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VivaLFuego Feb 15, 2007 10:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 2634414)
I have lived in SF during the bad days and Portland and San Antonio and the bus system her ranks below all three cities. So I don't know where this propoganda is coming from.

Sigh. Tri-met has less than 700 buses. CTA has 2200. And the comparison to San Antonio is just bizarre. I said BIG CITY BUS SYSTEMS. If your only mode of transportation in any given major city (i.e. like the top 10 metro areas, or so) in the US was bus, not rail, not driving, not taxi, I firmly believe Chicago would be the best choice based on geographic coverage and service frequency, which is all the more amazing given the relatively pathetic funding.

From Tri-Met:
Quote:

MAX and 16 of the bus lines run every 15 minutes or better, all day, every day [5]
Headway of 15 minutes? on 16 out of 93 routes? Whoooooop-de-doo!

Quote:

This goes to prove CTA sucks. You make it relative to itself not to the standards of other cities in the U.S. or the world. And you gave those who claim we are not a world class city even more ammunition to use against...us.
It's entirely relevent information; you're attacking current staff and management for alleged incompetence by comparing CTA to other systems, without using the infrastructure and system that the current staff and management inherited as a benchmark? That's preposterous. And if the public expects the CTA to be as high-quality as the top systems of the world like London or Paris, then the public needs to be prepared to quadruple their current subsidy to CTA. Want to be "as good" as L.A.? Double it.

In fact, that you don't see its relevence suggests you have not lived in Chicago for very long. What is now CTA is evolved from over 100 years of elevated trains, streetcar lines, motorcoach routes, each with a ton of Chicago-style politics behind their operation.

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We need more funding. I have stated that over and over. But I am not willing to support more funding until we have an open CTA with professionals who are top in the country running both operations and infrastructure.
1. Please demonstrate that CTA doesn't currently have many top professionals making these key decisions and recommendations to the board, and
2. How would you expect CTA to lure top professionals from their current jobs if they have no money to pay them? And then wouldn't you just turn around and complain about the ridiculous salaries that the CTA is paying management, and call it all a scam after the first service interruption?

Quote:

And as stated...CTA cannot even run and manage its system now....why would throwing more money into a hole fix it.
...cannot even run it because the public expects a much larger public transit system than it is willing to pay for, and now is reaping what it is sowing from chronic underfunding.

Example: Given the funding situation and ridership levels in Chicago, the Green and Pink lines should not exist, and CTA management even said as such, but politically the demand was to keep the service.

Chicago3rd Feb 15, 2007 10:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2633946)
CTA's Planning division, particularly in regards to Bus Operations, is very highly regarded in public transportation and academic circles, and works very closely with MIT and the Urban Transportation Center at UIC....

Please feel free to share links supporting this statement. Only a few will do since they are so highly regarded in academic circles.

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2633946)
And as Taft alludes to, what do you expect of the bus system? What are you comparing it to? Did you even live in Chicago in the 80s and 90s?

Shows how provencial this discussion is. It isn't very world class...since CTA is just comparing itself to how bad it was decades ago.

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2633946)
And "this project", I assume you mean 3-track, how else do you propose they do this?

I want to know who came up with this plan. Who is on this planning board (the same one that keeps underestimated by millions the costs of projects) and what their qualifications are. It shouldn't be too hard for all the experts in this room to educate the mass here.

Chicago3rd Feb 15, 2007 10:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 2634611)
Replacing Keruesi, coming up with even more innovative strategies and getting proper support and funding from the city, county, state and federal governments is a solution I think would work.

It is obvious...lol. Actually that is what I have said in my letters to the Tribune, Dorothy Brown, Daley and in here.

We have funding issues which is severe and has been sever for decades now. Daley has been in office for almost 2 decades now....but CTA doesn't even rate a mention on his election webpage. Hell look how great Daley has been about getting O'Hare expansion pushed through....you don't think he could get this going too.....I know he could if he wanted to, but find me one mention of his plan to get funding for CTA on his election webpage. Daley gets done what he wants done and CTA isn't on his radar.

VivaLFuego Feb 15, 2007 10:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 2634719)
Please feel free to share links supporting this statement. Only a few will do since they are so highly regarded in academic circles.

Hopefully the timestamp will validate how easy this was; a few seconds of googling:
http://ctl.mit.edu/metadot/index.pl?...tegory&op=show

There are plenty of CTA employees who have literally "written the book" on a far range of subjects, including technical, historical, and analytic aspects of transit. Not going to drop their names here, you can find them easily if you cared.

Quote:

I want to know who came up with this plan. Who is on this planning board (the same one that keeps underestimated by millions the costs of projects) and what their qualifications are. It shouldn't be too hard for all the experts in this room to educate the mass here.
3-tracking at Fullerton and Belmont is a necessity, which is self-evident to anyone who visits the respective sites. I mean, the platforms are legally required to be widened, which involves re-aligning every track.

Chicago3rd Feb 15, 2007 11:10 PM

I wasn't comparing sizes of the three cities. That is a deflective attempt on your part. Relative to their city size they all three have better service. Portland being smaller has created a rail line and a trolley line in the last 20 years...that is expansion. CTA just created the Orange line..killed the feeder doesn't have a trolley downtown....or light rail or nothing.... And Portland budgets for upkeep and replacement of what they build. Chicago...hell...can't even keep the esalators at the 250 million dollar Chicago Red line platform working after 2 years...lol.

There is a hell of a lot Chicago could learn from the other cities.

TriMet also is a regional agency that runs buses in three counties and even a few buses into a neighboring state. They are under a Regional Government called Metro. Chicago is so far behind in inivative thought. And not one time when I lived in SF, SA or PDX did I ever read anything about Chicago....... No body wants to be in Chicago's funding situation. No body wants to be managed like CTA. No body wants to let infrastructure waste away like CTA.

Chicago3rd Feb 15, 2007 11:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2634744)
Hopefully the timestamp will validate how easy this was; a few seconds of googling:
http://ctl.mit.edu/metadot/index.pl?...tegory&op=show

It is talking about a project at MIT back in the Fall of 2001. Nothing about CTA's accomplishment and "awe" status. It sounded good...where is the reports and how much of it has CTA put through?

Quote:

I mean, the platforms are legally required to be widened, which involves re-aligning every track.
You fighting a ghost here? I am not against the expansion and improvement. It is long over due. I just don't believe the top minds were/are behind the implementation of this project. And I wish I could say...it must be the best solution....CTA has its shit together...but you cannot even give me all the reports about how great the system is admired.....nation wide.

If you read..you know I was 100% in line with CRAINE's editorial back in January. And I believe some of the stuff you agreed with. Just the management part and transparent part you seem to be fighting here. Wonder why???

VivaLFuego Feb 16, 2007 12:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 2634773)
I wasn't comparing sizes of the three cities. That is a deflective attempt on your part. Relative to their city size they all three have better service. Portland being smaller has created a rail line and a trolley line in the last 20 years...that is expansion. CTA just created the Orange line..killed the feeder doesn't have a trolley downtown....or light rail or nothing.... And Portland budgets for upkeep and replacement of what they build. Chicago...hell...can't even keep the esalators at the 250 million dollar Chicago Red line platform working after 2 years...lol.

Right. Remember what I talked about regarding how CTA has inherited alot of baggage? I mean aside from the 100 year old infrastructure, also the 100 years of politics attached to it.

A few corrections: in the last 20 years, CTA built the Orange Line.....rebuilt the 100-year old Green Line, rebuilt the 100-year old Douglas branch, have refurbished the 50 year old Forest Park branch, refurbished the 40 year old Dan Ryan branch, refurbished the 100 year old Milwaukee elevated.....replaced the running rail in the subways, so after the ties are replaced this year, those will both be refurbished.

and the Chicago/State station rehab was about $25million (off by a factor of 10, there), and was a CDOT project in terms of design/procurement.
Quote:


There is a hell of a lot Chicago could learn from the other cities.

TriMet also is a regional agency that runs buses in three counties and even a few buses into a neighboring state. They are under a Regional Government called Metro. Chicago is so far behind in inivative thought. And not one time when I lived in SF, SA or PDX did I ever read anything about Chicago....... No body wants to be in Chicago's funding situation. No body wants to be managed like CTA. No body wants to let infrastructure waste away like CTA.
Again, with the inherited political baggage. From an asset standpoint, CTA didn't start from scratch on its rail system like Tri-Met recently did. And you're right of course, nobody wants to be in Chicago's funding situation.

I definitely have to agree with Taft's assessment, firing everyone at the agency would solve little and make things alot worse because of how much knowledge would be lost; the fix has to come from dramatic political changes, in the way transit is funded and the level and source of operational oversight. I just don't see those political changes happening in the immediate future. I predict '08/09 (i.e. the '09 budget season during 2008) will be the boil point, the point at which CTA's budget literally just implodes. Maybe when there's government employee pensions on the line, Madigan will care to make an issue of this in Springfield. Of course, Madigan's dislike for Kruesi is a very poorly-kept secret...

VivaLFuego Feb 16, 2007 12:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 2634810)
It is talking about a project at MIT back in the Fall of 2001. Nothing about CTA's accomplishment and "awe" status. It sounded good...where is the reports and how much of it has CTA put through?

I'm simply not going to start dropping names, since I don't have those individuals' permission. Like I said, if you wanted to, you could find out who they are.

Quote:

You fighting a ghost here? I am not against the expansion and improvement. It is long over due. I just don't believe the top minds were/are behind the implementation of this project. And I wish I could say...it must be the best solution....CTA has its shit together...but you cannot even give me all the reports about how great the system is admired.....nation wide.

If you read..you know I was 100% in line with CRAINE's editorial back in January. And I believe some of the stuff you agreed with. Just the management part and transparent part you seem to be fighting here. Wonder why???
Seriously, there is no reasonable way to reconstruct Belmont and Fullerton without always having 1 track out of service. The only way would be to build a temporary track even farther off to the side, which would require 1) even more property acquisition, 2) a lot of extra material and labor cost that the Federal government, whos paying for 80% of the project, wouldn't pay for.

I won't argue against transparency, but anyone who's worked in large organizations, especially in government, knows that the endless beaurocracy and CYA instinct are not conducive to it...i.e. people like to wax righteously about how transparent everything should be without realizing how hard it is. Should transparency still be a goal? Of course, definitely. But it also shouldn't devolve to the point where it's a potential public veto on every little thing management wants to do; that defeats the purpose of representative government.

VivaLFuego Feb 16, 2007 12:30 AM

Snip

honte Feb 16, 2007 4:29 AM

All I can say is, "wow." This place is pretty intense! Can someone print this out, bind it at Kinkos, and send it to the Mayor?

Chicago3rd Feb 16, 2007 5:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2634989)
I'm simply not going to start dropping names, since I don't have those individuals' permission. Like I said, if you wanted to, you could find out who they are.

It is a public operations. World class planners, if CTA would have had any, would have been public knowledge. Dropping names....means you cannot make your point...just like your article from MIT from 2001. Nothing is concrete. Just like CTA.

If CTA could show that professional people with a high degree of knowledge in this area said this is the best solution for CTA and the Brown line improvements then it would be easier to understand. But these folks cannot even get GPS on the buses or the Monitors to tell us when trains are coming or even keep the trains running on time or near time. There is know way any of them is qualified to make these kind of decisions. It is like the WMD arguement...sounds impressive....but nothing really there.

Why both stations at the same time. Why not just have Fullerton be the bottle neck...combine work teams and work on that station...complete it then do Belmont? Why create a 1 mile long bottle neck?

Transparency means it can be run with nothing to hide. That when they say something we will know it to be factual. Right now we know they cannot be trusted. They blew the brown line construction. They keep on way underestimating the cost of projects so we don't get bidding to go through...which we all know means more time to set up for a new bid and that means the costs have gone up again.....management is just as weak as the 100 year old system and we all agree it needs to be improved.

As I said to my letter to the tribune I am willing to pay higher income tax and fares along with more monies from the state and better budget to get the whole system up to par and turn it into a world class system. But I cannot approve of any of that until CTA shows it has nothing to hide.

ardecila Feb 16, 2007 6:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 2635606)
the Monitors to tell us when trains are coming

Just a sidenote - Chicago-L.org lists 4 stations (O'Hare, Midway, Cumberland, Davis) that have these countdown signs. There may have been more added since that was written, and the new Brown Line stations might include these signs as well.

Nowhereman1280 Feb 16, 2007 7:05 AM

Easy Solution to all of this:

Win the 2016 Olympic bid and get a few billion dollars in federal Mass Transit dollars included within a package of tens of billions of dollars of infrastructure aid... Problem solved...

You know, when comparing a Portland or San Antonio to Chicago, can't just take into account the raw size of the city. A lot of CTA's problems are caused not only by it's age, but by the sheer density of the areas that it runs through. Moving the tracks over just a few feet one way or another to route around construction would displace dozens if not hundreds of people in some area's. I doubt that is much of a problem in Portland.

This density issue is best demostrated by the way El runs directly over the streets in the loop, there is simply nowhere else to put it. Granted a lot of cities (like NYC and London, which would be a mess if they tried to put elevated trains through those crazy streets) get around that issue by using Subways, which are way more expensive.

What this all comes down to is that CTA needs wayyyy more money than they have now and that no one currently in power is willing to fork it over. Hopefully we'll get a lucky break with the Olympics and, since most of the lines have been refurbished or rebuilt in the last 20 years, see some real improvement, like more multiple tracks and modern stations.

I don't get why the Green Line even exists south of the loop, it makes no sense. It basically parallels the Red Line, but a few blocks away and then breaks off and plunges into the worst and most impoverished neighborhoods of Chicago for three or four stops. They may as well just have made a red line Spur over to U of C.


P.S. Did I hear someone complaining about CTA not having a trolley (like Portland) downtown? I'd like to see that, you know, already congested streets full of crazy ass Chicago drivers being crisscrossed by at-grade transit lines, real good idea there...

Nowhereman1280 Feb 16, 2007 7:32 AM

I was just doing some reading on Wikipedia about this subject and there are some sweet proposals for expanding the Chicago Light rail network out there floating around in bureaucratic limbo. If they all get built and the current renovations and improvements to the El get finished, I think Chicagoland light rail would probably be the largest and, perhaps, best Mass Transit system in the world.

I am including South Shore Line in Chicagoland Mass Transit, so don't freakout and yell that I am crazy.

Proposals for the El:

Wiki says that there is currently planning in the works for extending the Red Line along the Bishop Ford Freeway median to 130th street where it would connect to the SSL, which would be really sweet.

Then there is also the Circle line, which everyone has heard about for sure. I am a huge fan of this one since it is a pain in the ass to move anywhere that is not on the exact opposite side of the city from you using the El.

Then there is the Mid-City Line which would basically parallel Cicero from Jefferson Park on the Blue along exisiting rail stock, down to Midway, and then across to 87th and Dan Ryan. That would also be pretty sweet, though I don't know why they wouldn't just make it join up with the Red and 95th and Dan Ryan.


Proposal for SSL:

Apparently there is a proposal in the works, which I'm sure has been brought up here before, to branch the SSL out to Valparaiso and Lowell which would look something like this:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...03_%282%29.JPG

If the Red line is connected to 130th street as proposed above, then that would make one massive light rail system!

VivaLFuego Feb 16, 2007 3:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 2635606)
It is a public operations. World class planners, if CTA would have had any, would have been public knowledge. Dropping names....means you cannot make your point...just like your article from MIT from 2001. Nothing is concrete. Just like CTA.

If CTA could show that professional people with a high degree of knowledge in this area said this is the best solution for CTA and the Brown line improvements then it would be easier to understand.

I'm not going to write names here, for all I know you could start sending them mail like "OMG VivALFUego said you guys are awesome but u r actually teh suxx0r!! lolol" And well, I'm trying to avoid that.

Also, you imply that every Londoner or New Yorker, etc would be familiar with all the world-class planners working at those systems....seems plausible...

Quote:

But these folks cannot even get GPS on the buses or the Monitors to tell us when trains are coming or even keep the trains running on time or near time.
Not sure where to start on this one, but these are projects in progress that cost money, money which you want to deny CTA.

Quote:

There is know way any of them is qualified to make these kind of decisions. It is like the WMD arguement...sounds impressive....but nothing really there.
Huh?

Quote:

Why both stations at the same time. Why not just have Fullerton be the bottle neck...combine work teams and work on that station...complete it then do Belmont? Why create a 1 mile long bottle neck?
Basically because of the project time. Fullerton needs to be done by the end of '08, and Belmont needs to be done by the end of '09. Each station takes a minimum of about 2.5 years to reconstruct given that they need to remain open basically 24/7. So, that would mean construction would realistically have had to start by mid-2004, which was pretty optimistic as this was when the original construction contract was still out to bid. But you are right, at the very least an earlier construction start would have allowed for less overlap of having both stations 3-tracked at the same time. And I'm pretty sure that the initial Brown Line cost estimate was actually done by an outside consultant, but in fairness to your point I'm not sure there was ever clarity on whose responsibility that was (i.e. consultant, who within CTA, etc.)

Quote:

Transparency means it can be run with nothing to hide.
I agree...I mean all the procurement records are available publicly. What further transparency do you want? Like I said earlier, if every little management decision has the potential for a full public veto, nothing would ever get done. It's just not how representative government works.

Also for the record, I'm not arguing because I think I can convince C3rd, but rather because I think the bystanders are enjoying the dialogue and are hearing 2 thought-provoking sides to the argument...

I think we've made our points. C3Rd, final words?

Chicago3rd Feb 16, 2007 3:27 PM

And I am listening...believe it or not. So thanks for taking the time to talk. I want the money. I want Chicago to get the chance to build/rebuild a world class system and I want to make sure CTA will do it right.

honte Feb 16, 2007 3:33 PM

Concerning Chicago's performance re: other cities, is it just me, or has the Federal Govt been favoring giving money to municipalities that have no transit, vs those that have established transit systems? It seems like Portland, Denver, Houston just came out of nowhere with these light-rail things.

MayorOfChicago Feb 16, 2007 4:27 PM

^ It's shiny and brand new. Then they can take a picture next to it and say - LOOK WHAT WE DID!! NO RAIL BEFORE, AND NOW THIS!!!!

If you rebuild a line for the same amount of money, no one will notice or register anything except those who ride it (even though you're buiding it FOR the people riding it), because it was already there in the first place. When you build a new line in an established city, I don't think it gets much attention either since it's just another line on the transit maps.

People can get more flashy over new projects since they're being started from scratch, and more "exciting". If they just did it based on USAGE, I think they would give NYC their western Manhattan subway, or the 2nd ave line - and build some extentions and new lines (Circle Line) in Chicago.

DaleAvella Feb 16, 2007 5:19 PM

I'm sure others are better versed on the nitty-gritty details than I am but I find it interesting looking at the ridership and funding numbers that have been put up for different cities.

Kind of striking the correlation that NYC transit is roughly 10 times the ridership of CTA, and subsidized on the order of 10 times as well.

Chicago3rd Feb 17, 2007 12:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2634959)
.

A few corrections: in the last 20 years, CTA built the Orange Line.....rebuilt the 100-year old Green Line, rebuilt the 100-year old Douglas branch, have refurbished the 50 year old Forest Park branch, refurbished the 40 year old Dan Ryan branch, refurbished the 100 year old Milwaukee elevated.....replaced the running rail in the subways, so after the ties are replaced this year, those will both be refurbished.

I specifically said expansion. Only the Orange lines were expanded. Wasn't talking maintenance......which is built into TRIMETS policy. Don't build it unless there is funding to run and maintain it. Also note I sad smaller. Just some house cleaning.


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