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VivaLFuego Feb 17, 2007 2:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 2637067)
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.

You seem to have completely missed my point. CTA's current management, who variously have mostly come on in the 80s, 90s, and 00s, inherited the ancient infrastructure, and have managed to refurbish and rebuild much of it, AND add a new line despite the inconsistent funding situation. So by your logic, the Orange shouldn't have been built, and Green and Pink should certainly have been torn down. Dan Ryan, Forest Park would still be deteriorating. But who cares, you don't go to those parts of the city anyway.

Yeah parts of the O'hare line and the Howard line are decaying, and we see the results. In fact, all those other lines (Lake, Englewood, Jackson Park, Douglas, Forest Park, Dan Ryan, etc) all hit their boiling points long ago, and the political leadership found a way to come through with funding for timely repairs. Now the O'hare and Howard branches have reached a boiling point...and the one part of the subways that haven't been replaced (the damn ancient wooden ties) are crapping out at the same time too.

This is why I asked how long you've lived in Chicago. It's how transit works here. Does it suck? Yeah. At the end of the day, it's all politics; transit can't pay for itself in this country, so the politicians who provide the subsidy determine the service that is provided: where operations and capital money is spent. So for example, in the early 90s CTA management sought to close the Green line down because it was an operational disaster (in addition to being in awful shape and basically being 15-25mph its whole length, it had paltry ridership, and its south branch still has paltry ridership). But then the politicos, aldermen, congressmen and such start hauling out and parading the little old widows whose lives would be ruined by this, the children who coudn't get to school, yadda yadda (of course, all they would have needed was a transfer, or to ride the bus) but at the end of the day, the Green Line got rehabbed despite it really making no sense to do so. Next up was the Cermak branch, possibly in even worse shape than the Green (not sure if you ever rode it before 2001).....there were VERY brief murmurs about shutting it down (its ridership is also incredibly small), but now that the Green line was rehabbed for the African-Americans, now CTA wants to shut down the line for the Hispanics? I don't think so (or rather, this is how it played politically, just to be clear). So the precedent was set....

And for now, we won't even get into the politicization of CTA's union contracts, which account for something like 85%+ of CTA's labor force and thus the vast majority of its operating expense.

And stories like this go on and on. And this is all even harder for the people who devote their lives to providing transit. But if it's ever to change, it will come from above, from the politicians who control the funding and the oversight.

Contrary to what some may try to say, transit is all about politics, it is not about providing the best, most efficient service; if that were the case, CTA would:
1) be very heavily peaked as a commuter service, with very infrequent off-peak service through most of the city
2) Would only have a few rail lines: Probably only the Red Line and Blue Line
3) bus service would be sparse and infrequent (think Pace-style) through most of Chicago: throughout the entire bungalow belt and large swaths of the south and west sides

But it's not like that; it provides frequent service throughout all of Chicago, even where it's mathematically unwarranted and unjustified, because politcally, it is deemed a public service. This goes back to what I said about Chicagoans expecting a very high level of transit service but really having no clue what it costs to provide it.

And finally, if you think taking a 100 year old outdoor steel and wood infrastructure and making it modern and usable is mere "maintenance".....

ardecila Feb 17, 2007 3:53 AM

Hmm... sorta diverging from the current debate, but here goes.

Is there any use for the extra elevated tracks on the Brown Line between Armitage and Chicago? I'd hate to see them go to waste, especially when something like the Circle Line could potentially use them for part of its route.

nomarandlee Feb 19, 2007 5:55 AM

Officials: More passengers riding Metra, Amtrak in Illinois
 
No real new info but why not post anyway...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel...l=chi-news-hed




Officials: More passengers riding Metra, Amtrak in Illinois

Associated Press
Published February 18, 2007, 11:48 AM CST


CHICAGO -- More Illinoisans are traveling to work and vacation by train, according to state and Metra officials.

The announcements come as Metra and Amtrak lobby for more money from state and federal governments.

Metra, which operates Chicago's commuter rail system, recorded 84.3 million passenger trips in 2006, the most in the company's history, and a 5.2 percent increase over 2005, officials said.

Meanwhile, passengers increased by 69 percent on newly expanded Amtrak routes between Chicago and St. Louis, Carbondale and Quincy, state officials said.

The Regional Transportation Authority, which oversees funding for Metra, the Chicago Transit Authority and Pace bus system, wants the Illinois General Assembly to fund $10 billion in capital investment over the next five years and an additional $400 million a year to operate the three agencies.

"This surge in ridership highlights the need to continue to maintain and expand our commuter rail system," Metra Executive Director Phil Pagano said in a statement.

Amtrak is trying to prevent $400 million in proposed funding cuts that are included in the Bush administration's fiscal year 2008 budget.

"This increase in ridership tells me that the federal government is headed in the wrong direction when it tries to slash funding for Amtrak," Gov. Rod Blagojevich said in a statement Sunday.

Expanded rail service, more stations, rising gasoline prices, and Chicago Bears games were key factors behind Metra's passenger surge, said Lynnette Ciavarella, director of planning and analysis.

Still, lawmakers have other funding priorities like health care and education, and transportation might get lost in the shuffle, said Metra Chairwoman Carole Doris.

"Transit is not at the top of the list," Doris said.

For Amtrak, the Chicago-to-St. Louis line had the biggest increase in passengers. More than 64,200 passengers rode the line in November, December and January, a 95 percent increase over the same period a year earlier. Passengers increased by 68 percent on the Carbondale line and 38 percent on the Quincy line, officials said.

Illinois' General Assembly doubled funding that the Illinois Department of Transportation gave to Amtrak in fiscal year 2007, to $24.2 million, to pay for the extended services that began Oct. 30.

"These numbers demonstrate the demand for Amtrak in Illinois and tell us that we did the right thing when we doubled state support for passenger rail," Blagojevich said.

nomarandlee Feb 19, 2007 6:54 PM

I was looking at the Midwest High Speed Rail Association page this mourning. Always a fun read. I think it is a bit newer and in depth then I last remember it.

http://www.midwesthsr.org/promote.htm

nomarandlee Feb 19, 2007 8:51 PM

West Loop Transportation Center
 
Some pretty cool renders of the WLTC on the Mid-West High Speed Rail Assoc. web page I saw today. The first three I don't remember seeing before...

http://www.downtownairport.com/step05.htm
http://www.downtownairport.com/graph...s/BLUEVI_L.jpg

http://www.downtownairport.com/graph...s/CROSSS_L.jpg

http://www.downtownairport.com/graph...s/SHOPVI_L.jpg

http://www.downtownairport.com/graph...orridor2_L.jpg

http://www.downtownairport.com/graph...s/OBLIQU_L.jpg

BVictor1 Feb 20, 2007 10:08 AM

Seeing as this is about transportation and upgrading O'hare, I am posting tis article in both threads.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

Inside Chicago's plan to get you to O'Hare
Tribune columnist Jon Hilkevitch has an exclusive look at the city's ambitious ideas to improve airport access

Published February 19, 2007


Chicago is pushing a new plan aimed at improving roadway access to O'Hare International Airport, where driving to and from the terminals is like going through the world's busiest cul-de-sac.

The ambitious initiative includes widening the main airport road, Interstate Highway 190, and building a new Mannheim Road over I-190, complete with a flyover ramp feeding traffic to the Tri-State Tollway (Interstate Highway 294).

In addition, the airport transit system, or People Mover trains, would be modernized. Twenty-four new People Mover cars would be added to the current 15-car fleet to meet future shuttle demand between the airline terminals and remote parking areas, city aviation officials said. Of the current 15 cars, 12 are in active use with three held in reserve.

The People Mover tracks ultimately would be extended to serve a new remote parking garage near economy parking lot F, officials said.

Ideas to relieve roadway choke points and improve safety for vehicles using the airport have been talked about for more than 20 years, but they ultimately reached a dead end.

"This is the first roadway overhaul at O'Hare since--forever," said Chicago Aviation Commissioner Nuria Fernandez, adding that I-190 has one of the highest traffic volumes per lane of any road in the nation. The number of passengers using O'Hare has increased nearly eightfold since the early 1960s.

Fernandez said the project to upgrade ground transportation around O'Hare is equally as important as city plans to build new runways--a program that has a separate ground transportation component.

"In the past we have suffered from a lack of combined vision--the city and the airlines--as it relates to what is necessary to provide the right entrance, the right front door to the airport," Fernandez said.

The city is applying to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval to use $207 million in future airline passenger ticket taxes to help pay for some of the design work on the massive project, which has not yet received federal or state funding.

The $117 million needed for the roadway project and $90 million for the People Mover enhancements would come from a $3 tax imposed on airline tickets. Total construction costs are yet to be determined, officials said.

Necessary city funding tentatively is estimated at $91 million, according to records, although the city contribution is expected to increase as the numbers are firmed up.

Drivers to O'Hare say the roadway changes cannot happen soon enough.

"The unpredictability factor on I-190 is the worst part," said Jeff Kedrowski of Hinsdale, a security consultant who takes his wife to and from O'Hare at least five times a month.

"It's not uncommon for us to get from our house to near the airport in 20 minutes, only for it to take another 30 minutes on Monday mornings or Friday nights to get to the terminals," he said.

The People Mover has not been upgraded since the system was completed in 1993. Passenger waiting times at stations have increased and the trains are often overcrowded.

"Passenger complaints to the carriers have increased and at times the [international terminal] escalators have been closed due to passenger surges, which result in fire code violations" when the number of people exceeds the maximum allowed on the platform, according to the city's funding application to the FAA.

Preliminary engineering and planning are under way between the city and the Illinois Department of Transportation to move the project forward. Part of the passenger ticket taxes the city wants to use will go toward reimbursing IDOT for initial design work.

The goal is to complete the road improvements by 2020 to head off projected gridlock on the airport roads, Fernandez said. Airport departure traffic on I-190 is expected to increase by as much as 60 percent by 2020, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

The airport road improvements are considered an interim step. They would mesh with longer-range plans to build a western-access road into O'Hare, extend CTA and Metra rail transit and add parking on the western side of the airport in connection with the city's $15 billion runway-expansion program.

In addition to adding lanes and ramps on I-190 to handle and distribute traffic more manageably, another project component includes extending Balmoral Drive so it connects between Bessie Coleman Drive at O'Hare's international terminal and the village of Rosemont. The strategy is to provide an alternative reliever road to and from the airport, to take some of the pressure off I-190.

The Balmoral extension route would replace the ramp from Coleman onto southbound Mannheim. A bell-shaped bridge would cross over Mannheim and connect to Balmoral. Officials said the bridge allows for future expansion of the international terminal, construction of an eventual sixth airline terminal, and expansion of People Mover structures.

The proposal also includes building a new Canadian National Railroad bridge over I-190; replacing city water mains and other infrastructure under I-190; and relocating a water pumping station.

The airlines serving O'Hare are expected to file comments to the FAA on the city's road-improvement plan by the end of the month.

Over the years, the airline industry generally has shown limited interest in airport capital improvements not directly related to increasing flight capacity or streamlining airline efficiency.

City officials believe such an attitude is shortsighted. But the airlines' track record is one reason Chicago is seeking FAA permission to use passenger ticket taxes for the early phase of the roadway project, instead of requesting airline approval to issue new airline-backed general airport revenue bonds.

"It has been an interesting dialogue with the airlines regarding this project," Fernandez said.

"That's the reason we are pursuing [passenger ticket tax] funds, so we can get it going.

"The bottom line is that you cannot parachute people into O'Hare," she said.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/...2/27998397.jpg

honte Feb 20, 2007 2:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 2640582)

I really do love this plan... of course, I wish it had the $1B Calatrava touch, but I'd settle for an unlit, unheated cavern if they could just build the transit.

A few questions for you transportation gods: Why is the Clinton Busway needed? Is this just a path in and out for the East-West Buses? It doesn't look like the Monroe Busway has enough room below grade for a 180 degree turn. [Looking more closely, I think I answered the question: To keep tons of busses funneling in from other streets off of Clinton. OK, smart.]

Also, it seems like the city has a pretty darn good idea of how they would route the high-speed rail to Clinton Street. I'm curious how this would work from the south? That pathway seems fairly diagrammatic in the drawing.

Last, where does this stand in the priorities compared to the Circle Line, other expansions, etc? Is the Metra excited about it too (they should be), or just the "city people"?

Taft Feb 20, 2007 5:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2637202)
You seem to have completely missed my point. CTA's current management, who variously have mostly come on in the 80s, 90s, and 00s, inherited the ancient infrastructure, and have managed to refurbish and rebuild much of it, AND add a new line despite the inconsistent funding situation. So by your logic, the Orange shouldn't have been built, and Green and Pink should certainly have been torn down. Dan Ryan, Forest Park would still be deteriorating. But who cares, you don't go to those parts of the city anyway.

Yeah parts of the O'hare line and the Howard line are decaying, and we see the results. In fact, all those other lines (Lake, Englewood, Jackson Park, Douglas, Forest Park, Dan Ryan, etc) all hit their boiling points long ago, and the political leadership found a way to come through with funding for timely repairs. Now the O'hare and Howard branches have reached a boiling point...and the one part of the subways that haven't been replaced (the damn ancient wooden ties) are crapping out at the same time too.

This is why I asked how long you've lived in Chicago. It's how transit works here. Does it suck? Yeah. At the end of the day, it's all politics; transit can't pay for itself in this country, so the politicians who provide the subsidy determine the service that is provided: where operations and capital money is spent. So for example, in the early 90s CTA management sought to close the Green line down because it was an operational disaster (in addition to being in awful shape and basically being 15-25mph its whole length, it had paltry ridership, and its south branch still has paltry ridership). But then the politicos, aldermen, congressmen and such start hauling out and parading the little old widows whose lives would be ruined by this, the children who coudn't get to school, yadda yadda (of course, all they would have needed was a transfer, or to ride the bus) but at the end of the day, the Green Line got rehabbed despite it really making no sense to do so. Next up was the Cermak branch, possibly in even worse shape than the Green (not sure if you ever rode it before 2001).....there were VERY brief murmurs about shutting it down (its ridership is also incredibly small), but now that the Green line was rehabbed for the African-Americans, now CTA wants to shut down the line for the Hispanics? I don't think so (or rather, this is how it played politically, just to be clear). So the precedent was set....

And for now, we won't even get into the politicization of CTA's union contracts, which account for something like 85%+ of CTA's labor force and thus the vast majority of its operating expense.

And stories like this go on and on. And this is all even harder for the people who devote their lives to providing transit. But if it's ever to change, it will come from above, from the politicians who control the funding and the oversight.

Contrary to what some may try to say, transit is all about politics, it is not about providing the best, most efficient service; if that were the case, CTA would:
1) be very heavily peaked as a commuter service, with very infrequent off-peak service through most of the city
2) Would only have a few rail lines: Probably only the Red Line and Blue Line
3) bus service would be sparse and infrequent (think Pace-style) through most of Chicago: throughout the entire bungalow belt and large swaths of the south and west sides

But it's not like that; it provides frequent service throughout all of Chicago, even where it's mathematically unwarranted and unjustified, because politcally, it is deemed a public service. This goes back to what I said about Chicagoans expecting a very high level of transit service but really having no clue what it costs to provide it.

And finally, if you think taking a 100 year old outdoor steel and wood infrastructure and making it modern and usable is mere "maintenance".....


Great post. I'm not sure I've seen anyone so clearly articulate the issues the CTA's management faces.

A lot of people think the CTA can do whatever it wants (and does). This couldn't be further from the truth. They answer to the mayor, to aldermen, to community groups, to the RTA, to the state legislature, etc. And the really sad part is that there is no "master plan" uniting the positions of those groups. Practically any whim of any of those groups can get foisted on the CTA with potentially disastrous results.

Taft

i_am_hydrogen Feb 20, 2007 7:27 PM

Fed up with CTA problems? Call Gov. Blagojevich

By Kyra Kyles
Chicago Red Eye


Are you tired of buses breaking down because they're overdue for replacement? Are you sick of CTA slow zones? Do you feel that too many "L" stations and rail cars are relics?

If so, you may want to take a break from holding on the 1-888-YOUR CTA hot line or dashing off angry e-mails to Mayor Daley demanding intervention.

Instead, direct your disappointment to Gov. Blagojevich's office.

On Monday, members of the Regional Transit Authority—the parent board of CTA, Metra and Pace—met with the Tribune editorial board to discuss its Moving Beyond Congestion recommendations.

In addition to asking the General Assembly for funding for this year, the plan asks state lawmakers to invest $10 billion in CTA, Metra and Pace—in the amounts of $5 billion, $4 billion and $1 billion, respectively—over the next 5 years in order to maintain, improve and expand the current systems across six counties.

CTA improvements could include upgrading outdated "L" signal systems, eliminating slow zones, and replacing or rehabbing aging buses and railcars.

Pushing that plan might sound like a no-brainer to CTA's regular--and increasingly rattled--riders, but public transit officials told "Going Public" that transportation is not exactly a hot topic in Springfield this year.

"I think the legislature is, in general, challenged, grappling with healthcare and school funding this spring," CTA chairwoman Carole Brown told "Going Public" in a phone interview Monday. "There will be a lot of priorities the legislature has to weigh."

Making matters worse, the CTA has stated that the RTA allotment of $5 billion for the CTA isn't enough.

"The CTA requested $5.8 billion," Brown said. "Only the CTA would have to shortchange some of its customers because the $5 billion is not enough to address all the needs of the system and get it into a state of good repair."

The CTA board was so disappointed by the difference between what it asked for and what the RTA is requesting that its members on Wednesday passed a resolution to resubmit capital needs to the RTA and request more explanation about regional transit priorities.

"RTA says that the region provides 2 million daily rides," said Brown, who also sits on the RTA board. "The CTA delivers 1.5 million of those rides."

RTA Chairman Jim Reilly acknowledged that the CTA is important to the region, but he said the agency isn't alone in unfunded capital projects. He also said he believes that the CTA can address serious issues with $5 billion.

"If you ask our other service boards, we didn't fully fund all the needs of Metra and Pace either," Reilly said, adding that any budget figure had to pass the "laugh test" with lawmakers in order for it to be approved.

Budget bickering aside, Reilly and Brown were in agreement on one issue: Getting the $10 billion from the state will be a challenge, unless public transit officials and the public make it a priority.

"Call the governor's office," Brown said, when asked what riders could do. "When I say that the decision is up to lawmakers, sometimes customers feel we're passing along the responsibility, but that is not the case.

"If you want to see changes, let the governor know." Even if you don't think the CTA deserves to be championed in Springfield, you might want to make the call for yourself. You think the CTA is bad now?

Imagine, in five years, it could be much worse.

http://redeye.chicagotribune.com/new...frontheadlines

Frankie Feb 21, 2007 12:33 PM

ELECTION '07: MAYORAL ELECTION ISSUE: TRANSPORTATION

Transit has its ills, but Daley feels no pain

By Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune transportation reporter
Published February 21, 2007

The Chicago Transit Authority somehow provides 1.5 million rides each day, even though much of the aging system suffers from deferred maintenance and service can be slow, unpredictable and rude.

O'Hare International Airport is the nation's second-busiest passenger gateway with non-stop service to 224 cities worldwide, yet O'Hare is also home to the worst flight delays in the U.S.

Visitors rank Chicago as one of the most walkable and bicycle-friendly cities in America, while accident statistics reveal a different story--an alarming epidemic of more than 3,600 people in the city hit by car each year.

Chicago is waging a stepped-up war against congestion by using traffic-control aids, new technologies and quick tows of illegally parked vehicles. But downtown at 5 p.m. still looks an awful lot like gridlock.

Mayor Richard Daley, seeking his sixth term in office in next week's election, might need an additional six terms to tame traffic, rejuvenate and expand mass transit and get the city he loves to fly right.

But absent a serious contender offering fresh ideas on establishing a world-class transportation system here in the passenger and cargo transport hub of the nation, Daley doesn't appear to be paying a heavy price with voters over mobility problems as the city heads into Tuesday's election.

The mayor's supporters point to his ideas to lure more people out of their cars and onto mass transit.

And more than 18,000 blocks of residential streets have been resurfaced and more than 3,900 blocks of sidewalks built since Daley was first elected in 1989, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Mega-projects in transportation during his tenure include the relocation of Lake Shore Drive to make room for the Museum Campus; reconstruction of the east-west section of Wacker Drive; overhaul of the Chicago Skyway and its $1.83 billion lease; and construction of the CTA Orange Line.

As part of Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games, Daley has talked in general terms about the need to build a new north-south transit line through the West Side. He also has mentioned developing a "true regional transportation system" that does a better job of connecting downtown with the suburbs and also suburban communities with each other.

His specific initiatives range from incentives to use transit, including the beautification of CTA rail stations and the overhaul of more than century-old rail lines; to deterrents against driving, such as the elimination of some parking meters and a new campaign to crack down on aggressive motorists.

Under the mayor, an avid bicyclist, 185 miles of bikeways would be added to create a 500-mile network of designated routes in Chicago by 2015. Millennium Park's bike station, complete with showers for commuters to freshen up before going into the office, has proven extremely popular.

And two years ago Daley, after observing firsthand the traffic-engineering successes in Los Angeles, ordered the restructuring of the Chicago Traffic Management Authority. Traffic duties formerly handled by several city departments were consolidated at the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications, in an attempt to squeeze extra capacity out of streets and balance the interests of drivers and pedestrians.

Execution of the plan has sent mixed signals.

The Traffic Management Authority removed the traffic light and crosswalk on Lake Shore Drive between Buckingham Fountain and Lake Michigan in 2005 to speed the flow of traffic. City officials initially promised to build a pedestrian bridge or an underpass at the popular tourist attraction, but no progress has been made.

On a more foot-friendly note, the city is expanding its Safe Streets for Chicago campaign to offer more protection to pedestrians at intersections and promote safer driving. The plan expands on existing measures by using new technology, altering street configurations, educating drivers and pedestrians, and increasing police presence.

Meanwhile, outrage that resonated nationwide over Daley's 2003 midnight raid that shut down Meigs Field, in violation of Federal Aviation Administration rules, failed to clip the mayor's wings.

Many Chicagoans, particularly people working and living in downtown high-rises, agreed with Daley's security assessment that the lakefront airport represented an easy jumping-off point for a terrorist attack.

No one seemed to hold it against the mayor when he declared that Midway Airport was completely safe--after a Southwest Airlines plane killed a young boy when it crashed into cars on a street during a snowstorm landing in December 2005.

The city and the FAA got to work immediately after the accident to build a safety zone of crushable concrete that slows down planes overrunning Midway's short runways.

And though many drivers object to the city's red light-running enforcement program, which sends $90 tickets to the owners of vehicles caught on camera plowing through red lights, millions of dollars in fines flow to city coffers each year.

Meanwhile, the hasty departure in the last several years of the mayor's commissioners at the Department of Transportation, Miguel d'Escoto, and the Department of Aviation, John Roberson, whom the FBI questioned as potential witnesses in the federal probe of City Hall corruption, appeared to create no long-lasting damage.

In addition, the mayor apparently has insulated himself from public outcry over deteriorating CTA service. Although critics say the mayor should be held accountable, the riding public's anger has largely been directed at CTA President Frank Kruesi, a longtime Daley political confidant whom the mayor appointed as his transit czar 10 years ago to turn around the troubled transit agency.

As Kruesi prepares another doomsday plan of service cuts and possible fare increases that would kick in midyear if the legislature and the governor fail to provide a state bailout of transit, Daley has kept his distance from the boiling issue.

Dorothy Brown, one of two mayoral challengers, has criticized Daley for pushing "glamor projects" such as the CTA superstation at Block 37 instead of focusing CTA management on providing commuters with relief from overcrowded trains and buses. Brown, clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court, said she would work hard as mayor to push for more state transit funding.

On the aviation front, the first new O'Hare runway in more than 30 years may open as soon as the end of next year, a testimony to Daley's ability to soften suburban opposition that was cast in concrete over increased jet noise and pollution.

However, O'Hare expansion is still stuck in court while the project's price tag is running hundreds of millions of dollars over budget, the airlines are balking at further cost escalations and no completion date is in sight.

William "Dock" Walls, who is also challenging Daley in the election, thinks he has a partial answer. Walls would replace some of the construction machinery in the O'Hare project with thousands of Chicago laborers digging with hand shovels.

jhilkevitch@tribune.com

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

honte Feb 21, 2007 2:59 PM

Can't wait to hear what you guys say about this.... ;)

My feeling is that it would be good, especially if they add the CTA line in there too.

I don't understand how this would work exactly. Would it be an elevated thing kind of like the Skyway, or just a giant viaduct? Would there be any exits?

_______________________________

New hope for Crosstown
Surprise push to bring first Mayor Daley's expressway dream to life

February 21, 2007
BY DAVE MCKINNEY AND FRAN SPIELMAN Staff Reporters


SPRINGFIELD -- House Speaker Michael Madigan breathed new life Tuesday into Mayor Richard J. Daley's unfulfilled dream of building a cross-town superhighway to ease traffic gridlock.

Madigan's surprise push to resurrect the long-mothballed Crosstown Expy. would authorize the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority to finance, build and operate the road. It would run along railroad rights-of-way -- near Cicero Avenue -- from the Kennedy/Edens Expy. junction south to 75th Street, then east to the Dan Ryan Expy.

[Removed Photos]

"What we're trying to accomplish is the building of a road that would make massive improvements in traffic congestion throughout the Chicago metropolitan area," Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said.

Observers caught off guard
The Southwest Side Democrat broached the idea with Mayor Daley within the past couple of weeks, and the mayor immediately embraced Madigan's concept.
"There has for some time been a concern about the amount of truck traffic choking the economic development of the region. Anyone who drives the expressways knows this. If he combines this with help for the CTA, that would be a major boost, spectacular really," the mayor said.

The emergence of the plan by the wily speaker caught many observers off guard, prompting speculation about Madigan's motives. Key House Democrats and top aides to Gov. Blagojevich weren't briefed on the plan prior to its legislative debut Tuesday.

"We believe there's a message being sent here, but we're not sure who it's being directed toward," said David Dring, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego).

On Monday, Cross and other House Republicans called for a $5 billion gambling-financed, state bricks-and-mortar plan.

Daley has flirted with a trucks-only route along the proposed Crosstown path. But more recently, his administration has focused on a mass transit line along the Cicero Avenue corridor.

Daley said this month that he views the 2016 Summer Olympic Games as the "impetus" to build the north-south mass transit line. "A lot of people were against the Crosstown, but [killing it] was the worst thing that ever happened to this city," he told the Sun-Times editorial board.

Daley's father conceived the Crosstown as a highway that would link expressways and allow traffic to bypass downtown while serving the city's west and southwest industrial corridors.


Homes, businesses displaced
The proposal turned into a political quagmire. Two Illinois governors -- Democrat Dan Walker and Republican Jim Thompson -- turned against the idea because of homes and businesses it would displace.
In 1977, then-Mayor Michael Bilandic cut a deal with Thompson to give up the north leg of the Crosstown and divert money to other transit projects. Two years later, Bilandic's successor, Jane Byrne, made another deal with Thompson to give up the south leg. She agreed to divide evenly with the state the $2 billion in federal funding earmarked for the project.

dmckinney@suntimes.com fspielman@suntimes.com

Chicago3rd Feb 21, 2007 3:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frankie (Post 2643500)
ELECTION '07: MAYORAL ELECTION ISSUE: TRANSPORTATION

Transit has its ills, but Daley feels no pain

By Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune transportation reporter
Published February 21, 2007

The Chicago Transit Authority somehow provides 1.5 million rides each day, even though much of the aging system suffers from deferred maintenance and service can be slow, unpredictable and rude....

jhilkevitch@tribune.com

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune


So....even if you all think this is a myth...it is a myth that will not allow the much needed funding to ever get to CTA. Transparency and responsible management would lead a long way to opening the kaufers.

Chicago3rd Feb 21, 2007 4:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2637202)
You seem to have completely missed my point. CTA's current management, who variously have mostly come on in the 80s, 90s, and 00s, inherited the ancient infrastructure, and have managed to refurbish and rebuild much of it, AND add a new line despite the inconsistent funding situation. So by your logic, the Orange shouldn't have been built, and Green and Pink should certainly have been torn down. Dan Ryan, Forest Park would still be deteriorating. But who cares, you don't go to those parts of the city anyway.

According to today's paper "most" of the rail needs to be replaced. So we need someone to tell us the truth.

My logic has been as posted weeks ago...that CTA and RTA needs to follow the PDX model and only build things they can maintain. And there is no way CTA is maintaining even the upgrades they have done. That is the logic I am using. So if the great advanced city of Chicago would have been world class this would have been instituted a decade or so ago. But it wasn't. Management still sucks.

And your ability to not comprehend the fact that Public Transportation funding (inconsistant funding) shows me that you don't seem to understand public transportation issue nationally. PDX has to fight and fight for ever inch they get. And they have a back assword state.....along with all the PT hating downstaters....lol. And yet.....

Only an insane person would say that size wise PDX and Chicago are comparable...but on a organizational level.....we need some of the PDX thinkers to come rescue us.

I am so curious and have asked a few times...just what your tie to CTA is......can you say on this board that you have no monetary (pay or contract) interest in CTA? I hear way too much company "line" here.

Fact is. I agree with you 90%.
Fact is. I see a huge issue that CTA isn't dealing with that if they would would deal with all that we both agree with.

Quote:

And finally, if you think taking a 100 year old outdoor steel and wood infrastructure and making it modern and usable is mere "maintenance".....
I love this excuse. So Chicago has had 100 years to deal with this....lol...and looks like they are failing. Okay that isn't fair...Chicago has had 30 years to deal with this.....(most other cities started turning around PT in the late 70's). Okay...I will give you even more...so the city has had 16 years to deal with this...and all we have is a crises quickly approaching......way cool...makes me want to hold onto that CTA management!!!

MayorOfChicago Feb 21, 2007 4:02 PM

Double Post...yay

MayorOfChicago Feb 21, 2007 4:05 PM

^ OMG, THAT DAMN CROSSTOWN EXPRESSWAY.

I saw this a few minutes ago on the Trib and jumped on here right away.

That's nice that Madigan sees how transit and transportation is going to be a huge topic in the next year - so he throws another tollway into the mess. Did anyone tell him it's a topic because there's NO money for transit, not TOO MUCH money?

This idea is stupid. Was he sleeping in the 1950's and 60's when expressways tore through the city until people finally put a stop to it?

I would agree for a transit corridor, or even a smaller-no exit-truck route through the heart of the city.

We don't need another tollway running through neighborhoods as the CTA crumbles all around us.

You can't keep sticking bandaids on an ax wound and pretend it's going to go away.

Chicago3rd Feb 21, 2007 4:08 PM

I would only support it if there was a CTA line running right above it or in the middle of it. It is obvious this could be a great bargining chip for the city of Chicago.

Taft Feb 21, 2007 4:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 2643636)
Can't wait to hear what you guys say about this.... ;)

My feeling is that it would be good, especially if they add the CTA line in there too.

I don't understand how this would work exactly. Would it be an elevated thing kind of like the Skyway, or just a giant viaduct? Would there be any exits?
dmckinney@suntimes.com fspielman@suntimes.com

I don't have anything against the project in general (well, except for the fact that we are throwing more highways at a problem that could be solved in other ways).

But I think this is a really slimy move on the part of Madigan, 100% politically motivated. You've got every transportation agency in the state *begging* for money and Madigan snubs them all. Then he turns around and revives a transit project that hasn't been talked about for years?

This is BS state politics if I've ever seen it. We don't need more pet projects, we need well funded transit agencies and a cohesive regional plan. Stop politicking and give them some money!

Taft

Taft Feb 21, 2007 4:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 2643711)
According to today's paper "most" of the rail needs to be replaced. So we need someone to tell us the truth.

My logic has been as posted weeks ago...that CTA and RTA needs to follow the PDX model and only build things they can maintain. And there is no way CTA is maintaining even the upgrades they have done. That is the logic I am using. So if the great advanced city of Chicago would have been world class this would have been instituted a decade or so ago. But it wasn't. Management still sucks.

And your ability to not comprehend the fact that Public Transportation funding (inconsistant funding) shows me that you don't seem to understand public transportation issue nationally. PDX has to fight and fight for ever inch they get. And they have a back assword state.....along with all the PT hating downstaters....lol. And yet.....

You've deftly ignored two huge issues others here have brought up:

1) The "only build things they can maintain" model doesn't hold water in the political climate of Chicago/IL. Special interest groups and lawmakers have effectively told the CTA what lines they need to build and maintain. Did you not hear Viva when he said the CTA would rather not be running certain lines? Or are you conveniently ignoring that fact?

A little good-faith in this argument would go a long way.

2) The numbers posted on this thread prove that, compared to other transit agencies of the CTA's size, the CTA is horribly underfunded by the state. This would indicate that it is you who are ignorant of the funding situation of public transportation nationally.

Quote:

Only an insane person would say that size wise PDX and Chicago are comparable...but on a organizational level.....we need some of the PDX thinkers to come rescue us.
Besides some vague hand waving about how tiny (insignificant, really) transit agencies would scale *perfectly* to the CTA's magnitude, you have given us no hard numbers, no facts, *nothing* to show this would be true. Ann Arbor, MI has a great bus system. Would that system scale to the size of the CTA and work just as well? The burden of proof is on *you* for that.

I am at this point disposed to thinking you are a troll. You've clearly ignored the bulk of the arguments put up, cherry picking irrelevant pieces and responding with rhetoric. If you are interested in debating in good faith, look through the numbers posted here, read *fully* the arguments that have been posted. You have obviously done neither.

Taft

Chicago3rd Feb 21, 2007 4:37 PM

No just a person who realizes there is a reason Chicago is so backwards. We don't even have a group like SOAR.

All my points have been ignored. I asked for sources I got 5 year old MIT crap about a program...that obviously didn't come to frutrition.

I hear excuses....working. Most of you want to maintain the system as is... I agree with your culturally about the politics.....but that needs to be changed. And along with the culture of politics we also know that Chicago is famous for bilking millions of dollars from the tax payer and lining the pockets of buddies...like contractors.

That is why I am supposing some on this subject are at the feeding troughs of the city.

We need Transparency.
We need Daley to hire management that can find a way out of the box we have been in all these years.
We need management to educate the public and lobby for us hard in Springfield.

The funding issue is part of the problem...the inability for CTA to get the funding all these years...shows us we have done a poor horrible job.

Today's Tribune should hopefully also show that we ain't getting nothing until we change CTA and the way things are run.

Calling me a Troll is bullshit...just because you only regurgitate out what CTA has to say. I have never said CTA was funded well. I never disputed the funding comparison...because it is reality, which we need to change.

What I have said is we need to think about public transportation differently...and politically and managerial wise we need changes and new directions. The old way has NOT worked as all of you have shown. We need to address many different yet connected parts of this issue.

The first way is for CTA to show the Public exactly where all the money goes.
To show us audits showin us how many trains and buses actually ran (not schedule time) but scheduled to run....actually ran.
We need to see numbers on how much it would cost to maintain all the newer work we have done.
We need numbers to show how much it will cost to bring the rest up to high standards.
We need to make Urban Villages around stations (CTA and Affordable housing) are a huge issue in Chicago and could work together with TIFs for business to bring more jobs and work into the city.

CTA is a key to fixing a lot. Now we need someone to fix CTA

Chicago3rd Feb 21, 2007 4:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 2643747)
You've deftly ignored two huge issues others here have brought up:

1) The "only build things they can maintain" model doesn't hold water in the political climate of Chicago/IL. Special interest groups and lawmakers have effectively told the CTA what lines they need to build and maintain. Did you not hear Viva when he said the CTA would rather not be running certain lines? Or are you conveniently ignoring that fact?

I totally agree with Viva. We cannot afford to throw such money away. Why did you suppose I believed any other way? Show me? Deflection time again..with untruths about my opinion?

So look at what you said....why isn't there a group that supports CTA yete wants changes?

I opposed the 3rd Street subway into Chinatown in SF when I lived there for the exact reason I oppose the maintaining of several of our lines here in Chicago. The blue line should have only been funded along with a full economic developement package by the city. New ideas that would have produced more jobs and housing along that line could have better justified the cost of fixing it.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 2643747)
2) The numbers posted on this thread prove that, compared to other transit agencies of the CTA's size, the CTA is horribly underfunded by the state. This would indicate that it is you who are ignorant of the funding situation of public transportation nationally.

But I never disagreed on this point. Find it please and share with the room...where I argued about those numbers. Again..that is one of the several large problems.


Quote:

I am at this point disposed to thinking you are a troll. You've clearly ignored the bulk of the arguments put up, cherry picking irrelevant pieces and responding with rhetoric. If you are interested in debating in good faith, look through the numbers posted here, read *fully* the arguments that have been posted. You have obviously done neither.

Taft

If you really wanted to discuss and not regurgitate CTA only way of thinking you wouldn't have made so many personal attacks. Did you read Crain's article and Editorial? Did any of that sound familiar? Did you read today's Tribune? I know it isn't posted on the CTA web pages...but I think they give a great snap shot of what we need to over come in order to get over this hurdel of funding and management.


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