Transit survey targets Northwestern students, staff


Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

A Purple Line express train arrives at the Dempster station in Evanston. An upcoming poll from city officials will ask Northwestern students their opinions on the availability of public transportation options in Evanston.

Jennifer Ball, Assistant City Editor

Evanston is asking Northwestern students and staff to weigh in on public transportation options in the city through a survey that is being released as the new academic year begins.

The transit survey, initially targeted at Evanston residents, polled users on their satisfaction with the current state of public transit and the possibility of extended Purple Line Express hours and additional bus routes. The poll received more than 1,450 responses.

The Chicago Transit Authority has addressed Purple Line Express trains through the launch of the Red and Purple Modernization program in November 2013, a $1.7 billion initiative. The long-term project aims to upgrade tracks and rebuild stations along the two CTA lines to allow the CTA to increase its ridership and better serve customers.

CTA received a $35 million federal grant in August to fund the first phase of the RPM project, which will likely begin in 2017. The initial stage of construction will rebuild sections of the Red Line and construct a Red-Purple bypass to eliminate delays. Further phases of the program will involve similar renovations on the Purple Line.

After the survey results are gathered, Evanston officials will discuss Purple Line Express hours with transit authorities, city manager Wally Bobkiewicz said in an email to The Daily. The express trains currently run only during rush hour. During non-rush hours, passengers must transfer at the Howard stop to the Red Line.

Preliminary results from the poll released in mid-August showed that 47 percent of participants supported a CTA bus route in Evanston that would stop downtown and in the central business district.

The poll is part of an initiative of the city’s Age Friendly Task Force, whose mission is to improve the city’s livability for both young and old residents.

The results of the poll will be presented at the Transportation and Parking Committee meeting on Oct. 22, said Ylda Capriccioso, Evanston’s intergovernmental affairs coordinator, whose office works with transit authorities such as Metra, CTA and Pace.

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