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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

ardecila Oct 2, 2008 4:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3832959)
Hey guys, I just wanted to ask a question for those of you in the know. Last week I spent a lot of time driving the 294 and 88 tollways in the suburbs. The monumentous traffic that I saw (and yes, I really think legends can be written about what I witnessed) caused me to wonder why the tolls were so cheap ($0.30 in some places, but mostly $0.80 to $1.00).

First of all.... the majority of Chicagoland's traffic is carried by local arterial roads, which have equally heinous traffic. This is because our interstate network is drastically under-sized for a metro area of 10 million people. Metra and CTA pick up some of the strain, but they don't work to carry people from suburb-to-suburb, and so we have terrible traffic on our arterial roads as well.

Honestly, I don't know why there isn't a massive regional attempt to stagger work hours. LA did this during the 1984 Olympics and had fantastic results on their gridlock. Our traffic would virtually disappear.

the urban politician Oct 2, 2008 2:08 PM

Chicago should be proud of its expressways--they scream out "you are near a very large and wealthy city". Never ending billboards advertising Movado watches, steakhouses, and casinos, and seemingly every other car is a Lexus, Mercedes, or some other European luxury car

Ch.G, Ch.G Oct 2, 2008 2:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 3833022)
1. Again....implying business people run a business better seems kind of ironic in these days of massive financial problems in this country.

2. Money should NEVER be used to create order. If we raise the fare on tollways to "control congestion" what we are basically doing is creating a private tollway for the wealthy.

3. Tollways stink to high heavan. Get all the revenue from the gas tax get rid of tollways or make all the down state roads and Interstates tollways.

Holy shit dude, are you fucking kidding me? The best (and, IMO, what should be the only) use of taxes is to serve as a disincentive of behavior/consumption with high spill-over costs. And what's currently worse for our society than car-dependence? It's one of the greatest sources of pollution and international conflict, not to mention anathema to (highly desirable) urbanism.

Our current highway-oriented transit system already disproportionately serves the wealthy by demanding car ownership; what we should be doing is taxing the fuck out of roads and using that revenue alone to provide for their maintenance: you play, you pay. Those priced out would necessarily gravitate towards and agitate for public transportation, "bottom-up" change which, in a democracy, is the best way to effect it.

Anyway, your internal logic doesn't even make sense. The sales tax you refer to in 3 is just as regressive as a highway toll, so why the outcry of social injustice for the latter and not the former?

VivaLFuego is smart not to get into 1 but I'm a little less tactful: Our current crisis is just as much if not more the result of a culture of self-entitled, irresponsible spendthrifts who live beyond their means because of the misplaced sense that they deserve to. Businesses may serve them, but government enables them.

Chicago3rd Oct 2, 2008 9:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G (Post 3835168)
Anyway, your internal logic doesn't even make sense. The sales tax you refer to in 3 is just as regressive as a highway toll, so why the outcry of social injustice for the latter and not the former?

Let's walk you through this....
Tollway fees are specific to the roads being used.

By raising the price of Tolls, to control congestion, people will start using adjacent roads like Highway 41.

This will cause less congestion on the tollways and give rich people a better driving experience on the tollways, while creating a huge head ache for the local routes.

Let's get rid of tolls and jack up gas taxes. Using the taxes for use and maintence of the roads is a great idea.....and it will apply and cover all roads from local, free, to tollways. That way....we wouldn't be able to create tollways for the elite rich.

Haven't owned a car since 1989 and haven't driven since 1996 so that should tell you what I really think should happen to both tollways and highways and roads and strip malls and all that garbage.

Dr. Taco Oct 2, 2008 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 3836031)
Haven't owned a car since 1989 and haven't driven since 1996 so that should tell you what I really think should happen to both tollways and highways and roads and strip malls and all that garbage.

aaaanndd you might as well just shut the hell up then, because if you're that openly biased, you might as well help power a wind turbine

Chicago3rd Oct 3, 2008 3:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jstush04 (Post 3836144)
aaaanndd you might as well just shut the hell up then, because if you're that openly biased, you might as well help power a wind turbine

Love you too.

Ch.G, Ch.G Oct 3, 2008 4:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 3836031)
Let's walk you through this....
Tollway fees are specific to the roads being used.

By raising the price of Tolls, to control congestion, people will start using adjacent roads like Highway 41.

This will cause less congestion on the tollways and give rich people a better driving experience on the tollways, while creating a huge head ache for the local routes.

Let's get rid of tolls and jack up gas taxes. Using the taxes for use and maintence of the roads is a great idea.....and it will apply and cover all roads from local, free, to tollways. That way....we wouldn't be able to create tollways for the elite rich.

Haven't owned a car since 1989 and haven't driven since 1996 so that should tell you what I really think should happen to both tollways and highways and roads and strip malls and all that garbage.

Tolls = apartheid/class warfare. Got it. :koko:

honte Oct 3, 2008 12:02 PM

I believe I side with Chicago3rd's overall notion here, if not some of the details... I think increased taxes on the toll roads will hurt the working poor, and as conditions continue to erode in the US, the middle class. Why? Because of proximity of affordable housing to jobs and the fact that in many cases mass transit is simply not workable.

If I live in Dalton and have to get to work near O'Hare, how efficient is it for me to take mass transit? Not so much, especially if I have a life to live with a family to raise etc. The high price of gas is already taking a disproportionate toll on the working poor due to simple percentages of their income levels.

Sure, we can effect change from the "bottom" up, but is this really a fair way to proceed? Just like we are supposedly now making a change on Wall Street (yeah, sure), only after thousands of unnamed Americans got duped into mortgages they can't afford. Not a good process at all, quite wrong if you ask me.

Chicago3rd Oct 3, 2008 1:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G (Post 3836888)
Tolls = apartheid/class warfare. Got it. :koko:

Seems like you are trying to take this off topic...but please reframe from that. You have not addressed the issue that people will take alternatives such as HWY 41...making the parallel running roads much more congested.

And you haven't explained why having roads paid for by one massive tax that is assigned to gas, a usage tax, wouldn't help out. I am against parking garages in general but am extrememly against raising the price to keep people from driving. What would you call the fact that in my office all the folks who make in the six figures pay for parking in the building while the admin take public transportation? Higher doesn't = less parking. Higher parking = parking for the rich.

I am not opposed to the rich....love them see all the great things they do for our city...buildings.....organizations....capitalism can be great and rewarding...but when it comes to "public" things like roads and garages and services we should all be equal.

Ch.G, Ch.G Oct 3, 2008 2:05 PM

^ Look, neither increased gas taxes nor tolls will happen anytime soon, so the debate really is academic. But the fact of the matter is we have a transportation infrastructure in place which rewards drivers and punishes mass transit users. Furthermore, as I stated in my original post, there is no difference between a sales tax and a toll inasmuch as both are regressive and therefore affect the poor in the same way. It really doesn't make sense that either of you would rail on one and not the other. Moreover, were any strategy to actually be implemented, I imagine a multi-pronged effort would be more effective than a single thrust, say, into the fuel market.

The point is to persuade people to change their untenable lifestyles. Money in the form taxes, as the only tool the government really has, will always be a greater issue for the poor; there's no way around it, unless you advocate for communism or some other redistributive monetary program (which we already have in place as far as incomes are concerned).

The other thing to remember-- and I suspect this is where we disagree-- is that "Main Street" is hardly guilt-free. The development of exurbs and far-flung suburbs occurred only because of a real demand for space, space, space. Ultimately, greed and irresponsibility on the part of many average Americans accounts for a huge part of the mortgage crisis you allude to. The same is no less true about our car culture. And, ultimately, the market will catch up to these people, the only difference being that when gas prices start increasing exponentially there will be nothing the government can do to help, at least in the immediate aftermath.

Ch.G, Ch.G Oct 3, 2008 2:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 3837287)
Seems like you are trying to take this off topic...but please reframe from that. You have not addressed the issue that people will take alternatives such as HWY 41...making the parallel running roads much more congested.

And you haven't explained why having roads paid for by one massive tax that is assigned to gas, a usage tax, wouldn't help out. I am against parking garages in general but am extrememly against raising the price to keep people from driving. What would you call the fact that in my office all the folks who make in the six figures pay for parking in the building while the admin take public transportation? Higher doesn't = less parking. Higher parking = parking for the rich.

I am not opposed to the rich....love them see all the great things they do for our city...buildings.....organizations....capitalism can be great and rewarding...but when it comes to "public" things like roads and garages and services we should all be equal.

What's there to address? Your argument is ridiculous. Of course higher cost equals less parking. Can you imagine how many people would be driving if parking garages only cost a dollar a day? Thank god the real estate market demands its at least twenty dollars or there'd be even more of them littering the Loop than there already are. And, sure, people who are more well-off won't flinch in light of those kinds of prices, but, like I said in my response to honte, that's life, kid.

As far as your argument about alternate routes, I thought a rebuttal would be obvious and not even worth mentioning but I guess I was wrong: All major thoroughfares should have tolls, whether you're talking north-south axes like Route 41 or east-west ones like Lake Cook Road. Again, purely wishful thinking on my part, but, in this climate, probably less so than hoping for a higher gas tax.

honte Oct 3, 2008 2:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G (Post 3837349)
Furthermore, as I stated in my original post, there is no difference between a sales tax and a toll inasmuch as both are regressive and therefore affect the poor in the same way. It really doesn't make sense that either of you would rail on one and not the other.

As I said above, I think that's a rather shallow argument. There is a difference, particularly to people who have few options concerning where they live and what they do with their money.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G (Post 3837349)
The other thing to remember-- and I suspect this is where we disagree-- is that "Main Street" is hardly guilt-free. The development of exurbs and far-flung suburbs occurred only because of a real demand for space, space, space. Ultimately, greed and irresponsibility on the part of many average Americans accounts for a huge part of the mortgage crisis you allude to.

No, I don't disagree with that. But I do believe the power structure should be more accountable because they 1) benefit more, 2) are generally better educated about the risks and responsibilities, and 3) generally speaking are sheltered and have less, on a basis of true sacrifice, to lose. The same applies to the transit situation.

Anyway, I don't think there is much to be gained by this argument, for the same reasons you state, so I will stay out of it from here on.

VivaLFuego Oct 3, 2008 3:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3837196)
I believe I side with Chicago3rd's overall notion here, if not some of the details... I think increased taxes on the toll roads will hurt the working poor, and as conditions continue to erode in the US, the middle class. Why? Because of proximity of affordable housing to jobs and the fact that in many cases mass transit is simply not workable.

If I live in Dalton and have to get to work near O'Hare, how efficient is it for me to take mass transit? Not so much, especially if I have a life to live with a family to raise etc. The high price of gas is already taking a disproportionate toll on the working poor due to simple percentages of their income levels.

Sure, we can effect change from the "bottom" up, but is this really a fair way to proceed? Just like we are supposedly now making a change on Wall Street (yeah, sure), only after thousands of unnamed Americans got duped into mortgages they can't afford. Not a good process at all, quite wrong if you ask me.

I can sympathize with many of these arguments, but taken to a logical conclusion it means we're obligated to subsidize the transport costs of the working class regardless of their residence-workplace imbalance and mode choice decisions.

I'll extrapolate this logic further, just to be a bit provocative (not argumentative). The fellow going from Dalton to O'Hare really would have benefited from the Crosstown I-494, why not resurrect that plan to improve job accessibility for the working poor? Congestion impacts all drivers, but even moreso the one with long trips like our exemplar, here. If the working poor are impacted the most by congestion due to long trip lengths, aren't we then obligated to widen roads and build parallel routes to alleviate that impact?

Why stop there, why not use all the subsidy money spent for transit reconstruction and literally buy cars for the working poor? The ~$30 million spent to reconstruct each of the Pink Line stations serving only ~1,000 commuters a day could have purchased 5,000+ used cars to give or sell at subsidized price. Or, $30 million buys a heck of a lot of gasoline, or subsidized insurance, and so forth.

Where do we draw the line? I still maintain trying to have everyone pay their fair share is the most sound underlying philosophy for this. Land use policy has an important role, as there is a feedback loop between regional mode choice and land use patterns. The Canadian model, wherein Toronto rapid transit (steeply priced at $2.75) still draws significantly higher utilization than CTA while still obtaining greater than 80% cost recovery from fare revenue should be highly instructive. Both driving and transit are underpriced in the USA.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch. G
Thank god the real estate market demands its at least twenty dollars or there'd be even more of them littering the Loop than there already are.

I think it's quite a bit more complicated than that. Higher parking prices (as driven by market demand) increase the underlying value of land dedicated to parking, meaning higher parking prices increase the pressure for there to be parking lots. If parking were cheap, there would indeed be an increase the quantity demanded but the road network couldn't handle it, and the high number of people heading to the destination would cause the land to be valued higher with some sort of commercial improvement., thereby limiting the supply of parking. There actually is a market equilibrium based on the demand to be at a certain location at a certain time and the available system capacity to get people there (roads+transit). Government policy can impact this somewhat, and tinker with the geographic distribution, but can't really alter the underlying supply/demand fundamentals in the short run. For example, back when the city forbade parking garages/lots in the Loop proper it just pushed these into the surrounding areas of West Loop, River North, South Loop, and so on, because the demand for parking near the Loop existed regardless of government policy and it became economical to bulldoze buildings on the Loop periphery to provide a supply of available parking. By doing so, however, the city did improve the competitiveness of transit for loop-bound trips, thus bolstering it's mode share somewhat. Things bottomed out through the 80s and 90s after the city allowed huge parking garages in the loop starting around '85 or '86, thereby gifting the current generation both the loss of countless historic structures on the Loop periphery and striking a major blow to transit ridership that has only been clawed back over the last few years (on rail only, bus has yet to recover) - helped along by gas prices bottoming out after '83 or so which improved auto competitiveness with transit at the margins.

jjk1103 Oct 5, 2008 2:14 AM

........I hate to interrupt this lively debate but...I rode the Red line north (from Addison to Argyle...there were many slow zones, but there was a large station rebuilding effort at the Lawrence Station......in general, can anyone tell me what is going on with the re-building efforts on the Red Line north ? many thanks.........

Nowhereman1280 Oct 5, 2008 4:26 AM

There have been a lot of slow zones this weekend because of those rebuilding and some other track maintinece efforts.

They are basically just replacing the wall sections around the stairwells from the old wood and glass to the new galvanized steel and glass like you see on the new brown line and Fullerton and Belmont stations. It looks really nice. They have also been re-roofing some of the stations (Berwin I know for sure) as well as doing some interior repairs in some stations (Berwin they are rebuilding some rusted out tin sheets on the ceiling).

ummagumma Oct 5, 2008 5:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jjk1103 (Post 3839937)
........I hate to interrupt this lively debate but...I rode the Red line north (from Addison to Argyle...there were many slow zones, but there was a large station rebuilding effort at the Lawrence Station......in general, can anyone tell me what is going on with the re-building efforts on the Red Line north ? many thanks.........

There's been several station closures for remodeling the past couple weeks. However, that's probably unrelated to the slowness between Lawrence and Addison. I'm not sure if it is a designated slow zone or not these days, but the trains usually crawl along that stretch (especially if you're heading southbound).

But even with that said, the time it gets me to get downtown from Bryn Mawr is usually no more than 25-30 minutes thanks to the subway improvements. I just hope after they finish the Blue Line slow zone work they take on the slow zones on the northern branch of the Red Line. I can't wait to see how fast things go once that stretch you mentioned is operating at higher speed.

harryc Oct 5, 2008 12:20 PM

Re-Roofing Lake/Ridgeland sta. Jul 21
http://lh5.ggpht.com/harry.r.carmich...0/IMG_3687.JPG

State/Grand Aug 05
http://lh5.ggpht.com/harry.r.carmich...0/IMG_5861.JPG

New track and ties and electric at Clark/Lake Sept 26
Anyone know what is with the blue stuff ?
http://lh4.ggpht.com/harry.r.carmich...0/P1070405.JPG

The new ties (sleepers) are made out of plastic (recycled material ?)
http://lh6.ggpht.com/harry.r.carmich...0/P1070409.JPG

whyhuhwhy Oct 5, 2008 1:54 PM

Chicago has the 2nd lowest highway lanes per capita in the country (http://www.tlcminnesota.org/Resource...Miles2004.pdf). I'm not really sure why this is because cities with much better public transit have more lanes. One of the very first things I noticed when I moved here 5 years ago was that there were plenty of highways but HORRIBLE bottlenecks and a real paucity of the number of lanes. 3 lanes in each direction for the amount of traffic the Kennedy carries has little equal in this country.

There are true highway related bottlenecks in this metro that need to be solved and I'm not really sure why they are not being brought to the table. Or are they? The Kennedy is an absolute mess and the express lanes reversed create huge problems for inbound traffic on just about every weekday. 90 minutes from O'Hare to downtown is unacceptable. Not everyone is flying in from O'Hare and taking the Blue line to downtown so more transit for this particular bottleneck is not the answer--there is already great transit running right through the thick of it. I am curious as to why there are two express lanes that literally waste 4 shoulders total (one on each side of each lane, and then the barrier, and then another shoulder on the local). Seems to me if you eliminate express you could make the Kennedy six lanes in each direction without buying any land.

This metropolitan region seems to be forgetting that it is a transportation hub and has a significant portion of its traffic related to business and people from other regions of the state and country passing through. I know people that have been passing through and wanted to spend some money downtown but didn't because when they see 86 minutes from O'Hare to downtown on the signs they just say "forget it." Is there any solution on the table to the Kennedy? It is drastically undersized and the express lanes idea may have been a good one in the 80's when downtown Chicago was billed as just a place for suburbanites to work, but now it is a place for people to live. I live with 3 roommates. All of us live downtown and work in the suburbs (which is where most of the jobs are!), and looking at horrible inbound traffic in the afternoons, which ironically is MUCH worse than outbound at the same time (!), I can tell we are not alone. When you have horrible congestion at 8PM at night inbound to the city on a Wednesday you know you have a problem. It seems we are expanding all the freeways in the suburbs but when it comes to making it easy for all those people living out there to go downtown, and all the people coming in from out of state to go downtown, and all the people living downtown to go downtown, we have just given up. That's the sense I get from living here 5 years now.

the urban politician Oct 5, 2008 4:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 3840333)
Is there any solution on the table to the Kennedy? It is drastically undersized and the express lanes idea may have been a good one in the 80's when downtown Chicago was billed as just a place for suburbanites to work, but now it is a place for people to live. I live with 3 roommates. All of us live downtown and work in the suburbs (which is where most of the jobs are!), and looking at horrible inbound traffic in the afternoons, which ironically is MUCH worse than outbound at the same time (!), I can tell we are not alone. When you have horrible congestion at 8PM at night inbound to the city on a Wednesday you know you have a problem. It seems we are expanding all the freeways in the suburbs but when it comes to making it easy for all those people living out there to go downtown, and all the people coming in from out of state to go downtown, and all the people living downtown to go downtown, we have just given up. That's the sense I get from living here 5 years now.

^ Convince your employers to move downtown.

All of those office parks in the suburbs are part of the problem, IMO. You can't just blame the expressways. Why did Brenda Barnes move Sara Lee from downtown to a site close to her home? It's NIMBYism, but the opposite--(Nothing in my backyard except my job, regardless how much it affects everybody else's commute). This office park phenomenon is the greatest problem and, in my observation, a major cause of this whole congestion mess. I don't see any inadequacies in the highway system, it's just fine as far as I've seen.

More companies need to do what BP and United Airlines just did. BP in particular is moving 1000 employees downtown because many of those employees are traders who live in the city and pressured the company to do so.

ardecila Oct 5, 2008 9:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by harryc (Post 3840287)
New track and ties and electric at Clark/Lake Sept 26
Anyone know what is with the blue stuff ?
http://lh4.ggpht.com/harry.r.carmich...0/P1070405.JPG

The blue thing is a piece of rubber that isolates the rail from the tie, to reduce vibrations and noise. :tup:


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