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Mr Downtown Aug 3, 2009 5:11 PM

^Well, the Landmarks Commission staff will be reviewing everything carefully.

nomarandlee Aug 5, 2009 10:44 PM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,7159799.story

Railroad projects gain steam across Chicago area
New state money injects hope into slow-moving plan
By Richard Wronski | Tribune reporter
August 5, 2009


A motorist often needs two hours to travel from one end of the Chicago area to the other, but it can take two days for a freight train, slowed by a bewildering, century-old maze of tracks and outdated signals and switches.

So transportation officials were heartened when the Illinois legislature recently set aside $320 million for rail improvements, hoping it would help unlock train gridlock in Chicago -- the nation's biggest, busiest and most congested railroad hub.

The infusion of state dollars is expected to leverage additional millions in federal matching funds -- money that would build new crossings and overpasses, which could mean faster commutes for Metra and Amtrak riders as well as for long-suffering drivers now stuck waiting at blocked intersections.

Six of Metra's 11 lines operate on freight-owned tracks, and delays between passenger and freight trains regularly cause commuters to be late for work and dinner. Such encounters long have been part of the urban experience in a metropolitan area where each day as many as 500 freight and 800 passenger trains pass through a labyrinth of tracks and crossings.










..

denizen467 Aug 8, 2009 10:02 AM

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=35066

Central Ave. bypass project gets green light

Paul Merrion Aug. 07, 2009

...

The Illinois Department of Transportation plans to proceed with $170.4 million in design, engineering, right-of-way land acquisition and other pre-construction work on the bypass, which would create a new north-south route across a large rail yard on the traffic-congested Southwest Side.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be in Chicago on Monday along with Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Chicago, House Speaker Michael Madigan and other state and local officials to announce the project’s go-ahead.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says a spokesman for the congressman, who is pushing for construction money for the bypass in an upcoming federal transportation bill, which is stalled in Congress.

The project is expected to cost a total of $300 million to $600 million when completed, according to an IDOT spokeswoman, depending on final cost estimates. It would connect Central Avenue between 63rd and 87th streets, taking pressure off Cicero and Harlem avenues. No final decision has been made on whether it will be an overpass or an underpass, according to a Lipinski aide.

...

ardecila Aug 8, 2009 5:03 PM

^^ In the article, it says that there's STILL money remaining from the Crosstown Expressway project in the 1970s. Huh? :koko:

This is very surprising if true.

VivaLFuego Aug 8, 2009 10:07 PM

It's an useful and important link in a part of town with a lot of manufacturing and distribution uses that cause a lot of congestion due to the plethora of railroads.... but good grief, $300-600 million for one overpass connection? That puts this one link as likely more expensive than the Orange Line extension to Ford City.

denizen467 Aug 9, 2009 12:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4396296)
^^ In the article, it says that there's STILL money remaining from the Crosstown Expressway project in the 1970s. Huh? :koko:
This is very surprising if true.

Probably not sitting in a bank account somewhere; more like an allotment that just hasn't been tapped into yet. Very surprising indeed, but maybe it was useable only for certain types/locations of projects. I dunno, "alleviation of crosstown road congestion" or something?

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4396597)
It's an useful and important link in a part of town with a lot of manufacturing and distribution uses that cause a lot of congestion due to the plethora of railroads.... but good grief, $300-600 million for one overpass connection? That puts this one link as likely more expensive than the Orange Line extension to Ford City.

That is a huge amount, but it's an at least 1-mile-long overpass, plus road improvements over roughly the remaining 2 miles (total of 63rd to 87th). Plus, it might be an underpass (ka-ching, ka-ching, ventilation and emergency access shafts over 1-mile length, ka-ching). Plus, it's a hairy, complicated site with complicated, continuous, active use, meaning, among other things, long column-free spans if an overpass.

Out of curiosity, excluding the expressways (Edit: er, and Wacker Drive), are there currently any roadway viaducts in the city that are 1 mile long?

ardecila Aug 9, 2009 5:37 AM

It's not like it'll be a tunnel. There's a pinch point of the railyard at Central, so an "underpass" would be more like a trench with a few rail bridges over it. The cost will reflect whether that trench needs retaining walls or can use sloped sides.

Viva, your comparison to the Orange Line seems appropriate. Likely, much of the cost comes from complex construction staging needed to preserve an active railyard.

jjk1103 Aug 9, 2009 11:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4396728)
Probably not sitting in a bank account somewhere; more like an allotment that just hasn't been tapped into yet. Very surprising indeed, but maybe it was useable only for certain types/locations of projects. I dunno, "alleviation of crosstown road congestion" or something?



That is a huge amount, but it's an at least 1-mile-long overpass, plus road improvements over roughly the remaining 2 miles (total of 63rd to 87th). Plus, it might be an underpass (ka-ching, ka-ching, ventilation and emergency access shafts over 1-mile length, ka-ching). Plus, it's a hairy, complicated site with complicated, continuous, active use, meaning, among other things, long column-free spans if an overpass.

Out of curiosity, excluding the expressways (Edit: er, and Wacker Drive), are there currently any roadway viaducts in the city that are 1 mile long?

.....the "mile Long Bridge" on I294 (Ok---so maybe it is an expressway) !! :D

denizen467 Aug 10, 2009 7:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4397018)
It's not like it'll be a tunnel. There's a pinch point of the railyard at Central, so an "underpass" would be more like a trench with a few rail bridges over it. The cost will reflect whether that trench needs retaining walls or can use sloped sides.

Viva, your comparison to the Orange Line seems appropriate. Likely, much of the cost comes from complex construction staging needed to preserve an active railyard.

Indeed there is a pinch point and it lines up with Central Avenue - but it turns out even the widest point of the yard isn't all that wide anyway (maybe a quarter mile rather than a whole mile). And the pinch point isn't absolute, because there are still several tracks, and roadways, going east-west far north of and south of the pinch point, as well as curved north-south rails leading into the pinch point. So a quick underpass would not work. But you're nevertheless most likely right that a trench would be chosen over a tunnel, assuming the RR wasn't feeling too protective about retaining every square foot of its yard. (And if it isn't too protective, then they might not object to occasional column footings either, so that an overpass ends up as the mutually preferred solution.)


But looking at the aerial photos drives one new point home: Between 65th and 79th (excluding the yard), it looks like there is a fair amount of land to be acquired in order to convert it to a 6-lane or 8-lane right of way from a sleepy industrial park-like access road -- the stretch continually has buildings, driveways and/or parking lots of businesses, schools/parks, and residences abutting right up to it. It also intersects another RR line at 75th. All of the intersections would need to be completely redone as main artery intersections, including signaling, turn lanes, maybe modifications to the crossing streets, etc. So that's probably where much of the half-$billion cost comes from.

Initially it's confusing because "Central Avenue Bypass" kind of suggests it's just an "overpass" or "underpass" over an obstacle, namely the everpresent railyard -- but once you notice "bypass" refers to an entire new route through a part of the city, the price maybe starts to make sense.

arenn Aug 12, 2009 12:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jjk1103 (Post 4397826)
.....the "mile Long Bridge" on I294 (Ok---so maybe it is an expressway) !! :D

It's not in the city, but the bridge over the canal and forest preserve on the I-355 extension is longer than the mile long bridge.

arenn Aug 12, 2009 1:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4382151)
^Only structures listed on the National Register. I doubt that would include any Brown Line stations, except perhaps Armitage.

Doesn't it also affect structures that are deemed eligible for inclusion?

Busy Bee Aug 12, 2009 5:22 PM

Just caught the tail end on WGN Noon News of the Red, Orange and Yellow Line extension plans. Did anyone see it? Anything new to report?

Attrill Aug 12, 2009 5:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 4402277)
Just caught the tail end on WGN Noon News of the Red, Orange and Yellow Line extension plans. Did anyone see it? Anything new to report?

All I've seen is the Trib article on it - don't know it they approved it yet, but I'm sure they will.

Quote:

CTA board expected to OK extending 'L' lines
August 12, 2009 4:23 AM | 11 Comments

The Chicago Transit Authority board today is expected to approve the extensions of three rail lines to better serve city and suburban commuters.

The move to expand the Orange, Red and Yellow/Skokie Swift lines--and select specific routes--culminates years of planning, although construction is likely years away.

The board meeting is set to start at 10 a.m. at CTA headquarters, 567 W. Lake St.

Under the plans, the Red Line would be extended to 130th Street from its current terminus at 95th Street on the Dan Ryan Expressway...........

-- Jon Hilkevitch
Chicago Tribune

lawfin Aug 12, 2009 5:44 PM

Although I applaud the extensions. I question their efficiency...particularly the yellow line.

I think the city overall would be better served by a new north-south line running through the dense nighborhoods closer in say a Western ave line intersecting all the radial lines..even the yellow at Asbury.....

Help pay for it by upzoning all parcels with 1/3 of a mile of the line


just a random thought

ChicagoChicago Aug 12, 2009 7:18 PM

If anything, I'd rather see an East/West line around Montrose, connecting Red/Brown/Blue.

whyhuhwhy Aug 12, 2009 8:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChicagoChicago (Post 4402497)
If anything, I'd rather see an East/West line around Montrose, connecting Red/Brown/Blue.

I'd rather see more East/West lines period. Or a line where you can actually access the city's parks. Neither is ever going to happen though. I think a Blue line extension past O'Hare and past Forest Park are far bigger priorities than what they are proposing, given the insanely horrible Eisenhower expressway and Kennedy/Edens junction bottleneck that makes it almost impossible to get into the city from the western and northern suburbs every afternoon. Every once and a while I have to drive on those stretches and am just absolutely amazed. Driving inbound on the Eisenhower, it's like the expressway was designed for and has the amount of lanes for the 1950's.

VivaLFuego Aug 12, 2009 10:18 PM

The Ike is a known and obvious bottlebeck. It's unclear a rapid transit extension is warranted - depending on the exact alignment and operating plan (e.g. if the extension had BART-style headways and fares in the furthest stretches) perhaps a west extension could be successful, but it's tough to imagine or locate a viable alignment to Oak Brook/Lombard. Getting it to 4-lanes each direction through Oak Park and the Avenues is probably a necessary project, but I fear what the traffic engineers will try to do to the area around Oak Park avenue, which is a surprisingly thriving and dense piece of urbanity (served by a transit stop but no highway access, and the built form and mode choice patterns show it).

Both the I-90 and I-290/88 corridors would probably be most effectively served by a robust express bus network hubbing at Rosemont and Forest Park, respectively, with serious facilities in place to bypass any congestion a la Houston's fully separated entry/exit ramps and HOV lanes. If memory serves, I'm pretty sure the Alternatives Analysis study of the Northwest corridor (I-90) which looked at Blue Line extensions, express bus, local bus, and commuter rail options showed the express bus as far and away the most cost effective at improving accessibility and reducing travel times - but I can't find the doc to be sure so don't quote me on it or present that statement as fact ("I read on the internet that..."). Of course, we know how that whole study turned out... due to the triumph of politics.

Of the proposed extensions, well, clearly there are political considerations at play. To my eyes, based on travel patterns and regional economics, the "no-brainer" of these 3 is the Orange Line extension, though all have potential merit assuming costs can be kept from ballooning to the stratosphere.

The Brown Line extension to Jefferson Park is probably the only hope for any sort of E-W rapid transit in the city, which is also a marginal project that has good ridership potential but exorbitant cost. Most other crosstown corridors just dont have the trip density to support rail rapid transit, and would be better off just getting serious bus improvements (rush-hour bus-only lanes, signal priority, some use of pre-paid multi-door boarding, etc.).

The other main issue with crosstown corridors is that average trip lengths tend to be very low, between 1.5-3 miles, which is not an optimal range for rapid transit which shines for trip lengths in the 4-8 mile range. At short trip lengths, the bus almost always wins for the simple reason that it has more closely spaced stops that get people to/from destinations with less walking - the station access times at both ends of the trip negate the travel time savings of rail for most people when their overall trip length is short. The Brown extension under Lawrence to Jeff Park potentially works because of the demand generated by O'Hare and surrounding economic activity at Rosemont, Cumberland, etc. in conjunction with the high residential density of the north side - e.g. it serves a relatively high concentration of long trips for which rail would be much more attractive than a very long bus ride, but it's also exorbitantly expensive to build so it's not a no-brainer extension.

VivaLFuego Aug 12, 2009 11:49 PM

For those interested in more info on the proposed extensions:
http://www.transitchicago.com/assets...ugust_2009.pdf

jpIllInoIs Aug 13, 2009 12:54 AM

Any time and money that is spent on extensions is taken away form the Clinton Street Subway, which is my first priority. After that the near south infill stations on the Orange(18th/Clark) and Green (18th/Cermak) would be a priority.

Via Chicago Aug 13, 2009 1:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 4402609)
I'd rather see more East/West lines period. Or a line where you can actually access the city's parks. Neither is ever going to happen though. I think a Blue line extension past O'Hare and past Forest Park are far bigger priorities than what they are proposing, given the insanely horrible Eisenhower expressway and Kennedy/Edens junction bottleneck that makes it almost impossible to get into the city from the western and northern suburbs every afternoon. Every once and a while I have to drive on those stretches and am just absolutely amazed. Driving inbound on the Eisenhower, it's like the expressway was designed for and has the amount of lanes for the 1950's.

I wish they'd never taken away the Douglas Branch. It used to run all the way to Oak Park Ave. through Berwyn until 1952, when it was cut back to 54th/Cermak. The abandoned part of the run, now called the Vacin Fairway, is still there and serving as a big parking lot. And all that stands between Oak Park Ave. and Harlem is a park. So the L could in fact be easily extended to Harlem (well, easy in the sense that there would be no need to acquire any property to do it).

http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/3325/30329479.jpg

arenn Aug 13, 2009 2:40 AM

Is the STAR line even viable anymore now that the EJ&E is owned by CN and is seeing heavy freight use?

ardecila Aug 13, 2009 7:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4402812)
The Ike is a known and obvious bottlebeck. It's unclear a rapid transit extension is warranted - depending on the exact alignment and operating plan (e.g. if the extension had BART-style headways and fares in the furthest stretches) perhaps a west extension could be successful, but it's tough to imagine or locate a viable alignment to Oak Brook/Lombard.

Local from Lombard-Forest Park, express to UIC-Halsted with a few transfer stations at Cicero, Western, etc. Alignment would use the Illinois Prairie Path and then subway or elevated down Butterfield, with a jog on 83 and 22nd to serve Oak Brook Mall. Realistically, it would only be justified if Lombard and Oakbrook Terrace were to mount a massive, Tysons Corner-style refashioning into a series of walkable destinations.

Quote:

Getting it to 4-lanes each direction through Oak Park and the Avenues is probably a necessary project, but I fear what the traffic engineers will try to do to the area around Oak Park avenue, which is a surprisingly thriving and dense piece of urbanity (served by a transit stop but no highway access, and the built form and mode choice patterns show it).
The obvious choice is to use the CTA's extra right-of-way, rather than any sort of taking of private property. It's got to be cheaper than ripping down 5 blocks' worth of apartment buildings and installing a huge new retaining wall. If express tracks are ever warranted on the Blue Line, then Oak Park would just have to be a bottleneck.

Quote:

The Brown Line extension to Jefferson Park is probably the only hope for any sort of E-W rapid transit in the city, which is also a marginal project that has good ridership potential but exorbitant cost.
I've never seen any serious discussion of this. IDOT includes it as a "supporting transit planned project" in highway analyses but I've never seen it mentioned by CTA, RTA, or CMAP.

Crosstown corridors may not support rail rapid transit, but what about intermediary technologies like light rail/tram or trolleybus, where the traffic benefit might jibe better with the capital cost?

jpIllInoIs Aug 13, 2009 1:25 PM

CREATE funding becoming political football
 
Barrington Mayor shows up at freight forum trying to connect CREATE funding to EJE community road/rail seperations. And a WI US Rep takes advantage of that conflict to try to derail all funding.


Freight forum stokes EJ&E concerns
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Squabbling in Congress over how to pay for transportation could mean no federal cash in the near future to fix Chicago's freight train bottleneck, a top official warned, the Daily Herald reports. At a forum on freight rail, representatives from the U.S. and Canadian governments and the business community emphasized that trains are cheaper and more fuel-efficient than trucks to move goods. Transport Canada official Kristine Burr said the public and private sectors were investing $2 billion in freight rail projects there.

"We wanted to make sure the transportation system is as effective and productive as possible," Burr said during the event, held at the Union League Club of Chicago and organized by the Metropolitan Planning Council.

In contrast, U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, a member of the influential House Transportation Committee, said federal funding for projects such as CREATE, a program to modernize the congested rail system in Chicago with improvements like grade separations, won't happen anytime soon.
The current surface transportation act expires Sept. 30. A new $500-billion proposal to be spent over six years is under discussion but the White House and Senate are pushing a smaller 18-month version. The problem is, "there's no consensus on how to fund it," said Petri, a Wisconsin Republican. (Duh, theres no consensus because your an obstructionist)

The issue hit home for Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner and Barrington Mayor Karen Darch, who attended the forum. Both communities opposed the merger of the Canadian National Railroad and the smaller EJ&E railway that runs from Waukegan to Gary, Ind. The government approved the merger and agreed with CN's contention it would ease freight problems in Chicago.

Towns along the EJ&E fought the plan, saying it would increase traffic, delay emergency responders and cause environmental problems.

The mayors said there was a disconnect between the government approving the merger but holding back money to pay for improvements.
"There needs to be more planning," Darch said. "If you approve a deal making freights flow faster, there's got to be planning for the impact on communities."

Petri, however, said "we need to see progress made in moving goods through the Chicago area. CREATE is part of that but it's slow in coming. CN has stepped up to bat to try and close the gap."

Ron Pillsbury, a vice president with McCain Foods Ltd. who spoke at the event, said train delays are costly for everyone.

"It adds costs getting from Point A to Point B," Pillsbury said. "Ultimately the consumer pays for it."

CREATE has received about $220 million in public and private dollars and the state recently committed $320 million, but the entire project could cost up to $3 billion.

The forum was co-sponsored by the Canadian Consulate General of Chicago.

http://www.rtands.com/newsflash/frei...-concerns.html

Mr Downtown Aug 13, 2009 1:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Via Chicago (Post 4403132)
I wish they'd never taken away the Douglas Branch. It used to run all the way to Oak Park Ave. through Berwyn until 1952, when it was cut back to 54th/Cermak.

Unfortunately, the reason it was cut back has not changed: a grade crossing every 165 feet. Although, maybe today, Berwyn would
allow automated crossing gates to be used. They wouldn't in the early 50s, and the crossing gatemen were costing more in salaries than the end of the line was generating in fares.

Still, how practical is it today to install a rapid transit line in the alley behind residential buildings when there are several frequent bus services on the street in front of the buildings?

Mr Downtown Aug 13, 2009 1:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arenn (Post 4403305)
Is the STAR line even viable anymore now that the EJ&E is owned by CN and is seeing heavy freight use?

The ROW is 100 feet wide in most places. CN's position during the public discussion last year was that the prospects for STAR wouldn't be affected by their acquisition. That doesn't make the STAR line any less stupid an idea, though.

the urban politician Aug 13, 2009 2:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 4403869)
Barrington Mayor shows up at freight forum trying to connect CREATE funding to EJE community road/rail seperations. And a WI US Rep takes advantage of that conflict to try to derail all funding.

^ Thank God Obama is President, Emmanuel is Chief of Staff, Oberstar is head of the Transportation committee (and views CREATE as having a high priority), and LaHood is from Illinois. I think they can overpower this obstructionist fuckwad from Wisconsin.

emathias Aug 13, 2009 5:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arenn (Post 4403305)
Is the STAR line even viable anymore now that the EJ&E is owned by CN and is seeing heavy freight use?

I don't think the Star Line ever was, is or will be viable, regardless of EJ&E status.

whyhuhwhy Aug 13, 2009 8:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4403969)
^ Thank God Obama is President, Emmanuel is Chief of Staff, Oberstar is head of the Transportation committee (and views CREATE as having a high priority), and LaHood is from Illinois. I think they can overpower this obstructionist fuckwad from Wisconsin.

Yeah thank God our deficit has only quintupled in one year and will probably be only $2.5 trillion by this time next year... that's not concerning. LOL. I feel lucky that I don't have any children to pass this burden on though.

the urban politician Aug 13, 2009 8:42 PM

^ I'm certainly not in favor of out of control spending, but don't you think CREATE and other rail projects are worthwhile public investments?

whyhuhwhy Aug 13, 2009 8:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4404603)
^ You don't think CREATE is a worthwhile project?

That's the problem, I absolutely do, so I'm conflicted. I wish we could spend all the money in the world and get it done yesterday. The problem is we just don't have the money to spend right now. Some can shout up and down and whine that this opinion is "getting in the way" but let's take a slow, deep breath for a second. We are literally just using our credit lines and I don't see even the slightest restraint in spending what will no doubt be my children's money and their burden (if I ever have any). If we had the money, so be it, let's do it. In fact I want it done just so we don't keep increasing the cost of it down the road, so I'd support it in its current form even with the out of control government spending we are in the middle of. Let's do it. But I also have to commend any politician that shows at least some restraint in spending my children's money at a time that apparently Paris Hilton with a brand new Platinum credit card is at the helm of our country. And yes I voted for him (but will not again). We increased our deficit by $187 billion... JUST LAST MONTH. :sly: I don't believe people that say no to this are "obstructionist" in other words.

whyhuhwhy Aug 13, 2009 9:14 PM

BTW I thought the funding for CREATE was pretty much in place now with the new capital bill, at least for us to start work on it for the next couple years at least.

But yeah you are right urb, Illinois politicians are basically running the show in Washington so I don't see funding for CREATE being a problem. I'm sure other things would get cut before it.

VivaLFuego Aug 13, 2009 10:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 4404613)
That's the problem, I absolutely do, so I'm conflicted. I wish we could spend all the money in the world and get it done yesterday. The problem is we just don't have the money to spend right now. Some can shout up and down and whine that this opinion is "getting in the way" but let's take a slow, deep breath for a second.

Not wanting to get into a partisan debate, but federal spending on transportation and infrastructure is a teensie weensie drop in an enormous bucket compared to spending on entitlements & subsidies (Medicare/Social Security/Medicaid/Welfare/Housing/Food/Farm) which account for about 40% of federal expenditures. Debt service on bonds (i.e. how we pay for our deficits) eats up about 20% of the budget. The military gets a sizable chunk of the remainder. Infrastructure is at most a few percent; Federal transportation spending has been in the $50-60 billion a year range out of annual budgets that were until recently in the $2.5 trillion range but have, over the past few months, gotten quite a bit larger.

There is ample money for infrastructure if there were political will to get it done, but the political will, for reasons that would be totally OT to get into, is focused on entitlement programs.

whyhuhwhy Aug 13, 2009 11:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4404800)
Not wanting to get into a partisan debate, but federal spending on transportation and infrastructure is a teensie weensie drop in an enormous bucket compared to spending on entitlements & subsidies (Medicare/Social Security/Medicaid/Welfare/Housing/Food/Farm) which account for about 40% of federal expenditures. Debt service on bonds (i.e. how we pay for our deficits) eats up about 20% of the budget. The military gets a sizable chunk of the remainder. Infrastructure is at most a few percent; Federal transportation spending has been in the $50-60 billion a year range out of annual budgets that were until recently in the $2.5 trillion range but have, over the past few months, gotten quite a bit larger.

There is ample money for infrastructure if there were political will to get it done, but the political will, for reasons that would be totally OT to get into, is focused on entitlement programs.

You're right. I wish we spent a lot more on infrastructure and a lot less on social engineering.

bnk Aug 13, 2009 11:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 4404594)
Yeah thank God our deficit has only quintupled in one year and will probably be only $2.5 trillion by this time next year... that's not concerning. LOL. I feel lucky that I don't have any children to pass this burden on though.

See the Iraq war for a real deficit. :koko:

What happened to the budget surplus W inherited? How do you like their tax cut now?

whyhuhwhy Aug 13, 2009 11:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bnk (Post 4404908)
See the Iraq war for a real deficit. :koko:

What happened to the budget surplus W inherited? How do you like their tax cut now?

Bush was an idiot but listen, we aren't even fighting a major war right now and the budget deficit for THE MONTH OF JULY grew by $187 billion, which is literally almost half of the prior TOTAL CUMULATIVE spending deficit for all of the Bush years! In. Just. One. Month. :eek:

But on topic, Viva is right, most of this is social spending and not infrastructure, so there is no reason to obstruct projects like CREATE.

ardecila Aug 14, 2009 2:05 AM

Last time I checked, we are still fighting insurgents in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We most definitely are still fighting a war, although we're no longer fighting an organized Iraqi army.

As for CREATE: ironically, Illinois has now committed funding but the Federal match might be difficult to secure. Cost escalations have also nearly doubled the build-out cost of CREATE (which I don't understand; construction costs should be cheaper with so many people begging for work and low demand for materials...)

whyhuhwhy Aug 14, 2009 3:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4405155)
Last time I checked, we are still fighting insurgents in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We most definitely are still fighting a war, although we're no longer fighting an organized Iraqi army.

Having troop settlements is a little different than fighting a new war IMO, but you are right, Obama's budget this year actually increased military spending. I wonder if bnk supports the fact that we actually increased our war/military spending this year over Bush by 4%.

Quote:

As for CREATE: ironically, Illinois has now committed funding but the Federal match might be difficult to secure. Cost escalations have also nearly doubled the build-out cost of CREATE (which I don't understand; construction costs should be cheaper with so many people begging for work and low demand for materials...)
Yeah no kidding, I don't understand it either. I think a lot of it has to do with China and India becoming more and more like the United States in their demand for materials though. Those countries are gigantic. It isn't just the U.S. and Europe who have high construction/materials demand anymore.

Steely Dan Aug 14, 2009 3:30 PM

any more posts about national politics or foreign wars or any of that stupid off-topic BS will be deleted from this thread.

the topic of this thread is chicago transit developments.

ChicagoChicago Aug 17, 2009 2:58 PM

:previous:

And speaking of transit developments... On my way in this morning, I noticed that they have started to extend the canopies on the Fullerton CTA stop. I have no idea who decided that the original canopies would suffice, or how much extra it is going to cost now to extend them, but I am damn sure happy that they are doing it. Now I just hope they do the same for Belmont!

k1052 Aug 17, 2009 3:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChicagoChicago (Post 4409859)
:previous:

And speaking of transit developments... On my way in this morning, I noticed that they have started to extend the canopies on the Fullerton CTA stop. I have no idea who decided that the original canopies would suffice, or how much extra it is going to cost now to extend them, but I am damn sure happy that they are doing it. Now I just hope they do the same for Belmont!

That's very good news, I always thought this was a terrible way to cut costs on the project.

VivaLFuego Aug 17, 2009 4:15 PM

I might be wrong, but I seem to remember Vi Daley and Tom Tunney contributing some of their aldermanic "menu" money towards the escalators and canopies at Belmont & Fullerton that were VE'd out but now will be included. I assume they aren't bearing the full cost, but contributing as a gesture for CTA to match.

ChicagoChicago Aug 17, 2009 4:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4409997)
I might be wrong, but I seem to remember Vi Daley and Tom Tunney contributing some of their aldermanic "menu" money towards the escalators and canopies at Belmont & Fullerton that were VE'd out but now will be included. I assume they aren't bearing the full cost, but contributing as a gesture for CTA to match.

Well bravo to them. The extended canopy at Fullerton will extend almost the entire platform, and I'm guessing they'll do the same for Belmont.

After a quick search, here's the article...

http://www.transitchicago.com/news/d...ArticleId=2399

Quote:

CTA to Extend Station Canopies at Belmont and Fullerton

7/15/2009

Canopies that cover the platforms at the Belmont and Fullerton stations will be extended following the Chicago Transit Board’s approval of a change in the original contract with FHP Tectonics Corporation to renovate the stations as part of the Brown Line capacity expansion project.

The canopies will be extended to approximately 320 feet – the equivalent of a six-car train – rather than the original distance of 128 feet or a 2 1/2-car train...

Chicago Shawn Aug 17, 2009 7:09 PM

^That is excellent news.

Taft Aug 18, 2009 7:08 PM

Speaking of VE gripes...has anyone been to the new Wellington station since it opened. Overall, I like the modernity. But the stairs...my god the noise. They are made out of metal and are installed in such a way that every step you take you hear the BANG! of one piece of metal slapping against another. I'm not sure if it is an installation issue or just bad design, but it is really annoying.

VivaLFuego Aug 18, 2009 8:36 PM

Possibly just not finished yet as part of a rush to get the station open by a certain deadline? I remember the at-grade stations (Rockwell, Kedzie, etc) had some serious issues with water drainage when they first opened to riders that were eventually taken care of at the punchlist/closeout stage.

k1052 Aug 19, 2009 1:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 4412156)
Speaking of VE gripes...has anyone been to the new Wellington station since it opened. Overall, I like the modernity. But the stairs...my god the noise. They are made out of metal and are installed in such a way that every step you take you hear the BANG! of one piece of metal slapping against another. I'm not sure if it is an installation issue or just bad design, but it is really annoying.

I used Wellington last night for the first time since it reopened and noticed the same thing. You get a few people going down or up those stairs and the noise is just incredible

arenn Aug 19, 2009 2:47 PM

I started a three part blog series today on improving public transit in Chicago, focused on marshaling support for funding:

http://theurbanophile.blogspot.com/2...reat-part.html

spyguy Aug 19, 2009 3:49 PM

http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune....munities-.html

Beyond Burnham: Area residents weigh in on transit plans for 2040; many favor denser communities
By Kristen Kridel


Schaumburg resident Mike Williams never realized road construction costs would decrease if more people moved into condominium buildings.

...The majority of people want denser communities and greater protection of the environment and investment in transit, he said.

...Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder, who serves on CMAP's Transportation Committee, said she's hopeful the 2040 blueprint will spell out a plan for a new mode of public transportation to connect all the suburbs. Now residents have no choice but to get in their cars, she said. The plan also needs to link all transportation systems.

ardecila Aug 19, 2009 11:07 PM

An interesting juxtaposition of The Urbanophile's entry with this Tribune article. I highly encourage everyone to read them together.

Chicago needs a transit constituency that's more than a bunch of CTA-dependent poor folks and idealists who know way more than they should about transit issues. :haha: I place some of the blame on ridiculous and insane RTA infighting, which has directly or indirectly greatly reduced the usefulness and visibility of the transit system in Chicago.

There's also a severe marketing problem. Metra's website design is juniorized and outdated, and they continue to cling to this small-town, exclusive commuter mentality. Just look at their newsletter - the most recent one contains a complaint about a specific Metra passenger who chews her nails, and then a rebuttal complaint from that passenger.

Meanwhile, Pace seems to occupy no significant place in the lives of all but the poorest suburbanites. I've met many people who weren't even aware that it existed. They, too, need to do a better job of marketing themselves. Maybe if they introduced a few express routes along high-traffic corridors, and then launched an ad blitz?

To this date, I have never seen a TV commercial advertising Metra. Both Metra and Pace run radio ads, but Pace's ads focus exclusively on their Wrigley Field-Schaumburg bus. :koko:

bnk Aug 19, 2009 11:18 PM

I do not like this downsizing of Create



http://www.joc.com/node/412985

Chicago Trims Freight Rail Plan

John D. Boyd | Aug 19, 2009 8:48PM GMT

The Journal of Commerce Online
Class I Railroads | Short Lines | Washington | States | Rail Shippers | Rail + Intermodal | United States


CN’s use of Chicago-area short line reduces some corridor construction needs
The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program -- a massive construction plan to untangle clogged freight rail, commuter lines and roadway traffic -- is culling its game plan.

Citing the fact that Canadian National Railway now “has an alternate route available” for its through-trains instead of its congested rail corridor into central Chicago, CREATE officials said it will trim construction plans for that central corridor.

“The Federal Highway Administration, Illinois Department of Transportation, Chicago Department of Transportation and Association of American Railroads have agreed to modifications to the CREATE Program in response to changing needs,” the organization said in a note to supporters. It said the full central corridor work it initially planned for “is no longer required.”

The CREATE Program is a thick blueprint for scores of construction projects in and near the city to separate tracks from roads, build new rail control towers, revamp signaling and make numerous other changes that could total nearly $3 billion.

All of North America’s main railroads connect there, and intermingle with commuter and cross-country passenger systems as well as a busy network of railroad freight terminals and private shipper facilities. CREATE was announced in 2003 with hopes of speeding long-distance freight shipments through Chicago that often bog down once they enter the area’s rail system.

In 2005 the federal government chipped in $100 million; that was a fraction of what CREATE backers hoped for and meant construction plans would go more slowly than if it had been strongly supported. Since then, railroads have contributed funds, along with the city of Chicago, and in July the state of Illinois added a $322 million contribution.

Earlier this year, CN absorbed short line Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway, which arcs west of the city through numerous suburbs, and CN is slowly starting to shift some of its traffic onto those tracks. But CN’s move triggered sharp protests by some suburbs, where residents fear it will add to their road congestion.

CREATE could get another, perhaps sizable, funding boost this year. It wants to tap federal stimulus funds, and could qualify for help from that measure’s $8 billion in grants yet to be made to support high-speed and other passenger rail operations.

President Obama and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel are from Chicago, as is Sen. Richard Durbin, who holds the second-highest leadership post among Democrats in the Senate. And Obama installed another Chicagoan, former rail union official Joseph Szabo, as Federal Railroad Administrator.

With a high-speed line being planned down to St. Louis, with Iowa wanting to develop a new regular-speed Amtrak lane to Chicago and additional corridors aiming toward that key city from other directions, untangling its current track system could become a higher national priority.

Contact John D. Boyd at jboyd@joc.com.


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