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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

ardecila Nov 4, 2008 7:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orulz (Post 3889987)
Good old FTA red tape. Is there any way Chicago could fund the Carroll Avenue project locally? That way they can build it how they like, no requirements for alternatives analysis and such.

The only map I've ever seen of the Caroll Ave transitway (here) shows the northbound segment following Canal Street until just north of Fulton Street where it cuts over to Clinton. First of all, where is the right-of-way to do that? Seems to me it would make more sense to use that little disjointed segment of Milwaukee between Lake and Fulton. Heck, even close it off to regular traffic for the transitway, because, who cares?

Grade separating Clinton and the railroad will probably be difficult, how do you do that and still maintain access to the condos? The blue line under Milwaukee probably complicates things further.

Hopefully they can refurbish and then reuse the old bridge, rather than replacing it or just bypassing it on Kinzie Street.

Lastly, does anybody happen to know where the right-of-way ends? It used to go all the way to navy pier, but obviously it doesn't go that far anymore. Does it pretty much dead end at the NBC tower?

1. You don't usually turn down free money. The Feds may impose some regulations on the process, but there are all sorts of tricks you can use to make the numbers good enough for Federal approval and do what you planned originally. The financial aid from the Feds is usually worth being patient. There are other funding mechanisms. For example, CTA could just sell bonds to pay for the new construction... but they don't have enough money to pay them back. They barely break even as it is, in a good year. They could also boost sales taxes to pay for the new construction (in a county with the highest sales tax in the nation). To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Federal New Starts funding is the worst way to pay for a transit line, except for all the other ways.

2. The alignment in that map is general... It's my understanding that the Transitway would use Milwaukee.

3. Clinton can be grade-separated fairly easily... the condo buildings there have been designed with entrances that don't face onto Clinton. Canal would be much more difficult, so it won't be grade-separated.

4. The right-of-way used to go to about Columbus, where the railroad tracks ran along Illinois Street, sharing the same space as cars. Back when it was built, heavy traffic wasn't really a problem in Streeterville...

ChicagoChicago Nov 5, 2008 3:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3889934)
Generally, monitors indicate a blind spot on the platform; the operator isn't able to see the entire train to safely operate the doors. Multiple monitors may be necessary if trains of different lengths (4 v. 6 v. 8-cars) have different berthing locations on the platform.

Thanks for the info. I didn't know that's what they were for. I'm not necessarily in agreement that it's needed, as this stop is no less obscured than any other stop on the brown line. I could see that argument being made at Chicago where the stop does bend somewhat, but Armitage is a straight line. Still seems like a waste of money.

orulz Nov 6, 2008 3:25 AM

Thanks for the answers, ardecila. The Carroll Avenue transitway is a pretty creative idea. Of course I'm pulling for streetcars rather than buses, because it would just be awesome to have streetcars roaming the streets of Chicago again, but either way it promises to be a popular service.

How about a south loop extension of the transitway? Rather than turning around at Jackson, stay on the Clinton/Canal pair as far as 14th. From there, curve east, and take either the St. Charles Air Line bridge or B&O bridge over the river. Follow the (soon to be abandoned) SCAL through the south loop, to the museums campus, Soldier Field, and McCormick Place. There might be other, better uses for the SCAL, but this is just one possibility.

denizen467 Nov 6, 2008 9:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3890366)
3. Clinton can be grade-separated fairly easily... the condo buildings there have been designed with entrances that don't face onto Clinton. Canal would be much more difficult, so it won't be grade-separated.

Is grade separation of Clinton (at Metra/Amtrak, I'm assuming) necessary for the transitway?
And if so, then over or under?

ardecila Nov 6, 2008 5:38 PM

^^ Yes, it's pretty necessary. Trains, both Metra and Amtrak, often block the crossing for minutes at a time as they wait for a track in the station, or they wait for clearance to leave. During rush hour, there are hundreds of trains coming out of that station, and crossing the tracks is nearly impossible. Cars can easily turn around and use the overpass at Desplaines, but that's a big inconvenience for pedestrians.

An underpass would make the most sense, so I assume that will be what is built. An overpass would block windows on the adjacent condo buildings and project traffic noise farther, although it would be cheaper.

ardecila Nov 6, 2008 5:42 PM

In other news, Valerie Jarrett has been tapped by Obama for some unspecific position in the Obama administration. She's also a good contender for his vacant Senate seat.

Either way, Obama will be putting a former director of the CTA into a very influential Washington position. Secretary of Transportation is possible, and so is Secretary of HUD.

denizen467 Nov 7, 2008 6:04 AM

^^ Ok, so assuming that rail, even if it's LRT, requires a shallower incline than buses could tolerate, how close to Fulton must the slope begin, I wonder?

Also, the incline on the north side would presumably have to be a curving trench that returns to grade as it reaches Canal - correct?

But maybe the most interesting question is whether the Carroll Bridge is too low to have its down position as the default. Would this prevent tour boat clearance? (BVic has probably thought about this a lot.) If it does, will the answer be to rebuild the bridge slightly higher?

ChicagoChicago Nov 7, 2008 9:24 PM

Can anyone tell me why the CTA uses 3 different colors of paint on the L structures? I’ve seen off-white, manila-yellow, and burgundy. I would certainly understand if they decided to use different colors for different areas, but those are 3 colors just inside the Loop! Is it too much to ask for some uniformity?

Chicago3rd Nov 7, 2008 9:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChicagoChicago (Post 3898271)
Can anyone tell me why the CTA uses 3 different colors of paint on the L structures? I’ve seen off-white, manila-yellow, and burgundy. I would certainly understand if they decided to use different colors for different areas, but those are 3 colors just inside the Loop! Is it too much to ask for some uniformity?

What part of the el structure (assuming you mean bottom portion) is off white? The loop is that gold color, but it is being changed, at least on Wacker Drive to burgundy to match the bridges....whichs means CTA is way a head of you.....

ChicagoChicago Nov 7, 2008 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 3898328)
What part of the el structure (assuming you mean bottom portion) is off white? The loop is that gold color, but it is being changed, at least on Wacker Drive to burgundy to match the bridges....whichs means CTA is way a head of you.....

LOL @ CTA being ahead of anyone!

I'm aware that they repainted the Wabash portion of the L structure to match the bridges. Part of the structure on Wabash is white, in particular the beams that support the platforms and the platforms themselves.

I’m just curious why they weren’t uniform to begin with. From what I’ve read, the painting of the L was part of the Wabash Avenue Improvement Project and not really the CTA’s choice.

ardecila Nov 7, 2008 11:01 PM

Yeah, basically. Certain pieces of metal weren't painted because they would have interfered with the operation of the stations above.

CDOT was only allowed to paint portions of the structure that are accessible from the street, and only on the condition that the painting process wouldn't affect the trains or passengers above.

@ denizen467 - rail is pretty much out of the question... CTA has already decided to go ahead with a BRT program on 4 different streets, so you can bet they will be using BRT here as well. Using BRT also gives the flexibility to run bus lines to different destinations in Streeterville... one to Navy Pier, one to Northwestern, and one to Water Tower. Since most of this is grade separated, it will approach "true" BRT. The route will probably turn sharply east right after the Clinton underpass, and then run underneath the Metra viaduct alongside the Cassidy Tires warehouse to get to the Kinzie St bridge.

denizen467 Nov 7, 2008 11:36 PM

^ So RIP light rail hopes! :(
If it facilitates an array of destinations throughout Streeterville then it's worth it I guess though.

What's known about the clearance under the Carroll St Bridge?

Mr Downtown Nov 8, 2008 2:40 AM

Carroll Street bridge????

denizen467 Nov 8, 2008 4:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3898844)
Carroll Street bridge????

Well what the heck is it called then. The rail bridge that is always raised just south of Kinzie. Both west of there and east of there this alignment is called Carroll Street. When BRT starts running there this bridge will presumably carry Carroll Street (as opposed to just a rail line), ergo, Carroll "Street" Bridge. Mister D smarty pants, share with us your bridge name omniscience.

(Disclaimer: on my third beer now)

ardecila Nov 8, 2008 8:58 AM

Technically, the bridge is called the Kinzie Street bridge, which is confusing, because Kinzie Street (the actual street, for cars and trucks) has its own bridge about 200 feet to the north.

And FYI, I've also had several beers...

Mr Downtown Nov 8, 2008 8:10 PM

Ah, now I understand that you mean the railroad bridge over the river. Usually just referred to as "Chicago & North Western Ry. Bridge over the North Branch of the Chicago River near Kinzie Street," though apparently the railroad inventory number was N-1511. Actually, Carroll Street Bridge wouldn't be a bad name—but Carroll Street never crossed the river.

The vertical clearance under the existing span is only 6.5 feet.

denizen467 Nov 9, 2008 7:35 AM

^ & ^^ Ok, that's edifying to finally have info on this mysterious bridge (after many many years of prowling this city's maps and streets). But also, those names aren't super clear or useful. So as soon as non-rail vehicles become able to traverse this bridge, I say "Carroll Street Bridge" is one good option.

On the other hand, 6.5 feet??
Does this mean the bridge must be rebuilt or else this transitway plan will have to be routed across the river at Kinzie Street?

Mr Downtown Nov 10, 2008 3:40 AM

The most likely scenario, I think, is that the railroad bridge (now a Chicago Landmark) would be reset at a higher level à la the Kinzie Street Bridge.

honte Nov 10, 2008 4:18 AM

^ I agree, although it will be amusing and amazing to see this done.

I wish similar adaptive reuse could be found for the historic Division Street Bascule bridges (for autos), currently slated for demo.

denizen467 Nov 10, 2008 5:48 AM

^^ Excellent. So the Kinzie Street Bridge was re-set from a lower position? How long ago, and do you know whether there are any pics or articles about it?

^ Last week an alumnus donated a record $300 million to the U of C graduate school of business. IMHO, a business school is not exactly an institution where a giant investment will reap tremendous dividends for society in the way of knowledge, research, inventions, culture, etc. ... It's really a staggering amount of money - if only donors like this would, even if in a small way, turn their philanthropic energies to recognizing the importance of historic preservation, we could, for a fraction of that money, save many cultural treasures like these bridges.


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