SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/index.php)
-   Transportation (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=25)
-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

Dr. Taco Nov 29, 2007 3:28 AM

:hell:

I'm so disgusted. I've been trying to defend the CTA from a friend of mine from Spain who can do nothing but criticize the rail system we use every day. He can't understand why such a prosperous nation can't make rail system that runs with comfortable quiet on-time trains. I try to say that we don't need to fix what's not "broken", but I have to agree. The money is there, its just that public transportation isn't prioritized. Its unbelievable that this plan failed as well. I actually hope that the operators will go on strike if it means that something will positively come about

the urban politician Nov 29, 2007 3:39 AM

^ What transit plan failed? I can't find anything about it in the news. There has already been a vote on the gas tax proposal?

Blago and Madigan's stupidity is so outrageous at this point. They are letting a small handful of downstate conservatives control the fate of Chicago's transit system. Every stinking one of the people involved in this shamble absolutely MUST be voted out of office in the next election.

spyguy Nov 29, 2007 3:46 AM

:previous:
House votes down latest CTA bailout

the urban politician Nov 29, 2007 3:46 AM

^ Yup. Just found the article.

The gas tax proposal was a long shot anyhow.

emathias Nov 29, 2007 4:08 AM

Madrid
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jstush04 (Post 3194249)
:hell:

I'm so disgusted. I've been trying to defend the CTA from a friend of mine from Spain who can do nothing but criticize the rail system we use every day. He can't understand why such a prosperous nation can't make rail system that runs with comfortable quiet on-time trains. I try to say that we don't need to fix what's not "broken", but I have to agree. The money is there, its just that public transportation isn't prioritized. Its unbelievable that this plan failed as well. I actually hope that the operators will go on strike if it means that something will positively come about

Madrid has, in my opinion, one of the the best transit systems in the world. Barcelona has a great one, too, although Madrid's is really, really impressive. They're still expanding, but they already have the highest number of metro stations in Europe on a per-capita basis.

They also build their subway extremely cheaply. I don't know the geology of Madrid, but they're building out their subway for a mere fraction of what American subways cost to build.

If Chicago were serious about building a world-class transit system, Daley would pay Madrid transit's head whatever he wanted to come to Chicago for 5 years to remake the way Chicago does transit from the top down. Of course to do that, Daley would have to fight some politically difficult battles, but Madrid does <I>something</i> different and Chicago needs to learn what that is.

JV_325i Nov 29, 2007 4:10 AM

This is completely changing the subject and may seem trivial in light of the news about the transit funding plan not passing the house (which in spite of being totally fucking ridiculous I sort of knew was going to happen), but did anyone see that CTA "Holiday Train" or whatever they are calling it? Or rather did anyone see a similar one (I don't know how many they decked out). I was at the Damen blue line stop today and was waiting around for a while then lo and behold WTF is coming at me?! This thing had more lights and decorations on it than 100+ gaudy suburban homes put together. It was pretty impressive what they had done with it (inside and out). At least the CTA can have a little fun with itself even though their situation sucks ass. Sorry I don't have any pictures of it, but I had heard from someone on board that it was a "today only" deal which may or may not be true. Sorry also if this is a regular thing they do every year and you all have seen it before but this was the first time I have.

j korzeniowski Nov 29, 2007 4:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3194282)
^ Yup. Just found the article.

The gas tax proposal was a long shot anyhow.

sorry, i have become so personally invested in this, and i have put so much of my free time into this, i was too disgusted to do anything but curse this state.

i really love chicago, but ... well, come on ...

ardecila Nov 29, 2007 4:41 AM

CDOT: Advance work for Grand/State Station Expansion begins 12/3

Starting Monday, December 3, the intersection of State Street and Grand Avenue will see temporary daytime closures through December. The closures will allow crews to perform underground utility work [in preparation for station construction].

One or two lanes on each street will be closed intermittently during daytime hours only, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. At least one lane will always remain open to traffic.

Lane configurations on both State and Grand will change every two days. Some sidewalk sections/crosswalks will be closed. All closures will be clearly marked with signs and barricades.

http://egov.cityofchicago.org/city/w...tItemAction.do

Dr. Taco Nov 29, 2007 5:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3194322)
Madrid has, in my opinion, one of the the best transit systems in the world. Barcelona has a great one, too, although Madrid's is really, really impressive. They're still expanding, but they already have the highest number of metro stations in Europe on a per-capita basis.

They also build their subway extremely cheaply. I don't know the geology of Madrid, but they're building out their subway for a mere fraction of what American subways cost to build.

If Chicago were serious about building a world-class transit system, Daley would pay Madrid transit's head whatever he wanted to come to Chicago for 5 years to remake the way Chicago does transit from the top down. Of course to do that, Daley would have to fight some politically difficult battles, but Madrid does <I>something</i> different and Chicago needs to learn what that is.


Honestly, that is such an absolutely great idea. They've got something that works, so why not bring them in and have them run the show? I'm sure there's got to be a really good reason why its so expensive to expand things here, but I'm so jealous of european transit. I can live with the CTA as its been, but if it can be better, why not?

BuildCTPlace Nov 29, 2007 6:07 AM

Montrose on Brown Line has reopened, and it looks good!

Photos from flickr
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2045/...9abf9328_b.jpg
User: vxla

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2184/...e0cbe96c_b.jpg
User: TheeErin

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2313/...749ed1f4_b.jpg
user: vxla

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2270/...b4430c36_b.jpg
user: vxla
Wow check out that entrance. It looks too good for Chicago.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2052/...d8d8ccb9_b.jpg
user: vxla
Supposedly a mural of street names. This is what CTA capital funds buy you.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2371/...c7b33fbd_b.jpg
user: vxla

Attrill Nov 29, 2007 6:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by j korzeniowski (Post 3194169)
transit plan failed.

fuck this state.

Wihtout a plan to fill the hole it left in the state budget, as well as some money for road construction to appease downstate politicians, it was doomed from the start. I was amazed it was talked up as much as it was.
The AP report that came out today about Blago lying about where the funds came from to avert the last doomsday plan probably didn't help either.

Marcu Nov 29, 2007 8:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Attrill (Post 3194556)
Wihtout a plan to fill the hole it left in the state budget, as well as some money for road construction to appease downstate politicians, it was doomed from the start. I was amazed it was talked up as much as it was.
The AP report that came out today about Blago lying about where the funds came from to avert the last doomsday plan probably didn't help either.

They're all just playing games with each other. I'm getting too tired to keep up on who's trying to screw over who in Springfield. No one wants transit cut and no one wants to pay. Eventually, something will have to give. When it does, I'll start paying attention. Otherwise, I'll just be falling for their games.

VivaLFuego Nov 29, 2007 3:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jstush04 (Post 3194473)
Honestly, that is such an absolutely great idea. They've got something that works, so why not bring them in and have them run the show? I'm sure there's got to be a really good reason why its so expensive to expand things here, but I'm so jealous of european transit. I can live with the CTA as its been, but if it can be better, why not?

Guys, no offense, but you really just don't know how it works. You can't bring in some engineers from Madrid and have them make a system for Chicago. The legal environment here is just so drastically different: from a government/legislative standpoint, and especially from a labor (construction pricing) standpoint. The problems with the CTA are not due to uncreative engineers or administrators, but rather, as someone else pointed out, that public transit is just NOT a priority for legislators in this country. High ridership (fare revenue) and high subsidy make the operating environment for European transit agencies completely incomparable to US agencies, and further the priority given to transit projects over there makes the capital construction process much smoother and faster.

VivaLFuego Nov 29, 2007 3:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BuildCTPlace (Post 3194553)
Supposedly a mural of street names. This is what CTA capital funds buy you.

I'd just like to point out that public art installations (something like 1.5% of the construction budget) are mandated by the federal government, so if you take any federal money for the project you have to do it.

emathias Nov 30, 2007 6:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3194995)
Guys, no offense, but you really just don't know how it works. You can't bring in some engineers from Madrid and have them make a system for Chicago. The legal environment here is just so drastically different: from a government/legislative standpoint, and especially from a labor (construction pricing) standpoint. The problems with the CTA are not due to uncreative engineers or administrators, but rather, as someone else pointed out, that public transit is just NOT a priority for legislators in this country. High ridership (fare revenue) and high subsidy make the operating environment for European transit agencies completely incomparable to US agencies, and further the priority given to transit projects over there makes the capital construction process much smoother and faster.

There are things they do differently that can be done here. Period. There are things they do there that currently can't be done here, but could be done there with the right incentive. Period. There are things done there that won't be done here for a variety of reasons. Period.

I get tired of hearing that "it just won't work here" as an excuse to not even try.

The current failure of funding has little to do with the exorbitant cost of construction public works (not just transit) incur in Chicago. Some of that is due to political factors, some of that is due to the demand for construction services being very high right now, but a significant portion of it is due to things that can be improved through better integration. Things like a lack of coordination between the City and CTA when it came to permits for the Brown Line construction project. Things like zoning and transit not doing enough to account for each other. Things like the workers I saw for the Chicago Brown Line stop sitting in their trucks for hours on end day after day. Dollars add up fast when either project managers plan projects so poorly that men are left with no work to do, or when managers don't task employees properly, or if employees are simply alowed to be lazy (which of those is the explanation in that case, I'm not sure, but those are really the only three reasons I know of for workers to be on perpetual breaks).

Your whine about high subsidy in Europe is also a bit disingenuous since the CTA is nearly 100% subsidized for infrastructure, and probably over 70% subsidized for operations once you get into the real numbers and add back in things like the fact that the City pays for all security related to the CTA (of note, also, is that the public, RTA number of "53%" is PR bullshit - if you don't believe me, read the Auditor General's report from earlier this year).

High ridership is a valid comment, but that partly goes back to the failure of city zoning to support the use of transit by encouraging density nearest the best transit infrastructure. As long as groups like the West Loop association can browbeat an alderman into limiting density in one of the best-served transit areas in the city, transit in this city will never live up to its potential. The inconsistencies created by Aldermanic privilege does as much or more to hurt transit as poor funding does.

VivaLFuego Nov 30, 2007 3:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3196972)
There are things they do differently that can be done here. Period. There are things they do there that currently can't be done here, but could be done there with the right incentive. Period. There are things done there that won't be done here for a variety of reasons. Period.

I get tired of hearing that "it just won't work here" as an excuse to not even try.

The current failure of funding has little to do with the exorbitant cost of construction public works (not just transit) incur in Chicago. Some of that is due to political factors, some of that is due to the demand for construction services being very high right now, but a significant portion of it is due to things that can be improved through better integration. Things like a lack of coordination between the City and CTA when it came to permits for the Brown Line construction project. Things like zoning and transit not doing enough to account for each other. Things like the workers I saw for the Chicago Brown Line stop sitting in their trucks for hours on end day after day. Dollars add up fast when either project managers plan projects so poorly that men are left with no work to do, or when managers don't task employees properly, or if employees are simply alowed to be lazy (which of those is the explanation in that case, I'm not sure, but those are really the only three reasons I know of for workers to be on perpetual breaks).

Your whine about high subsidy in Europe is also a bit disingenuous since the CTA is nearly 100% subsidized for infrastructure, and probably over 70% subsidized for operations once you get into the real numbers and add back in things like the fact that the City pays for all security related to the CTA (of note, also, is that the public, RTA number of "53%" is PR bullshit - if you don't believe me, read the Auditor General's report from earlier this year).

High ridership is a valid comment, but that partly goes back to the failure of city zoning to support the use of transit by encouraging density nearest the best transit infrastructure. As long as groups like the West Loop association can browbeat an alderman into limiting density in one of the best-served transit areas in the city, transit in this city will never live up to its potential. The inconsistencies created by Aldermanic privilege does as much or more to hurt transit as poor funding does.

Metropolitan transit subsidy per capita (e.g. per metropolitan resident) is typically 2-4 times higher in Europe than in Chicago. London is about twice as much (reflected in their very high fares), Paris is about 4 times as much. Yes CTA is subsidized alot, but it's subsidized a great deal less than European agencies, let alone even other USA agencies like MBTA, LAMTA, BART, which all have fare recovery ratios in the 30-35% range. NY MTA is supported by windfall bridge/tunnel toll revenue (thank you, Rockefeller), which is a major boon for capital investment projects. SEPTA has historically awful funding comparable to CTA, and shocka, they're always in crisis mode and getting dumped on by everyone (sound familiar?).

Construction contracts are awarded to low bidders for a fixed price (though subject to change orders, obviously). If a construction worker is idling, that's the contractor's problem, not CTA's, and in theory CTA is already paying the lowest price by having awarded to the lowest bidder (there is certainly room for graft involving sub-contractor selection in the procurement process; see Silver Shovel. But I've yet to hear any allegations, let alone substantiated allegations, in regards to the Brown Line project).

Marcu Nov 30, 2007 6:12 PM

The CTA has essentially turned a blind eye to overwhelming evidence of bid collusion on several projects. When bids are coming in at 2 or 3 times over what was projected, there is good reason to investigate. The Grand reconstruction is a good example. Collusion is rampant in almost all municipal infrastructure, but not to this level. The markup is rarely this high.

As far as the European Systems, like the Canadian government (or the US government on the war), the European governments have gotten very good at concealing the true costs of most projects. While it may appear that the agency paid 2 or 3 times less, if you map out all the sources of funding over time you will notice that the cost is not much different. Also, labor costs are lower and the cost of healthcare is not figured into the bid (although it inevitably ends up being paid for).

emathias Nov 30, 2007 8:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3197366)
Yes CTA is subsidized alot, but it's subsidized a great deal less than European agencies, let alone even other USA agencies like MBTA, LAMTA, BART, which all have fare recovery ratios in the 30-35% range. But I've yet to hear any allegations, let alone substantiated allegations, in regards to the Brown Line project).

Contractors don't usually lose money on public works projects. If they feel they can survive slack workers, I'd buy it being because of collusion pricing.

If you think the CTA's true fare recovery ratio is the publicized 53%, then you haven't read their actual budget numbers, and you haven't read the Auditor General's report from earlier this year. That 53% number discounts a broad range of things that are typically included in other agency's numbers. The true fare recovery ration for the CTA, if using industry-standard calculations is closer to 35%.

VivaLFuego Nov 30, 2007 8:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3197690)
The CTA has essentially turned a blind eye to overwhelming evidence of bid collusion on several projects. When bids are coming in at 2 or 3 times over what was projected, there is good reason to investigate. The Grand reconstruction is a good example. Collusion is rampant in almost all municipal infrastructure, but not to this level. The markup is rarely this high.

In fairness, the Grand reconstruction was bid out and awarded by CDOT, not CTA (CTA's last construction contract snafu was the Brown Line, which was generally agreed to be bad cost estimating by the consultant rather than greedy construction contractors). Construction costs in general have been skyrocketing, so high bids alone don't necessarily point to collusion. And similarly, why would companies collude on a low-bid contract? How do they agree which company gets to win the contract by bidding low? And after that agreement, why wouldn't the others, with that knowledge, just bid $1 less than the agreed upon amount, thereby winning the bid for an identical profit margin? The low-bid system is sound at combating the incentive to collude, in my opinion (in contrast to the negotiated contract procurement method, which incidentally is what they used in Madrid). However, sub-contractor selection is much spottier and much more prone to corruption, in almost any form of procurement other than having the prime- and sub-contractors bid on the contract separately. (The "general public" would probably flip out if they knew the details behind the DBE/MBE/WBE programs for contract awards). If there is any collusion, it would have to be taking place at the sub-contractor level. But frankly, these issues are outside CTA's control, so is it really fair to blame CTA Construction/Engineering/Law/Procurement etc for them? Those folks aren't the ones making the rules or political environment.

Good points on the artificially low cost estimates of Euro and Candadian projects, too.

VivaLFuego Nov 30, 2007 9:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3198083)

If you think the CTA's true fare recovery ratio is the publicized 53%, then you haven't read their actual budget numbers, and you haven't read the Auditor General's report from earlier this year. That 53% number discounts a broad range of things that are typically included in other agency's numbers. The true fare recovery ration for the CTA, if using industry-standard calculations is closer to 35%.

OK; fare recovery is closer to 40-45%, considering the city covers security services and advertising/investment revenues account for about 5% of operating revenues. So operational cost recovery is still 53%. But such scenarios and semantical distinctions are in play with all other transit systems, as well. CTA's operating subsidy per ride (ballpark of $1.30, if I remember correctly) is one of the, if not the, lowest in the country for comparable systems.

ArteVandelay Nov 30, 2007 11:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3197690)
The CTA has essentially turned a blind eye to overwhelming evidence of bid collusion on several projects.


Do you have any basis for this statement or are you just throwing it out there with no backup whatsoever? Do you think there was collusion by the initial 2 Brown Line bidders, when their bids differed by about $100 million and both got thrown out? In the end neither of them took a single penny of Brown Line work. How about the Douglas Blue Line job in which you had three bidders in reasonable proximity? Do you even know if the companies working the Brown Line projects are making money doing so? I don't know the slightest information about Madrids transit system, or how they acheive the costs they do. I do know that the engineers estimates for infrastructure construction in the US and in turn Chicago is often dramatically off. I could get into the reasons if you would like, but there is no single simple answer. Working on an active transit system, in a union environment, with designs required to meet ADA approval, with all kinds of restrictions on impacting trains especially during rush periods is expensive, period.

You mentioned contractors sitting in their trucks - a couple things - as VLF said contractors are signed to lump sum contracts - their employees sitting around doing nothing is simply bleeding their bottom line, not the CTAs. That being said contractors are only allowed to work on CTA tracks with flaggers during weekdays between 9AM and 3PM, so as not to impact morning rush hour. Losing nearly 25% of an average work day most definitely impacts costs, and odds are pretty good this is not factored into an engineers estimate.

In the end, contractors will bid based on two things - what the job costs, and what the market will bear - based on how hungry they are for work and how hungry their competitors are for work. Contractors are in the business of making money, and making a profit on a job is not collusion but good business on the contractors end.

Marcu Dec 1, 2007 1:42 AM

^ First, I never said anything about contractors sitting on their asses. I think that was someone else. Second, the bids coming in for projects like Grand reconstruction warrant an investigation. The bids alone are sufficient evidience to dig a bit deeper. To press charges? No. Hence the investigation. CDOT has not given a sufficient reason for why the bids were 2 or 3 times higher than what was estimated.

I've worked in antitrust litigation. For most municipal projects, the bids coming in tell 90% of the story. You'd be surprised, however, how often municipalities put up road blocks to outside investigations or discovery requests for no clear reason or incentive. I won't speculate about the possible reasons.

jjk1103 Dec 1, 2007 10:02 PM

....I don't submit much in this thread because I don't know much about transit, but I think that maybe there should be two threads....one for true transit issues, and one to allow people to ventilate about the financing mess in Springfield....it seems that I have to go thru 20-30 posts to find one that has something to do with construction, etc....:D

OhioGuy Dec 1, 2007 10:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jjk1103 (Post 3199952)
....I don't submit much in this thread because I don't know much about transit, but I think that maybe there should be two threads....one for true transit issues, and one to allow people to ventilate about the financing mess in Springfield....it seems that I have to go thru 20-30 posts to find one that has something to do with construction, etc....:D

Well hopefully the all of the f*ckups down in Springfield will finally get their acts together and pass a funding bill in the next month & a half so that this thread can go back to being more about construction & growth.

VivaLFuego Dec 2, 2007 2:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3198793)
the bids coming in for projects like Grand reconstruction warrant an investigation. The bids alone are sufficient evidience to dig a bit deeper. To press charges? No. Hence the investigation. CDOT has not given a sufficient reason for why the bids were 2 or 3 times higher than what was estimated.

I'm not in construction, so I can't speak to any exact percentage impact on the construction cost, but the reasons given for the overbids were:

1. The estimate was based on the Chicago Ave. reconstruction, which wasn't an apt comparison because Grand is a much more constrained site with almost zero area for construction staging (a similar staff/consultant screwup as the original Brown Line estimations which were derived from the Blue/Pink station reconstruction costs).

2. An estimate that was several years old in a market where inflation in construction costs have been 5-10% year.

The estimate was something like $32 million. Project staging I could see easily adding 25% to the project cost, for the same reason as the Brown Line; you're limited in 1) how many workers can be out there at once and 2) the length of uninterupted time they have to work. Add a few years of inflation at 5% annually, and add a premium because of the shortage of construction crews in the city, and the $65 million low bid begins to at least seem in the realm of comprehension, if still a bit high.

Jaroslaw Dec 3, 2007 2:59 AM

An interesting point from MikeToronto about decentralized transit on another thread, encapsulates my own skepticism about the Star Line:

Quote:

Originally Posted by miketoronto (Post 3192777)
We already have that, and transit use to second-tier downtowns is not very high at all. The only one that achieves higher % of transit use is North York Centre. And even that one is only in the 20-25% range of people using transit to get to work.
De centralized mini downtowns in the suburbs, just do not attract ridership, because they are not central to the entire area. Vancouver has shown this, as they have promoted decentralization and town centres, and their transit ridership is the lowest of all the big Canadian cities.

Downtown Toronto has lots of room for more jobs. Last time I checked, downtown Toronto only had 400,000 jobs. Well below the level of downtown jobs in other big cities like Chicago(750,000), Paris(1 million), London(1 million), and ontop of that promoting job growth in the suburbs just increases sprawl. No matter what, commute times increase as jobs move further out, because jobs are not central to the entire region anymore.

The best thing to do is focus more on downtown Toronto, and on select subdistricts in Toronto like North York Centre, etc, which are still central.
That is the only way Toronto and other cities will see increased transit use.

I worked for the regional transit system here, and I alwys got customers who had to commute from one suburb to another, and often they would say the same thing "why can't this job just be in downtown Toronto". Many of these people live in the outter suburbs, and even they can tell that a job downtown is easier to get to, then a job in another suburb halfway across the region. Public transit can get you downtown within an hour or less from most points of the Greater Toronto Area. That is faster then you can get across the region in any sort of express transit.
We gotta move back to the centre to boost transit use.


Jaroslaw Dec 3, 2007 3:01 AM

<< The bids come in so high on transit work because all the contractors know that the city is not serious about keeping costs down. And bidders know just as well as the city does that construction costs will not affect the big issues that will sink the CTA; paratransit and the the legal framework of operations, union labor requirements, and an unmotivated work force will.

aaron38 Dec 3, 2007 6:14 PM

A friend of mine was one of the first victims of the new winter parking ban, getting his car towed early Sunday morning from what he thought was a safe spot. It's going to be impossible to find overnight parking now, and I told him he's going to have to start taking the El if he wants to party in Lincoln Park, and he very reluctantly agreed.

Some people just refuse to give up their cars until the possibility of finding a parking spot reaches zero, or they get towed.

VivaLFuego Dec 3, 2007 6:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aaron38 (Post 3202645)
A friend of mine was one of the first victims of the new winter parking ban, getting his car towed early Sunday morning from what he thought was a safe spot. It's going to be impossible to find overnight parking now, and I told him he's going to have to start taking the El if he wants to party in Lincoln Park, and he very reluctantly agreed.

Some people just refuse to give up their cars until the possibility of finding a parking spot reaches zero, or they get towed.

...or they could just pay for a spot in a lot/garage, i.e. paying the cost the driving/parking imposes on the system. Of course, if he's going somewhere to party, there may be legal issues with following that up with the operation of a motor vehicle (one of the reasons Chicago is a great party town: in addition to 24-hour transit, 24-hour plentiful cabs, the highest per capita in the US).

the urban politician Dec 4, 2007 2:27 AM

^ Yup. Cabs = great partying.

I know first hand ;)

emathias Dec 9, 2007 7:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aaron38 (Post 3202645)
A friend of mine was one of the first victims of the new winter parking ban, getting his car towed early Sunday morning from what he thought was a safe spot. It's going to be impossible to find overnight parking now, and I told him he's going to have to start taking the El if he wants to party in Lincoln Park, and he very reluctantly agreed.

Some people just refuse to give up their cars until the possibility of finding a parking spot reaches zero, or they get towed.

What's new about the ban? There have been winter parking bans for at least the dozen years I've lived here.

the urban politician Dec 11, 2007 3:07 AM

zzzzzzzzzzz........

Eh?

Whatever..

zzzzzzzzzzz........

Dec. 10, 2007
Madigan proposes major gambling expansion
(AP) — House Speaker Michael Madigan showed his hand in gambling negotiations Monday, proposing a major expansion that would raise $1 billion a year through three additional casinos and thousands of slot machines at riverboats and horse tracks.
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-b...12-10&id=27394

:sleep:

VivaLFuego Dec 11, 2007 4:05 AM

^ the 'insider' word on the Madigan proposal is that he put it out there knowing it would fail, just to say he tried. His plan is 1) too ambitious in seeking to reorganize gaming oversight for more accountability....why would legislators want that??? and 2) doesn't punish Chicago enough relative to the rest of the state. He proposes a significantly reduced license fee of only $200 million for the Chicago casino (which is actually necessary to make the thing financially viable in the first place), whereas the state was hoping they could connive Chicago into gifting them $800 million to conveniently plug a budget a gap (thereby also destroying Chicago's ability to successfully operate a casino, given Illinois' nations-highest 50% gambling tax rate on gross receipts). His bill also mandates a certain percentage of casino revenue set aside for school construction, particularly in "needy" areas with a firm 20% earmarked for Chicago Public Schools.

There is so much animosity going on Springfield. Chicago's only hope is to convince the rest of those assholes that they need us waaaaay more than we need them. Until they come groveling to Madigan and Daley for a deal, nothing good will happen. Madigan seems to get this, inasmuch as he was only really serious about trying to get the sales tax plan passed to fund transit operations (since thats what Chicago needs). Chicago doesn't need a statewide capital plan....the rest of the state, particularly the booming exurbs, need one like all hell: new schools and road widening. No rush for Chicago to bail them out by overpaying for a poorly-thought out casino. They know that's the only leverage they've got on us. But all Madigan has to do is make until January 1st, when a simple majority can pass a bill...and then dare Jones and Blago to let it die.

Alliance Dec 11, 2007 4:11 AM

Secede!

the urban politician Dec 11, 2007 4:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3219727)
But all Madigan has to do is make until January 1st, when a simple majority can pass a bill...and then dare Jones and Blago to let it die.

^ That's a great point. It is becoming abundantly clear that nothing will happen until this 2/3 majority requirement comes to pass. Downstate has Chicago by the balls as long as their votes are needed to pass a bill.

My only question is, if a bill is passed in early January and Blago still vetoes it, what will happen?

VivaLFuego Dec 11, 2007 5:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3219781)
^ That's a great point. It is becoming abundantly clear that nothing will happen until this 2/3 majority requirement comes to pass. Downstate has Chicago by the balls as long as their votes are needed to pass a bill.

My only question is, if a bill is passed in early January and Blago still vetoes it, what will happen?

The bigger question to me is, what will happen with the union, whose contract offer (with higher employee benefits contributions) expires Dec 31? "Job action"?

Madigan would be fine with Blago vetoing the bill; after all, Mike is thinking "Lisa 2010" for governor, so anything that gets Blago covered in sh!t is worth doing as far as Madigan is concerned.

Nowhereman1280 Dec 11, 2007 6:05 AM

A. HELL YEAH, lets secede from those shitty downstaters...

B. What is that about Jan 1st and only needing a simple majority? Why is 2/3 required right now and what is it required for?

Marcu Dec 11, 2007 6:19 AM

^ Seems to me that all the animosity is between Chicagoans: Madigan (who's lining up his daughter for gov), Blago, and Emil. The downstaters and GOP suburbanites are waiting for the Chicago reps to implode to retake the governor's seat next election.

the urban politician Dec 11, 2007 2:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 3220011)
B. What is that about Jan 1st and only needing a simple majority? Why is 2/3 required right now and what is it required for?

^ I believe that as 2/3 majority vote is needed to pass a bill while the State Legislature is not officially in session. I'm not clear on the reasoning, but my guess is that this protects us from abuse of power by preventing one Party from quickly meeting and passing a bill while the other Party is left out in the cold.

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego
Madigan would be fine with Blago vetoing the bill; after all, Mike is thinking "Lisa 2010" for governor, so anything that gets Blago covered in sh!t is worth doing as far as Madigan is concerned.

^ At this point, I would take Lisa 2010 (if I had a vote), for the simple fact that I'll take consensus over the deadlock we've got going on in Springfield at this moment. If it takes a father-daughter relationship to get something done, then so be it..

VivaLFuego Dec 11, 2007 4:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3220036)
^ Seems to me that all the animosity is between Chicagoans: Madigan (who's lining up his daughter for gov), Blago, and Emil. The downstaters and GOP suburbanites are waiting for the Chicago reps to implode to retake the governor's seat next election.

Downstaters really dislike Chicago, which is why they are willing to try to tank any transit funding measures (which they only refer to as a "bailout"). Meaning they won't even vote to support a regional sales tax that won't affect their taxes.

Chicago3rd Dec 11, 2007 9:45 PM

I am trying to figure out about the downstaters...

They are saying they want a bailout from Chicago because they cannot fund their roads? Isn't that a little hypocritical of them?

We need a Constitutional Amendment making it against the law for Chicago to bail the rest of the state out.

VivaLFuego Dec 11, 2007 10:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 3221367)
I am trying to figure out about the downstaters...

They are saying they want a bailout from Chicago because they cannot fund their roads? Isn't that a little hypocritical of them?

We need a Constitutional Amendment making it against the law for Chicago to bail the rest of the state out.

They need for Chicago to pay a huge license fee to have a municipally-owned casino. The fee, plus the tax revenue from that (as well as incremental tax revenue from expansion of existing riverboat casinos and installation of slot machines at racetracks), would pay for capital construction throughout the state. Or so the theory goes. So yeah, they need us, and need us bad, for that license fee and tax revenue. Let them come crawling and groveling. It's about time they stop getting away with portraying Chicago as the leech to their constituents.

Attrill Dec 12, 2007 1:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3221538)
They need for Chicago to pay a huge license fee to have a municipally-owned casino. The fee, plus the tax revenue from that (as well as incremental tax revenue from expansion of existing riverboat casinos and installation of slot machines at racetracks), would pay for capital construction throughout the state. Or so the theory goes. So yeah, they need us, and need us bad, for that license fee and tax revenue. Let them come crawling and groveling. It's about time they stop getting away with portraying Chicago as the leech to their constituents.

I'm not a big fan of the casino proposal to bail out the CTA/RTA. Here's a good article spelling out how the money brought in from a $1 billion casino in Chicago would likely be distributed. "Huge license fee" is right - $500 million huge! Maybe some would come back to the city, but not likely. Chicago is estimated to get $150 million, most of it going to the CTA.

ardecila Dec 12, 2007 4:34 AM

Has the CTA planned for a Blue Line overhaul like the Dan Ryan Branch got recently? Obviously, the ties are being replaced to remove slow zones, but station repainting and maintenance would go a long way also. Every time I drive past Cumberland or Jefferson Park on the Kennedy, I shudder at their sorry states of rust and peeling paint. The Red Line stations, with identical designs, now look gorgeous (which I never thought possible).

I don't know if the signalling or electrical supply systems need the rebuild that the Red Line facilities got - hopefully not, since it means less costs for the CTA.

The CTA describes a State of Good Repair as costing something like $6 billion. How can this cost be so high when the Green, Pink, and Orange lines were overhauled/built recently and the Brown Line is about to enter that category? I can't imagine the Yellow Line has huge capital needs with only two recently-rebuilt stations.

That leaves only the Forest Park-O'Hare Blue Line and the North Side Main Line with major capital needs. Of course, these are also the two busiest lines and the only lines with no downtime, but it shouldn't cost more than $2-3 billion total.

VivaLFuego Dec 12, 2007 5:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3222270)
Has the CTA planned for a Blue Line overhaul like the Dan Ryan Branch got recently? Obviously, the ties are being replaced to remove slow zones, but station repainting and maintenance would go a long way also. Every time I drive past Cumberland or Jefferson Park on the Kennedy, I shudder at their sorry states of rust and peeling paint. The Red Line stations, with identical designs, now look gorgeous (which I never thought possible).

I don't know if the signalling or electrical supply systems need the rebuild that the Red Line facilities got - hopefully not, since it means less costs for the CTA.

The CTA describes a State of Good Repair as costing something like $6 billion. How can this cost be so high when the Green, Pink, and Orange lines were overhauled/built recently and the Brown Line is about to enter that category? I can't imagine the Yellow Line has huge capital needs with only two recently-rebuilt stations.

That leaves only the Forest Park-O'Hare Blue Line and the North Side Main Line with major capital needs. Of course, these are also the two busiest lines and the only lines with no downtime, but it shouldn't cost more than $2-3 billion total.

CTA has been repainting the Kennedy stations piecemeal. Some is being done in-house (Harlem was done recently, I think). Others, like Cumberland, are being bid out. I assume Rosemont will be too (really just a question of scale and scope).

It's amusing that no one ever talks about it anymore, but Aldridge is in the middle of a $180 million contract to replace the entire signal system on the Blue Line from Forest Park to Jefferson Park, as these were the last part of the system that had the simple block signaling as opposed to automatic train control (ATC)***. This contract started around early 2006 and is running until 2009, and has meant a ton of single-track operation late nights. I think some maintenance/upgrades to the power system are also part of the contract. The portion from Jeff Park to O'hare is, I guess, still in decent shape being under 25 years old.

The "state of good repair" estimate also includes the bus system, which is pretty substantial. CTA has 8 bus garages, about 4 of which are majorly inadequate for a modern transit operation (e.g. North Park and Forest Glen are a primarily outdoor "garages", Archer still has streetcar tracks running around, etc.). Obviously these facility costs are very large. "state of good repair" also assumes that every bus in the fleet is 12 years old or less.

But in terms of rail facilities projects that are NOT currently on the table in the planning or execution state (Subway ties, Loop signals), let's see:

North Main (red) - needs new viaducts and station renovations
Evanston (purple) - needs new viaducts, track components, and station renovations
Brown - Needs new track components (ties/rail/etc). Little publicized fact that the current Brown Line project isn't exactly a rehab: it's a federal New Start for new transit service (thank Kruesi for this, ditto the 54/Cermak branch which was even more of a stretch as a New Start). The project is to build new stations to increase capacity, i.e. provide new service. CTA was able to include structural work around the stations as part of the project, as well as "modifications" to the power and signaling systems to accommodate the "new service", but there wasn't a way to include track renewal. So yeah, the track needs to be replaced; particularly the ties, and I think in some locations it might still have the original running rail from 1907. There are already slow zones popping up on Brown that don't have anything to do with the station construction.
Loop - Needs new track components
Forest Park - Station renovations
Southside Green Line - Will need some track and structural work. Alot of this wasn't actually fully replaced in the 92-94 rehab and is beginning to show its age again.
Yards/Maintenance - Most of the facilities themselves are in decent shape, but most could use equipment modernization. For example I know there is a push to get more steel wheel truing/balancing machines, which majorly help in 1) providing a smooth ride and 2) less wear and tear on both tracks and railcar suspension components). Also, some yards need new/improved carwashes for railcar exterior washes. I'm sure there are others, but I'm not too familiar with the shop operations.

This is all assuming that renovating the downtown loop and subway stations will be the city/CDOT's responsibility.

Also, the rail fleet is very old by FTA standards, and even moreso considering how much time the cars spend outside in the cold and exposed to the expressway salt mist. The 406 Bombardier cars on order will replace the 2200s and 2400s by 2013. That still leaves 600 2600-series cars that were delivered in the early 80s, meaning 600 cars going on 30 years of age and in need of replacement for "state of good repair". That many railcars alone would be pushing $1bil.

Attrill Dec 12, 2007 7:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3222331)
Also, the rail fleet is very old by FTA standards, and even moreso considering how much time the cars spend outside in the cold and exposed to the expressway salt mist. The 406 Bombardier cars on order will replace the 2200s and 2400s by 2013. That still leaves 600 2600-series cars that were delivered in the early 80s, meaning 600 cars going on 30 years of age and in need of replacement for "state of good repair". That many railcars alone would be pushing $1bil.

Have you seen anything about delivery dates for the first Bombadier cars? I remember hearing something a year or two ago about the Blue getting them in a few years, but nothing else for awhile. An d can they run with other cars? I thought they were going to be AC instead of DC.

VivaLFuego Dec 12, 2007 3:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Attrill (Post 3222524)
Have you seen anything about delivery dates for the first Bombadier cars? I remember hearing something a year or two ago about the Blue getting them in a few years, but nothing else for awhile. An d can they run with other cars? I thought they were going to be AC instead of DC.

I think the prototype trainset will be delivered late '08 or early '09, and undergo testing throughout the system for 9-12 months, at which point full delivery starts (so, by late '09'). The first order would be complete by around the end of 2012 or early 2013, I think, but I'm not 100% sure.

The new cars have AC propulsion and on-board inverters to convert the DC power from the 3rd rail to AC power for the motors. Thus the new cars cannot be coupled with any of the old cars, but can run on the same power infrastructure (there will likely be some hiccups with the power and signal system that need to be determined and fixed during the prototype testing...the AC magnetic field may interfere with the signals in some locations, and it may be necessary to adjust the voltage on the 3rd rail).

aaron38 Dec 12, 2007 4:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3222799)
The new cars have AC propulsion and on-board inverters to convert the DC power from the 3rd rail to AC power for the motors. Thus the new cars cannot be coupled with any of the old cars, but can run on the same power infrastructure (there will likely be some hiccups with the power and signal system that need to be determined and fixed during the prototype testing...the AC magnetic field may interfere with the signals in some locations, and it may be necessary to adjust the voltage on the 3rd rail).

I'm an electrical engineer and this all seems very strange. From a black box perspective the cars should be externally identical, or at least thats how the requirements should have been written. Do the cars share power? Power converters should be able to handle that as well, and they should operate over a wide enough voltage range that the 3rd rail shouldn't need adjusting.
And I also can't imagine that the AC drives would have more EMI than the DC brush motors. AC drives are pretty quiet by comparison. It's surprising that signal equipment that works fine as a train goes by arcing on the 3rd rail would have interference from the AC motor or inverter.

I searched a bit for more information but didn't find anything usefull. Is there more info available, I'd love to read up on it.

Via Chicago Dec 12, 2007 4:39 PM

Transit Gridlock May Put Federal Funding At Risk
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...ck=1&cset=true

Quote:

Metra Projects Could Lose Up To $1.5 billion
The legislative deadlock over state funding for mass transit may jeopardize federal dollars for major commuter rail improvements in the Chicago region, two Illinois congressmen and the head of Metra warned Tuesday.

Illinois could lose up to $1.5 billion for the proposed expansion of Metra service, including the suburb-to-suburb STAR line; SouthEast Service to South Cook and Will Counties; and expansion of the Union Pacific Northwest and West lines into McHenry and DuPage Counties, U.S. Reps. Mark Kirk and Melissa Bean said...

DHamp Dec 12, 2007 5:49 PM

^Is it wrong for me to secretly hope Metra loses that cash for the STAR line? It's not that STAR is a completely stupid idea. I could see it coming in handy. But I really think 1.5 bil could be better spent in Chicago for new CTA lines that would get much more use. Of course, if Metra were to lose that federal cash, it doesn't by any stretch mean CTA would get it: it would just be lost. But it's a nice thing to ponder.


All times are GMT. The time now is 5:08 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.