PACE, the suburban public transportation system, has a plan to build a faster bus route starting at 95th and the Dan Ryan Expressway, traveling on 95th Street and ending the journey at Moraine Valley Community College.
The route would allow riders to travel faster between the CTA L at 95th Street and Moraine Valley Community College, with various stops in Oak Lawn.
Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury told Village Trustees and the public on Tuesday December 11th that she and Village Manager Larry Deetjen sat in on a presentation recently and she came away “excited” about the project.
Bury said that many residents are frustrated with how transportation is on the north side versus the south side and noted that Oak Lawn doesn’t have the CTA’s L like the north side of Chicago.
Bury said the Metra train schedule should be much more robust than it is but that riders make do but she expressed frustration that the buses and trains don’t have the “rapid connotation”. She said that nobody enjoys riding the bus but that trains and the CTA’s L are “fun”.
She noted that Oak Lawn residents only have buses but credited PACE with trying to change things by creating PULSE which she said “will have really cool stuff”.
She said the bus will be attractive and the route will have less stops. The bus will be able to extend green lights and shorten red lights just like emergency response vehicles can now do, creating a fast track.
The stops would include one at 95th and Pulaski, Kostner, Cicero, the Metra Station, Southwest Highway, and Ridgeland before diverting off of 95th Street to the Bridgeview Courthouse and then Moraine Valley before looping back and heading east.
Bury said she was “fired up and excited as someone who spent many years taking public transit everywhere” after reviewing the plans, for which construction would not start until 2021 and end around 2023.
Part of the construction would include upgrades to the platforms, which would be 12 inches higher to accommodate disabled riders. She said the PULSE bus would include Wi-Fi, while the platforms would be heated and allow for panels to use community branding allowing the village name to be plastered on the panels.
Bury said the PULSE plan is “in lockstep with the 95th Street Corridor Plan” pushed by her administration. The only complaint is that Bury and Deetjen would like an additional Oak Lawn bus stop. She noted that the Pete’s Fresh Market would be another spot for a stop and that they have suggested that stop to Pace.
None of the Trustees were asked for comments on the project, which is part of the Vision 2020 Plan for Pace, which calls the plan the 95th Street Corridor Transportation Plan.