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arenn Apr 18, 2009 4:10 PM

Lots of politically driven routes versus reality driven routes on HSR. Why a 3C route in Ohio? Better to connect Columbus to Chicago via Indianapolis (intermediate stop in Dayton). The Pensy line is abandoned there, but since the only real viable high speed line is new terrain anyway, no problem. This route could share trackage with the Cincinnati line coming out of the southeast side of Indy.

jpIllInoIs Apr 18, 2009 5:20 PM

^ The goal of the 3 C's line is not to connect Chi-Col. It is to connect the 3C's and pick up Dayton also.

Anyway this is the Chicago Transit thread.

denizen467 Apr 18, 2009 5:32 PM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,5347805.story

Legislators get a taste of the worst of transit system
Crumbling facilities show need for more funds, agencies say
By Richard Wronski | Tribune reporter
April 18, 2009

At the risk of getting rust in the eye, eight lawmakers gazed Friday at the rougher edges of the Chicago area's mass transit network—a corroded metal roof at the Cicero Metra station; a decrepit, century-old 'L' platform and a cluster of beater-looking cars used on the Electric District line.

. . .

"We looked at the [CTA 'L'] station upstairs—how aging and ... falling apart it is," Sandoval said, referring to the 100-year-old 'L' platform at Madison and Wabash, which is overdue for a $50 million makeover.

. . .

---------------

What's the latest on the Wabash el stations rebuilding?

Nowhereman1280 Apr 18, 2009 5:39 PM

How about this excerpt from the article:

Quote:

Legislators have until May 31 in the legislative session to produce a public works program. The Regional Transportation Authority has called for a five-year, $10 billion state capital program to maintain, enhance and expand mass transit.

But legislators Friday hoped for a more modest $1 billion-a-year capital program financed chiefly by a hike in the state gasoline tax.
Even if its just $1 billion a year for Mass Transit, we could see an amazing amount of improvement in Chicago area transit very rapidly. I mean combine all the potential and already locked in federal transit dollars and renewed support on a state level and we are talking about probably almost $2 billion a year put into capital improvements on Chicago area transit alone...

the urban politician Apr 18, 2009 6:42 PM

^ With the May 31 deadline looming, it makes one all the more thankful that loony bin Blago is out of office

emathias Apr 18, 2009 9:17 PM

I was thinking today about how LSD cuts Grant Park and the Loop off the the Lakefront. Has the City ever considered radically re-routing LSD?

For example, where it splits into Columbus, instead of splitting east, descend into the trench currently used by South Shore and Metra Electric lines. To accomodate that, they could first dig a trench in the right of way to accomodate a new lower level for the Metra tracks until south of the Art Institute where the new LSD would veer back NE under the field to the east of the AI to return to ground level about where it curves now. If needed, once Metra Electric was one level down, another trench could be added for the express buses that run there now. Since LSD would branch east south of Monroe, it wouldn't even interfere with any future under-Monroe transitway. If you worked in ramp entrances/exits at Congress and Monroe or Randolph, you could do away with stop lights and increase the traffic flow. If the city gets rid of the stoplight at Chicago Ave per the Central Area Action Plan, LSD could become stop-light free from the Museum of Science and Industry to Hollywood. I'm guessing it'd cost upwards of a billion dollars, but it'd be far, far less expensive than the Big Dig was in Boston.

This would leave us with over a full mile of unobstructed access to the Lake. Car people would be happy, parks people would be happy, usability of Grant Park would increase.

Red could be LSD, yellow could be a lower trench for the rail lines.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3300/...d02160a0_o.jpg

simcityaustin Apr 18, 2009 9:33 PM

So if the Quad Cities are connected via rail to Chicago does that mean I live in a suburb of Chicago? ;)

Chicago Shawn Apr 18, 2009 10:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4201975)
^ You're the expert, but to me it would seem to make sense for the BRT to go straight downtown and have stops in the Loop and Streeterville.

One, it avoids any need to transfer, and two, it's not all that easy to get to Streeterville using the Orange Line unless one made a second transfer at Roosevelt to the Red Line, rode it to River North, and then walked several blocks over.

Instead, take people straight downtown and let them ride the train west to the Illinois Medical District if that's their final destination.

Oh, I don't disagree with that. The problem is though, routing the bus express all the way to the Loop. It might be possible to continue eastbound via the shoulder all the way to LSD, and north up to Columbus Drive, with stops at Illinois Center and Streeterville; but I am pretty sure that the shoulder becomes too narrow once you reach the Dan Ryan. The issue with creating point to point service in the Loop is well, where exactly does the bus discharge the passengers for optimal point to point service, that would also have easy access. LaSalle Street station comes to mind, right off Congress and pretty close to the heart of the financial district. I think using the Loop elevated as a final distributor would work very well, giving a greater amount of accessibility to more destinations within the Loop, and time wise would probably be the same if not quicker than taking the bus all the way into the congested city center during rush periods.

Oh, I don't consider myself to be an expert, but thanks for the compliment. ;)

honte Apr 18, 2009 10:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4202984)
If the city gets rid of the stoplight at Chicago Ave per the Central Area Action Plan, LSD could become stop-light free from the Museum of Science and Industry to Hollywood. I'm guessing it'd cost upwards of a billion dollars, but it'd be far, far less expensive than the Big Dig was in Boston.

emathias, as a true transit novice, I am all in favor of burying LSD. But since you're burying it anyway, I'd rather keep it in place and see the cash spent to bury Columbus and some of the east-west streets too.

I can't express what wonders the Big Dig has done for Boston. I agree that it would be a worthwhile project.

honte Apr 18, 2009 10:59 PM

Has Chicago ever considered creating a real bus terminal for public transit, similar to those in many US cities (aside from the West Loop Transit Center fantasy)? It seems the old Greyhound station, with its connection to Lower Wacker and easy connection to the State-Lake transfer station, would have been a perfect model and location.

As much as I love lower Wacker, I suppose I would give it up for true BRT and a real transfer station downtown.

I don't think people mind too much transferring between lines. I think what discourages it in Chicago is the relative lack of nice and convenient places to do it. Most places to transfer are out in the elements, kind of dingy, lacking amenities, etc.
relative lack of nice and convenient places to do it. Most places to transfer are out in the elements, kind of dingy, lacking amenties, etc.

the urban politician Apr 19, 2009 4:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4203051)
Oh, I don't disagree with that. The problem is though, routing the bus express all the way to the Loop. It might be possible to continue eastbound via the shoulder all the way to LSD, and north up to Columbus Drive, with stops at Illinois Center and Streeterville; but I am pretty sure that the shoulder becomes too narrow once you reach the Dan Ryan. The issue with creating point to point service in the Loop is well, where exactly does the bus discharge the passengers for optimal point to point service, that would also have easy access. LaSalle Street station comes to mind, right off Congress and pretty close to the heart of the financial district. I think using the Loop elevated as a final distributor would work very well, giving a greater amount of accessibility to more destinations within the Loop, and time wise would probably be the same if not quicker than taking the bus all the way into the congested city center during rush periods.

^ Sounds okay, although it still doesn't address the Streeterville issue. Perhaps I am overestimating the importance of a transit connection to Streeterville? I have always felt that the large number of University, research, healthcare, and (to a small degree) media jobs in Streeterville deserved better transit access..

Nowhereman1280 Apr 19, 2009 5:16 AM

TUP no one from the suburbs is going to be commuting to Streeterville to work... There are only a handful of offices there and almost all of them are in that city services building on Columbus made of Corten steel. The bigger concern I think would be getting people to River North as more office buildings are built in that area...

alex1 Apr 19, 2009 6:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 4203109)
emathias, as a true transit novice, I am all in favor of burying LSD. But since you're burying it anyway, I'd rather keep it in place and see the cash spent to bury Columbus and some of the east-west streets too.

I can't express what wonders the Big Dig has done for Boston. I agree that it would be a worthwhile project.

I spend a lot of my free time in Boston so I can attest that the Big Dig has been a very successful project on multiple levels. But I still wonder if it was worth the $15 billion. I don't think it was.

LSD is perhaps the best designed water-edge highway I've ever seen built and naturally, Columbus Dr. is a smaller and more pragmatic problem to solve.

alex1 Apr 19, 2009 6:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 4203551)
TUP no one from the suburbs is going to be commuting to Streeterville to work... There are only a handful of offices there and almost all of them are in that city services building on Columbus made of Corten steel. The bigger concern I think would be getting people to River North as more office buildings are built in that area...

?. Is this really accurate?

emathias Apr 19, 2009 7:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alex1 (Post 4203624)
?. Is this really accurate?

It partly depends on what you define as "Streeterville," I suppose, and what you consider office jobs. Many jobs in hospitals are basically office jobs. Doctors probably mostly drive, as do the majority of shift workers, but that still leaves a lot of workers who do/can/could commute via transit. Most jobs in universities are basically office jobs. For specific buildings, the Onterie Building is partly commercial, as are Avenue Hotel building, NBC Tower, Time-Life Building, 680 N Lake Shore Drive, Affinia Hotel, 633 N St. Clair, Streeterville Center, 676 N St. Clair, ADA Building, AOA Building, 211 E Ontario, Searle Building, 233 E Ontario, Arthur Rubloff Building. In the Michigan Ave area, some of which a lot of people consider partly Streeterville, there's also 900 N Michigan, the Hancock Building, Olympia Center, 1 Magnificent Mile, City Place, FCB Building, Lewis Tower, and on the southern end, Equitable Building, 625 N Michigan, 500 N Michigan, 444 N Michigan, Tribune Tower, Wrigley Tower, and Realtor Building.

Additionally, there used to be more, but as someone else pointed out a while back, the wave of offices in Streeterville/N Michigan ebbed back after the subway to Streeterville fell off the Chicago transit radar. I think it's already heavily medical, education and marketing offices, but there could be more, especially along Wabash and St. Clair, and on the south on the empty parts of blocks near the NBC tower and Wrigley Building.

Currently, I think most suburban people who work outside the actual Loop probably drive. Not everyone, but most. I've known people in the Merchandise Mart who take Metra Electric from Frankfort and people who worked in the FCB building who took the Blue Line from Berwyn, but they're the exception and they still did drive sometimes.

the urban politician Apr 19, 2009 2:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 4203551)
TUP no one from the suburbs is going to be commuting to Streeterville to work... There are only a handful of offices there and almost all of them are in that city services building on Columbus made of Corten steel. The bigger concern I think would be getting people to River North as more office buildings are built in that area...

^ You don't think Northwestern University's Professional schools, the new Children's Memorial, Prentice Hospital, NWU Hospital, and its affiliated research institutions, the ABA, the ADA, etc don't make up a massive employment district?

And don't tell me they already have parking, because the whole point of improving transit access to that area is to reduce its parking needs so that we don't see more goliath parking garages envelop Streeterville.

the urban politician Apr 19, 2009 2:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4203661)
It partly depends on what you define as "Streeterville," I suppose, and what you consider office jobs. Many jobs in hospitals are basically office jobs. Doctors probably mostly drive, as do the majority of shift workers, but that still leaves a lot of workers who do/can/could commute via transit. Most jobs in universities are basically office jobs. For specific buildings, the Onterie Building is partly commercial, as are Avenue Hotel building, NBC Tower, Time-Life Building, 680 N Lake Shore Drive, Affinia Hotel, 633 N St. Clair, Streeterville Center, 676 N St. Clair, ADA Building, AOA Building, 211 E Ontario, Searle Building, 233 E Ontario, Arthur Rubloff Building. In the Michigan Ave area, some of which a lot of people consider partly Streeterville, there's also 900 N Michigan, the Hancock Building, Olympia Center, 1 Magnificent Mile, City Place, FCB Building, Lewis Tower, and on the southern end, Equitable Building, 625 N Michigan, 500 N Michigan, 444 N Michigan, Tribune Tower, Wrigley Tower, and Realtor Building.

Additionally, there used to be more, but as someone else pointed out a while back, the wave of offices in Streeterville/N Michigan ebbed back after the subway to Streeterville fell off the Chicago transit radar. I think it's already heavily medical, education and marketing offices, but there could be more, especially along Wabash and St. Clair, and on the south on the empty parts of blocks near the NBC tower and Wrigley Building.

Currently, I think most suburban people who work outside the actual Loop probably drive. Not everyone, but most. I've known people in the Merchandise Mart who take Metra Electric from Frankfort and people who worked in the FCB building who took the Blue Line from Berwyn, but they're the exception and they still did drive sometimes.

Just saw this post now, but this is my point exactly. The notion that "oh, people just drive* there anyhow" is not a reason not to improve transit to the area. Do you want to see 5 or 6 more massive garages go up in Streeterville?

Besides, of course people are going to drive--you kind of have to when there is no other way to get there. But I still think it's a very very poor excuse.

* BTW, the notions that doctors "are going to drive anyhow" may be in fact true, but 1) doctors-in-training and medical students are much more likely to use mass transit if it's available, and 2) it's false to assume that doctors represent anything even close to a majority of employees in a hospital, let alone all of Streeterville.

Chicago Shawn Apr 19, 2009 2:58 PM

Many of the suburban commuters to Streeterville use the rush period express CTA routes from Union and Ogilvie which run to Navy Pier via Lower Wacker. There is an additional express route up to Illinois Center from Union/Ogilvie as well. North Michigan Avenue has the #125 Water Tower Express bus, as well as the #33; and the local 124 services Streeterville as well and can be accessed by poeple who use the Metra Electric/South Shore Line. There are specific Metra monthly passes that one can buy allowing for a free transfer to these specific express runs serving the train stations. Additionally, Northwestern which is by far the largest Streeterville employer, provides its own commuter bus to the train stations.

Anyone who makes this commute from the Suburbs either uses the services provided or currently drives to work. I don't think a point to point Pace express will make too many car drivers suddenly switch over, as they will first drive to a park and ride and then switch to a bus. Many will say, "just may as well drive the whole way".

the urban politician Apr 19, 2009 3:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4203827)
Anyone who makes this commute from the Suburbs either uses the services provided or currently drives to work. I don't think a point to point Pace express will make too many car drivers suddenly switch over, as they will first drive to a park and ride and then switch to a bus. Many will say, "just may as well drive the whole way".

^ I think this is a dangerous assumption, don't you?

After all, don't hundreds of thousands of Chicago suburbanites already drive to Metra park n rides instead of saying "well, I may as well drive the whole way"?

My whole point is, sure perhaps there may not be a demand for a bus from the SW suburbs to Streeterville, but Streeterville is a legit employment district downtown and it would behoove the city to not take it for granted that more and more parking can keep being provided. Even the new Central Area Action Plan does little to address transit to Streeterville besides the already existing bus service. The proposed Lakefront busway, for example, stops way too far south of the job-rich NWU/Prentice/Childrens Memorial area.

Chicago Shawn Apr 19, 2009 3:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4203831)
^ I think this is a dangerous assumption, don't you?

After all, don't hundreds of thousands of Chicago suburbanites already drive to Metra park n rides instead of saying "well, I may as well drive the whole way"?

My whole point is, sure perhaps there may not be a demand for a bus from the SW suburbs to Streeterville, but Streeterville is a legit employment district downtown and it would behoove the city to not take it for granted that more and more parking can keep being provided. Even the new Central Area Action Plan does little to address transit to Streeterville besides the already existing bus service. The proposed Lakefront busway, for example, stops way too far south of the job-rich NWU/Prentice/Childrens Memorial area.

Yes, again I do not disagree, but my point is there already are services providing transit connections between Streeterville and Metra, including Northwestern's own bus. If someone drives in despite all of these services already being provided, then I yes, would assume they will still probably drive. Assuming the Pace express would take the same path as the current I-55 flyer, then the park n' ride location in Romeoville is really not that much farther away from existing Metra stations on the Heritage Corridor. Would more people ride the bus if commute time was guaranteed with didicated lanes? I certainly believe so. Will many more people ride it if the bus goes all the way up to Streeterville to justify the additional cost when other service already exists? Doubt it, although I could be wrong. I suppose a survey could be distributed among Northwestern's staff to determine if any live in the southwest suburbs, how they currently get to work, and would they chose to ride an additional bus option?


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