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ardecila Sep 26, 2015 6:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 7172397)
Don't Amtrak trains use high-level platforms all along the East Coast? Why not here? All the Amtrak equipment I see in the CUS yards have traps for high-level boarding.

Yes, and the Cardinal will continue to use this equipment for the foreseeable future. However, the Hoosier State may switch to the new Superliner-style bilevel cars which are not designed for high platforms.

N830MH Sep 27, 2015 10:44 PM

Didn't see the news lately.

CTA want to connecting Brown Line & Blue Line.

http://chicago.curbed.com/archives/2...blue-lines.php

Does anybody know about Brown Line extension?

OhioGuy Sep 28, 2015 12:44 AM

^^ I commented earlier this month in this thread about my desire for the brown line to connect to the blue line at Jefferson Park. Though in the link you provided, I'm not sure why they talk about a transfer at Kimball. If the brown line is extended to the blue line, I would assume the transfer would happen at Jefferson Park. Or better yet, both the blue line *and* the brown line would service O'Hare and no transfer would be required between the two lines.

Quote:

The connector would also make it much easier for North Siders to get to O'Hare as residents off the Brown and Red lines would be able to transfer at Kimball to head to the airport.
Also of note, the map shown in the article indicates only one additional station at Elston. There should be two stations, not one. Yes, Elston should have a station. But so too should there be a station at Pulaski & Lawrence (with perhaps an auxiliary entrance to the Pulaski station somewhere around Springfield & Lawrence).

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs...26.46%20PM.png

(sorry, I tried to resize the image I was posting to something more manageable for the typical screen size, but none of the code I tried seemed to work)

ardecila Sep 28, 2015 4:24 AM

I actually think ONLY Pulaski should get a station. There isn't enough density or commerical activity around Elston/Lawrence to merit a station, and Elston doesn't have any bus service to transfer to.

If there is a second intermediary station, it should really be at Cicero/Lamon. Yes, it's a total dead zone right now, but there are some large industrial parcels that could be developed densely, and the opportunity to transfer to Metra and/or Amtrak.

N830MH Sep 28, 2015 7:01 AM

[QUOTE=OhioGuy;7179214]^^ I commented earlier this month in this thread about my desire for the brown line to connect to the blue line at Jefferson Park. Though in the link you provided, I'm not sure why they talk about a transfer at Kimball. If the brown line is extended to the blue line, I would assume the transfer would happen at Jefferson Park. Or better yet, both the blue line *and* the brown line would service O'Hare and no transfer would be required between the two lines.

Right, they will go to O'Hare Airport. There is no need to transfer. They will stay at the same line. It will connect to Blue Line. No trains change, no transfer. Stay where they are! The trip will continue to O'Hare is a final stop.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 7179214)
Also of note, the map shown in the article indicates only one additional station at Elston. There should be two stations, not one. Yes, Elston should have a station. But so too should there be a station at Pulaski & Lawrence (with perhaps an auxiliary entrance to the Pulaski station somewhere around Springfield & Lawrence).

Yes, according to the map, the brown line will go to O'Hare. It will be last stop, but there is no need to required a transfer.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 7179214)
(sorry, I tried to resize the image I was posting to something more manageable for the typical screen size, but none of the code I tried seemed to work)

It's okay. You don't have resize the map. Just leave it alone.

orulz Sep 28, 2015 4:54 PM

Everybody seems to take for granted that the Brown line should connect to the Blue at Jefferson Park and then extend out to O'Hare, but I think this is a waste because:

(1) Running the brown line out to O'Hare doubles service on the least crowded portion of the O'Hare blue line branch, and conversely would restrict headways closer to downtown.
(2) Making enough room in the median for a portal and flying junction with the Brown Line would involve massive, extensive, and expensive freeway work and probably significant reconfiguration of the Jefferson Park Station. $$$

Better, in my opinion, would be to curve the line south at Cicero, along the Beltway Railroad ROW, and connect at Montrose instead. This gains the following:
(1) It's pretty close (1/2 mile) from Six Corners, which IMO gives it more potential for TOD than Jefferson Park
(2) It would cost less because there would be less tunneling and no expensive blue line junction to build
(3) You could connect with both the MD-N Metra line and the UP-NW Metra line (After building platforms) instead of just the UP-NW
(4) It could be extended further south along the unused Beltway Railroad ROW as the Mid City Transitway
(5) It provides a better route via transfer towards downtown for riders on the outer brown line

The downsides are:
(1) No direct brown line service to O'Hare, but is this really that important? It would be an easy ride with a transfer, and still a massive improvement over the present condition.
(2) The distance to O'Hare for brown line riders would be slightly longer
(3) This would foreclose on a potential new blue/brown track connection, but the existing blue/pink connection near the medical district should be sufficient for non-revenue moves to/from the blue line; if it ever becomes insufficient, they could always run a track through the tunnel under Block 37.

As far as implementation is concerned:

The UP-NW line would have to be elevated over the MD-N and this new Brown Line. If double stack and catenary are considered, you would have to raise UP-NW by about 30'. This could be done with a 1% grade within 3000' on the north side and about 3500' to the south. I would leave a 1200' level section on a long viaduct over Cicero, MD-N, and Montrose. The platforms would be on this viaduct. The grade to reach the new elevation would be on retained fill stretching from just south of Lawrence to just west of Keeler/Irving Park. The Kostner overpass would have to be rebuilt. If double stack is not a consideration on MD-N, you could probably go about 5' lower but Kostner would still need to be rebuilt. This would be similar in scope and cost to the Englewood Flyover project, which, while not cheap at $130m, would be chump change compared to the cost of buidling a longer tunnel and all the freeway work required for the blue/brown junction. Not to mention the benefits of a new rail/rail grade separation on two busy passenger lines.

The brown line could curve south near Cicero and emerge in a portal on the unused Beltway Railroad ROW north of Wilson. It could cross Wilson and the Kennedy on the existing railroad bridges, curve southeast on the existing UP-NW embankment, under the new UP-NW viaduct, where a station would be located directly beneath the platforms of the UP-NW. Then it would curve south along the Beltway Railroad ROW. Potentially the first phase could even include a station at Irving Park. To allow for future extension to the Mid-City Transitway corridor, it would have to climb high enough to cross over the MD-N line. Grades are not a concern for a rapid transit line; 4% grades could extend 750' on either side.

The MD-N line would retain its existing elevation, embankment, and bridges; The Mayfair platforms could probably be moved further to the north to make transfer distances shorter but this wouldn't necessarily have to occur with the initial construction.

A tunnel under the Brown and UP-NW at an elevation of about 614' would be low enough to cross under the brown/UP-NW which are about 626' and high enough to cross over southbound lanes of the Edens/Kennedy junction which are about 595' there, and connecting to the northern end of the Blue Line platform in the median. Possibly the bridge could continue across the northbound lanes to the corner of Sunnyside/Knox, giving the neighborhood a less circuitous connection to the station, if the neighborhood would allow it. (If I had one of those houses, I sure would - I would love the convenience, and if I was concerned about privacy or crime, I would just put up a fence).

I think the gas station at the NE corner of Cicero/Montrose as well as the MBS building between the tracks on the north side of Montrose would be a good spot for a headhouse/TOD complex.

Check here for a map/diagram, for the more visually oriented.

At any rate, I hope connecting at Jefferson Park isn't a foregone conclusion. This would seem to be a feasible alternative and the EIS alternatives analysis phase requires evaluating all feasible alternatives.

emathias Sep 28, 2015 7:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by N830MH (Post 7179157)
Didn't see the news lately.

CTA want to connecting Brown Line & Blue Line.

http://chicago.curbed.com/archives/2...blue-lines.php

Does anybody know about Brown Line extension?

Although the CTA has included it in a few vision plans, it's not a current CTA plan AFAIK. The article is talking about a transit advocacy group pushing for it, not the CTA itself.

My guess is that the CTA has its hands full just trying to get the Red/Purple modernization plan funded. Maybe (maybe) after that it will look harder at a Blue/Brown connection, but my guess is that an Orange Line extension might take precedence since it's been talked about a lot more seriously by the CTA in the recent past.

I kinda like the idea of putting it to Montrose instead of Jefferson Park. There are pros and cons both ways, but running the trains through to O'Hare, to me, is in no way a "must-have" as long as the transfer between the two is pretty easy.

Jibba Sep 28, 2015 7:18 PM

Loop BRT platform/shed
 
http://i.imgur.com/loih5jb.jpg?1

orulz Sep 28, 2015 8:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 7179920)
Although the CTA has included it in a few vision plans, it's not a current CTA plan AFAIK. The article is talking about a transit advocacy group pushing for it, not the CTA itself.

My guess is that the CTA has its hands full just trying to get the Red/Purple modernization plan funded. Maybe (maybe) after that it will look harder at a Blue/Brown connection, but my guess is that an Orange Line extension might take precedence since it's been talked about a lot more seriously by the CTA in the recent past.

I kinda like the idea of putting it to Montrose instead of Jefferson Park. There are pros and cons both ways, but running the trains through to O'Hare, to me, is in no way a "must-have" as long as the transfer between the two is pretty easy.

At Montrose, it would be about 100m, or approximately a one-minute walk, to cross the southbound lanes of the Edens/Kennedy.

The only way IMO to make Jefferson Park work efficiently (without over-serving the outer portion of the line and constraining frequency on the inner portions of the blue and brown lines) would be to set it up as a three- or four-track station with cross-platform transfers, and short-turn some trains there.

That would make some Brown Line->O'Hare trips direct, and make even the ones requiring a transfer, cross-platform. So, if Brown Line->O'Hare is the only goal, and money is no object, this is the way to go.

The right-of-way requirements for such a configuration would be severe. You'd need a wider ROW, perhaps by up to 50' for a four track configuration. The tunnel structure that carries the UP-NW and the bridge that carries Milwaukee Avenue over the Kennedy would both have to be rebuilt. Or you could do something nutty like put the eastbound lanes into a cut-and-cover tunnel, and put the two addtional tracks where the lanes used to be. Or build part of the station underground. All costly endeavors.

It gets even more complicated if you try to terminate the "Lime Line" Mid-City Transitway at Jefferson Park as well, as the Transit Future people suggest. Then you have three lines coming from the south/southeast/east all trying to converge into one headed towards O'Hare. You would pretty much need a massive underground complex to handle this, compared with doing it at Montrose where it can all easily be done aboveground.

ardecila Sep 29, 2015 3:44 AM

I admire the detailed thought in the Montrose proposal! Ultimately though, I can't support it because of the land use. You would be spending billions to create a transit hub surrounded by expressways and hemmed in by single-family neighborhoods. With the amount of transit clustered there, you could easily support a secondary CBD on par with downtown Evanston, but that will never happen with the bungalow folks.

Jefferson Park at least is a historic commercial hub with the potential for significant density and station-area amenities. Also, don't discount the value of the bus network. Jeff Park is a key bus hub that wouldn't be replicated at Montrose.

At Jeff Park, you really have a choice - you can have a quick transfer between Brown and Blue Line platforms, but the Brown Line has to terminate. Or you can build a Brown Line station a few hundred feet away with a long transfer tunnel, build a flying junction west of Milwaukee where there is room, and extend the Brown Line to O'Hare.

Rizzo Sep 29, 2015 4:18 AM

Cant tell you how much I've dreamed of something like this ever since I moved next to the brown line (literally), but I've always gotten stuck at what ardecila has mentioned. I could dream of Ashland Ave subways and Jefferson Park transit superstations, but besides convenient ways of getting around town, development matters alot. I think you'd have to prove alot of growth to back it up, and the surrounding areas will be frozen in time for decades to come except for a few sad 5-story TODs. Hard to believe the brown line would post some astonishing numbers of increased passenger count. The buses are still going to do all the work for people in excess of a half mile walk from El stations.

orulz Sep 29, 2015 2:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7180457)
I admire the detailed thought in the Montrose proposal! Ultimately though, I can't support it because of the land use. You would be spending billions to create a transit hub surrounded by expressways and hemmed in by single-family neighborhoods. With the amount of transit clustered there, you could easily support a secondary CBD on par with downtown Evanston, but that will never happen with the bungalow folks.

Jefferson Park at least is a historic commercial hub with the potential for significant density and station-area amenities. Also, don't discount the value of the bus network. Jeff Park is a key bus hub that wouldn't be replicated at Montrose.

At Jeff Park, you really have a choice - you can have a quick transfer between Brown and Blue Line platforms, but the Brown Line has to terminate. Or you can build a Brown Line station a few hundred feet away with a long transfer tunnel, build a flying junction west of Milwaukee where there is room, and extend the Brown Line to O'Hare.

IMO, Jefferson Park is also pretty badly hemmed in by freeways, railroads, and single family development. At Montrose, as I mentioned, Six Corners is also a historic commercial hub and is just a half-mile away, a bit of a walk but not too bad, and it's significantly bigger than Jefferson Park, or at least what's left of Jefferson Park after the Kennedy was punched through.

Initially, the Cicero corridor south between Montrose and Six Corners could redevelop without much resistance. But long term, Probably all the land between Cicero and the Beltway RR, Milwaukee and the Kennedy, would be a good target. There's a few SFH's in there but not too many. The ones directly facing Cicero are a given, but for the other ones, sometimes a developer can negotiate with an entire neighborhood collectively and reach a buyout agreement for a price slightly above market rate so everybody wins.

The only infrastructure issue would be connecting the street grid east across the MD-N line, which is shoud not be too difficult considering the MD-N is already on an embankment about 10' higher than the surrounding land.

If this were Northern Virginia I would say this sort of redevelopment would be a no brainer and get off the ground quickly without too much opposition. Chicago doesn't have as much in the way of suburban TODs and neighborhoods may be more entrenched, so it may be harder.

VivaLFuego Sep 29, 2015 4:23 PM

The challenges at the other end are also significant and yet to be discussed. I'm trying to think through the construction staging and envisioning Brown Line operations during construction, and again there are some tough and costly choices.

Realistically I don't see how the land under Kimball Yard and station isn't used for doglegging the ROW up to Lawrence, since the costs and engineering complexity of tunneling under the residential areas would be tremendous. Service would probably be truncated to Western, as it's hard to imagine terminal operations on the grade level portion with crossings every block, and the only crossover is west of Francisco. West of Western, where do you incline into the subway? Probably east of Kedzie to also eliminate that grade crossing at a major street and improve the curve geometry when heading northwest. So you're demo'ing Kedzie and Kimball stations, and probably consolidating those in a single subway station, possibly under the current yard (depending on where you inclined into the subway) or maybe under Lawrence west of Kimball. The latter might be operationally preferable based on what your curve geometry is on the dogleg, having a station oriented on the diagonal might force sharp curves, though would allow for entrances approximating the current stations. Siting the Kimball subway station (and could two new subway stations really be justified?) would be it's own challenge.

You'd need a place to store and maintain the Brown Line fleet during construction, since Kimball Yard would be cut off and largely demolished for trenching the subway --- last I recall, there is some spare capacity at Midway (which already runs a few peak Brown trains) and at 54th, but not a ton, so expansion projects might be necessary at one of those or at another yard. Possibly the shorter route and less demand would equal a wash on total Brown Line operating costs during the project despite the extra deadheading needed to run service from a far-away yard. Then you're rebuilding the Kimball yard and shops, but you'll have a capacity issue because of the extra car requirements for the new longer Brown Line service, and this is assuming you don't have to give the land up for some residential or commercial development the alderman demands, meaning those ~200+ cars would have to operate from somewhere else. Maybe if Brown is through-routed to Blue, Rosemont could be expanded.

And tunneling under Lawrence is an unknown of cost versus technique versus how much disruption the neighborhood would tolerate.

I don't have a "recommended plan" here -- other than not doing the project or spending any significant amount of money on it any time soon, because there are far more critical fish to fry like Red-Purple Mod.

Baronvonellis Sep 29, 2015 4:54 PM

1. Go back in time to when the brown line was built and that area was empty fields and have them extend it to Jefferson Park. In 50 years a thing called an airport will be built in that direction where people can travel on flying machines.

2. In 50 years from now, we will have teleportation machines rendering the whole CTA and Ohare obsolete thus no need for the brown line extension. ;)

3. Get Bill Gates to fund it.

k1052 Sep 29, 2015 5:08 PM

Clark/Division work pics
 
The CTA has posted pics of the completed work. I'll miss the old, though degraded by time and wear, styling of the Art Moderne station but being able to actually see more than a few feet in front of you is a pretty nice benefit.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ctaweb

emathias Sep 29, 2015 6:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 7180940)
The challenges at the other end are also significant and yet to be discussed. I'm trying to think through the construction staging and envisioning Brown Line operations during construction, and again there are some tough and costly choices.

Realistically I don't see how the land under Kimball Yard and station isn't used for doglegging the ROW up to Lawrence, since the costs and engineering complexity of tunneling under the residential areas would be tremendous. Service would probably be truncated to Western, as it's hard to imagine terminal operations on the grade level portion with crossings every block, and the only crossover is west of Francisco. West of Western, where do you incline into the subway? Probably east of Kedzie to also eliminate that grade crossing at a major street and improve the curve geometry when heading northwest. So you're demo'ing Kedzie and Kimball stations, and probably consolidating those in a single subway station, possibly under the current yard (depending on where you inclined into the subway) or maybe under Lawrence west of Kimball. The latter might be operationally preferable based on what your curve geometry is on the dogleg, having a station oriented on the diagonal might force sharp curves, though would allow for entrances approximating the current stations. Siting the Kimball subway station (and could two new subway stations really be justified?) would be it's own challenge.

You'd need a place to store and maintain the Brown Line fleet during construction, since Kimball Yard would be cut off and largely demolished for trenching the subway --- last I recall, there is some spare capacity at Midway (which already runs a few peak Brown trains) and at 54th, but not a ton, so expansion projects might be necessary at one of those or at another yard. Possibly the shorter route and less demand would equal a wash on total Brown Line operating costs during the project despite the extra deadheading needed to run service from a far-away yard. Then you're rebuilding the Kimball yard and shops, but you'll have a capacity issue because of the extra car requirements for the new longer Brown Line service, and this is assuming you don't have to give the land up for some residential or commercial development the alderman demands, meaning those ~200+ cars would have to operate from somewhere else. Maybe if Brown is through-routed to Blue, Rosemont could be expanded.

And tunneling under Lawrence is an unknown of cost versus technique versus how much disruption the neighborhood would tolerate.

I don't have a "recommended plan" here -- other than not doing the project or spending any significant amount of money on it any time soon, because there are far more critical fish to fry like Red-Purple Mod.

There are the alleys on either side of the tracks. If you closed Spaulding you could preserve access to the yard while starting the the decline immediately after Kedzie Street, which would be made possible by moving the Kedzie station to the east side of Kedzie. Paying off the impacted homeowners for the time while they lose access to their garages wouldn't be very expensive within the scope of the project. Currently access to the storage part of the Kimball yard is from the west, so the tracks would have to be changed to be accessed from the east while Kimball station is demolished to prepare for the turn to be under Lawrence. The new station could be west of Lawrence with an entrance at Kimball and at St. Louis, extending the reach of that station. While Kimball and Lawrence are dug up, Kimball buses would have to be re-routed to Kedzie anyway. This would all be somewhat complex, but I don't think it would be out of the question at all.

Additionally, but putting the incline between Kedzie and Kimball, you could bury the yard (which would, admittedly, make operations complex during that period), which would allow more storage tracks as the end result, since the west end station would just be through-tracks. You could even then build TOD development on top of the then-submerged yard, further improving the area. Alternatively you could buy out the western side of Spaulding between Lawrence and the current tracks to create even more flexibility and yard expansion.

Another alternative would be to get ride of Kedzie during construction and start your incline after Francisco and either rebuild Kedzie as a subway station or just eliminate it - or eliminate Francisco, start the incline immediately after the river, and restore Kedzie as a subway station stretching east instead of west with a linear park where the line used to be. Manor St. would probably have to be closed then, but starting the portal somewhere with no car access would reduce the chances of a drunk driver or even just pedestrians entering the subway. It would also mean that there'd only be one at-grade crossing, at Rockwell, further improving safety, and give the CTA some additional track run for operational staging during construction.

ardecila Sep 30, 2015 3:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 7181025)
The CTA has posted pics of the completed work. I'll miss the old, though degraded by time and wear, styling of the Art Moderne station but being able to actually see more than a few feet in front of you is a pretty nice benefit.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ctaweb

Just in time to go check out Halal Guys! om nom nom

chrisvfr800i Sep 30, 2015 2:42 PM

I traversed the new "Diverging Diamond" interchange at Rt59 & I88 this morning, and it really works! Too bad the rest of Rt 59 is such a nightmare.

Busy Bee Sep 30, 2015 4:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 7181025)
The CTA has posted pics of the completed work. I'll miss the old, though degraded by time and wear, styling of the Art Moderne station but being able to actually see more than a few feet in front of you is a pretty nice benefit.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ctaweb

Didn't exactly turn out like the rendering:

https://farm8.static.flickr.com/7034...23d1757949.jpg
https://farm8.static.flickr.com/7034...23d1757949.jpg

My single biggest issue with the subway station rehabs (since Chicago) is the horrendous tile and "finish design" including that putrid color scheme, the skylines, the ridiculous typography. All. They have to do is put a nice white or grey tile on the wall with large station names in Helvetica even and it wouldn't look like a circus or children's fun world. The quality looks like it's there, the design is repugnant.

Randomguy34 Sep 30, 2015 4:22 PM

^ That rendering is for the Lasalle/Division entrance. It's close to what it looks like in real life except for the fact that the white tiles are the typical blue tiles.

Nexis4Jersey Oct 1, 2015 3:40 AM

Englewood Flyover, CREATE Project

Video Link


75th Street Corridor in Chicago

Video Link

wierdaaron Oct 1, 2015 4:05 AM

Woah, that would divert metra traffic away from Union Station and to Lasalle station? Awesome! That would lessen the clusterfuck at Union and pump a lot more people into downtown right into the South Loop, Chicago's latest up-n-comer.

Plus, continuing to speed up the Amtrak routes between St Louis and Michigan could make it more competitive with megabus.

ardecila Oct 2, 2015 11:36 PM

Well, we're only talking about 4500 riders on SouthWest Service. That's comparable to a moderately busy CTA L stop in the neighborhoods - like Armitage on the Brown Line. However, I don't think it's enough to "change the landscape" in the South Loop. The Rock Island has about 13,000 daily boardings at LaSalle, so it would be roughly a 33% increase at that station.

wierdaaron Oct 2, 2015 11:39 PM

I'll take it!

Busy Bee Oct 3, 2015 1:14 AM

Today, excellent blog GreaterGreaterWashington discusses cta infill stations here:

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/...fill-stations/

BVictor1 Oct 3, 2015 7:51 AM

http://www.transitchicago.com/news_i.../lawrmawr.aspx

Quote:

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), as project sponsor to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), proposes to construct the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project. The project would expand capacity by reconstructing and modernizing approximately 1.3 miles of the existing rail line track from Leland Avenue on the south to near Ardmore Avenue on the north. Four stations, the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr stations, would be expanded, modernized, and made accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Learn more about the project.

In April, the CTA and the FTA published an Environmental Assessment (EA) which analyzed the effects of implementing the project on the physical, human, and natural environments. The CTA held a public hearing for the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project on May 14, 2015, and established a 30-day formal public comment period to take input from the public on the findings of the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project EA.

Based on a review of the EA and all public comments received, the FTA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for this project and the CTA published notice of issuance on October 2, 2015. The FONSI documentation includes a summary of responses to comments received, as well as suggested mitigation measures to minimize environmental impacts of the project, including impacts to historic resources. Read a copy of the FONSI here.

The approval of the FONSI means that the CTA has identified all potential impacts and ways to minimize and mitigate those impacts, and that based on that information, the FTA finds there will be no significant impacts from implementation of the project. The CTA anticipates RPM construction could begin as early as 2017.

jpIllInoIs Oct 3, 2015 4:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 7185194)
Today, excellent blog GreaterGreaterWashington discusses cta infill stations here:

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/...fill-stations/

So which infill is next for Chicago? Division St Brown line or Madison/Monroe Pink line?

ardecila Oct 3, 2015 9:42 PM

There hasn't been much public discussion of either station. If I had to guess, it would be Division Brown Line. No doubt the developers of Atrium Village and the Cabrini area will throw their weight behind it. Walter Burnett is on record in support, hopefully he will step up his efforts. Ultimately Emanuel would have to directly support it to move it forward. CTA has plenty of other station improvements - Washington/Wabash right now, and State/Lake needs to be rebuilt next.

In contrast, nobody in positions of power seems to want a United Center stop on the Pink Line. The Pink Line only runs 4-car trains at a low frequency, and I don't think CTA wants to majorly increase operating costs on the Pink Line to accommodate UC events when the Blue Line already stops within walking distance of the stadium.

What is far more likely is a rebuilt and expanded station at Medical Center - CTA has already held a discreet design competition for this station. CDOT has also started planning a Damen streetscape project that will widen sidewalks between the UC and the Eisenhower, and the new Malcolm X college and Blackhawks training facility should liven up that dead stretch of Damen as well to improve the pedestrian experience.

denizen467 Oct 7, 2015 10:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orulz (Post 7179752)
A tunnel under the Brown and UP-NW at an elevation of about 614' would be low enough to cross under the brown/UP-NW which are about 626' and high enough to cross over southbound lanes of the Edens/Kennedy junction which are about 595' there,

Curious, but where are you finding these sea level elevations - are you eyeballing them from some generic public map source, or quoting something made for/by the railroads or the City? Technically there is no such thing as a single sea level even if you net out tides; the surface elevation of the sea varies around the Earth based on gravitational differences from the location's underlying crust, and based on the Earth being slightly wider than it is tall, not to mention ocean currents and long term changes in sea and air temperatures. The above might be of limited relevance if we were a coastal city, but Chicago is 600 miles from the Atlantic (at Baltimore, if counting the Chesapeake is valid) but only 740 miles from Hudson Bay, so is there any specific coastal location (or average from several) whose sea level is chosen? I can't imagine that infrastructure engineering documents needing to last centuries would be keying off of anything but a local datum, like the one used in the Loop. Or is there some new reference datum devised based on GPS satellites (even though it would be only a fictional sea level)?

Mr Downtown Oct 7, 2015 2:34 PM

US Geological Survey maps show elevations from a particular "mean sea level" benchmark (the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 or the North American Vertical Datum of 1988), and local surveyors and engineering firms generally tie in to that datum. For precise construction drawings, it's traditional in Chicago to instead express them in terms of "Chicago City Datum." That's a theoretical low-water lake level from the 19th century, but in practical terms has been measured from a downtown benchmark (mounted on the Northern Trust Building) for more than a century, and in really practical terms is these days merely derived by converting from the accepted mean sea level.

emathias Oct 7, 2015 10:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 7185550)
So which infill is next for Chicago? Division St Brown line or Madison/Monroe Pink line?

Personally, I'd also vote for an Orange Line stop at either 18th or at Cermak, or a Pink Line station at Roosevelt.

Longer-term, stations at Ashbury on the Yellow Line, Western and Damen on the Green Line Lake branch, Michigan or State, and Racine on the Green Line 63rd branch, 31st on the Green Line south trunk, and Laramie on the Blue Forest Park branch should be considered if those areas stop declining and show movement toward rejuvenation. Then we can talk about extending the Green Line back to Jackson Park and west to Western Ave.

Randomguy34 Oct 7, 2015 11:50 PM

^ If the Obama Library gets built in Washington park and brings a lot of development to the area, then I wouldn't be surprised to expect the CTA to bring back the 58th or State Street Station on the South Side Elevated/Englewood Branch

ChickeNES Oct 8, 2015 4:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 7190202)
^ If the Obama Library gets built in Washington park and brings a lot of development to the area, then I wouldn't be surprised to expect the CTA to bring back the 58th or State Street Station on the South Side Elevated/Englewood Branch

I kind of doubt they'll rush to rebuild 58th since it was only demolished 3 years ago.

Randomguy34 Oct 8, 2015 5:00 PM

Of course they won't build those stations immediately, even if development comes quickly, because it will be a while before the population catches up in order to justify a new station. Again, this is IF it gets built in Washington Park. I don't think the CTA would be as interested in re-extending the Green Line to Jackson Park if the Obama library lands there, even after a population increase.

orulz Oct 9, 2015 1:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 7189196)
Curious, but where are you finding these sea level elevations - are you eyeballing them from some generic public map source, or quoting something made for/by the railroads or the City? Technically there is no such thing as a single sea level even if you net out tides; the surface elevation of the sea varies around the Earth based on gravitational differences from the location's underlying crust, and based on the Earth being slightly wider than it is tall, not to mention ocean currents and long term changes in sea and air temperatures. The above might be of limited relevance if we were a coastal city, but Chicago is 600 miles from the Atlantic (at Baltimore, if counting the Chesapeake is valid) but only 740 miles from Hudson Bay, so is there any specific coastal location (or average from several) whose sea level is chosen? I can't imagine that infrastructure engineering documents needing to last centuries would be keying off of anything but a local datum, like the one used in the Loop. Or is there some new reference datum devised based on GPS satellites (even though it would be only a fictional sea level)?

Cook County Viewer: http://cookviewer1.cookcountyil.gov/...mapviewer.html

Click the basemap button, choose "Elevation Contour Map." It gives elevations with 1-foot granularity. Not sure regarding its precision nor what the elevations are in reference to.

Presumably these maps are sourced from some combination of USGS data and satellite/LIDAR readings, with a generous helping of hand-tweaking thrown in for good measure.

orulz Oct 9, 2015 2:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 7190096)
Personally, I'd also vote for an Orange Line stop at either 18th or at Cermak, or a Pink Line station at Roosevelt.

18th has been bandied about somewhat but I think 16th would be better since
(1) Both Orange and Green can stop
(2) Equidistant between Roosevelt and Cermak Green Line stations (18th skews south and the walkshed would overlap significantly with Cermak)
(3) Connection is possible to the St Charles Air Line

Peronally, I see the best use of the St Charles Air Line being the southward extension of the proposed Clinton-Larrabee subway, to McCormick Place, Hyde Park, and South Shore/South Chicago, but the latest proposal for this line that has bubbled to the surface is "Chicago Crossrail" which is a worthwhile proposal that would also benefit from a transfer at 16th.

Now, 16th is not as important of a street as 18th, and there is no bus on 16th, but then again there is no bus on this stretch of 18th either.

My admittedly unscientific measurements indicate that this is possible, with barely any property takings, but you would either have to close the 13th street incline (not desirable due to flexibility/resiliency) or rebuild the northbound Orange Line flyover of the Green Line a couple hundred feet south.

map.

There I go again wasting time thinking about fantasy projects that are completely divorced from reality.

ardecila Oct 9, 2015 6:15 AM

Rahm is in DC trying to convince USDOT to send some money for Union Station.

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/artic...oreUserAgent=1

It would probably be in the form of a loan, but the state has authorized a TIF overlay district for all property within 1/2 mile of Union Station... Presumably the city could pay back the Feds with the TIF money over time (the same legislation also authorizes long, strip-like TIFs for the Red/Purple project, Red Line to 130th, and Blue Line Forest Park).

Normally the city could just issue bonds based on the TIF money, but our credit rating is not exactly stellar right now and the interest paid would be phenomenal. The Feds are basically the only people willing to extend credit on decent terms, but even they seem to be demurring (for the moment).

It's premature to talk about what improvements would be included, it will depend on the amount of the loan. The Union Station Master Plan is the guiding document, which is a shame because nothing in the plan fundamentally changes the station from being a rathole.

-----

On a side note, after begging and pleading the Architecture Foundation, it looks like they have included
Union Station on the list of Open House sites for this year. The

emathias Oct 9, 2015 2:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orulz (Post 7191682)
18th has been bandied about somewhat but I think 16th would be better since
(1) Both Orange and Green can stop
(2) Equidistant between Roosevelt and Cermak Green Line stations (18th skews south and the walkshed would overlap significantly with Cermak)
(3) Connection is possible to the St Charles Air Line

Peronally, I see the best use of the St Charles Air Line being the southward extension of the proposed Clinton-Larrabee subway, to McCormick Place, Hyde Park, and South Shore/South Chicago, but the latest proposal for this line that has bubbled to the surface is "Chicago Crossrail" which is a worthwhile proposal that would also benefit from a transfer at 16th.

Now, 16th is not as important of a street as 18th, and there is no bus on 16th, but then again there is no bus on this stretch of 18th either.

My admittedly unscientific measurements indicate that this is possible, with barely any property takings, but you would either have to close the 13th street incline (not desirable due to flexibility/resiliency) or rebuild the northbound Orange Line flyover of the Green Line a couple hundred feet south.
...

I think there'd be more property impact than you think, but I agree that using the Air Line would be desirable. In a magical wonder world, this is what I think would happen in conjunction with that (I figure all those could be added for less than "The Big Dig" cost in today's dollars).

1) Clinton subway using the Air Line to get to McCormick
2) The 1968 subway plan from West Loop to Streetville and McCormick
3) Route the Pink Line along 16 and the Air Line to join the NS portion of item 2
4) Circle Line to serve the Polk and added Roosevelt and Madison stops on the current Pink Line route

As such:
http://www.mathiasen.com/lines_map.png

Randomguy34 Oct 9, 2015 2:17 PM

Wow, your proposed map for that area looks exactly like mine. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought of rerouting the Pink Line.

ardecila Oct 9, 2015 3:55 PM

I still think the best use of the St Charles Air Line is for mainline rail, because:

A) the south lakefront corridor is ideal for intercity and/or high speed rail, passing through neighborhoods of significant density, significant long-term growth potential, and major regional anchors like McCormick Place and U of Chicago.

B) the SCAL is the most economical way to connect the south lakefront corridor to Union Station

C) the South Loop is now built up enough that there isn't room for both mainline rail and CTA tracks in the SCAL corridor

orulz Oct 12, 2015 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7192146)
I still think the best use of the St Charles Air Line is for mainline rail, because:

A) the south lakefront corridor is ideal for intercity and/or high speed rail, passing through neighborhoods of significant density, significant long-term growth potential, and major regional anchors like McCormick Place and U of Chicago.

B) the SCAL is the most economical way to connect the south lakefront corridor to Union Station

C) the South Loop is now built up enough that there isn't room for both mainline rail and CTA tracks in the SCAL corridor

I disagree. For reasons A and B you mention above, I think the South Lakefront to West Loop corridor should be prioritized as a local transit line since that almost invariably carries far higher ridership and is better at attracting development than intercity/high speed rail. It's true that the former IC and SCAL would be a fine route for HSR and intercity rail, but IMO, having a well-located intercity rail route next to these valuable, high density neighborhoods is an order of magnitude less imporant than having a local transit route.

The route paralleling the NS has the potential to be as good and possibly even faster since for high speed and intercity, since it doesn't involve a slow sharp curve to come down from the SCAL to the Union Station approaches.

Having good, direct, local rapid transit from South Chicago, Hyde Park, and McCormick Place to the west loop and north side is far, far more important than having intercity/HSR stations at McCormick and Hyde Park which are the main tangible benefits of using the SCAL as an intercity-focused line. (The Metra Electric/South Shore/Gray Line already covers access to the loop proper for these locations, and its four tracks are plenty to handle any suburban express trains.)

ardecila Oct 13, 2015 5:33 AM

You can still provide local transit using the SCAL, but it would be more of a regional rail operation than a metro. Stops every mile or so, using DMUs or eventually EMUs with overhead wire.

The NS route into Union Station is fatally flawed because Amtrak trains will still have at-grade crossings with NS trains, even after they build Grand Crossing flyover. If a 2-mile long freight train is blocking a ladder track, you're back to having 20 minute delays on Amtrak. Even Amtrak's promotional video shows the conflicts, although it doesn't call attention to them.

The other problem with the NS route is that NS has used Amtrak improvements like Grand Crossing as a wedge to gain city, state and federal support for their plan to demolish half of Englewood to expand the railyard. I can't support such a huge injustice in the name of speedier Amtrak service when a far simpler alternative exists using the SCAL. Even IDOT recognized the huge limitations of sending intercity trains through complex yards and junctions controlled by the freight railroads, which is why they want to send St. Louis trains to Union Station along Metra's Rock Island.

Nerdy video:
Video Link

CTA Gray Line Oct 13, 2015 8:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orulz (Post 7194935)
I disagree. For reasons A and B you mention above, I think the South Lakefront to West Loop corridor should be prioritized as a local transit line since that almost invariably carries far higher ridership and is better at attracting development than intercity/high speed rail. It's true that the former IC and SCAL would be a fine route for HSR and intercity rail, but IMO, having a well-located intercity rail route next to these valuable, high density neighborhoods is an order of magnitude less imporant than having a local transit route.

The route paralleling the NS has the potential to be as good and possibly even faster since for high speed and intercity, since it doesn't involve a slow sharp curve to come down from the SCAL to the Union Station approaches.

Having good, direct, local rapid transit from South Chicago, Hyde Park, and McCormick Place to the west loop and north side is far, far more important than having intercity/HSR stations at McCormick and Hyde Park which are the main tangible benefits of using the SCAL as an intercity-focused line. (The Metra Electric/South Shore/Gray Line already covers access to the loop proper for these locations, and its four tracks are plenty to handle any suburban express trains.)

Since an implemented Gray Line would use modified ClassI Metra Highliner II's, there would be no need for CTA tracks

orulz Oct 14, 2015 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 7195332)
Since an implemented Gray Line would use modified ClassI Metra Highliner II's, there would be no need for CTA tracks

Yes and the gray line covers access to the loop via Millennium Station, but for direct access to the west loop and a link into the (hypothetical) clinton-larrabee subway to the north side, it would have to be augmented by CTA Rail on the St Charles Air Line and the conversion of the two freight tracks alongside the IC/ME right of way.

Tcmetro Oct 14, 2015 6:43 PM

Anybody think that it would be a good idea to build a direct ramp from LSD to a McCormick Pl busway extension at 31st St and a new ramp up to street level from the busway so that South LSD expresses would be able to avoid congestion near the Museum Campus?

Seems like a cheap way to improve transit, but probably will result in further death of any kind of frequent Metra Electric service.

emathias Oct 14, 2015 6:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tcmetro (Post 7197126)
...
but probably will result in further death of any kind of frequent Metra Electric service.

Which is why the CTA isn't allowed to run regular buses in the busway.

CTA Gray Line Oct 16, 2015 7:16 AM

F
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tcmetro (Post 7197126)
Anybody think that it would be a good idea to build a direct ramp from LSD to a McCormick Pl busway extension at 31st St and a new ramp up to street level from the busway so that South LSD expresses would be able to avoid congestion near the Museum Campus?

Seems like a cheap way to improve transit, but probably will result in further death of any kind of frequent Metra Electric service.


The MED ROW is wholly owned by Metra, and part of the agreement allowing the busway to be constructed is NO CTA buses using it.

MayorOfChicago Oct 16, 2015 3:21 PM

Random rant. I wish that Block 37 could install some revolving doors as you pass from the retail areas into the Red and Blue line stations. For whatever reason those doors drive me insane every morning and afternoon. The way they open, they're a bit heavy, the way they over-swing into the paths of the other doors and then whip back and shut right behind you (in front of other people).

I had hoped they would keep them open at times when the temp is ok...but it seems they never do.

Revolving would at least let normal people without bags zip through. Right now unless you're there to grab the door from the person in front of you it always causes you to stop and haul the doors open.

I feel bad for tourists with bags. I saw some Asian tourists having a hell of a time yesterday with their massive bags trying to go from the Blue Line over to State Street.

wierdaaron Oct 16, 2015 3:55 PM

Crains says Union Station improvements are back from the dead.

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/artic...GS02/151019878

http://i.imgur.com/vUHm0jj.png

Presentation slides: http://www.scribd.com/doc/285286186/...-Copy-10-15-15

Click thumb for original size:

http://i.imgur.com/gCzI5Thl.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/DguQisEl.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/xn3FPSal.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/wMN8LQ5l.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/JDTQaHel.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/J6BgAwXl.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/RAVpGfEl.jpg

Ch.G, Ch.G Oct 16, 2015 6:30 PM

Kinda uninspired...


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