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the urban politician Aug 10, 2007 6:13 PM

Lake Shore Drive bus lanes: Blame Rio?

August 10, 2007
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter fspielman@suntimes.com
Four years ago, Mayor Daley opened the door to dedicated bus lanes on Lake Shore Drive to give 62,000 daily riders speedier, more dependable service.
http://www.suntimes.com/news/politic...-bus10.article

the urban politician Aug 10, 2007 6:16 PM

Eh?
 
Somebody tell me what's happening in CHicago.

Okay, I get it--there's a capital budget and operational budget for transit. Both fund different things, and they're not supposed to be mixed.

So you can build a superstation downtown, or a new L stop, buy new buses, or build a new CTA headquarters, all while slashing services.

I know, it's weird but that's how it goes. But is that basically it? Is it not possible to plan the use of funds more effectively, where they're needed?

Is there any future to this system at all or will it continue to be a victim to the WEIRDNESS that characterizes how it's supposed to get funded?

VivaLFuego Aug 10, 2007 6:33 PM

Some capital funds are discretionary, for example in order to reduce the severity of the fare increases and service cuts required this year, CTA will move about $60 million from the capital budget to cover operations.
Obviously, $60 million is alot of money and will have repurcussions. If you continually move your discretionary capital to operating, eventually your assets will deteriorate to the point where it's pointless, since you won't have anything to run the service with anyway.

j korzeniowski Aug 10, 2007 6:49 PM

Transit Funding's Future Remains An Unknown

Bob Roberts Reporting

CHICAGO (WBBM) - Now that the Illinois House has finished dealing with the state's budget, it is about to turn its attention to Chicago-area mass transit.

WBBM’s Bob Roberts has the story.

But its chief sponsor was unable to say how quickly legislators could act upon the bill, or if it would become bogged down by amendments not crucial to its passage.

The chief sponsor of the bill that would provide regional transit with new funding streams filed a comprehensive 200- page amendment Thursday night that includes far more than the controversial sales and title transfer taxes intended to provide more than $400 million a year in new funding.

The chair of the Illinois House Mass Transit Committee, State Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston) said it also provides a comprehensive solution to the imminent collapse of the CTA pension fund, codifying terms of the five-year tentative labor agreement CTA reached with its unions last month, and attaches funding for downstate transit systems in an attempt to attract the numbers needed for supermajority approval and an expected veto override.



Link, WBBM Chicago


Her website is juliehamos.org, and I encourage everyone who uses the CTA and cares about the future of this city and its mass transit (they are related) to call her office and voice their support of what she is trying to accomplish. Also, everyone should go to transitchicago.com and click on the icon to save mass transit in Chicago. Of course, everyone should email and phone their state Representative and Senator, as well as Governor Blagojevich’s office.

ReDSPork02 Aug 11, 2007 12:26 AM

Hey guys what is the closest Metra station to Midway??

VivaLFuego Aug 11, 2007 6:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ReDSPork02 (Post 3003395)
Hey guys what is the closest Metra station to Midway??

There's nothing too convenient. If you had to use Metra you could probably take the BNSF line to Cicero then get on a Cicero bus (#54) to go south a few miles to the airport, but its probably much easier to just get on the CTA Orange Line downtown....it's about 20 minutes downtown to the airport, and the station connects to the terminal.

Rail Claimore Aug 11, 2007 8:07 AM

^Yeah, the Orange Line isn't getting shut down anytime soon.

ReDSPork02 Aug 11, 2007 3:13 PM

Thanks GUYS!!!!

RockfordSoxFan Aug 12, 2007 8:14 PM

Came into town this weekend for a Sox-Mariners game. We parked at Cumberland and took the Blue line in. Wow, I have to say those slow zones suck.... and they shut it down in between Western and Jackson, had to transfer to shuttle bus. That was quite an experience. I am glad they are finally doing something about the slow zones, but, Wow! it took an hour and fifty minutes to get from Comiskey back to Cumberland via red/blue lines/shuttlebus. CTA made it easy for myself & friends(all transit rookies) and it was still dirt cheap. $2 train ride, free shuttle service, and $2 to park all day (11 hours) at the Cumberland deck... Cant beat that!

the urban politician Aug 12, 2007 9:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3002698)
Lake Shore Drive bus lanes: Blame Rio?
http://www.suntimes.com/news/politic...-bus10.article

^ I hate to quote myself, but I want to address a particular excerpt from this article:

In 1998, the Chicago Department of Transportation studied dedicated bus lanes on Lake Shore Drive, only to drop the idea for two reasons: Logistics made it difficult and the volume of passengers using CTA express buses did not, at that time, justify the idea.
Since then, ridership has increased to 77,000 a day -- so much that CDOT is about to launch another feasibility study.


^ So ridership of the CTA express buses has risen by 15,000 riders/day over the past 9 years. The question is, will they consider the possibility that with a dedicated ROW bus service on LSD, ridership may rise considerably?

For example, I tend to shy away from buses (in fact I virtually refuse to ride them unless it's a last resort--and I'm a big transit advocate!) simply because they chug along in seas of traffic which 1) slow them down and 2) make their arrivals at bus stops very unreliable. But I could imagine that if there were prospects of bus-only lanes taking me halfway across town, with no traffic to deal with, that would REALLY change my transportation habits.

In fact, and pardon me if I"m making too many assumptions here, but a bus-only lane on LSD seems almost to be similar to the lakefront light-rail that everybody is touting, at least logistically. And I imagine that it's much cheaper to implement.

Just a thought..

VivaLFuego Aug 12, 2007 11:28 PM

^ depends on the exact form it took, in re: capital investment. For example dedicated on-ramps/off-ramps etc., or whether or not its reverse running (presumably it would run on the inner lanes of LSD). If the bus lanes are in the far left and running the same direction as traffic, the additional traffic tie ups caused by the lane reductions and the buses trying to get across so many lanes would probably negate any travel time savings.

That said, of course BRT capital costs are less than rail, and in certain corridors of Chicago should have been considered in lieu of rehabbing rail lines, but the lake shore corridors, e.g. the densest, are exactly the ones that do absolutely need rail service. Transit has never quite been Daley's forte, however...

the urban politician Aug 13, 2007 12:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3006266)
^ depends on the exact form it took, in re: capital investment. For example dedicated on-ramps/off-ramps etc., or whether or not its reverse running (presumably it would run on the inner lanes of LSD). If the bus lanes are in the far left and running the same direction as traffic, the additional traffic tie ups caused by the lane reductions and the buses trying to get across so many lanes would probably negate any travel time savings.

That said, of course BRT capital costs are less than rail, and in certain corridors of Chicago should have been considered in lieu of rehabbing rail lines, but the lake shore corridors, e.g. the densest, are exactly the ones that do absolutely need rail service. Transit has never quite been Daley's forte, however...

^ Wouldn't it make sense to simply have the right-most lane headed south and the left-most lane headed north as the dedicated BRT lanes? That would seem to minimize any interference from traffic. Plus, how do you figure that taking a turn or changing lanes at the beginning/end of the journey would negate the entire benefit of not dealing with any traffic throughout the trip?

I defer to your expertise, because you are basically our inhouse Chicago transit expert, but while the lakefront surely needs rail service, don't you think that a good BRT system could go a long way towards at least supplementing it?

honte Aug 13, 2007 12:52 AM

^ It would certainly go a long way toward giving the pols an excuse not to implement rail!!

Rail Claimore Aug 14, 2007 12:16 AM

I think if they want to implement more frequent rail service on the south lake shore, they should just convert the Metra Electric Line to rapid transit rather than commuter rail. It already has most of the infrastructure in place for that.

ardecila Aug 14, 2007 8:39 AM

That would mean they'd have rapid transit in University Park... that would just be weird.

What I would do is convert two of the tracks to rapid transit, and let Metra Electric continue operating. ME would then serve only suburban communities, with the exception of a transfer station at 53rd. All the local, urban stops would be handled by the rapid transit.

The ex-IC main line would then be 2 tracks rapid transit, 2 tracks ME/South Shore, and 2 tracks freight/Amtrak.

sukwoo Aug 14, 2007 4:45 PM

Gray line proposal
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3009134)
That would mean they'd have rapid transit in University Park... that would just be weird.

What I would do is convert two of the tracks to rapid transit, and let Metra Electric continue operating. ME would then serve only suburban communities, with the exception of a transfer station at 53rd. All the local, urban stops would be handled by the rapid transit.

The ex-IC main line would then be 2 tracks rapid transit, 2 tracks ME/South Shore, and 2 tracks freight/Amtrak.

There's a guy living on the southside of Chicago who has kinda made it his life's work to promote what you suggested. He's got a website for his Gray line proposal (http://www.grayline.20m.com/). His name is Mike Payne, he's just a regular dude (not a transit professional), but he's come up with a fairly detailed analysis why this is a win-win proposal for both Metra and the CTA.

Chicago3rd Aug 14, 2007 10:02 PM

CTA - No funding Write you Legislators!!!!!!!
 
Subject: SHAME ON YOU for taking a raise and not fixing MASS TRANSIT!

To: Greg@GregHarris.org, ronen@senatedem.state.il.us

I don't want to hear any excuses. That would have been acceptable if I would have heard you fighting on the floor of your chambers and seen you in the media raging war to bring a solution to our mass transit situtation in the Chicagoland area.

You should have been kicking and screeming to get the cameras on you so you could tell the state to fix this huge issue. But hell...what do you care....you got to fly to Springfield and am sure we picked up the cost of that along with the parking and transportation to the airport. How many times did you take CTA to O'Hare or Midway on your trips to Springfield?

I expected a fight from Chicago. I expected a fight from my two representatives to correct this situation. I know I am going to do all I can to let people know that you both are helpless in Springfield and need to be replaced.

Wil Snodgrass

ardecila Aug 14, 2007 10:37 PM

Keep sending these emails, folks! Encourage your friends to do the same if they feel strongly about better transit.

I personally have sent 3 to various people in IL government, including the Governor.

Chicago3rd Aug 14, 2007 10:46 PM

Greg Harris - Impressive Turn around time on my email!
 
Here is Mr. Harris' turn around. Note that the 3rd link is to the actual bill and it appears to have been extended until August 17th. Write your legislators people.

I wrote back asking what we could do.


Greg Harris" <greg@gregharris.org> Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
To: wilbsnodgrassiii@yahoo.com
Subject: transit advocacy

I just read your email about my lack of advocacy on CTA and other
transit issues. That is just not true. I have participated in several news
conferences emphasizing the importance of addressing the needs of the
CTA and other agencies. The Chicago TV stations did not cover
them....but myself and other legislators have this issue on the top of our
agenda. Here are a few clips from these events:

From the mass transit organization news bulletins:
http://www.nationalcorridors.org/df2....shtml#Transit

From the Chicago Tribune:
http://www.juliehamos.org/transit/news/05-30-07.asp

And I am a sponsor the RTA/CTA/Metra/Pace rescue package, Senate Bill
572:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/billstat...1&SessionID=51

I continue to work with Rep. Julie Hamos, the Chair of the House
Transit Committee on this issue. I hope this clarifies my position.

Chicago3rd Aug 14, 2007 10:50 PM

IL - District Rep locator
 
http://www.elections.il.gov/District...essSearch.aspx


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