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Busy Bee Aug 4, 2010 7:14 PM

How'd I miss that? I should stop skimming;)

nomarandlee Aug 9, 2010 2:45 AM

Quote:

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2...ture-plan.html

Chicago transportation agency outlines big-picture plan
August 8, 2010 7:29 PM | No Comments
For 20 years, Diane Howe, of Spring Grove, has had to zigzag across Lake County roads to get to work in Buffalo Grove.

As she drives more than an hour each way, Howe wonders if her dream roadwork project -- the long-proposed extension of Illinois Highway 53 -- will ever be built.

"I don't think it's ever going to happen," said Howe, 65. "It's been in the planning for how many years?"

If it's any consolation, the thinkers at northeastern Illinois' top planning agency feel Howe's pain and that of thousands of others who complain of traversing Lake County's labyrinth.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, or CMAP, has unveiled a transportation wish list that has the Illinois 53 extension and its companion project, the Illinois 120 corridor, at the top.

The roster of projects highlights the little-known agency's big-picture comprehensive plan, Go to 2040, which outlines a vision for the next 30 years and sets priorities for the seven-county region, including Kendall County.

The 400-page document also recommends fundamental changes in the way Chicagoans pay for their highways and mass transit system, including higher gasoline taxes and new user fees to combat congestion.

The increases are needed because the days of funding windfalls from Washington and Springfield are over, said Randy Blankenhorn, CMAP's executive director.

"We know the (funding) resources just aren't there to do everything there is to do," Blankenhorn said. "We have to invest what we have more wisely and focus on improving the economy and the environment."

Whereas legendary Chicago planner Daniel Burnham is credited with the famous quote, "Make no little plans. They have no magic ...," the message from Go to 2040 seems to be: "Make no big plans. We have no money."

Instead of backing multibillion-dollar projects such as the proposed suburb-to-suburb Metra STAR Line and the outer-ring Prairie Parkway in Kane and Kendall counties, CMAP sets more modest goals, such as completing the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway and building a western bypass around O'Hare International Airport.

The plan also says the CTA's Red Line should be extended south from 95th Street to 130th Street and a transportation center should be put in the West Loop to improve transfers among rapid transit, buses and all types of rail services.

Other recommendations include adding lanes to expressways and improving several Metra and transit lines.

All of the projects have been proposed for years, but Go to 2040 seeks to put them in line.

Strategies such as "congestion pricing" would impose additional fees on vehicles using "managed lanes" on expressways.

Congestion pricing uses variable tolls and zone-based charges to reduce traffic gridlock. For example, expressways would get express toll lanes whose rates would vary with demand and time of day.

"Transportation investments are not free," Blankenhorn said. "We have to find ways to pay for them. In some corridors, congestion pricing makes sense, especially where we add lanes. People can still choose to ride in free lanes."

Illinois' unofficial but long-standing practice of sending 55 percent of state road funds downstate and keeping 45 percent in northeastern Illinois should be scrapped, the plan urges.

"Funds for transportation need to be allocated more wisely, using performance-driven criteria rather than arbitrary formulas," the plan notes. "Expensive new capacity projects should be built only if they yield benefits that outweigh their costs."

CMAP says Go to 2040's recommended projects have been evaluated based on how much they promote economic growth and reduce congestion and how likely they are to be funded.

It's not quite a winners-and-losers list because none of the projects has guaranteed funding. But some have a better chance than others.

And opposition could continue to stall some plans. Environment groups such as the Sierra Club and some residents favor local road improvements and more mass transit instead of more concrete in Lake County.

The backbone of the Chicago region is freight railroading, and Go to 2040 calls on the federal government to develop a strategy to address freight issues.

The plan also calls for the full funding and implementation of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency program. CREATE is a public-private effort to reduce bottlenecks and raise train speeds.

Go to 2040 isn't just about transportation. Much of the document focuses on other issues, including land, water use and conservation ; education and workforce development; and government and tax policy. The plan is available at cmap.illinois.gov.

It needs final approval in October from CMAP's board of directors, made up of representatives from the seven-county area. Then comes the task of implementing the plan's recommendations, which Blankenhorn acknowledged will be challenging.

Potential difficulties include convincing the public of the need to pay higher user fees for a better highway system and improved mass transit. Political opposition to raising taxes is expected.

"These are tough decisions, and there will be political issues with any of our policy recommendations," Blankenhorn said. "We have to educate public officials about why it's in their best interest to do these things. Part of CMAP's role is to lead these discussions."

DePaul University transportation expert Joseph Schwieterman, who wrote the book "Beyond Burnham: An Illustrated History of Planning for the Chicago Region," says CMAP must now ruffle feathers to assure its vision produces action.

"Our region is as polarized as ever, so CMAP will need to apply a heavy dose of salesmanship," Schwieterman said. "CMAP is standing on the shoulders of giants, including Daniel Burnham, so the plan carries a surprising amount of moral weight."

Robert Channick contributed to this report.

-- Richard Wronski

...............

OhioGuy Aug 9, 2010 2:38 PM

^^ Extend the brown line to Jefferson Park!

Dr. Taco Aug 10, 2010 5:05 AM

what a pleasant surprise to ride the new rail cars on the blue line on the way home from work today! I can't believe smooth they are, and they're not even running off AC yet...

VivaLFuego Aug 10, 2010 2:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dr. Taco (Post 4941701)
what a pleasant surprise to ride the new rail cars on the blue line on the way home from work today! I can't believe smooth they are, and they're not even running off AC yet...

They are --- or rather, they use AC motors in the propulsion system, but the third rail is still 600VDC and probably will remain so. The railcars have transformers to convert the power supply.

Busy Bee Aug 10, 2010 5:07 PM

From an energy standpoint, does AC third rail power supply offer more cost savings for electricity over direct current power supply? I know about the acceleration advantages, noise and smoother operation, just wondering about the actual pull of electricity into the traction motors.

lawfin Aug 10, 2010 7:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 4940286)
For 20 years, Diane Howe, of Spring Grove, has had to zigzag across Lake County roads to get to work in Buffalo Grove.

As she drives more than an hour each way, Howe wonders if her dream roadwork project -- the long-proposed extension of Illinois Highway 53 -- will ever be built.

"I don't think it's ever going to happen," said Howe, 65. "It's been in the planning for how many years?"

If it's any consolation, the thinkers at northeastern Illinois' top planning agency feel Howe's pain and that of thousands of others who complain of traversing Lake County's labyrinth.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, or CMAP, has unveiled a transportation wish list that has the Illinois 53 extension and its companion project, the Illinois 120 corridor, at the top................

stop building roads in sprawl move closer to where you work; encourage employment density and concomitant household density



I have no pity on suburbanites who bitch about their crazy commutes....they bough the myth hook line sinker

lawfin Aug 10, 2010 7:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 4940286)
...............

stop building roads in sprawl move closer to where you work; encourage employment density and concomitant household density



I have no pity on suburbanites who bitch about their crazy commutes....they bough the myth hook line sinker


Build transit; build / reuse developments that can effectively utilize transit; increase transit services in dense areas instead of cutting services and building more choked roads

Mr Downtown Aug 10, 2010 8:24 PM

"Move closer to where you work" sounds so easy. But grown-ups often own their houses, have spouses who work, or have kids they want to benefit from specific school districts. Do you expect them to move every time one spouse or the other changes jobs?

VivaLFuego Aug 10, 2010 8:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 4942198)
From an energy standpoint, does AC third rail power supply offer more cost savings for electricity over direct current power supply? I know about the acceleration advantages, noise and smoother operation, just wondering about the actual pull of electricity into the traction motors.

While I'm not an electrical engineer, I'll attempt a layman's explanation as I understand it. Generally, AC power running at high voltages (e.g. up to 25kV) on overhead wires is less susceptible to current loss over long distances than the lower voltage (generally 500-900V) DC power used for third rails (very high voltages are more prone to arcing and thus are avoided on third rails). The current loss on third rail systems is mitigated by having more closely spaced power substations than would otherwise accompany a high voltage AC system -- substations are, of course, very expensive.

In terms of how this all nets out for energy efficiency and cost efficiency, I think the answer is "it depends." DC is more prone to current loss than AC, third rail is generally cheaper to install/maintain than an overhead catenary, but DC systems will require a greater number of expensive substations. So, the most efficient solution depends on all of those.

In general, global precedent and experience certainly implies that for short, "metro" rapid transit routes, third rail DC is more cost effective, while for longer commuter rail or intercity routes, overhead AC is preferred.

Mr Downtown Aug 10, 2010 8:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 4942198)
does AC third rail power supply offer more cost savings for electricity over direct current power supply?

Theoretically there would be substantially less loss between substations. AC can be transmitted long distances with much less loss.

I'm told that power consumption is now a limiting factor on some CTA lines, which prevents more trains from being run during rush periods. But that's not why AC was specified for this order. Instead, Kruesi was at a transit conference in Paris and was embarrassed when someone said "you guys in Chicago are still buying DC cars?"

Dr. Taco Aug 10, 2010 10:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4941959)
They are --- or rather, they use AC motors in the propulsion system, but the third rail is still 600VDC and probably will remain so. The railcars have transformers to convert the power supply.

I could have sworn I read or heard somewhere that these cars can run off either AC or DC, and eventually they'll get rid of all DC-only cars so they can turn the system to an AC system, which would definitely be a more efficient system in general.

But compared to the old cars, I felt like I was in the future riding those new cars :tup:

VivaLFuego Aug 10, 2010 11:20 PM

^Definitely no DC motors on these cars. You may be thinking of the regenerative braking system, which I think is switched off at the moment but I'm not 100% sure. I'm also not sure what the expected energy savings from regenerative braking are for these particular railcars. Of course, power draw is both a systematic issue and driven by peak demand, and thus there would not be appreciable savings until a substantial portion of the fleet have the technology and the magnitude of savings (both relative and absolute) will vary somewhat with the service level. The general range for net power savings seems to be in the 5-15% range, if the entire fleet is converted.

VivaLFuego Aug 10, 2010 11:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4942456)
"Move closer to where you work" sounds so easy. But grown-ups often own their houses, have spouses who work, or have kids they want to benefit from specific school districts. Do you expect them to move every time one spouse or the other changes jobs?

While you raise a good point regarding short-term mobility vis-a-vis home and work locations, the article does say she's being doing this for 20 years; i.e. basically since I-355 first opened, and thus presumably with the assumption of an imminent extension further northward. After 20 years, it's pretty hard to be sympathetic towards her plight on either the schooling or underwater-mortgage grounds.

In support of your general point, I know a good number of people who, 5 years ago, swore they'd never work in the suburbs, or buy a car anytime soon (maybe after the family/kids got started), but ended up doing both sometime since 2008, commuting from the city to jobs in the I-90 or I-88 corridors. They really didn't want to do the commute; they also really didn't want to move from their urban neighborhoods. Importantly, they also needed jobs.

The difference of course is that most of them would rather their jobs just relocate downtown, rather than following Sugar Grove Mama and complain to a newspaper about how another expressway should be built.

emathias Aug 11, 2010 12:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4942461)
Theoretically there would be substantially less loss between substations. AC can be transmitted long distances with much less loss
...

From what I know of electrical properties, both DC and AC can be transmitted over great distances with relatively little loss. In the case of a system where there is a single, well-defined use of the power the other factors involved in electrical transmission and use would play a much larger role in power loss than simple AC vs DC.

ardecila Aug 11, 2010 2:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4942752)
The difference of course is that most of them would rather their jobs just relocate downtown, rather than following Sugar Grove Mama and complain to a newspaper about how another expressway should be built.


I'm gonna get a little bit wonkish here, but...


In defense of Sugar Grove Mama, the lack of a complete second orbital highway is really a drag on mobility through the region, placing heavy traffic on the Tri-State and the routes through the city. The 53 extension and the Illiana are two of the three missing segments in that orbital highway, so I support those plans - especially because they would be paid for with toll revenue and not the state's money. The federal contribution would come from the highway "pot" of funds, which is distinct from the transit "pot".

What all that means is that highway construction would NOT be done at the expense of transit. People tend to think that one competes with the other for money, but that just isn't the case here in Chicagoland. The state is broke, of course, so it's not like there's any money to be had from the general fund anyway.

I'd also love to see something like LA's Measure R, or Denver's FasTracks... we don't have ballot initiatives like California does, but we could do an "advisory referendum" (essentially just a massive, government-led poll) on a Chicagoland-only tax increase for transit expansion. If that Tribune poll a few weeks ago was correct, then the referendum should get significant support. Publish a list of visionary, well-planned transit projects with a definite pricetag and send it to the voters.

I would include about $12-15 billion worth of transit projects. There are some ideas that have real potential, but the people in charge are pushing total loser ideas, like the STAR Line or the SouthEast Service. The Inner Circumferential Rail, for example..

nergie Aug 11, 2010 3:45 AM

Virgin America skips O'Hare
 
I just read that Virgin America will skip ORD again and make its appearance at DFW. The reason again is gate space, this is exactly why the Western Terminal needs to get built. The city needs to control the gates, not AA or UA.

While some will argue this is not a big loss, it is more passengers that will not be using ORD and less revenue for the city. What the hell is wrong with Aviation commission. In my opinion ORD is one of the, if not the most important asset for Chicago. Yet in last 10 years passenger traffic has fallen by 21% and flights by 12.5%. Yeah some of it is the recession, but darn it the city needs to step up and do something.:hell:

Mr Downtown Aug 11, 2010 4:11 AM

^How would having a gate devoted to two Virgin America flights a day increase passenger numbers more than having eight UA or AA departures from the same gate?

lawfin Aug 11, 2010 6:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4942456)
"Move closer to where you work" sounds so easy. But grown-ups often own their houses, have spouses who work, or have kids they want to benefit from specific school districts. Do you expect them to move every time one spouse or the other changes jobs?

Thanks for the trenchant tidbit....I'll keep it mind when I grow up.

Adults also are capable of evaluating options; choosing between options; and realizing that said choice among said options have consequences.

I know america...consequences.....novel concept

nergie Aug 11, 2010 1:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4943127)
^How would having a gate devoted to two Virgin America flights a day increase passenger numbers more than having eight UA or AA departures from the same gate?

Having additional gates allows the airport flexibility to add carriers. Take VA for example, the airline has been looking at mid-continent airport which they would eventually to collect passengers from other midwestern and mid-continent cities. This brings in additional passengers.

UA and AA hubs are a good thing, but it also leaves the city very little flexiblity in doing things at the airport without the airlines buy in. ORD will need gate capacity, to compete with the likes of ATL, DIA and other airports.

Chicago should be angling to make ORD the Star Alliance or One World hub for North America. As such, untangling the runways and building 1st rate facilities with sufficient gate capacity should be the priority of OMP.


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