UC-CTA Routes (includes an article on whether it's wise to cocoon students in buses). Transit home. CTA.
Possibilities for realigning #173 + 174 service in 2009 as the 61st-Ellis dorm opens
Presented by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, its Hyde Park Transit Task Force, and its website hydepark.org
The latest iteration of the #173 UC/CTA downtown service is called by the University and student oversight committees the least utilized route. As the new dorm at 60th and Ellis prepares to open, the University's Transportation and Parking Department and the committees have been looking for ways to turn this route into the best it can be and serve commuting students, staff and residents while with the greatest flexibility encourage students to explore the city. The route currently is pm rush hour, northbound only via Lake Park to the North Loop Gleacher Center. Route 174 is a much more full time route to the Green and Red lines via 55th-Garfield.
Here is the evolving route as of January 2009. Note that this route would add expense, which would be passed on to students in the fee package. The article below is not clear on the terminal of the route (still Gleacher?), whether it would be two-way, and what "Metra" line State and Roosevelt would be near enough to to be useful.
CTA-approved #173 bus route proposed to service new dorm. Chicago Maroon, January 13, 2009. by Anna Tentua
The College Council (CC) discussed the proposal for a new Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) #173 bus route which would provide student in the new dorm south of the Midway access to downtown at CC's meeting last Wednesday.
The new plan has already been approved by the department of campus transportation and parking facilities and the CTA. The CTA has tested the route, refined a map, and provided a cost estimate, according to third-year CC representative and planner Jarrod Wolf. Next, the proposal wil be discussed at the Transportation Student Advisory Board (TSAB) meeting in February. According to Wolf, if the proposal passes in the TSAB meeting, the decision will move to Student Government.
Wolf proposed a new #173 route last spring which was enacted this year and runs from the Reynolds Club to the Gleacher Center downtown. "The idea for this bus is to provide students who, after next year, will be moving from East Hyde Park, where they have access to downtown via the #6 bus and the Metra, to the new dorm, where their closest option of transportation is the CTA Green Line," Wolf said.
The proposed bus would stop in front of the new dorm, in front of Regenstein Library, and on South Hyde Park Blvd., where the #6 bus also stops. The bus would then stop at East Roosevelt Road and south State Street, where student can transfer to the Orange, Green, and Red CTA Lines, as well as to the Metra.
The bus would run form 7 a.m. through 11 p.m. during the week, with Friday service extending to 2 a.m. On Saturdays, the bus would begin running at noon and continue through 2 a.m. Wolf said that the bus will allow students coming from anywhere in the city to connect to the new #173 and take this bus directly to the center of campus.
Wolf sees the benefits as extensive and said it is in the University's best interest to support the reroute. "This new bus will mean increased student welfare, will allow students to interact with the city more often, as well as encourage student to get out of Hyde Park and explore the neighborhoods and cultures," Wolf said. Wolf said the new bus is necessary to simplify the University's Transportation network, as well as increase access for students living across the Midway. it will also replace a rout that is underutilized, he said. "The CTA #173 is the least used service, as of last year," Wolf said.
The proposal for the new bus route, written by Wolf with significant input form Director of Campus Transportation and Parking Facilities Brian Shaw, stresses the benefits to the student body in terms of safety and security. "I think this bus is a lot better than considering the U-Pass," Wolf said fo the former proposal that would have given students unlimited access to CTA buses and trains. "Essentially, the U-Pass doesn't improve your service to downtown."
Wolf said that although the plan has been approved by CTA, they are still investigating its feasibility."The problem is that the frequency we want the bus to run makes the cost of this project $100,000, [which is] more than the #173 and #174 currently," Wolf said. The University, which has final say on the plan, has indicated that this cost is their main concern. Wolf stressed the importance of funding the plan. "Unfortunately, better service costs more money," Wolf said. Fourth-year Christina Melander, interim CC Chair, said. it could affect students' cost of tuition.
However, Wolf said he anticipates that the Booth School of Business wil contribute some funding, as the bus would meant greatly improved service for many graduate students. "This is bus is not a free bus," Wolf stressed. "This would help to bridge the community and students because there are many people in the entirety of Hyde Park that will benefit from this bus." If the proposal gets the green light from the University, a six-month trial period would begin at the start of Fall Quarter. Wolf said he hopes the start date wil popularize the route. "Having the bus run during O-Week would introduce students immediately to the new line, Wolf said.
Chicago Maroon, January 23, 2009. B y Michael, Lipkin
The futures of the new #173 route, proposed by third-year College Council (CC) representative Jarrod Wolf in consultation with the Transportation and Parking Office Director Brian Shaw, will not be decided until at least May and could be postponed indefinitely due to the project's unexpectedly large costs, Shaw said.
The route, in the works for months, would replace the #173 and #174 routes, running from the new dorms south of the Midway and stopping at the Red and Green Line Garfield stations and at Roosevelt Road and State Street. The plan has been vetted by the CC and the CTA, but Shaw said it was unlikely to gain his approval soon, especially given the current recession, which makes it difficult to justify the cost. From a financial standpoint, it wasn't panning out the way we wanted it to. The new route, dubbed the X173, would cost $145,000 more than the two routes it would replace and would only run half as frequently.
Wolf said he planned the route to provide key services to areas of campus that have fewer transportation options, especially East 60th Street, which will soon have close to 1,000 undergraduates living on one block. According to Shaw, his department recently commissioned a study to determine how to service those students more cost efficiently, but the results won't be released until May. Even then, he said, approving the new plan is still far from certain. The University must ask, he said, "Do we want to provided those students access, and if so, how? At double the original budget, I don't have that money." Shaw added that money was particularly tight just maintaining current routes. "We're already stretched pretty thin. We're already bursting at the seams on some routes," shaw said.
He said that if his office were to pay the extra money for the route, he would have to divert the money from another area, a particularly unlikely scenario given that the administration recently asked all nonacademic divisions to submit proposals for a three-to-nine-percent budget cut. "Budget cuts mean service cuts," he said. "And if you cut [night-time] shuttle service, you cut the ability to provide safety. Cuts would mean increased exposure." Wolf said that the Transportation office was taxed as it is, acknowledging that the X173 would be an added burden.
"The 173 is over capacity as it is. They have to increase service there, and that means more money," Wolf said. University spokesman Steve Kloehn said that the Transportation Office, just like any individual office, may be spared from cuts. Since the cuts are being imposed on administrative units, individual departments in the until could see their budgets remain unchanged if other areas of the unit cut enough to reach the administration's benchmark.
Wolf said he was disappointed that the route may not debut next fall, but that he saw ways for the Transportation to make money. "Hypothetically, we could reduce the 171 service to get a little extra money," he said. "They could also implement a bus pass to be purchased for the 171 and 172. After all, if you're a student that doesn't use the bus, you're paying for something that prevents you from having better service." Since the Transportation office will soon be reorganized into the new Safety and Security office, Shaw said he has yet to reevaluate the budget. "The chain of command has gotten murkier due to the transition into the new department," he said "We're waiting until we have the new position in place and can take a holistic view of all the services."