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ChicagoChicago Oct 1, 2009 8:05 PM

In regards to widening the Ike, I agree it needs to be done. I do believe they can get extra lanes squeezed in through OP without cutting into anything other than the existing CTA right-of-way. Right now the blue line functions just fine with its existing clearance between Addison and OHare. Why not use the same specs on the Forest Park branch? It would certainly free up needed space for the Ike.


In a separate topic, what a disaster 90/94 has become near their merger at Montrose. Coming back from Itasca to Lakeview today (non-rush hour) took me an hour. That's 22 expressway miles.

the urban politician Oct 1, 2009 8:44 PM

That garden train concept thingy made me laugh.

Is that a serious proposal?

I can imagine it evolving into a mobile litter box, with rats, feces, empty beer cans, and cigarette butts being carted from station to station.

i_am_hydrogen Oct 1, 2009 8:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4484822)
That garden train concept thingy made me laugh.

Is that a serious proposal?

According to the website: "CTA says, 'If you think that it is possible to raise funds to cover the costs associated with running the charter, having additional staff, and the liner, I will not tell you we can not do it. I am happy to come up with some figures for you.'"

Chicago Shawn Oct 1, 2009 8:53 PM

The Circle Line LPA sucks, and really should not move forward. What we have is a tird sandwich, it will cost $1.1 Billion to build the half-assed alternative, and it will cost far too much to ever complete the remainder in the foreseeable future ($3.5-4.5 Billion). NIMBYism is too strong to allow for a cheaper elevated option, rather than expensive tunneling; but a elevated structure would probably fail the EIS anyway for noise pollution. Just shelve the Circle Line and concentrate on the Clinton-Larabee Subway which will also address many of the same goals: reducing Elevated Loop congestion, serving downtown, better connections of Metra Lines to the CTA system (easily done at the two busiest commuter stations, no?) and servicing the expanded area of downtown.


The only good thing that came out of the continuing study was taking a extensive look at the mid-city transitway with a Brown Line extension. The Brown Line extension by the way scored very high on expected ridership. Both of these concepts are being recommended for the CTA's long term expansion goals.

Chicago Shawn Oct 1, 2009 8:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4484822)
That garden train concept thingy made me laugh.

Is that a serious proposal?

I can imagine it evolving into a mobile litter box, with rats, feces, empty beer cans, and cigarette butts being carted from station to station.

This garden train idea is one of the most retarded ideas I have ever seen. Is this idea supposed to be about sustainability? If so, I would like to know how much extra carbon is being produced to create the electricity the additional flat car will use.

Chicago Shawn Oct 1, 2009 9:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 4484124)
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.

Yes, but this will not remove a bottleneck; just move it further east, where the traffic will slam into already over-congested Circle Interchange. Remember all the praise over the removal of the Hillside Strangler? The project did very little to actually reduce congestion on the Ike. So what we have is Option A, spend $1+ billion to do very little at actually tackling the congestion; or we could do Option B, looked by the Cook-DuPage Corridor Study which is to build an extension of the Blue Line with an integration of park n' rides and PACE feeder routes that will expand the capacity of the corridor without adding pavement. The majority of the traffic is going to or through downtown, or the opposite direction to the employment centers of the west suburbs, hence the problem. The Blue extension would also open up job access in the suburbs for poor residents of the west side.

I know I am at odds with most people on this one, and it doesn't matter anyway because the Ike is going to be widened by IDOT, one way or another.

bnk Oct 1, 2009 9:58 PM

That mobile garden! Is that a joke? I mean really:jester:

left of center Oct 1, 2009 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4484876)
Yes, but this will not remove a bottleneck; just move it further east, where the traffic will slam into already over-congested Circle Interchange. Remember all the praise over the removal of the Hillside Strangler? The project did very little to actually reduce congestion on the Ike. So what we have is Option A, spend $1+ billion to do very little at actually tackling the congestion; or we could do Option B, looked by the Cook-DuPage Corridor Study which is to build an extension of the Blue Line with an integration of park n' rides and PACE feeder routes that will expand the capacity of the corridor without adding pavement. The majority of the traffic is going to or through downtown, or the opposite direction to the employment centers of the west suburbs, hence the problem. The Blue extension would also open up job access in the suburbs for poor residents of the west side.

I know I am at odds with most people on this one, and it doesn't matter anyway because the Ike is going to be widened by IDOT, one way or another.

anyway you look at it, there is a certain segment of society that will always be driving, and its not just moron suburbanites that dont want to part with their minivans. Its truckers, salesmen, repairmen, deliverymen, people driving up from nearby cities, etc.

Chicago has fewer lanes of interstate per capita than almost every other metro in the country, and this costs us money in lost business and commerce. All the expressways entering the city really need to be expanded to atleast 4 lanes... this goes for 55, the Edens, and JFK north of the junction. Im not pro new highway construction, but we really should invest in the existing expressway infrastructure.

Mr Downtown Oct 1, 2009 11:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4484876)
Yes, but this will not remove a bottleneck; just move it further east, where the traffic will slam into already over-congested Circle Interchange.

I don't think there would be much in the way of new capacity; it's just that capacity wouldn't drop from four to three lanes through the avenues. Right now it's very odd because it's four at Hillside and four east of Harlem, but three in between. That causes a great deal of merging friction.

Chicago Shawn Oct 4, 2009 4:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by left of center (Post 4485086)
anyway you look at it, there is a certain segment of society that will always be driving, and its not just moron suburbanites that dont want to part with their minivans. Its truckers, salesmen, repairmen, deliverymen, people driving up from nearby cities, etc.

Chicago has fewer lanes of interstate per capita than almost every other metro in the country, and this costs us money in lost business and commerce. All the expressways entering the city really need to be expanded to atleast 4 lanes... this goes for 55, the Edens, and JFK north of the junction. Im not pro new highway construction, but we really should invest in the existing expressway infrastructure.

I am not denying that, but my point is that even after this $1 Billion is spent, we will still have congestion. This project will add very little new capacity and it will just move the bottleneck. One major solution is giving people who can use an alternative mode choice an option besides driving. This provides extra capacity in corridor for others who must drive.

ardecila Oct 4, 2009 11:36 PM

They already have an alternative mode choice - two of Metra'a highest-capacity lines (BNSF and UP-West). These lines are already very popular, so I imagine that almost anybody making a traditional commute during peak periods is using these lines. The remaining traffic is either reverse commute, heading to a non-downtown destination in the city, and/or cannot use transit for various reasons.

New transit service in the Cook-DuPage Corridor should be targeted at reverse-commuters, not reducing congestion for traditional commuters (who are already served well). This is why I think the rail line in the I-88 corridor is a good idea, although the suburbs will need to commit to significant restructuring to make a station->office park journey feasible (see Tysons Corner, VA). For some reason, I actually have more faith in Oakbrook Terrace and Lombard to make smart choices about this than I do in Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates et al to restructure around the STAR Line.

whyhuhwhy Oct 5, 2009 1:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4489146)
I am not denying that, but my point is that even after this $1 Billion is spent, we will still have congestion. This project will add very little new capacity and it will just move the bottleneck. One major solution is giving people who can use an alternative mode choice an option besides driving. This provides extra capacity in corridor for others who must drive.

It won't "move the bottleneck" to people heading outbound though. Inbound I can see but even then it is a question of when not if the Circle needs to be reconstructed. It is falling apart and starting to look quite dangerous IMO.

Listen, Chicago has more alternatives to driving than any metro area in the country besides New York. It still doesn't make it any easier for me, a northside city dweller, to head out to Ikea to go shopping or to head out to Bolingbrook to visit a friend.

Either way, Chicago is in last place with highways in the country, and in 2nd place for transit, so we already have more alternative solutions to driving than just about everyone. But driving is the only multimodal solution for the vast majority of trips. I'm not saying we should pave over everything, but a metropolitan area which owes its very existence to being an efficient transportation hub should not have bottlenecks on either the railway or the highway system. I really believe having lived here long enough that it is possible for Chicago to have much less congestion than it does now because all of its congestion seems to stem from outdated bottlenecks like the Eisenhower and the Edens/Kennedy junction. I think the only highway that needs a frank widening across the entire distance is the Kennedy from Montrose to O'Hare. Otherwise there needs to be intelligent solutions to outdated design, such as the ridiculous express lanes on the Kennedy where every single afternoon you have just as many people going inbound as outbound, yet the express lanes cause a massive inbound backup. We could get rid of these lanes altogether and use the four shoulders on them to lessen the inbound bottleneck for instance, creating a true 5-6 lanes per side. But the first order of business no doubt is the Ike. That thing is just a true embarassment.

nomarandlee Oct 5, 2009 3:48 PM

:previous: As times goes on I am only increasingly think high-occupancy toll lanes should and will be part of our highway infrastructure future. Realistically that is not going to happen if you don't have at least four lanes per direction highways.

The problem seems more easier to rectify then the problems with the Kennedy. Expanding the Kennedy to four lanes northwest of the junction which is highly problematic and potentially cost billions? Would it just be relatively easier to throw billions at reconstructing the Blue line to continue running he Blue Line below Milwaukee Avenue after Logan Square and then I presume under Higgins to the airport? Then rip out the the blue line rail/stations west of the junction. An end result would be a better Kennedy and a better Blue Line even if it is a somewhat more expensive solution then adding a fourth a Kennedy Lane.

nomarandlee Oct 5, 2009 4:00 PM

Quote:

http://www.suntimes.com/news/transpo...Ride05.article

Wave of the future: mass transit

Buses, trains likely to become bigger part of our lives as Chicago population mushrooms

Comments

October 5, 2009

BY MARY WISNIEWSKI Transportation Reporter

The future ain't what it used to be. Back in 1930, the movie "Just Imagine" dreamed of the world of 1980, when everyone has a flying car. Other sci-fi scenarios pictured personal jet packs and individual transit "pods" gliding along monorails.

Now, the transportation future is starting to look like a more fuel-efficient version of the past. With the threat of global warming and the world's oil supplies dwindling, local planning and transportation experts imagine a Chicago area in 2040 with more public transit; higher-density housing; smaller, lighter airplanes; electric cars, and more options for walking and biking.

Whatever transit looks like, it will have to serve a larger chunk of the population than it does now, according to Randy Blankenhorn, executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, which is developing a regional plan for 2040.

"We're projecting we're going to add 2.8 million people to this region by 2040 -- we're not going to build enough highways to add 2.8 million people," said Blankenhorn. "We have to make public transit a real option for people."

Sprawl vs. density
"Density" used to be a dirty word. The idea of having a place in the country, instead of stacked in an apartment building, is for many still a big part of the American dream.

Chicago area urban planners imagine future communities with more people, cultural attractions, and businesses clustered around train stations. Some of this is already happening, in suburbs like Naperville and Arlington Heights, and others, which have condos and shops in thriving downtowns near Metra stations. Chicago has put together guidelines for denser future development around CTA stops.

"We can begin living more vertically and efficiently," said Lee Bey, executive director of the Chicago Central Area Committee.

More trains, bus lines
One problem with the current transit system is it needs fixing, badly. The CTA alone says it needs $7 billion to repair structures and replace aging equipment.

Another problem for Chicago area transit is the lack of connection among suburbs.

Providing the money and political will are there to get old lines fixed and new lines built, the next 10 to 30 years could see the expansion of the CTA Red Line to 130th Street, the Orange Line to Ford City Mall, a "Circle Line" connecting Metra and CTA stops, and a Blue Line extension to Lombard.

On Metra, a north-south "Star Line" could connect Joliet all the way to Hoffman Estates. Other possibilities are Metra extensions north to Wisconsin, or southeast to Crete. Transit officials also hope riders will be able to transfer from Metra to CTA to Pace on a universal fare card.

A focus of federal investment is high-speed rail. A 220-mph train could take a traveler from Chicago to Springfield in less than an hour, according to Brian Imus, head of the Illinois Public Interest Research Group. "Rail is the wave of the future," Imus said.

Less-dramatic but still crucial improvements can come from "bus rapid transit" -- the concept of sending buses down highway car-pool lanes or shoulders, or down bus lanes of main arteries like Halsted or 79th Street. RTA executive director Stephen Schlickman noted that BRT is more affordable than laying down new rail lines, and a good way to test the market for rail extensions.

Few new highways, more tolls
The 1950s saw massive federal investment in highways. But local urban planners see few or no future highways for the region, but more efficient use of existing roads.

One solution is coordinating the timing of stop lights through the area's 270 suburbs, said Frank Beal, executive director of the civic group Chicago Metropolis 2020. "If you coordinate stop lights the way the city of Chicago does, you can get 15 percent more traffic through," he said.

Another possibility is managing tolls more to control traffic than raise revenues, Beal said. High-occupancy vehicle lanes could give preference to car pools and buses, while making single-occupant vehicles pay higher tolls to drive in the fast lane. The Tollway is already hoping to get funding for HOV lanes on I-294.

Possible new highways could be the extension of the Elgin-O'Hare Expy. to the expanded O'Hare International Airport and the Prairie Parkway through Kane and Kendall counties.

Planes and bikes

Technology is changing the way airplanes are built to make them lighter and faster. DePaul University transportation expert Joseph Schwieterman suggests the possibility of more small planes -- seating six to eight people and privately owned. Another possibility is helicopters that can take off from the tops of office buildings -- to serve busy executives.

Pedestrians and bicyclists could have more safe choices, according to Rob Sadowsky, head of the Active Transportation Alliance. One option is closing a downtown street -- like Monroe -- to vehicle traffic and redesigning it for bikes and pedestrians, with perhaps light rail in the middle.

"We really stand at a fork in the road. ... We're going to get tired of being stalled on expressways, tired of spending a portion of our paychecks on a two-car existence," Bey said. "We're going to compel our legislators to fund mass transit in substantial ways."

Click on the link.

Haworthia Oct 5, 2009 5:26 PM

Articles about the Illiana Expressway have probably been posted before, but:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,2942620.story

Quote:

Illiana Expressway: Proposed interstate tollway would link Illinois, Indiana
Road could ease traffic congestion on southern corridor

By Richard Wronski Tribune reporter October 5, 2009

One hundred years after Daniel Burnham proposed an "outer encircling highway" to bypass Chicago, a new study says that building a key segment -- an interstate linking Illinois and Indiana -- could significantly cut traffic congestion and boost the region's economy.

The Illiana Expressway would connect Interstate 57 in Will County with Interstate 65 in Lake County, Ind. The 25- to 30-mile superhighway, built as a tollway, could cost as much as $1 billion.

In what would be a first for the Chicago area, an eight-lane Illiana might also feature four truck-only lanes, a significant accommodation for the freight-dependent and trucking industries.
Quote:

Where would the Illiana be built?

The study identifies three possible routes:

--The southernmost corridor is the longest. It would run about 30 miles from I-57 between Peotone/Manteno and connect with I-65 at Indiana Highway 2.

--The central corridor would begin southeast of Peotone and extend about 25 miles east to I-65, about two miles north of Indiana 2.

--The northernmost corridor, also about 25 miles, would connect with the north access to the proposed Peotone airport, then run east to I-65 about 2.5 miles south of Indiana Highway 231.
Not sure how I feel about this one. I like the idea of truck only lanes, but perhaps the CREATE program would be money better spent. I also like the idea of diverting through traffic around the area, but I'm not sure if this would effective in doing that.

MayorOfChicago Oct 5, 2009 6:25 PM

I wish we could just put an 8 lane extension, with 4 of those lanes for trucks only, by continuing I-80 in a straight line before it curves northeast near Moris, then keep it going over to I-80/90/94 near LaPorte, Indiana.

It would be a ton of money, but at least you could basically take all I-80, I-90, I-94 and I-294 through-traffic off those roads and just zip people past Chicago without coming within 10 miles of the urban area. The new road would have to have very FEW interchanges so it doesn't turn into another sprawl inducing mess.

I-80, I-55, I-57, Highway 41, I-65, Highway 30, Highway 6 and then I-80/90 with a connection to I-94 a few miles up north.

Marcu Oct 5, 2009 6:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 4490381)
:previous: As times goes on I am only increasingly think high-occupancy toll lanes should and will be part of our highway infrastructure future. Realistically that is not going to happen if you don't have at least four lanes per direction highways.

The problem seems more easier to rectify then the problems with the Kennedy. Expanding the Kennedy to four lanes northwest of the junction which is highly problematic and potentially cost billions? Would it just be relatively easier to throw billions at reconstructing the Blue line to continue running he Blue Line below Milwaukee Avenue after Logan Square and then I presume under Higgins to the airport? Then rip out the the blue line rail/stations west of the junction. An end result would be a better Kennedy and a better Blue Line even if it is a somewhat more expensive solution then adding a fourth a Kennedy Lane.

It seems that the easier solution would be to double deck a part of the Kennedy to allow for HOV or express vehicles. Most large cities, including others with high mass transit ridership, have doubledecked some of their highways throughout the 80s and 90s. Lack of capacity isn't as much of an issue as the reverse commute bottleneck reducing six lanes to four and backing up both the Kennedy and the Edens for 20+ miles. As mentioned earlier, we're not talking about simply adding lanes, but rather reducing ill conceived bottlenecks that should not exist in a major metropolitan area regardless of form of transit.

spyguy Oct 5, 2009 9:31 PM

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=35701

Create freight rail fix makes headway
By: Paul Merrion Oct. 05, 2009


Another project to reduce rail congestion broke ground Monday, this time to add a third main line of track in the far south suburbs of Alsip and Blue Island.

The $26-million project, funded by the federal government and the rail industry, was launched by the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency group, known as Create. In addition to adding track to reduce freight rail bottlenecks, it will also update signals and bridges in the vicinity of 127th Street.

mwadswor Oct 6, 2009 2:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago (Post 4490632)
The new road would have to have very FEW interchanges so it doesn't turn into another sprawl inducing mess.

The problem with building a road with very few interchanges is that you have still put the road there. Not that I disagree with your idea (I'll admit that I've never been to Chicago, I'm just watching this thread to see what I can learn about a great city, so I won't vote either way on whether or not a bypass is a good idea), but you can't count on more interchanges not getting built later. I don't know how much you follow some of the other threads like the CAHSR thread where they talk about airports some, but one of the things that is consistently brought up to help reduce airport congestion is to lift artificial caps on air traffic at some of the smaller airports like Long Beach or John Wayne.

This is coming from a bunch of people who are interested in better urban planning and know perfectly well that those airports would never have been built in the first place if artificial caps on air traffic weren't promised.

Anyway, my point is that no matter how you build a road, there is nothing that we can do today to prevent it from creating sprawl. No matter how the road is built today, the developers know perfectly well that they can build up that area however they like because once the surface streets nearby are completely f'd up they can point to the limited access bypass nearby and say "hey, the road's already built, let's just spend a couple dollars on another interchange."

Chicago Shawn Oct 6, 2009 6:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 4490213)
It won't "move the bottleneck" to people heading outbound though. Inbound I can see but even then it is a question of when not if the Circle needs to be reconstructed. It is falling apart and starting to look quite dangerous IMO.

Listen, Chicago has more alternatives to driving than any metro area in the country besides New York. It still doesn't make it any easier for me, a northside city dweller, to head out to Ikea to go shopping or to head out to Bolingbrook to visit a friend.

Either way, Chicago is in last place with highways in the country, and in 2nd place for transit, so we already have more alternative solutions to driving than just about everyone. But driving is the only multimodal solution for the vast majority of trips. I'm not saying we should pave over everything, but a metropolitan area which owes its very existence to being an efficient transportation hub should not have bottlenecks on either the railway or the highway system. I really believe having lived here long enough that it is possible for Chicago to have much less congestion than it does now because all of its congestion seems to stem from outdated bottlenecks like the Eisenhower and the Edens/Kennedy junction. I think the only highway that needs a frank widening across the entire distance is the Kennedy from Montrose to O'Hare. Otherwise there needs to be intelligent solutions to outdated design, such as the ridiculous express lanes on the Kennedy where every single afternoon you have just as many people going inbound as outbound, yet the express lanes cause a massive inbound backup. We could get rid of these lanes altogether and use the four shoulders on them to lessen the inbound bottleneck for instance, creating a true 5-6 lanes per side. But the first order of business no doubt is the Ike. That thing is just a true embarassment.


Ok, but the Ike will still be congested after this project happens, just watch. The I-88 corridor has a high employment density that is creating some of that outbound traffic which could be moved to a train complimented with a coordination of PACE circulating through the office parks. Metra, as great as it is does not go to reverse commute employment centers, as the vast majority of those are along expressways and tollways. I am aware that the Ike bottleneck will be removed (btw, don't expect that to happen for another 6 years minimum as it is not IDOTS's capitol spending plan); but my point is that we really need to look at alternatives for these corridors; because trying to build our way out of congestion is just not going to work, and we don't have oodles of money to spend on it either.


On the Illiana,
50% of the traffic on the Borman right now is heavy trucks. If the Illiana was built primarily as a tolled truck road with additional tolled lanes for general traffic, its probably worth it; especially if Peotone Airport ever becomes a reality. And as the article mentioned, there is the possibility of building it as a public-private partnership. Will County's share of intermodal industry is only going to increase for the foreseeable future.


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