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left of center Feb 7, 2018 5:46 PM

Four groups show interest in O'Hare express train project
Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...207-story.html

Quote:

Four teams sent in their qualifications to build and operate an express rail system from downtown to O’Hare International Airport, a preliminary step in the long-discussed process to set up a fast train for business travelers and tourists.

Among the groups is entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Boring Co., perhaps the flashiest of the potential bidders given Musk’s high profile as an inventor of flame throwers and his company SpaceX’s rocket launch this week. Musk contends his cutting-edge drilling technology would trim costs on building a subway-like tunnel with pods to whisk riders to and from the airport.

Others that responded include Oaktree Capital Management; a team called O’Hare Express Train Partners comprised of Amtrak, European infrastructure investment firm OHL Infrastructure and American transportation and mining company Kiewit; and O’Hare Express LLC, made up of the JLC Infrastructure organization that’s a partnership between Chicago’s Loop Capital and Ervin “Magic” Johnson’s investment company, two European infrastructure companies and New York-based investment firm Antarctica Capital.

...

The mayor’s office did not say when it would start accepting specific bids on the project, including what routes the companies would use to build the tracks. Last year, Emanuel said he would like groundbreaking on the project within three years. There are still many hurdles to clear before that happens however.

...

The request for qualifications the city sent out last fall said the rail service should have travel times of 20 minutes or less with a reliable frequency of at least every 15 minutes for most of the day with “premium” fares that cost less than the cost of current taxi and ride-sharing services. Such services in other cities have charged $30 or more per rider, raising questions about how many people would be willing to pay those types of rates when the CTA Blue Line already goes to and from the airport for much less.

I just hope some use is given to that superstation under Block 37 that has been sitting there for over a decade. Reopening the Washington Red Line station would also be nice...

brian_b Feb 7, 2018 7:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 8061958)

That Michigan Ave station is mind-bogglingly dumb.

Move it east to where the line intersects the Metra Electric and build a station that connects both. Use that proposed 130th street station to connect with the South Shore.

Then you can get rid of the Kensington station at 115th which is falling apart anyway.

the urban politician Feb 7, 2018 7:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by left of center (Post 8076535)
Four groups show interest in O'Hare express train project
Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...207-story.html




I just hope some use is given to that superstation under Block 37 that has been sitting there for over a decade. Reopening the Washington Red Line station would also be nice...

Nice, let's hope this keeps moving forward

ardecila Feb 7, 2018 8:01 PM

The city owns a large parcel of land at Michigan/115th and wants to create a retail/residential hub for the neighborhood there. Of course, they're also planning to put up a huge park/ride garage on 1/3 of that parcel, so probably this will end up an urban failure like the area around Howard :shrug:

Plannign documents have also suggested a South Shore station at 130th with a transfer, but that would be a project for South Shore to figure out. There's no reason to even plan that station unless the Red Line Extension is built first.

IrishIllini Feb 7, 2018 10:40 PM

In my opinion, every station on the Red Line extension is dumb.

Was there ever an official estimate for converting the Metra Electric Line into a CTA Line? That hits all the higher density south side lakefront neighborhoods and runs a few blocks east of the proposed red line extension. It seems like a no brainer to finally pull the trigger on the Grey Line. The far south side has instant L access and it also improves transit access to the densest lakefront neighborhoods on the south side.

chicagopcclcar1 Feb 10, 2018 11:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IrishIllini (Post 8077029)
In my opinion, every station on the Red Line extension is dumb.

Was there ever an official estimate for converting the Metra Electric Line into a CTA Line? That hits all the higher density south side lakefront neighborhoods and runs a few blocks east of the proposed red line extension. It seems like a no brainer to finally pull the trigger on the Grey Line. The far south side has instant L access and it also improves transit access to the densest lakefront neighborhoods on the south side.

I don't know what it takes to convince "you people"......NO ONE WANTS TO RIDE THE FORMER IC." Is "IrishIllini" going to ride Metra Electric?? No! Does "IrishIllini" feel ALL MONEY be given to north side and let the south side get nothing? Yes! DISCRIMINATION!

DH

emathias Feb 11, 2018 5:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chicagopcclcar1 (Post 8081048)
I don't know what it takes to convince "you people"......NO ONE WANTS TO RIDE THE FORMER IC." Is "IrishIllini" going to ride Metra Electric?? No! Does "IrishIllini" feel ALL MONEY be given to north side and let the south side get nothing? Yes! DISCRIMINATION!

DH

I'm not sure if you're being tongue in cheek or what, but with the money used for the extension, the CTA/Metra could no doubt turn the "former IC" into something people might want to ride, plus it would be near existing density and businesses so that when people see the service upgraded into something pleasant to ride, ridership could actually blossom into a useful level.

IrishIllini Feb 11, 2018 3:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 8081254)
I'm not sure if you're being tongue in cheek or what, but with the money used for the extension, the CTA/Metra could no doubt turn the "former IC" into something people might want to ride, plus it would be near existing density and businesses so that when people see the service upgraded into something pleasant to ride, ridership could actually blossom into a useful level.

My thoughts as well :cheers:

10023 Feb 11, 2018 4:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 8074050)
Even rich people need their transit to work ...

Sure, but they’re not going to vote for Chuy Garcia.

10023 Feb 11, 2018 4:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 8073893)
Well, we can't put the rideshare genie back in the bottle. If you're annoyed by all the congestion, all you can do is hope for the services to implode financially; both services have yet to turn a profit, and it's not clear that they can ever do so. If that's the case, then both services are operating on borrowed time.

If, on the other hand, the services can find a way to become sustainable, then I don't see a problem with them being part of the city's transportation mix, even a big part. On the city side, it should be coupled with increasing investment in transit, like today's announcement that the new rideshare tax will go towards track and power improvements that will allow the busiest rail lines to move more trains per hour. Rideshare can't compete with transit to the Loop during peak periods, purely because of geometry.

Likewise, I'd like to see bus lanes rolled out on a wider basis across the city. If Los Angeles can do it, there's no reason Chicago can't, we just need politicians with some "testicular fortitude", some buckets of red paint, and a state bill that allows for camera enforcement of bus lanes and bus stops.

They’ll turn a profit easily when prices rise. That’s already happening in some markets. They had to get people hooked on the product first.

I will say that Chicago, and probably American cities in general, have really substandard traffic management systems in comparison to Europe. Too many lanes, but too much “freedom” given to drivers to decide which one to use. You need lanes and concrete medians and things to force people into the right lane for where they want to go blocks before they actually turn. And yes, lots of traffic enforcement cameras.

Roundabouts are also vastly superior to signal-controlled intersections in many cases, but that’s probably never going to catch on in the US.

chicagopcclcar1 Feb 11, 2018 5:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 8081254)
I'm not sure if you're being tongue in cheek or what, but with the money used for the extension, the CTA/Metra could no doubt turn the "former IC" into something people might want to ride, plus it would be near existing density and businesses so that when people see the service upgraded into something pleasant to ride, ridership could actually blossom into a useful level.

Quote:

Originally Posted by IrishIllini (Post 8081450)
My thoughts as well :cheers:

Gentlemen....Have you actually seen Metra Electric...stations from 107th through 63rd St.? Have you actually seen the environments around those stations? I feel so many want to grasp the idea that those former Illinois Central Suburban lines can blossom into the fruit and flowers and look and perform like the 1920s through the 1950s.....definitely negative. The only thing ME shares with the CTA Red line is the 4ft. 8 1/2 in. If you are too scared to come to the communities, use Google Maps and tour the section and half-section streets around ME and see what you think.

DH

IrishIllini Feb 11, 2018 5:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10023 (Post 8081487)
They’ll turn a profit easily when prices rise. That’s already happening in some markets. They had to get people hooked on the product first.

I will say that Chicago, and probably American cities in general, have really substandard traffic management systems in comparison to Europe. Too many lanes, but too much “freedom” given to drivers to decide which one to use. You need lanes and concrete medians and things to force people into the right lane for where they want to go blocks before they actually turn. And yes, lots of traffic enforcement cameras.

Roundabouts are also vastly superior to signal-controlled intersections in many cases, but that’s probably never going to catch on in the US.

Will people continue to use them as frequently when prices rise?

10023 Feb 11, 2018 7:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IrishIllini (Post 8081547)
Will people continue to use them as frequently when prices rise?

No. That’s the point it was getting at - the congestion will sort itself out.

Ride sharing is still in the marketing/customer awareness building phase at this point. Despite how ubiquitous they seem, most people have still never taken an Uber. My dad took his first few with me when I visited him last September.

And it’s the same for drivers. A lot of people still “giving it a try”, not all of whom will keep driving long-term.

Eventually, I predict that they will move toward a higher price, lower volume model. Same revenue, but higher margins (for the companies and drivers) and fewer cars on the road. But you need to find all of your less price sensitive consumers first.

ardecila Feb 11, 2018 8:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chicagopcclcar1 (Post 8081526)
Gentlemen....Have you actually seen Metra Electric...stations from 107th through 63rd St.? Have you actually seen the environments around those stations? I feel so many want to grasp the idea that those former Illinois Central Suburban lines can blossom into the fruit and flowers and look and perform like the 1920s through the 1950s.....definitely negative. The only thing ME shares with the CTA Red line is the 4ft. 8 1/2 in. If you are too scared to come to the communities, use Google Maps and tour the section and half-section streets around ME and see what you think.

DH

The areas around the IC are no different from the areas around the proposed Red Line Extension, either physically (they look pretty much the same) or density-wise. In the case of South Shore, the neighborhood is significantly denser than anything along the Red Line.

The areas around the IC are arguably much better than the areas around the existing Red Line Dan Ryan Branch, which is mostly swamped with strip malls, drive-thrus and heavy traffic.

The IC serves Hyde Park, which is the biggest concentration of jobs on the South Side and only developing further as UChicago and other institutions grow.

The ONLY way that the IC is not a superior rapid transit corridor is the fact that it ends downtown with no direct crosstown link. Of course, somebody could get off at Millennium Station and board a 151 or 147 for quick access to the North Side, or take a short walk through the Pedway to the Red Line at Lake, so it's not like the IC dumps passengers in some wasteland.

LouisVanDerWright Feb 12, 2018 2:57 AM

I'm not sure that rideshare congestion should be considered a problem. I think a bigger worry is rideshare undermining public transit and the congestion problem should be a self balancing mechanism to stop rideshare from being too appealing relative to mass transit.

emathias Feb 12, 2018 3:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 8082012)
I'm not sure that rideshare congestion should be considered a problem. I think a bigger worry is rideshare undermining public transit and the congestion problem should be a self balancing mechanism to stop rideshare from being too appealing relative to mass transit.

It'd be less of an issue if Chicago's transit weren't so bus-dependant. I guess if it pushes the city to do more with bus-only lanes it'd be okay, but as it is, slower traffic means slower transit for over half of transit riders.

emathias Feb 12, 2018 3:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chicagopcclcar1 (Post 8081526)
Gentlemen....Have you actually seen Metra Electric...stations from 107th through 63rd St.? Have you actually seen the environments around those stations? I feel so many want to grasp the idea that those former Illinois Central Suburban lines can blossom into the fruit and flowers and look and perform like the 1920s through the 1950s.....definitely negative. The only thing ME shares with the CTA Red line is the 4ft. 8 1/2 in. If you are too scared to come to the communities, use Google Maps and tour the section and half-section streets around ME and see what you think.

DH

What am I missing? I've driven around down there and I didn't notice much of a "feel" difference between existing Metra Electric areas. Looking at crime maps, there also doesn't seem to be much of a difference between where the Red Line extension would be and where the existing ME stations are.

IrishIllini Feb 12, 2018 3:47 PM

I'm guessing pcclcar1 owns or rents property closer to the proposed red line route. The Metra Electric becoming a CTA-operated line does more for the south side than extending the red line.

Busy Bee Feb 12, 2018 3:50 PM

Not trying to derail (ouch, pun) this conversation or anything but does anyone here think there is any chance at all that the Cta could [in theory] convert one or more of the highest ridership long and straight E-W southside bus routes to lightrail/streetcar? The #79 easily receives enough ridership to justify it. Thoughts?

Mr Downtown Feb 12, 2018 8:10 PM

They could in theory, yes.

I suspect you really are asking whether it would be a good idea. Let's look at the relevant criteria ("I like streetcars" is not a relevant criterion).

First, cost per rider would go up. Remember that not only do light rail lines have enormous capital and vehicle costs, but their expenses per rider are also much greater. Looking at NTDB figures for systems that operate both light rail and buses, we see that operating costs per hour are more than double (average 220% of bus costs) but crush capacity is only 50% greater.

Next, capacity. I'm not aware that the 79 or 81 see crush loading for much, if any, of the day. For the passenger, of course, waiting 6 minutes for the next vehicle is much preferable to waiting 12 minutes for a larger vehicle.

Finally, guideway. Obviously there'd be little point in building a new streetcar line that gets stuck in traffic, so that means taking away two lanes of the street—more at stops. Well, if that's politically palatable, why not start by creating a busway? If passenger volumes get up above 5000 passenger-miles per route-mile, then you could consider installing a light rail line there.


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