CHICAGO (CBS) — In an effort to make taking public transit more attractive, Mayor Lightfoot spent $20 million to give more buses their own lanes.
And, while the jury is still out on whether it’s speeding up buses, those still driving are scratching their heads.
Quickly, what would be your reaction if you saw a car parking in a red “CTA Bus Only” lane and forcing the bus to drive around it?
If you think–“You can’t park there!”—you would be incorrect.
Turns out maneuvers like this in the red are OK, if the green sign above says so. And outside rush hours: most, outside the loop, allow it for two-hour stretches.
That leaves buses to bob and weave and drivers asking questions.
Do drivers have to pay to park? Is it safe to park in the red lanes? Will drivers get towed?
Patrick Brower owns a comic book store on the North Side and he fields those questions from customers.
“I have never seen [the parking rules enforced], but this is pretty new,” Brower said.
Enforcement is an issue that Ald. Brendan Reilly took the city to task for earlier this week, tweeting, “It’s totally worthless without legitimate and consistent enforcement.”
When Lightfoot rolled out the new red routes in October, she said the Chicago Department of Transportation would enforce any violations.
CDOT declined our interview request today for how that is going.
Only saying in a statement that signage should clear up confusion and more robust ticketing is a work in progress.
In the meantime, businesses are feeling the effects of confused drivers having a hard time believing red paint can mean a green light to park.
“It means people don’t know where to park to come in,” said Brower. “So, they’re less likely to shop.
Business owners who watch the bus lanes all day said rush hour buses for whom this is all intended to help almost never use the lanes.
These owners say it’s likely because there are so many people parked—and others popping out with hazards on–in red lanes in rush hour where they don’t belong.