Transit poll results show focus on CTA Purple Line, bus routes


Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

A Purple Line train pulls up to the Dempster CTA station. Evanston received the results of a transit poll for city residents and Northwestern students, which showed that many had problems with the hours of the Purple Line Express and the public bus routes.

Jennifer Ball, Assistant City Editor

City staff released Wednesday the results of its transit poll, which showed many of those polled wanted additional bus routes and extended hours for the Purple Line Express train.

The poll, which Evanston posed in order to improve public transportation in the city, targeted both Evanston residents and Northwestern students.

The survey included an open-ended response question about satisfaction with the city’s public transportation system.

Some residents complained about the conditions of the subway stations, citing leaky roofs and general disrepair, while others focused on the Purple Line and bus routes, according to the survey results. 

The Chicago Transit Authority has addressed problems with the Purple Line trains through the Red and Purple Line Modernization program, which launched in November 2013. The $1.7 billion initiative aims to upgrade the tracks and rebuild CTA stations to improve ridership across the two lines.

Although walking, biking and driving are also major methods of transportation for Evanston residents, bus routes and Purple Line trains were discussed most in the free response answers on the survey, said Cindy Plante, a local government management fellow with the International City/County Management Association, in an email to The Daily.

According to the results, 7 percent of residents named the CTA bus system as their primary mode of transportation, while 14 percent said the CTA train. The majority of residents, 77 percent, said walking, biking or driving were their main modes of transportation. 

Although the maintenance and upkeep of train stations are a main focus for the city, staff will also look at bicycling, as it plans to bring bike-sharing service Divvy to Evanston as early as next summer, Plante said.

“City officials have to collaborate and communicate effectively with each transit agency on an ongoing basis, navigating different structures and procedures for each system,” she said in the email.

The poll is being used to start a more comprehensive dialogue about Evanston’s transit options, Plante said. She said a larger, more thorough study planned by the Pace bus system and the Regional Transit Authority will begin next year.

The City’s Transportation and Parking Committee scheduled a meeting Wednesday night to discuss the results of the transit poll, but staff cancelled it when it failed to reach a quorum of committee members.

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Twitter: @jennifercball