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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

VivaLFuego Mar 6, 2008 4:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3398112)
Viva: I thought the outmoded signals were on the O'Hare Branch. How can these signals date back to the 50s when the line wasn't constructed until the 70s? I don't doubt that the signals are outmoded, though.

Prior to 2005, the only part of the Blue Line with 'modern' signals, meaning Automatic Train Control with Cab Signalling, was the O'hare Extension from Jefferson Park to O'hare. The Kennedy Extension was built in the late 60s and had block signalling. The Dearborn Subway and Congress branch (in the Ike median) still had original pneumatic block signals from the 1950s (you could even here the whooooosh of the signal tripping if you rode in the back of the rear car sometimes). I'm not sure how old the signals were on the short stretch of Milwaukee Elevated; that portion received major rehabilitation (track/structure/etc) in the last 15 years or so but I'm not sure if any signal work was involved. Either way it was still blind block signalling.
At this point in the signal upgrade project, they've switched over to cab-signalling on various portions of the branch and it's all ongoing, so I don't know the exact status at this point other than the project is supposed to be done in 2009. Maybe one of our construction forumers (Art Vandelay?) has more input/detail.

ArteVandelay Mar 6, 2008 8:17 PM

Automatic train control prior to 2005 on the Blue Line existed from the Western station on the Milwaukee elevated out to Ohare. Apparently at some point the block signals from Western out to the former terminal at Logan Square were removed and replaced, and of course the Kimball subway and Ohare extension were built with ATC. Interestingly enough, between Western/Milwaukee (or more specifically the Armitage Interlocking), and Jefferson Park Interlocking there were no actual signals installed whatsoever. The Ohare extension featured signals at the interlockings, which is the current standard.

Progress - Blue Line from Forest Park into Western/Congress has been cutover to the new system, with punchlist work remaining. From Jefferson Park to Belmont on the Ohare branch has been cutover, and currently crews are working at California/Milwaukee. This should be cutover by the end of next week. Progress will continue down the elevated, then jump back to the Congress, finish the remaining ballasted section, and then finish in the tunnel. Late 2008/early 2009 finish.

Subway is being completed last due to uncertainties with what will actually be built at Block 37 - CTA keeps going back and forth on just how much of the station they want to complete, which obviously affects the signal work significantly through there.

The Blue Line signals and switches are true relics - the interlocking at LaSalle station in the subway still features pneumatic switches, which I believe are the last location these exist systemwide. Of course, the track trips are also pneumatic on the elevated and subway currently too.

Taft Mar 6, 2008 8:49 PM

Viva and Arte: wow! Guys like you make this one of the best forums around.

Thanks for the detailed information.

Taft

ardecila Mar 6, 2008 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3398644)
Also, isn't a traffic lane wider than a rail right-of-way? I don't know about this. Obviously Oak Park's main concern is to avoid the acquisition of property along the Eisenhower--it is pretty densely developed all along there.

A regular traffic lane is wider than a rail track, but I'm pretty sure a BRT lane can be narrower, since it has access control and all the drivers are trained. If the BRT lane is narrower than what federal law requires for a traffic lane, then it can't just be quickly converted back on the whim of some politician.

I would definitely be against property acquisition on the Eisenhower as well, but that may be necessary west of Forest Park, through Bellwood, Maywood, and Hillside, regardless of whether lanes are added or a Blue Line extension is built. I mentioned earlier that a convenient rail right-of-way already exists through those communities (former Chicago, Aurora, & Elgin), but apparently transit planners don't want to use it - the only excuse I've heard is that Forest View Cemetery has blocked part of the path, but the land exists to simply go around it. Planners are fixated on the highway-median alignment, even though the costs are tremendously higher.

Busy Bee Mar 7, 2008 4:30 AM

^ And the exhaust is a lot heavier.

Abner Mar 7, 2008 5:03 AM

The citizens' group trying to rally support for a Blue Line extension (or at least no Eisenhower expansion) is here:
http://www.citizensforappropriatetransportation.org/

There are a bunch of pictures and a fair amount of information.

ardecila Mar 8, 2008 11:18 PM

This article is interesting, but it sounds like CTA is dragging their feet as much as possible. I don't understand why they don't want to add a station in an exploding neighborhood to boost ridership on an underutilized line. Is there a politician or NIMBY group somewhere that's opposed to a new station?

Also, the costs seem exorbitant... $34 million for construction? Why can we build huge luxury homes in the suburbs for $1 million, but a new station with far less square footage and cheaper finishes costs 34 times that?

http://www.nearwestgazette.com/Archi.../News0308c.htm

Study has community hopeful concerning Morgan el stop


A $2.5 million feasibility study and design proposal for a new Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) el station at Morgan and Lake Sts. is expected to be finished by the end of the year—which is not a minute too soon for Roger Romanelli of the Randolph/Fulton Market Association (RFMA) and Bob Wiggs of the West Central Association (WCA).

“The case for a Morgan St. stop is overwhelming," Romanelli said. "We’ve been making that case for almost a decade.”

JV_325i Mar 9, 2008 12:58 AM

^Their feasibility study is nearly 10% of their projection of the cost of a station. I'm with dude in the article: take that money and just build the damn thing. I know money is tight, and so it is easier said than done, but it seems plainly obvious that there needs to be a station in the area they are referring to (of course this is from the Near West Gazette so of course they are going to have some bias. However, on that note at least the article leans towards advocating a stop instead of diminishing the importance of any public transit whatsoever).

ardecila Mar 9, 2008 5:36 AM

West Loop NIMBYs have nothing against better CTA service. The Green Line has been running through the West Loop for 110 years, so it's part of the "character" of their neighborhood - building a new station just makes it more convenient for them to actually use something that they've had to listen to, every 8 minutes, for a very long time.

Most NIMBYs welcome transit improvements, actually. However, they want to have their cake and eat it too. They think that transit will be utilized in a neighborhood where building height is restricted, only large units are built, and everybody has their God-given right to 2 parking spaces fulfilled.

Unfortunately, the real world doesn't work this way.

VivaLFuego Mar 9, 2008 7:52 AM

^Morgan/Lake is a CDOT project, and I'm pretty sure is funded with federal transportation dollars like most CDOT transit projects (probably CMAQ), so it's not really coming out of any local agency's budget.

I was under the impression the station was farther along though.... like, currently in 100% design, with anticipated bidding of construction contracts in early-to-mid-2009. There was some hold-up in hammering out whether there would be a ground-level or elevated station house, and I'm not sure what they ultimately decided (my hunch is ground-level, as land acquisition+construction would probably still come out cheaper than building the foundations for and hoisting up a new station alongside an active rapid transit line). The $34 million sounds reasonable to me (perhaps even a bit low) given the site constraints and ever-ballooning construction costs, but maybe I'm just jaded.

honte Mar 9, 2008 8:28 AM

I am surprised that no one has posted a photo of the bright orange brick elevator tower at Chicago / Franklin yet. I went by there tonight and was quite surprised. It doesn't look half bad, although the size of the station is kind of overbearing.

Still, the exposed galvanized has me very worried. I gather they intend to leave it exposed?

VivaLFuego Mar 9, 2008 5:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3404332)

Still, the exposed galvanized has me very worried. I gather they intend to leave it exposed?

Yeah, the whole Brown Line project went for unpainted galvanized steel in lieu of either stainless or painted. Alot of people disagree with this decision (mostly on aesthetic grounds), but I guess it was a key part of the cost-cutting to bring the Brown Line project back within budget since exposed galvanized is both cheaper to buy than stainless and cheaper to maintain than painted.

Hopefully the quality is decent and it doesn't start rusting horribly within a year...

honte Mar 9, 2008 5:50 PM

^ Thanks for the tip. I think it's a terrible mistake. It will give the stations a second-class, temporary quality unless it's done with great finesse.

The presence of higher-quality materials, such as the glazed brick and glass I saw last night might help lessen this, but the ratio of hot-dipped to other materials I saw looks way skewed in the wrong direction.

ardecila Mar 10, 2008 4:17 AM

While I'm currently really surprised and somewhat disappointed in CTA's choice, it could become a distinctive feature in time. The beautiful old railings on Ravenswood Branch stations were cast-iron and had little sunflowers in them. Since this type of detailing is fantastically expensive today, I'm glad the CTA did something unique to replace the old railings, instead of the ubiquitous stainless steel, even if they did it not as a design choice but as a value-engineering decision.

Of course, the downside to the galvanized is that they are more prone to corrosion. The zinc-oxide layer formed on the galvanized offers fairly good protection against rust, but if the railing gets nicked, say, by a snow shovel or large suitcase, or the tools of a CTA worker, then the zinc is removed and the underlying steel will begin to corrode.

Viva - A ground-level station house for platforms above a street is a rare configuration for Chicago. AFAIK, Cicero/Lake is the only one like it. This should be interesting; hopefully the CTA chooses somebody good for the design.

VivaLFuego Mar 10, 2008 5:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3405631)
While I'm currently really surprised and somewhat disappointed in CTA's choice, it could become a distinctive feature in time. The beautiful old railings on Ravenswood Branch stations were cast-iron and had little sunflowers in them. Since this type of detailing is fantastically expensive today, I'm glad the CTA did something unique to replace the old railings, instead of the ubiquitous stainless steel, even if they did it not as a design choice but as a value-engineering decision.

Check out the new Montrose and Addison stations: They reused many of those old cast iron features in the stations (I think on the stairwells) and it actually turned out pretty nice.

Quote:

Viva - A ground-level station house for platforms above a street is a rare configuration for Chicago. AFAIK, Cicero/Lake is the only one like it. This should be interesting; hopefully the CTA chooses somebody good for the design.
I believe CDOT is handling all contract awards for this project, but obviously CTA is part of the discussions on design criteria. In terms of newer ground-level station houses, the Pink Line stations generally turned out pretty elegant, so at this point I'm not too worried. If anything, this strikes me as an opportunity for some 'value capture', using the ground-level station house to actually build a more substantial structure with retail spaces and maybe even office/commercial space on a few floors above for added revenue (and trip generation). Assuming the stationhouse is located on that crumbly old gas station (SW corner I think?), it could only really hold something in the 4-5 story range anyway. I think most the Lake Street L stops from the mid-1990s are hidden gems, aesthetically, so hopefully Morgan carries that on.

OhioGuy Mar 10, 2008 6:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3405768)
Check out the new Montrose and Addison stations: They reused many of those old cast iron features in the stations (I think on the stairwells) and it actually turned out pretty nice.

I agree. I think those stations were renovated reasonably well considering the cost restraints. I also have no problem with the galvanized. Plus there definitely are old features still remaining from the previous stations. In particular the canopy frames have been salvaged. And in some cases the old station houses are remaining as well. Damen & Sedgwick come to mind. So I really don't have any significant problems with how the brown line stations are turning out.

(I have noticed the Chicago Ave station and I'm not quite sure how I'll end up liking the look of that one...though I guess the renderings on the Chicago-l.org site look ok)

pip Mar 10, 2008 8:35 AM

About rehabbed stations. Look at the Green Line. They are great.

Mr Downtown Mar 10, 2008 3:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3405768)
this strikes me as an opportunity for some 'value capture', using the ground-level station house to actually build a more substantial structure with retail spaces and maybe even office/commercial space on a few floors above for added revenue (and trip generation).

Is that permitted? Is there even a mechanism for FTA and CDOT to get in bed with a private developer? There must be a reason I can't think of a single US example of a rapid transit station being part of a new (nongovernment) development.

Chicago Shawn Mar 10, 2008 4:19 PM

I agree on the Sedgewick station, It was a fantastic job. The Chicago station is looking pretty good, although I hope the chain link fencing on the new Superior St entrance is only temporary. Although its a bit premature to speculate the final outcome, Fullerton and Belmont look very cheap. Looks like some significant VE occurred here when you look at the renderings vs the outcome thus far.

The Pink and Green line renovations look fantastic. The Pink Line stations are really spectacular given the budget constraints.

Now if you really want to suffer depression over station design, check this out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgiFJysMx4c

Nowhereman1280 Mar 10, 2008 5:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3406125)
Is that permitted? Is there even a mechanism for FTA and CDOT to get in bed with a private developer? There must be a reason I can't think of a single US example of a rapid transit station being part of a new (nongovernment) development.

Actually, I hear that the new Loyola Red Line station is going to be part of a new Loyola building including private stores and housing units as well as providing access to the Loyola Campus across Sheridan. One of the possible designs includes a building that straddles Loyola Avenue and the El forming a kind of tunnel around the tracks. Though I doubt that is the design that will be built.


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