New Pace bus express lanes open Monday on the Edens from Chicago to Northbrook

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Pace bus-only lanes are expected to open on Monday along the Edens Expressway.

Rush-hour could turn into less of a headache for some north suburban commuters at the start of this workweek with a $14 million stretch of new bus-only lanes set to open Monday on the Edens Expressway.

The 13 miles of “flex lanes” between Foster Avenue on the Northwest Side and Dundee Road in Northbrook will let Pace’s No. 620 and No. 626 buses get past rush-hour gridlock whenever traffic dips below 35 miles an hour, according to Pace, the suburban bus agency.

Pace saw dramatic improvement along the Stevenson Expressway once it debuted similar lanes there in 2011, spokeswoman Maggie Daly Skogsbakken said.

The Stevenson route’s on-time rate jumped from 68 percent before the lanes were built to about 92 percent in 2017, Skogsbakken said. The line’s ridership roughly quintupled over the same period, she said.

Pace started a second express route last September along the Jane Addams Tollway between O’Hare Airport and Elgin which has seen a 40 percent rise in daily passengers, Skogsbakken said.

Charlotte O’Donnell Obodzinski, the agency’s supervisor for rapid transit, said she expects to see similar results once the Edens express service begins.

Pace is aiming to open eight more bus-only lanes on Chicago-area expressways over the next decade, officials said.

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