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Chicago3rd Jul 14, 2008 3:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3670507)
That's assuming people can't get off at say Granville if they normaly get off at Thorndale (2 blocks away). I think it stems more from the mindset that people need the train to stop directly in front of their house every time.

I think it is a mindset from people who believe that everyone lives in front of a rail stop. Even though the stops are 1/4 mile apart how far did people walk to get to those stations? If you saw me getting on at Western you would assume I could walk the 1/4 mile east to Damian even though I already walked 1 mile to get to the Western Brown line stop.........Or when I lived on Lakeshore Drive...since Belmont is only 1/4 mile from Diversey and Addison...eliminate the Belmont stop even though it was walking or busing 3/4 of a mile to get to Belmont in the first place.

If anyone pays attention....the 1/4 miles stops are normally placed in high density work and or living areas.

OhioGuy Jul 14, 2008 4:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 3671937)
Even though the stops are 1/4 mile apart how far did people walk to get to those stations? If you saw me getting on at Western you would assume I could walk the 1/4 mile east to Damian even though I already walked 1 mile to get to the Western Brown line stop.

Definitely a good point. I've thought the same thing as well.

VivaLFuego Jul 14, 2008 5:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3672047)
Definitely a good point. I've thought the same thing as well.

Yeah. Another illustrative example is provided by Addison and Paulina on the Brown Line, which are quite close but serve fairly distinct markets, particularly as regards bus transfers.

ardecila Jul 14, 2008 7:24 PM

Okay... out of all proposed or even "fantasy" transit projects for the Chicago region, which do you think should be the highest priority? The reason I ask is that every day, Springfield gets more gridlocked and more cash-strapped... setting regional priorities will help stuff get done.

Small List (but definitely not comprehensive)
-------------------------------------------
Circle Line
Red Line Extension
Yellow Line Extension
Orange Line Extension
Mid-City Transitway
Carroll Street Transitway
Blue Line Extension to Downers Grove
Airport Express
West Loop Transportation Center
Metra SouthEast Service
Metra Extensions to:
-Rockford
-Kankakee
-LaSalle/Peru
-Plano
-DeKalb
-Milwaukee, WI
-Burlington, WI
South Shore Extensions to:
-Valparaiso
-Lowell

VivaLFuego Jul 14, 2008 8:17 PM

I think #1 priority should be, by agency:
- CTA system modernization: rebuild the North Main Line, replace railcars and buses so there aren't any more fossils rolling around, do a moderate-to-major renovation of every remaining untouched station. We have a very large rail rapid transit network, probably larger than it needs to be given current demand patterns, so any expansions should really be incremental until that changes. e.g. a 1.5 mile line extension, a major intermodal station reconstruction, infill stations on the Green Line, etc. Some sort of citywide quasi-BRT or bus priority grid to improve the speed of crosstown trips, with the idea that eventually the highest volume corridors such as Western might get true BRT or even LRT.

- Metra: More off-peak service: reverse commute, mid-day, and weekends. More late night service on a few particular branches that justify it (probably ME, BNSF, UP-N). As with CTA, focus on creating a pristine and reliable asset stock (already almost there with Metra) and a few select extensions and capacity enhancements, e.g. MD-N to Wadsworth, new yard in Johnsburg, additional double-tracking, triple-tracking and other signal/junction/grade-crossing improvements.

- Pace: A presentable BRT network with dedicated lanes for fast travel times during congested periods, particularly throughout DuPage county and the Cook Panhandle. Maybe an inner shoulder BRT service along I-55 between Downtown and at least I-294. A BRT service along I-90 instead of the stupid STAR Line. The Heritage Corridor may never be more than a boutique service due to physical constraints. There are numerous major employers of entry-level, unskilled jobs in this corridor in the distribution and manufacturing fields, giving the project the potential to be a flagship JARC (Job Access Reverse Commute) project.

Generally, expansions would be geared towards filling gaps, for example:
Blue Line accessibility to the major employment center in Oakbrook and along I-88.
BRT service on the I-55 corridor
BRT access along the I-90 employment corridor
MD-N extension to major employers such as Abbot, Baxter, Gurnee Mills

k1052 Jul 14, 2008 8:18 PM

1. West Loop Transportation Center (to include integration in Blue Line routing)
2. Red Line Extension
3. Carroll St. Transitway
4. Metra Extenstions/capacity increases (more equipment)
5. BRT corridors

Abner Jul 14, 2008 8:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3672527)
replace railcars and buses so there aren't any more fossils rolling around

Thank god the 2200 railcars are soon to be eliminated. Didn't you mention that the oldest buses are already set to be completely replaced by early next year? Honestly, although that doesn't sound very glamorous it will do so much to make some routes a lot more bearable. Unfortunately, there are still those articulated buses with such bad suspension problems that I get headaches from riding them. I missed the story with those; can anybody fill me in?

Busy Bee Jul 14, 2008 11:43 PM

Here's a simple recap: The German-built MAN Artics didn't suck. The new NABI artics suck.

VivaLFuego Jul 15, 2008 2:39 AM

Total lemons. Problems not isolated to a single sub-system; if anything, the few working systems are remarkable for their rarity. Suspension, doors, engine, exhaust, electrical; all a mess. I hope there is money for a major mid-life overhaul of these.

And yes, all buses from 1991 (the TMCs and about half the Flxibles, about 350 buses each) will all be retired by around the end of 2008 or very early 2009, in addition to the experimental New Flyer low-floor buses from 1995 (only about 50 of these). The oldest buses remaining will be about 400 Flxibles from 1995, but these were recently overhauled and are relatively reliable workhorses.

pip Jul 15, 2008 7:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3673298)
Total lemons. Problems not isolated to a single sub-system; if anything, the few working systems are remarkable for their rarity. Suspension, doors, engine, exhaust, electrical; all a mess. I hope there is money for a major mid-life overhaul of these.

And yes, all buses from 1991 (the TMCs and about half the Flxibles, about 350 buses each) will all be retired by around the end of 2008 or very early 2009, in addition to the experimental New Flyer low-floor buses from 1995 (only about 50 of these). The oldest buses remaining will be about 400 Flxibles from 1995, but these were recently overhauled and are relatively reliable workhorses.

I am trying to follow. These busses are the new articulated busses? Pic:
http://www.busexplorer.com/NABus/Ima...BI-Artic-1.jpg

If so I agree. I never thought in my life I would complain about the quality of construction of a bus. I wonder if they will hold together over any little bump, that middle sections jumps as I watch it move up inches and crash together in a noise that would make a sonic boom a lullaby. Though stalling could prevent that. Also stalling would prevent the overhead areas from collapsing onto passengers. Who the hell made this crap?

emathias Jul 15, 2008 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3672431)
Okay... out of all proposed or even "fantasy" transit projects for the Chicago region, which do you think should be the highest priority? The reason I ask is that every day, Springfield gets more gridlocked and more cash-strapped... setting regional priorities will help stuff get done.
...

Personally, this is what I'd focus on:

0) Region land use, forcing zoning that actually supports rail transit in the city and, where applicable, suburbs. The region should not allow the construction of single family homes near existing "L" stations, and probably not near other high-transit areas, too. Without this happening, long-term results of the rest of the list have an increased liklihood of failure.

1) Finish current rehab of the CTA rail system, including track rehab.
2) Add all-day (but not 24-hour) express service between Evanston and Downtown, but reconfigure it to be a real express, adding stops at Wilson and probably Loyola, and then running on the Red Line tracks between Belmont and the subway portal (skipping Wellington, Diversey and Armitage).
3) More frequent Metra service, at least every 30 minutes from 6am-10pm on most lines, 7-days.
4) Carroll Street transitway (this could be a BRT line)
5) "L" station infills at Madison/Pink, Morgan/Green, southside Green/Orange
6) Orange Line extension
7) Extra stops on Yellow Line
8) Yellow Line extension
9) West Loop Transportation Center + full Clinton Subway as proposed
10) Orange and Red Line extensions
11) Circle Line
12) Use 15th Street viaduct for CTA rail service between UIC/Halsted area and Clinton subway and Lakefront/McCormick Place
13) Re-extend Green Line to Jackson Park
14) Blue Line O'Hare express
15) Mid-city Transitway
16) West Loop/Monroe subway to Streeterville
17) South branch of #15 to McCormick Place

OhioGuy Jul 16, 2008 4:15 AM

The CTA was a little annoying this evening. They've been closing the subway down after 9pm on weeknights to work on the tracks between Clark & Division and Armitage. However tonight they didn't have the subway closed, something I didn't realize until I was up on the platform at Madison. I initially thought no big deal because I could just take the brown line up to Belmont and transfer to the red line there. But then the brown line pulled up, all 4 cars worth of it, and it was packed. So I crammed myself in there and as we proceeded around the north side of the loop, more people tried to squeeze on. Eventually it got to the point that quite a few people were left just standing on the platforms at the Merchandise Mart and Chicago because the train was too full for them to get on. And actually even when I got off at Belmont, the brown line was still impressively packed for the start of its trip on the Ravenswood branch. What pisses me off is that they were running 4 car trains. If your service is still high after 9pm, then at least run 6 car trains! But even more astonishing to me was that at Belmont when I transfered to the red line, it also came into the station with only 4 cars and it too was jam packed full of riders! Why run such short trains when the passenger load is still quite high? I mean I guess it would maybe cost less to run shorter trains, but doing so at the expense of riders who are either crammed uncomfortably into the train or left waiting for the next train seems wrong. It felt like we were in the middle of the afternoon rush hour, only it was after 9pm!

Abner Jul 16, 2008 5:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3673298)
Total lemons. Problems not isolated to a single sub-system; if anything, the few working systems are remarkable for their rarity. Suspension, doors, engine, exhaust, electrical; all a mess. I hope there is money for a major mid-life overhaul of these.

So the CTA had no recourse in this situation? I wonder if this is a common problem for transit agencies. I'm pretty sure I've never ridden on a bus in any city (in any country) that felt quite as shoddy as those things. Too bad we will likely be stuck with them for a good long time. Oh well, "buy American" I guess.

Mr Downtown Jul 16, 2008 1:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3675892)
Why run such short trains when the passenger load is still quite high?

If it surprised you to see the trains full at that hour, don't you suspect it also caught CTA by surprise? When the Brown Line operator gets to Library and all the seats are taken, he can't pull into a pocket track and call Kimball Yard and tell them to send him four more cars before continuing around the Loop.

VivaLFuego Jul 16, 2008 2:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3676098)
So the CTA had no recourse in this situation? I wonder if this is a common problem for transit agencies. I'm pretty sure I've never ridden on a bus in any city (in any country) that felt quite as shoddy as those things. Too bad we will likely be stuck with them for a good long time. Oh well, "buy American" I guess.

I'm pretty sure there actually has been significant legal action, withheld payments, and so forth. But at the end of the day, CTA still has the buses and has to meet service with them, somehow.

OhioGuy Jul 16, 2008 3:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3676413)
If it surprised you to see the trains full at that hour, don't you suspect it also caught CTA by surprise? When the Brown Line operator gets to Library and all the seats are taken, he can't pull into a pocket track and call Kimball Yard and tell them to send him four more cars before continuing around the Loop.

It isn't my job to be analyzing passenger loads to ensure the proper amount of trains are running. That's part of the CTA's job. And besides, I've seen the brown line packed on other evenings before... I just haven't complained because I'm generally on the red line that typically has enough cars to not be packed. But they were both just 4 cars last night. And if by chance this was an unusual night, then something must have been happening downtown that the CTA should have been more prepared for. It's called planning. So I don't need you lecturing me on the inability of train operators to get more cars when they're on the loop. It should haven't been like that in the first place. These types of loads don't just suddenly appear out of the blue for no good reason. Either the trains remain full enough to warrant extra cars at that time of the evening, or a special event was happening that the CTA should have been prepared for. So I'm sorry, but I'm not buying your excuses.

Taft Jul 16, 2008 3:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3676563)
It isn't my job to be analyzing passenger loads to ensure the proper amount of trains are running. That's part of the CTA's job. And besides, I've seen the brown line packed on other evenings before... I just haven't complained because I'm generally on the red line that typically has enough cars to not be packed. But they were both just 4 cars last night. And if by chance this was an unusual night, then something must have been happening downtown that the CTA should have been more prepared for. It's called planning. So I don't need you lecturing me on the inability of train operators to get more cars when they're on the loop. It should haven't been like that in the first place. These types of loads don't just suddenly appear out of the blue for no good reason. Either the trains remain full enough to warrant extra cars at that time of the evening, or a special event was happening that the CTA should have been prepared for. So I'm sorry, but I'm not buying your excuses.

^^^+++

This is the kind of crap that gives the CTA a bad name. It should be easily preventable, though obviously at a cost.

I used to work odd hours in the loop, putting my on the brown line from between 8-10 PM. There are consistently a surprising number of riders at this hour. IMO, the CTA knows about crowds at this time and is probably just trying to cut costs. Not that I blame them, given their funding situation, but it *is* annoying...

Taft

emathias Jul 16, 2008 7:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 3676639)
...
This is the kind of crap that gives the CTA a bad name. It should be easily preventable, though obviously at a cost.

I used to work odd hours in the loop, putting my on the brown line from between 8-10 PM. There are consistently a surprising number of riders at this hour. IMO, the CTA knows about crowds at this time and is probably just trying to cut costs. Not that I blame them, given their funding situation, but it *is* annoying.
...

What is the incremental cost to run extra cars? Maintenance and electricity is the only expense I can think of.

*back-of-napkin*

$2,000,000 purchase
$1,000,000 mid-life overhaul
$1,000,000 lifetime other maintenance (this may be way low for all I know)

1,000,000 miles in a lifetime (I have no idea if this is realistic or not)

If that's true, it costs $4+electricity, so even if elec is $1/mile (which seems unlikely to me), that's $5/mile, per car. For a married pair, that's $10/mile. Kimball to the Loop is 20 miles, round-trip, so adding 2 cars comes to an incremental cost of $200 per run. Doing that six times an hour for 2 extra hours would be $2,400/day, or probably around $15,000/wk with weekend variation, which computes to a cost of $780,000/year to run 2 extra cars for 2 extra hours each day on the Brown Line. That's a lot, and at an average fare of $1 (counting transfers and seniors, etc), would require a total ridership (24/7 ridership) increase of over 6% to justify it. Which makes it seem to me that it really wouldn't pay for itself, as unfortunate as that is, and as much as I wish it would pay for itself. Now, if the incremental cost is a lot lower, or the average fare late-night is higher, the balance could change ...

VivaLFuego Jul 16, 2008 8:32 PM

Tough call. I've also noticed that CTA is making an effort to run fewer cars during off-hours and increasing the load factor. This is great, as long as there aren't any passengers getting left behind, which is very, very bad news at off-peak headways.

I've also noticed very high loads on the Brown Line all evening until 9:30-10pm, though I suspect things got screwed up because of the canceled Red Line reroute, which sent enough people to the L to overwhelm Brown Line service along the Wabash and Lake legs of the loop while the Red Line was probably being underutilized underground.

nomarandlee Jul 16, 2008 9:06 PM

CTA to experiment with seatless rush-hour train cars
 
Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,3469193.story

CTA to experiment with seatless rush-hour train cars
By Jon Hilkevitch | Chicago Tribune reporter
3:39 PM CDT, July 16, 2008

Ushering in a new era of the cattle car, the CTA plans to eliminate all the seats on some cars of rush-hour trains to pack in more riders who are otherwise left standing on crowded rail platforms, officials said Wednesday.

The standing-room-only rail cars would begin operating by the fall on the Brown Line, CTA President Ron Huberman told the transit agency's board.

Last month, ridership rose 7 percent compared with June 2007, CTA officials said. Although that may not seem such a dramatic change, many rush-hour trains have been packed with riders for years.

Changes to the current seating configuration are under review, but it's likely that an eight-car train would include at least two contiguous cars without seats, Huberman said. Elderly, disabled and pregnant passengers could opt to ride in the cars with seating, he said.

Most CTA trains can accommodate up to about 90 riders per car. By yanking out seats and eliminating the aisle, dozens of additional passengers would fit, officials said..............
..


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