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nomarandlee Oct 21, 2009 8:04 PM

Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...,473893.column

Time to help CTA get on the cash flow track

Share your moneymaking ideas for helping the Chicago Transit Authority


Melissa Harris
October 21, 2009

The CTA is perennially broke and again warning of a hefty fare increase.

So I asked CTA President Richard Rodriguez what he's doing about it, and he pointed to Eva-Dina Delgado's promotion to chief development officer.

So far, Delgado has focused on more traditional methods to raise cash such as renegotiating beverage vending and park-and-ride lot contracts. The CTA also is exploring allowing riders to use credit or debit cards as fare cards, thus eliminating the cost of printing throw-away ones.

Rodriguez suggested the transit system could raise money by turning fare cards into coupons, or selling naming rights to stops (the Macy's stop) or entire lines (the Target line). Said Delgado, "It could involve that, or more creative things I haven't thought of."

The naming rights idea has been kicking around at least since consultants suggested it in 2005. So why don't we have a Dunkin' Donuts stop to mitigate a possible fare increase? Answer: bureaucracy. People in charge of revenue, real estate and marketing at CTA used to have their own fiefdoms. Now, they report to Delgado, 32.

Delgado, in her post for five months, said she wants to move forward "aggressively" and is looking for answers in places like Dubai, which has pioneered naming rights on public transit......................

..

VivaLFuego Oct 23, 2009 10:29 PM

In the TIF budgets that the Chicago Reader released this week as part of the latest in its articles on TIF districts, there are some interesting transit-related tidbits:

The Calumet/Cermak TIF is proposed to make two transfers totalling $38 million to the Michigan/Cermak TIF, which in turn is proposed to commit $35 million in 2010 for a "New Green Line Station". This could only plausibly refer to a stop at Cermak.

Additionally, the Near South TIF is proposed to commit $30 million for a "CTA Green Line Station @ 18th" in 2011.

Of course, this is just money proposed in budgets, not any sort of actual construction commitment yet. I haven't heard anything on any progress towards awarding any design/engineering contracts for stations or anything of that sort, but it certainly does suggest City Hall is serious about one or even possibly two Green Line infill stations in the South Loop.

ardecila Oct 23, 2009 11:10 PM

For once, that's actually not an abusive use of TIFs. Michigan/Cermak and Calumet/Cermak are immediately adjacent, and a Green Line station in one would definitely benefit the other. It's also ridiculous just how little the balance is in the Michigan/Cermak district... I'm guessing that's because of past expenditures at Hilliard and the Teachers' Academy.

Of course, the city will probably defer the use of TIF if they can get another monster CMAQ grant (Doesn't Chicago get, like, 75% of the available funds of that program?) IMO, it would be better to use TIF money whenever possible, and CMAQ money for improvements in less lucrative districts where TIF funding isn't feasible.

As for a second station at 18th - the possibility of having 4 stations in a dense South Loop cluster (18th, Cermak, Cermak-Chinatown, 18th/Clark) is appealing, but seems INCREDIBLY wasteful without zoning changes. With this capacity, the area could support a full-fledged second CBD with traffic spread over 3 different lines. Hopefully the Chinese developers will realize this before South Loop NIMBYism spreads to that area. Eastern Tower is cool, but it should be in this zone, not in the no-mans-land where Wong wants to build it.

orulz Oct 24, 2009 3:29 PM

I'd rather see the station at 16th instead of 18th. It would be more useful because:
(1) Would allow for a stop on both the Green and Orange lines
(2) Better spacing, exactly halfway between Roosevelt and Cermak
(3) Enables future transfer to St Charles Air Line, unless that just becomes a bikeway, in which case that's a moot point

I think there is enough space for this, without demolishing any buildings, and without any massive changes to the existing elevated structures. The idea is to remove the two center tracks between the Green/Orange junction, and the Loop/Subway split. Leaving the outside tracks exactly where they are would create enough room for a 20+ foot wide island platform between them, which should be wide enough to satisfy any ADA requirements. The south end of the platform would extend just over 16th street.

The question would be, whether or not the tracks stay level for long enough. I think they would have to be level for roughly 700 feet, to allow for the switches on either end plus the roughly 420 foot platform that would be needed to accommodate 8-car Orange Line trains.

This does introduce a bottleneck in that green line trains would no longer be able to enter the subway without fouling orange line trains' route to the loop. As far as I know, there is no routing proposal currently on the table that would put the Green Line through the subway and the Orange line on the loop, so unless such a routing is proposed, this is a non-issue.

Click image to link to Google Maps:
http://www.reprehensible.net/~orulz/16th.jpg

Bootstrap Bill Oct 24, 2009 4:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 4516691)
Time to help CTA get on the cash flow track


1. Lease out retail space in subway stations - maybe something like a Star Bucks or McDonalds - grab breakfast before boarding that train to work.

2. First class cars - may cost double or triple (or more) to ride in, but would have nice leather seats, wood paneling, brass, stained glass, wifi access, tables for laptops, power outlets, maybe even reserved seating. The super rich could have their own custom designed private cars.

3. First class stations - for the busy exec who has everything. Maybe half a dozen in key locations - only accessible by private trains.

4. Locker rentals at stations, some big enough for bikes or scooters. Would have power outlets for recharging various devices.

5. Party trains, with bars, jacuzi's, small dance floor, karaoke.... A unique way to celebrate that special day.

6. Corporate sponsorship of stations - not only name rights, but the ability to totally makeover stations - ads galore, retail space, video walls - lots of possibilities here.

7. Ad wrappers for buses and trains, subway tunnels.

8. First class buses - similar to item 2.

mwadswor Oct 24, 2009 7:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bootstrap Bill (Post 4521657)
1. Lease out retail space in subway stations - maybe something like a Star Bucks or McDonalds - grab breakfast before boarding that train to work.

Love it, this always seems successful when I see it done in places like Bangkok or London.

Quote:

2. First class cars - may cost double or triple (or more) to ride in, but would have nice leather seats, wood paneling, brass, stained glass, wifi access, tables for laptops, power outlets, maybe even reserved seating. The super rich could have their own custom designed private cars.
This seems to work in Mexico and Dubai, but I'm not sure if it would work in the US. But, if you're really going to cater to the "super rich" make it more like ten times the cost of a normal ticket and make the car good enough to get Trump out of his limo. I don't see any reason to cater to those who are just rich enough that they're going to drive anyway, cater to those who are rich enough that you not only get them out of their cars but they'll be willing to pay enough to make the car outright profitable.

Quote:

3. First class stations - for the busy exec who has everything. Maybe half a dozen in key locations - only accessible by private trains.
This is the only one that really seems completely infeasible. To justify the cost of building a private subway station you would probably end up having to charge more per ride than it would cost the client to simply buy a helicopter/pad/pilot. The only way to do this in any workable sense would be to officially open the existing lines to usage by private trains and interchange with private lines at the private entity's expense. I don't think anyone will take you up on it, but if Trump wants to build his own connection and own station then he can pay to run his train on the public tracks.

Quote:

4. Locker rentals at stations, some big enough for bikes or scooters. Would have power outlets for recharging various devices.
I take it back, this is the only suggestion that really is 100% undoable. The government's trying to figure out how to make our transit systems more secure, not ways to build places where the terrorist can leave his bomb and walk around the corner without raising any suspicion. There are cities in the world where it's near impossible to even find a public trash can because people are so paranoid about terrorists, I really don't think anyone is going to ever agree to put private lockers at such a high value terrorism target.

Quote:

5. Party trains, with bars, jacuzi's, small dance floor, karaoke.... A unique way to celebrate that special day.
:tup: :banana: :tup: :banana: Hell yeah, sign me up.

Quote:

6. Corporate sponsorship of stations - not only name rights, but the ability to totally makeover stations - ads galore, retail space, video walls - lots of possibilities here.

7. Ad wrappers for buses and trains, subway tunnels.
I agree, but only if you force the sponsors to do all or nothing. Turning a bus/train/station into a giant classified ad always ends up just looking tacky IMO, but it can look cool as hell when you wrap the entire bus or train car in one ad or if you just turn the whole station into Macintosh land or Boeing land. Perhaps instead of directly charging sponsors for the right to place their ads, you could sort of sell them the entire car or station. They put whatever they want in there, wherever they want, and they're responsible for all the cleaning and maintenance of that station or whatever buses or cars they've bought (as long as they conform to security/ticketing standards and don't get to many complaints for neglect). If it's a popular enough program that you run out of stations (not something I think will happen in the near future), you can start charging them for the maintenance on the tracks for X feet on either side of their station too.

ardecila Oct 24, 2009 7:23 PM

I think the lockers are doable. If terrorists want to blow a station up, they can already do so. When was the last time you walked through an x-ray to get on the L?

CTA already does bus and train wrapping - quite a bit of it. We have TV screens in some stations that show train arrival times and lots of ads, which bring in a bunch of money. CTA has also leased its first station (North/Clybourn) to Apple. It's just a branding thing, and it doesn't change the name of the station, but Apple has rights of first refusal on the naming rights.

spyguy Oct 24, 2009 7:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4515793)
Apparently I wasn't dreaming when I thought that Apple had agreed to help refurbish CTA's North/Clybourn Station... the latest City Council meeting contained details of an agreement between Apple and the city.

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-b...rticleId=32544

Doors will open on the right at the Apple stop
By: Thomas A. Corfman


The North and Clybourn station on the CTA's Red Line may become the iStop.

...The renovation won't change the look of the 1940s-era brick station, although an unused bus lane between the station and the new store would be replaced with a landscaped open space.

...Spending more than $4 million to spruce up somebody else's property is an unusual tack for a retailer, but Apple is known for spending lavishly on its signature locations.

"Apple thinks their products are designed and work the best, and they want the stores to reflect that attitude," says Michael Damore, executive managing director of Chicago-based architectural firm Epstein, which co-designed the Apple store at 679 N. Michigan Ave. but isn't involved in the North and Clybourn store. "They don't care what they spend to achieve that goal."
http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/716/32544.jpg

ardecila Oct 24, 2009 7:58 PM

Haha, it seems I'm making lots of posts about this across several threads today.

If Apple is replacing the windows and doors with stainless steel and replacing the brick with a similar (new) brick, then it will alter the look of the station. Fortunately, they're not doing anything too radical... but I hope the renovated station doesn't seem too sterile.

ChicagoChicago Oct 25, 2009 12:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4521915)
Haha, it seems I'm making lots of posts about this across several threads today.

If Apple is replacing the windows and doors with stainless steel and replacing the brick with a similar (new) brick, then it will alter the look of the station. Fortunately, they're not doing anything too radical... but I hope the renovated station doesn't seem too sterile.

If there's one place in Chicago that could stand to be more sterile, it would be a CTA station. Sterilize the shit out of it.

:tup:

ardecila Oct 25, 2009 1:10 AM

The current Art Moderne design at North/Clybourn is far superior to the PoMo tile shit they installed at Lake, Chicago, and Roosevelt. Grand is now getting the same "makeover". :yuck: I guess "sterilize" is the wrong word, considering Art Moderne is pretty sparse to begin with. A better word would be "clutter", I guess?

Fortunately, I have faith in Bohlin Cywinski Jackson not to screw up the station too much - they do minimalism well.

ChicagoChicago Oct 25, 2009 1:28 PM

:previous:

I think everybody knew what you meant. I was just being a jackass! :cheers:

Personally, I think what they've done at Lake and Chicago and now Grand on the Red line is criminal, particularly the platform wall tiling and general color scheme. I'm sure the CTA paid $30+ sq/ft for it too.

denizen467 Oct 25, 2009 7:55 PM

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-b...rticleId=32548

High-speed rail's price tag doubles
By: Paul Merrion October 26, 2009

Illinois has nearly doubled the amount of funding it's seeking from Washington, D.C., to create a high-speed rail line that would cut the five-and-a-half-hour trip between Chicago and St. Louis to just under four hours.

In August, the state's preliminary estimates pegged the Chicago-St. Louis route improvements at about $2.4 billion. But the state's latest estimate stands at $4.5 billion, according to a proposal submitted to the feds this month.

Illinois first hopes to spend $1.2 billion on long-planned improvements on the existing Chicago-St. Louis Amtrak route, which will reduce the travel time by 80 minutes. The additional $3.2 billion the state now seeks is for a parallel second track along most of the route that would allow more freight and passenger trains to run at the same time. The double-tracking, however, will cut only another 20 minutes off the trip.

...

(A two-hour trip time to St Louis) would cost $12 billion to $13 billion, he estimates, in line with a detailed, 256-page proposal for a complete Midwest high-speed rail system centered on Chicago that French National Railways, known by its French acronym, SNCF, filed recently with the Federal Railroad Administration.

At a cost of $68.5 billion, SNCF says it would first build a Milwaukee-Chicago-Detroit route, connecting through O'Hare International Airport, followed by Chicago-St. Louis and other Midwest routes in the long-range future. Profits generated by the first route would pay for almost half the cost of building out the system, SNCF contends.

"We see the Midwest as an important and sustainable corridor for true high-speed rail," says Lindsay Simmons, an attorney for SNCF in Washington, D.C.

...

...

----------------------

This is the first time I've seen any concrete, specific (including a price estimate) Chicago area HSR proposal by a real, experienced developer.

Edit: I see the SNCF proposal came up a month ago in a Midwest rail thread, probably when the news came out. Not sure if it was covered here though.

Chicago Shawn Oct 26, 2009 1:49 AM

^OH MY GOD! This is great news. This means the ball can start rolling on a public-private partnership possibility. I rode on SNCF trains one month ago and was salivating on the speed and smoothness of the ride. This is the first step towards getting REAL high speed rail in the Midwest, because lets be honest with ourselves, its not going to happen with the limited amount money the federal government is making available and spreading across the nation into multiple projects.

ardecila Oct 26, 2009 3:31 AM

The SNCF proposal came as a result of a Bush administration push to seek public-private partnerships for HSR. Obama/LaHood's approach has been an entirely public sector one.

denizen - the SNCF proposal was discussed heavily in the "Midwest Regional Rail Initiative" thread. The HSR system goes beyond Chicagoland and serves lots of other big Midwestern cities, so I thought it deserved a new thread separate from this one.

Not mentioned is that the cost of SNCF's initial Milwaukee-Chicago-Ft Wayne-Toledo-Detroit phase is $68 billion. The (relatively low) $11 bn figure for Chicago-St. Louis doesn't include any Chicago-area improvements, just the rural and downstate portions, the Chicago portions having been covered in the first phase. Finding the Federal and state share of $68 billion (~40 billion, give or take) will be extremely difficult, the deficits being what they are at all levels of government. For comparison: the last Federal 5-year transportation bill allowed for about $120 billion of spending.

Rail advocates shouldn't really complain about how highways get all the money when the alternative that they advocate is so incredibly costly. (Not that I don't support 220mph service, I just don't think it's politically possible to find such money)

emathias Oct 26, 2009 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4523687)
...
Rail advocates shouldn't really complain about how highways get all the money when the alternative that they advocate is so incredibly costly. (Not that I don't support 220mph service, I just don't think it's politically possible to find such money)

The Federal portion of the interstate system funding cost $114 billion (adjusted for inflation, $425 billion in 2006 dollars) over 35 years. So averaged $14 billion/year in 2006 dollars for 35 years. That seems like it would come pretty darn close to building a kick-ass high-speed rail system.

Mr Downtown Oct 26, 2009 1:06 PM

^Except that the highway money all came from highway user fees. That made it politically possible, especially in an era when only half the voters were motorists. HSR ticket prices are unlikely to even pay for operating expenses.

nomarandlee Oct 26, 2009 1:37 PM

Quote:

http://www.suntimes.com/news/transpo...ride26.article

Legislature seeks CTA solutions

Plan would transfer $360 million from capital funding to operations

October 26, 2009

The chairman of the state Senate Transportation Committee has met with representatives from both parties to discuss a solution to the CTA funding crisis that would convert $360 million in capital funding into operations funding over two years.

State Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) said using capital money to fix the CTA's budget may not be the "public policy of choice," but "extraordinary times call for extraordinary solutions." He acknowledged that the proposal, which would provide $180 million each year for 2010 and 2011, faces an "uphill climb" in the Legislature..............
..

ardecila Oct 26, 2009 9:31 PM

Fuck no! Mr. Sandoval, sit down. CTA needs to eliminate senior free rides and play hardball with its unions, not steal operating funds from taxpayers' money (OUR money) that is SUPPOSED to start fixing up the system from its decrepit state.

sammyg Oct 26, 2009 9:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4523083)
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-b...rticleId=32548
The additional $3.2 billion the state now seeks is for a parallel second track along most of the route that would allow more freight and passenger trains to run at the same time. The double-tracking, however, will cut only another 20 minutes off the trip.

That's a false comparison - the second track wouldn't increase optimum travel time, it would reduce delays and increase the capacity of the line, allowing for more trains, not faster ones.

k1052 Oct 26, 2009 11:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4525112)
Fuck no! Mr. Sandoval, sit down. CTA needs to eliminate senior free rides and play hardball with its unions, not steal operating funds from taxpayers' money (OUR money) that is SUPPOSED to start fixing up the system from its decrepit state.

Pretty much. CTA should cut service and lay off union employees until they say "uncle".

Further deferring capital projects just makes them more expensive and provides more opportunity for service disruptions.

brint Oct 26, 2009 11:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4524139)
^Except that the highway money all came from highway user fees. That made it politically possible, especially in an era when only half the voters were motorists.

Well, it certainly appeared that way on the books, and at the time. But looking back, we certainly have a better perspective of the unintended consequences. And we're all paying for it.

VivaLFuego Oct 26, 2009 11:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brint (Post 4525422)
Well, it certainly appeared that way on the books, and at the time. But looking back, we certainly have a better perspective of the unintended consequences. And we're all paying for it.

Well, the interstate highway system itself catalyzed local investment in roadways and highways as a complimentary distribution system to/from the interstates - which didn't always involve the 'users fees' of a gasoline tax, aside of course from some of the more nebulous road user costs like the cost of police/emergency services (in some suburbs they only exist to deal with traffic), health insurance risk borne across society rather than by the user, and so on. But MrD is right that, at least until very recently, the federal portion of the Interstate system was funded by gasoline taxes.

In theory, one might argue that CBD-to-CBD high-speed intercity rail service would catalyze local investments in transit, which again would be from a mix of sources, just like local roads. In the short run, this seems an unlikely scenario to occur given that economic activity is barely constrained by a lack of intercity connectivity (people always seem to forget this about infrastructure - it only leads to useful economic growth if it is unlocking a bottleneck, otherwise at best it just shifts existing economic activity around a bit geographically). However, intercity rail and in turn, intracity transit, would certainly have a viable future if government policy immediately became focused on minimal expansion of the existing road network, meaning that inevitable future travel growth could involve more trips on rail.

At the moment, pouring money into intercity rail to compete with Southwest Airlines and Greyhound is a zero-sum game - someone will lose, and it's a tough sell politically for many reasons to have the loser be a major taxpayer and employer. Over the long run, nothing is zero-sum, and rail would be less a competition to the existing network but rather a supplement. Hence why I personally think throwing billions at HSR construction at this point is a total waste of resources when our local infrastructure is crumbling and unreliable. That would be an investment bearing economic fruit, to make existing systems more reliable and more efficient. CREATE is a perfect example - the national economy will get more bang for the buck out of $2 bn spent on CREATE than on $2 bn spent on any proposed HSR corridor.

Rather, HSR money now should be enough to engage in nationwide comprehensive planning, land acquisition/ROW preservation, and so forth, with segments being built piecemeal over the course of decades according to where travel demand growth occurs and available funding. Sorta like how the interstates were built ...

</ot rant off>

BVictor1 Oct 27, 2009 4:49 PM

Brown Bag Luncheon
Thursday, November 5th at 12.15pm
Chicago Cultural Center
Millennium Room



High-Speed Rail in Chicago
Connecting Downtown Chicago to the Midwest

For years transportation experts have been talking about the advantages of making Chicago a hub for a Midwest high-speed rail network. However, with Federal and State funding in billions now set aside for this purpose, the reality of high-speed rail has never been closer. Please join Kevin Brubaker of the Environmental Law and Policy Center as he talks about what projects might happen first (and when!), how fast the trains will go, the costs of such a network and the benefits to downtown Chicago.

VivaLFuego Oct 27, 2009 9:19 PM

Old article, but worth posting I think.
http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/1...101909.article
Quote:

Originally Posted by Suntimes
The CTA has sent out just under 2,000 notices to bus drivers and other unionized employees that their jobs will be eliminated in the next two months.
...
“They want to mimic what City Hall did with the unions — the furlough days, the unpaid vacations and holidays, things of that nature,” said Darrel Jefferson, president of the bus driver and mechanic’s union, which is expected to bear the brunt of the layoffs. “We’re not open to that.”

From the same date also, CTA President Rodriguez's remarks to the CTA board:
http://www.transitchicago.com/assets...tober_2009.pdf

A tidbit that you might find interesting regarding the service impact:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rodriguez
The CTA currently develops schedules based on carrying 60 passengers per bus in peak periods and
40 passengers per bus at other times. The new standard will be scheduled based on 60 passengers
per bus at all times. The impact will be more noticeable in off-peak hours than at peak periods.
What this means for customers is that they may have a longer wait and that they will be less likely to
get a seat. Both buses and trains will be at capacity at all hours. Our Bus Tracker system will be an
even more valuable tool to help riders avoid long waits so we definitely recommend that riders try it if
they haven’t already.


Haworthia Oct 27, 2009 9:55 PM

^^^ I'm surprised nobody posted that. The CTA seems serious about layoffs and I'm glad. I'm generally pro-union, but I think they really need to pass on raises this year. This is such a unique set of circumstances. Inflation is particularly low at the moment too, meaning this shouldn't be that painful.

Even if the union does deal, I doubt we'll avoid dumping more capital funds into operating funds. The best scenario is minimizing the amount of capital funds that get lost.

But here's a question, are most of the capital funds spent in house or is much of that work contracted out? Either way, I think the way to sell not piddling away that capital money is jobs. If capital funds go toward operating expenses, that's construction jobs that we are losing. I don't know if that's true, but I think it's a good sell.

ardecila Oct 27, 2009 11:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4520608)
In the TIF budgets that the Chicago Reader released this week as part of the latest in its articles on TIF districts, there are some interesting transit-related tidbits:

The Calumet/Cermak TIF is proposed to make two transfers totalling $38 million to the Michigan/Cermak TIF, which in turn is proposed to commit $35 million in 2010 for a "New Green Line Station". This could only plausibly refer to a stop at Cermak.

Additionally, the Near South TIF is proposed to commit $30 million for a "CTA Green Line Station @ 18th" in 2011.

Of course, this is just money proposed in budgets, not any sort of actual construction commitment yet. I haven't heard anything on any progress towards awarding any design/engineering contracts for stations or anything of that sort, but it certainly does suggest City Hall is serious about one or even possibly two Green Line infill stations in the South Loop.

I just got around to reading those today... there's also quite a bit of money slated for the Wacker reconstruction, the Wells-Wentworth connector, the Damen/Fullerton/Elston project, and something called the "North Branch Truckway".

Zerton Oct 28, 2009 4:46 AM

I'd say 16th-18th street is where a new green line stop needs to be over cermak.

llamaorama Oct 28, 2009 5:46 AM

I think there is a problem with comparing rail to the interstates. With highways, you can start with a few bypasses around towns, and even if the route is mostly still 2 lanes there is an immediate improvement if drivers can now go non-stop. But for true HSR you have at least one minimum operating segment 100% done. Trains using combination of new and existing tracks isn't going to be high speed, unlike cars that go the same 55-70 speeds whether on the interstate or backroads.

emathias Oct 28, 2009 2:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zerton (Post 4527839)
I'd say 16th-18th street is where a new green line stop needs to be over cermak.

I honestly think they should put both stops in, with the one at 18th, straddling 18th as far north as possible, and the Cermak with the stop oriented on the south side, stretching toward 23rd. That's 3/8 mile apart, which for what is/will become a high-density area with a number of attractions, that's not overdoing things.

ardecila Oct 29, 2009 2:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4528160)
I honestly think they should put both stops in, with the one at 18th, straddling 18th as far north as possible, and the Cermak with the stop oriented on the south side, stretching toward 23rd. That's 3/8 mile apart, which for what is/will become a high-density area with a number of attractions, that's not overdoing things.

That's not a bad idea. If the TIF boundaries are any indication, then yes, the Cermak stop will have to be on the south side of Cermak. An auxiliary entrance at 23rd would be nice, especially if/when they redevelop Ickes and Motor Row.

Your idea for 18th is problematic, though... there are flyovers for the Orange Line (and occasionally the Red Line) that come in just north of 18th. Doing anything drastic to these flyovers is likely to add tremendous cost to adding a station - the only cost-effective location for a station is between 18th/19th or 15th/16th.

The removal of stations on the Green Line seems to have been a shrewd move by CTA to cut costs without eliminating the possibility of a future return of the service, unlike the total demolition that occurred on the Humboldt Park branch and Paulina connector. The total demolition may have been overkill, but CTA currently has 3 mothballed stations in marginal areas... which seems like a sensible response to a declining ridership and and increasing maintenance cost. I actually think CTA should do this more often... shut down a few stations on the Pink Line and Red Line. It would save a ton of money and speed up travel times.

VivaLFuego Oct 29, 2009 3:01 AM

^ I count 5 mothballed stations - three on Congress (Central, Kostner, California), one on the South L (58th) and one on the Englewood branch (Racine). All 'marginal' areas, of course. Grand/Milwaukee (now Blue) was closed for most of the 1990s. In terms of mothballed structure that was reactivated, there is the South L from Tower 12 (Wabash/Van Buren) to the 17th Junction, which was unused from the opening of the State Street Subway in the 1940s until the opening of the Dan Ryan line in the late 1960s. The North Shore Line used it for some time but I think that ceased sometime in the 1950s (maybe MrD can correct me here). Even when it reopened, there was no Roosevelt station until the present one was built concurrent with the Orange Line in the early 1990s.

Any future station closures would be very difficult not only politically (the Green Line project was incredibly racially charged, start to finish), but potentially expensive, since Federal money would have to be repaid - as in the case of the Pink Line, for example.

The only stations that come to mind that could justifiably be closed "at will" based on ridership and age would be those on the Purple Line and some more on the south branch of the Green Line, but such closures would be political disasters.

More plausible options would be eliminating late night and/or Sunday service at the lowest volume stations. There's no reason for the inner loop platform of Lasalle/Van Buren to be open on Sundays, for example (average Sunday ridership in August: 144).

ardecila Oct 29, 2009 3:33 AM

^^ I forgot about Central and California.

Regardless, the point still stands. The most puzzling to me is Jarvis. It's 2 blocks from Howard. What the hell? Thorndale and Berwyn are also puzzling... they have good ridership, but that's largely because of bus transfers that can be shifted to nearby stations. Neighborhood traffic probably wouldn't be too affected by shifting to a further station.

VivaLFuego Oct 29, 2009 4:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4529590)
^^ I forgot about Central and California.

Regardless, the point still stands. The most puzzling to me is Jarvis. It's 2 blocks from Howard. What the hell? Thorndale and Berwyn are also puzzling... they have good ridership, but that's largely because of bus transfers that can be shifted to nearby stations. Neighborhood traffic probably wouldn't be too affected by shifting to a further station.

The short answer is that all of the above stations serve somewhat different markets, buoyed by a corridor (at least to the east) of incredibly high housing/population density and low auto ownership.

Longer answer: Thorndale has hardly any bus transfer traffic, but is supported by a combination of Senn High School to the west and the continuous strip of 4+1s and highrises in the Kenmore-Winthrop-Sheridan corridor, one of the few sizable areas of the city zoned R6. Berwyn and Argyle are interesting - from a crosstown arterial standpoint they both serve Foster, but Foster is residential, and north Uptown/southeast Edgewater retail is instead oriented linearly along Broadway. Berwyn is a bus transfer location, but for good reason - there is actual street space for the #92 and #146 buses to stage and layover, which there isn't at Argyle. Berwyn is also targeted as a potential future "TOD" site, redeveloping the large Dominick's with parking lot adjacent to the station (no, there are no definite plans or even a general program describing density and use mix that I know of, but it's a general concept that has been thrown around with general support by stakeholders).

Jarvis, as with the others, gets presentable ridership, as you noted (all the more impressive since, like Wellington, it is only 2 blocks from a major transfer hub). The difference again is that Jarvis serves a different market than Howard: Jarvis is almost 100% walkup traffic, and convenient to the dense 6-flats and midrises to the east along Sheridan (since the Red Line is veering westward here, the Howard terminal is actually pretty far west from the lake). In contrast, the huge multimodal mixed-use facility at Howard is less attractive to walkup traffic but serves as a bus and rail transfer point.

Even with some of the marginal stations there would be a heavy political lift to close them: Foster/Noyes and Francisco/Rockwell would seem like pairs wherein one station would suffice, but in all cases a station closure would mean the decimation of the cute little business districts surrounding the station. Even Jarvis has a little retail district around it.

ardecila Oct 29, 2009 4:57 AM

The point would be moot if the North Main Line had express service outside of rush hour, but it doesn't. If I had my druthers, I would extend the Yellow Line downtown as an express service off-peak to utilize the additional track capacity. It would make Skokie service far more appealing by eliminating the Howard transfer, and make rail to downtown a faster and more convenient option for the entire North Side outside of peak periods.

Has CTA ever offered an express service comparable to New York's along the North Main Line?

Marcu Oct 29, 2009 3:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4529722)
The point would be moot if the North Main Line had express service outside of rush hour, but it doesn't. If I had my druthers, I would extend the Yellow Line downtown as an express service off-peak to utilize the additional track capacity. It would make Skokie service far more appealing by eliminating the Howard transfer, and make rail to downtown a faster and more convenient option for the entire North Side outside of peak periods.

Has CTA ever offered an express service comparable to New York's along the North Main Line?

The Red Line used to operate on an A/B model. I threw the idea of returning to the model out there a few months back on this board, but it didn't seem to be received well. All things considered, it probably wouldn't shave much time off the north side commute, even if it would reduce some of the redunant stations (eg Granville/Thorndale, Lawrence/Wilson). But as you suggested, some express service is needed from Rogers Park/Edgewater/Uptown to the Loop. It's really unacceptable to have a 5-10 mile commute take 40-60 minutes, as it does now. Especially considering Metra can make the same trip (from Ravenswood and Rogers Park) in less than 20 minutes for less money in part because it doesn't have to stop every 2 minutes.

Perhaps the Purple Line can run express from the morning rush to about 10pm with added stops at around Loyola and Lawrence.

Marcu Oct 29, 2009 3:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4529590)
^^ I forgot about Central and California.

Regardless, the point still stands. The most puzzling to me is Jarvis. It's 2 blocks from Howard. What the hell? Thorndale and Berwyn are also puzzling... they have good ridership, but that's largely because of bus transfers that can be shifted to nearby stations. Neighborhood traffic probably wouldn't be too affected by shifting to a further station.

All of these stops have sufficient residential density to support their existence. The bigger issue is the lack of express service, where some of te trains would skip these stops.

tptraub Oct 29, 2009 6:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4527671)
I think there are a couple of reasons for that.

First, prior to this latest boom, it really didn't have the cohesion to have a good pedestrian environment. It was sorta dense, but broken up by surface lots willy-nilly.

Second, perhaps the biggest problem was that at an unusually high percentage of things that are there are INSIDE buildings, instead of being directly connected to the street. The Treasure Island is accessed from within the building that hosts it. Lucky Strike - inside. AMC - inside. Most of the River East arts center can only be accessed from inside that building. The closer you get to Michigan, the less true this is, but too much of the other big buildings only have access to their retail after you enter the main building - that's simply not good planning.

Third, the blocks in Streeterville are, plain and simple, way, way too long. The City should have split them all in half - some in thirds - when they were vacant. Now that it's too late to do that for most of the longest blocks, Streeterville will really have a long hill to climb.

Fourth - it's still not done. there's still a ton of surface lots. yeah, so does River North, but the percentage of new construction to vintage buildings in River North is still lower than it is in Streeterville.

Fifth, and this is partially the fault of the undone and the lack of split blocks, but there just aren't any special places in Streeterville. There are a few places where some could be crafted, but they're, so far, being wasted.

Finally, accessibility. In theory, Streeterville is accessible, but from personal experience of living in River North now (and Lakeview and Irving Park and the Gold Coast previously) and working inthe Loop and visiting Streeterville fairly often River North has the Brown Line, the Red Line, the 22/Clark bus, the Grand bus, the 66/Chicago bus, and east accessibility to the Lake portion of the Loop elevated. Streeterville has the tail end of the 66/Chicago bus and the Grand bus, and not a bad walk form the Michigan Ave buses, but just try getting from the Central Loop or West Loop to Streeterville - it is just a plain PITA to do - walking is honestly the easiest way, and that takes 25 minutes. If the 1970s West Loop/Monroe/Columbus/Fairbanks subway had been built, it would be Streeterville that was better than River North.

The CTA 157 bus would also be a good choice for you. When north bound it goes east on Washington St and then left on Michigan Ave. It turns east at Ohio and then north at Fairbanks. It ends its run at Chestnut and Lake Shore Drive. I use it frequently to get to the train stations.

VivaLFuego Oct 29, 2009 6:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4529722)
Has CTA ever offered an express service comparable to New York's along the North Main Line?

Sort of. As Marcu says, until fairly recently (mid-1990s) the A/B skip stop system was used as a method of reducing running times and improving thoroughput on the line. The line of course was built by the Northwestern Elevated, which indeed operated something resembling the New York style service. South of Wilson, the outer tracks were for local service, serving since-demolished or rebuilt local stations (Addison was a side-platform station until the 1990s, requiring Howard B trains to switch tracks to serve the station). Inner tracks were express service with wider spaced stops (Wilson->Sheridan->Belmont->Fullerton->Halsted->Sedgwick). North of Wilson, the inner tracks were local, serving Edgewater and Rogers Park and then running "express" south of Wilson on the inner tracks. North of Wilson the outer tracks were for North Shore interurban express service - hence why there are no dual-island stations north of Wilson since the North Shore's commuter and intercity market wasn't for intracity trips.

Again to Marcu's point, there has been a general desire for at least a decade or two, though I don't believe it is actually codified in any official plans, to move the North Main towards the 4-track local/express paradigm. If/when Wilson is ever finally rebuilt, as it was supposed to be circa the early 1990s before the money was pulled to put towards the Green Line rehab, the ideal is for a dual-island station to serve 4 tracks.

For reference, the current rush hour travel times on the Red Line from Howard to Lake is 37 minutes. From Bryn Mawr to Lake, 27, and from Belmont, 14 (implying Howard -> Belmont at 23 minutes. For comparison, the Purple Line runs Howard to Belmont in 13 minutes, suggesting each intermediate stop costs a little under a minute.

emathias Oct 29, 2009 7:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tptraub (Post 4530488)
The CTA 157 bus would also be a good choice for you. When north bound it goes east on Washington St and then left on Michigan Ave. It turns east at Ohio and then north at Fairbanks. It ends its run at Chestnut and Lake Shore Drive. I use it frequently to get to the train stations.

Well, offhours I walk or use the 66 because I live in River North, but I work in the West Loop and at rush hour getting to streeterville takes 2-3 times as long as it does off-peak. I've tried the 157 several times at rush hour and every time it's been so slow i just got off and walked. It was marginally faster than I was on foot, but not by much.

My point isn't that you can't get there via transit, just that the methods aren't particularly efficient - particularly at rush hours.

emathias Oct 29, 2009 7:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4530489)
...discussion of express on north mail...

Now that Kimball trains can be 8-car trains and carry extra capacity that the Purple Line used to provide south of Belmont, if there was express service on the North Main, how practical would it be to merge it into the center tracks at Belmont to avoid Diversey and Wellington keeping the spirit of express service?

Haworthia Oct 29, 2009 9:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4530712)
Well, offhours I walk or use the 66 because I live in River North, but I work in the West Loop and at rush hour getting to streeterville takes 2-3 times as long as it does off-peak. I've tried the 157 several times at rush hour and every time it's been so slow i just got off and walked. It was marginally faster than I was on foot, but not by much.

My point isn't that you can't get there via transit, just that the methods aren't particularly efficient - particularly at rush hours.

Agreed. Connectivity between the West Loop and Streeterville is not as good as it should be. I've mentioned this a few times, and I always get jumped on for saying it.

Yes there is the 157 and 124, but they are not good enough. Not by far.

Let me elaborate. I frequently come into Ogilvie station on Friday evenings. I then head to Chicago and Fairbanks to meet my wife. The train I take gets in around 6:50 PM. The last 157 bus stops near Ogilvie around that time. It's a race to try catching it. When I do catch it, it's not a particularly swift trip.

Now the 124 toward Navy Pier keeps running for a while after that. I've taken that, but I've waited as much as 20 minutes for it. Add in the time of the bus trip and the walk from from Illinois to Chicago and trips from the West Loop to that part of the Streeterville can often take longer than 45 minutes. I've had it take an hour.

I've also walked to the Green Line, transferred to the Red Line at State and Lake and then walked from Chicago Ave and State St. That requires waiting on two trains. With everything lining up perfectly, I've made that trip in 20 minutes, but that was getting very lucky.

After 7pm, walking is competitive with transit (40 minutes to walk it).

In contrast, a Taxi ride takes about 8-10 minutes if the driver takes Lower Wacker.

Seeing as the West Loop is a major transit hub and the Streeterville area is a major employment and entertainment area, it a sham that there isn't a quicker way to get between the two.

One last piece of griping. I work in the Batavia area. Point to point, it is a 2.5 hour trip from walking out of the office to standing on the corner of Chicago and Fairbanks. That is a major deterrent for most people meaning the city if losing out on suburbanite dollars in that area.

</rant>

ardecila Oct 29, 2009 9:56 PM

The first phase of the Circle Line seems to just be an extension of Purple Line service, shifting the Purple Line into the State Street Subway, up the 14th Street incline, to Ashland and then up to the West Side.

I'm assuming Purple Line service would then become something of a full-time express train, and yes, it would have to switch to the inner tracks before Belmont.

Mr Downtown Oct 30, 2009 4:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haworthia (Post 4530870)
Now the 124 toward Navy Pier keeps running for a while after that. I've taken that, but I've waited as much as 20 minutes for it.

The 124 runs every 15 minutes or better until 10 pm. That's more frequent service than some CTA rail lines have at that time of the evening. I'm curious what level of service you think should be provided for such a relatively low-ridership corridor.

But if Bustracker or looking down the street told me that no 124 was particularly imminent, I'd simply jump on any bus headed east on Washington and transfer at State to the first 145/146/147/151 that came along.

emathias Oct 30, 2009 6:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4531645)
The 124 runs every 15 minutes or better until 10 pm. That's more frequent service than some CTA rail lines have at that time of the evening. I'm curious what level of service you think should be provided for such a relatively low-ridership corridor. ...

I think it's low ridership only because the level of service sucks. Suburbanites drive to Streeterville because of the poor service. I don't own a car and I'm a huge transit advocate, but I really cannot for the life of me fathom how anyone can defend the current transit situation between two of the busiest rail stations outside of New York and one of the largest shopping and entertainment districts on the continent. Seriously - talk about missed opportunity! Maybe it shouldn't be the CTA driving it, if they're mainly about responding to demand instead of creating what could (and should) be a preferred method of interfacing with the city, but if it wasn't for the interest rate calamity in the late 70s/early 80s, we would already have a subway between the West Loop and Streeterville. It was a good idea then, and it's still a good idea today, we as a City just seem to have lost our "can do" spirit and desire to build what should be instead of just what is the path of least resistance.

Case in point: the Kingbury Park section of River North, coupled with the Montgomery Wards buildings along up to the area around North/Clyborn has more density, people, and even entertainment than the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon does, but where Portland invested in modern streetcars, Chicago's logically-connected areas of similar demographics and potential doesn't even have a bus linking the parts together and to the Loop - what a waste! What piss-poor planning! And then to see it disputed that it's difficult, especially for non-residents, to use public transit from the West Loop to Streeterville reveals a vast disconnect between what Chicago could actually accomplish and what people think is appropriate. Chicago has better transit than many of the chicken-littles cry about, but it also has enormous missed opportunities, and the West Loop/Michigan Ave/Streeterville connection is perhaps the biggest one.

cbotnyse Oct 30, 2009 12:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haworthia (Post 4530870)
Seeing as the West Loop is a major transit hub and the Streeterville area is a major employment and entertainment area, it a sham that there isn't a quicker way to get between the two.

dont forget about the water taxis. Wendella runs one from Michigan and Wacker to Union Station, for 2 bucks. They are also working on a river east stop. Granted, it only runs about 9 months of the year, but its a great option.

the urban politician Oct 30, 2009 2:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4531799)
I think it's low ridership only because the level of service sucks. Suburbanites drive to Streeterville because of the poor service. I don't own a car and I'm a huge transit advocate, but I really cannot for the life of me fathom how anyone can defend the current transit situation between two of the busiest rail stations outside of New York and one of the largest shopping and entertainment districts on the continent. Seriously - talk about missed opportunity! Maybe it shouldn't be the CTA driving it, if they're mainly about responding to demand instead of creating what could (and should) be a preferred method of interfacing with the city, but if it wasn't for the interest rate calamity in the late 70s/early 80s, we would already have a subway between the West Loop and Streeterville. It was a good idea then, and it's still a good idea today, we as a City just seem to have lost our "can do" spirit and desire to build what should be instead of just what is the path of least resistance.

Case in point: the Kingbury Park section of River North, coupled with the Montgomery Wards buildings along up to the area around North/Clyborn has more density, people, and even entertainment than the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon does, but where Portland invested in modern streetcars, Chicago's logically-connected areas of similar demographics and potential doesn't even have a bus linking the parts together and to the Loop - what a waste! What piss-poor planning! And then to see it disputed that it's difficult, especially for non-residents, to use public transit from the West Loop to Streeterville reveals a vast disconnect between what Chicago could actually accomplish and what people think is appropriate. Chicago has better transit than many of the chicken-littles cry about, but it also has enormous missed opportunities, and the West Loop/Michigan Ave/Streeterville connection is perhaps the biggest one.

:iagree: :iagree: :iagree:

The lack of a connect between Chicago's busy commuter rail stations and its busiest, most economically productive shopping and entertainment district in the interior of the continent just stupefies me. The argument that there's no "demand" is just outright ridiculous. How anybody can defend such a standpoint just baffles me. If there's no demand for such a transit route then there shouldn't be demand for transit anywhere. LA, Portland, Washington DC, Charlotte, etc etc just shouldn't bother building new transit lines.

What lacks is a will to build it. Daley spent 4 years focusing on the Olympics and got the city nothing. If only this guy would reorient his energy.

VivaLFuego Oct 30, 2009 3:13 PM

note: reposted from Boom Rundown thread.

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4531799)
I think it's low ridership only because the level of service sucks. Suburbanites drive to Streeterville because of the poor service. I don't own a car and I'm a huge transit advocate, but I really cannot for the life of me fathom how anyone can defend the current transit situation between two of the busiest rail stations outside of New York and one of the largest shopping and entertainment districts on the continent. Seriously - talk about missed opportunity! Maybe it shouldn't be the CTA driving it, if they're mainly about responding to demand instead of creating what could (and should) be a preferred method of interfacing with the city

CTA would love to increase services levels at any time and place where the demand elasticity to service levels warrants it. That said, I think there could be some benefits and reoriented service from a comprehensive study of the 'corridor' like CTA did on the north and south lakefronts some years ago to reroute, restructure, reallocate the various tiered express routes in an optimal fashion. The infrastructure for quick and frequent service basically exists (Lower Wacker, and one could justify a modest investment in some pavement stripings and signal priority to boot), but the demand for transit travel between those areas is what it is and could probably only be boosted in aggregate by very modest amounts, all the moreso if NMH keeps building 1,000-space parking garages in Streeterville to hold the price of parking down.

Or, as you suggest, this is something the city could serve via the Free Trolley system for the sole purpose of marketing/brand image to tourists rather than on a cost-effectiveness basis.

Quote:

the Kingbury Park section of River North, coupled with the Montgomery Wards buildings along up to the area around North/Clyborn has more density, people, and even entertainment than the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon does, but where Portland invested in modern streetcars, Chicago's logically-connected areas of similar demographics and potential doesn't even have a bus linking the parts together and to the Loop - what a waste! What piss-poor planning!
Poor North-South through- travel through the entire corridor between Halsted on the west and the Brown Line on the east has been noted by local transportation and transit planners for some time. The #37 and now the through-routed #11 were one effort, and routing the (now-defunct) #38 as a Canal/Clinton circulator in the West Loop were some efforts at serving the corridor, but nothing attracted ridership.

Other ideas have been floated (e.g. extending the #44 northward along Canal and then again to Kingsbury/Larrabee to North/Clybourn) but I assume most such service expansions have been on hold for several years now for obvious reasons. The old Clybourn bus (#41) basically served this corridor, but was on the chopping block in the 1990s due to extremely low productivity. http://chicago-l.org/maps/route/maps/1991map.jpg

emathias Oct 30, 2009 3:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4532071)
CTA would love to increase services levels at any time and place where the demand elasticity to service levels warrants it. That said, I think there could be some benefits and reoriented service from a comprehensive study of the 'corridor' like CTA did on the north and south lakefronts some years ago to reroute, restructure, reallocate the various tiered express routes in an optimal fashion.

I think my complaint isn't really with the CTA - for the most part, I think the CTA serves its mission reasonably well. Even the CTA recognizes there's room for improvement, but I don't want anyone to think I'm on the side of the CTA-haters out there.

My complaint is probably best directed at the seemingly hands-off approach to transit facilitation the City has taken. It's the CTA's role to provide service where demand exists now, but since the city controls permits and zoning and planned development creations, the City should have a subsidy budget to fund prospective corridors that it is focusing on. I think this happens occasionally, but it seems to be the exception, not the rule. The lack of that sort of involvment is probably why the West Loop/River West/Kingsbury Park/North&Clybourn districts aren't tied together better.

The City knew about all the development going on there, but it didn't provide seed funds for transit to tie those areas together, so they's developed hodge-podge, and very auto-oriented, because non-car people aren't going to live in areas that don't already have transit, and car people can't very well switch to using transit that doesn't even exist. Again, that's the City's fault, not the CTAs. Better integration in planning and seeding transit in transit-friendly area isn't rocket science, but it does take leadership from the top. Daley's done a lot of good for the city, but I think he's not really an urbanist at heart and may have maxed out his potential. It wouldn't be a bad thing to elect a real urbanist, if one can be found, next round.

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4532071)
Or, as you suggest, this is something the city could serve via the Free Trolley system for the sole purpose of marketing/brand image to tourists rather than on a cost-effectiveness basis.

I actually don't like the free trolley system because a) those trolley's are horrible, and unsafe and inefficient, and b) it sends the completely wrong message to ... well, everyone. It says, "public transit is an amusing blast from the past," instead of "public transit is an integral part of well-planned urban life."

And given that a very high percentage of "tourists" in Chicago are really more like suburbanites, I don't think we need to (or should) coddle them too much. Certainly make the experience easy to understand and participate in, but we don't need to make it free, and we don't need to use mockeries of historic vehicles to do it, either.



Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4532071)
Poor North-South through- travel through the entire corridor between Halsted on the west and the Brown Line on the east has been noted by local transportation and transit planners for some time. The #37 and now the through-routed #11 were one effort, and routing the (now-defunct) #38 as a Canal/Clinton circulator in the West Loop were some efforts at serving the corridor, but nothing attracted ridership.

To be successful, I think it needs to be a multi-year, sustained effort and it absolutely must be combined with enhanced off-hours metra service. I recognize that it IS a bit of a chicken-and-egg thing, because if you only boost Metra service, but then it takes 30 minutes or a $8 cab ride to travel the last mile, that's not going to attract service, and if you only quietly boost bus service as a trial, you won't have the potential extra riders from commuter rail, that isn't likely to last either. That's not the CTA's fault, because they can't control development or Metra schedules, but the City could do more to seed transit use as development happens.

Ultimately, the ship may have sailed from this latest boom, the car-only people may have already dominated the opportunity areas, but I do really believe that the transit seed funding and improved coordination of planning will be necessary if Chicago wants to keep improving the urban experience it can offer.

tptraub Oct 30, 2009 4:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haworthia (Post 4530870)
Agreed. Connectivity between the West Loop and Streeterville is not as good as it should be. I've mentioned this a few times, and I always get jumped on for saying it.

Yes there is the 157 and 124, but they are not good enough. Not by far.

Let me elaborate. I frequently come into Ogilvie station on Friday evenings. I then head to Chicago and Fairbanks to meet my wife. The train I take gets in around 6:50 PM. The last 157 bus stops near Ogilvie around that time. It's a race to try catching it. When I do catch it, it's not a particularly swift trip.

Now the 124 toward Navy Pier keeps running for a while after that. I've taken that, but I've waited as much as 20 minutes for it. Add in the time of the bus trip and the walk from from Illinois to Chicago and trips from the West Loop to that part of the Streeterville can often take longer than 45 minutes. I've had it take an hour.

I've also walked to the Green Line, transferred to the Red Line at State and Lake and then walked from Chicago Ave and State St. That requires waiting on two trains. With everything lining up perfectly, I've made that trip in 20 minutes, but that was getting very lucky.

After 7pm, walking is competitive with transit (40 minutes to walk it).

In contrast, a Taxi ride takes about 8-10 minutes if the driver takes Lower Wacker.

Seeing as the West Loop is a major transit hub and the Streeterville area is a major employment and entertainment area, it a sham that there isn't a quicker way to get between the two.

One last piece of griping. I work in the Batavia area. Point to point, it is a 2.5 hour trip from walking out of the office to standing on the corner of Chicago and Fairbanks. That is a major deterrent for most people meaning the city if losing out on suburbanite dollars in that area.

</rant>

The 125 bus is another route I take from the train stations to north Streeterville. The last bus leaves Union Station around 7:00 pm and after a few turns it goes down Ohio Street to Michigan and turns north. At Chicago it turns east and then north at Mies van der Rohe. If you get off at MvdR, you will be only a short walk to Chicago and Fairbanks. The bus terminates at the Hancock building.


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