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ardecila Nov 13, 2009 9:00 PM

I should also mention that the most recent election contained a referendum in Northern Indiana on the establishment of an RTA to run the two new South Shore lines to Lowell and Valparaiso. The RTA would have covered Lake, Porter, LaPorte, and St. Joseph counties, and have the power to increase sales taxes up to 0.25%

Lake and LaPorte counties decided not to hold the election, and the other 2 soundly rejected the transit authority at around 80% against. Of course, it's not a major election, and this was the only thing on the ballot, so turnout was only 15% in Porter County (compared to a 66% turnout for the 2008 general election).

Marcu Nov 13, 2009 10:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4557388)
I should also mention that the most recent election contained a referendum in Northern Indiana on the establishment of an RTA to run the two new South Shore lines to Lowell and Valparaiso. The RTA would have covered Lake, Porter, LaPorte, and St. Joseph counties, and have the power to increase sales taxes up to .25%

Lake and LaPorte counties decided not to hold the election, and the other 2 soundly rejected the transit authority at around 80% against. Of course, it's not a major election, and this was the only thing on the ballot, so turnout was only 15% in Porter County (compared to a 66% turnout for the 2008 general election).

^ Brilliant. :koko:

I guess development will just continue to follow the Metra lines on the IL side, while the Indiana suburbs remain economically depressed.

Mr Downtown Nov 13, 2009 11:40 PM

Where does any development follow Metra lines? Is there a noticeable ridge of density along the Metra Electric to University Park? Or even along the South Shore Line? The hottest areas in the most recent boom--Oswego, Plainfield, Yorkville to the southwest or Huntley, Gilberts, Campton Hills to the northwest--are far, far away from Metra lines.

Nowhereman1280 Nov 14, 2009 12:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4557370)
And yes, any extension of the Illiana east of I-65 was FIERCELY opposed by Northern Indiana, which doesn't want to become Chicago sprawl.

Lol, because they'd rather remain in the same state as Gary? They prefer to be a rotting 2/3 abandoned industrial corridor? Oh well, Indiana is so useless as a state that I think we should just dig the whole state down 100' and let Lake Michigan fill it up with Indianapolis on an Island in the middle. Then we could just use all that dirt to build a mountain range where the far west suburbs are (Auroa and Joliet could become charming "mountain towns" nestled in the valley). Of course we'd have to leave a large causeway in the middle for all of our train lines, highways, and utilities to cross...

ardecila Nov 14, 2009 1:07 AM

^^ They have a point. The highway would probably attract the same kind of industrial development that Will County is seeking, in addition to new residential growth.

The areas of Northern Indiana that opposed the highway were, unsurprisingly, the same that just voted down the creation of an RTA. They're a patchwork of medium-sized towns with little connection to Chicago except maybe for baseball. The areas are not especially depressed, at least by Midwestern standards - Gary and Hammond aside, most of Northwest Indiana is solidly middle class, and has its own culture that is quite distinct from that of Chicagoland. That doesn't mean it won't eventually join Chicagoland more fully - Jersey and Long Island are part of the same metro area, too - but there have to be the economic ties before people realize the benefit of closer infrastructure ties to Chicago.

Because of Lake Michigan, there's a big chokepoint through Chicago, so the central segment of the Illiana (I-57 to I-65) helps to spread that traffic out. But for traffic headed SOUTH or SOUTHWEST from Michigan or Ohio - currently on I-90 or I-94 - I-69 exists to detour Chicago completely. For trucks that must pass through Chicagoland, major overhauls are done on the Kingery in IL, and nearing completion on the Borman in IN.

Busy Bee Nov 14, 2009 3:52 AM

^For the record, Hammond is in no way as impoverished as Gary and generally speaking a pretty stable middle class town.

Chicago Shawn Nov 14, 2009 6:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4557691)
Where does any development follow Metra lines? Is there a noticeable ridge of density along the Metra Electric to University Park? Or even along the South Shore Line? The hottest areas in the most recent boom--Oswego, Plainfield, Yorkville to the southwest or Huntley, Gilberts, Campton Hills to the northwest--are far, far away from Metra lines.

Um, yeah. That is because the suburban lands along the railroads began developing 150 years ago. Everything closer in is already built out or close to it, and infill has been occurring as higher-density TOD in many suburban downtowns near to the stations. The cheap and large tracts of land which allow for cheap tract housing are now mostly located beyond the ends of the Metra Lines, or the gaps between them.

There is a noticeable drop off in density away from the South Shore line, in Porter County, just go a couple miles south and your into the farms.

Marcu Nov 14, 2009 6:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4557691)
Where does any development follow Metra lines? Is there a noticeable ridge of density along the Metra Electric to University Park? Or even along the South Shore Line? The hottest areas in the most recent boom--Oswego, Plainfield, Yorkville to the southwest or Huntley, Gilberts, Campton Hills to the northwest--are far, far away from Metra lines.

Obviously there are more factors at play. And relatively speaking, yes there is more density and suburban development within 5-10 miles of the UP line. Oswego and Huntley are entierly different markets whose only relevance to Chicago is the periodic use of O'Hare. I'm not su why they were brought up.

For most of the NW Indiana communities still struggling from the manufacturing collapse, their only hope is to somehow transform their economies by linking up to Chicago. Resistence to infrastructure investment that will make these communities good options for suburban Chicago commuting is about the last thing they need.

Chicago3rd Nov 14, 2009 6:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4557691)
Where does any development follow Metra lines? Is there a noticeable ridge of density along the Metra Electric to University Park? Or even along the South Shore Line? The hottest areas in the most recent boom--Oswego, Plainfield, Yorkville to the southwest or Huntley, Gilberts, Campton Hills to the northwest--are far, far away from Metra lines.

Evanston and Desplaines to name 2. Morton Grove has had some development at the metra station and has been looking into further development of that area.

Chicago3rd Nov 14, 2009 6:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4553828)
^I would add that there are numerous other indirect subsidies to the "auto-oriented" lifestyle that are difficult to capture. One more obvious one is police and emergency protection, with of course many jurisdictions spending the bulk of their time dealing with traffic issues but being funded out of property taxes or general revenue funds, rather than exclusively out of the fuel tax. Illinois State Police actually used to be partially funded out of the fuel tax (amazing!) but that ended when part of the 2009 budget balancing raiding assorted funds to shovel money around to avoid cuts or tax increases(nod to mwadswor).

Other society-wide indirect subsidies that are even more difficult to monetize are in health insurance (i.e. we collectively pay higher health insurance rates to deal with treatment of injuries caused in auto accidents, the latter much more likely than getting injured on foot or in transit on a per trip basis), and of course land use regulations that ensure cross-subsidization of accessory parking.


And plowing roads. We are having huge financial problems in Chicago including mass transit. Daley can find NO money for CTA. But has found money to keep cars and transportation moving smoothly this winter. So people waiting for the bus will wait twice as long in the blizzards as last year but car snow plowing, nice warm cars, will stay status quo. Before someone goes off on CTA is a seperate...blah blah. Daley....is the mayor of this city and has by far the most power of anyone in Chicago if not in the state of Illinois. His 1st responsibility is to the citizens of Chicago. So if CTA is broke and his citizens are going to get f@ck over then he needs to lead a battle cry to fix funding once and for all.

Chicago Shawn Nov 14, 2009 8:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 4558699)
And plowing roads. We are having huge financial problems in Chicago including mass transit. Daley can find NO money for CTA. But has found money to keep cars and transportation moving smoothly this winter. So people waiting for the bus will wait twice as long in the blizzards as last year but car snow plowing, nice warm cars, will stay status quo. Before someone goes off on CTA is a seperate...blah blah. Daley....is the mayor of this city and has by far the most power of anyone in Chicago if not in the state of Illinois. His 1st responsibility is to the citizens of Chicago. So if CTA is broke and his citizens are going to get f@ck over then he needs to lead a battle cry to fix funding once and for all.

Well, keeping the streets clear does help the CTA. Buses can't cant move if the cars in front of them don't move either.

Daley's main priority is running the City of Chicago, not the CTA. Keeping the streets clear is a basic city service.

Yes, CTA is vital to keeping the city moving; but its a separate entity, with separate management and separate taxing power through the RTA. Any money the city could afford to shift towards CTA, probably wouldn't be enough to keep all the service going anyway. $90 Million is a lot of money to come up with in a deep recession. Of course if the state had done their responsibilities, we could of gotten rid of seniors ride free and saved $40 million in next year's operating budget.

ardecila Nov 14, 2009 9:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baronvonellis (Post 4555623)
Doesn't I-80 already connect I-57 to I-65 in that area? Why do they need another interstate connecting those two roads? CTA sure could use that billion dollars now.

I should also mention that the projected construction cost for the Illiana with a basic, 4-lane cross-section is $570 million for 24 miles. Apparently, you can't even build 2 miles of elevated CTA rail for that much (see Orange Line extension).

VivaLFuego Nov 15, 2009 3:54 AM

^That Orange Line price is fully-burdened (planning/design/acquisition/construction management) and in YOE dollars, because that's how the New Starts program requires the costs to be discussed. I would guess the Iliana figure (not being part of New Stars, obviously) is construction only, possibly even in 2009 dollars, to sound more politically palatable.

ardecila Nov 15, 2009 5:58 AM

Nope. The numbers were calculated in YOE 2017 dollars, assuming 3.5% inflation, and include construction and right-of-way costs (but not design, study, or the inevitable legal costs). 4-lane freeways through flat rural areas are really cheap. That's why IL, and the rest of the Midwest, has so many of these roads, connecting every city of moderate importance.

Other, higher cost estimates in the study assume a much bigger road, going up to a massive 16-lane cross-section (8 lanes for cars, 8 for trucks). Of course, there's absolutely no need for that. With no surrounding development for miles and only two planned interchanges, almost all of the traffic will be through traffic - all of it drawn from the 4-lane I-65, which encounters few problems with 4 lanes.

I should stress, though, that since the specific alignment has not been nailed down, or even the specific corridor (INDOT study recommended 3 different, 1000-foot-wide corridors). Because of this, land costs are drawn from rough estimates based on the attractiveness of the land to developers, which directly corresponds to the given corridor's proximity tothe urban fringe. Specifically, the study assumed $60,000 per acre for the northernmost corridor, $40,000 for the middle, and $20,000 for the southernmost. Considering that the IL average price per acre of farmland is $2425, those figures seem reasonable. I'm hoping the northernmost corridor will get chosen... it's best positioned to connect with 355, instead of connecting with the Prairie Parkway like the loony Will County planners want. It's also best-positioned to serve the Peotone airport - the other two corridors are even FURTHER south, if that gives you an idea.

VivaLFuego Nov 15, 2009 9:50 PM

^Thanks for the added info.

In other words, the more useful and less speculative the roadway, the more expensive it is. Which suggests to me the fair comparison would be the cost of laying a new heavy rail right-of-way in the middle of cornfields, rather than in a dense urban environment.

Additional sidenote: the transit project costs also include related fleet expansion costs. Not major in the overall project cost, but each railcar does add a couple mil each.

Mr Downtown Nov 15, 2009 10:06 PM

I confess that I'm a little puzzled about what desire line is served by an Illiana Expressway. I think of most of the through truck traffic as coming from the Ohio Turnpike/Indiana Toll Road and continuing north to Wisconsin or west through Iowa. I just don't see them going south on I-65 for 20 miles, then west on a toll road, then back north on I-57 or a 355 extension.

Chicago3rd Nov 15, 2009 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4558914)
Well, keeping the streets clear does help the CTA. Buses can't cant move if the cars in front of them don't move either.

Daley's main priority is running the City of Chicago, not the CTA. Keeping the streets clear is a basic city service.

Yes, CTA is vital to keeping the city moving; but its a separate entity, with separate management and separate taxing power through the RTA. Any money the city could afford to shift towards CTA, probably wouldn't be enough to keep all the service going anyway. $90 Million is a lot of money to come up with in a deep recession. Of course if the state had done their responsibilities, we could of gotten rid of seniors ride free and saved $40 million in next year's operating budget.

As stated he is the strongest person in this state politically. The CTA is screwed....and has been screwed since even all his years in office. You are telling me there is NO way Daley could have made changes over the years?
Also, he finally got a great CTA head who made fantastic changes with what he had for the system and Daley took him and put him in the schools. Showing that public transportation is not a priority for him and hasn't ever been. Look at the picture from outside in.....it is because people keep looking at how things are that they still are the way they are what with funding and stuff.

I have no issue with money being "found" to pay overtime......I have a problem with Daley and his silence for these two decades. It is his city. He is responsible for keeping it running. Since he cannot and has proven he cannot fix CTA with 2 decades then I suggest we get a person in the mayors office who will make such huge attempts to fix long term funding for the CTA.

My frustration is that CTA has been a problem since I have lived here. Not this one issue in particular.

ardecila Nov 16, 2009 12:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4560121)
I confess that I'm a little puzzled about what desire line is served by an Illiana Expressway. I think of most of the through truck traffic as coming from the Ohio Turnpike/Indiana Toll Road and continuing north to Wisconsin or west through Iowa. I just don't see them going south on I-65 for 20 miles, then west on a toll road, then back north on I-57 or a 355 extension.

Traffic continuing through Chicago on 80 or 90 won't use the highway, but trucks coming from 80 or 90 and heading to 57 or 65 (which currently use the Kingery/Borman) would. Since the Kingery/Borman have just been expanded, the real benefits of Illiana will occur by reducing congestion at the "system interchanges" of 80/90/94/65, 94/80, and 294/80.

There's also the possibility of induced growth (obviously...) connected with industrial development along the corridor. If the Peotone airport is developed as a cargo airport, that would free up capacity at O'Hare to handle a greater volume of passenger movements. Around Peotone, it would spur the construction of even more industrial operations than the highway alone. Such an operation would undoubtedly require railroad and highway improvements in the area, as well as improvements to bring workers in and out of the area.

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego
^Thanks for the added info.

In other words, the more useful and less speculative the roadway, the more expensive it is. Which suggests to me the fair comparison would be the cost of laying a new heavy rail right-of-way in the middle of cornfields, rather than in a dense urban environment.

Yes, of course. But the usefulness of the northernmost corridor as opposed to the southernmost is significant, while the cost only increases by about $20 million.

And, if we're going to make fair comparisons, is relieving bus congestion at the Midway terminal really a good use of $500 million? You could just build more bus bays south of 59th for a fraction of the cost. The Illiana, on the other hand, would significantly relieve congestion on a highway that sees about 160,000 vehicles/day, projected at almost 200,000 within a decade. I'd rather see Chicago build half of the Mid-City Transitway as light rail or EMU, which is far cheaper than heavy rail and, if designed properly, nearly the same speed and capacity.

the urban politician Nov 16, 2009 1:46 AM

Ardecila and Viva, I just have to mention how glad I am we have you guys around. You're Chicago's de facto transportation experts

VivaLFuego Nov 16, 2009 5:22 AM

A couple articles in the Trib.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,2437492.story
Quote:

Originally Posted by Trib
Union leaders have suggested alternative ways to raise money, like increasing fares, hiking or extending existing taxes or laying off managers instead of lower-level employees. Long-term solutions would stop the cycle of budget gaps and cuts, they said.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...3657428.column
Quote:

Consider this the next time you ride Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains, or you wonder why it always seems like the transit agency is asking for a government bailout:

The average fare collected by the CTA is 98 cents, according to the transit agency. It takes into account full-priced fares, reduced fares, passes and free rides.

The cost for the CTA to provide service averages $7 per ride, including some capital costs such as maintenance and some system improvements.

The cost per ride jumps to $9.90 if major projects such as the ongoing Brown Line capacity-expansion project or the planned extensions of the Red, Orange and Yellow/Skokie Swift Lines are factored in, CTA officials said.
I'd be curious to see the calculation here. Looking at 2007 NTD figures:

Rides: 499 million

Operating Funds Expended: $1.118 billion
Op Cost per ride: $2.24
Source of operating funds: 41% system generated, 27% local, 18% state, 10% federal (preventative maintenance capital dollars), 4% other

Capital funds expended: $641m
Cap cost per ride: $1.28
Source of capital funds: 61% local, 3% state, 36% federal

Total cost per ride: $3.52
Non-federal cost per ride (i.e. fares + local taxes): $2.83

So obviously the capital budget has recently increased due to ARRA and the state capital plan, but I still am having trouble figuring out where they are coming up with a $7+ cost per ride figure from. 2009 is on track to have more rides than 2007, and expenditures surely haven't doubled in that time frame.


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