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VivaLFuego Nov 7, 2007 8:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago (Post 3151591)
So can't they repair any of the stations in the loop?

Ask CDOT.

k1052 Nov 8, 2007 4:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3151900)
There's no glory--or federal capital funding--in repairing an existing station, only in building a monumental new one.

Various stations have been rebuilt over the years though more slowly than is needed. The Chicago Red Line station is next on the list for renovation (and it really needs it).

Some of the Loop stations are indeed somewhat dilapidated (Wabash) with State/Lake being in really terrible shape and much to small to serve it's purpose as a significant transfer station.

Mr Downtown Nov 8, 2007 4:49 PM

I think you mean Grand Red Line station is next. And I consider the Chicago station a "monumental new one," as nothing except the basic trainroom survives from the old station.

Though expansion at Grand and Chicago can be justified by changing traffic patterns, I'm anguished to see the very handsome Moderne finishes of Chicago's downtown subways torn out simply because they need cleaning, restoration or lighting. If you look behind the grime and insensitive conduit installation, Chicago's downtown subway stations are a very elegant example of PWA Moderne, with curved gray glass tile guiding you into mezzanine floorplans geometrically designed for maximum efficiency and safety, and graceful touches like incised Futura lettering and "radio black" marble on the stairway walls. We should be restoring those, not covering them up with pseudo-Victorian slipcovers or New York-style mosaics.

honte Nov 8, 2007 5:19 PM

^ Yes, exactly. All they need is to uncover the greatness, and to accentuate it tastefully so that people no longer read them as utilitarian places with no sense of style.

The stations were also a monumental and groundbreaking achievement in the field of soil engineering.

k1052 Nov 8, 2007 6:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3153837)
I think you mean Grand Red Line station is next. And I consider the Chicago station a "monumental new one," as nothing except the basic trainroom survives from the old station.

Though expansion at Grand and Chicago can be justified by changing traffic patterns, I'm anguished to see the very handsome Moderne finishes of Chicago's downtown subways torn out simply because they need cleaning, restoration or lighting. If you look behind the grime and insensitive conduit installation, Chicago's downtown subway stations are a very elegant example of PWA Moderne, with curved gray glass tile guiding you into mezzanine floorplans geometrically designed for maximum efficiency and safety, and graceful touches like incised Futura lettering and "radio black" marble on the stairway walls. We should be restoring those, not covering them up with pseudo-Victorian slipcovers or New York-style mosaics.

Yes, Grand. That's what I get for posting before I've had enough coffee.

Mr Downtown Nov 8, 2007 6:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3153911)
The stations were also a monumental and groundbreaking achievement in the field of soil engineering.

Tell me more. I've recently been doing some research on Chicago's subway construction in the engineering literature and didn't see any reference to this.

honte Nov 9, 2007 2:58 AM

^ Oh gosh, that was a long time ago that I uncovered the information on this. I will go back through my notes and PM you if I can remember where the info is.

You might try looking into the career of Karl von Terzaghi, one of the most prominent US (later non-US) soils engineers. He was the consultant to the project, and I believe this might lead you to other facts about the Chicago Subway.

nomarandlee Nov 9, 2007 6:00 AM

Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...i_tab01_layout

CTA's other crisis: Rehab needs billions
500 buses rack up 580,000 miles each; trains fare no better


By Jon Hilkevitch | Tribune transportation reporter
11:31 PM CST, November 8, 2007

The CTA says it is more than $6 billion short of adequately modernizing its rail and bus lines, a staggering number lost in the debate as the agency lurches from one "doomsday" to another searching for the tens of millions of dollars it needs to keep operating.

The result is that more than 500 CTA buses, one-fourth of its fleet, have been on the road for 16 years, logging an average 580,000 miles apiece.

..............Even if the current transit operating crisis were resolved, the system would remain under siege until a funding stream is established to overhaul and replace aging equipment, transit officials said.

"My concern about the transit discussions in Springfield is that the focus has been solely on funding operations," CTA Chairwoman Carole Brown said. "The capital needs are equally as critical, and they really seem to have been ignored.".................
..

k1052 Nov 9, 2007 3:26 PM

The $6 billion figure is the CTA wish list, to achieve a state of good repair throughout the system would cost a more modest $2.5 billion.

To my mind the the biggest failing of the transit system layout is that the two busiest METRA stations are totally disconnected from the CTA's rail system. The West Loop Transportation Center proposal is the only realistic solution I've seen that would address the problem.

aaron38 Nov 9, 2007 9:13 PM

I wouldn't say they're totally disconnected. It's what, a 3 minute walk from Ogilvie's north exits to the Clinton L station?
In a perfect world they'd be the same building, but I've never had issue making the transfer.

k1052 Nov 9, 2007 10:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aaron38 (Post 3156852)
I wouldn't say they're totally disconnected. It's what, a 3 minute walk from Ogilvie's north exits to the Clinton L station?
In a perfect world they'd be the same building, but I've never had issue making the transfer.

It isn't exactly a piece of cake to get to the Red Line from either station or the Blue from Ogilvie, especially for people from out of town.

A single station that integrates Union/Ogivie Metra and Amtrak services, CTA bus and rail (Blue line connection), intercity Bus, and plans for future services (Light Rail, High Speed rail, etc) would be hugely beneficial.

VivaLFuego Nov 9, 2007 10:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 3156981)
It isn't exactly a piece of cake to get to the Red Line from either station or the Blue from Ogilvie, especially for people from out of town.

A single station that integrates Union/Ogivie Metra and Amtrak services, CTA bus and rail (Blue line connection), intercity Bus, and plans for future services (Light Rail, High Speed rail, etc) would be hugely beneficial.

I like the idea of a short subway under Clinton from Lake to Congress. The flying junction at Lake/Canal already exists (thank you, 1940s engineers!), and under Clinton it could be largely cut-and-cover, i.e. cheaper than deep tunneling. The Clinton ROW has supposedly been preserved from having many utilities running underneath, so that's one less cost. A station next to Ogilvie, a station next to Union, then a junction just east or west of the Clinton Blue Line station (this would be the most expensive part, a few hundred million). Then you've basically got a Blue Line Loop.

But I guess the scope of this proposal is too small or something, since the only one in the long range plans is the full Clinton/Larabee subway (Red Line bypass), which is total overkill and doesn't even give particularly advantageous routing for connecting the Metra stations. Bah. Politics.

aaron38 Nov 9, 2007 10:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3157001)
I like the idea of a short subway under Clinton from Lake to Congress.

Like the Shuttle line in NYC, under 42nd street from Times Square to Grand Central Station? Just a single line going back and forth?

k1052 Nov 10, 2007 3:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aaron38 (Post 3157070)
Like the Shuttle line in NYC, under 42nd street from Times Square to Grand Central Station? Just a single line going back and forth?

It would be either integrated as part of the regular Blue Line service or made a loop circuit through the Dearborn subway. It could effectively be a 2nd loop moving people from the State St. subway and elevated into Union and Ogilvie.

Granted it would be better if the WLTC was built for integration purposes.

lalucedm Nov 10, 2007 4:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 3153788)
Various stations have been rebuilt over the years though more slowly than is needed. The Chicago Red Line station is next on the list for renovation (and it really needs it).

Some of the Loop stations are indeed somewhat dilapidated (Wabash) with State/Lake being in really terrible shape and much to small to serve it's purpose as a significant transfer station.

I wouldn't call Randolph/Wabash or Adams/Wabash dilapidated. Madison is pretty bad but it could be really nice given, oh, $20 million :) . Randolph is awesome because it is straight out of the 50s, right down to the chrome sign. Love the enclosed waiting room, especially. Adams was actually renovated in 1988 so it probably won't be renovated again too soon.

The Grand renovation is a nice start. Pretty soon all the tourist stations will be renovated. Clark/Division is next after Grand, I believe, though some of the funding for it has been earmarked for Grand's renovation. Neither North/Clybourn (love the old stationhouse, but it needs work, especially given the rising importance of the area) or Harrison (2 turnstiles?? In the middle of the college district??...and it's a pretty nasty station anyway) are even on the renovation list, at least anytime soon.

Personally, I have trouble liking the WPA Moderne style of the subways. Even the original photos look extremely plain. I guess that's the point, but I think the mosaics add to it, though they are a bit corny.

Also, I'm definitely for keeping the elevated. In this time of cheapskate corrupt, inefficient governments (especially ours), I doubt a subway under the Loop 'L' could even get built (note the crazy bureaucracy and 12-year timeline for the first phase of the new Second Avenue Subway in New York.) Chicago chose to keep the 'L' (well, mostly through momentum, but still...) whereas New York buried its 'L' lines. That choice defines our city, and no episode of ER would be the same without that choice. And without the elevated lines, we would never get those incredible upper-floor views of the canyons at the same time as the streets below that the 'L' and its platforms provide. So, I'll fight for keeping it, that beautiful ancient relic that I depend upon.

k1052 Nov 10, 2007 5:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lalucedm (Post 3157753)
I wouldn't call Randolph/Wabash or Adams/Wabash dilapidated. Madison is pretty bad but it could be really nice given, oh, $20 million :) . Randolph is awesome because it is straight out of the 50s, right down to the chrome sign. Love the enclosed waiting room, especially. Adams was actually renovated in 1988 so it probably won't be renovated again too soon.

The Grand renovation is a nice start. Pretty soon all the tourist stations will be renovated. Clark/Division is next after Grand, I believe, though some of the funding for it has been earmarked for Grand's renovation. Neither North/Clybourn (love the old stationhouse, but it needs work, especially given the rising importance of the area) or Harrison (2 turnstiles?? In the middle of the college district??...and it's a pretty nasty station anyway) are even on the renovation list, at least anytime soon.

Personally, I have trouble liking the WPA Moderne style of the subways. Even the original photos look extremely plain. I guess that's the point, but I think the mosaics add to it, though they are a bit corny.

Also, I'm definitely for keeping the elevated. In this time of cheapskate corrupt, inefficient governments (especially ours), I doubt a subway under the Loop 'L' could even get built (note the crazy bureaucracy and 12-year timeline for the first phase of the new Second Avenue Subway in New York.) Chicago chose to keep the 'L' (well, mostly through momentum, but still...) whereas New York buried its 'L' lines. That choice defines our city, and no episode of ER would be the same without that choice. And without the elevated lines, we would never get those incredible upper-floor views of the canyons at the same time as the streets below that the 'L' and its platforms provide. So, I'll fight for keeping it, that beautiful ancient relic that I depend upon.

Madison is in pretty bad shape, Randolph not as much so though still in need of some work. I'd still have to rate them (and State/Lake) as being in the worst condition of all the loop stations.

CDOT has the say on what gets renovated when in the subway since they own it. The Grand renovation will be a welcome event. The existing station's mezzanine is too small and way too dingy to be left alone, especially when you consider the massive tourist presence in the area. It is flat out embarrassing at this point. Even the platform area is depressingly filthy with seemingly decades of accumulated grime covering the tube walls.

ardecila Nov 10, 2007 7:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3157001)
I like the idea of a short subway under Clinton from Lake to Congress. The flying junction at Lake/Canal already exists (thank you, 1940s engineers!), and under Clinton it could be largely cut-and-cover, i.e. cheaper than deep tunneling. The Clinton ROW has supposedly been preserved from having many utilities running underneath, so that's one less cost. A station next to Ogilvie, a station next to Union, then a junction just east or west of the Clinton Blue Line station (this would be the most expensive part, a few hundred million). Then you've basically got a Blue Line Loop.

But I guess the scope of this proposal is too small or something, since the only one in the long range plans is the full Clinton/Larabee subway (Red Line bypass), which is total overkill and doesn't even give particularly advantageous routing for connecting the Metra stations. Bah. Politics.

Can't they both be done? Build only the segment from Lake to Congress, but engineer the junctions at the north and south ends of the new subway with stubs pointing north and south to allow for future expansion. Who knows, it might take another 2 generations to use them, but they'll be there.

The point of the Clinton/Larrabee Subway is to relieve the traffic in the State Street Subway that would be created when Circle Line trains are routed through there. Since we have no Circle Line, and people keep telling me it's pointless without a comprehensive TOD plan, I don't see the Larrabee or South Clinton subways happening anytime soon, either.

ginsan2 Nov 10, 2007 7:50 PM

Why is it that in a city of Chicago's size with so much tax revenue, there's no money left over for transit? Should $6 billion really be such an unachievable figure? Really and truly?

ardecila Nov 10, 2007 8:10 PM

I'm gonna ask a somewhat obvious question (or maybe not).

Do y'all think that transit improvements should serve existing development, or dictate new development in low-density areas?


Compare, say, the Carroll Transitway with the Circle Line. The Carroll Transitway serves a huge corridor and provides service to an extremely popular trip - going from the West Loop commuter stations to Streeterville destinations like the Mag Mile and Navy Pier. Currently, the thousands of people per year who make this trip either use bus, taxi, or foot - but they're already making that trip somehow. These thousands of people have effected lots of dense development around the Mag Mile, simply because of their numbers. A few people choose to drive from home to avoid the long trip across the Loop from the Metra stations.

The upside to this type of transit-building is that you have guaranteed high levels of ridership. The downside is that the new transit line won't really serve to increase development levels along its route, since high-density development already exists there. Another downside is that, with heavy, tall buildings over much of the corridor, the route needs to conform to the streetgrid more, which limits your turning radii and makes diagonals very tricky.

The Circle Line, on the other hand, attempts to create a totally new trip type - transferring from Metra lines and CTA lines to other Metra/CTA lines without going downtown. Crosstown trips like this haven't ever been facilitated by Chicago's rail network, which means that for many years, people have avoided rail for crosstown trips, using either buses or driving.

So by building the Circle Line, you are creating a new corridor and a new trip type, and then hoping that people start making that trip. Once the transit line is in place, you then hope that developers latch on to the possibilities and over time, restructure the city to accommodate the new line. These lines can, in essence, be built anywhere. There are infinite possibilities.

The upside is that you can bring development to low-density, perhaps poverty-stricken areas. The construction of new lines is also easier through low-density neighborhoods, since property values are lower. The downside is that you run the risk of low ridership, making the new line a tremendous waste of money.

I think it's great to propose plenty of new CTA and Metra lines that look good on a map, but we all need to remember that the most popular commutes in Chicagoland still lead from outlying areas to downtown. There's plenty of other commutes, but they all have highly-dispersed start and end points that are difficult to serve with transit.

lalucedm Nov 10, 2007 10:05 PM

I definitely think the most important new transit proposal is the Red Line extension. Talk about an untapped market... there are hundreds of thousands of people down there in the city alone, not to mention the suburbs that it will also serve, that have no transit except Metra (which is nice during rush hours but not too useful otherwise) and a few buses that go miles out of their way to connect to the 95th/Dan Ryan terminal.


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