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Justin_Chicago Feb 20, 2015 6:29 PM

And this is exactly my point. I have been living without a car for over 10 years. I occasionally will take a cab ride home if it is really late at night. Investing in rail transit outside of the loop will drive economic activity in other neighborhoods. I would love to visit Korea Town or the Thai places along Western Ave, but it takes multiple bus routes to visit these places. I can easily go from Queens to Brooklyn on the G train in NYC. Chicago needs to invest in a neighborhood rail line. Also, Chicago (assuming we enter an economic turnaround) should connect more neighborhoods to the Central Business District by expanding rail connections. I enjoy many night life options in Pilsen (Thalia Hall, Nightwood, etc.), but I would never live there because it would make my commute to work painful. But people can live in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and still connect to Midtown and lower Manhattan. From a priority standpoint, I would invest in 1) red line extension, 2) circulator, 3) circle line, and 4) expansion lines (improve CTA rail access to Pilsen, Humboldt Park, Belmont Cragin, Southshore, Gage Park, etc.).

ardecila Feb 20, 2015 7:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 6922673)
N Mag Mile, Northwestern, Navy Pier.

Lets not forget recreational destinations. Are they not worthy of rail transit?

Most other "global" cities in the world don't have such criteria

:???: These are exactly the destinations served by the circulator proposal, including the "recreational destinations" of the Museum Campus and Soldier Field.

This is an interesting plan... I'm trying to decide if I like the alignment down Wells/Clark Street through the South Loop, or if it should continue down Canal Street to Roosevelt and serve the Roosevelt retail district.

nomarandlee Feb 20, 2015 8:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin_Chicago (Post 6922403)
Loop 'Connector' Plan Back From the Dead, Again

Article: http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150...rom-dead-again

Very interesting stat that I hadn't known taken from the article.

.....As of 2008, Metra brought 165,000 people to the Loop every weekday, a higher volume than the "L," said Alex Francis Burchard, an undergraduate architecture student at the Illinois Institute of Technology who is specializing in transportation issues.......

If there already wasn't a good enough reason to build the Clinton/Canal rail L spur then I don't know what else could be. Like it or hate it Metra is the way that many suburbanites come to the city when going downtown. Right now for most suburbanites (who are not everyday commuters) its they get to Union or Ogilvie and its just a case of walk or cab it to where they are going.

Especially the more casual riders aren't at all comfortable navigating the many bus routes in this city. To them a bus going down the street is going from who knows where to who knows where. A rail line though is much easier to identify and predict where it will go and what it is near for the Transit for Dummies crowd. I know myself when I go to cities who I don't know well at all I am much more comfortable getting on a train then a bus line. We shouldn't build transit for these people but they are definitley part of the equation its not wise to ignore either.

the urban politician Feb 20, 2015 8:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 6922981)
Very interesting stat that I hadn't known taken from the article.

.....As of 2008, Metra brought 165,000 people to the Loop every weekday, a higher volume than the "L," said Alex Francis Burchard, an undergraduate architecture student at the Illinois Institute of Technology who is specializing in transportation issues.......

If there already wasn't a good enough reason to build the Clinton/Canal rail L spur then I don't know what else could be. Like it or hate it Metra is the way that many suburbanites come to the city when going downtown. Right now for most suburbanites (who are not everyday commuters) its they get to Union or Ogilvie and its just a case of walk or cab it to where they are going.

Especially the more casual riders aren't at all comfortable navigating the many bus routes in this city. To them a bus going down the street is going from who knows where to who knows where. A rail line though is much easier to identify and predict where it will go and what it is near for the Transit for Dummies crowd. I know myself when I go to cities who I don't know well at all I am much more comfortable getting on a train then a bus line. We shouldn't build transit for these people but they are definitley part of the equation its not wise to ignore either.

I think this is, in part, my point, and what I feel Mr. D seems to be missing.

Like it or not, over 2/3 of metro Chicagoans live in the burbs, and I think better east-west rail connections downtown would encourage more of them to use transit when headed downtown for shopping & entertainment, not just for work. Not to mention the boost this would give to the E. Loop and N. Michigan Ave/Streeterville employment districts.

Look at how many self parks we have right now downtown. They are all over the place, and people are often paying $36-$48 dollars just to park for several hours. If the rail option were better, you'd see a TON more suburbanites not only using it, but also appreciating its value more.

nomarandlee Feb 20, 2015 8:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 6923002)
I think this is, in part, my point, and what I feel Mr. D seems to be missing.

Like it or not, over 2/3 of metro Chicagoans live in the burbs, and I think better east-west rail connections downtown would encourage more of them to use transit when headed downtown for shopping & entertainment, not just for work. Not to mention the boost this would give to the E. Loop and N. Michigan Ave/Streeterville employment districts.

Look at how many self parks we have right now downtown. They are all over the place, and people are often paying $36-$48 dollars just to park for several hours. If the rail option were better, you'd see a TON more suburbanites not only using it, but also appreciating its value more.

I also think its a matter of poor signage. The Clinton Blue Line really isn't too far from Union. And the Green Line especially not too far from Olgovie. Yet I guarantee that 90% of casual commuters from Union/Olgovie never think about getting on either to go where they need to. Many probably have no idea that the stops are even there as amazing as it is. There should be a 30 foot blinking kiosk's and "this way to LOOP" signs along Clinton to advertise the fact that there is a Blue Line stop hiding out under Congress.

the urban politician Feb 20, 2015 8:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 6923019)
I also think its a matter of poor signage. The Clinton Blue Line really isn't too far from Union. And the Green Line especially not too far from Olgovie. Yet I guarantee that 90% of casual commuters from Union/Olgovie never think about getting on either to go where they need to. Many probably have no idea that the stops are even there as amazing as it is. There should be a 30 foot blinking kiosk's and "this way to LOOP" signs along Clinton to advertise the fact that there is a Blue Line stop hiding out under Congress.

But the Green and Blue line don't take you to Streeterville, Northwestern, or Navy Pier.

And who wants to transfer outdoors when it's 15 degrees outside?

I'm telling you, if there was a seamless transfer between Metra and an E-W running rail line that crosses the Loop, then heads up to the Mag Mile area, and then down into Streeterville and Navy Pier, you would see hordes upon hordes of suburbanites using it. HORDES.

Justin_Chicago Feb 20, 2015 9:15 PM

You brought up a good point based on people's habits. I visit NYC, San Francisco and Philly many times a year and never take a bus. I naturally gravitate towards rail.

Mr Downtown Feb 21, 2015 12:37 AM

We can't afford to build rail lines for folks who visit Chicago once or twice a year. Or to keep families from having to pay for parking at Navy Pier. Or to get random hipsters to their girlfriends' places, or back home quickly from drinking in East Pilsen. Rail lines are for travel corridors where the demand is so great that it can't be met with buses.

It would be nice to have a more seamless or sheltered connection between Union or Ogilvie and the L, but the one we had (Northwest Passage) wasn't terribly missed when it was torn out in the 1990s. The vast majority—probably two-thirds—of the suburban commuters arriving at downtown Metra stations have an easy walk (less than a half mile) to their offices. There are special shuttle bus lines that run on Lower Wacker, and dozens of other bus lines suburban commuters can and do use for that last mile. Does the casual visitor to the city immediately know about all the possibilities? No, but once you've worked somewhere more than a week you probably do.

It's also hilarious to contemplate building new rail lines "to open up new areas to development" when we already have L trains stopping every few minutes at stations surrounded by vacant land, entire lines of stations where fewer than 1000 people board on an average weekday. The Green Line South has so few riders it wouldn't even qualify as one of the top 30 CTA bus lines.

LouisVanDerWright Feb 21, 2015 4:22 PM

I used to think Ashland would be a logical corridor to run an neighborhood circulator connecting the great concentrations of density in the city. However, the Ashland BRT will basically do the same thing. Honestly full BRT seems like the most realistic and cost effective way to achieve true connectivity in the neighborhoods.

The only places that could really benefit from the capacities of the high capacity of heavy rail is the central area essentially as far out as the circle line proposal. Everything else can much better served by BRT, it's essentially what Chicago was built for: street level transit like cable cars and street cars... and BRT...

Tcmetro Feb 21, 2015 4:31 PM

This is an interesting proposal. (re: Loop Connector Plan)

I think the line south of LaSalle Station is unnecessary. I can't imagine that the museum, Soldier Field, and McCormick Place stops would be used heavily. Despite being traffic generators, demand is much more spread out during the day, and it's probably better served with a BRT service.

I think that the north end of the line should turn north into Streeterville, and terminate somewhere near Water Tower Place. Certainly there is much better commuter demand from that neighborhood, and Michigan Ave is a year-round destination unlike Navy Pier.

In reality is this actually going to happen? Certainly Red North, Blue Forest Park, and the 130th St extension are going to preoccupy the CTA for the next decade or two.

Personally, I think that outer city transit expansion needs to happen. Buses are too slow to connect the city (recently took a Western bus that took 1.5 hours to go a whopping six miles) and need reform. Supposedly, the Ashland BRT plan is undergoing revisions to allow more left turns, so there may be some hope for that project. Would the "Mid-City line" from Montrose Blue Line to Midway be useful, or is that too far out from the core?

--

In other news, Pace launched their website for the Milwaukee Ave Pulse Line (supposedly BRT, but not really). It will launch in 2017.

http://pulse.pacebus.com/

Randomguy34 Feb 21, 2015 4:44 PM

Hey, just found their white page proposal for a more in-depth study of the circulator. Interesting how page 3 of the proposal also mentions the possibility of connecting the circulator to the South Lakefront ROW to act as the Gray Line/Gold Line. The picture mentioning it also has 4 new stops that the Metra Electric does not currently stop at.

http://ccac.org/wp-content/uploads/2...sal-102814.pdf

the urban politician Feb 21, 2015 4:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6923324)
We can't afford to build rail lines for folks who visit Chicago once or twice a year. Or to keep families from having to pay for parking at Navy Pier. Or to get random hipsters to their girlfriends' places, or back home quickly from drinking in East Pilsen. Rail lines are for travel corridors where the demand is so great that it can't be met with buses.

^ Based on the traffic congestion on the Kennedy I see nearly every time I come to Chicago on Saturday (I'm sure these people aren't headed to Loop offices), this is a far larger volume of potential riders than you are making it out to be.


Quote:

It's also hilarious to contemplate building new rail lines "to open up new areas to development" when we already have L trains stopping every few minutes at stations surrounded by vacant land, entire lines of stations where fewer than 1000 people board on an average weekday. The Green Line South has so few riders it wouldn't even qualify as one of the top 30 CTA bus lines.
^ That has less to do with rail lines and more to do with the utter lack of demand for the private sector to build housing on the south side. But if an area is booming with private sector development, it's kind of obvious that infrastructure improvements to those areas should be concimant. Lets use some common sense, Mr. D....

If bus transit were so adequate, the E. Loop wouldn't perpetually have the highest office vacancy rates and lowest rent per sq foot in the downtown Chicago market. Rail does matter.

Mr Downtown Feb 21, 2015 6:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 6923802)
if an area is booming with private sector development, it's kind of obvious that infrastructure improvements to those areas should be concimant.

Concimant? A perfectly cromulent word, I guess.

But the concept is exactly backwards, the way I see it. You're saying to developers "scoop up some cheap land, land that's cheap because it doesn't have any transport access—and we're so desperate for transit users that we'll eventually build transport to it." So you get absurdities like Metro to Tyson's Corner, DART to Las Colinas, or proposals for the STAR line to Hoffman Estates office parks. If we were serious about regional planning, the demand for suburban office space would be met near existing Metra lines and stations, the way it happens in Australia.

East Loop and Streeterville office space is somewhat forgivable, because the city was intending to build a rail line there. But when people ask "why is there no train station near United Center or Soldier Field or McCormick Place?," I say the proper question is "Why were they allowed to build those things not close to a train station?"

nomarandlee Feb 21, 2015 8:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6923847)
Concimant? A perfectly cromulent word, I guess.

But the concept is exactly backwards, the way I see it. You're saying to developers "scoop up some cheap land, land that's cheap because it doesn't have any transport access—and we're so desperate for transit users that we'll eventually build transport to it." So you get absurdities like Metro to Tyson's Corner,

As someone who travels every month to Tysons for business I have to say you seem pretty far off the mark. Ridership projections so far have been higher then expected and that is even without a full build out of the TOD in the area. While not ideal for pedestrians in some respects it is transforming to be much more Ped friendly. I only wish that Chicago had some suburbs (Evanston kind of qualifies) like Reston and Tysons around Chicago.

When the line finally reaches Dullus Tysons will go from being one of the top 20 commercial districts in the nation to perhaps top 10.

But anyway, we aren't talking about putting out metro's to far flung neighborhoods or suburbs in this case. We are talking about integrating downtown more thoroughly by rail. Chicago is in the midst of a return to downtown living transformation. Open up dependable rail service that can quickly shuttle new residents to the West Loop from the homes in River North or South Loop and the city will only increase that momentum.

Provide direct N-S CTA rail access through the West Loop and companies will be even more enticed to capture from a labor pool that not only has easy access via Metra/suburbs but also a huge labor pool that lives in the city that right now have to make connections to get to job centers in the West Loop.

The West Loop can be the new Loop with the added attraction of being extremely convenient for most suburbanites and most city residents if the right connections are built.
Quote:

DART to Las Colinas, or proposals for the STAR line to Hoffman Estates office parks. If we were serious about regional planning, the demand for suburban office space would be met near existing Metra lines and stations, the way it happens in Australia.
That much is true. Unlike Tysons which is only a 25 minute ride from downtown DC the office parks of Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg would be a good 45min and more like an +1 hour in many instances plus on the Blue Line.

Extending the Blue Line beyond O'Hare or building the Star Line that go through heavily forested areas. Stupid. Any of the new suburban office development should ideally be centered around present day Metra stations.

the urban politician Feb 21, 2015 9:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6923847)
Concimant? A perfectly cromulent word, I guess.

But the concept is exactly backwards, the way I see it. You're saying to developers "scoop up some cheap land, land that's cheap because it doesn't have any transport access—and we're so desperate for transit users that we'll eventually build transport to it." So you get absurdities like Metro to Tyson's Corner, DART to Las Colinas, or proposals for the STAR line to Hoffman Estates office parks. If we were serious about regional planning, the demand for suburban office space would be met near existing Metra lines and stations, the way it happens in Australia.

^ Since when are the E Loop, N Mag Mile, and Streeterville "cheap" land? These places are going nuts with residential and hotel development, plus you have the State's largest tourist attraction (Navy Pier) sitting at the eastern point. The die was long ago cast, these areas draw lots of people, and a large proportion of the people they draw don't even live in the city but are mostly forced to drive. There is nothing absurd about investing in some sort of dedicated transit line that can really get people from the West Loop stations out to these areas more conveniently. I find it hard to believe that you are comparing running a subway east-west through Chicago's central area to some sort of train line out into farm land. How are these two things related?


Quote:

East Loop and Streeterville office space is somewhat forgivable, because the city was intending to build a rail line there. But when people ask "why is there no train station near United Center or Soldier Field or McCormick Place?," I say the proper question is "Why were they allowed to build those things not close to a train station?"
^ I agree, but that's a different topic

untitledreality Feb 21, 2015 10:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin_Chicago (Post 6922403)
Loop 'Connector' Plan Back From the Dead, Again

Article: http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150...rom-dead-again

So... Clinton Street subway with a Carroll Avenue spur... sounds good. Both plans have been discussed ad nauseum, lets see if this time it amounts to anything.

ardecila Feb 21, 2015 10:31 PM

^ I still think the Clinton Subway as Red Line bypass is a more worthy idea. It doesn't do much to distribute suburban Metra riders around downtown, but it does tie the two biggest Metra terminals to the city's busiest L line, and for that reason it provides regional benefits, allowing suburbanites to get to various places around the city. A Metra rider from Hinsdale could ride to DePaul or Loyola, for example.

Adding new lines like this circulator without re-routing some of the existing lines to fix bad planning is only a half-solution, since it only addresses problems faced by people who are headed to downtown destinations. It repeats the planning mistake of the last 60 years, which says that the city neighborhoods between suburbs and downtown are just flyover country with no important destinations.

I think for Mr. D's post, the big take-away is that transportation planning and land use need to be integrated tightly.

We're definitely not there yet in Chicago, with transportation planning being done alternately by well-intentioned planners, politicians, and business groups and land use being controlled by self-interested neighborhood groups and pandering aldermen. The TOD concept should not be controversial, yet it has proven to be a divisive issue for groups in Logan Square and Lakeview.

untitledreality Feb 21, 2015 10:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6923324)
We can't afford to build rail lines for folks who visit Chicago once or twice a year.

So how about direct access to/from the region's largest commuter/national rail hubs with the region's largest heavy rail public transit network? All residing within a sub community that has been adding hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space and thousands of new residents over the past 20 years?

We aren't talking about an extension to Ford City here.

untitledreality Feb 21, 2015 11:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6924092)
^ I still think the Clinton Subway as Red Line bypass is a more worthy idea....

....Adding new lines like this circulator without re-routing some of the existing lines to fix bad planning is only a half-solution, since it only addresses problems faced by people who are headed to downtown destinations.

Clearly.

With the creation of the Clinton Subway the entire system could go through a proper re-balancing and re-routing to function more on par with local needs while reducing Loop congestion. Less Loop termination, and more through routing.

Mr Downtown Feb 22, 2015 4:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 6924041)
^ Since when are the E Loop, N Mag Mile, and Streeterville "cheap" land?

In the 1970s, when developers built office and residential towers on former railyards and warehouse districts, several blocks from the nearest rapid transit lines.

Quote:

these areas draw lots of people, and a large proportion of the people they draw don't even live in the city but are mostly forced to drive.
Forced by what, exactly? Not knowing the number of the Navy Pier bus? (Hint: it’s the one that says NAVY PIER on top).

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 6923981)
Open up dependable rail service that can quickly shuttle new residents to the West Loop from the homes in River North or South Loop

How exactly is the Green Line deficient in that regard? Or the dozens of bus lines that require no steps and go pretty much door to door? Of course, I’ve only lived in the South Loop since 1983, so perhaps I don’t realize how transit-deficient my neighborhood is.

Now, truth be told, I find myself intrigued by the idea of a C-shaped distributor: Navy Pier or NMH (two branches) to Merchandise Mart, to Ogilvie and Union, to Roosevelt Road power centers, thence to Museum Campus or McCormick Place (two branches). I’m very dubious of most streetcar schemes, but that might ultimately be the proper capacity and technology for this line. But the way to start would simply be to through-route the existing 124 and 130 bus lines, perhaps with a special wrap for those buses. High-platform boarding would be the next improvement, then bus-only lanes where needed.

http://i.imgur.com/ZBQFBxq.jpg


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