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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

VivaLFuego Jun 2, 2007 3:24 PM

^Citizens Against the Sprawlway :)

Sign me up; what a disaster. $1 billion for a highway in the middle-of-fucking-nowhere and nothing for an aging transit system that people actually use and depend upon?

hoju Jun 3, 2007 9:44 PM

Airport-to-Chicago rail link idea back on track
Sunday, June 3, 2007 12:20 AM CDT
http://nwitimes.com/articles/2007/06...ef00002e6c.txt
BY KEITH BENMAN
kbenman@nwitimes.com

The idea of a direct rail link from the Gary/Chicago International Airport to downtown Chicago is gaining steam and giving a push to other dormant rail plans.

A number of board members on the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority think a direct rail link from the airport to downtown is a "common sense way to move forward," according to RDA Executive Director Tim Sanders.

"There are those on the board that think absent this connection to downtown Chicago, the Gary airport will have a hard time," Sanders said.

However, whether that link becomes a long-term goal or gets done sooner depends on a number of factors, including possible rerouting of South Shore commuter rails and funding, Sanders said.

The idea also is giving hope to those with other plans for cutting down rail travel times from Chicago to points east.

An Amtrak official recently took Sanders for a ride in a SUV along unused railroad rights-of-way in the shadow of the Chicago Skyway to show him a route Amtrak long has coveted to speed train times into Chicago.

Amtrak trains now coming from the east must cross myriad freight tracks, according to Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. That means a traveler can spend 6 1/2 hours riding from Detroit to Northwest Indiana and then another hour or so viewing the Chicago Skyline before the tracks clear for the run into Chicago.

The rights-of-way Amtrak wants to utilize pass just north of the airport and on to Porter County. So that line could be the airport's direct link to Chicago, Sanders said.

Talk of a direct rail link also is raising hopes among high-speed rail proponents and the Four Cities Consortium that earlier plans for a $300 million intermodal transportation center on the north side of the airport could get new life.

The Indiana High Speed Rail Association plans to lobby state legislators and federal legislators this fall on plans for linking Chicago to Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Louisville by high speed rail, according to Dennis Hodges, founder of the Indiana High Speed Rail Association.

The proposed intermodal transportation center north of the Gary airport would be the second-busiest station after Chicago on the proposed high-speed rail network, Hodges said.

The intermodal transportation center and a rail link to downtown Chicago have always been part of the discussion when it comes to airport development, said Airport Director Chris Curry.

"It would be a tremendous benefit to have that (rail link) because that really allows you to tap directly into the business community of the city (Chicago)," Curry said.

Gary's appointee to the RDA, Bill Joiner, said a direct rail link for the airport has come up in the discussion of the South Shore extension to Lowell and Valparaiso.

As mapped out, riders could get from Lowell and Valparaiso to downtown Chicago via the South Shore extension, but not to the Gary airport. Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott has proposed a Hammond "Gateway" station, which would allow for such a run.

Busy Bee Jun 3, 2007 10:42 PM

^Awesome news. I hope the ball get rolling on this one.

ardecila Jun 3, 2007 11:03 PM

Jeez. Indiana has the will and the initiative to do such projects. I am so TIRED of all this god-damn funding talk. We need to improve/rehabilitate what we have and we need to add service, and we need money to do it. Blago needs to get kicked in the nuts if he doesn't see this.

FYI, the railroad right-of-way next to the Skyway that they mention was built by the New York Central Railroad. A parallel viaduct runs right next to it, built by the Pennsylvania, the NYC's main competitor. Both railroads grade-seperated their tracks before it was required by city ordinance, in hopes of running faster service. Today, only the Pennsylvania tracks are in use, for both freight and Amtrak. Refurbishing the NYC viaduct would give Amtrak its own tracks that wouldn't be

If I were to give transportation projects priorities:
1. CREATE
2. CTA into state of good repair
3. STAR Line
4. Mid-City Transitway (including the truck highway)
5. West Loop Transportation Center/upgrade of Union and Northwestern Stations.... (note: a Metra level in the tunnel would allow some trains to be through-routed through downtown like in Philly)
6. Extensions of Red, Yellow Lines
7. Circle Line

Note that the top two priorities include no costly new subway lines or train stations, just maintenance work, as well as the construction of 15-20 rail flyovers and road under/overpasses. Also, I put the STAR Line at No. 3. If we want suburbanites to pay their fair share, we have to build stuff that helps them, too.

OhioGuy Jun 4, 2007 12:28 AM

I'd put the circle line at #3. I hate that there is no good way of getting to/from the blue line and north shore communities without either going all the way downtown or hopping on an extremely slow bus that travels through traffic clogged east/west roadways such as Lawrence Ave & Irving Park. I want the circle line more than just about anything else (other than upgrades of the current rail network).

nomarandlee Jun 4, 2007 2:54 AM

The idea of a direct rail line to Gary Airport and fast service through south Chicago for Amtrak sounds like a GREAT idea to get behind. Hopefully they can get the funding and it can happen relatively soon. It would be awesome to have three direct quick transit lines to three airpots in the metro.

Quote:

If I were to give transportation projects priorities:
1. CREATE
2. CTA into state of good repair
3. STAR Line
4. Mid-City Transitway (including the truck highway)
5. West Loop Transportation Center/upgrade of Union and Northwestern Stations.... (note: a Metra level in the tunnel would allow some trains to be through-routed through downtown like in Philly)
6. Extensions of Red, Yellow Lines
7. Circle Line
Mine would actually look pretty differant.

1. CTA state of good repair. Even though it ain't at all sexy if the current infrastructure that is there degrades any other extensions or improvements are much for not.
2. CREATE - This may be #1 economically. Freight rail will only grow in importance in coming years and for Chicago to keep its importance and efficiency it has to be done. It will also cause more efficient operations for southside Metra and Amtrak.
3. West Loop Transportation Center - This would be more symbolically important maybe then infrastructurally important but it would be important. Rapid Transit (either or both the a new circle line or downtown circulator) would have to go along with it to maximize its potential. A modern efficient center would only expedite growth in the West loop. Also its just sad that Chicago doesn't have transit connected to commuter stations as busy and important as Chicago has.
4. Circle Line - I go back and forth on the effectiveness it would have a bit but much of the infrastructure. If the downtown subway wing creates a new segment down Clinton (I think) that some have suggested then I would even rate it higher. If it runs through one of the existing subway lines it could still be possibly effective though.
5. Red, Yellow Lines extension- The Red Line extension would especially be positive. An Orange Line extension and even a Brown Line extension to meet up with the Blue Line would be more effective I think the a Yellow Line extension. But the Yellow Line likely needs to be extended or shut down eventually.
6. Mid-City Transitway - It could be higher but its still too up in the air in the form and configuration it would look like for me. It could go from a great asset to embarrassing failure.
7. STAR Line- I am just not sold this would get great ridership. It smacks of catering to too many office parks and malls which sounds like a recipe for disaster. I like that it sounds modern and that is serves O'Hare for burbanites but O'Hare suburban service could be realized with less money (I am guessing) by making improvements on the MD-WL Elgin and the NCS Antioch tracks). The money would be better for improvements to exsisting Metra lines to improve efficancy and capacity or making improvements around Metra Line stations to increase density and capacity.

Downtown Circulator - I would also put a downtown circulator reminiscent of the 90's plan somewhere between number 3-4. If you got an efficient well covered circulator linking Streeterville, River North, and South Loop that may be the most productive method towards getting rid of parking lots in the downtown area.

ardecila Jun 4, 2007 4:50 AM

Doesn't the Mid-City have higher ridership projections than the Circle Line? That's what I'm basing it off of. Also the possibility for express trackage/service on the Mid-City Line that would be difficult/extremely expensive to build on the densely-developed Circle Line. Plus, the Circle Line is associated with Kruesi right now... it's just gonna make lawmakers groan "not again", regardless of whether it needs to be built or not.

As for the extensions: the Yellow line has feasibility so long as they add the new Skokie station and a new Evanston station. An extension would be great, since it would open up quick access to Old Orchard for many urbanites, but it's not necessary.

The STAR Line would be used if it's built. A key component of the line is access to the Prairie Stone development and the developments along I-88 and I-90. A lot of people work in those developments. If the line is set up to maintain high speeds and incorporates park and ride lots, then it will be a resounding success.

Metra is approaching it from a totally wrong angle, though. EJ&E sees maybe 4-5 freight trains per day on the one-track segment we're talking about. Metra should just go piecemeal. Build a couple of bus-shelter platforms with modestly sized parking lots at the areas in question. They could save even more money by collaborating with retail developers to put the station functions into a corner of a retail building. Riders would use the retailers' parking lots. If there is any extra money, spend it on keeping the trains clean and nice.

Then, if ridership pans out, Metra can build permanent stations and parking facilities. The retail buildings would be turned over to the retailers exclusively and

The current form involves double-tracking the EJ&E line and building a line down the median of I-90 from Hoffman Estates to O'Hare (or basically the same length as the Blue Line from downtown to O'Hare). This would be a multi-billion dollar project, including stations, pedestrian bridges, fences, overpass relocation on I-90, etc.

DaleAvella Jun 5, 2007 6:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 2876100)
5. Red, Yellow Lines extension- The Red Line extension would especially be positive. An Orange Line extension and even a Brown Line extension to meet up with the Blue Line would be more effective I think the a Yellow Line extension.

I think about the CTA a lot and never thought of extending the Brown Line to meet the Blue Line. This is a great idea.

OhioGuy Jun 5, 2007 7:13 AM

I've thought about a brown line connection to the blue line many times. It would be a great way for residents on the north side to get out to O'Hare without being stuck either going all the way downtown or hopping on a bus traveling down the traffic clogged east/west streets on the north side. To be able to hop on the brown line at Damen and take it all the way west to the blue line would be pretty sweet for O'Hare connections. On top of that, extension of the brown line to the blue line would be a nice addition for Mayfair as well. I wouldn't even care about the circle line anymore since a brown line extension to the blue line would connect O'Hare to the north side (and much more quickly than the circle line which is still a bit too far "in" toward downtown IMHO).

VivaLFuego Jun 5, 2007 2:07 PM

The Ravenswood extension to Jefferson Park makes it onto regional transit plans now and then, then disappears, then reappears, etc. It's been part of the discussion for decades, but obviously is still still a concept is not on the list to be eligible for federal funding.....yet. Along that train of thought, if you think it's a good idea, let Rep. Emmanuel know.

ardecila Jun 5, 2007 4:33 PM

It would be expensive and it would have to be done via subway. Beyond that, I think it's a great idea.

Also, Viva, have there been any discussions about elevating/sinking the at-grade portion of the Brown Line? I thought about that after that one pedestrian got hit last week. It's a shame they didn't include that in the plans for the Brown Line project. Now they've spent millions of dollars rebuilding all the ground-level stations.

Chicago3rd Jun 5, 2007 6:19 PM

^^
I have no sympathy for people who keep running into the brownline at ground level. They have sidewalk and road crossing arms...that go down.....

VivaLFuego Jun 5, 2007 8:03 PM

^ Elevating the at-grade portions of both the Ravenswood and Douglas was in long-term regional transit plans a few decades ago, but was since dropped; I assume it was dropped because the question wasn't whether to elevate or not, but rather whether the lines would have to be abandoned outright because of a lack of available capital funds for rehab and low ridership. I don't know the exact asset life of a station in FTA guidelines, but those at-grade stations are probably there to stay for at least 40 years since federal money was used on the project that would otherwise have to be repaid.

Busy Bee Jun 6, 2007 1:00 AM

If was to ever happen, a subway should be bored running west under Lawrence with stops at Pulaski and Elston and terminating at a Jefferson Park superstation which would also be the terminus for the Mid-City line. CONNECTIVITY should be the #1 priority for CTA rail, above extensions like Ford City, 130th, and the Skokie Swift, although i would LOVE to see those projects become reality as well.

honte Jun 6, 2007 5:29 AM

^ My thoughts exactly. Make the system an all-around system, not primarily a commuter one. That's how to get people to let go of their cars.

nomarandlee Jun 6, 2007 1:35 PM

Viva, maybe you could answer this. What is the thinking in circles (or your personal opinion) about a n eventual brown line/blue connection and the preference of meet up point at Jefferson Park vs. Montrose? Also maybe the same question about the pros/cons of those stations in referance to a Mid-City transitway.

orulz Jun 6, 2007 4:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 2880898)
Viva, maybe you could answer this. What is the thinking in circles (or your personal opinion) about a n eventual brown line/blue connection and the preference of meet up point at Jefferson Park vs. Montrose? Also maybe the same question about the pros/cons of those stations in referance to a Mid-City transitway.

Good point - it seems to me that a meet-up point at Montrose might be superior. It could incorporate Mayfair Station on the Milwaukee District North Metra line, a new station on the Union Pacific Northwest line, and also the mid-city transitway could operate as a further extension of the Brown Line.

Perhaps it would be expensive and complicated to construct, and any TOD would be difficult thanks to the highways in the area.

VivaLFuego Jun 6, 2007 5:01 PM

^ It's much too early to speculate on specifics of any such extension. Since any money currently on the horizon for major transit expansions would be through the New Starts program, any such extension would go through the Alternatives Analysis process (usually takes about 2-3 years) which would determine the optimal alignment, cost estimates, and ridership projections and so forth. And such an extension isn't even on the list of approved New Starts projects; getting on the list requires a little bit of muscle by a representative in Washington, which is why I brought up contacting Rep. Emmanuel earlier.

ardecila Jun 6, 2007 5:31 PM

Well, Metra just rebuilt their Jeff Pk station. I don't think they'd want to build a whole new station less than a mile away, much less one where transfer to the Blue Line would require a longer walk.

Funding doesn't HAVE to come through the New Starts program, does it? Can it be raised through some sort of referendum? Judging by the support I've seen just in this thread from Northsiders, it seems like this idea would have broad support in the areas affected. Of course, the funds could only come from certain wards... I don't see people in South Shore voting for this. If it is possible, the project would not be subject to Federal Alternatives Analysis requirements or time delays. Of course, there's no avoiding the EIS, but that can be completed quickly. I think we're gonna have to find quicker sources of funding if we're gonna shape up our transit system properly for the Olympics.

VivaLFuego Jun 6, 2007 8:09 PM

^along a similar train of thought, the City might have a bonanza (like, billion$) of cash from the privatization of Midway, much of which would be directed to transportation and other infrastructure projects. I haven't heard any speculation or commitments over specific projects the money would go towards.

My money (har-har) would be on the Airport Express project, i.e. paying for an O'hare line revamp and construction of passing tracks and airport terminal facilities. If there's any left, I would hope it would go towards rehabing the North end of the Red Line. IMHO, local money should, for now, be focused on either revenue-positive projects (Airport Express) or on rehabbing the crumbling infrastructure (O'hare and Howard branches), as opposed to line extensions which qualify for New Starts.


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