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emathias Aug 27, 2012 8:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 5812042)
Huh? Have you ever ridden the Orange Line and looked out the window? There are big grocery-anchored shopping centers at Pulaski, Kedzie, 35th & Archer, and at Ashland. And the Stevenson is to the north anywhere west of Ashland.

Yeah - the Ashland stop might be harder than others to really integrate into a walkable fabric, but the rest, while not as perfectly pedestrian as the Brown Line, are certainly capable of being TODized.

Marcu Aug 27, 2012 8:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5809769)
The demand isn't for housing, it's for access to downtown at a reasonable price. It doesn't matter if you have 100,000 square miles of open space, if only 10 square miles are walkable to transit, then those 10 square miles will always and forever hold a market premium over the rest. If race factors in at all, it's racism against locating in certain areas, not racial politics.

The 10 square miles that you describe will not command a sufficient market premium if the surrounding area is open prairie. People will just drive and park nearby. Regarding race, any local zoning/decision usually has some aspect of keeping/moving out "undesirables" from the area on the agenda. I don't see how we can have any discussion about local politics without taking this into account. I guess my point is that I don't see why we are even discussing expanding TOD to underutilized parts of the s/sw sides. This is a conversation that's premature by at least a decade. We can barely hold on to the people and building stock that's there now.

emathias Aug 27, 2012 8:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 5812239)
The 10 square miles that you describe will not command a sufficient market premium if the surrounding area is open prairie. People will just drive and park nearby. Regarding race, any local zoning/decision usually has some aspect of keeping/moving out "undesirables" from the area on the agenda. I don't see how we can have any discussion about local politics without taking this into account. I guess my point is that I don't see why we are even discussing expanding TOD to underutilized parts of the s/sw sides. This is a conversation that's premature by at least a decade. We can barely hold on to the people and building stock that's there now.

The people who are leaving are the drivers, or those who aspire to be drivers. The people who are coming of their own volition are people who may drive sometimes and can certainly afford a car, but would prefer to live a walking and transit lifestyle.

As a city, you cater to those who are leaving at the expense of those who are coming to your own peril.

Mr Downtown Aug 28, 2012 2:38 AM

A time-lapse video of the new South Shore Line bridge being moved into place over Torrence Ave. Saturday. Gives a whole new meaning to "moveable bridge."

Video Link

Segun Aug 28, 2012 4:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 5812042)
Huh? Have you ever ridden the Orange Line and looked out the window?

I usually have my eyes closed. Too many Snarks and Grumkins.

ardecila Aug 28, 2012 4:13 AM

Bridge moving is awesome. This is the first new long-span truss structure I've seen in a very long time, at least in the Midwest.

Nexis4Jersey Aug 28, 2012 4:31 AM

I Wasn't aware that they still built them , but its nice that they do...adds some variety..

Rizzo Aug 28, 2012 5:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey (Post 5812691)
I Wasn't aware that they still built them , but its nice that they do...adds some variety..

I think because it's incredibly long span they opted for a truss design. Though I've seen long span concrete box girder bridges for passenger rail.

CTA Gray Line Aug 28, 2012 5:37 AM

Chicago bus operator selects Cubic for open payment system
 
http://www.contactlessnews.com/2012/...payment-system


Cubic Transportation Systems has been approved by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to deliver the agency's open standards fare system (OSFS) to suburban bus operator Pace.

The open payment system will enable CTA and Pace customers to pay their transit fares with any contactless bank card that conforms to industry standards.

NFC-enabled mobile phones with bank cards residing on them will also be accepted in the system.


CTA rail station turnstiles and CTA and Pace buses will have card readers that
accept payment with a simple tap of the card, or NFC-enabled mobile phone.

For customers without a bankcard, contactless reloadable prepaid cards will be sold at more than 2,500 retail stores and vending machines across Chicago and neighboring communities.

The deal expands the largest North America transit industry public private
partnership for fare collection systems and services, increasing Cubic's
original contract by approximately $50 million to $508.9 million.

CTA Gray Line Aug 28, 2012 5:46 AM

95th Street Terminal Improvements
 
http://www.transitchicago.com/95thTerminal/


95th Street Terminal Improvements

In 2014, construction will begin on the 95th Street Terminal

Improvement Project, a $240 million project (projected cost) that will expand and greatly improve the 95th/Dan Ryan station
(the south terminal of the CTA Red Line)—a project that will bring significant improvements to a station that is a vital part of the South Side.

The CTA is soliciting feedback from customers who use the terminal. Two open houses are scheduled in September.

This is the public's chance to tell us how the terminal can be improved as we begin the design phase.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Harlan High School

9652 S. Michigan Avenue

This location is served by: Red Line (95th/Dan Ryan) and CTA Bus #34, #103,
#106, and #119.


Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Palmer Park

201 E. 111th Street

This location is served by: CTA Bus #34, #119, #353; Pace Bus #353; and Metra Electric 111th Street (Pullman).


Built in 1969 and designed by architects at the famed Chicago architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the station serves as both a train terminal and an integrated bus terminal.

The station is one of CTA's busiest, with 24-hour Red Line service and over 1,000 CTA and Pace bus trips on a typical weekday.
These buses connect Far South Side communities to the CTA rail network. There are roughly 300,000 people who live within walking
distance of the CTA bus routes serving the 95th/Dan Ryan Terminal.

The station has seen a number of changes and improvements since it opened, including the addition of an elevator and other accessibility improvements, but
nothing at the scale of what is proposed for this project.

A brand new terminal would include a different design providing a better layout for customers accessing the terminal from 95th Street as well as boarding buses and trains once inside. New amenities will also improve comfort and the overall transit experience.


What is the purpose of this project?

The 95th/Dan Ryan station is a critical piece of the CTA's Red Line.

It connects Far South Side communities, to job centers throughout the region and serves as a transit gateway for the South Side and suburbs.

The rail terminal is located in the median of the I-94 Dan Ryan Expressway and the bus terminal flanks the expressway.

The station site is highly constrained, bound by 95th Street on the South, State Street to the east, and Lafayette Avenue to the west, causing bus delays and traffic conflicts, due to limited space. In the current terminal there are only 20 bus bays which must accommodate dozens of CTA, Pace, Greyhound and Indian Trails intercity buses.

The station does not currently have direct access to and from 95th Street, a
problem that requires pedestrians to use terminal areas for street access,
posing safety risks.

Improvements are also needed to better serve existing high volume of riders,
provide safer passenger access to buses and the train station, and expand
passenger facilities that will lead to a modern, safe and pedestrian-friendly
transit center with fewer delays and shorter travel times.


What work will be done?

While specific details on the expansion are still being discussed, major
renovations and expansions to the station house are aimed at providing more
space and improve the walking flow of passengers, with new or expanded bus
terminal facilities—as well as Red Line platform improvements. Here are some
basic features:

New station building with bright, airy spaces and clear sightlines
Expanded platforms to provide more room and easier flow of passengers

Station will be largely enclosed in glass for maximum light and protection from
the elements

Wider bus lanes and increased spacing between bus bays to reduce congestion

Wider sidewalks and waiting areas in bus terminal for increased passenger
comfort and safety

Sound panels at platform level to provide a more comfortable, less noisy space

Additional escalators and elevators

Additional space in front of ticket vending machines and fare gates


How is the project to be funded?

The projected cost of the project is $240 million. Funding would come from the following sources:

$12 million from a TIGER grant
$80 million from a TIFIA loan (low interest federal loan)
$10 million from a Federal Bus Livability Grant
$60 million in federal funds
$50 million in State of Illinois funds
$28 million from CTA bond proceeds


More information

Details about the final design and plan will be presented to the community and
posted here as the planning for this project progresses. Construction is
expected to begin in 2014, after the Red Line South Track Rehabilitation Project is completed.

Please email your comments and questions about this project to:

95thTerminal@transitchicago.com.

Marcu Aug 28, 2012 2:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5812252)
The people who are leaving are the drivers, or those who aspire to be drivers. The people who are coming of their own volition are people who may drive sometimes and can certainly afford a car, but would prefer to live a walking and transit lifestyle.

As a city, you cater to those who are leaving at the expense of those who are coming to your own peril.

I'm pretty sure everyone is leaving and nobody is coming to West Englewood and North Lawndale. Why are we discussing TOD for these areas? Can we at least discuss neighborhoods with functioning real estate markets?

ardecila Aug 28, 2012 5:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hayward (Post 5812716)
I think because it's incredibly long span they opted for a truss design. Though I've seen long span concrete box girder bridges for passenger rail.

Yeah, but for some reason nobody likes these in Illinois (unfortunately). The only ones I can think of are at the Howard Yard and at I-88/355. Plus, you need a lot of extra clearance beneath the bridge deck to accommodate the depth of structure on a concrete box girder. A truss has a deck with practically zero thickness.

Mr Downtown Aug 28, 2012 5:54 PM

In this part of the country, they're scared of rebar corrosion from road salt. You can't just replace the top surface of a box girder because it's part of the structure. It's a shame, though, because they're so much more sculptural.

The I-88/I-355 interchange is about the clumsiest possible implementation of this structural type: post-tensioned segments, with drainpipes added as an afterthought. I cringe every time I see it.

Standpoor Aug 28, 2012 6:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5813203)
Yeah, but for some reason nobody likes these in Illinois (unfortunately). The only ones I can think of are at the Howard Yard and at I-88/355. Plus, you need a lot of extra clearance beneath the bridge deck to accommodate the depth of structure on a concrete box girder. A truss has a deck with practically zero thickness.

Which is what they want at this sight. Grade separation without having to lower the road too much.

Actually, looking at it now, I am confused. What will be the final layout of this intersection and which bridge is this? If I am not mistaken, this is the replacement for the rail bridge currently there, right? Will another rail bridge be built underneath this one, lowering Torrence, or will the at grade rail move?

ardecila Aug 29, 2012 3:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 5813207)
In this part of the country, they're scared of rebar corrosion from road salt. You can't just replace the top surface of a box girder because it's part of the structure. It's a shame, though, because they're so much more sculptural.

The I-88/I-355 interchange is about the clumsiest possible implementation of this structural type: post-tensioned segments, with drainpipes added as an afterthought. I cringe every time I see it.

Isn't this what happened on Cline Ave? As I understand it, that was just sloppy construction. They build box girders all the time in Northern Europe, with the aid of coated rebar and precise drainage systems.

Steel box girders are also usually pretty elegant, and you CAN replace the deck on those if need be.

paytonc Aug 29, 2012 4:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Standpoor (Post 5807295)
CTA has released a "plan" to reconfigure routes in an attempt to reduce crowding...

Route segment truncate
#1 Indiana/Hyde Park (Discontinue south of 35th)
#11 Lincoln/Sedgwick (eliminate service between Western & Fullerton)

And thus, the continued demise of two ancient streetcar lines (note their prime numbering). It looks like the north lakefront service reconfiguration will be largely undone as well.

I also vaguely recall that the University of Chicago switched from Laidlaw (now First Transit) to CTA for the Hyde Park local bus routes partly because CTA agreed to extend its subsidy to the routes. Thus, the university could get twice the service for the same price, and there would be adequate capacity to carry non-university residents -- somewhat important in a relatively dense neighborhood, and since there's no Woodlawn local bus.

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5807098)
If something was constructed that could be priced like Prairie Shores, but in a true urban, walkable format, it'd be popular despite being away from the lakefront.

Yet new construction is intrinsically expensive, even when the land costs are written down to near-zero. Indeed, land costs are a much smaller fraction of urban housing prices than suburban. It just isn't possible to make new construction price-competitive with something like Prairie Shores, where the structures have fully depreciated.

I feel like I've pointed this out before (maybe over in the General Development thread), but most local moves privilege access to friends, family, and businesses over downtown access. Most of your local friends probably live on the same side of town as you. Thus even in NYC, where transfers are relatively easy due to high frequencies, gentrification flows along transit corridors, as if train lines were river valleys; it takes a very long time for redevelopment to "jump the ridge."

For what it's worth, the 2003 zoning ordinance already permitted an administrative reduction of 25% to parking ratios in the neighborhoods, and much steeper reductions in downtown zones (=RM7 and up). (Thus, Revolution Brewing was built without on-site parking through an upzone to a downtown district, then a downzone back.) That seemed pretty modest then, and I'm glad that the downtown policy is now being extended down one step to RM6.5, but it isn't a huge policy change.

denizen467 Aug 29, 2012 5:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Standpoor (Post 5813242)
Actually, looking at it now, I am confused. What will be the final layout of this intersection and which bridge is this? If I am not mistaken, this is the replacement for the rail bridge currently there, right? Will another rail bridge be built underneath this one, lowering Torrence, or will the at grade rail move?

I have the same question. Though, looking at street view (I assume all this is happening around 131st Street?) it doesn't look like any reconfiguration is actually going on ... this is probably only a replication of the existing configuration, necessitated merely by either an ageing viaduct structure or a desire for wider, or higher, clearance for Torrence as it passes underneath. Is that right - does anybody know?

Also, the bridge move (and the bridge itself) is a wonderful sight, but I haven't noticed local press coverage of it. You'd think it would make a nice tv or web story. Unless I missed it, it just makes me feel more that the press is slacking off as usual. How many irrelevant stories about Bears preseason injuries do we need? This is not only somewhat inspiring during a recessionary time (and general malaise on the south side), it also shows tax dollars at work.

ardecila Aug 29, 2012 6:31 AM

Much more ambitious. They're moving the whole area onto three levels.

This also includes a multi-use path that will eventually connect across the river to the future Red Line terminal at 130th, although they're not connecting the path across the Bishop Ford just yet.

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6201/...1c87781741.jpg
Source

daperpkazoo Aug 29, 2012 7:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5813793)
They build box girders all the time in Northern Europe, with the aid of coated rebar and precise drainage systems.


I can think of 3 major concrete box girder bridges either recently built or under construction in the Twin Cities, with three times the winter of Chicago.

Patrick Barry Aug 30, 2012 1:42 AM

New details on CTA Red North station investments
 
A lot of news has been trickling out about the Chicago Transit Authority's reinvestment in stations and infrastructure on the North Red Line. Below are some links to stories we've published at CTA Station Watch, which is tracking the work at 10 North Red stations.

On August 14, at a press conference to celebrate $11 million worth of work at the Morse station, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said there was much more to come, including a "spectacular" express-transfer station at Wilson, with an estimated cost of $200 million. We confirmed some of the details with CTA and then offered some learned speculation on how the station might be built.

At a community meeting on August 27, CTA officials said that the Thorndale, Berwyn and Argyle stations will get the same level of rehab as at Morse, with glazed brick, new terrazzo and plenty of stainless steel. And all three stations will be expanded in width by taking over space in adjoining storefronts. The bad news is that concrete viaducts and columns are so deteriorated that street closures will extend well beyond the six-week station closures. Three columns at Argyle must be removed and replaced while trains run overhead. Full story here.

At that same meeting, CTA's General Manager - Construction Steven Mascheri outlined a fairly extensive "deep cleaning" of the worn-out Bryn Mawr station, which is not part of the seven-station Red North Station Interim Improvements project. Already underway, this short-term work will include new wall finishes to replace falling tile in the stairwells, plus new doors, rotogates and lighting. But the big news is that full reconstruction of the station, including an elevator for ADA accessibility, is coming in about two years. Local Alderman Harry Osterman said the project would cost $25 million, "and that could grow."

http://ctastationwatch.com/uploads/c...3.ImageHandler
Bryn Mawr stairwell

http://ctastationwatch.com/uploads/c...4.ImageHandler
A typical column at Argyle. This is one of the good ones.

Plenty of related photo sets at the CTA Station Watch Facebook page.

denizen467 Aug 30, 2012 3:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5813889)
Much more ambitious. They're moving the whole area onto three levels.

That is bloody fantastic. Creating extra grade separation by excavating down a level, not just for like fifty yards either side of an underpass but over a much broader, and 4-directional, spacial extent.

You really don't see this being used as a solution in other parts of the city much. Is there some reason? Is it just that most of the city is built-up with businesses and residences, so downward excavation would leave them high and dry above their street access (e.g. depressing Belmont or Western at their intersection did not seem to come up as an idea recently), while Torrence/130th is basically a clean slate in the styx? Does water table figure into it much?

ardecila Aug 30, 2012 5:29 AM

Yeah, the access issue is important, but this is also crazy expensive, especially if you need to relocate a rats' nest of underground utilities.

That's not to mention that this is pretty anti-urban. You won't wanna be a pedestrian in this area... Even the bike path will probably feel pretty sketchy. Doing it right (a la Dupont Circle in DC) only adds to the cost.

As it stands, this 130th project is basically a massive handout to Ford, whose factory will benefit greatly from eliminating grade-crossing delays.

Mr Downtown Aug 31, 2012 1:15 AM

^And I find it hard to believe that this couldn't have been done much more economically, given all the vacant land in that neighborhood. I suspect there was an unwillingness to infringe on the "wetlands" to the southwest of the intersection or the auto rack loading lot to the southeast—but somehow, no shortage of money to spend appeasing Ford.

denizen467 Aug 31, 2012 3:06 AM

^ I'm not sure I understand the piling on Ford by you guys (unless there's some big news story I've missed). How does this approach "appease" Ford more than the more-economical alternative you allude to? I'm also not sure Ford "benefits greatly" from reducing delays; they can reduce the quantity of inventory on-site a little, and pay a little less to drivers -- this is not a "great" boost to their bottom line; it's pretty minor. And it benefits suppliers and parts delivery companies more than it benefits Ford itself. And it reduces idling pollution too. So the benefits are limited and they are also spread out among many constitutents.

Also, Ford's been assembling cars in our city since the days of Henry Ford, and we're lucky to have them as the most successful of the 3 major assembly factories in Illinois. In fact they've been adding shifts and producing a few of the rare big hits in the US auto industry. So even if it's over the top, spending here seems better than spending on at least some other city projects.

Does the City's infrastructure work here exceed what the City would do anyway in a bid to make a neighborhood more attractive to manufacturing investment? Or to finally give some infrastructure and economic love to the far south side? One key element for an efficient auto assembly plant is the just-in-time supply of components from suppliers -- the biggest effect of this redevelopment could be just to enable more suppliers to relocate and/or expand in this neighborhood, adding jobs and tax base.

Isn't all of this exactly the same as what CREATE is doing anyway -- elimination of freight grade crossings? So is your objection simply that the City is paying for this rather than the feds?

Beta_Magellan Aug 31, 2012 7:38 PM

I don’t recall seeing this here, but on Tuesday CTA Tattler posted that funds have been allocated for Bryn Mawr to be fully rebuilt—as in more than the basic update that’s being done this summer—in two years. $25 million has already been allocated, with the possibility of more being gathered later.

It looks like, rather than a big rebuild, we’ll see a slow infilling, station-by-station. I’m guessing how thorough a modernization (platform width, embankment replacement, new entrance at Hollywood) will depend on how much they can scrounge up.

J_M_Tungsten Aug 31, 2012 8:27 PM

Any one know if the street closure on division is due to the station renovation of Clark and division?

ardecila Aug 31, 2012 8:50 PM

I was hoping for a transfer station at Bryn Mawr. Maybe Berwyn would be easier to expand, though. Obviously Loyola should also be a transfer station.

$25 million will probably buy the current set of upgrades (concrete replacement, demo/replacement of all interior and platform finishes) plus an elevator, a new canopy, and an auxiliary entrance.

Mr Downtown Sep 1, 2012 1:44 AM

As you saw in the Tribune this morning, IDOT is looking at various alternatives for reconstruction of the Circle Interchange. Of course, it isn't funded yet, so no one can predict when this might happen. There have been a couple of meetings to talk with stakeholders about various considerations, and the preliminary alternatives have been released. PDF here. IDOT is mainly concerned about improving the throughput/reducing the backups on north-to-west and east-to-north movements, so at a minimum the alternatives give two lanes for both those ramps. Most of the alternatives also make the Dan Ryan four lanes all the way through (rather than the current three) and some push five through.

One funny thing is that they haven't yet sketched out the vertical dimensions, and some of the alternatives create nearly complete Texas-style stack interchanges that would rise 50 feet or more above the surrounding streets. I'm not crazy about that, and I think the speed gained by smoothing out the curves will be largely defeated (especially for trucks) by the elevation change required.

All the alternatives push the decision points, gores, and merge points further away from the Circle itself. Some show six westbound lanes leaving the Circle on I-290; the idea is that lanes would drop at Ashland and somewhere else just west. There's been some talk about whether the Morgan exit should be retained, especially now that UIC has closed the street south of Harrison.

Another curious thing is that IDOT just did a master plan for the interchange's hardscape and landscape in 2010 (PDF here) but there's been no mention of that plan in these meetings, and that plan didn't say anything about expansion or reconfiguration.

As a freeway historian, I'm reluctant to see the Circle's historic unique design completely blown away, but I think that will be a hard argument to make to the folks in charge of this.

Patrick Barry Sep 1, 2012 2:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5816710)
I don’t recall seeing this here, but on Tuesday CTA Tattler posted that funds have been allocated for Bryn Mawr to be fully rebuilt—as in more than the basic update that’s being done this summer—in two years. $25 million has already been allocated, with the possibility of more being gathered later.

It looks like, rather than a big rebuild, we’ll see a slow infilling, station-by-station. I’m guessing how thorough a modernization (platform width, embankment replacement, new entrance at Hollywood) will depend on how much they can scrounge up.

Yes, Beta Magellan, it's starting to look like certain stations will be rebuilt -- Wilson, Bryn Mawr, Loyola, maybe Sheridan at some point -- and that work will be compatible with the full modernization or with a less-expensive rebuild of the embankment system. And portions of the "facelifts" at the seven Red North stations might be saved, as well. The Morse stationhouse rebuild, with its glazed brick and terrazzo floor, looked like more than a 10- or 20-year fix. And CTA President Forrest Claypool said on August 14 that the other Red North stations will get "roughly equal" treatment. Argyle and Thorndale are closed now and crews are working the holiday weekend to get the work done. http://ctastationwatch.com/main-line/379

Whatever the long-term investments, with the stations fixed up and the slow zones fixed, the North Red can maintain and even build ridership, especially if we get some dense new development around the stations.

ardecila Sep 1, 2012 7:16 AM

Interesting discussion about the Circle. I think the vertical concerns could be partially alleviated by pulling 290 onto a higher level between Desplaines and Morgan. The ramps would then circulate beneath 290, and trucks wouldn't have to climb to the top position. This would put Halsted and maybe Peoria into a tunnel beneath 290, but with wider sidewalks and proper lighting systems, the tunnels could be treated pretty nicely for pedestrians.

I REALLY hope the city takes the advantage to push for something world-class here, both in terms of function and design. I talked about box girders above, but even conventional beam systems can be made unique and sculptural if you put a true artist behind the design of the bents and abutments.

http://www.graftonarchitects.ie/work...resource_id=55

In terms of the Burnham Plan, this is THE heart of the city. Let's not settle for the same-old.

ardecila Sep 1, 2012 7:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5813793)
Isn't this what happened on Cline Ave? As I understand it, that was just sloppy construction. They build box girders all the time in Northern Europe, with the aid of coated rebar and precise drainage systems.

Sorry for the double post, but it seems the Cline Ave bridge will be rebuilt as a private toll bridge. The consortium is led by FIGG Engineering, which designs largely concrete box girder bridges, including numerous cold-climate ones in the Northeast and Minnesota (e.g. the new I-35W bridge). So it looks like the Chicago region will be getting one new box girder, even if it's just a replacement of an old one.

Okay, enough with my obsession. :haha:

Mr Downtown Sep 1, 2012 2:44 PM

Really? You'd raise the Eisenhower up to surface level and put Halsted between UIC and Greektown into a tunnel just to get. . . what, exactly? Box girders for the Circle ramps? I'm of the opinion that the interchange should be subjugated to the city, and the surrounding streets should be as ped-friendly as possible. Having all the ramps pass beneath Van Buren, Halsted, and Harrison helps a lot.

I talked to one of the engineers at the meeting about IDOT's refusal to do box girders, and mentioned Ontario as the single exception. "Oh," he exclaimed. "That's already set for replacement."

Busy Bee Sep 1, 2012 3:29 PM

How far down could you excavate before hitting water that would make digging deeper economically unfeasible? If you could get 90/94 twenty or so meters deeper than it is now(would obviously necessitate incline reconstruction N and S of interchange) you could hypothetically stack everything under street level and potentially deck over all or a portion of the interchange...

ardecila Sep 1, 2012 4:26 PM

^ You can't really put 90/94 lower because of the Blue Line tunnel. Changing the alignment of the subway is probably so impractical it shouldn't be considered.

Mr D, I didn't mean "tunnel" literally. Halsted and Peoria would simply run beneath a 290 viaduct, like Desplaines currently does, but with better design and increased pedestrian space. Virtually all of the alternatives IDOT posted would require flyovers to pass above the Halsted and Harrison bridges, so we're already talking about ramps one or two levels above Halsted, no? Alt. 2-5 seem to demand it, and Alt. 1 is a relatively minor tweak.

I don't think it's possible to design a fully directional interchange in the footprint of the Circle without either keeping the current configuration, or going onto higher levels with long approaches. I'd need to see the traffic data, but I would almost lean towards an interchange that's non-directional, i.e. some ramps would be eliminated to make room for others. Is it reasonable to eliminate all access to Congress from 90/94, where drivers have lots of other choices for Loop access? Congress through the Post Office would then be accessible only to drivers from the Ike.

Busy Bee Sep 1, 2012 4:49 PM

Oh jeez, I didn't even think of the Blue Line.

How far below the lowest point of 90/94 is the tunnel? How impractical would it be to go below that level with roadway?

Mr Downtown Sep 1, 2012 5:09 PM

The lack of overpasses over Halsted and Van Buren is why I feel that Alternative 1 is the best compromise. How much speed do we really need to build for in a location where the cityscape should be primary? I certainly don't consider Desplaines an example to be emulated.

We really should have built the Crosstown so every truck in the Midwest didn't have to go through here.

I believe the expressway is at -2 CCD where it passes under Halsted. At the midpoint of the Circle, the Blue Line tunnel is probably at -30.

ardecila Sep 1, 2012 5:36 PM

I'm cool with a modest tweak like Alt. 1. More money for other vital road projects in the city, like new river bridges or auxiliary lanes on the Edens. I mentioned on the previous page that a modest redesign should be combined with a strong design and landscape strategy. That Irish project is a great example.

denizen467 Sep 1, 2012 6:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 5817457)
and mentioned Ontario as the single exception. "Oh," he exclaimed. "That's already set for replacement."

The ramp feeding southbound (officially, eastbound) I-90/94? This is already in need of replacement? Is this a capacity issue? If so, are there enough lanes in the downtown trench to accommodate the added flow (or is the real bottleneck the Circle, which will soon be alleviated)?

denizen467 Sep 1, 2012 6:16 PM

Talk about the Crosstown perked up a year or two ago briefly, in the form of a premium toll road (truck-caliber rates, which I assume they would be delighted to receive from rushing limos and luxury car drivers too). Is this still in the realm of possibility?

I was thinking that an initial leg connecting the Eisenhower and the Stevenson could be built in advance of I-290 reconstruction, to serve as a thru-traffic bypass for the eastern half of the reconstruction project. It's a modest 3 or 4 miles and presumably there are only large commercial landowners and very few NIMBYs. They could even get away with initially building just half of the lanes of the Crosstown (which I assume in total would be minimum 2 + 2 lanes plus shoulders?) if they were able to limit the Ike's lane closures to just the inbound or the outbound side at any given time.

denizen467 Sep 1, 2012 6:32 PM

In fact, nicely tying the Ike and Circle Interchange subjects together, could a Crosstown fully extending between the Ike and the Dan Ryan help lessen the design size of the Circle Interchange? This helps emphasize that the Crosstown could solve multiple problems.

Mister Uptempo Sep 5, 2012 2:21 AM

CHGO TRIB - CTA's crowding-reduction strategy blasted at public hearing
 
By Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune reporter
8:04 p.m. CDT, September 4, 2012

Quote:

More than 100 CTA riders attended a public hearing Tuesday on a proposal billed as enhancing bus and train service.

But most people who testified denounced the crowding-reduction strategy as a trick by transit officials to slash much-needed bus routes.

Senior citizens, disabled riders, people who work late-night shifts and regular 9-to-5 commuters said the CTA should be singularly focused on increasing service, not cutting it back.

They criticized the CTA for basing its service-restructuring proposals on an analysis conducted by transportation experts at Northwestern University rather than going directly to riders via neighborhood surveys.

"The process smells of a sham. One meeting in an over-crowded room," Uptown resident Michael Dannhauser complained to CTA President Forrest Claypool and the six CTA board members in attendance.

If approved by the CTA board, the changes would go into effect Dec. 16. The board is expected to vote on the changes at its Sept. 12 meeting.
Complete story at the Tribune website.

VivaLFuego Sep 5, 2012 3:36 PM

It is also worth bringing up the proposed service improvements (i.e. routes proposed to see more service), with some detail given here on slide 9-10:
http://www.transitchicago.com/assets...AL_090412s.pdf

In addition to the peak additions throughout the system, there are also some pretty substantial off-peak frequency improvements proposed for rail, especially on Saturdays, which more than restores the cuts made in 2010 which resulted in fairly infrequent off-peak service throughout the system.

emathias Sep 5, 2012 9:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 5820826)
It is also worth bringing up the proposed service improvements (i.e. routes proposed to see more service), with some detail given here on slide 9-10:
http://www.transitchicago.com/assets...AL_090412s.pdf

In addition to the peak additions throughout the system, there are also some pretty substantial off-peak frequency improvements proposed for rail, especially on Saturdays, which more than restores the cuts made in 2010 which resulted in fairly infrequent off-peak service throughout the system.

Those are substantial off-peak improvements, particularly the Blue Line Sunday times.

untitledreality Sep 5, 2012 11:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 5817634)
In fact, nicely tying the Ike and Circle Interchange subjects together, could a Crosstown fully extending between the Ike and the Dan Ryan help lessen the design size of the Circle Interchange? This helps emphasize that the Crosstown could solve multiple problems.

And create a whole slew more.

ardecila Sep 6, 2012 4:18 AM

Farewell, Goose Island Express... I barely knew ye.

Seriously, I had no idea this route existed. I dunno the frequency, but it would have come in handy on numerous occasions.

The loss of the Lincoln bus is also a crying shame. It's not prudent to axe bus service on a thriving pedestrian oriented commercial corridor. Maybe the employees can still get to work by walking from the Brown Line, but what about the customers?

Rizzo Sep 6, 2012 4:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5821781)
Farewell, Goose Island Express... I barely knew ye.

Seriously, I had no idea this route existed. I dunno the frequency, but it would have come in handy on numerous occasions.

The loss of the Lincoln bus is also a crying shame. It's not prudent to axe bus service on a thriving pedestrian oriented commercial corridor. Maybe the employees can still get to work by walking from the Brown Line, but what about the customers?

Kind of sucks on the Lincoln Line, but it never seemed that much crowded. Any time I went to any businesses on Lincoln I forced myself to take the train despite that the Lincoln bus may be a more efficient alternative.

I remember when I discovered the Goose Island express biking around there. I seriously thought it was made up. Loaded the route on my phone and laughed how pointless it seemed. Great if you work for Wrigley, but they'd be better with their own private shuttles that could possibly be shared among other businesses and condos....kind of like 600 West shuttles. The city might want to figure that out. The increased passenger load on North and Division buses might work against their plan to de-crowd during afternoon commutes.

Rizzo Sep 6, 2012 5:24 AM

I wish I would have attended the Circle Interchange meeting. A few colleagues of mine thought about going.

If I were to apply my own imaginary design, it probably be very high level so you wouldn't have to acquire nearby properties. I'd achieve the greatest radius possible, with the straightest approach possible. Ideally, you try to limit the curves and in the past structural limitations have been in the inhibiting factors of creating more graceful turns...this should no longer be a problem. This means the flyover would initially cross overhead at a very shallow angle in relationship to the freeway below before making a turn.

My design would be loaded with integral straddle piers to accomplish the stacked approaches with lower deck to deck heights while maintaining high clearances. It would be steel box girders to ease the construction complexities of a unique design. Something like the spans in the link below.

http://goo.gl/maps/b7htk

In a nutshell, all ramps would do their best to cross over existing freeway through lanes in the shallowest ways possible. This means approaches would extend further in all direction and would require careful negotiation around nearby exits. It also means increased structural complexity with stacking flyovers traveling above thru lanes at very acute angles. We already have something to look at here locally, but far less elegant. Notice the non-integral piers.
http://goo.gl/maps/kKXdC

ardecila Sep 6, 2012 7:20 AM

^ Cool Houston example, avoids the unsightly straddle bents with a cantilever.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=houst...79.78,,0,-5.78

Mr Downtown Sep 6, 2012 2:51 PM

Did you look at the five alternatives?

A high stack might well move the most vehicles through per hour, but it's certainly not the best thing for a cityscape with pedestrians.

emathias Sep 6, 2012 3:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hayward (Post 5821803)
Kind of sucks on the Lincoln Line, but it never seemed that much crowded. Any time I went to any businesses on Lincoln I forced myself to take the train despite that the Lincoln bus may be a more efficient alternative.
...

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5821781)
...
The loss of the Lincoln bus is also a crying shame. It's not prudent to axe bus service on a thriving pedestrian oriented commercial corridor. Maybe the employees can still get to work by walking from the Brown Line, but what about the customers?

What customers?

Ridership on the 11 had a weekday ridership average last year of about 5,600 people. Ashland had 29,000, Clark 22,000, Milwaukee 11,000, Archer 12,000. Grand, 8,000. Belmont, 22,000, Diversey, 11,000. Those are routes from the area or a few with similar characteristics.

There are 131 routes tracked by the CTA. Average weekday bus ridership was about 985,000 people last year. That means the average bus route has about 7,500 riders on a weekday. But it's worse than that, because 14 of those routes report less than 500 riders per weekday because they're specialty stuff that doesn't compare to normal routes. If you remove those and 7,000 daily riders, the average bus route has about 8,300 riders per day, and if you basically clean up the stats and discount all specialty routes and private-subsidy routes, you end up with an average for "normal" bus routes of nearly 9,500 riders per weekday. That's a lot higher than Lincoln, and Lincoln is a long route - about 12 miles, which is longer than almost all east-west routes, and is even 80% as long as the long 49/Western route.

From an hours perspective, it runs similar hours as the 157 route - which is half as long and doesn't run at all on the weekends. The 157 gets about 5,400 riders per weekday. So the riders per mile per hour is about twice as high as the 11.

Riders per hour per mile (bi-directional, so double the length of the route) I indicated Night Owl routes just to show their averages are probably lowered by lower overnight ridership:
22/Clark: 45 (Night Owl)
157/Taylor: 37
56/Milwaukee: 30
9/Ashland: 35 (Night Owl)
62/Archer: 22 (Night Owl)

11/Lincoln: 19

And compare that to a rush-hour-only express bus downtown:
125/Water Tower Express: 60


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