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ArteVandelay May 9, 2008 4:49 AM

In addition to all the above, as of now the CTA still plans on starting a rehab project on the Brown Line (or Ravenswood) branch as well. So on any given weekend this summer the Blue Line will be closed toward OHare, minimum one of the two Red Line subway tubes will be closed, Lake/Wabash branch of the loop will be closed, numerous Brownline stations will be closed (ongoing), and Brownline will be single tracked or closed.

Huberman has done more to overhaul the rail infrastructure since he started than the previous administration did in its entireity. And it badly needs it.

ardecila May 9, 2008 5:51 AM

Not that I disapprove of Huberman's Herculean efforts to get the system back into proper working order, but all I can say is that I'm glad the work will be mostly occurring during the summer, when more people have the option of biking/walking to work, and many students will not be making the commute to school.

Now for a better question - where is the funding for the slow zone work coming from? Is CTA simply borrowing the money? Or are they shifting it from the New Starts projects? That seems likely, since I haven't heard a peep about any of the line extensions, the Circle Line, Mid-City, or Carroll Street since Huberman took office. The only expansion that's been mentioned is the BRT upgrade, which is federally-funded in full.

LaSalle.St.Station May 9, 2008 7:31 AM

^ i think with the Transit bailout the CTA has xcess rev ( for now) to cover capital needs....

jjk1103 May 9, 2008 1:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3540118)
As far as I know, the Dan Ryan Red Line rehab work is done. There might be a few random checklist items remaining, but all major construction and delays are over. Same goes for the reconstruction of the Dan Ryan itself.

Currently, the Red Line has a track rehab going on in the subway, and between Diversey and Wellington on the North Side, that should also be done by the end of 2008. After that, track rehab will work on portions further north.

The Blue Line has two projects going on - a signal system replacement and a track rehab. The track rehab is expected to be completed by the end of 2008. The signal project might extend into 2009, since the track work is getting priority, but I don't think it will cause significant delays.

If major construction on the city's two busiest lines wasn't enough, there is also a rehab project that's set to start work on the Lake/Wabash half of the Loop, so all trains will be shifted to the other half (Van Buren/Wells). Service patterns will change while construction is ongoing. The interesting thing about this is that, when the Lake/Wabash side is closed, Brown and Orange Lines will essentially be combined, with trains operating from Kimball to Midway. The Pink Line will not go to the Loop, and will terminate at Ashland/Lake. This project is also planned to complete by the end of 2008.

In short, 2008 will be absolute transit hell, between North Side 3-tracking, city-wide slow zone work, and a few other projects, with every line affected except Yellow. But come January, the system should improve by a tremendous amount. In the meantime, improvements will come in the form of increased Bus Tracker, new Brown Line stations opening, and maybe the installation of station improvements like the ad/info screens. The Loop closures will also make it a bit easier for the Wabash repainting/streetscaping to continue.

Complete information can be found here, along with links to the latest closure/delay updates. http://www.transitchicago.com/news/motion/szep.html

...thanks !!! ....I copied that link.......I can give visitors some decent info now !!

the urban politician May 9, 2008 1:54 PM

I'm not sure if I've ever experienced the CTA slowzones. How bad were they?

The last time I rode the Blue line (OHare branch) was Fall 2005. The last time I rode the north side Red Line was Spring 2006.

Were there slow zones back then? I just don't recall the system being all that slow at that time.

VivaLFuego May 9, 2008 3:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3540327)

Now for a better question - where is the funding for the slow zone work coming from? Is CTA simply borrowing the money? Or are they shifting it from the New Starts projects? That seems likely, since I haven't heard a peep about any of the line extensions, the Circle Line, Mid-City, or Carroll Street since Huberman took office. The only expansion that's been mentioned is the BRT upgrade, which is federally-funded in full.

Yeah, it's being paid for with bonds backed by future expected federal formula funds. i.e. borrowing against the future, with interest, and leaving the impending atrocious funding shortage for the next poor sucker and the mayor who appoints him. New Starts planning money is generally a separate pot.

There is a reason the previous administration didn't go this route in putting the entire system under construction at the same time... it's at least a highly debatable point as to the correct course of action, but the "conspiracy"-minded would surely see this as a Daley imperative to get the system tip-top ASAP for the Olympic bid.

Of course, our local media are completely ignorant of public finance, so no one needs to worry about any questions like ardec's being asked...

OhioGuy May 9, 2008 3:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3540118)
In short, 2008 will be absolute transit hell, between North Side 3-tracking, city-wide slow zone work, and a few other projects, with every line affected except Yellow.

Lovely. The year I sell my car and switch entirely to transit is when the inconveniences hit their climaxes. But it will be nice when the day comes that the L isn't the pathetic embarrassment it currently is.

(but I'll never believe the day will come when the L cars are clean enough to eat off of as Huberman suggested they would be) :P

k1052 May 9, 2008 3:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3540706)
I'm not sure if I've ever experienced the CTA slowzones. How bad were they?

The last time I rode the Blue line (OHare branch) was Fall 2005. The last time I rode the north side Red Line was Spring 2006.

Were there slow zones back then? I just don't recall the system being all that slow at that time.

The O'Hare branch wasn't slow zoned until after the Blue Line derailment in 2006 which brought to light the terrible track conditions and lax inspection.

Slow zones on the Red Line, both on the Northside Main and State Street subay had been on the rise for the last several years. Nearly 50% of the route north of Roosevelt was slow zoned due to track deterioration.

However Huberman is paying for this it needed to be done. I don't blame him for new slow zones popping up (brown line), they are only being found because track inspections have been stepped up and are using new equipment to locate unsafe trackage.

emathias May 9, 2008 3:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3540706)
I'm not sure if I've ever experienced the CTA slowzones. How bad were they?

The last time I rode the Blue line (OHare branch) was Fall 2005. The last time I rode the north side Red Line was Spring 2006.

Were there slow zones back then? I just don't recall the system being all that slow at that time.

There were some slowzones at the time, but one of the problems uncovered as part of the federal investigation following the 2006 Blue Line subway derailment was that, for a number of different reasons, portions of rail that SHOULD have been declared slow zones and/or repaired were simply not being labeled slow in reporting. That was the proximate cause of that derailment, and after that there was a huge push to identify all the slow zones so that they could be fixed and be run safely and at full speed.

I suspect that some train operators knew this and intentionally slowed their trains in unlabeled, but obviously defective portions of track, which led to some areas being slower than expected. But when the full identification of slow zones was finally established, a huge portion of the routes became official slow zones. Coupled with the Red Line Dan Ryan rehab and the Brown Line station expansion work, the track rebilitation has created long portions of slower service. However, the Dan Ryan Red Line has completed, and the Brown Line is ever-closer to being completed. The majority of the non-Brown Line slow zones will be eliminated by the end of this year, so 2009 will be a lot faster for many trips, and when they go back to 4 tracks at Belmont and Fullerton, and all the slow-zone elimination work is completed, riding CTA rail in 2010 promises to be a miraculously faster experience compared to 2007. Then maybe they can return their focus on expansion plans, like the Clinton Street Subway or the Circle Line.

emathias May 9, 2008 3:30 PM

Am I correct in remembering that the track rehabs in both subways include replacing wood ties with concrete ties? Shouldn't that help prevent tracks from deteriorating to slowzones again too quickly?

OhioGuy May 9, 2008 3:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3540908)
Then maybe they can return their focus on expansion plans, like the Clinton Street Subway or the Circle Line.

There is talk of a Clinton Street subway?

k1052 May 9, 2008 3:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3540917)
Am I correct in remembering that the track rehabs in both subways include replacing wood ties with concrete ties? Shouldn't that help prevent tracks from deteriorating to slowzones again too quickly?

They have replaced the wooden ties and metal spikes with concrete, rubber dampened tie plates, and rail clips. Should last considerably longer than the old style with less upkeep cost.

Haworthia May 9, 2008 4:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3540929)
There is talk of a Clinton Street subway?

It's an idea that has been floated around. Look here for instance:
http://www.chicago-l.org/articles/ClintonSubway.html

I would love for such a thing to happen. It would really help tie in Olgilvie and Union Station to the rest of the transit system. That means better access to Metra and Amtrak.

Chicago3rd May 9, 2008 11:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ArteVandelay (Post 3540214)
In addition to all the above, as of now the CTA still plans on starting a rehab project on the Brown Line (or Ravenswood) branch as well. So on any given weekend this summer the Blue Line will be closed toward OHare, minimum one of the two Red Line subway tubes will be closed, Lake/Wabash branch of the loop will be closed, numerous Brownline stations will be closed (ongoing), and Brownline will be single tracked or closed.

Huberman has done more to overhaul the rail infrastructure since he started than the previous administration did in its entireity. And it badly needs it.


Am having a little problem understanding your "tense". We on the brownline have been dealing with construction, what for two years now? We are over a year into 3 tracks being used....we just completly opened the 2 northbown tracks at Belmont and Fullerton. Huberman had little to do with that...and the brown line has run so much better since brownline construction started...I am a little worried of going back to all tracks and stations being open.

ardecila May 10, 2008 5:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3540929)
There is talk of a Clinton Street subway?

The article that Haworthia posted is only one version of the idea. The Central Area Plan has a more extensive plan.

Instead of a simple Blue Line loop, it recommends a new subway branching off of the Red Line in the Cabrini-Green area, running south down Larrabee Street, crossing the river and the Fulton River District, and then running down Clinton all the way to somewhere south of Roosevelt, where it would cross the river again and rejoin the Red Line north of Chinatown.

Ideally, this would be done in conjunction with the Circle Line; Circle Line trains would take the State Street Subway and Red Line trains the new subway, with the idea being that the Red Line is serving the office district on the West Loop, while the Circle Line is serving the entertainment and shopping in the East Loop.

OhioGuy May 10, 2008 5:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 3541940)
Am having a little problem understanding your "tense". We on the brownline have been dealing with construction, what for two years now? We are over a year into 3 tracks being used....we just completly opened the 2 northbown tracks at Belmont and Fullerton. Huberman had little to do with that...and the brown line has run so much better since brownline construction started...I am a little worried of going back to all tracks and stations being open.

I don't think the brown line has run better since reconstruction started. You're still stuck slowing down to a crawl as you pass by the stations under reconstruction. If those stations were open, the trains could speed in, stop quickly, and continue on in about the same amout of time it takes to crawl through the station reconstruction zones right now. Not to mention the time wasted just sitting still on the tracks until the workers get out of the way and the train is given the signal to continue on.

OhioGuy May 10, 2008 5:43 AM

I don't know if this has been pointed out before, but it looks like Google maps updates on the weekends to remove the red line subway stops. I just noticed this. There is nothing showing up between Fullerton & 35th.

nomarandlee May 10, 2008 5:44 AM

Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,7209125.story

Officials choose 79th, Chicago, Halsted and Jeffery for bus-only lanes pilot program

By Jon Hilkevitch | Tribune reporter
10:30 PM CDT, May 9, 2008

CTA bus-only lanes will be built on portions of 79th Street, Chicago Avenue, Halsted Street and Jeffery Boulevard as part of the plan to speed up public transportation and entice commuters from their cars.

In addition, officials said Friday that transit stations will be built at key points along the bus lines, all set up so passengers can pre-pay fares before quickly boarding new hybrid buses through the front and back doors.

The shelters also would feature electronic message boards linked to the CTA's Bus Tracker system, which uses GPS technology to provide riders with information about the locations of buses on routes.

In the longer term, "public bicycles" that commuters could use for free or for a small fee could be available at the stations.

............The agreement also calls on the city and the CTA to explore the use of combined bus-bicycle lanes throughout the bus-rapid transit network.

Initially, the bus-only lanes would revert to use by all vehicles during non-peak hours, but long-term, the lanes would operate all day, not just during rush periods, the agreement said.

jhilkevitch@tribune.com
..

Marcu May 10, 2008 7:32 AM

^ Halsted is the perfect north side option. Not too familiar with the others.

Rail Claimore May 10, 2008 8:35 AM

^Well, 79th is the busiest route in the city. This would be like adding an extra layer of service.


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