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emathias Oct 7, 2009 1:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haworthia (Post 4490538)
...
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.

If it can be built as a self-funding toll road, it's fine by me. Any road that doesn't require significant demolition of existing structures and can self-fund is fine by me. But at that point, it should probably just be built as a private road, with the only public involvement being assistence with the legal aspects of land aquisition.

Wheelingman04 Oct 8, 2009 12:48 AM

I'm in favor of the Illiana. Most widening projects are a waste of money though. You can't build yourself out of congestion with wider roads.That has been an established fact. Transit is first and foremost. These transit proposals have been stagnant for too long. I want to see some action, not just talk.

nomarandlee Oct 9, 2009 10:57 PM

Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,6245876.story

CTA Circle Line plan makes rounds
Some residents fear losing homes to construction


By Sue-Lyn Erbeck

October 9, 2009

Plans for the long-awaited Circle Line, which would link CTA and Metra rail lines in Chicago's growing central area, are a step closer to being realized after the Chicago Transit Authority completed its analysis of options for the project.

CTA officials last week chose what they said was the most cost-effective "locally preferred alternative" during a series of public meetings. The proposal -- which would be the first phase of the Circle Line project and cost an estimated $1 billion -- would require building new tracks linking the Pink and Orange Lines as well as four new CTA stations and two Metra transfer stations.

The new line would bolster service to the burgeoning Illinois Medical District, Chinatown, Midway Airport and around the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods. The proposal is expected to go before the CTA board in late 2009 or early 2010, said spokeswoman Katelyn Thrall.

The idea of a Circle Line began floating in 2002. Some transportation experts view it as an opportunity to reduce commuting times by improving connections between existing CTA and Metra routes and better serving transit riders in the city and the six-county region. Although the entire project -- which would cost at least several billion to construct -- is still in the conceptual phase, many of the proposed new Circle Line stations would create transfer opportunities between CTA and Metra lines where none exist today.

The alternatives analysis phase is the first of five steps required before the agency can apply for funding through the federal New Starts Program, said Thrall. Public input is required in the alternatives analysis study, but last week's meetings did little to allay some residents' fears that families living in areas where the plan calls for new construction of tracks and stations could lose their homes.

Mike Pitula, a community organizer with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, wants expanded transit services for lower-income communities but worries that the Circle Line plan will hurt residents in its path.

"What's next, the use of eminent domain, taking down of other houses?" said Pitula.

Jeffrey Busby, strategic planning manager with the CTA, acknowledged that homes would be affected.

"There would be some impact to residents. We don't have a number yet," Busby said, adding that further studies needed to be conducted.

Busby said one main goal of the proposal is to improve transit options for people traveling to jobs outside the Loop. He said it would also reduce train congestion within the Loop by diverting those passengers who are only passing through to transfer.

In the proposal, the Circle Line uses existing Red Line tracks, then follows the Orange Line until just past its Ashland stop. Newly constructed tracks then branch up through Pilsen and merge into the Pink Line Cermak Branch near 18th Street before reversing direction at its Ashland stop.

The proposal includes a new CTA transfer station in Chinatown, new stops at Blue Island Avenue and Roosevelt Road, and a transfer station at Congress Parkway. It also designates two potential Metra stations where commuters could switch to the CTA system. One station would serve commuters from the southwest suburbs, and the other would be built just south of the Medical District and serve the BNSF Railway, Metra's busiest line.

The plan was designed in part to help increase access to the Medical District, which has 20,000 employees and receives 75,000 visitors daily, according to the Illinois Medical District Commission. The CTA projects 100,000 daily visitors by 2030. Project manager Jim Czarnecky estimated that a half-hour trip from the suburbs to the Medical District could be cut down to five or 10 minutes.

Pitula opposes Circle Line plans that involve the Ashland corridor. Instead, he advocates for the improvement of bus services along Cicero Avenue. "It's cost-effective and flexible and allows you to provide public transportation for all," he said.

CTA officials said the Circle Line was preferable because it would ultimately serve more passengers. Busby added that the CTA also is studying ways to speed up its bus service.

Ald. Danny Solis, whose 25th Ward is the area targeted for new construction, said he supports the proposal.

"I think that the benefits outweigh the negative," he said. "And I'm sure that the people who are displaced, most being renters, that we can find places for them to move into, and I would think even better than the places where they are living now."

Law student Robert Willey, who lives near the Ashland stop on the Orange Line, is one commuter who said he would benefit from the Circle Line. He relies on CTA buses packed with students to head to his job on the 3500 block of North Ashland.

The Circle Line "would save 30 to 40 minutes," he said, noting how frustrating traffic can get.

Construction on the Circle Line plan could begin in four years and be completed as early as 2016, CTA officials said.
Copyright © 2009, Chicago Tribune
..

Busy Bee Oct 11, 2009 5:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spyguy (Post 4500695)

http://cbs2chicago.com/local/Block.3...2.1239587.html

Hole Lotta Waste Sitting Beneath Chicago's Loop
Mike Parker


Some critics call the $250 million dollar city project "outrageous" and a bad investment. It's the giant unfinished CTA "superstation" in the Block 37 development across from Daley Plaza.

You've helped pay for it, but you've never seen it.

Larger video tour:
http://cbs2chicago.com/video/?id=63538@wbbm.dayport.com

Hmmmmm.

Bootstrap Bill Oct 11, 2009 5:37 PM

Why is the CTA falling so far behind the rest of the country?

I visited Chicago back in '88 primarily because of their excellent transit system. I wanted to see it first hand. They had buses and trains running 24/7 as often as every five minutes. Something you couldn't find here in Southern California.

Now it seems L.A. is passing up Chicago's transit system. We built the Red/Purple line subway, plus four other light rail systems and a regional rail system (Metrolink), all built since my visit. High speed rail is just arround the corner. What has Chicago built in the last 20 years?

What went wrong? Why has the CTA abandoned their transit dreams?

Most of L.A.'s projects were built with a .5% sales tax increase. Can Chicago do the same?

the urban politician Oct 11, 2009 6:19 PM

^ LA is doing what Chicago did in the early-mid 20th century.

I'm not sure that qualifies as Chicago "slipping behind". If anything, LA is playing catch up with the rest of the civilized world right now--about time, don't you think?

Chicago and LA are simply in different stages of their city's development.

All due respect, you should do a bit of research. Chicago has a number of new transit lines/extensions in various stages of planning--nothing u/c right now, but I anticipate there will be a lot more action in the next decade.

whyhuhwhy Oct 11, 2009 6:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bootstrap Bill (Post 4500770)
Why is the CTA falling so far behind the rest of the country?

I visited Chicago back in '88 primarily because of their excellent transit system. I wanted to see it first hand. They had buses and trains running 24/7 as often as every five minutes. Something you couldn't find here in Southern California.

Now it seems L.A. is passing up Chicago's transit system. We built the Red/Purple line subway, plus four other light rail systems and a regional rail system (Metrolink), all built since my visit. High speed rail is just arround the corner. What has Chicago built in the last 20 years?

What went wrong? Why has the CTA abandoned their transit dreams?

Most of L.A.'s projects were built with a .5% sales tax increase. Can Chicago do the same?

It sounds like you just need to read a bit more, no offense. Since your visit the entire Orange line to Midway has been constructed and pretty much all the stations have been redone on almost every line. Buses and trains still run every 5 minutes or so on the entire system, and now with electronic ticketing things are much more efficient. CTA and Metra are still MUCH more extensive than the LA system. I don't believe anything on the CTA has taken a step backwards since '88 at all. The CTA is also proposing Orange, Yellow, and Red Line extensions right now, in addition to a completely new Circle line. As for high speed rail have you read about this at all? The Chicago high speed rail hub network is one of the official HSR corridors in the new bill, with not one but three high speed rail lines starting and ending in Chicago.

Bootstrap Bill Oct 11, 2009 7:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 4500812)
It sounds like you just need to read a bit more, no offense. Since your visit the entire Orange line to Midway has been constructed and pretty much all the stations have been redone on almost every line. Buses and trains still run every 5 minutes or so on the entire system, and now with electronic ticketing things are much more efficient. CTA and Metra are still MUCH more extensive than the LA system. I don't believe anything on the CTA has taken a step backwards since '88 at all. The CTA is also proposing Orange, Yellow, and Red Line extensions right now, in addition to a completely new Circle line. As for high speed rail have you read about this at all? The Chicago high speed rail hub network is one of the official HSR corridors in the new bill, with not one but three high speed rail lines starting and ending in Chicago.

I'm glad to see things aren't as bad as I had thought. It's just that I had been reading various forums over the years and kept reading about various proposals to extend the subway and El that kept getting voted down.

The subway is still only 12 miles long, right? Are there any plans to extend it, or add new lines in the foreseeable future?

the urban politician Oct 11, 2009 8:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bootstrap Bill (Post 4500853)
The subway is still only 12 miles long, right? Are there any plans to extend it, or add new lines in the foreseeable future?

^ Plenty of plans:

1. Create a new subway line in the west loop
2. Create 2 subterrannean BRT's downtown
3. Create a new circumferential line, the "Circle Line"
4. Extend the Red, Orange, and Yellow Lines
5. Create new stops on a couple of lines
6. New Metra Lines/Metra extensions.
7. Express service to/from the airports

The only proposal that has run into significant community opposition is the Yellow Line extension. Regarding the length of the subway, you'll have to asks somebody else. Chicago's rail system is quite big, by 12 miles you must only be referring to the underground portion.

emathias Oct 11, 2009 8:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bootstrap Bill (Post 4500853)
I'm glad to see things aren't as bad as I had thought. It's just that I had been reading various forums over the years and kept reading about various proposals to extend the subway and El that kept getting voted down.

The subway is still only 12 miles long, right? Are there any plans to extend it, or add new lines in the foreseeable future?

What do subways have to do with anything? Yeah, the subway is 12 miles, but there is no functional difference between a subway and our elevated lines. All of the new lines or extensions currently being spec'd are elevated or grade-separated surface lines because they function the same and cost far less than subways do. In addition to the new orange line, in 1984, just four years before your visit, Chicago finished the extension to O'Hare, a number of stations that were part-time stations when you visited are now full-time. And the Green Line and Pink Line have been completely renovated since your visit. The Brown Line has had all its stations expanded to accomodate longer trains so that it can handle its growth. There are extensions recently approved, but not yet funded, for the south branch of the Red Line, for the Orange Line and the Yellow Line. There has also been a routing selected for the second piece of the new routes for the Circle Line, which will improve access to our Medical District, and the City is tentatively planning a new subway through the West Loop to provide better access to two of the commuter rail stations - this would be called the Clinton Street subway, and would also involve expanding Union Station's high-speed rail capabilities, and underground bus connections to aid in running mostly-grade-seperated bus services to the Michigan Avenue corridor from the West Loop commuter rail stations and office district. That's long-term, but it is a plan that will probably find legs once this recession starts to lift and/or the Feds get serious about funding more than just starter routes of high-speed rail.

Chicago has 8 lines and 144 stations on over 100 miles of rail serving about 620,000 people on a typical weekday, all running the same train cars as the subway, all capable of sending trains into the subways for the purposes of emergency reroutes or transferring equipment between train yards and lines, and rail serves both airports.

Despite the improvments, L.A., which is about 40% bigger than Chicago, has 5 lines with 62 stations (including light rail stations) on 73 miles (including light rail) serving 275,000/day, and your subway and light rails lines run incompatible equipment, with rail serving no area airports.

You also seem to be unaware of the extent of our commuter rail, which constitutes 11 lines with 237 stations covering 495 miles of track in Illinois and into Wisconsin. That doesn't include the seperate inter-city South Shore line, which functions as a commuter rail into Indiana, all the way to South Bend (home of Notre Dame), which has 20 stations over 90 miles of track. On the South Side inparticular, the commuter rail system also provides a lot of service within the city, not just for suburban commuters.

VivaLFuego Oct 12, 2009 2:17 AM

Some additional food for thought on the subject.

Agency service area population (pop. density in p/sqmi)
LAMTA 8,493,281 (6,939)
CTA 3,763,791 (11,510)

Annual trips taken per service area resident
LAMTA 58
CTA 133

Fleet buses per 1,000 service area residents
LAMTA 0.32
CTA 0.59

Annual Bus Service Hours per service area resident
LAMTA 0.90
CTA 1.84

Annual Railcar Service Hours per service area resident
LAMTA 0.075
CTA 0.98

Annual Local Transit Tax Funds raised per service area resident (excludes Fare revenue, Federal grants, and monies from State budgets/programs)
LAMTA $87.44
CTA $185.90**


I would second urban politician's broader point about LA playing catch up with building up its system, whereas Chicago is playing catch up with modernizing its system. Once LA's rail lines are 30+ years old, expansion will grind to a crawl when the enormous cost of maintenance, modernization, and capacity expansion becomes apparent. Also, as LA MTA becomes a more mature organization with more years of good times and bad times under its belt, it will begin to acquire the same "legacy costs" of having a large multi-generational union labor force, similar to those that weight down CTA, New York's MTA, the Big 2.5 automakers, etc.

** my impression is that this is largely thanks to the high Cook County share of transit funding despite CTA service not extending into the NW panhandle of Schaumburg or the far southwest region.

Equilibria Oct 12, 2009 2:26 AM

Did I miss something in the 10/9 article, or has the CTA actually not included a Madison station in the LCA? That station is, from a purely big picture perspective, the most obvious service expansion opportunity in the city, in my opinion.

Why does Chicago insist on providing no HRT access to so many of its sporting venues and tourist attractions? This one is so easy!

EDIT: by "big picture" I mean that they must have ridership estimates and such that I don't have... but the station makes sense on the surface.

ardecila Oct 12, 2009 4:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Equilibria (Post 4501294)
Did I miss something in the 10/9 article, or has the CTA actually not included a Madison station in the LCA? That station is, from a purely big picture perspective, the most obvious service expansion opportunity in the city, in my opinion.

Why does Chicago insist on providing no HRT access to so many of its sporting venues and tourist attractions? This one is so easy!

EDIT: by "big picture" I mean that they must have ridership estimates and such that I don't have... but the station makes sense on the surface.

Yea, I'm pissed about it too. I submitted a question about it, so I expect to have it answered in a few weeks when they publish the Comment Responses. My argument is that it makes more sense to build at Madison than Roosevelt, and if CTA wants to increase access to the IMD, then they should expand capacity at the Polk station with skyways or pedways and bigger platforms. The IMD has also shown itself to be a crappy land-use planner, so I don't see why the suburban office parks they've built along Roosevelt should be supplemented by an expensive transit station that few will use.

Ch.G, Ch.G Oct 12, 2009 7:59 AM

I was just thinking about this before reading Bootsrap Bill's post. There's a disparity between the perception and reality of Chicago's transportation infrastructure. What's especially disconcerting is the attitude of many in the local population whose opinions I'm sure inform non-residents. If you were to read only the comments sections of, say, the Tribune website or Chicagoist, you'd get the impression that the entire system is bound to collapse at any minute and that the CTA is the worst operator of all major U.S. cities.

MayorOfChicago Oct 12, 2009 1:54 PM

Well it looks like the CTA is really taking a massive blow on fare increases, shutting down express routes, reduction of hours of operations on dozens of bus routes, as well as a 10% reduction of service frequency on all rail lines, and 14% on all bus routes.

• Basic train fares to $3.00 from $2.25.

• Basic bus fares to $2.50 from $2.00.

• Express bus fares to $3.00.

• Full fare 30-day passes to $110 from $86.

Following routes eliminated:

X3
X4
X9
X20
X49
X54
X55
X80
53 AL.

The hours of operation on 41 bus routes will be shortened, from 25-30 minutes on routes such as Iriving Park and Fullerton, to well over 3 and 4 hours on routes such as Halsted and Milwaukee.

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2...fare-hike.html


I think this is going to cause a LOT of headaches and make people quite angry. I know there's a reason behind it, but raising everyones taxes, getting bailouts, doubling fares in only 5-6 years time, shutting down routes, shortening hours of operation, and reducing frequency on all bus and train routes just makes the system look horribly embarassing.

Not to mention this all comes after pushing almost $100 million of planned preventative maintenance and capital funding for 2010 is going to operations. It all seems very detrimental to the agency - although that's kinda how they've lived for decades now.

My only hope is that if our country can pick back up speed and get more people spending - the increased money in future years can reverse the frequency/hours of operation/express bus situation. I really wish they'd mentioned that in the press release - because it would obviously seem hopeful that this is only temporary while the economy is in shock. I fear the price hike is permenant though - which is going to reduce overall ridership by a degree.

MayorOfChicago Oct 12, 2009 2:03 PM

I think one obvious reaction of all this (at least by me) is that most of my friends don't have a monthly pass. Where we would always take the train somewhere before - I assume now we'll just jump in a cab for most trips. 4 people is $12 on the train. That's quite a bit when a cab can get you most places for less than $15 in a fraction of the time.

whyhuhwhy Oct 12, 2009 3:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago (Post 4501682)
Well it looks like the CTA is really taking a massive blow on fare increases, shutting down express routes, reduction of hours of operations on dozens of bus routes, as well as a 10% reduction of service frequency on all rail lines, and 14% on all bus routes.

• Basic train fares to $3.00 from $2.25.

• Basic bus fares to $2.50 from $2.00.

• Express bus fares to $3.00.

• Full fare 30-day passes to $110 from $86.

Following routes eliminated:

X3
X4
X9
X20
X49
X54
X55
X80
53 AL.

The hours of operation on 41 bus routes will be shortened, from 25-30 minutes on routes such as Iriving Park and Fullerton, to well over 3 and 4 hours on routes such as Halsted and Milwaukee.

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2...fare-hike.html


I think this is going to cause a LOT of headaches and make people quite angry. I know there's a reason behind it, but raising everyones taxes, getting bailouts, doubling fares in only 5-6 years time, shutting down routes, shortening hours of operation, and reducing frequency on all bus and train routes just makes the system look horribly embarassing.

Not to mention this all comes after pushing almost $100 million of planned preventative maintenance and capital funding for 2010 is going to operations. It all seems very detrimental to the agency - although that's kinda how they've lived for decades now.

My only hope is that if our country can pick back up speed and get more people spending - the increased money in future years can reverse the frequency/hours of operation/express bus situation. I really wish they'd mentioned that in the press release - because it would obviously seem hopeful that this is only temporary while the economy is in shock. I fear the price hike is permenant though - which is going to reduce overall ridership by a degree.

LOL so it looks like Bootstrap Bill was actually right, only he was two days ahead of himself. Yowzers.

I keep hearing from some people on this forum that gas prices will go so high that it will push more and more people towards transit, but in reality quite the opposite appears to be happening. Those prices would officially put transit as "expensive" in my book and I would think twice about taking it.

ChicagoChicago Oct 12, 2009 3:16 PM

To a degree? It will flat out kill ridership for non-commuters. If my wife and I want to get from Lakeview to downtown, it's a $7 cab ride and takes about 15 minutes. If we ride the train, it takes a half hour and costs $4.50 (right now). I'm pretty sure we'll be willing to splurge and spend the extra dollar for a commute that's twice as fast and gets us EXACTLY where we want to go.

Haworthia Oct 12, 2009 3:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 4501724)
LOL so it looks like Bootstrap Bill was actually right, only he was two days ahead of himself. Yowzers.

I think your off-base here. The CTA is funded by sales taxes and real estate transfer taxes which have plummeted. Tax revenues everywhere have plummeted. Practically every state in the US is having a budget crisis and most nations running tremendous budget deficits.

The 'problem' with the CTA is a problem any agency supported by taxes is having. I don't think you should mistake the worse economic crisis in over 70 years with the quality of how the CTA operates itself.

But I'm not pretending this isn't bad. Some of these cost saving methods are going to hurt ridership and therefore fare box revenue. I hope this doesn't trigger a downward spiral in ridership.

whyhuhwhy Oct 12, 2009 3:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haworthia (Post 4501733)
I think your off-base here. The CTA is funded by sales taxes and real estate transfer taxes which have plummeted. Tax revenues everywhere have plummeted. Practically every state in the US is having a budget crisis and most nations running tremendous budget deficits.

The 'problem' with the CTA is a problem any agency supported by taxes is having. I don't think you should mistake the worse economic crisis in over 70 years with the quality of how the CTA operates itself.

But I'm not pretending this isn't bad. Some of these cost saving methods are going to hurt ridership and therefore fare box revenue. I hope this doesn't trigger a downward spiral in ridership.

I know this, but the bottom line is this city will now have the highest sales tax in the country, the most expensive street parking, and now the most expensive transit services. And Daley just promised a 10% wage increase to the Unions. Listen, if this is put into place the CTA will be significantly more expensive than the NYC MTA. Something is definitely wrong here.


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