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the urban politician Feb 25, 2015 3:06 PM

^ Another option is to open up an underground theme park. How about a recreation of Thorin Oakenshield's dwarven kingdom from The Hobbit ?

....Or, build an underground version of Disney's Magic Kingdom, finally fulfilling Richard J. Daley's dream of having a Disney theme park in Chicago?

orulz Feb 25, 2015 3:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chrisvfr800i (Post 6927408)
I got to see inside the super-station shell during a walk-through for the current B37 project. What a waste!

Here's an exciting proposal for the space, in keeping with the recreation theme of B37: Create the world's 1st urban indoor rifle range! A little sound deadening material, a security barrier, some dedicated parking, and pardon the pun, boom! It would be an instant money maker for the city!

I think Honolulu has long since beaten Chicago to that punch.

UPChicago Feb 25, 2015 4:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by untitledreality (Post 6927673)
It would be nice to at least finish out a Red-Blue transfer corridor, if possible, through the space. Get some use, any use, out of it.

Honestly for many years this is all I thought the project was for lmao. I thought somehow the blue line would jut east and the red line would jut west to connect at this new transfer station, ignorance is bliss I suppose.

nomarandlee Feb 25, 2015 4:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6928108)
Airport service that ends at CUS does nothing to reinforce the center of the Loop, which was the intent of 40 years of North Loop redevelopment, and the very reason for the Block 37 project in the first place. We don't need any help convincing companies to move to the West Loop. We need help keeping them close to the subway lines, where people from all parts of the city—even the South Lakefront—have easy access.

Somehow the West Loop is close enough to be a viable destination for 100k's of commuters ever day who work downtown but it would not be good enough for those traveling back from the airport who are doing business or staying downtown much more occasionally? How many would not be taking a train/taxi/bus/van to their final destination anyway? I think insisting on spending 1.5 billion just to make sure that B37 may be salvageable is to mess up priorities.

Both have their pros/con but especially when one figures in likely cost and operation logistics I don't know how one can't look at the CUS possibility and give it serious consideration if not outright favor when discussing an airport express train.

Mr Downtown Feb 25, 2015 7:42 PM

I don't really see a Block 37 transport hub as evidence a new east-west subway line is needed.

My basic philosophy is that Chicago should continue to function much as it always has: a very compact office district served very closely by rapid transit and radiating line-haul bus routes, with suburban terminals just around the periphery but in easy walking distance. As I've often said, a tunnel under Clark or LaSalle to allow through-running of our suburban trains would have been a good investment a century ago, but it doesn't seem to be in the realm of the possible at the moment.

I do favor (at least for more study) a new peripheral C-shaped intermediate capacity line to better serve the periphery of today's CBD. I sketched one possibility over the weekend, while CCAC is talking about a similar idea.

And for the long-term, I think we'll need to build the Clinton subway, but as a way of increasing north-south capacity. I've also sketched how I see that working.

The airport connection was intended to again make Dearborn & Washington relevant to office leasing, instead of continuing to let the jobs drift further west, where they're convenient to suburbanites (from the right kind of suburbs, of course) but not to city dwellers on CTA. Suburbanites can easily walk across the river, or use excess capacity in the CTA bus network to go that last half-mile. That's not so attractive an option for airport travelers. I have my doubts about how much public money should be spent on travelers who can easily pay for their own rides to O'Hare—but as an investment in keeping the office core right where it is, it's a reasonable use of public money.

wierdaaron Feb 25, 2015 8:52 PM

I really want a C shaped connector, and I'm glad it's back in the works (again^again^again), but it always makes me wonder about poor saps who need to move from one end of the C to the other. Like, say, from their apartment at State and Roosevelt to their appointment at Northwestern. It's either take the connector counter-clockwise all the way around town, or get acquainted with the Michigan Avenue bus lines.

Any plan would have service holes like that, I'm sure, but it makes me wonder if an O would be ideologically purer than a C. I'm sure citizens would develop a cute inner-loop and outer-loop geographic terminology in no time, and maybe what's now "the loop" would become "the donut hole".

LouisVanDerWright Feb 25, 2015 9:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wierdaaron (Post 6928671)
It's either take the connector counter-clockwise all the way around town, or get acquainted with the Michigan Avenue bus lines.

Or take the Red line and walk the two or three blocks from Grand or Chicago to Michigan or St. Clair...

the urban politician Feb 25, 2015 9:30 PM

^ Yeah, the C connector concept is mostly about improving E-W connections. N-S connections downtown are pretty much in place.

wierdaaron Feb 25, 2015 9:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 6928703)
Or take the Red line and walk the two or three blocks from Grand or Chicago to Michigan or St. Clair...

The red line? Scum and villainy!

Navy Pier to Museum Campus is probably a better (and more likely) example, but in that case I think visitors might just enjoy the roundabout trip.

UPChicago Feb 25, 2015 9:49 PM

The loop connector will not help any Metra riders get to their jobs more conveniently it will help them either get to the Museum Campus, McCormick or Navy Pier. A Monroe/Madison streetcar with dedicated lanes and signal priority or BRT if you want to be cheap would help Metra riders more.

CTA Gray Line Feb 25, 2015 10:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6928108)
Airport service that ends at CUS does nothing to reinforce the center of the Loop, which was the intent of 40 years of North Loop redevelopment, and the very reason for the Block 37 project in the first place. We don't need any help convincing companies to move to the West Loop. We need help keeping them close to the subway lines, where people from all parts of the city—even the South Lakefront—have easy access.

You are correct in that assessment, but I was talking about services that could be started tomorrow on existing facilities (like the Gray Line); I favor the Connector idea also -- but it is years of planning and construction off in the future; we need something better until that comes online. People would go to CUS for a 2 or 3 stop Metra ride to O'Hare, rather than the 127 stops on the Blue Line (along with the free show), which is the only rail option running today!

Mr Downtown Feb 25, 2015 11:52 PM

I find it amusing to see how people compare ideal en route speeds without noting headways at all.

The Blue Line has a train every 8 minutes and a 41 minute trip to O'Hare. So 45 minutes on average end to end pretty much whenever you leave.

NCS currently takes 40 minutes; suppose we invested $60 million and got that down to 30 minutes, and somehow forced CP and Amtrak to let us schedule a train leaving every half-hour. Average time CUS to Rosemont now becomes the exact same 45 minutes. But wait: you're still 10 minutes from the terminal at the airport end, and 10 minutes from Monroe & Dearborn on the downtown end.

So what's the point of "services that could be started tomorrow" when they're 20 minutes slower even under the most ideal suppositions?

nomarandlee Feb 26, 2015 1:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6928916)
I find it amusing to see how people compare ideal en route speeds without noting headways at all.

The Blue Line has a train every 8 minutes and a 41 minute trip to O'Hare. So 45 minutes on average end to end pretty much whenever you leave.

NCS currently takes 40 minutes; suppose we invested $60 million and got that down to 30 minutes, and somehow forced CP and Amtrak to let us schedule a train leaving every half-hour. Average time CUS to Rosemont now becomes the exact same 45 minutes. But wait: you're still 10 minutes from the terminal at the airport end, and 10 minutes from Monroe & Dearborn on the downtown end.

So what's the point of "services that could be started tomorrow" when they're 20 minutes slower even under the most ideal suppositions?

The NCS is actually 37 minutes from O'Hare Transfer to CUS. That is including 5 stops in between. I'm not sure why the NCS takes upwards of a half hour to go less then 20 miles from O'Hare to Union. It shouldn't. Maybe some signaling upgrades or grade separation could help get that down. I don't see how if one gets some DMU's to go 60-70mph why that trip couldn't be had in a little over 20 minutes to 25 minutes tops.

Why is it presumed that we can't attain 20 minutes headways and 15 minute headways during peak times on an CUS express? Or at least as often as a Block37 express would provide.......

At the airport end I don't think having to transfer to the ATS is much the deal you make it out to be. All international travelers will have to get on the ATS either way regardless if their downtown train arrives at O'Hare at Terminal 2 like present or at the newly planned O'Hare ATS/Parking facility. So for international travelers its a wash. And for those that leave from T1 and T2 (over 65% of the travelers right now?) it is a healthy walk to those terminal T1/T3 right now as it is. An ATS train that waits to meet up with an O'hare express train to drop them in front of their terminal in a matter of 10 minutes from end to end is only going to add a few minutes at most that those who have to walk to T1/T3 right now have to endure. The only clear advantage of one end point over the other is those who have flights from Terminal 2.

At the downtown end I'm not really sure why you are getting hung up on Dearborn/Monroe as the end all be all for end points as far as servicing downtown is concerned. It sounds rather antiquated to suggest that Dearborn/Monroe is Tthe ONLY epicenter of downtown Chicago that could service as a worthwhile endpoint. Not to mention your depiction of the Loop Center as if we are stuck in the early 90's where there is a feeling of needing some special protection and preferences in order to make it thrive or that there is some risk of the West Loop/RN/S'ville will somehow benefit too much at its expense. Logistics and money be dam**ed. Are you trying to reverse that trend hoping that developers will insist on building millions of sq. feet primarly in the Loop over the next few decades? I don't see that happening.

The whole benefit to all of downtown would easily outweigh any negatives/positives any one segment of downtown would feel from such a service. We aren't talking about decentralizing or losing out to Rosemont, Glenview, or even one of the outer neighborhoods. Downtown is simply much bigger and more dynamic then the true Loop these days. More people come into this city everyday via the commuter stations than via the L. There is millions of square feet of office space and residential space each at Illinois Center, River North, S'ville, MM, McCormick Place, West Loop etc and more office space is likely to be built outside the Loop rather then inside the Loop for the foreseeable decades. Office and residential units outside the Loop that will serve as end points for travelers. And we aren't going to try to cater to that fact out of spite or stubborn insistence that the central Loop is the only place where such an asset makes sense? An end point that will likely involve a cab/bus/van/train etc. transfer for people with luggage in tow regardless of anywhere one would place an express train terminal into downtown.

Is CUS as good as B37 in terms of connectivity in terms of residents/workers within say a 3 block radius? Probably not technically if one looks at A and B in terms of square footage or transit connectivity. However if a future express line depends on those in a 3 block radius its largely doomed to fail anyway. CUS is still really close to the heart of downtown and has good connections that are only likely to get better with new express buses/rail (hopefully) in the future. CUS also has the added benefit of possibly connecting some suburban/Metra riders that may utilize such O'Hare express service.

In many cases the objective will be to get travelers near their endpoint and for them to finish the ride by other means. Again, the majority of riders that will be going to MM/RN/S'Ville/McCormick will have to transfer via other means regardless if it is at CUS or Block 37. CUS serves as an endpoint that is still very close to the loop and other points downtown and best of all we would not likely have to wait until 2050 (if even then) for some federal funding to rain billions from the sky to make it all happen. And then we have to prey by then that slow zones will not yet be an issue that makes O'Hare runs almost 55 minutes and that there will not be battles between Blue Line riders/Express train riders of who gets track priority that will likely make the whole line more unpredictable and cumbersome for both. Don't get me wrong, if Block 37 express can be done sometime in my lifetime with reasonable amount of funding and without logistical hiccups then I'm all for it. It seems as if that had been the case that it would have been done by now and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

CTA Gray Line Feb 26, 2015 2:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6928916)
I find it amusing to see how people compare ideal en route speeds without noting headways at all.

The Blue Line has a train every 8 minutes and a 41 minute trip to O'Hare. So 45 minutes on average end to end pretty much whenever you leave.

NCS currently takes 40 minutes; suppose we invested $60 million and got that down to 30 minutes, and somehow forced CP and Amtrak to let us schedule a train leaving every half-hour. Average time CUS to Rosemont now becomes the exact same 45 minutes. But wait: you're still 10 minutes from the terminal at the airport end, and 10 minutes from Monroe & Dearborn on the downtown end.

So what's the point of "services that could be started tomorrow" when they're 20 minutes slower even under the most ideal suppositions?

OVERALL time may be the same, but for some folks a fast limited-stop trip with connections needed at one or both ends, is better than direct but stop-after-stop-after-stop on a local Blue Line "L".

And you're already talking about "investing $60 million", I'm saying use today's unaltered infrastructure. Ways could be found to do all this easily, but somebody always has to throw wrenches into the gears!

CUS also has the advantages of connections to Metra lines, various regional bus lines and Megabus, OTC the Blue Line and Greyhound nearby, and even the Water Taxis; Block 37 is strictly stand alone except for the Red and Blue lines, and buses and cabs.

And remember it was a whim demanded by a "previous Administration", not an actual transit plan by actual transit planners.

Mr Downtown Feb 26, 2015 4:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 6929058)
More people come into this city everyday via the commuter stations than via the L.

Huh?
Total weekday boardings at the five Metra terminals: 133,000
Total weekday boardings at downtown CTA rail stations: 157,000

nomarandlee Feb 26, 2015 5:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6929252)
Huh?
Total weekday boardings at the five Metra terminals: 133,000
Total weekday boardings at downtown CTA rail stations: 157,000

From the DNA article this week........

Quote:

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

......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.......
Either way the amount is about even.

wierdaaron Feb 26, 2015 5:46 AM

Maybe we could skip finding a faster way to Ohare and cross our fingers for high speed rail to suddenly proliferate, so the only way to get anyplace in this country isn't a jet propelled megabus with wings.

The blue line's tracks aren't set up in a way that, say, every 10th train could be an express to ORD is it? Pretty sure there's just the two tracks, so bunny-hopping the other trains wouldn't be feasible.

I'll just keep ubering it.

CTA Gray Line Feb 26, 2015 9:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wierdaaron (Post 6929334)
The blue line's tracks aren't set up in a way that, say, every 10th train could be an express to ORD is it? Pretty sure there's just the two tracks, so bunny-hopping the other trains wouldn't be feasible.

You are correct, and that was the big problem, the then Mayor Daley wanted it done -- so like making pigs fly they had BETTER figure out a way to do it (or "bye-bye"). And WE still get to pay the continuing Bills even today!

CTA Gray Line Feb 26, 2015 2:03 PM

CTA's yearlong Wilson station project will slow Loop-bound commutes
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...225-story.html

Jon Hilkevitch February 26,2015

Morning commutes toward the Loop will soon take a few minutes longer for some riders on the CTA Red and Purple/Evanston Express rail lines while a section of track is rebuilt over the next year, CTA officials were to announce Thursday.....

Mr Downtown Feb 26, 2015 2:16 PM

The idea of running airport express service on the current Blue Line trackage relied on reverse signaling and a few passing sidings (which could be on a straddle beam above the other two tracks. This was been computer modeled pretty extensively. It's my understanding that TranSystems studied both using Milw-W tracks and upgrading the Blue Line for O'Hare Express service. To everyone's surprise, the costs were roughly equal. I'm sure both having the CTA under de facto city control and the ability to get directly to the heart of the Loop tipped the balance.


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