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the urban politician Feb 4, 2011 2:07 PM

I am amazed that this thread is getting the most traffic these days, especially since there is next to nothing interesting going on in Chicago area mass transit, and there is next to nothing that will ever happen in the forseeable future.

If it were LA, it would be far more exciting--a mayor who makes trips to Washington and brings home the bacon, gets projects underway, and you can actually see new construction before your very eyes. But this mental masturbation thing we have going on over here just serves no purpose other than to get one excited over things that may never be.

Am I the only one who is literally getting bored of the ongoing process in Chicago of publishing a study, then shelving it; publishing a study, then shelving it; rinse and repeat. I realize the the Federal Government has to pass a transportation funding bill and all, but you guys do realize that 90% of this fluff that you keep talking about will never happen, right?

the urban politician Feb 4, 2011 2:17 PM

^ Great, we can finally study an improvement over the current predominant mode of south lakefront transit:

http://tedsingh.com/wp-content/uploa...let-impala.jpg
Source

emathias Feb 4, 2011 2:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 5151703)
...
but you guys do realize that 90% of this fluff that you keep talking about will never happen, right?

Really? Wow, good thing wise ol' TUP is here to let us in on the ways of the world since the rest of us are idiots who think things magically appear just because we imagine them ...

Mr Downtown Feb 4, 2011 3:01 PM

The South Lakefront Study wouldn't necessarily involve any serious capital projects.

As for the other projects, they need to be pretty well along if not "shovel-ready" to get included in the next transportation funding act.

the urban politician Feb 4, 2011 3:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5151726)
Really? Wow, good thing wise ol' TUP is here to let us in on the ways of the world since the rest of us are idiots who think things magically appear just because we imagine them ...

^ Fine, then, carry on the mental masturbation.

Because that is what the last 10 pages of this thread have essentially been.

I just don't see the point in planning and speculating (and, frankly, caring) when there are zero dollars in the pipeline. At least with buildings there is a chance that something will happen with private financing.

IMO, I think the focus of this thread should be "how can the city get more funding for transit and transit projects?" instead of "lets speculate on another mass transit expansion idea that I came up with last night that will never happen".

Anyhow, I'm done here, that's all I had to say..

emathias Feb 4, 2011 3:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 5151771)
^ Fine, then, carry on the mental masturbation.

Because that is what the last 10 pages of this thread have essentially been.

I just don't see the point in planning and speculating (and, frankly, caring) when there are zero dollars in the pipeline. At least with buildings there is a chance that something will happen with private financing.

IMO, I think the focus of this thread should be "how can the city get more funding for transit and transit projects?" instead of "lets speculate on another mass transit expansion idea that I came up with last night that will never happen".

Anyhow, I'm done here, that's all I had to say..

Hate to break it to you, but NOTHING on this board ever amounts to anything. The reason people discuss plans instead of funding is that, well, funding is rather hopeless right now and talking about speculative physical development is a lot more interesting to most people than talking about speculative numbers. I don't recall people discussing at length numbers on how to get the Spire built, for example.

Except for what is reported as actually news, everything on this board is, as you so coarsely put it, "mental masturbation" and amounts to absolutely no productive use of any of our time and we participate not because we think it will amount to anything, but because it's fun to imagine and work through ideas. If you have some other self-delusion you'd rather discuss, then start discussing it - I don't see the point of you arrogantly taking the piss out of the discussion here.

I'm sorry if you somehow thought otherwise.

Nowhereman1280 Feb 4, 2011 4:28 PM

^^^ I don't know about you, but whenever I say something on this board it immediately happens in real life...

Beta_Magellan Feb 4, 2011 4:36 PM

Transit funding advocacy is sorely lacking in Chicago, though--we don't really have an equivalent of Greater Greater Washington or something like that. We have a lot of quasi-official bodies and nonprofits that work on the issue, but the political culture here makes reform very difficult. It would really be great to have some sort of online springboard for reform, and to break what Aaron Renn called the "racket" attitude--complaining about the CTA like it's the weather (which, despite our hedonism in this forum, is really the predominating attitude in Chicago).

I'm not sure is SSP is the best place for that kind of discussion--a lot of people here are either citizens interested in the built environment or have some engineering background, and personally I feel out of my depth when discussing funding mechanisms and public policy with any kind of intricacy. Also, much of the last four pages was debate over planning that's currently on--funding might not be secured, but the process is slowly moving forward. From what I understand, it's hard to ask for money for major capital projects if you have little idea what you'll be doing with it.

Anyway, it's good to see the south lakefront study moving forward--I've taken Metra to work over the last two days rather than the #2 and it was a pleasure; I look forward to seeing what (pragmatic, not-capital intensive) ideas they come up with.

Beta_Magellan Feb 4, 2011 4:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 5151842)
^^^ I don't know about you, but whenever I say something on this board it immediately happens in real life...

My god--Chicago suddenly sprouted a new subway under Lawrence Avenue which feeds into the new four-track subway under Broadway! It will be useful for transferring to the new four-track mainline above, which was rerouted under Clinton Street in order to connect with the new vactrain to Omaha!

Thundertubs Feb 4, 2011 5:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5151855)
...the "racket" attitude--complaining about the CTA like it's the weather...

It's funny how commonplace that is. I think most people seem to forget that we have a fantastic transit system, one of the best on the continent. I wouldn't choose to live in Chicago without it. Of course it has problems, but so do the systems in NY and DC.

Hooray for Chicago transit.

the urban politician Feb 4, 2011 5:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5151803)
Hate to break it to you, but NOTHING on this board ever amounts to anything.

^ That is simply not true.

There are still highrises under construction. There are still highrises that are going to be built. There are still smaller projects on the pipeline, and at least some of them will be built.

But when we start talking about Lawrence Ave subways and Cicero Ave subways and trains and tunnels to here or there, I think we all know that it's just a mental exercise.

OhioGuy Feb 4, 2011 5:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thundertubs (Post 5151913)
It's funny how commonplace that is. I think most people seem to forget that we have a fantastic transit system, one of the best on the continent. I wouldn't choose to live in Chicago without it. Of course it has problems, but so do the systems in NY and DC.

Hooray for Chicago transit.

I agree. While it's not perfect, it's still a great system to use. When I lived in Chicago, I sold my car and relied solely on the CTA. For the most part, I was able to make it to various areas of the city without too many issues. Chicago would hold vastly less interest for me if it didn't have the L. Yes the lakefront, old urbanity, and skyscrapers are great, but without a relatively convenient means of getting to/from various parts of the city, I'd be forced to continue relying on a vehicle and that would ruin the overall experience for me. (Not to mention I suspect less young professionals would be interested in relocating to Chicago without rapid transit and hence various neighborhoods would be nowhere near as nice as they currently are.)

the urban politician Feb 4, 2011 5:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 5151942)
I agree. While it's not perfect, it's still a great system to use. When I lived in Chicago, I sold my car and relied solely on the CTA. For the most part, I was able to make it to various areas of the city without too many issues. Chicago would hold vastly less interest for me if it didn't have the L. Yes the lakefront, old urbanity, and skyscrapers are great, but without a relatively convenient means of getting to/from various parts of the city, I'd be forced to continue relying on a vehicle and that would ruin the overall experience for me. (Not to mention I suspect less young professionals would be interested in relocating to Chicago without rapid transit and hence various neighborhoods would be nowhere near as nice as they currently are.)

Riding the Red and Brown Lines have always been a pleasure for me.

Don't get me wrong, I still think Chicago has better mass transit than 98% of the US.

emathias Feb 4, 2011 5:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 5151939)
^ That is simply not true.

There are still highrises under construction. There are still highrises that are going to be built. There are still smaller projects on the pipeline, and at least some of them will be built.

But when we start talking about Lawrence Ave subways and Cicero Ave subways and trains and tunnels to here or there, I think we all know that it's just a mental exercise.

Those are NEWS. They would be built whether or not this site existed. No matter how vigorously they're debated and disussed here, nothing said here changes whether they get built and how they get built.

Cicero trains have been studied for nearly 50 years. The Orange Line alignment partially uses the alignment a Cicero train would use.

The Lawrence subway is a thought exercise that encorporates a Brown Line extension discussed as an alternative by the CTA's Circle Line studies. The Gray Line has been advocated by many agencies, and is probably also included in the city's just-started study.

If you don't want to discuss these sorts of things, fine. What I object to is your pissy "I don't want to discuss this, so no one else should want to either because I think I control the universe" attitude.

I don't know who pissed in your Wheaties this morning, but cut out the crappy attitude.

the urban politician Feb 4, 2011 6:03 PM

^ I'm not telling you not to discuss it, I'm just saying that this thread may not really be the best place to continue to speculatively discuss hypothetical transit projects that may or may not be half a century away from ever happening. After all, this is the "Transit Developments" thread and many of us visit this forum for updates, not to watch others draw speculative diagrams on a metaphoric chalkboard.

I'm sure if we spent 5 pages on the Highrise Compilation Thread displaying designs of highrises we've drawn for various sites downtown instead of discussing real projects, people would start to go grow weary. There needs to at least be some link to the real world here, some sort of expectation of what's to come. Otherwise, maybe a separate thread in which everybody comes up with their dream transit system and discusses it at length should be created, so that the rest of us can visit this thread and actually discuss real developments that are actually likely to happen in the near future.

Sorry, but I just had to speak my opinion, and perhaps I'm wrong. Again, I'm finished so carry on however you'd like.

OrdoSeclorum Feb 4, 2011 6:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 5151988)
^ I'm not telling you not to discuss it, I'm just saying that this thread may not really be the best place to continue to speculatively discuss hypothetical transit projects that may or may not be half a century away from ever happening.

Well, the CTA requested feedback this very week on proposed alternatives for potential Red and Purple line re-development. Something is going to happen to the Red line in the next few years. It's why there is activity in this thread. In the last two weeks, the likely next mayor has proposed transformative bike-lane and BRT investments, which should be easy to implement and relatively cheap, as these things go. It all seems damn topical to me.

The CTA has changed a lot in the last few years: Bus and Train trackers. Blue line improvements. Brown line improvements. Union Station Re-development is underway. Pink line.

Nothing happens without a vision. If we don't talk about and convince ourselves about what we want to see, we have no way of explaining to people--in Washington and our neighbors--why they should care to. Keep it up, folks.

CTA Gray Line Feb 4, 2011 8:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 5151703)
I am amazed that this thread is getting the most traffic these days, especially since there is next to nothing interesting going on in Chicago area mass transit, and there is next to nothing that will ever happen in the forseeable future.

If it were LA, it would be far more exciting--a mayor who makes trips to Washington and brings home the bacon, gets projects underway, and you can actually see new construction before your very eyes. But this mental masturbation thing we have going on over here just serves no purpose other than to get one excited over things that may never be.

Am I the only one who is literally getting bored of the ongoing process in Chicago of publishing a study, then shelving it; publishing a study, then shelving it; rinse and repeat. I realize the the Federal Government has to pass a transportation funding bill and all, but you guys do realize that 90% of this fluff that you keep talking about will never happen, right?


Something IS going to happen coming from the South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study; I am a R a b i d Foaming-at-the-Mouth Steroided-Up UFC-Trained Pit-Bull just waiting for the appropriate time to A T T A C K.

I WON'T let this chance go by!!!

the urban politician Feb 4, 2011 8:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 5152196)
Something IS going to happen coming from the South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study; I am a R a b i d Foaming-at-the-Mouth Steroided-Up UFC-Trained Pit-Bull just waiting for the appropriate time to A T T A C K.

I WON'T let this chance go by!!!

^ Now that is more like it! :tup:

ardecila Feb 5, 2011 2:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 5151703)
I am amazed that this thread is getting the most traffic these days, especially since there is next to nothing interesting going on in Chicago area mass transit, and there is next to nothing that will ever happen in the forseeable future.

What a f*cking downer.

The CTA is realistically considering all sorts of cool stuff, including a brand-new 4-track line or a brand-new subway. That's in addition to the Red Line extension and the other two extensions, and the ongoing drive to start running BRT service.

Rahm has pledged to get both Red Line projects built if elected. He wasn't vague about it - he literally promised it.

Now, that doesn't mean it will happen. Pols say all sorts of things. But he didn't weasel out of it or make some vague platitude statement. He was also personally behind the last $8bn round of high-speed rail spending, so he'll undoubtedly push for passenger-rail improvements and CREATE. And he's the clear frontrunner right now, supported by the Trib (despite John Kass) and a huge number of Chicagoans. If he wins, the situation for transit improves immensely over the vague hands-off attitude that Daley had.

I expect Rahm to appoint a new CTA president who shares his enthusiastic view of transit. Hopefully he'll bring Huberman back.

Honestly, what's the reason for your frustration? Things haven't looked this good for the CTA since the 60s.

CTA Gray Line Feb 5, 2011 7:42 AM

CDOT South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study
 
The Chicago Department of Transportation has begun the South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study; attached is a Presentation outlining goals, resources, and time frame of the Study.

I have placed the Presentation, Fact Sheet, and Input Surveys that were distributed at the Feb. 4th Meeting in pdf form here:

http://www.grayline.20m.com/box_widget.html



Read the Presentation and Fact Sheets; and then return the completed Input Survey sheets by February 18th via email or mail to:

Brenda McGruder

Chicago Department of Transportation

30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 500

Chicago, IL 60602

southlakefront@cityofchicago.org

the urban politician Feb 6, 2011 6:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 5152834)
The Chicago Department of Transportation has begun the South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study; attached is a Presentation outlining goals, resources, and time frame of the Study.

I have placed the Presentation, Fact Sheet, and Input Surveys that were distributed at the Feb. 4th Meeting in pdf form here:

http://www.grayline.20m.com/box_widget.html



Read the Presentation and Fact Sheets; and then return the completed Input Survey sheets by February 18th via email or mail to:

Brenda McGruder

Chicago Department of Transportation

30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 500

Chicago, IL 60602

southlakefront@cityofchicago.org

^ I would be hopeful that the discussions in this study would include how to promote the kind of density along the south lakefront to support heavy rail. I think that is a key ingredient, perhaps just as (if not more) important than the mass transit improvements themselves.

If mass transit improvements are accompanied by strip malls with acres of parking, then the investment is simply not worth it. And on the south side, we seem to be seeing a lot of that (strip malls, that is)

paytonc Feb 14, 2011 6:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5149426)
It might be extra-super-convenient, but it doesn’t really make sense to saturate a neighborhood with heavy rail stations all within walking distance of one another. It’s a fifth of a mile.... Having a directly adjacent heavy rail stop is a plus, but it’s not a prerequisite. And a fifth of a mile distance is pretty good too.

Immediate "L" access is not exactly a formula for success. Along W. Division, the area around Damen is much livelier than around Ashland even though it's further from the "L." Michigan is busier than State downtown. Clark is generally more successful than Broadway on the far north side.

Another consideration is that building stations is very expensive, and there's only so much money out there.

Also, don't get your hopes too high for the (IMO, much needed) wholesale redevelopment of Broadway as a high-density corridor, since "the neighbors" have spoken up and demand four stories max:
http://www.masmith48.org/broadwaycom...eproposal.html
(Not that those who are irrationally holding on to the idea of subway entrances every single block are any more capable of imagining a greater future.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 5150984)
Its an investment in our future, more money now a hell of a lot less money later.

Good luck explaining that to the nihilist Tea Party maniacs who currently hold the purse strings. They want to keep their fat Social Security & Medicare checks and the endless golden shower of money for "defense and security" (bombs, spare fighter engines, and airport nude-o-scopes), while eliminating anything that has a payoff more than a week from today -- food safety inspections, catching tax evaders, day care, cancer research, and yes, mass transit.

Nowhereman1280 Feb 14, 2011 7:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paytonc (Post 5164113)
Immediate "L" access is not exactly a formula for success. Along W. Division, the area around Damen is much livelier than around Ashland even though it's further from the "L." Michigan is busier than State downtown. Clark is generally more successful than Broadway on the far north side.

Yeah, I think the formula is more reliably "Good El Access + Poor automobile access = dense, quality development". The Broadway v Clark example is illustrative of how constructing massive 6-lane auto sewers depresses the urban environment. They really need to turn Broadway into a boulevard or something. Maybe make it two lanes with a large vegetated median and angle parking with bumpouts? Of course they can't fix Broadway until they push LSD all the way to Evanston to reroute the 8 lanes of freeway traffic that are abruptly dumped onto city streets at Hollywood.

Good luck explaining that to the nihilist Tea Party maniacs who currently hold the purse strings. They want to keep their fat Social Security & Medicare checks and the endless golden shower of money for "defense and security" (bombs, spare fighter engines, and airport nude-o-scopes), while eliminating anything that has a payoff more than a week from today -- food safety inspections, catching tax evaders, day care, cancer research, and yes, mass transit.[/QUOTE]

Nowhereman1280 Feb 14, 2011 7:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paytonc (Post 5164113)
Immediate "L" access is not exactly a formula for success. Along W. Division, the area around Damen is much livelier than around Ashland even though it's further from the "L." Michigan is busier than State downtown. Clark is generally more successful than Broadway on the far north side.

Yeah, I think the formula is more reliably "Good El Access + Poor automobile access = dense, quality development". The Broadway v Clark example is illustrative of how constructing massive 6-lane auto sewers depresses the urban environment. They really need to turn Broadway into a boulevard or something. Maybe make it two lanes with a large vegetated median and angle parking with bumpouts? Of course they can't fix Broadway until they push LSD all the way to Evanston to reroute the 8 lanes of freeway traffic that are abruptly dumped onto city streets at Hollywood.

Quote:

Good luck explaining that to the nihilist Tea Party maniacs who currently hold the purse strings. They want to keep their fat Social Security & Medicare checks and the endless golden shower of money for "defense and security" (bombs, spare fighter engines, and airport nude-o-scopes), while eliminating anything that has a payoff more than a week from today -- food safety inspections, catching tax evaders, day care, cancer research, and yes, mass transit.
Not to get too off topic, but that's completely true. The Republicans right now seem to be united only by a disdain for any sort of planning. Scott Walker not only eliminated the HSR in Wisconsin, but is now trying to pass massive regulations on Wind Farms that would essentially prevent any new ones. How does massively increasing regulations fit into the Republican platform? Who knows, but it appears to only fit when their platform is "resist anything new"...

headcase Feb 14, 2011 10:45 PM

Quinn to sign bill ending seniors-ride-free plan

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg Hinz
In a political signal of sorts in advance of his new budget, Gov. Pat Quinn today will sign legislation to end a state mandate that every senior citizen in the state, however wealthy, be allowed free rides on Metra, Pace, the Chicago Transit Authority and other transit operators.

Low-income seniors still will be able to ride free anytime, and even rich older folks will pay only half price. But the mandate that all seniors ride free all the time will end, several years after it was implemented by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who demanded the freebie in exchange for increased subsidies for transit operators...

About time, even if the timing is gutless.

SSDD

eaguir3 Feb 15, 2011 4:50 AM

wow that urban politician guy is really anti-southside

lawfin Feb 15, 2011 8:35 AM

^^^As to Nowheremans observation re Broadway; I wonder in the recent visions released for possible redline maintnence / development....I did not notice if there was mention of whether the subway option would simply run under the current Elevated path or would it perhaps run up (under) broadway??

I didn't notice any mention of a route; sorry if I missed it.

Also I agree Broadway is a mess particularly north of Lawrence....those strip centers gotta go....way too much street fronting parking. A little height especially on east side.....may 10-20 stories....with recessed parking would do wonder....the west side I would be satisfied given neighborhood constraints if we could get 60-80 feet. It has potential...there is quite a bit of spending power especially west of Broadway along this path.

Nowhereman1280 Feb 15, 2011 3:23 PM

^^^ I believe it will run under Broadway with the alleys where the current structure stands being re-routed and the subsequent raw land being sold off to help pay for the project. With all of the uber-long mega blocks in Edgewater, it looks like we'll just see a dozen more Catalpa Gardens style buildings pop up on the reclaimed land.

As much as I would hate to see us drop tracks and stations, I would love to see a subway run under Broadway, I think it would really encourage all of those strip malls and auto repair centers to convert to some nice TOD. Problem is they've fucked with the zoning in Edgewater a lot to discourage additional density since the area is already so massively, NYC style, dense. Could be a really awesome neighborhood if Broadway were lined with shops and bars instead of CVS's and parking lots.

Ideal solution would be run a three or four track subway under Broadway, pay for additional expense by upzoning all land along the East side of Broadway to maximum density (allow highrises and all, the area can support the density) and to allow mid rises along the West side of Broadway between Sheridan and Wilson. Then make a massive TIF on all of that land that is dedicated to paying the bonds required for the subway and, since they would likely consider cut and cover, to pay for completely rebuilding Broadway to discourage car use. I think that would trigger rapid redevelopment throughout Chicago's far north side and easily pay for itself in a decade or two.

I mean there is no reason why Broadway, being such a wide thoroughfare, couldn't be lined by mid and highrises along its entire length.

ardecila Feb 15, 2011 4:37 PM

You'd probably also need to extend LSD to remove the traffic from the area. Start with an extension to Devon and then to Howard, with northbound traffic allowed onto Sheridan.

Nowhereman1280 Feb 15, 2011 5:05 PM

^^^ I'm not certain that an extension to Devon would be possible. I have a feeling Loyola would attempt to stonewall any exit at Devon due to the massive disruption that would cause to its campus. The city will not do anything to piss Loyola off because they need their cooperation for both the LSD extension and Red Line reconstruction.

I have a feeling any extension would have to go up to Toughy with exits at Granville and Pratt. The plans already show a large lagoon being built in front of Loyola with the drive passing through a tunnel in order to preserve Loyola's lakeshore. The city and school are plotting together to ensure any extension does not cut LU's lake access or violate its campus. The plans I see essentially call for a city park that will act as an extension of Loyola's campus by several hundred feet into the lake with a sea wall and a lagoon / harbor that LSD would pass under.

ardecila Feb 15, 2011 9:29 PM

Just as a curiosity... I wonder how much it would cost to build the LSD extension underground? The park extension would require some serious lakefill and lots of earthmoving, so constructing a trench for LSD wouldn't add very much extra cost. The earthmoving business in particular is very hard to estimate costs... the added cost of a trench is so minor/negligible compared to the total that the contractor might just throw it in.

Waterproofing the trench and decking it over in portions would be the main cost. If you wanted to deck it over completely, then that would require a ventilation system.

I don't really see what Loyola's worried about... they already have the LSD traffic running through their campus on Sheridan and the weird dog-leg at Devon. Converting this to a simple mainline exit along LSD would improve access to their campus while reducing surface through traffic, which would continue north on LSD to the end. Touhy is a 1/2 mile street but is residential in nature; not appropriate for heavy traffic. Same goes for South Blvd/Oakton, and Granville. Howard and Devon are much better.

While they're at it, the Hollywood exit could be seriously improved. Turn Hollywood/Bryn Mawr into a one-way couplet and simplify the Clark/Peterson/Ridge/Ravenswood mess.

Mr Downtown Feb 15, 2011 10:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5165972)
Just as a curiosity... I wonder how much it would cost to build the LSD extension underground?

Way too much. You'd have to put it above lake level unless you have gobs and gobs of money. Better, I think, to landscape the new park so it has frequent crossings of a narrow right-of-way, much like the Transverse Drives through Central Park. Another more modern example is I-35 along Duluth's North Shore:

http://i54.tinypic.com/2cgxxkz.jpg
Bing Maps

paytonc Feb 16, 2011 6:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 5165497)
I mean there is no reason why Broadway, being such a wide thoroughfare, couldn't be lined by mid and highrises along its entire length.

No reason other than the NIMBYs. Unfortunately, they vote there and you and I don't. Has this come up in the local City Council races?

Building a subway and all new stations would also moot all the sky-is-falling hue and cry over station consolidation, since in effect, everyone's station will be closed; new stations could be placed at better locations.

That said, someone at Infrastructurist noted that it may be impossible, given railroad grades, to drop the L into a subway north of Belmont without closing off Clark Street.

Chicagoguy Feb 16, 2011 6:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paytonc (Post 5166762)
No reason other than the NIMBYs. Unfortunately, they vote there and you and I don't. Has this come up in the local City Council races?

Building a subway and all new stations would also moot all the sky-is-falling hue and cry over station consolidation, since in effect, everyone's station will be closed; new stations could be placed at better locations.

That said, someone at Infrastructurist noted that it may be impossible, given railroad grades, to drop the L into a subway north of Belmont without closing off Clark Street.

I think in the long run a subway would definitely be the best way to go. Makes it more urban and a more inviting and people friendly area! Nobody really wants to live all that close to the noisy "L".

As for new highrise development on the northside in the Edgewater area, I definitely think that it will come! The Admiral on The Lake is only a few blocks away on Foster, and the Lakeview Station development is proposed as well in Uptown. And even though its ugly Catalpa Gardens was a pretty big project. If we could just get a few more the same size but with better architecture I would be so happy!

CTA Gray Line Feb 16, 2011 6:32 AM

Sb 3965
 
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/bill...1&SessionID=76

It would seem that on February 14th, Gov. Quinn signed Senate Bill 3965, which if I am interpreting what I read correctly, gives the Executive IG jurisdiction over all Transit employees and Board members to find and eliminate among many other things - WASTE.

Could this be used as a tool to elicit more cooperation/coordination in Operations and Planning amongst the Transit Operators??

pip Feb 16, 2011 6:37 AM

I have converted to the other side of high rise development. I prefer the idea of a street of three or four story buildings along Broadway or any area as Chicago builds it's highrises with cold, impersonal multi-story parking podiums. They are so bland, dull and uninviting to walk by.

emathias Feb 16, 2011 7:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paytonc (Post 5166762)
...
That said, someone at Infrastructurist noted that it may be impossible, given railroad grades, to drop the L into a subway north of Belmont without closing off Clark Street.

I think Clark would need to be shut down temporarily for part of the construction, however the distance is very similar (slightly more than, actually) to the same as the distance the State Street Subway goes to the "L" south of Roosevelt (the Green Line tracks). At 14th Place, the tracks are still inclining, but they are high enough that 14th Place does go through.

I believe the design is for it to go under Sheffield, so it would essentially have a full 1/4 mile to make the transition. I think both School and Roscoe would be unavoidably cut off, though.

lawfin Feb 16, 2011 8:08 AM

All this talk of extendign LSD to Evanston is a tempest in a teapot. It is fine as it is. The beaches of Rogers Park are some of the gems of the city without the ugly acres of parking further south

emathias Feb 16, 2011 4:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 5166838)
All this talk of extendign LSD to Evanston is a tempest in a teapot. It is fine as it is. The beaches of Rogers Park are some of the gems of the city without the ugly acres of parking further south

I agree. If Evanston wants better highway access, let them build an spur to the Edens through Skokie.

down2earthguy76 Feb 16, 2011 4:08 PM

It will happen!!!!!!!!!!
 
Some of the beaches in Rogers park might be "gems" but the simple fact that Edgewater is over run with traffic because LSD dumps off in the middle of the neighborhood is just ONE reason LSD should be extended, spreading out the traffic to a larger area.

Just think if everyone in the city thought like lawfin we would not have the parks, famed Lake Shore Drive our city's identity. The people of Rodgers Park need to realize they are not special and should not be treated any different that the rest of the city that has the drive and park.

Its only time before one day it happens, its called progress! Say what you want its only a mater of time!

down2earthguy76 Feb 16, 2011 4:16 PM

and to emathias
 
should we stop all major roads a couple miles before they leave the city limits, and make all the surrounding communities pay for that construction as well.

Maybe the skyway should have stopped one mile before it hits Indiana, they can pay for the rest of it?

Think before you post!

Your thinking is no way to connect Chicago to the grater Chicagoland - we need
Evanston and every other community that surrounds Chicago as much as they need us!

emathias Feb 16, 2011 5:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by down2earthguy76 (Post 5167079)
should we stop all major roads a couple miles before they leave the city limits, and make all the surrounding communities pay for that construction as well.

Maybe the skyway should have stopped one mile before it hits Indiana, they can pay for the rest of it?

Think before you post!

Your thinking is no way to connect Chicago to the grater Chicagoland - we need
Evanston and every other community that surrounds Chicago as much as they need us!

Are you really so dense that you're oblivious to the fact that Evanston already has better access to Chicago than certain parts of the City itself has to other parts of the City? They have buses into the city, they have an "L" express into the City. They have access to a non-express local train. They have access to a Metra commuter rail line with some of the most frequent service of any line in the system.

On top of all that infrastructure investment, you want the city to also spend hundreds of millions - billions of dollars, even, to enable them to dump thousands of additional car trips into an already car-congested city?

You're insane. And myopic.

If anyone needs to THINK before they post, it's you.

ardecila Feb 16, 2011 6:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5166818)
I believe the design is for it to go under Sheffield, so it would essentially have a full 1/4 mile to make the transition. I think both School and Roscoe would be unavoidably cut off, though.

As far as I know, there is no "design". The engineering consequences of a potential subway have yet to be fleshed out.

Hypothetically, though, there's not enough distance between the Belmont platforms and Clark, judging from other similar inclines on the CTA system. Assuming that a low-clearance viaduct at Clark is not an option, the incline would have to begin north of Clark, closing off Cornelia and possibly Newport.

The Addison station would probably remain in its current location in the alley - just underground, possibly in an open cut. It would swerve over to Sheffield further north.

Mr Downtown Feb 16, 2011 7:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by down2earthguy76 (Post 5167079)
Maybe the Skyway should have stopped one mile before it hits Indiana, they can pay for the rest of it?

A rather ironic comment. It was Indiana's last-minute decision to have the Indiana Toll Road veer north into Hammond (hometown of the governor) and abruptly end at 106th & Indianapolis Blvd. that required the city of Chicago to hurriedly plan and build the Skyway.

As for Lake Shore Drive, I think it would make perfect sense to continue it as a four-lane boulevard, mostly below ground level, to join Sheridan Road at the Evanston city line. North Lake Shore Drive should taper off the same way South Lake Shore Drive does, dropping lanes and becoming narrower, slower, and less freeway-like until it becomes just another street.

emathias Feb 16, 2011 10:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5167276)
As far as I know, there is no "design". The engineering consequences of a potential subway have yet to be fleshed out.

Hypothetically, though, there's not enough distance between the Belmont platforms and Clark, judging from other similar inclines on the CTA system. Assuming that a low-clearance viaduct at Clark is not an option, the incline would have to begin north of Clark, closing off Cornelia and possibly Newport.

The Addison station would probably remain in its current location in the alley - just underground, possibly in an open cut. It would swerve over to Sheffield further north.

While (as far as I know) neither of us are CTA transit engineers, I actually measured the distances on a map for the inclines at Logan Square, Roosevelt and North Ave. Based on those, although it would be close, there is enough distance to get below Clark at Sheffield. There is slightly more distance there than there is for the include going from State Street to the Green Line elevated in the South Loop.

I also think it would be bad design to move from the current alignment to a different alignment anywhere else, as that would just add an additional curve to the system. Having it move to under Sheffield immediately after Belmont does four things:

1) It increases the distance they have to get under Clark by what could be a important number of feet

2) It puts the curve to go from the current alignment to under Sheffield near a station, so that the slowness necessary for that curve (and incline) is incurred as part of a normal station stop. Not coordinating that with a station means that there would be net added speed reductions to teh line. Coordinating it with a station prevents that. The only other place you'd have that opportunity without serious property acquisition and destruction is at Irving Park, where you need a station to be. Curve+station is unnecessary complexity.

3) If you don't go below grade immediately after Belmont, you lose a SIGNIFICANT advantage of the subway option, because you don't eliminate the Clark junction where the Brown Line must intersect with the Red LIne tracks. At least part of the benefit of doing the subway option is the opportunity to eliminate that junction. That's not a small advantage at rush hour, as it would significantly improve the reliability and speed of operations in that area.

4) Keeping the Addison station where it's at would mean closing the station (and potentially the entire line) during construction of that phase. A big advantage to the subway line is the ability to construct it while operating the existing infrastructure. Needing to put it in place along even a short portion of the existing alignment means a lenthy period of time with no through-service on the Red Line.

Beta_Magellan Feb 17, 2011 1:12 AM

:previous: Seconded, especially the part about the location of the Addison station. From what I’ve read there wouldn’t be much of a difference between the current Evanston Express and the all-stops tunneled alternative largely because of platform consolidation and strategic station placement. That, combined with higher potential ridership (from shorter headways—wait times add significantly to perceived travel time—and faster urban service), an increased number of entrances, lower long-term maintenance costs (shielded from the whether, fewer tracks), and getting rid of the flat junction at Clark have made me a convert to the the two-track underground option. The only things I’d change would be moving the second Wilson entrance north with portals closer to the Broadway/Racine/Lawrence intersection, keeping South Boulevard to retain access to the medical complex on Ridge and dense southeastern Evanston, changing Noyes-Gaffield into Foster-Simpson, maybe keeping the four-track embankment with a minimally-updated Jarvis north of Lunt for Howard trains to stop and Linden trains to skip.

Anyway, I’m going to be sending off my comments to the CTA at RPM@transitchicago.com, and I hope everyone here does the same—the deadline’s February 18th.

emathias Feb 17, 2011 5:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5167945)
...
Anyway, I’m going to be sending off my comments to the CTA at RPM@transitchicago.com, and I hope everyone here does the same—the deadline’s February 18th.

I already sent mine in. I advocated the subway option. I even attached an illustration of the Barcelona subway to help describe one of my points.

ardecila Feb 17, 2011 7:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5167666)
3) If you don't go below grade immediately after Belmont, you lose a SIGNIFICANT advantage of the subway option, because you don't eliminate the Clark junction where the Brown Line must intersect with the Red LIne tracks. At least part of the benefit of doing the subway option is the opportunity to eliminate that junction. That's not a small advantage at rush hour, as it would significantly improve the reliability and speed of operations in that area.

It's only possible to grade-separate Clark Junction if they drop the outer tracks between the junction and Addison (which is fine if Purple runs express in the center tracks to Belmont/Fullerton). Otherwise the viaduct would need to grow to a six-track width for several hundred feet, requiring additional property.

Quote:

4) Keeping the Addison station where it's at would mean closing the station (and potentially the entire line) during construction of that phase. A big advantage to the subway line is the ability to construct it while operating the existing infrastructure. Needing to put it in place along even a short portion of the existing alignment means a lenthy period of time with no through-service on the Red Line.
Not a bad point. However, there's most likely a massive rats-nest of utilities under Sheffield that would probably need to move to make way for the subway station. All that utility work is pretty expensive, so if the station can be built under the alley instead, it might save money overall. If the eventual plan is to replace the line with a 2-track subway, then it's pretty easy to rip down two of the elevated tracks and start building the underground tracks right there.



I'll leave it up to the engineers to figure something out... I'm sure whatever they choose will be some awful penny-wise pound-foolish plan, so there's really no point in us debating it.

If you have a chance, read Cecil Adams' recent post about the RPM project... apparently the consultants are operating in a complete vacuum with regards to the system-wide consequences of each alternative. I'm sure some consultant was sitting there figuring out the cost of a 4-track elevated and sarcastically remarked that the cost was approaching that of a new subway, and *tada* a new alternative was born.

Beta_Magellan Feb 17, 2011 8:03 AM

I’m not sure if this is as big an issue as Cecil makes it seem. While I agree they should have thought more about service beyond the alternative (specifically with regards to where Evanston trains would go south of Addison—personally I think matching them with the Orange Line, which has similar peak and offpeak frequencies, would make some sense), it’s not like the study was completely devoid of service level assumptions—assumptions were made about frequency and speed to generate the ridership estimates. I think he just got a shock when he saw that the Purple Line Express would go away and didn’t get a satisfactory explanation about curves, station placement and estimated wait times. In my experience, the people involved in the nitty-gritty of any sort of technical analysis are often constrained on what they can say by the terms of the project or constrain themselves about what they’ll say because they don’t want to be giving someone the wrong impression about something and end up hampering communication. I also wonder whether the lack of specificity is a consequence of the hoops NEPA makes agencies jump through.

Also, some stuff really is beyond the purview of a study—all the Circle and Clinton subway investment would be happening around North/Clybourn or possibly Division, so while it might be appropriate to have eventual through-routings as an appendix I’m not sure how relevant it is overall.

emathias Feb 17, 2011 3:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5168398)
It's only possible to grade-separate Clark Junction if they drop the outer tracks between the junction and Addison (which is fine if Purple runs express in the center tracks to Belmont/Fullerton). Otherwise the viaduct would need to grow to a six-track width for several hundred feet, requiring additional property.

If the subway is built, all of the elevated immediately north of Belmont would disappear except for the Brown Line tracks. The Purple Line express would essentially disappear.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5168398)
Not a bad point. However, there's most likely a massive rats-nest of utilities under Sheffield that would probably need to move to make way for the subway station. All that utility work is pretty expensive, so if the station can be built under the alley instead, it might save money overall. If the eventual plan is to replace the line with a 2-track subway, then it's pretty easy to rip down two of the elevated tracks and start building the underground tracks right there.

Why would you spend $4 billion on a new subway and cripple it by saving, proportionally, nickels and dimes on a single station? There will be a lot of utilities under all the proposed stations - that's just part of the cost of building the subway, and doing it right, instead of nickel and diming away the key benefits of a subway would be not just silly but outright stupid.

It would not be "easy" to just rip down two tracks and start building a subway station. You also seem to be under the mistaken impression that there wouldn't be any utilities under Addison and the alleys around the existing Addison station. On that block, just about anywhere you build would have utilities under it. Again, why save pennies and reduce the quality of the end product?

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5168398)
I'll leave it up to the engineers to figure something out... I'm sure whatever they choose will be some awful penny-wise pound-foolish plan, so there's really no point in us debating it.

It will definitely be penny-wise, pound foolish if they do any of the things you've suggested. :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5168398)
If you have a chance, read Cecil Adams' recent post about the RPM project... apparently the consultants are operating in a complete vacuum with regards to the system-wide consequences of each alternative. I'm sure some consultant was sitting there figuring out the cost of a 4-track elevated and sarcastically remarked that the cost was approaching that of a new subway, and *tada* a new alternative was born.

I like Cecil and all, but he's prone to his own mistakes in judgment and knowledge. He actually published a letter I wrote him where I corrected a significant flaw in one of his articles years ago.

For one thing, in his commentary on the LA's transit, he starts off citing the Texas Transportation Institute's studies, which are widely criticized for their inappropriate and often irrelevant methodology.

In his RPM commentary, he dismisses operational coordination concerns rather flippantly, with "In theory this shouldn't be difficult," when, in fact, theory would tell him that it IS difficult. You have trains that are reliant on people boarding quickly and efficiently, and it only takes a couple people holding the doors for their friends to screw up coordination. Or a slow zone, something that is impossible to completely prevent on 24-hour service lines like the Red Line.

If the CTA chooses to rebuild the existing elevated, the CTA has said they're likely to do something similar to what Cecil proposes. They have, in other plans, talked of routing the Purple Line through the subway - in fact, that was part of the Circle Line proposal.

Cecil doesn't directly address the subway alternative, or consider how it could be run. He chooses to ignore that the subway would result in faster service than current operations for nearly everyone due to a combination of more frequent trains, reduced number of stations, and higher speeds on tracks that will experience less-frequent slow zones because of their straightness and protection from the elements.

He comparing existing infrastructure to only one of the CTA's alternatives, not even considering all of the alternatives. That makes it a little hard to know how to apply his commentary to this discussion.


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