When it comes to speeding up bus service, bus lanes are basically only as good as their enforcement. That’s a factor in why, while camera-enforced express bus routes in cities like New York are seeing significant speed improvements, Chicago’s poorly enforced Loop Link corridor has seen only modest speed gains. One of the issues is that enforcing bus lanes with traffic cameras isn’t currently legal in Illinois, although Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot says she wants to get legislation passed in Springfield to legalize it.
In the meantime, that raises the question, what’s the point of Chicago’s $20 million Bus Priority Zones program, which is building new stretches of bus lanes on high ridership streets, if motorists are just going to drive and park in them with impunity? For example, here’s some footage from late December that shows how well the new bus lanes on Chicago Avenue in River North were working out during the morning rush.