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emathias May 31, 2012 2:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jenner (Post 5718346)
Anyone know why Lawfin was banned?

I think it was for asking why some other member was banned.

emathias May 31, 2012 2:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5718387)
Point taken. It's endlessly frustrating that Metra essentially ignores everything between the downtown terminals and the city line. I might have been compensating for this a little bit by intentionally downplaying the Loop.

Do you think a station with sufficient capacity could be built in the Loop? It would instantly become one of, if not the busiest station on the system. I'm trying to figure out where you'd put it... beneath Monroe from State to Clark? Then, how would you approach a Monroe subway from the various rail lines leading into the Central Area? Turn radii are severely constrained by the deep foundations of skyscrapers (a problem that Paris doesn't have).

For comparison, the curve leading into the north end of Union Station is roughly 375'. Shorter rolling stock might allow for tighter curves, but you don't wanna get railcars as short as the L, since they're not really comfortable at high speeds.

The curves are definitely an issue, one that I'm not really qualified to address properly. I suppose I would assume they would do their turns outside of the high-rise district but I do recognize that I may be naive about how much can be engineered around existing structures.

spyguy May 31, 2012 3:53 PM

If you liked the new Morgan Station...
 
http://www.chicagojournal.com/News/0...take_on_Cermak

Morgan 'L' designer will take on Cermak
First designs for South Loop station could come in August
By BEN MEYERSON 05/30/2012 10:00 PM


The CTA’s new ‘L’ station planned for Cermak Road on the Green Line will be designed by the same team that sculpted the just-opened Morgan Station, the architect confirmed this week.

The station, budgeted to cost $50 million, will serve McCormick Place and the planned Motor Row entertainment district that’ll run down Michigan Avenue between Cermak and the Stevenson.

ardecila May 31, 2012 4:00 PM

$50 million? Morgan only cost $38 million, and it was elevated above a street with no room for construction staging. Plus, that was a very generous budget. I'm sorry, but costs don't rise 30% in 2 years.

:hell:

Beta_Magellan May 31, 2012 8:00 PM

Isn’t the $50 million cost old news? I’m pretty sure much of the cost is your typical large American city public works cost bloat, but unlike Morgan Cermak will be an island station—I wonder if that might require some more track work.

Still, it’s a lot for a station that fills a very narrow niche. Whereas the station at Morgan followed redevelopment in the West Loop (with the caveat that I recall reading that it was considered as part of the Lake Street reconstruction), the Cermak station seems to be intended as a means of leading redevelopment in Motor Row—that’s a risky proposition, and the fact that the are is typically discussed as a future “entertainment district” rather than a dense community full of housing. Combined with the fact that there’s a fair amount of transit infrastructure nearby (What’s happening to the South Lakefront study? And sure the block of Cermak between Clark and State is a bit imposing to walk through, but is it $50 million worth of imposing?), it all makes me wonder whether the station serves much of a purpose beyond burning off TIF money on something useful-looking.

Anyway, in less cynical news this should be of interest to a lot of forumers:

Quote:

CTA Station Watch officially launched
Press release, May 30, 2012

A new website at ctastationwatch.com is asking transit riders and construction buffs to share what they see every day as the Chicago Transit Authority embarks on a complex series of station rebuilds on the North Red Line.

[…]

Started by long-time transit watchers Patrick Barry and Kevin O’Neil, the site allows crowdsourced sharing of information via Twitter feeds (@stationCTA), a Facebook page and a group pool of photos on Flickr. Over Memorial Day weekend, for instance, O’Neil tweeted that Kiewit workers were tearing the roof off a former currency exchange under the Morse "L" station. Barry noticed rail ties and other materials stockpiled in a fenced lot on Broadway south of Foster.

“This is going to be a ton of fun for all of us who like watching public works projects,” said Barry, an urban issues writer for the last 31 years. “By tapping the eyes and ears of the riders and neighborhood residents, we’ll be able to track the action on a day-to-day basis.”
Might be worth following and contributing to…

emathias May 31, 2012 8:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5718735)
$50 million? Morgan only cost $38 million, and it was elevated above a street with no room for construction staging. Plus, that was a very generous budget. I'm sorry, but costs don't rise 30% in 2 years.

:hell:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5719076)
Isn’t the $50 million cost old news? I’m pretty sure much of the cost is your typical large American city public works cost bloat, but unlike Morgan Cermak will be an island station—I wonder if that might require some more track work.

...

Also, the article says the station will have entrances on both the north and south sides of Cermak, plus a third one at the south end. That seems like a lot more work than Morgan.

denizen467 Jun 1, 2012 6:55 AM

Could there be major program elements to accommodate the particularly large surges of riders that will occur during McCormick events -- like many more elevators (or extra-large elevators), escalators, or extra wide platforms or anything? Not that Wrigley and Grant Park (for example) events don't bring their own surges, but those stations weren't originally designed for sudden crowds. Also, I have some vague recollection of talk of an entrance or exit that stretched (presumably as an elevated walkway) all the way to the east side of Wabash, though that might've been our own wishful-thinking internal banter. Some of these high-capacity features could be locked closed when high-traffic events are not going on, if vandalism is a concern.

Alternatively, could the $50 million include funds for land acquisition for and construction of a larger station building that includes extra space for retail tenants (or just concourse space to shelter the crowds, if there is a logjam going into or out of the ticket gates and it's howling freezing winds outside)? This comes to mind because there seems to be a lot of vacant land next to the station site.

VivaLFuego Jun 1, 2012 2:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5718735)
$50 million? Morgan only cost $38 million, and it was elevated above a street with no room for construction staging. Plus, that was a very generous budget. I'm sorry, but costs don't rise 30% in 2 years.

:hell:

Guys, published cost figures like these are basically never apples to apples for a laundry list of reasons impacting what is being included in the "all-in" project cost. For example, the Morgan project cost $38m, but the actual construction contract to the general contractor to build it was $25.3m.

In other CDOT station news, the construction contract for the Clark/Division rehab was just awarded for $41.4m.

Mr Downtown Jun 1, 2012 2:31 PM

^No land acquisition and no special provisions related to McCormick Place. (The Auto Show is the only big public event held there. It's just not a transit trip generator.)

CTA Gray Line Jun 1, 2012 4:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 5719724)
^No land acquisition and no special provisions related to McCormick Place. (The Auto Show is the only big public event held there. It's just not a transit trip generator.)

What about all the people who work there?

Hotel workers, food service, security, maintenance, trades, vendors, etc., etc., etc.......

Parking around there is C R A P - if you have to work there (personal experience from servicing office machines there, and getting a B U N C H of avoidable tickets.).

ardecila Jun 1, 2012 6:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 5719716)
Guys, published cost figures like these are basically never apples to apples for a laundry list of reasons impacting what is being included in the "all-in" project cost. For example, the Morgan project cost $38m, but the actual construction contract to the general contractor to build it was $25.3m.

In other CDOT station news, the construction contract for the Clark/Division rehab was just awarded for $41.4m.

So they can rebuild a subway station for $41.4M in one of the city's most congested areas, but the elevated one with tons of room for staging costs $50M. :shrug:

I get your point about apples-to-apples, but I'm trying to imagine what kind of extras are included to bring the project up to $50M. Cermak streetscaping? Track renewal? Maybe there's something in the RFP.

Actually, that figure for Clark/Division is phenomenally low if it includes both the new mezzanine and the rehab of the existing one.

emathias Jun 1, 2012 7:26 PM

Cermak vicinity
 
Looking at the vicinity of Cermak, what's with the empty blocks southwest of the station?

How hard would it be to extend 23rd into Chinatown? It seems like if the city did that, Chinatown would easily spread into those blocks. Also, it looks like a bike and/or pedestrian path could be woven along the north side of the Stevenson connecting those empty lots into the south end of the main Chinatown-Wentworth strip. Not enough room for a road without a lot of work, but it looks like a bike/pedestrian path could be managed with only a little excavation under some of the ramps. Doing both 23rd and a bike/pedestrian path seems like it could much more strongly tie Chinatown to those parcels and improve interest in development of them, especially after Cermak Green gets built. I just hope those lots aren't slated for SFH type development. A nice, highly urban development of that area seems like it would do wonders for the area. Sold blocks of 4-5 story mixed-use buildings with maybe a couple midrises flanking the corner of State and Cermak. If you did that, you'd have local, organic support for the Motor Row establishments to bolster destination customers, and excellent ridership support for the station and eventually if it went well it could spill over and get something going around 26th and State and further south toward IIT. Getting the South Loop to be commercially connected to that part of the South Side would be a great accomplishment.

Eventually it could support another station at 31st, and Lakeview-level density all the way to the Lakefront. That whole area has the potential to become Lakeview South with some smart investment.

Mr Downtown Jun 1, 2012 9:01 PM

The empty blocks southwest of the new Cermak Station are the former Ickes Homes. Their future is still in doubt, but the property is still held by CHA.

Chinatown is unlikely to spread eastward underneath the Dan Ryan since Chinatown has its own CTA station.

ardecila Jun 1, 2012 9:14 PM

The Rock Island's overpass at 23rd is pretty recent, so there was some plan for it.

The Wells-Wentworth megaproject might address this, if it ever gets built. I believe the plan is to directly connect the end of Wells at Roosevelt to the Dan Ryan feeder at Cermak.

Standpoor Jun 1, 2012 11:14 PM

The new Cermak station will be expedited and that will increase costs considerably. Whether or not that is twelve million dollars of costs, I do not know. It would be nice to see a cost break down for once. The design won't be finalized until January at the earliest, contract will be let sometime in the winter/spring of 2013, awarded spring/summer of 2013 and construction would start sometime late 2013. That would mean construction would be right around a year or a little more. That would mean that the Cermak station construction would be about half the time of the Morgan station because they want it open by December 31, 2014.

chicagopcclcar1 Jun 2, 2012 7:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 5720232)
The empty blocks southwest of the new Cermak Station are the former Ickes Homes. Their future is still in doubt, but the property is still held by CHA.

22nd St. (Cermak Rd.) has more in history then just the CHA housing project. The location is the origin of the so-called Black Belt on the southside of Chicago. 22nd St. and State St. is where the then Negro settlement relocated after being burned out by the "second" Chicago Fire of 1874. This second fire started in an oil distribution facility and the first call was answered by the segregated Negro fire brigade. The fire was beyond their control when they arrived on the scene and quickly developed into an inferno that burned north and northeast, finally burning out when it reached the burn area of the original 1872 Great Chicago Fire.

The second fire is also credited with convincing the rich who resided in the mansions along the near south side to relocate to the Gold Coast. It also convinced city officials to enforce legislation prohibiting wood-frame structures from being built within city limits and inside the original burn area from 1872.

Meanwhile the Black Belt began the slow block by block resegregation that today has leapfrogged past Interstate 80-294 in the far-far south suburbs. By 1900 the southern limits was the former city limits at 39th St.; by 1930s it was 63rd St. Uniquely, the south side elevated was the axis of this steady movement. The square mile bounded by 51st and 43rd, State St. and Cottage Grove would become the second densest populated square mile in the country. Two business centers would develop in what we call Bronzeville; along 35th St. and south State and along east 47th St, centered on Grand Boulevard. The difference between the two...35th St. was mainly Negro owned while 47th St. was almost exclusively white-owned.

Which business practice continues today...well the answer is easily revealed by a brief rollcall.... like in 2012, there may still be that one Black-owned service station on the west side, but there are no Black-owned grocery stores in the entire city, the last one was at 79th St. and Calumet. Blacks can have all the store-front churches, barber shops, beauty shops, day care centers and funeral parlors; but not cell phone stores, shoe stores, beauty supply, convience stores and most liquor stores.

Tearing down 95 percent of the CHA housing projects has brought about the greatest sudden depopulation and redistribution in the city's history; the discussion of which would go far beyond the topics of this forum.

David Harrison

the urban politician Jun 2, 2012 10:16 PM

^ Appreciate the history lesson, but what does this have to do at all with our discussion?

CTA Gray Line Jun 3, 2012 3:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chicagopcclcar1 (Post 5721008)
22nd St. (Cermak Rd.) has more in history then just the CHA housing project. The location is the origin of the so-called Black Belt on the southside of Chicago. 22nd St. and State St. is where the then Negro settlement relocated after being burned out by the "second" Chicago Fire of 1874. This second fire started in an oil distribution facility and the first call was answered by the segregated Negro fire brigade. The fire was beyond their control when they arrived on the scene and quickly developed into an inferno that burned north and northeast, finally burning out when it reached the burn area of the original 1872 Great Chicago Fire.

The second fire is also credited with convincing the rich who resided in the mansions along the near south side to relocate to the Gold Coast. It also convinced city officials to enforce legislation prohibiting wood-frame structures from being built within city limits and inside the original burn area from 1872.

Meanwhile the Black Belt began the slow block by block resegregation that today has leapfrogged past Interstate 80-294 in the far-far south suburbs. By 1900 the southern limits was the former city limits at 39th St.; by 1930s it was 63rd St. Uniquely, the south side elevated was the axis of this steady movement. The square mile bounded by 51st and 43rd, State St. and Cottage Grove would become the second densest populated square mile in the country. Two business centers would develop in what we call Bronzeville; along 35th St. and south State and along east 47th St, centered on Grand Boulevard. The difference between the two...35th St. was mainly Negro owned while 47th St. was almost exclusively white-owned.

Which business practice continues today...well the answer is easily revealed by a brief rollcall.... like in 2012, there may still be that one Black-owned service station on the west side, but there are no Black-owned grocery stores in the entire city, the last one was at 79th St. and Calumet. Blacks can have all the store-front churches, barber shops, beauty shops, day care centers and funeral parlors; but not cell phone stores, shoe stores, beauty supply, convience stores and most liquor stores.

Tearing down 95 percent of the CHA housing projects has brought about the greatest sudden depopulation and redistribution in the city's history; the discussion of which would go far beyond the topics of this forum.

David Harrison


And what to do to change/improve the situation is a big discussion too.

chicagopcclcar1 Jun 3, 2012 2:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 5721143)
^ Appreciate the history lesson, but what does this have to do at all with our discussion?

I had to go back several pages and lo and behold...I actually responded to your prior post. I'd forgotten all about that...you asked about creating a subway station at the lowest point in the Chicago subway. You got two repsonses but I don't see your comment to either post.

The history I exlained about Cermak and State I hope would guide some of the future discussions now that you know what has gone on before.

David Harrison

Beta_Magellan Jun 3, 2012 3:58 PM

A couple of days old, but naming rights for some high-ridership CTA stations (and a bunch of other stuff) are now up for sale (via ABC), with the deadline for submissions being in September. I think the fact that only eleven stations have naming rights up for sale is encouraging—it seems like they’re only going for stations where they could demand top dollar. Also encouraging is the fact that the corporate names will only be <i>alongside</i> current station names, so we’re not getting a situation like in Philadelphia where Pattison was renamed AT&T.

the urban politician Jun 3, 2012 5:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chicagopcclcar1 (Post 5721540)
I had to go back several pages and lo and behold...I actually responded to your prior post. I'd forgotten all about that...you asked about creating a subway station at the lowest point in the Chicago subway. You got two repsonses but I don't see your comment to either post.

The history I exlained about Cermak and State I hope would guide some of the future discussions now that you know what has gone on before.

David Harrison

Oh, I see. I don't remember those comments, my apologies. Usually when responding to a person's posts (especially if that post is a bit older) it's a good idea to quote it as a reference.

chicagopcclcar1 Jun 3, 2012 5:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 5702680)
Question for those in the know:

Has there been any discussion about creating a new stop at Clinton (or Canal) on the O'Hare branch of the Blue Line?

And if not, does the planning for a future Canal/Clinton St subway have anything to do with why this hasn't been given a priority?

Thanks to anyone




Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 5721639)
Oh, I see. I don't remember those comments, my apologies. Usually when responding to a person's posts (especially if that post is a bit older) it's a good idea to quote it as a reference.

Which still leaves unanswered the question as to why you see a need for a subway station on the Blue line at the deepest point in the Chicago subway.

David Harrison

ardecila Jun 3, 2012 11:47 PM

Presumably the idea is to allow for an efficient transfer between Ogilvie/north end of Union Station and the Blue Line. If you're at Ogilvie and exit to Randolph, Clinton or Clark/Lake are pretty far away.

Unfortunately the subway was not built to interface with commuter terminals and it's far too expensive to add that in now. The more interesting question is why the Blue Line-Metra transfer at LaSalle is still so crappy.

I think I mentioned this earlier, but the original plan was to feed the Lake Street line into the Blue Line subway, which would have included an underground station at Clinton to replace the elevated one. The station would have been set up such that Blue Line trains could not stop there.

untitledreality Jun 4, 2012 2:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5721891)
The more interesting question is why the Blue Line-Metra transfer at LaSalle is still so crappy.

Woah woah woah... thats FAR too complicated of a question, lets make sure to start with the basics here.

1. Why does LaSalle Street station suck so bad?
2. Does it hate pedestrians?
3. Why does LaSalle Street station suck so bad?

Baronvonellis Jun 4, 2012 4:18 PM

I saw an empty MTA bus from New York City yesterday on I-90 by Elgin. Any idea why a bus from New York City would be driving around Chicago? Do they make buses around here? Or is the CTA refubushing buses from other cities?

k1052 Jun 4, 2012 4:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baronvonellis (Post 5722392)
I saw an empty MTA bus from New York City yesterday on I-90 by Elgin. Any idea why a bus from New York City would be driving around Chicago? Do they make buses around here? Or is the CTA refubushing buses from other cities?

New Flyer has production facilities in the Minneapolis area. Think they are in the middle of delivering a sizable order to the MTA.

Via Chicago Jun 4, 2012 4:45 PM

Per Tribune, south branch of red line to be closed for 5 months in 2013 to repair slow zones

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,2059367.story

Its gonna suck, but I think its definitely a better idea than stretching the nonsense over 4 years. Just get it over with.

CTA Gray Line Jun 4, 2012 5:12 PM

CTA to close Dan Ryan branch of Red Line for 5 months
 
http://discussions.chicagotribune.co...ne-20120604/10


A Red Line train moves north to the 95th Street stop in 2010. (Jose M. Osorio / June 4, 2012)

By Jon Hilkevitch

Tribune reporter

11:48 a.m. CDT, June 4, 2012

The entire south branch of the CTA Red Line will close for five months starting in spring 2013, with the transit agency offering free shuttle bus service to Green Line rail stations, so a $425 million track replacement project can be completed more quickly, officials said Monday.

The decision to close the Red Line from the Cermak-Chinatown station to the 95th Street terminal was made to condense the reconstruction from four years of weekend work to five months total, said CTA spokeswoman Molly Sullivan.

She acknowledged it will cause inconvenience to riders, but that the benefits of the project will come on line sooner.

“Dragging out the project would be delaying faster service by more than three years,’’ Sullivan said, adding that slow zones are in effect on 40 percent of the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line.

Completing the work in five months by shutting down the entire south branch, instead of four years of operating the line on weekdays only, will also save $75 million, Sullivan said.

The savings will also allow for some station upgrades, including elevators at three stations, she said.

The CTA is making the announcement now to get the word out and begin “extensive community outreach,’’ Sullivan said.

“We decided to make this announcement as early as we could to engage the community about the impacts of the project and (let people know about) the opportunity for jobs,’’ Sullivan said. “We will be seeking feedback from the community and planning town hall-style meetings.’’

The track system work will improve customer service by reducing the amount of slow zones, while also cutting operating costs for the transit agency, transit officials have said. Slow zones are currently needed to permit trains to travel safely on deteriorated sections of track.

The south branch of the Red Line has the highest slow zone percentage on the entire CTA rail system.

New steel rails, ties and ballast will be installed and drainage improvements made between the State Street subway portal, which is north of the Cermak-Chinatown station, and the 95th Street terminal, according to the CTA’s plan.

The project follows a 2006 project that upgraded signals, a portion of the power system and included some work on tracks and stations.

More than 50,000 riders board trains on the south branch of the Red Line on an average weekday, CTA statistics show.

jhilkevitch@tribune.com

Twitter: @jhilkevitch

k1052 Jun 4, 2012 6:21 PM

Presumably Rahm already has the south side alderman lined up to support this somehow.

Beta_Magellan Jun 4, 2012 6:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 5722559)
Presumably Rahm already has the south side alderman lined up to support this somehow.

From the Sun-Times’s article:

Quote:

Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, agreed.

“Shutting the Red Line down for five months is better than the alternative of shutting it down for four or five years each weekend,” Brookins said. “That’s the only other choice.

“Yes, there’s an inconvenience,” Brookins said. “But the long-lasting effect of fixing slow zones and upgrading stations will outweigh the temporary inconvenences.”

Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) said it’s “about time” the CTA fixed the Red Line. And he agreed that shutting down the Dan Ryan leg for five months is better than four years of weekend closings.

But Fioretti said that unless the CTA does a better job of maintaining the newly rebuilt Red Line, the same problems will return.
“To be always doing things in a big thrust without doing day-to-day maintenance of our rail system doesn’t benefit either the taxpayers or the riders,” Fioretti said.


emathias Jun 4, 2012 6:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Via Chicago (Post 5722437)
Per Tribune, south branch of red line to be closed for 5 months in 2013 to repair slow zones

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,2059367.story

Its gonna suck, but I think its definitely a better idea than stretching the nonsense over 4 years. Just get it over with.

So what will the routing for the Red Line be? It seems like they should route it onto the Green Line South, or maybe some to 63/Ashland and some to Midway and all Green Lines going to Cottage Grove. I bet you'd see a big jump in riders on the Orange "temporary Red" Line if they could do a one-seat trip from the SW side to State Street and the North Side.

And why can't they wait until the Cermak station on the Green Line is completed? I hope they would at least consider running the Clark bus to Archer/Wentworth during the construction. Actually, running the Clark bus to Cermak/Wentworth via Clark to Roosevelt to Canal then express to Cermak, turning around via Wentworth and Archer, would be very helpful. Then after the Red Line is complete, they could keep sending the 22/Clark to Roosevelt/Canal area to serve that retail district.

EDIT: So I see on the CTA web page about it that my suggested red/green routing is what will be done. I still think they should route some to the Orange Line, but I guess that might be too confusing.

Quote:

Service alternatives

During construction, CTA will offer extensive alternate service providing multiple options for commuters.
  • Free shuttle buses from 69th, 79th, 87th and 95th/Dan Ryan stations to the Garfield station on the Green Line
  • (a) including express service from stations and local, station-to-station service (entry at Garfield will be free for bus shuttle riders)
  • Free rail entry for shuttle bus riders at Garfield on the Green Line
  • 50 cent discounted bus rides on many South Side routes
  • Red Line service on Green Line tracks between Ashland/63rd and Roosevelt
  • Expanded bus service on existing routes


Beta_Magellan Jun 4, 2012 6:56 PM

It’s going to terminate at Ashland/63rd, running along the Green Line tracks. The Sun-Times says that it’s going to go into the State Street tunnel “from” Roosevelt, so I’m assuming it will just go down the 16th St. incline and the Sun-Times article is poorly worded.

Cermak-Green would be useful in this case, but a couple more years of deferred maintenance is pretty bad, too.

k1052 Jun 4, 2012 7:49 PM

Hopefully they are planning on getting after all those track slow zones on the South Main before beating the crap out of it with rerouted Red Line service.

CTA Gray Line Jun 4, 2012 7:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 5722452)
http://discussions.chicagotribune.co...ne-20120604/10

By Jon Hilkevitch

Tribune reporter

11:48 a.m. CDT, June 4, 2012


....."More than 50,000 riders board trains on the south branch of the Red Line on an average weekday, CTA statistics show".

jhilkevitch@tribune.com

Twitter: @jhilkevitch


You all MUST know that I will be promoting the Gray Line as a rail alternative, I can't wait for these "Town Hall" meetings: http://grayline.20m.com/cgi-bin/i/im...lier_front.jpg http://grayline.20m.com/cgi-bin/i/im...flier_rear.jpg

Vlajos Jun 4, 2012 8:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 5722452)
http://discussions.chicagotribune.co...ne-20120604/10


A Red Line train moves north to the 95th Street stop in 2010. (Jose M. Osorio / June 4, 2012)

By Jon Hilkevitch

Tribune reporter

11:48 a.m. CDT, June 4, 2012

The entire south branch of the CTA Red Line will close for five months starting in spring 2013, with the transit agency offering free shuttle bus service to Green Line rail stations, so a $425 million track replacement project can be completed more quickly, officials said Monday.

The decision to close the Red Line from the Cermak-Chinatown station to the 95th Street terminal was made to condense the reconstruction from four years of weekend work to five months total, said CTA spokeswoman Molly Sullivan.

She acknowledged it will cause inconvenience to riders, but that the benefits of the project will come on line sooner.

“Dragging out the project would be delaying faster service by more than three years,’’ Sullivan said, adding that slow zones are in effect on 40 percent of the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line.

Completing the work in five months by shutting down the entire south branch, instead of four years of operating the line on weekdays only, will also save $75 million, Sullivan said.

The savings will also allow for some station upgrades, including elevators at three stations, she said.

The CTA is making the announcement now to get the word out and begin “extensive community outreach,’’ Sullivan said.

“We decided to make this announcement as early as we could to engage the community about the impacts of the project and (let people know about) the opportunity for jobs,’’ Sullivan said. “We will be seeking feedback from the community and planning town hall-style meetings.’’

The track system work will improve customer service by reducing the amount of slow zones, while also cutting operating costs for the transit agency, transit officials have said. Slow zones are currently needed to permit trains to travel safely on deteriorated sections of track.

The south branch of the Red Line has the highest slow zone percentage on the entire CTA rail system.

New steel rails, ties and ballast will be installed and drainage improvements made between the State Street subway portal, which is north of the Cermak-Chinatown station, and the 95th Street terminal, according to the CTA’s plan.

The project follows a 2006 project that upgraded signals, a portion of the power system and included some work on tracks and stations.

More than 50,000 riders board trains on the south branch of the Red Line on an average weekday, CTA statistics show.

jhilkevitch@tribune.com

Twitter: @jhilkevitch

Sounds great, and it will save $s too.

le_brew Jun 4, 2012 10:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5722609)
It’s going to terminate at Ashland/63rd, running along the Green Line tracks. The Sun-Times says that it’s going to go into the State Street tunnel “from” Roosevelt, so I’m assuming it will just go down the 16th St. incline and the Sun-Times article is poorly worded.

Cermak-Green would be useful in this case, but a couple more years of deferred maintenance is pretty bad, too.

Sun Times may have been referring to the incline a little south of 12th St. veers east toward Wabash.
Recall that prior to 1992/93 it was Howard/Jack Pk/Eng, and Lake/DanRyan. I don't know if that incline is any longer functional or will have to refurbish for this purpose.

chicagopcclcar1 Jun 4, 2012 10:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by le_brew (Post 5722845)
Sun Times may have been referring to the incline a little south of 12th St. veers east toward Wabash.
Recall that prior to 1992/93 it was Howard/Jack Pk/Eng, and Lake/DanRyan. I don't know if that incline is any longer functional or will have to refurbish for this purpose.

The south incline has NEVER been taken out of service...it needs no work except to adjust the cab signal to mainline speeds. It is used by work trains and as a mini re-route of Red line trains. 17th St. tower would probably be manned 24/7.

David H.

Busy Bee Jun 4, 2012 11:41 PM

Someone please explain to me why less than 15 miles of track replacement costs $425 million dollars. I mean PLEASE explain that to me.

ardecila Jun 4, 2012 11:53 PM

They're essentially rebuilding the foundation that the entire alignment sits on, including a complex integrated drainage system.

Plus, since it's a rail line and not a highway, there are complex systems (signal and electrical) that need to be pulled out during construction and then rebuilt when work is done.

I also think your figure is off: $425M includes $75M that was saved and repurposed for station renovations, which will tackle Garfield, 63rd, and 87th.

emathias Jun 5, 2012 3:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 5722950)
Someone please explain to me why less than 15 miles of track replacement costs $425 million dollars. I mean PLEASE explain that to me.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5722959)
They're essentially rebuilding the foundation that the entire alignment sits on, including a complex integrated drainage system.

Plus, since it's a rail line and not a highway, there are complex systems (signal and electrical) that need to be pulled out during construction and then rebuilt when work is done.

I also think your figure is off: $425M includes $75M that was saved and repurposed for station renovations, which will tackle Garfield, 63rd, and 87th.

So, basically, it's most comparable to spending $350 million to build 10 miles of green-field transit line with no stations. That actually seems pretty reasonable, given that it's $35 million per mile.

CTA Gray Line Jun 5, 2012 1:57 PM

June CTA Board Meeting
 
I will be addressing the CTA Board Meeting next Wednesday, June 13th at 10am.

And the final South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study meeting is tentatively set
for the end of this month, at Rev. Braziers New Apostolic Church at 63rd &
Dorchester.

I will be at both to distribute literature, please attend if you can.

Mike Payne

CTA Gray Line Jun 7, 2012 7:48 AM

Open-loop transit on the rise
 
http://www.contactlessnews.com/2012/...it-on-the-rise


Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Agencies want to save money using standard payment cards

Jill Jaracz, contributing editor, Avisian Publications
For public transit users, the grind of a daily commute is two-fold. Not only do you have to cram onto a crowded bus or train, but you also have to worry about having your fare ready, whether you’ve got exact change, if your transit pass has expired, or what to do if your transit card won’t register.

Public transit officials know that commuting can be a stressful experience. With the development of open fare transit systems, they hope to make mass transportation a simpler and more enjoyable experience.

Most domestic transit systems today rely on a combination of fare payment methods. “Today, fares are paid with cash, tokens, or closed-loop magnetic or contactless media,” says Dave Blue, regional director for sales and marketing at Cubic Transportation Systems.

The variety of technology incorporated into transit systems across the world varies greatly. SEPTA, the transit agency serving southeast Pennsylvania including Philadelphia, uses cash, paper tickets and tokens. Other cities like Hong Kong, London and Chicago utilize a closed-loop contactless card in their fare acceptance systems.

In 2009, the Utah Transit Authority became the first in the nation to trial open-loop fare payments. Since this initial application, open-loop payments have made headway as the solution of the future with other cities piloting or implementing the technology.

Open-loop systems enable riders to pay fares using bank-issued payment products. Initially, this revolves around contactless cards such as a Visa payWave, MasterCard PayPass, Discover Zip or American Express ExpressPay. But it can also include mobile wallets and NFC payments.

“The convenience for the consumer is that you don’t need another form of payment or to carry another card. You can use the contactless bank card that you already carry in your wallet to get you through a fare gate or onto a bus,” says Blue.

As contactless technology was added to the payment system, open fare transit started making waves. “It changed the way people looked at options for transit collection,” says Jerry Kane, New Payment Technology Project manager at SEPTA. Transit systems no longer had to opt for a proprietary, closed-loop system that only worked in their transit operations.

With the addition of contactless, the amount of time needed to complete an open-loop transaction was reduced. This transaction speed is vital when moving people through turnstiles quickly. Once the transaction could be completed within 500 milliseconds, it was a viable option for use in the mass transit arena, says Kane.

Transit agencies that have paper tickets, mag stripes or tokens have discovered that the accounting and technology behind the scenes can become a burden. Paper tickets and tokens require inventory and distribution, says Kane.

Closed-loop systems don’t ease the burden much as transit agencies are forced to issue their own media and manage complex systems. They require agencies to invest heavily in technology and manpower to build and maintain the systems. “Today transit agencies spend significant dollars on proprietary fare media, media distribution and cash collection,” says Blue.

Proprietary systems leave transit agencies beholden to one vendor for everything related to the technology, including upgrades and added functionality. “You’re stuck with that vendor as long as that system is operating,” says Craig Roberts, manager for technology development at the Utah Transit Authority.

On the contrary, open fare systems enable transit operators to invest in communication and payment technologies that are based on open standards and widely deployed across industries, explains Roberts.

This gives agencies the freedom to make changes and upgrade their systems as their needs change. “Ideally you are able to buy in a competitive marketplace and plug and play different components. Agencies are in better position to make changes,” says Roberts.

Agencies can also transition from managing the entire payment operation to simply being another merchant in opensystem. “If the agencies can move toward open payments as their primary payment mechanism they can recognize substantial cost savings,” says Blue.

Roberts adds that once an open fare system is in place it’s relatively easy to make changes. In a closed system where intelligence is held on the card itself, changing fares can require the agency to change readers and even cards. If the agency adds a pass product that’s card-based, it’s “essentially going to have to re-card and reprogram readers to take the product,” says Roberts.

“Back office simplicity equals reduced cost for agencies. There’s greater efficiencies,” says Roberts. Because open fare utilizes current payment network brands, a transit agency doesn’t have to issue its own media or concern itself with issues surrounding adding value to the card. It also doesn’t have to provide customer service for the card since they’re not the issuer.

Passengers don’t have to figure out how the fare system works. Through focus groups the UTA found that was an added benefit. “The issue of embarrassment is a major barrier to use of a transit system,” says Roberts.

“If you have a contactless credit card in your wallet or purse, you can use transit in Utah today,” says Roberts.

Open-loop utilization in Utah remains low

Though agencies see benefits from open loop, convincing riders to use their contactless bank-issued cards for transit is a different story.

Currently, only about one percent of UTA fares come from open payment transactions, says Roberts. Half of ridership comes from third-party payers such as ski resorts, employers and schools that issue cards that work on the system. Another 25% to 30% of riders pay cash. The remainder purchase passes sold at retail locations like grocery stores.

“We have it but haven’t been promoting it. People don’t know,” says Roberts, noting that the card issuing banks are responsible for promoting the use of contactless payment with cards. “It’s the chicken and the egg about contactless and open payment. You have to have a lot of merchants, then a lot of banks. Then you get promotion,” says Roberts.

Chicago embarks on an open-loop transition

Although the UTA system has scant usage, it hasn’t deterred other agencies from delving into open fare implementation projects. In January the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) awarded a 12-year contract to Cubic Transportation Systems to upgrade its Chicago Card system from a closed to an open fare collection system based on contactless and NFC standards. According to Ed Reese, general manager for business development at the CTA, the terms of the deal give Cubic a two-year implementation program and a ten-year operation and maintenance contract.

Cubic won’t receive payment until the system goes live. Once operational, Cubic will earn a fixed per tap fee for the term of the contract, as well as a fixed monthly fee, says Reese.

It’s a way for CTA to reduce operating expenses. “We shift the risks, credit, labor and security to a private contractor,” says Reese, adding that the CTA anticipates cost savings of $5 million a year.

After the transition, rail fares will be 100% contactless. Buses will accept both contactless payment and cash. “This will lower the cash processing costs, which means higher revenue for us,” says Reese. When the new system is rolled out, the CTA will issue new media in the form of a Visa co-branded general-purpose reloadable card. Those who do not have a contactless-enabled card or are unbanked will use this card. “You can top up the card or link it to a credit card account,” says Reese.

Once the system is live, the CTA will stop issuing its old card.

The reloadable card will also be able to handle all of the various fare passes CTA offers. “All of the existing fare products are able to be purchased on the card at any point,” says Reese.

In designing the software, the CTA intends to support different fare schemes, including fixed-route pricing, peak pricing, premium pricing and route specific pricing. “Things we can’t do now,” explains Reese.

Open fare transit makes it easier for agencies to work with each other, because Visa, MasterCard and American Express are automatically interoperable with other systems, says Roberts.

For an agency like the CTA, this feature is important because it helps the system comply with a new Illinois state law that mandates the three Chicago-area transit agencies have a universal fare card. The transition to an open fare payment system will allow the three Chicago-area transit agencies–CTA, Metra commuter rail and Pace buses–to work together in an account-based universal system, explains Reese.

Philadelphia’s SEPTA opens up

While Chicago is transitioning from one contactless system to another, SEPTA plans to replace its paper and token-based fare system with a contactless system dubbed the New Payment Technology Project.

“We were facing a technological obsolescence,” says Kane. SEPTA’s current system uses read-only mag stripe technology for throwaway passes, a technology available since the 1980s. “It’s at the end of its useful life for fare collection,” says Kane.

For SEPTA, switching to an open fare system also means cost savings. “It’s quite expensive to run fare collection, managing calendar passes, tokens, collection and distribution. It’s the full burden of running a bank, but we don’t get any money out of it,” says Kane.

Transit vendor ACS will provide the complete solution including design, testing, installation and operation, explains Kane. The design phase is just beginning, with testing expected by the end of the first year and pilots to follow. Both systems will run side by side until the new system is installed overall.

A challenge for SEPTA is figuring out how to implement the open fare system for its commuter rail operations, which make up 10% of overall ridership and 15% of revenues. “At trains, buses and trolleys you pay first but with commuter rail you pay on board. Conductors will have handheld readers for validation,” says Kane.

SEPTA has not yet decided on the type of media it will use for this new system. “We are going to accept all forms of payment that comply with open standards,” says Kane.

Still any transit agency must serve the unbanked population. To this end, SEPTA is exploring use of its own white label prepaid card as well as a general-purpose reloadable branded card.

Because the new system is still years from implementation and has to run in parallel with the existing system, SEPTA does not know what cost savings it can realize. “There are a lot of hidden costs associated with running your own fare payment system that you would not encounter in an open fare system,” concludes Kane.

NFC’s role in open loop

As the mobile wallet becomes more prevalent, transit authorities may also be able to tap into the mobile user for payment. “Since the systems are built to accept contactless media they are a perfect fit for upcoming NFC technology. The mobile phone will be able to emulate a proprietary card if the agency wishes or it can be the conduit, through a ‘wallet’, for an open payment bank issued card,” says Dave Blue, regional director for sales and marketing at Cubic Transportation Systems.

According to a report by the Smart Card Alliance, NJ TRANSIT in New Jersey became the first transit agency to test these waters when in October 2011 it partnered with Google Wallet for an NFC mobile payment test. The agency hopes NFC can speed up the ticketing and boarding process through shorter transaction times.

However, open fare systems can also easily enable NFC and mobile payment. “If the industry makes mobile payments work for Visa, MasterCard and American Express, we’re already set up,” says Roberts. “Any agency looking toward the future will have that enabled.”

CTA Gray Line Jun 8, 2012 1:26 PM

Photo flashback: Vintage 'L'
 
http://www.redeyechicago.com/news/ct...9.photogallery


Photo flashback: Vintage 'L'

Chicago's beloved (and sometimes be-hated) "L" system turns 120 today. Think about how old that is. Nobody is alive to remember a time before the "L" started rumbling through the city, but we do have photos to remind us of the birth of our elevated trains. Click through to see photos spanning from the earliest train cars to the development of the modern "L."

CTA Gray Line Jun 8, 2012 11:20 PM

Pace joins CTA in universal fare system
 
http://www.dailyherald.com/article/2...ews/706089926/


Commuters who use both Pace and CTA know what a pain it can be to deal with separate fare systems.

But a new deal between the agencies will not only provide an uninterrupted transfer but enable riders to jump on Pace buses and CTA trains with a wave of their credit card or smartphone.

Pace directors Wednesday approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Chicago Transit Authority coordinating an open fare system for both.

“It’s the dawn of a universal fare card,” Pace chief counsel Thomas Ciecko said.

“This will allow customers using the CTA and Pace to have a seamless fare system,” Pace Executive Director T.J. Ross said.

The CTA and then Pace anticipate introducing the new technology in late 2013. Essentially, it will mean that commuters can pay for rides and transfer from one system to the other using a transit card that will include the CTA and Pace logos. Or they can use credit or debit cards, smartphones and certain types of prepaid cards to access transit.

Eventually, the new system will replace Pace’s existing fare cards. Cash will still be accepted.

The change will allow people to purchase fare cards at 2,500 venues across Chicago and the suburbs as opposed to about 800 now.

The move has come after some prodding from Springfield. The region’s three transit agencies were mandated by the Illinois legislature to offer a universal fare system by 2015.

The CTA has contracted with Cubic Transportation Systems to implement the program and the company will also work with Pace.

It will cost Pace nearly $55 million over 10 years to pay for the switchover as well as annual operating expenses. About $14 million is for capital costs to convert fare collection points. Cubic will handle processing of all fare cards, which includes dealing with customers.

Pace officials were still working out financing but they noted that the agency will save money spent on fare collections. It’s estimated 90 percent of all fares will eventually be paid by automated card versus 60 percent now.

Cubic conducted a similar transition for San Francisco’s transit systems.

“Our region will benefit from what Cubic learned from rolling this out in other places,” Pace spokesman Patrick Wilmot said.

Riders will be updated on changes to expect and how to prepare as the switch gets closer.

“There will be an intensive marketing process so people know this is coming ... and what they need to do,” Wilmot said.

For example, riders should note that for the system to work, credit and debit cards will require an embedded “smart chip” that can be read at fare boxes and collection points.

Meanwhile, Metra’s leap to universal fares will come later.

The commuter rail agency is working with Pace and the CTA on the issue, spokeswoman Meg Thomas-Reile said.

She added, “Metra does not currently use electronic fare collection while the CTA and Pace have had more than a decade of electronic collection experience and the infrastructure to support it.” Complicating matters is the fact the Metra is an “open” system, where anyone can walk onto a train with an upfront payment.

Metra is supposed to complete a universal fare development plan by August and request companies to submit proposals at the end of the year.

“We tentatively plan to begin implementation testing in June 2013 with the goal of implementing a system by January 2015,” Thomas-Reile said.

A transit brouhaha that erupted in the last two weeks also surfaced at Wednesday’s Pace meeting. Regional Transportation Authority Chairman John S. Gates wrote a May 25 memo that faulted the CTA, Metra and Pace for delays regarding consolidating operations to save money. The three agencies fired back accusing the RTA of a bloated bureaucracy.

Referencing the friction, Pace Chairman Richard Kwasneski quipped, “an intergovernmental agreement ... what a novel idea.”

He suggested that the meeting agenda be sent to the RTA, noting, “this is a prime example of how the CTA and Pace work together. Our staffs have been working on this for over a year.”

Nexis4Jersey Jun 10, 2012 10:56 PM

Here's my Metra map...I tried tweaking it twice and it froze...so i gave up :(

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid...1e1ab450&msa=0

ardecila Jun 11, 2012 1:57 AM

A bit old, but I don't think it got posted...
Quote:

Beale predicts violence if Metra doesn’t hire more minorities for rail project
BY FRAN SPIELMAN
May 31, 2012 4:52PM


An influential alderman warned Metra’s executive director on Thursday that “people are going to get hurt” if the commuter rail agency fails to bolster minority participation on a $133 million South Side railroad bridge known as the “Englewood Flyover.”

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), chairman of the City Council’s Transportation Committee, did not explain who he believed would “get hurt” or who the perpetrators might be. But, he was clearly referring to civil disobedience or maybe even violence at the construction site.

“I’m trying to help you help yourself. When I say that, problems could arise. When you look at a community like Englewood [that] is challenged and you have over $1 billion of work coming through and there’s no people of color working on that project, I’m afraid people are going to get hurt,” Beale told Clifford during Thursday’s committee hearing.

Clifford said he “respects and appreciates” Beale’s point. But, he also stood his ground, arguing that Metra has “not done anything wrong” and “followed federal statutes to the letter.”

After a Metra board meeting that attracted dozens of sign-carrying protesters, Metra put off awarding the contract to the low-bidder — Elgin-based IHC Construction Cos. LLC — until at least June 15 in hopes of resolving the issue to everyone’s satisfaction.
Looks like this week we'll see either a plan from Metra to increase minority participation, or an affirmation of the earlier contract with beefed-up security.

Knowing Metra, they'll probably punt.

Also, Beale is seriously misinformed - the Englewood Flyover is not even close to a billion. $200 million, maybe. CREATE overall is several billion dollars, but it includes numerous projects and many of the smaller ones have had substantial minority participation.

Standpoor Jun 11, 2012 3:24 AM

I guess it only makes sense to devolve into threats of violence since there is nothing else these politicians can do to stop this project. I am not entirely sure which I find more disturbing, the Alderman's knowledge of the project and set asides or the author's callous disregard to providing necessary facts.

CTA Gray Line Jun 11, 2012 12:01 PM

Chicago Transit Board Approves Purchase of 100 New Articulated Buses
 
http://www.transitchicago.com/news/d...ArticleId=3022


5/9/2012

New hybrid diesel-electric and clean-diesel articulated buses to begin arriving in late-2012

The Chicago Transit Board today approved the purchase of up to 100 new articulated (60-foot) buses from New Flyer Industries, continuing CTA’s effort to modernize its bus fleet and replace older model buses at the end of their useful life.

“This is one of several bus and rail system-improvement projects in the pipeline aimed at allowing the CTA to meet the growing ridership, further improve operational efficiencies and to continue to ensure safe and reliable service for customers,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “By taking advantage of this opportunity, we are able to expedite the process of upgrading our bus fleet and avoid making frequent and costly repairs to buses that are beyond their useful life.”

CTA is piggybacking on a contract belonging to King County Metro, Seattle’s public transit agency, to purchase the 100 low-floor, fully-accessible articulated buses. Due to changing business needs, the Seattle transit agency does not plan to purchase the full quantity of buses allowed on their contract and has agreed to assign a portion of the contract to the CTA.

Delivery of the 100 articulated buses – a combination of 33 hybrid diesel-electric and 67 clean-diesel buses – is expected to begin late this year and continue through 2013. The new articulated buses will begin replacing the 40-foot Nova buses that were entered into service in 2000-2001. The new buses will be assigned to routes where they are projected to maximize performance and meet the growing ridership demand.

The latest purchase of 100 articulated buses will cost $80 million and is being funded with a combination of federal funds and local resources.

Busy Bee Jun 11, 2012 2:15 PM

More New Flyers. It makes the most economic sense I suppose.

With the experience the CTA has with M.A.N., it would be so cool to get some slick German buses back on Chicago streets.... Just dreaming...

http://bus-and-coach-photos.com.s3.a...s.com/1676.jpg
linkhttp://bus-and-coach-photos.com.s3.a...s.com/1676.jpg

http://world-viewer.com/data_images/...w-floor-01.jpg
link

Beta_Magellan Jun 11, 2012 3:11 PM

Indeed—three doors would be great


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