In a moment when we have Elon Musk proposing a high-speed tube that would propel people from the Loop to O’Hare in a heartbeat, we find ourselves more astounded to find transit pros studying ways to speed Pace buses up and down Harlem Avenue from North Avenue to Toyota Park in Bridgeview.
There is now a task force studying so-called “Pulse” bus service along highly congested Harlem Avenue. And while any implementation of such improved service is at least several years off, it is heartening to know that Pace is almost ready to launch its first Pulse project this year on Milwaukee Avenue from the city out to Niles.
The key feature of this venture would seem to be arming Harlem buses with the same traffic-signal-changing technology that speeds police and fire personnel through clogged intersections. To our jaded stuck-on-Harlem eyes, we wonder how that bus is going to get to the intersection in the first place. But we’ll leave that to the traffic pros.
All involved agree that the planning process is just starting and will be complicated. While there is talk of replacing crosswalk and sidewalks to make bus access more efficient, we’d note there is only so much Harlem Avenue to be realigned to improve bus service. Along most of this route, commercial properties tightly line the roadway.
That said, it is good news that efforts are underway to improve this most basic and essential dimension of public transit. Meanwhile, we’ll sit patiently in traffic, just behind that bus.