Excellent news for Ashland BRT

Not to get too DC-tea-leaves-read-y here, but this is really excellent news:

EAST VILLAGE — A neighborhood group Monday night narrowly voted against the “bus rapid transit” plan for Ashland Avenue in its current form after months of debate.

“At the very least, it says to the city — the CTA, the Chicago Department of Transportation — they need to do additional planning,” East Village Association President Neal McKnight said of the 11-9 vote. (my emphasis)

[snip]

“I want to be aspirational,” [Association President] McKnight said. “I want [it] to be better than what they’re offering us, and I think that what they’ve offered us is kind of half-a**ed at this point.”

So the neighborhood from which the most vitriolic opposition to Ashland BRT has come had its formal vote, and only opposed the project by the narrowest margin possible. Moreover, only eleven people actually cared enough to come out and actually vote against it. Eleven people. The idea that there is a huge groundswell of strong opposition to BRT was dealt a really serious blow here, especially given that these sorts of public forums are almost always dominated by people who are against whatever is being proposed.

Moreover, even the people who voted against the plan – like the association president, McKnight – explicitly asked the CTA and CDOT to come up with a new proposal that addresses their concerns, like left turns and side street traffic.

To summarize:

1. The most virulently anti-BRT neighborhood association turns out to be 45% in favor of BRT.

2. Given a chance to formally express their opposition to the project, a paltry 11 people showed up to do so.

3. Even the people who opposed BRT want to find a compromise and bring faster, more reliable bus transit to Ashland.

That’s pretty great news.

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