SkyscraperPage Forum

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

Rizzo Feb 25, 2013 12:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by untitledreality (Post 6027167)
No.

If they could keep the OHare branch in tip top shape and prevent delays, I dont think the amount of time to ride the Blue from downtown to OHare is unreasonable.

I don't they will ever attempt to keep it in tip top shape. The blue line has to be the worst line to ride in the city. Even many of the locals I know that use it everyday passionately complain how awful it is.

I take the blue line regularly to the airport, and if it weren't for the fact that I fly out around rush hour, I'd take a taxi regardless of cost. I'm embarrassed for my city when I board the train at O'Hare. There's bums panhandling, the cars stink of urine, the station smells like lysol covering up urine, the floors are full of trash, seats have who knows what on it. The travelers wrinkle their noses and try to scout out a clean seat and decent smelling car. They are then treated with slow moving trains and delays that can take up to an hour to reach downtown. 30 minutes should be standard.

The blue line is one of the system's best assets, but we treat it likes it's our worst and don't even run our newest vehicles on it. People may argue that we have to fix what's broken, but the blue line seriously needs improvement.

There's got to be a way to work in sidings and overtakes to permit express service to downtown with limited stops without using alternative routes. I've actually been on two blue trains that for whatever reason ran express and only stopped 5 times from downtown to O'Hare. It was incredible. I think 2013 price range sans a downtown station would be in the half billion dollar range. It seems like a reasonable investment to me to boost ridership and make the O'hare branch way more attractive to travelers. Meanwhile they'll spend $1.5 billion on the red line extension? You gotta be kidding me.

Mr Downtown Feb 25, 2013 1:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6027403)
We could outfit Blue Line cars with luggage racks.

Like they did in 1985? Nobody but me ever was brave enough to put his luggage out of reach.

ardecila Feb 25, 2013 1:41 AM

It probably depends where you place them. They should be in a spot where travelers can find a nearby seat (so not next to the doors, where seats are always full). Because the Blue Line is through-routed, O'Hare bound passengers don't get to board at a terminal station where all seats are empty.

Is there enough clearance for overhead racks like Amtrak that run the length of the car?

Beta_Magellan Feb 25, 2013 2:03 AM

Most of the issues you talk about, though, aren’t really addressed by improved airport service—airport travelers are a marginal market compared to the ~33000 people (counted as 66,000 riders) who use the Blue Line for their everyday business (I got that by substracting O’Hare ridership from the 2011 CTA Annual Ridership Report (pdf), and any Blue Line improvements should be done with Blue Line riders in mind. Passing sidings don’t help them, better rolling stock only does if it goes onto the Blue Line, and a flat junction to the empty Block 37 station on a line that has runs at three minute headways during peak periods can only make things worse (not to mention the amount of line capacity they take up when running express). If you think constructing new elevated track around, say, Damen and Milwaukee (as proposed by the old Express Airport Train Service Business Plan (pdf)) would be cheap or easy you haven’t met many people from Bucktown/Wicker Park.

The business plan only gives 2030 ridership figures for Express Service (with passing loops), so I can’t compare it with CTA figures since I don’t have comparable estimates for the time. It’s around 6600 a day—around 3000 fewer people than currently using the O’Hare station at the Blue Line. And around 20% of passengers are supposed to be diverted from existing Blue Line service, which gives us ~5300 new passengers. That’s pretty pathetic for your half a billion dollar range, Hayward—the report gives a total cost of in, $2006, of $1.4 billion (subtracting their estimated cost of the State Street station—$94 million, less than half of what it ended up costing). In $2009, that’s around $1.5 billion. In $2009, the Red Line Extension is $1.1 billion ($1.5 billion is in year-of-expenditure dollars, see the pdf—the Airport Express Business Plan doesn’t have YOE figures, and even if it did they would probably not be for the same years). That’s for an extension whose daily ridership in 2030 is expected to be 42,000 (i. e. 21,000 boardings at the new stations). Now, most of those certainly won’t be new riders (I don’t think the Red Line AA even attempts to parse that out), but those riders will have an average travel time saving of around 20 minutes compared to a no-build alternative, as opposed to the ~15 minutes saved on trips from O’Hare.

Now, this isn’t an endorsement of a Red Line expansion plan—it could be under $900 million in $2009 if the CTA didn’t insist on adding unnecessary new yard and shops, and the minimum operating segment to 115th (likewise with no new yards and shops), which scored better with the FTA than the full plan, would be even less expensive; we also haven’t even taken Mike Payne’s Gray Line to take into consideration here. But even a project that’s certainly suffering from scope creep, probably overlong, and possibly not even necessary, we get better results than an Airport Express along the Blue Line. Scanning the Business Plan I got the impression that it was just informed mental masturbation, full of various idée fixes from various figures of late Daley-era Chicago. It gets a lot of support for people because it seems intuitive: why not just make the Blue Line quicker? How expensive can it be? Surely everyone will use it—I go to O’Hare, my friends come in from O’Hare, it will be a great success! If we bother to look up a few numbers, conveniently already crunched for us, we see that a project with so little benefit relative to cost that it never should have had much priority at all in any list of Chicago-area transit improvements. But it sounds like such a good idea in concept that people just can’t seem to let this justifiably-dead idea go! (The sunk cost fallacy is also worth mentioning for anyone who remembers Block 37.)

chicagopcclcar1 Feb 25, 2013 2:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 6027584)
Red Line expansion plan—it could be under $900 million in $2009 if the CTA didn’t insist on adding unnecessary new yard and shops,

Just curious as to how you came to the conclusion that a new yard and shops are "unnecessary."

DH

Beta_Magellan Feb 25, 2013 3:32 AM

It says so in the AA report—new yards and shops aren’t part of the application for New Starts funds. The CTA is confident the FTA will fund a Red Line Extension without new yards and shops, which makes me think that new yards and shops are more a “want to have” than a “need to have.” According to the report, issue with 98th Street is more age and poor access for deliveries, not capacity. I’m not sure whether easier deliveries are worth the $2-300 million cost of a replacement, or whether the cost of a more basic update is so high that a new shop becomes attractive—like most things American transit-related, someone decided it was a good idea and decided to try to get funding rather than carrying out a more thorough analysis as to whether or not it’s actually necessary. The fact that new yards and shops are not in the New Starts application makes me wonder whether it can be justified on a cost-benefit basis at all—although the New Starts process has its issues, at least it attempts some kind of evaluation. (Plus, I’ve read elsewhere—without a solid citation of source, so believe as much or little as this as you want—that American urban rail fleets and yard facilities are oversized relative to their European counterparts, due to either featherbedding or antiquated operating practices.)

I may have overstated the certainty of it—it was a while since I last looked at the Red Line AA LPA report—but I think it still holds.

untitledreality Feb 25, 2013 4:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hayward (Post 6027509)
I don't they will ever attempt to keep it in tip top shape. The blue line has to be the worst line to ride in the city. Even many of the locals I know that use it everyday passionately complain how awful it is.

...Meanwhile they'll spend $1.5 billion on the red line extension? You gotta be kidding me.

Agreed on all accounts. It is slightly mind boggling considering the OHare branch ridership numbers, rate of ridership growth and connectivity to the 4th busiest airport in the world.

But... I dont think it needs anything special done to it. Unless we consider running in tip top shape special.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 6027584)
If you think constructing new elevated track around, say, Damen and Milwaukee (as proposed by the old Express Airport Train Service Business Plan (pdf)) would be cheap or easy you haven’t met many people from Bucktown/Wicker Park.

Oh my goodness, what a preposterous, hairbrained idea. The transit planner who thought that was reasonable needs to be removed from any position of influence.

emathias Feb 25, 2013 4:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 6027584)
Most of the issues you talk about, though, aren’t really addressed by improved airport service—airport travelers are a marginal market compared to the ~33000 people (counted as 66,000 riders) who use the Blue Line for their everyday business (I got that by substracting O’Hare ridership from the 2011 CTA Annual Ridership Report (pdf)...

There are few issues with simply cherry-picking the numbers for current ridership.

First, I would be willing to bet that far more people take the train TO O'Hare than from O'Hare. When you're leaving, you know your departure time, you can plan on it, you're more likely to already be hunkered down for a trek, so taking the Blue Line to save money isn't so daunting. But when you come back, you just want to get home, so you're more likely to take a cab. Also, taking the Blue Line from the Loop is relatively easy - so people who leave for somewhere after work can just hop on the train, but when they come back home they may feel that the cab fare is especially worth it if they don't live right off the Blue Line. So I think the numbers of riders from/to O'Hare are very likely lopsided, but I don't even have a guess for how many.

Second, the idea of building out better service to O'Hare would be to increase ridership. The numbers we should look at aren't how many people currently take the Blue Line, but how many people depart from the Central Area to O'Hare every day, and what percentage of that group could become rail customers if service was faster, more comfortable and more reliable. It will never be 100%, but better service will make it higher than it currently is. But we don't even know what it currently is.

Third, if the service were extended beyond O'Hare, it would provide access to suburban riders as well as, potentially, becoming a luxury express commuter service for the NW surburbs, which would further offset the costs and help make more frequent service a possibility.

None of those possibilities are reflected in current boarding numbers for the O'Hare station.

Beta_Magellan Feb 25, 2013 5:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6027725)
There are few issues with simply cherry-picking the numbers for current ridership.

Yeah, it’s a very dodgy (I only took ridership from the O’Hare Branch, not Dearborn or Forest Park, though, so if anything I’m way underestimating the number of people using the O’Hare Branch to get to not-O’Hare—I just divided the number of boardings by two to get people, but that’s definitely not how it works), but my point was that if you want to improve service for people along the Blue Line, you do it by improving service along the Blue Line rather than fantasizing about new O’Hare-downtown expresses. O’Hare branch ridership is overwhelmingly not centered on O’Hare.

Quote:

Second, the idea of building out better service to O'Hare would be to increase ridership. The numbers we should look at aren't how many people currently take the Blue Line, but how many people depart from the Central Area to O'Hare every day, and what percentage of that group could become rail customers if service was faster, more comfortable and more reliable. It will never be 100%, but better service will make it higher than it currently is. But we don't even know what it currently is.
The 2006 business plan says express train service along the Blue Line will get 12% at 2.4 million riders/year in 2030. In 2011 O’Hare service was Again, $1.5 billion ($2009, from a report that’s already been proven way over-optimistic on cost estimates) for a projected 2.4 million annual riders (with 15 min time savings vs. current service) versus $1.1 billion ($2009) for a projected 13 million riders (with 20 min time savings vs. current service) on a project that’s been repeatedly criticized here for being too expensive. I don’t understand why members of this forum, who are usually pretty good at sniffing out bullshit, keep talking about this like it’s a good investment.

Quote:

Third, if the service were extended beyond O'Hare, it would provide access to suburban riders as well as, potentially, becoming a luxury express commuter service for the NW surburbs, which would further offset the costs and help make more frequent service a possibility.
Blue Line service beyond O’Hare has been dead since the early-to-mid 2000s, sorry. Even when it was being considered (Northwest Corridor Study pdf, pages 5-46 to 5-51 for ridership projections), trains were only planned to skip California, Chicago and Grand—there would have been significant ridership from Chicago to the northwest corridor as well as the other way—skipping the neighborhoods would mean giving up a the reverse commute market (unless you had unidirectional expresses in the morning or evening, though I don’t know of any metro system that does that). And again, in makes little sense to discuss extending the Blue Line before modernizing what we have no.

In any event, this whole discussion is pretty ridiculous. I’m pretty sure O’Hare-Block 37 via Blue Line express is dead and only survives in places like this because of the reasons stated above and because this thread spends at least as much time talking about our ideal, imaginary systems as we do about actual Chicago transit news and events.

Standpoor Feb 25, 2013 7:43 AM

^
It seems to me that according to that report, the cost of adding passing sidings and such is $771 million (in 2006 dollars) and a whole new alignment would be $1.5 Billion (2006). Both of which would include the direct service to Midway. Am I wrong? I am just curious since Hayward was talking more about upgrading existing blue line infrastructure and not building a whole new alignment.

However, my main point is that even though the two projects are comparable with respect to projected cost, they are not revenue comparable. The business model forecasts $18.1 million (2006) in fare revenue in the airport express's first year of operations. In 2030, the model forecasts $91.1 million (2006). Meanwhile operating and maintenance costs are estimated at $11.7 million and $42.9 million respectively. On the other hand, the red line alternative analysis predicts $8.4 million (2009) in fare revenue in 2030 due to implementation of the red line extension. O&M costs of the red line extension are estimated at $18 million (2009).

This is why the airport express endures. Whether or not the estimates would turn out to be correct I don't know but it has the possibility of bringing in huge money. It is why we can sit here and talk about routes and time, etc. and it is also why those things are so important for the project. The more time that can be saved, the higher the ticket premium. Transferring and long ATS commutes would negate any savings and impact revenue. It is also why we can prioritize its construction over the red line, if it will make money, it is easier to get the capital costs.

Edit: I was criticizing the cost of the airport express previously, so I figured I should say something about that. The red line extension should go forward because it increases transit opportunities for other citizens of the city. It is a project for the greater good and I don't mind paying for it. I also think that the Electric District could plan a restructuring with fewer stops in the city and operate more express service once the red line is extended. I would like to see the billions of dollars go to projects that will affect more people and have greater impacts of ridership but I am not going to complain if money is spent on the red line extension.

On the other hand, I do mind if huge sums of money are spent shuttling business travelers and tourists from the airport downtown and back. If it does not make business sense to build the airport express, then it should not be built.

Alon Feb 25, 2013 8:52 AM

Airport express services tend to really underperform expectations. People aren't willing to spend that much money on saving 10-20 minutes, and some of those lines are comically underused. Seoul's A'REX is about an order of magnitude short of ridership projections, Shanghai's maglev train is such a failure that the city ended up extending the regular subway to the airport, Heathrow gets more ridership out of the Underground and the regular trains than out of the express train, etc.

But even if projections hold, it's not huge money. If you're spending $1.5 billion today to improve operating income by $36 million a year, that's a 2.4% financial rate of return, which is not high enough to justify investment given the risks except maybe if it's funded by the federal government around now (i.e. a deep recession with low interest rates). The social rate of return is close to zero, whereas it's much higher with the Red Line extension given high ridership, more time saved, a more pressing social justice concern, etc.

Removing city stops from Metra Electric has negative social rate of return. You're speeding up suburban traffic at the cost of service to the parts of the city where high ridership is possible if fares and frequency are aligned with those of the L.

Nexis4Jersey Feb 25, 2013 9:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6027557)
Like they did in 1985? Nobody but me ever was brave enough to put his luggage out of reach.

You should the tourists riding the E Train here , they hold their luggage with a death grip even tho it weighs a ton.... So I doubt overhead racks would be used all that much. Even on the NEC , tourists rarely use the racks....they rather put it on the seat or on their lap.... Overhead racks in general don't get that much use...

Beta_Magellan Feb 25, 2013 1:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Standpoor (Post 6027880)
^
It seems to me that according to that report, the cost of adding passing sidings and such is $771 million (in 2006 dollars) and a whole new alignment would be $1.5 Billion (2006). Both of which would include the direct service to Midway. Am I wrong? I am just curious since Hayward was talking more about upgrading existing blue line infrastructure and not building a whole new alignment.

Oops—still, half the cost for less than 20% of the ridership isn’t a great deal. As Alon noted, the operating figures are a it dodgy, and it’s worth noting that the Business Plan came out in 2006, and Daley was still shopping Blue Line airport service around to private-sector partners through 2010—I’m guessing they weren’t convincing outside of city hall.

So much about the plan doesn’t pass the smell test for me: the high revenue projections what’s just a half-hour trip on the El, memories of Block 37, and the fact that I can’t think of any other metro or light rail systems with high peak frequencies (or any at all, really) running such an operation (which makes me think the effects on Blue Line service has been been understated). As I said before it was a Daley idée fixe, a product of the same enthusiastic-but-uncritical approach to transit that brought us the Circle Line, and the same focus on prestige investments with little return on investment (particularly if we’re looking at social return) as the Olympics.

sammyg Feb 25, 2013 8:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alon (Post 6027902)
Airport express services tend to really underperform expectations. People aren't willing to spend that much money on saving 10-20 minutes, and some of those lines are comically underused. Seoul's

Why do they cost so much if they're underused? If the London Airport Express only cost twice the cost of the tube, I'd use it every time (Even if I had to pay for the tube from Paddington to where I was going).

schwerve Feb 25, 2013 9:07 PM

I never understood the proposed airport express alignment from a practical standpoint. It is the most direct route but as the discussion here clearly shows, the difficulties and costs associated aren't worth the benefits. In my opinion the far more cost effective route would actually be sending both a Midway and O'hare express train aligned along the 290/forest park blue line branch and then north/south along the old crosstown right-of-way. That way you make better use of a significant portion of the capital invest since its used by both express trains. While you add some distance, the time could be made up by less congestion and straighter track with higher speeds.

Ideally, instead of spending money on a "Airport Express" you just revive the Mid-City Transitway proposal with a connection to the forest park blue line branch. That way you're actually spending money on a proper transit line but in doing so plan appropriately for the additional airport express (double track, cross overs, etc, as necessary).

Alon Feb 25, 2013 9:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sammyg (Post 6028502)
Why do they cost so much if they're underused? If the London Airport Express only cost twice the cost of the tube, I'd use it every time (Even if I had to pay for the tube from Paddington to where I was going).

It's possible that the fares are indeed revenue-maximizing once the line is built.

Last time I was in London I didn't even look at the express options. The Piccadilly line got me within a few hundred meters of my hotel and is more frequent than any dedicated airport service, even with all the branching it has at its west end.

k1052 Feb 25, 2013 9:35 PM

We'll have transporters before anything ever becomes of the Crosstown or Mid-City transitway.

schwerve Feb 25, 2013 9:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 6028591)
We'll have transporters before anything ever becomes of the Crosstown or Mid-City transitway.

Its no more or less fantasy than an airport express.

ardecila Feb 26, 2013 2:42 AM

Awesome bridge float:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8235/8...beeb951f_b.jpg
flickr/thestingymuffinman

nomarandlee Feb 26, 2013 8:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6026548)
^And by the time you spend 18 minutes trundling to the far north end of the ATS and transferring, you've lost the time savings provided by nonstop running on Metra tracks.

Not sure you get 18 minutes. This video right now shows its a 9 minute ride from one end of the ATS to the other. Add a few minutes for any extention to the O'hare transfer station I figure it will be 11-12 minutes for the ATS to make its full run in the future.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBYQBi3oT1w

When you figure that a traveler going to T1,T3,T5 would have to walk from the bowels of T2 and take an extended walk or hike it to the ATS at T2 to get to the ticket counters/gates in the other terminals anyway I think its pretty much a wash that one system would have a sizable time savings.

Depending on how nice they made the OHare transfer station terminal connecting to the ATS I think I at least would prefer having the ATS drop me right off at the ticket counters rather then have to walk through the lower corridors of T2 which can be rather dreary and intimidating (for non-residents not familiar with the airport).

Vlajos Feb 27, 2013 8:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6029082)

I saw it this morning, pretty cool!

ardecila Feb 28, 2013 7:16 PM

Tracy Swartz is reporting that CTA will build a "new terminal" for the Red Line south of 95th Street. This raises a lot of questions - expansion or replacement of the existing station? interface with Red Line extension? etc. but provides no clear answers. There's a meeting March 14 to discuss the project at Harlan High School near the project location.

Beta_Magellan Feb 28, 2013 7:47 PM

The environmental assessment is here. Based on the fact that it would increase bus capacity by 24% (and that additional bus service is not planned), it looks like it could indeed substitute for a Red Line extension.

Although I’ve defended an extension here, good for the CTA in doing this—terminal capacity was one of the main arguments for extension, so if they’ve solved this less expensively that’s a good thing. And ridership does fan out in multiple directions from 95th (why original plans had east and west branches) and I could see improvements on Michigan and especially Halsted (which was the highest-ridership, though not preferred due to visuals/sound, alignment for an extension)—if they can consider an el along Halsted they can certainly consider a BRT connector to reduce travel times.

the urban politician Feb 28, 2013 7:59 PM

^ The red line extension just doesn't seem worth it to me.

Chicago is doing very little to expand mass transit, unlike the rest of the nation. One can argue that this is because the city's population isn't growing, so why add new service?

But this doesn't address the fact that portions of the city are growing very rapidly. The central area is becoming less of a terminus for commuters and more of a full service neighborhood in its own right. This can justify more investment, and more resources should be devoted to creating new transit services for this growing community.

ardecila Mar 1, 2013 12:13 AM

Again, I'm not sure we have the kind of development to justify more rail. We've already got the rail system LA is building, and it's not operating at capacity like New York's, DC's, or San Francisco's.

There is indeed a large and growing demand for transit downtown, but we also have a huge infrastructure to serve it - two subways and the Loop, plus four commuter rail terminals. Transit between different parts of downtown is better accomplished by buses, which is why CTA is sinking money into bus lanes with prepaid boarding.

I know it's not sexy, but if we came into a few billion dollars, it needs to go towards rebuilding the north Red/Purple Line and renovating downtown stations. As I mentioned a few pages back, decent transfer facilities at Jackson/Van Buren and State/Lake would be huge, even better than the one at Roosevelt.

k1052 Mar 1, 2013 1:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6033590)
I know it's not sexy, but if we came into a few billion dollars, it needs to go towards rebuilding the north Red/Purple Line and renovating downtown stations. As I mentioned a few pages back, decent transfer facilities at Jackson/Van Buren and State/Lake would be huge, even better than the one at Roosevelt.

As I recall one of the projects Rahm announced was the Washington/Wabash station combination along with the Clart/Division rehab and Cermak station. I think the next major loop station project after that was always supposed to be State/Lake. It would be nice to see an integrated transfer from the Red Line to the loop since the current situation is less than ideal.

Given a larger pot of money I'd like to see rail based circulators to service the River North/Streeterville area and across the loop to Millennium station. There are a significant number of less costly/flashy yet important projects that need to be done to the existing rail system...building a flyover at Clark Junction comes to mind.

emathias Mar 1, 2013 2:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6033590)
Again, I'm not sure we have the kind of development to justify more rail. We've already got the rail system LA is building, and it's not operating at capacity like New York's, DC's, or San Francisco's.

There is indeed a large and growing demand for transit downtown, but we also have a huge infrastructure to serve it - two subways and the Loop, plus four commuter rail terminals. Transit between different parts of downtown is better accomplished by buses, which is why CTA is sinking money into bus lanes with prepaid boarding.

I know it's not sexy, but if we came into a few billion dollars, it needs to go towards rebuilding the north Red/Purple Line and renovating downtown stations. As I mentioned a few pages back, decent transfer facilities at Jackson/Van Buren and State/Lake would be huge, even better than the one at Roosevelt.

There are some areas overserved by bus and underserved by rail.

If you live in east Lincoln Park, it can take 30 minutes to get to the Loop at rush hour. For a neighborhood that's only 2-3 miles from the Loop, that's absurd. If there was a subway, that time could be halved.

A subway that ran along the Lakefront, had a transfer point at Clark/Division, ran through Streeterville, through Grant Park, through the South Loop past McCormick Place to the south Lakefront would be of enormous utility, would get hundreds of buses a day off the roads. If you joined that with a cross-loop subway from the West Loop, you could create routes that serve all sorts of purposes. Then adding things like sending the Pink Line to join a Lakefront line directly along 16th Street, BRT or a tramway on Chicago Ave with underground routing east of Orleans until east of Michigan, and a Clinton Street Subway would really enhance the ability of the Central Area to attract transit riders. Suddenly Lincoln Park would have less cars to worry about, the South Lakefront would gain new residents, conventioneers could get from North Michigan to McCormick without using up all the cabs or clogging the streets with literally hundreds of special-purpose shuttles. What would it cost to do all of that? Less than what L.A. is spending, and we'd probably see dramatic increases in ridership, especially if coupled with serious TOD zoning changes (improvements).

ardecila Mar 1, 2013 2:51 AM

^ Bingo. In the case of Clark Junction, the flat junction constrains capacity more than the stations and signals. Problems at Clark Junction don't require a new subway line to Ravenswood and Albany Park.

I'm not saying there aren't parts of town that could use a new rail line, but it's a cost/benefit thing. We don't have any Second Avenues or even any Wilshires that justify a multi-billion dollar subway. We have lots of places to justify $100 million BRT lines.

Justin_Chicago Mar 1, 2013 3:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6033788)
^ Bingo. In the case of Clark Junction, the flat junction constrains capacity more than the stations and signals. Problems at Clark Junction don't require a new subway line to Ravenswood and Albany Park.

I'm not saying there aren't parts of town that could use a new rail line, but it's a cost/benefit thing. We don't have any Second Avenues or even any Wilshires that justify a multi-billion dollar subway. We have lots of places to justify $100 million BRT lines.

I have a few co-workers that live in Albany Park and their commute to our office building in the East Loop is over an hour. That is absurd. The Brown line should run in a diagonal. I wish the city had funds to bury the elevated line underground.

Emathias and I share the same vision. I hope the recent Hyde Park development results in a CTA line connecting the neighborhood. The Metra Electric is my second least favorite transit line after the Brown line.

BRT is a fiscally responsible idea, but a light rail proposal would be a waste of money in my opinion because it is a glorified bus. I live in a city to avoid owning a car. I expect "rapid" transit and all of my experiences with light rail (Portland, Dallas, Minneapolis etc.) was the contrary.

Mr Downtown Mar 1, 2013 5:25 AM

^Kimball to Washington/Wabash is only 37 minutes. How fast do you think it should be?

Beta_Magellan Mar 1, 2013 7:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6033590)
I know it's not sexy, but if we came into a few billion dollars, it needs to go towards rebuilding the north Red/Purple Line and renovating downtown stations.

I dispute this being “not sexy.” Have we already forgotten the Wilson renovation renderings? What we’ll probably see is essentially a slow-motion new rail line constructed north of Addison, which is a lot of stuff to salivate over even if it is just modernization.

Quote:

As I mentioned a few pages back, decent transfer facilities at Jackson/Van Buren and State/Lake would be huge, even better than the one at Roosevelt.
I actually think this would be pretty marginal—although you’d be sheltered from the weather, distances would be about the same and constructing a shallow mezzanine to allow people to transfer without going through faregates could get expensive. I think the window for doing this has already passed—it was considered during the mid-nineties but ultimately not done, either due to lack of funds or local opposition (can’t remember, or find a cite, for which).

Emathias and Justin Chicago’s ideas—or ones very similar to them—were suggested in the 1980 transit expansion plan. I could possibly see it gaining traction as a means of relieving pressure on Tower 18, but unless you add another a bunch of new trains it would likely involve either sacrificing frequency along the local stations and near north side elevated or getting rid of them altogether (if the CTA ever judges Tower 18 completely unmanageable I think a grade-separated Clark Junction plus diversions to a Larrabee-Clinton Street line—likely terminating at Union or Harrison—more probable).

Justin_Chicago Mar 1, 2013 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6033965)
^Kimball to Washington/Wabash is only 37 minutes. How fast do you think it should be?

My comment included walking to/from the station and platform waiting time, but station to station is the appropriate metric. My co-workers have about a 0.5-1.0 mile walk to Kimball, so they are the worst case scenarios. 37 minutes is the google transit quoted time, which is accurate at perfect conditions, but the Brown line is constantly plagued with slow zones. The real commute time is arguably closer to 45 minutes based on my personal trips to Lincoln Square. A transit rider from the Kimball Brown line station should enjoy the same commute time as the Montrose (Blue) and Thorndale (Red) stops. I wish the city could eliminate the curves and extend the line to West Rogers Park. Bending around downtown buildings is exciting for tourists, but when I want to enjoy a nice cold one after work at the Half Acre tap room in Lincoln Square, efficiency is key.

k1052 Mar 1, 2013 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin_Chicago (Post 6034168)
A transit rider from the Kimball Brown line station should enjoy the same commute time as the Montrose (Blue) and Thorndale (Red) stops. .

There are significantly more stops on both the Brown (almost twice) and Red Lines for that journey. This could not be accomplished without wasting many billions of dollars and throwing out all the work done in the Brown Line expansion. Not a good use of resources.

Justin_Chicago Mar 1, 2013 12:40 PM

^ I agree. I rather see the focus of future expansion on connecting Hyde Park and the south Lakefront.

Staying (almost) on topic, I plan on taking the Pink Line more frequently once the Lagunitas Brewery tap room opens up. It will be interesting to see the ridership statistics two years from now.

emathias Mar 1, 2013 2:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6033965)
^Kimball to Washington/Wabash is only 37 minutes. How fast do you think it should be?

At least 20mph average, so at 10 track miles, 30 minutes.

Vlajos Mar 1, 2013 2:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin_Chicago (Post 6033802)
I have a few co-workers that live in Albany Park and their commute to our office building in the East Loop is over an hour. That is absurd. The Brown line should run in a diagonal. I wish the city had funds to bury the elevated line underground.

Emathias and I share the same vision. I hope the recent Hyde Park development results in a CTA line connecting the neighborhood. The Metra Electric is my second least favorite transit line after the Brown line.

BRT is a fiscally responsible idea, but a light rail proposal would be a waste of money in my opinion because it is a glorified bus. I live in a city to avoid owning a car. I expect "rapid" transit and all of my experiences with light rail (Portland, Dallas, Minneapolis etc.) was the contrary.

How is that possible? Unless they have to walk 30 minutes to get to Kimball.

Justin_Chicago Mar 1, 2013 3:57 PM

10-15 minute walk to the station (living 0.5-1.0 mile away). 5-7 minutes to wait for the train to leave the platform. 40-45 minute train ride. 5-7 minute walk to the office building from the platform.

The math works when you take into consideration all of the variables.

What really hurts them is when they leave the office past 10pm during month-end close (Accountants). Train frequency is not on their side.

One of them is moving to the West Loop. I expect Green Line ridership to explode in the next 5 years.

emathias Mar 1, 2013 4:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vlajos (Post 6034311)
How is that possible? Unless they have to walk 30 minutes to get to Kimball.

If you lived at Kimball and Foster and worked in the AON building, Google maps puts a Brown Line commute at 1 hour 8 minutes. It actually suggests that taking the Kimball bus to Belmont Blue Line station would result in a faster commute by 13 minutes in that scenario. The Brown Line is painfully slow, particularly when it's at ground level. it wasn't on my original list, but putting a subway under Lawrence between the Red Line and the Blue Line and running the Brown Line into it would result in much faster Brown Line times from Kimball as well as connect the North Lakefront to O'Hare and the jobs center around Cumberland. 5 miles of subway with 6 new subway stations (Ravenswood, Western, Francisco, Kimball, Pulaski, Elston, plus transfer stations at Jefferson Park and Wilson) would probably cost about $2.5 billion. Pretty spendy and in order to justify that, there would have to be a push for considerable new construction in Uptown and in Jefferson Park and in Cumberland, as well as around the new subway stations in between. It would probably make a Kimball-State/Lake trip if connected to the existing Red Line a 30 minute trip. If you combined it with a lakefront subway, my guess is that to Randolph in the East Loop it would be more like 25 minutes, depending on the number of stations, etc. Coupled with TOD, it could double the ridership of the "L" in a decade after full build-out and continue healthy increases after that. Altogether, we could be talking about ridership increases system-wide that pushed "L" ridership to 800 million annual rides. Bus ridership would take a hit, but if better rail induced more overall transit riders my guess is that overall bus ridership wouldn't actually fall in direct proportion, if at all, except on specific, directly-competitive routes.

ardecila Mar 1, 2013 4:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 6034072)
I dispute this being “not sexy.” Have we already forgotten the Wilson renovation renderings? What we’ll probably see is essentially a slow-motion new rail line constructed north of Addison, which is a lot of stuff to salivate over even if it is just modernization.

Point taken. If Morgan is anything to go off of, the upcoming crop of renovated/infill stations will be sexy indeed.

K 22 Mar 1, 2013 7:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6034408)
Point taken. If Morgan is anything to go off of, the upcoming crop of renovated/infill stations will be sexy indeed.

I take it the future Cermak stop on the Green Line is going to be "Morgan-esque" too, right?

LouisVanDerWright Mar 1, 2013 9:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by K 22 (Post 6034646)
I take it the future Cermak stop on the Green Line is going to be "Morgan-esque" too, right?

Might be even better. Here's a rendering:

http://chicago.curbed.com/uploads/10...rmakgreen.jpeg
From Curbed Chicago...

ardecila Mar 2, 2013 2:59 AM

Yeah, I'm expecting to see a more final rendering out of CTA pretty soon. The timeframe for construction is ambitious, so Ross Barney should have most of the details hammered out by now.

Honestly, I think the Cermak design is wanting. Elevated stations really need full windbreaks in Chicago's climate. The ends of the Cermak platform stick out past the tube with virtually no protection. CDOT has the budget for a fully-enclosed tube, but not for 8-car-long windbreaks?

the urban politician Mar 2, 2013 1:39 PM

Pardon me for following mass transit projects in Chicago a bit less than other things (a topic which is difficult for one to not be abreast about since there is relatively little going on other than endless planning), but I have a question about the Randolph St elevated station in the Loop.

Was this going to be consolidated with another station in the future? I'm trying to understand why this particular station, on a highly visible corridor between State St and Millennium Park, looks so shitty? It seems like common sense that this station should be made to look modern and attractive post haste.

emathias Mar 2, 2013 3:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 6035549)
Pardon me for following mass transit projects in Chicago a bit less than other things (a topic which is difficult for one to not be abreast about since there is relatively little going on other than endless planning), but I have a question about the Randolph St elevated station in the Loop.

Was this going to be consolidated with another station in the future? I'm trying to understand why this particular station, on a highly visible corridor between State St and Millennium Park, looks so shitty? It seems like common sense that this station should be made to look modern and attractive post haste.

Yes it will be consolidated with Madison into a Washington station. Current designs call for it to be constructed so that it won't block the Gehry bandshell view corridor.

EDIT: Some reports mentioned an April, 2013 start date for that station but I haven't seen any updated information about it since last spring or summer. Anyone know whether that's still possible, or what the new start date is?

http://www.chicago-l.org/stations/im...endering01.jpg
Chicago-L.org

ardecila Mar 2, 2013 8:07 PM

Depends where the money's coming from. If it's Federal, then we might get sequestered.

denizen467 Mar 2, 2013 10:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6035598)
Current designs call for it to be constructed so that it won't block the Gehry bandshell view corridor.

THANK GOD. That had been worrying me from the start. It just looks cool all the way from Wacker or at least from Wells, and to an out of towner I think much of the Loop kind of looks like generic urban canyons. This one view corridor is a bit special with this landmark at the end of it, even though it's fairly small until you get nearer to Millennium Park. At a minimum, with Daley Plaza being on Washington, it's nice to have a view connection between the two. Plus, Washington is an eastbound street, so people on buses and bikes and vehicles can see it as they grow closer. It would have been a total waste to throw all that away for no good reason (I'm assuming there was nothing controversial about station siting here).

denizen467 Mar 3, 2013 12:53 PM

So the Wells St bridge reconstruction now goes hardcore for a week. The photos I've seen of the floated-in bridge segments seem almost identical to the old bridge. After 90 years, wouldn't the bridge's design, or the thickness of the structural members, have evolved? I'm sure there's something I'm missing here -- is the existing bridge really that old?

the urban politician Mar 3, 2013 1:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 6036406)
So the Wells St bridge reconstruction now goes hardcore for a week. The photos I've seen of the floated-in bridge segments seem almost identical to the old bridge. After 90 years, wouldn't the bridge's design, or the thickness of the structural members, have evolved? I'm sure there's something I'm missing here -- is the existing bridge really that old?

^ The shark's design has changed little in hundreds of millions of years, it just got replicated over and over again (ie giving birth to offspring). Why mess with perfection? ;)

Mr Downtown Mar 3, 2013 3:48 PM

I suspect it's a balance between need-to-replace and days out of service. They could have designed a bridge with smaller, sleeker welded box girders or some other design, but it would have required the truncation of the Brown Line for months instead of days. By fabricating an exact replacement, it can just be bolted on in a matter of days, without disturbing the trunnions or counterweights.

Of course, the last time this was done, in 1922, it only took 48 hours. But they had built the new bridge above and around the old swing bridge, and just needed to cut a portion of the old one away to drop the new one into the closed position, lay the track on top, and reopen it to L trains.

This picture is actually of the Lake Street bridge, done the same way a few years before:

http://i.imgur.com/wmCWG4h.jpg

emathias Mar 3, 2013 4:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 6036406)
So the Wells St bridge reconstruction now goes hardcore for a week. The photos I've seen of the floated-in bridge segments seem almost identical to the old bridge. After 90 years, wouldn't the bridge's design, or the thickness of the structural members, have evolved? I'm sure there's something I'm missing here -- is the existing bridge really that old?

It's moveable, made of metal that's exposed to the elements, has carried just about every possible form of land transportation every single day of its existence, and yet lasted 90 years even with what might be called inconsistent maintenance. I think that's called an engineering success, so the risks involved with changing the design seem a lot higher than simply re-using the same design.


All times are GMT. The time now is 9:23 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.