel the same way please contact the TA (even though our voices fell on deaf ears for so many years but we were finally heard) and express your concerns.

Please contact Terry Levin [tlevin@transit] at the Chicago Transit Authority. He has been very open to my concerns an has responded to my e-mails.

[Ed.: This idea may be worth inquiry for investigation. The most likely drawback (other than possible CTA route managing problems) might be that because of the north side traffic, even if the south leg uses State, long waits and bunching south of the river my became even worse.]


Maps for routes in HPK starting August 31, 2003


The #2 will lay over at 60th and Cottage. Few stops on the south leg of the circle, maybe none on 60th.

Frequency is reduced on the #6

28 Express route follows present 28 route in Hyde Park (on Lake Park 47th -56th) and operates 4 am to 1 am.

Combined schematic, all routes in Hyde Park and Kenwood