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Chicago3rd Apr 24, 2008 3:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3504893)
It's a bit more complicated than that... As Mr D has alluded to, any rail/traction power system like streetcars has a significantly higher capital cost than bus systems sharing streets with cars.

Because it was all taken and given away to highways. Detroit had some really powerful lobbying going on back then. We became car lovers and prioritized the car...tearing through neighborhoods and destroying them with super highways, draining our inner cities of people, tearing down buildings so we could park those monsters and so on...yeah it is a lot more complicated....but we all know why.

Chicago3rd Apr 24, 2008 3:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3505492)
Self-service fare collection, which is the term the industry prefers to "honor system," is standard in Europe and for nearly all the new North American light rail systems. Portland tried it for buses in the early 90s but abandoned it a couple of years later. Los Angeles even had it for their heavy-rail Red Line, which meant downtown subway stations with no turnstiles. For various reasons, though, LA has now decided to abandon it on the Red Line.

I would not hold my breath waiting for it to come to Chicago buses.

It was too confusing in Portland....you paid heading into the city was you boarded and paid when getting off from the city.....something like that...lol. It was fricken hard to remember.

Portland still does have open fair on its light rail.

OhioGuy Apr 24, 2008 4:13 AM

Seattle was like that as well when I visited. I didn't have to pay to get on the bus in downtown, but if I traveled outside a certain area I had to pay as I exited. But I made sure I took the bus to the edge of the fare free zone and then walked the remainder of the way. :)

Chicago3rd Apr 24, 2008 5:30 PM

"2008, there simply isn't the capital investment money available to maintain auto infrastructure in most cities. Given the lack of subsidy, freeway agencies that were hanging on by a financial thread had basically no choice but to gradually shift to mass transit."

I tweaked someone's opinion above in light of the state of IL annoucement that we need to spend $5 billion a year on roads in IL just to maintain them......

Mr Downtown Apr 25, 2008 6:52 PM

April 25 Central Electric Railfans' Association meeting is called "Streetcars in Cyberspace." It's a guide to finding historic transit information and photos online. It's at 7 pm at University Center of Chicago, 525 South State, free and open to anyone. More info here.


April 26 Transit Riders' Alliance meeting features Steve Schlickman, Executive Director of the RTA. RSVP here.

DaleAvella Apr 26, 2008 2:05 PM

In Chicago, I'm not sure if inflexibility of a light rail system is much of a concern. Western, Ashland, Roosevelt, North, etc. have been major bus routes for decades and will be for decades to come. I think the goal is to make it more rapid, which light rail would do better than a bus lane. I say send light rail down the middle, between the lanes, and I don't really see any problems it would cause. Other than cutting down Daley's beautiful trees.

Mr Downtown Apr 26, 2008 5:28 PM

The flexibility of buses is not in the line-haul sections, it's at the ends of the route, where boardings at any given stop are lower. Buses can circulate to various origins and destinations that are not along the guideway, minimizing walking distance for patrons.

You're talking about taking away traffic lanes to put light rail down the center of Western or Ashland, and about forbidding left turns and crossings anywhere other than signalized intersections. You're talking about having passengers wait on narrow safety islands next to the SUVs and semis, splashed with slush and salt spray. You're talking about incredibly expensive tracks, signals, overhead, and traffic signal interconnect systems. You're talking about vehicles that cost eight times as much--but only last twice as long.

What exactly is the advantage of light rail over dedicated bus lanes on a street such as Roosevelt? How would it be any more rapid if the vehicles have the same fare collection, same number of stops, same right-of-way?

UChicagoDomer Apr 26, 2008 9:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3512413)
The flexibility of buses is not in the line-haul sections, it's at the ends of the route, where boardings at any given stop are lower. Buses can circulate to various origins and destinations that are not along the guideway, minimizing walking distance for patrons.

You're talking about taking away traffic lanes to put light rail down the center of Western or Ashland, and about forbidding left turns and crossings anywhere other than signalized intersections. You're talking about having passengers wait on narrow safety islands next to the SUVs and semis, splashed with slush and salt spray. You're talking about incredibly expensive tracks, signals, overhead, and traffic signal interconnect systems. You're talking about vehicles that cost eight times as much--but only last twice as long.

What exactly is the advantage of light rail over dedicated bus lanes on a street such as Roosevelt? How would it be any more rapid if the vehicles have the same fare collection, same number of stops, same right-of-way?

I apologize if I sound like a smart-ass, and at the risk of sounding uninformed, but is the city/CTA/any suburb currently considering either these options (and my sympathies would, I guess, tend to lie with BRT, assuming it can be done elegantly with platforms and protection from the weather, and efficiently, with signal priority, lane dedication, and pre-boarding fare collection)?

Mr Downtown Apr 26, 2008 9:45 PM

I was pleased and a little surprised to hear RTA Executive Director Steve Schlickman say this morning that Chicago is way behind other cities in implementing bus solutions, so it seems like there's some interest from RTA leadership. FTA is also keen on BRT at the moment.

I would say there's a 50 percent chance we will see BRT in the Carroll Street corridor in the next decade. The mayor and CDOT are keen on it, serious engineering work has been done, Trump left space for a station, etc.

For crosstown corridors, I think there's a 70 percent chance CTA will try a few lines (X49, X80, X55) with LA style Metro Rapid bus service: widely spaced stops and signal priority but limited areas with dedicated lanes.

As for light rail or Ottawa-style busway, I think the chances are much smaller. Busway would make a lot of sense for the Mid-City corridor, but I don't think it will happen in the next decade.

VivaLFuego Apr 27, 2008 4:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3512807)
I was pleased and a little surprised to hear RTA Executive Director Steve Schlickman say this morning that Chicago is way behind other cities in implementing bus solutions, so it seems like there's some interest from RTA leadership. FTA is also keen on BRT at the moment.

I would say there's a 50 percent chance we will see BRT in the Carroll Street corridor in the next decade. The mayor and CDOT are keen on it, serious engineering work has been done, Trump left space for a station, etc.

For crosstown corridors, I think there's a 70 percent chance CTA will try a few lines (X49, X80, X55) with LA style Metro Rapid bus service: widely spaced stops and signal priority but limited areas with dedicated lanes.

As for light rail or Ottawa-style busway, I think the chances are much smaller. Busway would make a lot of sense for the Mid-City corridor, but I don't think it will happen in the next decade.

I think your take is right, there is no interest from anyone in the region for light rail, for the myriad of reasons already discussed. For a city that's so well-suited for bus travel, we indeed are behind where we should be on bus service, but its complicated by the general paradigm for bus service here being different than most other cities (anecdotal, but at one point the Feds were on the city/RTA's case for not having any HOV and express bus lanes on highways, seemingly unaware that such things would cannibalize existing rail transit services with few exceptions like NW tollway and I-55).

Best case, BRT becomes a guiding principle for all future streetscaping projects, and through a variety of other piecemeal components (e.g. signal interconnecting, next bus arrival displays) and new bus-friendly streetscapes, over the next 10-20 years Chicago develops a full grid of rapid buses.

ardecila Apr 27, 2008 6:18 AM

I just returned from New Orleans, where I rode the streetcars. After all this light-rail/streetcar/BRT discussion, I realized that the thing I hated the most by far about the CTA's bus system was the buses themselves.

I'm fine with the concept of a bus - vehicles operating in mixed road traffic - but I don't like the noxious fumes generated, or lack of operable windows/uncomfortably-cold A/C. The streetcars in NO, although they were slower than buses, somehow seem a lot more humane and pleasant. Are battery-powered buses feasible? Do hybrid buses produce less emissions? Beyond that, I would experiment with smaller, operable windows. (Ludacris' character in "Crash" made an interesting observation about the fish-bowl quality of bus windows).

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3512807)
For crosstown corridors, I think there's a 70 percent chance CTA will try a few lines (X49, X80, X55) with LA style Metro Rapid bus service: widely spaced stops and signal priority but limited areas with dedicated lanes.

Adding X9 (Ashland) to this list would provide a kind of replacement for the Circle Line, and X3 (King) would act in lieu of Metra adding local stops on the Metra Electric.

Is there any progress towards installing BRT lanes on LSD?

the urban politician Apr 27, 2008 4:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3512807)
I would say there's a 50 percent chance we will see BRT in the Carroll Street corridor in the next decade. The mayor and CDOT are keen on it, serious engineering work has been done, Trump left space for a station, etc.

For crosstown corridors, I think there's a 70 percent chance CTA will try a few lines (X49, X80, X55) with LA style Metro Rapid bus service: widely spaced stops and signal priority but limited areas with dedicated lanes.

^ God I hope you're right. I'm currently addicted to a car-lite lifestyle, and I hope to carry that on if/when I'm eventually in Chicago.

Not that the above lines are necessary by any means, but if the city can take bigger strides to make transit more efficient and competitive with the car, it will significantly improve the quality of life (in my humble opinion).

nomarandlee Apr 27, 2008 5:24 PM

CNR and the EJ&E tracks
 
More on CNR and the EJ&J tracks and the NIMBY fights. I really hope a settlement can be reached. If we are lucky it will throw a hammer down on the STAR as well.

Does anyone (Mr.D or Viva) have any idea how much these grade crossings that these communities want on average cost?
Quote:

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/9...rail27.article

Who'll get all the trains?
CANADIAN NATIONAL | Railway's plan to bypass Chicago riles suburbs along the new route

April 27, 2008Recommend (2)

BY GUY TRIDGELL SouthtownStar
The proposal seems simple enough.

For $300 million, the Canadian National Railway asks to buy the EJ&E railroad tracks encircling the Chicago area -- moving traffic around instead of through the city.

The little-used EJ&E tracks, cutting through smaller suburbs on the outskirts of the region, get pressed into service.

The chronic train congestion plaguing Chicago and its interior suburbs is reduced.

Everyone's happy.

But in real life, the issue is much more complicated than that.................

ardecila Apr 27, 2008 5:49 PM

I initially was in favor of the CN purchase (even though I live in Barrington), but I started reading the documents prepared by our local protesting organization - which raised a really good point.

CN currently operates many trains through Chicagoland every day on already-congested tracks. The CREATE program, which CN is supposed to contribute millions to, will ease the congestion on those lines. The reason CN is pursuing the EJ&E purchase is so that their trains can avoid those congested lines altogether, and CN can back out of its financial commitment to CREATE. This will only make it more difficult for CREATE to move forward.

Most communities already have grade crossings on the EJ&E, and they want CN to build under/overpasses (except Barrington, which is demanding a ridiculously-expensive trench for the railroad). CN is fine with these along their line, so long as they don't have to pay for them. The railroad has committed $40 million to improvements over the entire line. However, one 4-lane overpass costs about $20 million, so $40 million would build only 2 overpasses, and there are probably 20 to 30 major crossings that need to be replaced. To make matters worse, some of the crossings are in areas where overpasses are not appropriate, so underpasses must be built, and they cost twice as much.

VivaLFuego Apr 28, 2008 1:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 3514012)
More on CNR and the EJ&J tracks and the NIMBY fights. I really hope a settlement can be reached. If we are lucky it will throw a hammer down on the STAR as well.

Does anyone (Mr.D or Viva) have any idea how much these grade crossings that these communities want on average cost?

It's tough to give an "average cost" for a grade separation, but doing the number those communities want would cost far more than CN is paying for the whole ROW. Costs would largely depend on if the railroad is active while construction is ongoing, and how accomodating the state and municipalities would be with road closures. Doing a whole bunch at once would acheive minor economies of scale for materials and some of the design work, assuming the municipalities were cooperative, which they probably wouldn't be.

I feel like buying next to a railroad track is like buying next to an airport, don't bitch and moan if its being used for its purpose. Unless EJE made some commitment to these municipalities that the ROW would not be re-used for freight trains, they should really STFU and start planning their grade separation projects.

VivaLFuego Apr 28, 2008 1:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3514040)
CN currently operates many trains through Chicagoland every day on already-congested tracks. The CREATE program, which CN is supposed to contribute millions to, will ease the congestion on those lines. The reason CN is pursuing the EJ&E purchase is so that their trains can avoid those congested lines altogether, and CN can back out of its financial commitment to CREATE. This will only make it more difficult for CREATE to move forward.

I'm perplexed why a privately-funded solution to regional congestion is inherently inferior to CREATE... I mean I'd like to see CREATE happen too, but it's not like CN is just "passing the buck," they're trying to solve the problem from their end within their power and means.

jjk1103 Apr 28, 2008 2:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DaleAvella (Post 3512118)
In Chicago, I'm not sure if inflexibility of a light rail system is much of a concern. Western, Ashland, Roosevelt, North, etc. have been major bus routes for decades and will be for decades to come. I think the goal is to make it more rapid, which light rail would do better than a bus lane. I say send light rail down the middle, between the lanes, and I don't really see any problems it would cause. Other than cutting down Daley's beautiful trees.

....woodsman, spare that tree !!!!!!! :D

emathias Apr 28, 2008 3:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3512807)
...
I would say there's a 50 percent chance we will see BRT in the Carroll Street corridor in the next decade. The mayor and CDOT are keen on it, serious engineering work has been done, Trump left space for a station, etc
...

Considering how long they've talked about downtown circulation needs, and how obvious, quick and relatively cheap this solution is, I really, really hope that the chance of Carroll being implemented is 100% once the Trump and 300 N Lasalle and 353 N Clark are completed. In other words, I'd like to think it would at least start being set up to run before 2010. The need will only be bigger once 300 N LaSalle and 353 N Clark are full of offices space partly filled by Metra riders.

ardecila Apr 28, 2008 5:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3514796)
I'm perplexed why a privately-funded solution to regional congestion is inherently inferior to CREATE... I mean I'd like to see CREATE happen too, but it's not like CN is just "passing the buck," they're trying to solve the problem from their end within their power and means.

CREATE presents CN with a way to reduce congestion and delays on what is referred to as the "Beltway Corridor".

http://www.createprogram.org/images/map.jpg

This line has far more grade separations than the EJ&E, and it is double-tracked. Communities along this line are accustomed to and designed around heavy traffic on this line. Reducing congestion on it would allow CN to increase operations and reduce delays through Chicago, with the least impact on Chicagoland's overall congestion and quality of life.

CN's purchase of EJ&E means that they no longer have a stake in the improvement and upgrade of the Beltway Corridor, putting more of the onus onto the other railroads that use it. With less interested parties, the upgrades begin to seem too ambitious and so they don't get built, while the railroads that still use the Beltway Corridor still suffer from the problems along the line.

As far as I can see, the only real benefit to Chicagoland of the EJ&E purchase is that the St. Charles Air Line could possibly be abandoned, reducing noise and air pollution in the South Loop and along the south lakefront. One other upside is that it makes the STAR Line even more difficult to build, forcing Metra to concentrate on other, more worthwhile expansion projects.

nomarandlee Apr 28, 2008 5:24 AM

A footnote in the Riverwalk article..

Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...4558993.column

Easing a rail bottleneck
Groundbreaking is set for Monday on a $4.2 million project to help reduce congestion involving freight trains, Metra commuter trains and Amtrak trains operating along the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad corridor in Summit, Bridgeview and Bedford Park.

The train signal system will be upgraded along the corridor, allowing more trains to pass through the area. The work represents a small piece of a $1.5 billion program aimed at modernizing the antiquated freight rail network in the Chicago region.

..


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