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ardecila Sep 30, 2009 4:45 AM

Not sure what to say about this Circle Line LPA... I guess it squares with that "phasing plan" that CTA made under Frank Kruesi, but it doesn't feel significant enough, and it will just ADD congestion to the North Main Line. Is it supposed to run north to Howard? If so, then maybe it should just become a full-time extension of the Purple Line. Calling it "Circle Line" isn't even correct, anymore, since it won't make a circle.

And honestly? Who is going to make a big U? North Side riders could easily transfer from Brown or Red to Pink in the Loop and get to the IMD faster than with this half-assed alternative. This probably won't save any time for South Siders, either, and they already must make one transfer to get to the IMD. It really only benefits people coming up the Orange Line and heading to the West Side - not a huge percentage of riders, I guarantee.

I guess my last point is that we can't count on the FTA's continued largesse. If Obama were to be replaced by a Republican, the likelihood of later phases of the Circle Line drops considerably. Then again, at the glacial pace that CTA moves on these expansion projects, we might not even get the benefit of Obama on this half-assed line.

VivaLFuego Sep 30, 2009 4:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arenn (Post 4481681)
One particular city I'm aware of that is studying a major transit expansion is evaluating an interesting notion I like a lot, if it is politically doable. Funding would be based on percentage of projected benefits regardless of where the transit service actually was. Turns out econometric analysis shows much of the benefit of transit actually accrues in places where there isn't much direct service.

Conceptually interesting but seems politically impossible given the number of model assumptions required to estimate user benefits. Heck, even with structured funding, service boards here aren't politically able to continuously scale service levels according to available funding, which was part of the original intention of tying structured funding to a revenue source that is a proxy for economic activity and thus transit demand (sales tax). I simply can't fathom a political situation, in back-patting horse-trading Chicago of all places, that would allow an agency to establish service levels based on the outputs of nebulous economic models, considering agencies can't even allocate service or set service levels by any technical means at the systemwide scale to begin with. Policy decisions in our political context are made by somehow compromising the many irrationally-derived gut feelings of many stakeholders, rather than based on considered expert analysis of real-world data - so creating an even more technical framework for funding and service allocation feels like a non-starter in my opinion.

Quote:

Clearly, Old Orchard Mall is a more logical terminus than Niles North. It might not seems like a big deal, but that extra walk in not very pedestrian friendly conditions isn't good.
I imagine a big part of the thinking was cost, both in terms of land acquisition (under the mistaken hope that Skokie would happily cooperate with the project, considering Westfield is not cooperating and such acquisition would probably mean initiating eminent domain or massively overpaying) and simply minimizing route length at any opportunity to meet cost-effectiveness guidelines, as I'm pretty sure this is already a marginal extension based on demand modeling to begin with (single-track, etc.). Again, at this point I hope the project just dies, since Skokie has demonstrated it's clearly not ready to be serious about this. They can feel free to try again in 10-15 years when they're ready to do some legwork in enabling an option they'd want, rather than just complain.

left of center Sep 30, 2009 5:02 AM

whatever they do with the Circle Line, they definitely need a stop for Madison/united Center.

That being said, i hope they eventually choose the Ashland alignment, funneling the circle line into the State Street subway. Makes much more sense in my book. Another track split off the main line would cause more backups, ala the Brown Line split, and that section of the L is overcongested as it is.

ardecila Sep 30, 2009 5:31 AM

^^ You bring up a HUGE point that I missed - there ABSOLUTELY needs to be a United Center station. There's really no excuse for its absence - I plan to write an angry comment card to that effect. If they want any riders at all on this half-assed thing, build a place for Bulls and Hawks fans to get off for the game.

CTA should also build a full junction near Ashland/Archer, so inbound Orange Line trains can go from Midway to the Dearborn Street Subway or the Lake Street Line - this would come in handy during track closures and such.

emathias Sep 30, 2009 2:57 PM

I'm glad I didn't go to the Circle Line meeting (I was planning to go, but then decided to go have some delicious pupusas at the El Salvador restaurant on Archer with a friend of mine). I don't know if I could have held in my intial reaction when I saw these online, which was to boo and hiss.

Seven years of "planning" and their only official proposal is to build a little chunk of elevated track and further postpone the largest part of what would actually make this a "Circle" Line? If they could make decisions, they could take advantage of the slack real estate market and buy some land, or preserve corridors.

I also thought it was just plain weird to expand the boundaries, regardless of feedback. It was interesting to see an actual map from the CTA with a Kimball-Jefferson Park proposal, though.

This whole thing has just turned into nonsense. I'm really disheartened.

VivaLFuego Sep 30, 2009 3:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4481790)
^^ You bring up a HUGE point that I missed - there ABSOLUTELY needs to be a United Center station. There's really no excuse for its absence -

Between a United Center stop versus a Blue Line transfer station at Van Buren, I would guess offhand that the latter provides much more bang-for-the-buck in terms of annual user benefits and improved regional accessibility. I suppose in theory one could build both, but it seems like overkill considering how sparsely built the area is at the moment. As someone who goes to a lot of Blackhawks games, I don't feel like United Center is particularly poorly served by public transit - it's not as great as Wrigley or the Cell obviously, but the #19 and #20 are fine for trips from downtown, and the Green and Blue lines aren't exactly the longest walk - or at least not long enough to warrant dropping ~$30+ million on a new station at Madison.

Now, if Wirtz and Reinsdorf announced plans to redevelop their fields of parking into a mixed-use neighborhood in conjunction with a new L stop, that would change things, but since they have zero intention of doing so...

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4482199)
Seven years of "planning" and their only official proposal is to build a little chunk of elevated track and further postpone the largest part of what would actually make this a "Circle" Line? If they could make decisions, they could take advantage of the slack real estate market and buy some land, or preserve corridors.

I also thought it was just plain weird to expand the boundaries, regardless of feedback. It was interesting to see an actual map from the CTA with a Kimball-Jefferson Park proposal, though.

"Environmental Review" (which, for intents and purposes, means "neighborhood veto power") tends to doom new elevated lines, while cost dooms new subway lines. In the current environment, an outcome like this was probably inevitable - there's simply no way to build the northwestern portion of the "Circle" unless an elected official rams through an elevated line (to meet cost effectiveness) or spends political capital with a massive earmark for a subway. Remember, even the 2nd Ave Subway was so expensive as to be of marginal 'cost-effectiveness', and the WMATA extension to Dulles would have died until enough politicians got involved to clarify that the rules in place wouldn't be strictly adhered to and the line would be built regardless. Considering that all of the CTA New Starts are more heavily dependent upon federal funds and less dependent on local funds than most other major transit construction projects nationwide (such as LA, Denver, Houston, NYC) since there is no local funding source in place for expansion let alone enough for maintenance, the sad truth is that the projects are thus even more at the mercy of federal cost-effectiveness requirements.

Via Chicago Sep 30, 2009 3:48 PM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,3277050.story

Quote:

CTA: New stop expected to open in 2011 in West Loop

Green, Pink lines getting another Chicago Transit Authority station


By Emma Graves Fitzsimmons Special to the Tribune
September 30, 2009

Residents, commuters and businesses in the West Loop, which has undergone a transformation from primarily a manufacturing district 15 years ago to a vibrant neighborhood with condos, town homes, arty shops and hip bars, are looking forward to a new elevated train station. Allyson Holleb, owner of a handbag shop near the proposed Chicago Transit Authority station at Lake and Morgan Streets, hopes it will bring even more people to the neighborhood. Construction could be a nightmare, she said, but it would be worth it to get a station.

"It should bring more business," she said on a recent evening as she sat behind the counter at the Bess & Loie store. "People are coming to know the neighborhood more, and this can only help."

The new stop will be on the Green and Pink lines between the Clinton and Ashland stations, which are more than a mile apart. City officials expect construction to begin later this year or early next year, and they hope the station will open in 2011. The city opened bids for the project last week. The project's cost is projected between $35 million and $40 million, officials said. The city has secured $8 million in federal funds through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program, and the rest will come from tax increment financing...

k1052 Sep 30, 2009 4:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4482199)
I'm glad I didn't go to the Circle Line meeting (I was planning to go, but then decided to go have some delicious pupusas at the El Salvador restaurant on Archer with a friend of mine). I don't know if I could have held in my intial reaction when I saw these online, which was to boo and hiss.

Seven years of "planning" and their only official proposal is to build a little chunk of elevated track and further postpone the largest part of what would actually make this a "Circle" Line? If they could make decisions, they could take advantage of the slack real estate market and buy some land, or preserve corridors.

I also thought it was just plain weird to expand the boundaries, regardless of feedback. It was interesting to see an actual map from the CTA with a Kimball-Jefferson Park proposal, though.

This whole thing has just turned into nonsense. I'm really disheartened.

It's Phase 2 and the next easiest/expensive after restoring the Paulina Connector.

Phase 3 is going to take a MASSIVE wad of cash since it has to be subway, involves totally reworking North/Clybourn into a major transfer station, and rerouting the Northside Main through it. It's going to need a patron saint (or two) to secure funding.

nomarandlee Sep 30, 2009 8:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4482199)
I also thought it was just plain weird to expand the boundaries, regardless of feedback. It was interesting to see an actual map from the CTA with a Kimball-Jefferson Park proposal, though.

This whole thing has just turned into nonsense. I'm really disheartened.

Back up, where did you see that? Direct me to this map please. :)

ardecila Sep 30, 2009 11:27 PM

Yea, the Alternatives Analysis recommends putting a Kimball-Jefferson Park Corridor into long-term plans for the CTA, as well as a few BRT corridors and a "Pink Line-Midway Connection".

Viva - I don't dispute that the Pink/Blue transfer station would be a better use of money, but I'd rather see CTA cut Roosevelt than Madison. The UC is a hefty walk from the Medical Center station or Ashland/Lake - putting a closer station would make transit much more convenient and possibly decrease the profitability of those parking lots.

Roosevelt, on the other hand, would be adjacent to one of the largest empty tracts in the city, with no hope of redevelopment due to the IMD's shitty planning - and it's only 2 blocks from Polk. The only advantage is the transfer to the #12, but that's not a reason to build a station when one already exists 2 blocks away.

the urban politician Oct 1, 2009 12:53 AM

This new Circle Line proposal looks like crap. Forget the whole thing.

It's a worthless line, as is the Yellow Line extension.

Why are we building train lines in parts of town that have no chance whatsoever of becoming denser? What do you think, that those Alderman way out on the west and southwest sides will let a damn thing get built if it's not 50% affordable with a ground level institute for the poor and blind included? That, of course, without mentioning that developers don't want to go out there anyhow because of the scary "black and mexican gangsters" who will certainly terrorize their new neighborhoods.

Shoot, they're building strip malls next to some stops.

Why don't we focus on building transit where people actually will appreciate its existence. You know, like that subway under Carrol Ave which gives city residents equal convenient access to west loop jobs that suburbanites currently enjoy. That sounds like a good idea. That busway taking people to Streeterville/Navy Pier--another good idea.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that Chicago doesn't need to expand its rail system radially any further, nor will this Circle Line in its current configuration accomplish much other than be a prime example of worthless investment for generations to come.

OhioGuy Oct 1, 2009 2:10 AM

Extend the brown line from Kimball to Jefferson Park and build the Clinton Street subway... I'd be quite happy for those two projects to happen. Extensions of the red, orange, and yellow, while I certainly support, take a back seat in particular to my interest in seeing the brown line extended to connect with the blue line (and maybe actually run brown line trains to O'Hare). It seems to me the only option for the 2 mile extension would be tunneling to Jefferson Park. The neighborhood is too tightly formed to make room for either an at-grade or elevated westward extension of the line. Stations at Pulaski and Elston would make sense between Kimball and Jefferson Park.

the urban politician Oct 1, 2009 2:37 AM

^ Oops, I meant "Clinton Ave" subway, not Carroll Ave

nomarandlee Oct 1, 2009 3:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4483369)

Why don't we focus on building transit where people actually will appreciate its existence. You know, like that subway under Carrol Ave which gives city residents equal convenient access to west loop jobs that suburbanites currently enjoy. That sounds like a good idea. That busway taking people to Streeterville/Navy Pier--another good idea.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that Chicago doesn't need to expand its rail system radially any further, nor will this Circle Line in its current configuration accomplish much other than be a prime example of worthless investment for generations to come.

I agree. When I first came to this site I was pretty enthusiastic about every major project and I basically have only become so about a few now. Namely the Clinton Ave. subway and CREATE, and to a lesser extent some form of WLTC (or Union reconfiguration) and Carroll Ave transit. All the others are a bonus or even potential boondoggles.

emathias Oct 1, 2009 3:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 4482800)
Back up, where did you see that? Direct me to this map please. :)

Page 8 of this.

Or page 16 of this.

whyhuhwhy Oct 1, 2009 1:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4478671)
Ridiculous. For that same $1+ Billion we could have the Blue Line extended way west of the current terminus. This widening will not do a damn thing to solve the congestion issue, it will only move a higher traffic volume further east where it will slam into circle interchange and cause even larger delays than what already occurs. Of course then come the cries to reconfigure Circle and spend another near $1 billion. Circle cannot occupy any larger of a footprint than it all ready has and any reconfigurations will require very costly relocation of bridges and construction of expensive flyover ramps.

I really hope demolitions in Oak Park can be kept to a minimum. I don't want to see one more inch of that community raped further by that open scar known as the Ike. I am not warm to the idea of possibility using the CSX right of way either, as this will shrink or eliminate a option for moving trains through our region, and freight traffic is still expected to grow significantly. We might really need those tracks in the future.

The Circle interchange is going to have to be reconstructed soon regardless. Have you driven on it lately? It is literally falling apart.

As for the Eisenhower, this is a project that needs to be done. There should not be true bottlenecks of any kind on either highways or trains in a region that is a primary transportation hub like Chicago. You should be for fixing all bottlenecks, including CREATE. As it stands right now people just guzzle fuel sitting in line waiting on either side of that 4 to 3 to 4 lane ridiculous bottleneck that is the Eisenhower. There is a ton of unused rail tracks around that area too as other people have mentioned.

whyhuhwhy Oct 1, 2009 1:24 PM

Very dissapointing map of the "Circle" line. No one is going to use that thing if it is just a U. They need to do it and do it right which means going all out. Hey at least they are talking about it. Now let's get the Olympics and start getting some funding for Transit. BTW the post earlier about connecting the Brown to the Blue through Jefferson Park sound like a fantastic idea.

i_am_hydrogen Oct 1, 2009 4:45 PM

Mobile Garden
 
Check out this website detailing "Mobile Garden," a project spearheaded by Joseph Baldwin that seeks to add "a garden on a flatcar that is attached to and travels with the regular transit service."



Facebook page

Tom In Chicago Oct 1, 2009 5:29 PM

^OK. . . without having the time to read through the - what I can only assume is ridiculous - material. . . this seems to be the dumbest thing I've ever seen. . . on par with those nano-tube nutcases who want to build a space elevator. . .

. . .

trvlr70 Oct 1, 2009 6:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by i_am_hydrogen (Post 4484426)
Check out this website detailing "Mobile Garden," a project spearheaded by Joseph Baldwin that seeks to add "a garden on a flatcar that is attached to and travels with the regular transit service."



Facebook page

Retarded. It will end up one big ashtray.


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