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

Dr. Taco Apr 14, 2008 4:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 3483993)
He was being sarcastic, basically trying to say that the state isn't backwards.

Everybody take a deep breath and try not to get so offended, as it seems like no-one here meant any offense...

Taft

ah yes, saracasm...the least offensive of all forms of humor :rolleyes:

one things for sure, it doesnt have anything to do with the thread, so....

Taft Apr 14, 2008 5:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jstush04 (Post 3484041)
ah yes, saracasm...the least offensive of all forms of humor :rolleyes:

one things for sure, it doesnt have anything to do with the thread, so....

Was that sarcasm? I'm offended.

OK, OK...moving on...

Taft

Dr. Taco Apr 14, 2008 5:42 PM

^ haha, nice :cool:

ardecila Apr 15, 2008 12:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3483213)
How does having a non-white governor make a political system not backwards. In fact, how is that relevant to anything? Frankly, the statement is kind of offensive.

Oh yeah and virtually every governmental body around here has people that are "not white" and believe me it's plenty backwards.

The fact that Louisiana, as a state with a large component of racism and white supremacy in its history, has elected an Indian-American governor tells me that they are being more progressive and are actively rejecting bigoted attitudes. "Progressive" of course is relative; I've honestly heard some people refer to Illinois as progressive.

Of course, if he was the only option against a "bleeding-heart liberal" (whatever that means) then his color might not matter.

(disclaimer: the above statement is not meant to be disparaging to Louisianans, Indian-Americans, or bleeding-heart liberals)
;)

intrepidDesign Apr 15, 2008 1:05 AM

Off topic, but has anyone seen any plans or rendering of the new transit station going under Block 37?

the urban politician Apr 15, 2008 2:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3481668)
I'm all for expanding the "L" system in a way that actually promotes a car-free lifestyle, instead of doing what planners seem enamored of now, which is expanding the "L" as a commuter system.

^ As much as I'm a huge advocate of creating a car-free Chicago, I'll have to be of a devil's advocate on this one by making a small observation:

Cities respond to their needs. How high of a priority is it for Chicago to really have such an extensive transit system that even people out in the neighborhoods can easily get from place to place without a car? (of course, they can do that now by bus, but lets face it--a lot of people aren't fond of bus transit, me included)

Chicago's top priority has long been to keep its downtown the core of everything; and by doing so it has established its downtown as one of the world's leading centers of commerce; a very enviable position.

Now, as long as people continue to live further and further from the core, in the setting of limited transit funds, the city perhaps has 2 options:

1) Extend downtown's "tentacles" (commuter transit lines) further and further out to tap an affluent suburban population that is growing ever more distant

2) Make life better in Chicago's neighborhoods by creating more L lines and better connections between them.

So at this point, what is Chicago's bigger priority? People in the neighborhoods are still managing to get from place to place, often by car if not by cab, bus or bicycle. But if you cut the hand (commuter rail) that feeds your most vital asset (downtown), you're probably making a critical mistake.

That must be how the city's leaders have viewed this issue for a long time. Chicago is a very downtown-centric city in that way, more so than even New York, if you think about it.

Marcu Apr 15, 2008 2:51 PM

^ Good point. And the focus on maintaining a vibrant downtown business district has significantly contributed to Chicago's success. Especially compared to cities like Detroit that for the most part decentralized.

Chicago relies heavily on those far out exurban metra stations to keep its downtown vital. After all, the execs that actually make the decision to keep operations in the Loop are more likely to commute from Barrington/Lake Forest/St. Charles than from the Gold Coast. If Chicago shifts focus to a more internalized system that doesn't focus on bringing in the big shot business people that seem to keep moving farther and farther out to the loop, the businesses may leave. Outside of a few niche industries (eg futures), I just don't see Chicago having the kind of bargaining power at this time to alter residential settlement patterns. So should the RTA focus on improving the el system within city limits? Absolutely. But its in Chicago's best interest to also focus on the metra commuter aspects.

k1052 Apr 15, 2008 4:03 PM

In a "transit development" I'm watching out my office window there are innumnerable EMS/Police/Fire/CTA personell helping people out of the Blue Line subway at Fulton and Clinton.

Reports are that a loop bound train broke down near Clark/Lake and several trains are trapped behind it.

brian_b Apr 15, 2008 4:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 3486560)
In a "transit development" I'm watching out my office window there are innumnerable EMS/Police/Fire/CTA personell helping people out of the Blue Line subway at Fulton and Clinton.

Reports are that a loop bound train broke down near Clark/Lake and several trains are trapped behind it.

Not again!

emathias Apr 15, 2008 9:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3485464)
...
Cities respond to their needs. How high of a priority is it for Chicago to really have such an extensive transit system that even people out in the neighborhoods can easily get from place to place without a car? (of course, they can do that now by bus, but lets face it--a lot of people aren't fond of bus transit, me included)

Cities don't always respond to needs. Plenty of examples of negative-growth cities that focused on the wrong things.

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3485464)
Chicago's top priority has long been to keep its downtown the core of everything; and by doing so it has established its downtown as one of the world's leading centers of commerce; a very enviable position.

First, let me say I'm not approaching this from a city v. suburbs issues. I'm not talking about municipal Chicago, but about Chicagoland. By not educating people on the true costs of giving rail to places where it doesn't make any sense, everyone gets hurt through waste and inefficient transportation.

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3485464)
...
1) Extend downtown's "tentacles" (commuter transit lines) further and further out to tap an affluent suburban population that is growing ever more distant

This makes no sense because it's completely untenable in the long term. The ends of most of the metra lines are already at least 90 minutes from downtown, some are over 2 hours. People simply aren't going to commute any farther than that and, moreover, it's bad public policy to encourage them to commute farther than that.

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3485464)
2) Make life better in Chicago's neighborhoods by creating more L lines and better connections between them.

Yes. That's exactly what I'm advocating. Most of the things that caused the implosion of cities have stabilized, and now that we know what happens if we lose a grip on things like safety and whatnot, I don't see rapid depopulating really happening again in my lifetime (unless, perhaps, an economical flying car is invented).

Chicago is at a point where, in addition to being attractive for companies to locate in our downtown, and to people who want a nice surburban lifestyle (we have some of the best suburbs in the country) we need to continue to be attractive for people who want an urban lifestyle. Plenty of people who've been in the city for a while or who have no alternative are willing to take buses. But to really become the sort of urban city that can compete with the urban lifestyle of cities we like to compare ourselves to, we have to work on creating some sort of rail solution. Subways or "L" lines seem the best, although not the most economical, but smart planning with at-grade lightrail can add a lot of value a lot more economically. Chicago Avenue is a prime example of an east-west street that could handle a streetcar line, and that could make execellent use of it. With a little zoning help, Roosevelt could, too, as could Division and most of the Boulevard system.

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3485464)
So at this point, what is Chicago's bigger priority? People in the neighborhoods are still managing to get from place to place, often by car if not by cab, bus or bicycle. But if you cut the hand (commuter rail) that feeds your most vital asset (downtown), you're probably making a critical mistake.
...

I'm not saying CUT commuter rail, I'm saying stop EXPANDING it. People who commute into downtown from far-out stations mostly drive to those stations. Building the West Loop Transit Center includes adding a couple through-routed segments for Metra Lines, which would ensure existing Metra lines would have schedule capacity to increase at rate far in excess of their current growth for many years without adding new track miles.

As long as downtown Chicago remains the one part of the region that the most people can get to in a reasonable amount of time. Executives prone to pull their offices out to the suburbs will choose to do that no matter how far out commute rails extend, so now that things are relatively stable, the focus should be on attracting businesses AND attracting people to live in the city. The more people you have, the less they'll like living here if they have to rely on congested streets and slow buses.

The focus should be on increasing density around existing Metra stations, and adding rail capacity and increasing density in the core area (particularly the area described in the Central Area Plan). They go hand in hand, and while laisse-faire planning has some advantages, it doesn't do a great job of planning for the accomodation of transportation when you're trying to maintain a specific type of experience for your residents.

VivaLFuego Apr 16, 2008 12:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias
we need to continue to be attractive for people who want an urban lifestyle

Good luck with our current crop of alderman, they seem intent on making this a vertical Naperville. The only alderman that seems open to seizing development opportunity for densification is Burnett of the 27th Ward (see what he's doing with the North/Clybourn area and the bits of West Loop under his purview), but with Cabrini-Green gradually being removed, so is his power base and he'll too soon be replaced by a NIMBY slimeball in the guise of Fioretti or Reilly.

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias
I'm not saying CUT commuter rail, I'm saying stop EXPANDING it.

Generally agreed in terms of extensions from the current termini, but what about new services like the Milwaukee Road North service to Wadsworth, the I-90 portion of STAR line service, the NICTD southward branches, etc? All serving fast-growing residential areas, the first two with significant employment as well, and it would provide direct accessibility to downtown Chicago to funnel workers in. I definitely buy into the argument that you want to maximize downtown Chicago's accessibility with radial rail lines; something on the order of 100,000-120,000 people commute to downtown Chicago each day by commuter rail, the downtown is dependent on it and better for that accessibility.

There are very few parts of the city that have the trip density to support rapid transit L lines that don't already have service. About the only example is the north lakeshore, and a lakefront subway isn't even on the long range plans anymore. That leaves some sort of downtown distribution system, and...anything else other than incremental improvements like the Red/Orange/Yellow extensions? I believe in terms of inter-neighborhood connectivity, Chicago would be much better served (almost infinitely more cost-effectively) by a significant BRT network; the grid system is perfect for it. BRT in Chicago would consist of signalling priority, next bus LED screens at each shelter, infrequent stops (at most ever 1/4 mile, preferably 1/2 mile where possible), wide-door and/or 3-door vehicles, and bus only lanes. High volume stops and transfer locations would have pre-paid boarding. On the wide streets such as Ashland/Western/North(west of Western)/etc, BRT could have dedicated center lanes with raised island platforms a la the streetcar days.

Abner Apr 16, 2008 2:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3487854)
There are very few parts of the city that have the trip density to support rapid transit L lines that don't already have service. About the only example is the north lakeshore, and a lakefront subway isn't even on the long range plans anymore.

What about routes that would expand the usefulness of the current system, like the Mid-City Transitway? That particular idea also has the benefit of having an existing rail embankment to work with, though I'm sure it would still be outrageously expensive. It is probably true, though, that the future of rail rapid transit in the city looks more like the Orange Line and less like the Brown Line.

VivaLFuego Apr 16, 2008 6:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3488058)
What about routes that would expand the usefulness of the current system, like the Mid-City Transitway? That particular idea also has the benefit of having an existing rail embankment to work with, though I'm sure it would still be outrageously expensive. It is probably true, though, that the future of rail rapid transit in the city looks more like the Orange Line and less like the Brown Line.

Tough to say; there would probably be decent ridership potential, as there are many cross-town trips made, but we're not talking anything like Red Line trip density, and many would still choose a more direct bus option like the X49 bus. The Cost-Benefit decision would probably come down to how much the line could be value-engineered to maximum cheapness, meaning no underground segments, spartan stations/intermodel facilities, etc. There are alot of factors in the cost-benefit analysis, e.g. 1) if you're actually inducing new transit trips or reallocating them 2) if any reallocation in part #1 is benefitical by easing peak crowding, 3) reducing auto-vehicle-miles travelled and ergo congestion and pollution, etc.

Of course, all kinds of L system expansion would definitely be worth doing if there were accompanying land use changes to increase density along the proposed routes. (Think major high-density nodes along Cicero on the west side, for example, at the intersection of the Mid-City, Green, and Congress lines, not to mention Jefferson Park). But back in reality, unfortunately that seems unlikely; wish I could be more optimistic.

Given current land use, I feel the only justified rail rapid transit expansions would be: the R/O/Y extensions to improve park 'n ride access for suburban commuters*** and improve accessibility to major employment centers already near L termini, and a downtown distribution system for the commuter rail stations, McCormick Place, and Streeterville. The only part of the city with significant enough non-downtown-oriented trip density for rail rapid transit is the north side, already served by Red and Brown Lines; all others, while utilization may be decent, could still be served capacity-wise by a quality BRT system.

***I've alluded to it a few times, but I don't think there should necessarily be hostility to park n ride facilities at or near terminal stations of the line. For starters, an auto trip intercepted and shifted to rail significantly reduces vehicle-miles-travelled (VMT): perhaps 20-30 miles auto miles are eliminated from their trip, helping congestion and air quality and downtown parking requirements. Additionally, a large enough parking facility can include some convenience retail such as dry cleaning, sundries or *gasp* daycare, which reduces the need for trip chaining and further reduces (VMT). Lastly, these far out locations by nature are generally not optimal as primary employment/mixed use districts, because of their overall inaccessibility relative to the rest of the transit system (Cumberland/Rosemont are exceptions because of their proximity to O'hare, I-90/Schaumburg and I-294/Northbrook). Park n Ride in some cases can improve overall system utilization while acheiving other important goals.

The Dan Ryan branch is sorely missing a major park n ride facility; apparently there were some mega-plans from the 70s to actually build a huge parking garage directly over the expressway at 87th or 79th, connecting directly to the transit station and potentially even with its own entrance/exit ramps. Never gonna happen now, and CTA couldn't even manage to get the planned PNR facility at 79th done for the Dan Ryan reconstruction. The prospect of adding a facility to the south side is to me one of the strongest justifications for the Red Line extension (in addition of course to serving an underserved dense area of town around 111th/Michigan).

ardecila Apr 18, 2008 8:54 PM

The CTA's April Construction Update mentions that the Polk Street entrance to the Harrison station will be re-opened as part of the Escalator Renovation project, and indicated that the work would be done this year.

The budget for this project is not on par with other complete station renovations, so I assume the re-opening will be bare-bones: probably just a good cleaning and maybe a fresh coat of paint. Obviously, the stairs to the street will need to be chiseled out again and railings/signage installed. The mezzanine level there is really only a hallway, so there's no room to install fare collection equipment. Thus, the exit will be exit-only.

nomarandlee Apr 18, 2008 9:48 PM

Amtrak to Iowa City?
 
Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...1,334942.story

Study says riders ready for rail service to Chicago
By NAFEESA SYEED | Associated Press Writer
3:49 PM CDT, April 18, 2008

DES MOINES, Iowa - Proposed railroad service between Iowa City and Chicago would draw 187,000 passengers a year but would require about $55 million in set-up costs, according an Amtrak study released Friday.

Iowa and Illinois also would have to pay annual operating costs of about $6 million, the study said.

Amtrak conducted the study at the request of transportation officials from the two states.

The proposed route would go through the Quad Cities, then to Iowa City along tracks that run south of Interstate 80. The study's estimates assumed there would be two daily round trips.....................
....

Abner Apr 18, 2008 10:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3489457)
Tough to say; there would probably be decent ridership potential, as there are many cross-town trips made, but we're not talking anything like Red Line trip density, and many would still choose a more direct bus option like the X49 bus. The Cost-Benefit decision would probably come down to how much the line could be value-engineered to maximum cheapness, meaning no underground segments, spartan stations/intermodel facilities, etc. There are alot of factors in the cost-benefit analysis, e.g. 1) if you're actually inducing new transit trips or reallocating them 2) if any reallocation in part #1 is benefitical by easing peak crowding, 3) reducing auto-vehicle-miles travelled and ergo congestion and pollution, etc.

Viva, there is some blog entry here that claims that a city-commissioned 2005 study found that the Mid-City Transitway might attract about 90,000 riders a day. I haven't seen that report, do you know if there is any truth to it? Chicago-l.org also remarks that the line has a "high" projected ridership. If it were true, that would be a pretty high number, although of course it would also be a very long (22-mile) line so I don't know about trip density.

I agree with you about park and ride lots and BRT. Whenever I am on Western I just imagine what it would be like to have some kind of serious transit line along it.

VivaLFuego Apr 18, 2008 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3494758)
Viva, there is some blog entry here that claims that a city-commissioned 2005 study found that the Mid-City Transitway might attract about 90,000 riders a day. I haven't seen that report, do you know if there is any truth to it? Chicago-l.org also remarks that the line has a "high" projected ridership. If it were true, that would be a pretty high number, although of course it would also be a very long (22-mile) line so I don't know about trip density.

I agree with you about park and ride lots and BRT. Whenever I am on Western I just imagine what it would be like to have some kind of serious transit line along it.

Let's just say that even I have seen a report on it, I probably wouldn't be able to divulge actual ridership projections :)

...but intuitively 90K seems a bit high unless there were also some sympathetic land use changes. Also, there's the question of what counts as the "Mid-City Transitway": only the Cicero corridor up to Jeff Park? Including 75th between Dan Ryan and Midway? North from Jeff Park to Skokie?

I think it's a cool project, but as you allude to, some serious cross-town BRT on Western and Cicero could do a whole lot of good for a fraction of the cost.

DaleAvella Apr 18, 2008 11:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3485464)
^
Now, as long as people continue to live further and further from the core, in the setting of limited transit funds, the city perhaps has 2 options:

1) Extend downtown's "tentacles" (commuter transit lines) further and further out to tap an affluent suburban population that is growing ever more distant

2) Make life better in Chicago's neighborhoods by creating more L lines and better connections between them.

So at this point, what is Chicago's bigger priority? People in the neighborhoods are still managing to get from place to place, often by car if not by cab, bus or bicycle. But if you cut the hand (commuter rail) that feeds your most vital asset (downtown), you're probably making a critical mistake.

That must be how the city's leaders have viewed this issue for a long time. Chicago is a very downtown-centric city in that way, more so than even New York, if you think about it.

Of course the so-called Circle Line would also nourish the downtown, more so I think that making the L lines longer, by creating density.

Do you think it is more common for a New Yorker to go from Brooklyn to Queens or the Bronx than for a Chicagoan to go from the north side to the west side or south side?

jjk1103 Apr 19, 2008 3:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3494527)
The CTA's April Construction Update mentions that the Polk Street entrance to the Harrison station will be re-opened as part of the Escalator Renovation project, and indicated that the work would be done this year.

The budget for this project is not on par with other complete station renovations, so I assume the re-opening will be bare-bones: probably just a good cleaning and maybe a fresh coat of paint. Obviously, the stairs to the street will need to be chiseled out again and railings/signage installed. The mezzanine level there is really only a hallway, so there's no room to install fare collection equipment. Thus, the exit will be exit-only.

...is there a link to the CTA monthly construction update ?

jjk1103 Apr 19, 2008 3:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3494815)
Let's just say that even I have seen a report on it, I probably wouldn't be able to divulge actual ridership projections :)

...but intuitively 90K seems a bit high unless there were also some sympathetic land use changes. Also, there's the question of what counts as the "Mid-City Transitway": only the Cicero corridor up to Jeff Park? Including 75th between Dan Ryan and Midway? North from Jeff Park to Skokie?

I think it's a cool project, but as you allude to, some serious cross-town BRT on Western and Cicero could do a whole lot of good for a fraction of the cost.

..you keep mentioning "BRT" ...I assume "RT" is rapid transit ...what is the "B" ??? :shrug:


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