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Mr Downtown Sep 9, 2023 11:52 AM

What a shame. That's a lot of money that could have been used to build something actually useful for transit instead of this performative stunt.

nomarandlee Sep 14, 2023 3:51 PM

A good write-up on the proposed RTA/CTA restricting and sales increase

Quote:

https://www.chicagobusiness.com/poli...vCVNoZ2VBt35YM

.......At the heart of the plan is what amounts to a proposed massive regional deal in which City Hall would have to give up control of the Chicago Transit Authority, but in exchange get lots more money and relief from a current funding formula that the CTA argues has particularly worked against the interests of its riders........
..

sentinel Sep 14, 2023 6:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 10034718)
What a shame. That's a lot of money that could have been used to build something actually useful for transit instead of this performative stunt.

Why do you think this is a performative stunt? You don't believe people will benefit from the extension?

In your opinion, what would the funds be better used for?

Busy Bee Sep 14, 2023 7:35 PM

Do we seriously not know what the story is here?

Lets assume there is benefit here and the RLE will add ridership, the question is does one really believe this will act as an economic generator in the depressed neighborhoods it will run through? And if not - if the extension isn't some magic bullet that suddenly makes Roseland a great place to live and brings big TOD around every stop - can the Far South Side been connected to rapid transit at a much lower cost by just a simple median running extension, interface with Metra, Metra service increases and improved bus connections? 57 and 90/94 were literally built with this in mind. I know highway median rail transit is currently unpopular in transit and urbanist circles due to its harsh rider experience and low likelihood to generate dense walkable TOD, but like I said tge question needs to be asked whether this is likely anyways and whether a median running extension would have been suffucuent all things considered especially the likely siginificant cost savibgs that could be put to use in other much needed parts of the system. There's a shitload of politics involved here selling the extension in general as a racial and economic equity project which to a certain extent I agree with, but true necessity and the decided plans are significant open questions. Its unfortunate it has to be like this at all. RPM is a needed no brainer. Forest Park necessary. But this? Well I would say a good amount of people are doubtful. A Brown Line extension to Jefferson Pk or through running to O'Hare would likely be a much better use of limited capital.

Chisouthside Sep 14, 2023 9:42 PM

All I know is that I'm already looking at houses near the proposed stops.

Mr Downtown Sep 14, 2023 10:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sentinel (Post 10038438)
Why do you think this is a performative stunt? You don't believe people will benefit from the extension?

Only a tiny number.

The area it will serve is both remote and empty—and very unlikely to ever redevelop. It's low-density residential, nearly all zoned SFH, and industrial brownfields interspersed with forest preserves. Fewer than 20,000 people—total—live within a quarter-mile walk of all 4 RLE stops combined; the entire last mile runs through sludge drying beds and a sewage treatment plant. For that matter, the entire Riverdale Community Area has fewer than 2500 households.

But won't it spur redevelopment? That hasn't happened along the Green or Pink Lines. This is even further from Loop jobs, and a lot of the land simply can't be redeveloped. Chicago has no shortage of vacant land much closer in.

Only 27 people per day used the Metra 107th St Station in 2018. Only 31 boarded at 111th St. Altgeld Gardens already has express bus service that zips riders to 95th in 13 minutes. Roughly two dozen riders a day use it.

The capital cost for every projected user, even using the official inflated ridership estimates (13,000 per day), is a whopping $280,000. That's enough to buy a new Maybach for every person who'll ever use it. The additional operating costs of running empty trains to the sewage treatment plant and back would pay for chauffeurs for all those Maybachs.

The *cost per new rider* is nearly $100 ($6 was historically the general FTA threshold for worthwhile projects). Transit should be put where there’s density (of residents or jobs). Not where it’s cheap; or to pay political debts; or "because it's been promised for years."

https://i.imgur.com/n9R9H6l.jpg

Quote:

In your opinion, what would the funds be better used for?
"organization before electronics before concrete"

Fare integration between Metra and CTA would be the biggest bang for the buck. Even better would be to run the inner portions of some Metra lines as through-running S-bahn type service. So a new connection from the St Charles Air Line to Union Station through tracks could be really productive. If we need to lay any new rapid transit track, the Clinton subway is probably the most pressing need.

Nouvellecosse Sep 15, 2023 1:18 AM

The city already has an extensive radial network and while I'm sure there are expansion options that could be good, perhaps the funds should go toward some type of circumferential route at this point.

Bonsai Tree Sep 15, 2023 5:56 AM

I mean honestly I've always seen this project as a way to simply increase the yard space at the end of the Red Line. The current yard isn't nearly big enough, and if the CTA wants to run longer trains as part of the RPM they need a new yard. It's a yard extension disguised as an equity project. Is it worth it? Probably not- but will it allow longer red line trains- yes.

I also think this project shows everything that's wrong with our planning. It's dragged on so long that its original usefulness has expired for the most part. But the way that the Feds work (taking the most-planned project first) means that this was the first one on the list to go. It sucks, but it's the way it works. We can complain all we want about the money going to this project, but the CTA doesn't have another project at the immediate ready to get the money. So we are getting the RLE and hoping that the next project (RPM phase II hopefully) is more worth it.

It stinks that the Feds don't allow flexibility with transit money, but that's the way it's been, and it doesn't seem like that's changing anytime soon. And since it's so difficult to get a match with our low-on-funds region, we take what we get. I really hope that aspects of PART are adopted to invest more and create an agency with vision to actually plan and get things done in a timely manner for federal matches.

twister244 Sep 15, 2023 1:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sentinel (Post 10038438)
In your opinion, what would the funds be better used for?

1 - A connector route between Red/Brown - Blue - Green - Orange - back to Red.... Or at the minimal an attempt to start building segments of that out. Chicago is a massive city from a footprint perspective. Make it even easier for people to get around.

2 - BRT

ardecila Sep 15, 2023 2:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 10038469)
can the Far South Side been connected to rapid transit at a much lower cost by just a simple median running extension, interface with Metra, Metra service increases and improved bus connections? 57 and 90/94 were literally built with this in mind. I know highway median rail transit is currently unpopular in transit and urbanist circles due to its harsh rider experience and low likelihood to generate dense walkable TOD, but like I said tge question needs to be asked whether this is likely anyways and whether a median running extension would have been suffucuent all things considered especially the likely siginificant cost savibgs that could be put to use in other much needed parts of the system.

I don't think the expressway corridors were ever evaluated beyond this lolzy chart which did not even consider cost. There is a verbal description of the comparisons here but construction cost was not a factor at that stage.

I was at the meeting way back in 2007 (as a high school student) when this was presented, and I may have, uh, submitted a public comment against the expressway alignments... At the time I did not think we would still be in the planning phase 16 years later, nor did I think the project would end up costing almost $4B, probably more than $4B when all is said and done.

That said, I do feel the UP corridor is objectively the best alignment through the neighborhood and it will set Roseland/West Pullman up for success if they ever do redevelop.

https://i.ibb.co/DkTgdz9/Screenshot-...-15-093940.png
CTA Phase 1 Screening

k1052 Sep 15, 2023 2:49 PM

What big ticket CTA items would I use RLE money for instead?

Extend Brown Line to Jefferson Park
Clinton Subway

Kngkyle Sep 15, 2023 3:06 PM

It would be hard to come up with a worse way to spend $4b in transit dollars than the RLE. An epic waste of an opportunity.

moorhosj1 Sep 15, 2023 5:34 PM

The time for complaining about the RLE is long past. It was the next project on the list for CTA, having been studied and engineered. It is a part of the larger RPM project and an important way to add train yard space which is needed for longer trains.

If people want to be useful, we should be pushing the CTA on what the "next" project should be rather than rehashing the planning done by multiple administrations spanning decades.

If we want a Circle Line, BRT, Clinton Subway, or a Brown-Blue Connector we should be starting a campaign to get those projects on the list. They need to be studied, planned, and engineered before the Feds will give us money. That way, we can be ready in 20 years when the next opportunity comes.

Busy Bee Sep 15, 2023 6:50 PM

^Whether it was your intention or not that's a pretty strong argument for why there should be significantly more centralized transit planning done at USDOT and FTA. Cash strapped agencies seemingly don't have the resources, and thus motivation for boldness, to aggressively plan for major capital programs like extensions and new lines. The myopia seen with the 20th century federal highway system planning has passed. I believe it would be a tremendous positive to form a significant planning partnership between agencies and qualified planners in Washington - with a large percentage of planning and engineering costs covered by the feds. Maybe we'd see more than 2 major expansions in a lifetime and not waste billions of dollars on consultants to tell us how to design something.

moorhosj1 Sep 15, 2023 7:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 10039393)
^Whether it was your intention or not that's a pretty strong argument for why there should be significantly more centralized transit planning done at USDOT and FTA. Cash strapped agencies seemingly don't have the resources, and thus motivation for boldness, to aggressively plan for major capital programs like extensions and new lines. The myopia seen with the 20th century federal highway system planning has passed. I believe it would be a tremendous positive to form a significant planning partnership between agencies and qualified planners in Washington - with a large percentage of planning and engineering costs covered by the feds. Maybe we'd see more than 2 major expansions in a lifetime and not waste billions of dollars on consultants to tell us how to design something.

Yes, all of that would be great. Having one regional transportation alliance would also be great, rather than Metra, Pace, and CTA fighting for power. In reality, we need to work within the system that exists or risk getting nothing.

SolarWind Oct 5, 2023 12:55 AM

Damen Green Line Station - Lake Street and Damen Avenue
 
September 25, 2023


SolarWind Oct 5, 2023 12:55 AM

Blue Line Forest Park Branch Rebuild - Phase I
 
September 28, 2023


jpIllInoIs Oct 5, 2023 4:30 PM

Clearly this would be the ideal route of the Ohare -Loop Express. I wonder if the mothballed super station on Dearborn would be useful on this route. I know the northern portion of this route has many at grade crossing but this line could be elevated with quiet concrete pillars through the neighborhoods. And it would have stops at Union Station, UIC, Med district, Forest Park, North Ave(Triton College) and Franklin park or Rosemont where it would offer direct transfer to the Metra NC line before going underground to Ohare terminal.

VivaLFuego Oct 6, 2023 9:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mister Uptempo (Post 10033733)
The High Speed Rail Alliance recently suggested using the Altenheim Sub for pulling all CPKC freights off the MD-W line east of Franklin Park.

The freights would turn south onto CN's Waukesha Sub (Metra NCS runs on the Waukesha Sub north of MD-W), continue onto CSX's Altenheim Sub eastbound, then turn south onto CSX's Blue Island Sub (former B&O Chicago Terminal tracks) out of town.

If even more capacity is required, trains running south on the Blue Island Sub could connect to CSX's Elsdon Sub (former GTW) at 49th Street, which also continues south out of the city.

The Elsdon and Blue Island Subs converge in Blue Island, and can connect to the CSX Barr Sub eastbound into Indiana, CPKC already has trackage rights on the Barr Sub.

Rerouting the freights in this manner would still give CPKC full access to their Bensenville Yard just south of O'Hare.

While not as whiz-bang as turning the Altenheim into an airport express route, it might be the most practical way of separating passenger and freight traffic, opening up enough capacity to allow for an airport express on the MD-W and keep CPKC from being able to control dispatching on that line as far as O'Hare.

Who proposed this, to whom?

Mister Uptempo Oct 7, 2023 5:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 10054601)
Who proposed this, to whom?

The "who" is Rick Harnish from HSRA, mentioning it in passing on this YouTube video at about 24:35. He suggests that some agency should be talking to CPKC, CSX, and CN about getting CPKC freights off the MD-W east of O'Hare so it can be used as a dedicated passenger line.

While he does not specifically mention the lines that might be utilized to accomplish this, he does trace a path that clearly suggests the CN Waukesha Sub south of the MD-W, which connects to CSX's Altenheim Sub and then CSX's Blue Island Sub, which is currently getting a flyover at 75th Street.

Video Link


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