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lawfin Apr 24, 2009 2:30 PM

^^^I agree 100% TUP...Unless there are future definite plans to add the infill stations. I mean is Ford City that much of a trip generator to warrant the investment.

VivaLFuego Apr 24, 2009 2:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4213632)
^ Thanks for all the pics and the info, Shawn.

I'm just curious about dropping the infill stations. If low density is a reason not to have infill stations, then why build the Ford City extension at all? After all, it's not like there is anything on that part of Cicero that resembles the density of typical lakefront Chicago neighborhoods.

I'm a bit disappointed because there is a large district of hotels (around 64th, 65th street I believe?) in Bedford Park just west of Cicero that would seem to be well served by a station. Plus, there are a lot of vacant lots on the east side of Cicero down there whose development would be greatly accelerated by a new transit stop. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like a missed opportunity to build an entirely new rail transit extension just to add one new stop.

The 3.0 million in annual project ridership implies around 9,000-10,000 new rail boardings on an average weekday, which is pretty substantial. There is a massive unmet need for downtown-oriented transit service in the southwest side, which generally means Park-n-Ride in lower-density areas (already overcapacity at Midway and Pulaski stations). The added bonus of the Orange Line extension, in addition to providing this additional downtown-oriented transit service in the area, is that it also happens to terminate at a substantial regional retail employment center (Ford City Mall and all the surrounding big box retail), which is good for a decent number of employment trips.

The question of infill stations, then, is simply one of Marginal Cost vs. Marginal Benefit - for the added cost of excavation/construction to build stations (and subsequently operate them), would you get enough marginal new rail transit riders above and beyond the 9,000-10,000 per average weekday? Remember, simply making existing transit riders' trips a little more convenient is usually not enough to meet federal cost-effectiveness thresholds, the project needs to create a substantial number of new transit trips (though it's worth noting that projects like the Red Line extension approach cost effectiveness solely through improving existing riders transit trips rather than generating new transit trips - but such projects are rare).

Chicago Shawn Apr 24, 2009 2:58 PM

^Yeah, I am excited about the prospect of new elevated track, although the Orange Line has a few sections of elevated structure built back in the early 1990's. So this would be the first new elevated track since then.

TUP, I made a few comments regarding a station to serve the hotel complex which does go as far south as Marquette Rd. It would serve the employees, but IMO, chances are many visitors will not walk across the 6 lanes of Cicero and then two blocks down to the potential station location, but would rather opt for the shuttle bus to the airport that already exists. Many of the hotel buildings would be located at least a half mile away when looking at total point to point distance, and while that may seem short to you and me, the average person who doesn't live in a urban setting would consider that to be not walking distance.

The argument against the station at Marquette is that the clearing yard takes up much of the walking distance radius around the station, lowering the amount of potential users even if the neighborhood was to increase in density. Additionally, the track is inclining at that point and begins to curve eastward; so adding a station here would be expensive.


63rd Street is too close to the Midway station, and the 63rd station would have to built in a partial subway layout under the street, which again would be expensive.

Ford City and its environs is a major employment center and trip generator. the mall also already serves as a major transfer point for multiple bus routes, including 79th Street, which is the highest ridership route in the city.

sammyg Apr 24, 2009 3:48 PM

^
The other thing about Ford City is that it's on the other side of the belt railway yard from the rest of the Orange Line, so this cuts across a natural barrier and allows people on the south side of the railyard to be tied into the L system.

jpIllInoIs Apr 24, 2009 3:57 PM

^ I would like to see the Orange line continue east along 79th and link with the Wrightwood Metra station.

bnk Apr 24, 2009 6:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 4212974)
..

From the article

http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/...4/46476588.jpg



Nice detail on all of the projects here in pdf

http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/...4/46476638.pdf

Abner Apr 25, 2009 12:49 AM

Was there any mention made of whether the Orange Line extension will be compatible with a potential Mid-City Transitway? I assume there wouldn't be anything to prevent it.

Looks like nobody posted this extremely interesting story from yesterday about the NABI buses:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,2883513.story

Quote:

CTA bus troubles: 225 accordion-style buses won't be back on street because of safety issues, officials say
Agency, bus manufacturer locked in court battle

By Jon Hilkevitch | Tribune reporter
April 24, 2009

About 225 accordion-style buses that the CTA removed from service in February after cracks and other structural defects were found will not be returned to the streets of Chicago, transit officials said Thursday.

...
There are lots of interesting details, it's worth reading. Pretty depressing story though.

denizen467 Apr 25, 2009 6:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4213632)
I'm a bit disappointed because there is a large district of hotels (around 64th, 65th street I believe?) in Bedford Park just west of Cicero that would seem to be well served by a station.

(As Shawn also said)The hotels might not consider it a major loss since they probably have frequent shuttles to the terminal, which their guests could use to get to Midway Station.

Also, I don't know, but maybe there is strong political sway against encouraging a major hotel cluster just outside Chicago's city limits when there could be one just inside the city and no less close to the airport.

This raises the separate question of: What are the plans for Cicero north of MDW to I55? It looks crappy and I think that's because there was always a threat of the Mid-City Expressway running through it. Is that what is still staving off development of hotels etc. there?

denizen467 Apr 25, 2009 6:52 AM

dp

Mr Downtown Apr 25, 2009 2:46 PM

What do you mean by plans? That part of Cicero is in the City of Chicago, which doesn't do any sort of comprehensive or city planning.

The frontage on Cicero is less than 125 feet deep, which pretty much prevents development as anything other than residential, for which demand is still low in that part of the city. The hotel cluster down at 65th didn't just spring up because of growing demand. It's a single developer who put together four hotel flags and a couple of chain restaurants on a former industrial parcel, and he probably did so based on having contracts with ATA or Southwest for crew overnights.

VivaLFuego Apr 25, 2009 2:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4215331)
This raises the separate question of: What are the plans for Cicero north of MDW to I55? It looks crappy and I think that's because there was always a threat of the Mid-City Expressway running through it. Is that what is still staving off development of hotels etc. there?

Indeed, as you postulate, the City wants Cicero between Archer and 55th to have some hotels so the city gets some of that tax revenue, and I think there have been some re-zoning approvals to that effect but no actual progress. North of there is a bit of a lemon - some murmurs about streetscaping but theres only so much that can be done. There have been some pie-in-the-sky mentions over the last several years (particularly in re: the Midway privatization that just went kaput) of CTA selling/leasing air rights over the Orange Line yard for a minor hotel/convention center, but I assume as always the question holding it up is cost.

BVictor1 Apr 25, 2009 3:11 PM

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2...ulus-cash.html

Midwest rail network likely to get stimulus cash
April 24, 2009 1:26 PM | No Comments

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today that a proposed Midwest passenger high-speed rail network is among six corridors likely to share an $8 billion federal stimulus pot to modernize tracks and replace aging trains with new fleets.

LaHood said the Midwestern states should appoint a "rail czar'' to coordinate the program and work with governors and legislatures to complete the required studies and begin construction.

"This corridor needs to get their act together,'' LaHood told the Tribune's editorial board, pointing out that an additional $1 billion a year over five years will be awarded to the best high-speed rail programs.

"Here's how I explained it to Gov. (Pat) Quinn: You need to find somebody, maybe a retired rail person, who gets up everyday and the only thing that person thinks about is developing the high-speed rail corridor in the Midwest,'' LaHood said. "That's the way it is going to happen.''

The state transportation departments in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin are leading an effort to operate trains traveling at 110 miles per hour through nine Midwestern states. Chicago would be the hub of the 3,000-mile network, which would extend to cities including St. Louis, Detroit, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City and Louisville.

Faster trains passing through Chicago could be operating as soon as 2012 to 2014 to Milwaukee and Madison, officials have said.

LaHood said he doesn't foresee trains ever exceeding speeds of 200 m.p.h. in the Midwest, due to the relatively short distance between cities and the cost of building dedicated high-speed tracks that do not cross over roads.

"If you get a train up to 150 or 160 miles an hour, that's faster than any train we've ever had in the history of trains,'' he said.

"We ought to define it by the idea that people can get on a train that's efficient, comfortable and cost-effective, get people out of their cars and really connect America,'' LaHood said.

Chicago Shawn Apr 25, 2009 3:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Tribune
The CTA hired a consultant in February to examine some of the sidelined vehicles after one bus suffered a complete structural failure while being driven into a bus garage. The break occurred in the articulation joint that connects the two sections of the bus.

What piles of shit those buses are. Thankfully this did not happen on Lake Shore Drive at full speed while the bus fully loaded with standing passengers.

Chicago Shawn Apr 25, 2009 4:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4215558)
Indeed, as you postulate, the City wants Cicero between Archer and 55th to have some hotels so the city gets some of that tax revenue, and I think there have been some re-zoning approvals to that effect but no actual progress. North of there is a bit of a lemon - some murmurs about streetscaping but theres only so much that can be done. There have been some pie-in-the-sky mentions over the last several years (particularly in re: the Midway privatization that just went kaput) of CTA selling/leasing air rights over the Orange Line yard for a minor hotel/convention center, but I assume as always the question holding it up is cost.

I watched a hotel proposal not pass plan commission because it was "too tall". There was concern of being out of context and it potentially restricting some flight operations. The operational concern was that some smaller planes may have to shift over to a busier runway used by commercial airliners. This concern was propagated by Southwest Airlines who portrayed themselves as owning the whole friggen airport, and did not want any additional traffic on "thier" runway.

This is despite the fact that the airport fence, trees and existing billboards already place restrictions on maintaining a 1000 foot vertical safety clearance that are already above the height of the proposed hotel. The FAA had also already approved of the design.

As for the "out of context" concern, that is BS. the context of the neighborhood is the airport.

As a taxpayer, I was appalled. That would have been a four star major flag hotel generating taxes inside the city as opposed to the burbs, as is the case with nearly every hotel near Midway.

I don't know if the developers went forward to seek approval from zoning and City Council, as Plan Commission is only advisory.

Abner Apr 25, 2009 4:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4215601)
What piles of shit those buses are. Thankfully this did not happen on Lake Shore Drive at full speed while the bus fully loaded with standing passengers.

Yeah, the article has a lot of pretty horrifying details about the poor workmanship on those buses. They were putting thousands of people at risk every day.

I used to dread taking any route that used those things. The new articulated buses are a world of difference.

the urban politician Apr 25, 2009 7:24 PM

Looks like earmarks are still important to members of Congress. I found this tidbit of Rep. Quigley's earmark requests:


Chicago Transit Hub (Circle Line - Ogden Streetcar)

Recipient: CTA located at 567 W. Lake, Chicago, IL 60661
Request: $12,150,000 through the Federal Transit Authority's New Starts account.
Request: $3,000,000 through the Federal Transit Authority's Alternatives Analysis account.
Description: The construction of the Chicago Transit Hub (Circle Line - Ogden Streetcar) will help to manage the growing need for more public transit options. It will also help to prevent overcrowding, provide more efficient transit options to destinations throughout the city, and quicken commute times. Additionally, this project will connect CTA Red and Brown Lines near North/Clybourn with the existing CTA track and structure near Lake/Paulina. The project will also connect the existing CTA Orange Line near Ashland with the existing Pink Line Cermak Branch near 18th Street. Finally, the project will add new CTA and Metra transfer stations along new and existing CTA tracks to the northwest, west, southwest, and south of Chicago's Central area.

Paratransit Vehicles

Recipient: Pace, located at 550 W. Algonquin, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Request: $960,000 through the Federal Transit Authority's Bus and Bus Facilities account.
Description: Pace provides federally mandated ADA paratransit service to the disabled in Chicago. This funding will help Chicago acquire enough vehicles to serve the area. With a complete fleet, the total operating cost of the Chicago paratransit service would decrease significantly.

Union Pacific Northwest Line (UP-NW) Enhancement Project

Recipient: Metra, located at 547 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60661
Request: $5,000,000 through the Federal Transit Authority's Small Starts account.
Description: Funding for improvements to the UP-NW line will provide more and faster service on the branch, as well as attract new riders in a growing area and reduce station access times for existing area riders. The project also includes upgrading signals on the main line of UP-NW to allow more express trains to downtown and improved suburb-to-suburb and reverse-commute services. In addition, the two new rail yards will allow for more train capacity and more efficient maintenance.

Tom In Chicago Apr 25, 2009 9:30 PM

So did I read that article correctly by understanding that they would no longer be using the articulated busses? I saw one on Lakeshore Drive yesterday. . .

. . .

Nowhereman1280 Apr 25, 2009 11:09 PM

^^^ No, not all of the articulated buses, only the old NABI ones. I haven't seen anything but the new hybrid ones since this issue of joint cracks first came to light and I live on Sheridan with a view of LSD. The NABI ones are completely retired as far as I've seen. If you did see one of the crappy NABI ones, they were probably testing it or something...

jpIllInoIs Apr 25, 2009 11:38 PM

Create
 
Good Article on CREATE........

http://www.createprogram.org/PDF/200...20Knot.JOC.pdf



And a TV story from McNeal Leher report
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/video/sh...ews01s251dq8b9

bnk Apr 26, 2009 2:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 4216214)
Good Article on CREATE........

http://www.createprogram.org/PDF/200...20Knot.JOC.pdf



And a TV story from McNeal Leher report
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/video/sh...ews01s251dq8b9


Both great finds. That vid was real nice 10 min plus national story.
Quote:

Freight Rail Bottlenecks Hinder U.S. Potential
It really shows how important and large this program is for the entire nation. This still needs massive federal funding to finish this project.



Quote:

from the Article CREATE’s completion is at least several years away. “If all of the funding were to miraculously
show up on our doorstep tomorrow, we’re still probably looking at 2015,


especially some of the
big rail-to-rail flyovers,” Garrison said.

Larry Wilson, rail planning section chief at the Illinois DOT, said a more realistic completion date

probably is 2021, assuming the project is adequately funded in the next two federal surface
transportation bills.


Some railroads haven’t shown much patience for those timetables.
Just imagine the futre of CREATE if a McCain-Palin administraton was inplace of the current one.


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