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emathias Sep 7, 2010 1:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manrush (Post 4972363)
Would any parts of Chicago facilitate tram or light rail construction, or are buses better served as a complement to the L?

In theory, there are several places where the aesthetics of a streetcar might offset the congestion issues enough to be competitive with a bus option. But in general, since buses can easily move around a double-parked car, etc, buses are a far better option for street operation. In general, buses given the same sort of street prep and priority would be about 25% faster than streetcars because of their better accelleration and their ability to pass. But sometimes aesthetics or other factors may weigh into the equation enough to tip the scales.

The possible exceptions, in my opinion, are as follows:

1) Running in the Boulevards system, similarly to how the St. Charles Line runs in New Orleans. A Garfield Line running from Hyde Park to Midway, a West Side line running from McKinley Park to Logan Square, and a Kenwood Line running from McCormick Place to Hyde Park might be your best bets for this scenario.

2) As part of a Clinton Street transportation center, running below grade (shared with buses) under Clinton, then one branch east of the River along Carol Street to Navy Pier (again, shared with buses) and one branch north along Kingsbury/Larrabee to the North/Sheffield area. This would require some streets re-engineering and strongarm traffic management in the North/Sheffield area.

3) Running using partly divided center islands along certain wide streets (Chicago Avenue comes to mind), with a select few spots of below-grade street passing. In the Chicago Ave example, it might have to run below grade from just before Orleans to past Michigan Ave.

4) As a Circulator model, running below grade in most parts, for example under Monroe through the Loop and north along Columbus/Fairbanks to around Oak Street and south through Grant Park along the South Shore tracks to McCormick.

Chicago Shawn Sep 7, 2010 2:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zerton (Post 4972404)
What pisses me off is that the city prohibited extending that north/south street that goes through the mixed income housing. That complex is so isolated, they can't even walk to the park they can see out their windows (By that blue elementary school).

Blame the idiot NIMBYs who live due south within the Cabrini redevelopment. They didn't want any additional "traffic". It is this reason and this reason alone that Burling Street will not be extended northward. Original Plans had the extension, and the residential structures to be built along a re-established segment of Eastman Street still will be positioned in a way to allow the street extension to still occur in the future (highly unlikely). A pedestrian connection will still be provided, albeit with a locked gate for residents only :rolleyes: .

ardecila Sep 7, 2010 9:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4972843)
3) Running using partly divided center islands along certain wide streets (Chicago Avenue comes to mind), with a select few spots of below-grade street passing. In the Chicago Ave example, it might have to run below grade from just before Orleans to past Michigan Ave.

I always thought Irving Park would make a good choice for a light-rail line of this type, because of its wide width and the existing stations on the Red, Brown, Blue Lines and Metra-NW line. It also isn't a vibrant commercial corridor like some other streets, so it wouldn't be as big of a deal to kill the street parking (if it came to that). It would run from Montrose Harbor down LSD to Irving Park, then west to Six Corners.

This is the Toronto Transit City model, of course.

Lake Shore Drive is also mentioned as a corridor where light rail would work.

Nowhereman1280 Sep 7, 2010 9:50 PM

^^^ It would be excellent to see a Light rail line that runs from the Blue Line Irving Park to Lake Shore Drive and then south through streeterville (maybe get it to follow Columbus some how) to Grant Park. However this would then compete with the perfectly effective LSD express bus service. It would be nice for two reasons: One it would serve the under served highrises in Lakeview and Lincoln Park and two it would draw more foot traffic out into the park.

Zerton Sep 7, 2010 9:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4972480)
Schiller? The renderings for New City show a long, thin apartment block along the south side that has a street-sized break that lines up with Schiller...

Maybe this is just the architect (OKW) covering all the bases, in case the city ever comes to its senses and allows the street to connect?

Yes, Schiller street. That has since been removed and buildings are planned to back up against the alley/gate. A large residential is planned for the southeast area of the site.

Quote:

Blame the idiot NIMBYs who live due south within the Cabrini redevelopment. They didn't want any additional "traffic". It is this reason and this reason alone that Burling Street will not be extended northward. Original Plans had the extension, and the residential structures to be built along a re-established segment of Eastman Street still will be positioned in a way to allow the street extension to still occur in the future (highly unlikely). A pedestrian connection will still be provided, albeit with a locked gate for residents only .
Actually the small neighborhood due south is lower income than the neighborhood to the north (That weird suburban apartment complex by the baseball diamond that has completely rejected to city fabric). From what I've heard, the neighborhood to the south was in favor of extending Eastman and Schiller. But the city blocked this (fear of the low income residents walking north??)

ardecila Sep 7, 2010 11:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 4973421)
^^^ It would be excellent to see a Light rail line that runs from the Blue Line Irving Park to Lake Shore Drive and then south through streeterville (maybe get it to follow Columbus some how) to Grant Park. However this would then compete with the perfectly effective LSD express bus service. It would be nice for two reasons: One it would serve the under served highrises in Lakeview and Lincoln Park and two it would draw more foot traffic out into the park.

I would put the line along Inner LSD/Stockton Drive. Essentially a rail-ized version of the 151.

It wouldn't necessarily compete with the express buses. The express buses are still nonstop from some point to Wacker or Oak/Michigan, and even light rail will have trouble competing with them.

The light rail would help to condense and simplify the local services provided along the lakefront, and would provide a convenient and legible way for tourists and visitors to access the attractions of the north lakefront.

Chicago Shawn Sep 9, 2010 8:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zerton (Post 4973431)
Yes, Schiller street. That has since been removed and buildings are planned to back up against the alley/gate. A large residential is planned for the southeast area of the site.



Actually the small neighborhood due south is lower income than the neighborhood to the north (That weird suburban apartment complex by the baseball diamond that has completely rejected to city fabric). From what I've heard, the neighborhood to the south was in favor of extending Eastman and Schiller. But the city blocked this (fear of the low income residents walking north??)

The neighborhood to the south is mixed income, and Department of Planning (as it was then known as) was supportive of connecting the streets. However some people bitched about traffic at a community meeting and the agreement was made to not allow a connection. It was a select few whiners preventing the connection from happening.

ardecila Sep 10, 2010 11:50 PM

Quote:

Public Meetings Set for Metra SouthEast Service Alternatives Analysis
Thursday, September 09, 2010


The final round of public meetings for the Metra SouthEast Service Alternatives Analysis study are set for Sept. 22 and Sept. 28. The meetings are an opportunity for the public to provide feedback on the proposed Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) identified in the SouthEast Service Alternatives Analysis (AA) Study. The proposed 33-mile SouthEast Service is a new transportation line that would link close to 20 communities in the south Suburban Cook and Will counties. Meetings are open to the general public and are ADA accessible.

The meetings are set for:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Chicago Heights City Hall
1601 Chicago Road
Chicago Heights, IL 60411
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (open house)
Presentation at 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010
South Holland Community Center
501 East 170th Street
South Holland, IL 60473
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (open house)
Presentation at 7:30 p.m.

More details about the proposed Southeast Service and Metra’s other rail corridor studies can be found at http://metraconnects.metrarail.com
I know it's not everybody's favorite transit project, but at least Metra's showing some initiative.

If you have issues with the project as it stands, I encourage you to attend the meeting. The plan seems ill-conceived to me, since it will (as Viva has mentioned) cannibalize ridership from the existing Metra Electric, and will compete with the South Shore's plans for a branch to Lowell, IN.

It is, as it stands, a massive concession to the folks in the poorer parts of Will County, and the influential politicians that represent them. Is there much demand for a train from Chicago to Chicago Heights and Steger?

Although it is a greenfield commuter rail line, at least it doesn't focus on an already-wealthy, largely white section of the metropolis.

I'm doubtful, however, that it can overcome the existing problems that make this particular segment of the Southland unattractive to development. If it can't, then the money should be expended elsewhere.

Chicagoguy Sep 11, 2010 5:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4973372)
I always thought Irving Park would make a good choice for a light-rail line of this type, because of its wide width and the existing stations on the Red, Brown, Blue Lines and Metra-NW line. It also isn't a vibrant commercial corridor like some other streets, so it wouldn't be as big of a deal to kill the street parking (if it came to that). It would run from Montrose Harbor down LSD to Irving Park, then west to Six Corners.

This is the Toronto Transit City model, of course.

Lake Shore Drive is also mentioned as a corridor where light rail would work.

I was actually just thinking about this on my drive to work the other day on LSD. A lightrail along the lakefront would be SOOO beneficial. I mean just imagine a lightrail that would start in Hyde Park, maybe near the Museum of Science and Industry, making stops right along the Lake in Hyde Park, what will come of the Reese Hospital Campus, McCormick Place, Soldier Field, Museum Campus', Grant Park, Millenium Park, Lake Shore East, Streeterville, Navy Pier, Oak Street Beach, North Avenue Beach, Lincoln Park Zoo, Belmont Harbor, The Tennis Courts and park off Recreation Dr, and then continue to make stops all along the lakefront until getting up to Bryn Mawr where it could easily follow inwards and connect to the Red Line! Just think the amount of people and tourist this would attrack...locations in the city that had been so stressful to get to using public transit would now be easy and ideal for visitors and city dwellers alike! Plus light rails are the cheapest public transit to build and are the most enviornmentally friendly!

pip Sep 12, 2010 2:07 AM

I was at a bus stop on North Ave. this week. On the sign it had a message to text when your bus will be arriving. It worked lol! I think that was brilliant and so easy to use. I since then looked it up online and this is in some sort of test phase right now.

elguero Sep 12, 2010 3:18 AM

The text arrival times have actually been usable for a while if you happened to know your stop number, but the addition to the bus stop location signs has made it far, far more useful. Overall I'm a definite fan, it's a small change that makes a big difference in using the CTA.

down2earthguy76 Sep 12, 2010 4:03 AM

Question
 
I have been reading for years and this is my first post!

Why does the CTA not have a stop/station at the United Center. Chicagoans have demonstrated they will use public transit to attend other major sporting events (cubs and white sox games) this must be the largest oversight for our transit system. Especially for a city that prides itself on being so "green".

The stop would also be able to serve Malcolm X College and the entire neighborhood around the center that presently only watches the train run overhead and not stop for blocks upon blocks upon blocks.

ardecila Sep 12, 2010 7:55 AM

^^ First off, there isn't much money to build new stations, and the Wirtz family hasn't pushed for a station to serve the United Center. Without somebody influential standing behind them, even great ideas never see reality in Chicago.

CTA is planning to run Circle Line trains past, and I asked them why they weren't planning a United Center station as part of the Circle Line. The answer I got was unsatisfying.

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Comment Response
In regards specifically to a possible station at Madison St., to serve the United Center and as a connection to the #20 bus, the recommended LPA does not include a station here because of the close proximity of two other stations to this community. The station at Congress/Paulina, which also connects the Blue and Pink Lines, would have an entrance and exit on Jackson Blvd., making this stop only three blocks South of Madison St. and five blocks from the United Center. To the North, the current station at Ashland/Lake is just a few blocks from Madison St. and the United Center as well.

Obviously, the current stations don't serve the United Center very well. Otherwise, plenty of people would be riding the train to the game. 5 blocks on the West Side is a pretty long way, especially when most of those blocks are windswept parking lots with poorly lit, narrow sidewalks and no shortage of unsavory characters.

Three possible explanations:
1) Somebody doesn't want a CTA station at the United Center (parking lot operators?)
2) CTA's team may have evaluated a station at the United Center and found that the potential ridership was very low compared to the construction cost, so it would be a waste of money.
3) CTA may be holding off on a United Center station for technical reasons - if the Circle Line is extended north up Ashland, there will need to be a subway portal somewhere around Madison. Putting off building the station allows the station to be designed around the subway portal whenever CTA gets around to designing the north branch of the Circle Line, far off in the unlikely future.

denizen467 Sep 12, 2010 8:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4978518)
if the Circle Line is extended north up Ashland, there will need to be a subway portal somewhere around Madison.

I thought Circle would use the existing Paulina Connector and have subterranean sections only further north? Does it need to burrow eastwards over to Ashland here?

k1052 Sep 12, 2010 2:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4978518)
2) CTA's team may have evaluated a station at the United Center and found that the potential ridership was very low compared to the construction cost, so it would be a waste of money.

I think this is the most probable reason. There would be minimal local traffic to justify operating a station at UC outside of game/event days. Perhaps one day as the real estate market rebounds and westward development re-commences there could be support for a station, but that's a good while off.

schwerve Sep 12, 2010 3:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 4978606)
I think this is the most probable reason. There would be minimal local traffic to justify operating a station at UC outside of game/event days. Perhaps one day as the real estate market rebounds and westward development re-commences there could be support for a station, but that's a good while off.

agreed, the area around there is just a wasteland and wouldn't support much of a ridership outside of gamedays. It has always made more sense to me to put a station at damen on the green line, which is ~1000 feet closer than the current blue line to the UC and is located in a more residential area. Of course if I had money to build a station there are better spots (south loop), but I'd currently prioritize damen (green) over madison (pink).

ardecila Sep 12, 2010 6:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4978522)
I thought Circle would use the existing Paulina Connector and have subterranean sections only further north? Does it need to burrow eastwards over to Ashland here?

Back 4 years ago, before they put off the planning for the northern half indefinitely, CTA's presentations showed a map where the Circle Line curved from the Paulina Connector over to Ashland, on an alignment between Washington and Monroe. Presumably, they'd construct a new subway station under Ashland to transfer to Green and Pink (like 4th Ave-9th St in Park Slope in Brooklyn).

Just from a technical standpoint, it makes the most sense to burrow underground between Madison and Adams. The long ramp from elevated to subway would probably require a street closure in the middle (like 14th St in the South Loop or Wisconsin in Lincoln Park) and Monroe is the best candidate since it's already closed at the United Center.


I don't necessarily buy the ridership argument. Plenty of the stations proposed for the Circle Line are in marginal locations and are unlikely to draw serious ridership. Honestly, who's gonna use CTA to transfer to Metra when Metra doesn't run frequent trains? You'd need to pad your schedule quite a bit to allow for the travel time on CTA, and if you miss the Metra connection, you're waiting 30m-1hr. You can do the same thing downtown, but at least then you're waiting in a place with lots of shops and restaurants and plenty of open seating. I've done it in Jefferson Park, and there are no good waiting spots there at all on the Metra platform.

k1052 Sep 12, 2010 8:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4978790)

I don't necessarily buy the ridership argument. Plenty of the stations proposed for the Circle Line are in marginal locations and are unlikely to draw serious ridership. Honestly, who's gonna use CTA to transfer to Metra when Metra doesn't run frequent trains? You'd need to pad your schedule quite a bit to allow for the travel time on CTA, and if you miss the Metra connection, you're waiting 30m-1hr. You can do the same thing downtown, but at least then you're waiting in a place with lots of shops and restaurants and plenty of open seating. I've done it in Jefferson Park, and there are no good waiting spots there at all on the Metra platform.

Personally, I don't think the Circle line should be built at all but my comment was intended to apply to the present situation and the unlikely future eventuality of the line being constructed. The CTA isn't going to add another low ridership station to existing infrastructure (Paulina connector) that will support no meaningful commuter or residential traffic, nor should they.

I wish the CTA/Metra would give up on the Circle Line/Star and concentrate on improving capacity on existing lines and fostering integration at their main stations downtown. For the money I'd much rather have a Clinton/Kingsbury subway and the WLTC. If the RTA and City of Chicago could find it in their hearts..er wallets to demolish 222 S riverside and re-build a real concourse that would be great too.

the urban politician Sep 12, 2010 9:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 4978868)
I wish the CTA/Metra would give up on the Circle Line/Star and concentrate on improving capacity on existing lines and fostering integration at their main stations downtown. For the money I'd much rather have a Clinton/Kingsbury subway and the WLTC. If the RTA and City of Chicago could find it in their hearts..er wallets to demolish 222 S riverside and re-build a real concourse that would be great too.

^ You know, with the exception of demo'ing a highrise, I could not agree more with this.

From my (VERY) amateur point of view, both as a casual & frequent visitor (and now property owner of! :) )to Chicago as well as a non-transit expert, I feel as if the Clinton/Kingsbury subway, as well as the Red Line & Orange Line extensions should be the only new heavy rail lines pursued in the upcoming years/decades. They will not only add new service to areas that will certainly use them, they will perform the key function of finally linking city residents to the growing W. Loop office district.

Otherwise, infill stations and TOD will do the rest.

People in LA (annoyingly) keep touting their city as the "nation's transit leader", conveniently forgetting that LA has been behind the ball on transit for a century and is simply playing a huge game of catch-up on much of the world. Chicago, however, really doesn't need much in the way of new lines. So much of the L, in my opinion, runs through some pretty desolate territory, that if anything perhaps the city actually needs less heavy rail infrastructure (or at least a redistribution of it).

Haworthia Sep 12, 2010 10:00 PM

^^^ TUP, I have to imagine the CTA loses a lot of money on the South branch of the Green Line. That's where I think you are dead on with the infill station idea. The South Loop really needs another station or two. Does anyone know if this is moving forward? I remember hearing about how TIF money was supposed to pay for some stations once upon a time, but haven't heard anything in a while.

I also agree about the Clinton/Kingsbury Subway. I don't see why this isn't the highest priority for the CTA. Metra and Amtrak (or Megabus/Greyhound for that matter) are not integrated like they should be with the L. This could really tie everything together. It would make the whole spectrum of transit services more attractive. I've seen calls for plans like this in various Central Area plans, but I never actually hear about any real steps to do it.


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