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Thundertubs Oct 8, 2010 1:48 PM


Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 5008981)
They should have just gotten rid of the library portion and simply called it State/Van Buren. I don't want to see the el turn into something similar to the DC Metro with its ridiculously long station names.

U Street/Cardozo/African-American Civil War Memorial is the clunkiest station name ever, especially considering that the memorial is tiny and not even near the station.

How about just U Street?

10023 Oct 8, 2010 3:54 PM


Originally Posted by Thundertubs (Post 5008998)
U Street/Cardozo/African-American Civil War Memorial is the clunkiest station name ever, especially considering that the memorial is tiny and not even near the station.

How about just U Street?

Because everything in DC has to be a tribute to some interest group or another so that the politicians that propose said tributes can garner favor with said interest groups.

ardecila Oct 10, 2010 4:02 AM

So... CTA submitted an application for RTA funding to consider a Blue Line West Extension along 290/88.

This won't be a Federally-required Alternatives Analysis Study (required for New Start funding) but it will give CTA a direction to pursue.

I'm not sure whether this is a good idea or not. Providing transit to the I-88 employment corridor is a good idea, but running CTA's existing Blue Line trains to Oak Brook or Lisle is problematic, and the travel times would not be competitive. Hopefully the study will address the possibility of building express tracks between Forest Park and the Loop.


Extension of CTA’s Blue Line west from the Forest Park terminal is included in CMAP’s GOTO 2040 Major Transportation Capital Projects, as a project recommended for accelerated project development. The Blue Line West Extension was also included in RTA’s Cook‐DuPage Corridor Study’s final Action Plan as a project for further study. The project involves extending the Forest Park Branch of the Blue Line further west along or near the I‐290 and I‐88 corridor into Central DuPage County. While the proposal extends as far as Lisle, an initial strategic extension to Oak Brook may take advantage of existing development patterns.

The project improves connections to Pace routes operating in Western Cook and eastern and central DuPage Counties. It would also interface with the proposed “J‐Line”. The Cook‐DuPage Corridor Study identified significant reverse commute and inter‐regional trips that would be served by the project.

The project is consistent with subregional plans: In addition to being recommended in the Cook‐DuPage Corridor Study, transit centers in a number of locations in the corridor (including Oak Brook and Yorktown Mall in Lombard) are recommended in the DuPage Area Transit Plan. The Village of Maywood in its 2008 Comprehensive Plan update sought to extend the Blue Line to First Avenue as either a terminal location or part of a larger extension to the western suburbs.
edit.. also found this in CTA's October President's Report...

denizen467 Oct 10, 2010 11:22 AM

Has anyone seen that there is new illumination on the Wabash el supports at its intersections with cross streets -- a white (maybe LED) light has been placed inside the steel columns a couple yards above the ground, shining downwards. It's a rather nice addition though it's been carried out in a kind of half-baked way. Hopefully it's just the first step in something more ambitious.

Mr Downtown Oct 11, 2010 2:39 PM

^The one at Jackson & Wabash SWC went in about a year ago, presumably as the finishing touch in the Wabash Streetscaping project. I keep forgetting to look at the other corners to see how many were installed.

bnk Oct 14, 2010 7:19 AM

by Blair Kamin

October 13, 2010

Regional planners unveil vision for Chicago area in 2040

Share | Regional planners on Wednesday unveiled their vision for the Chicago area's future, calling for a new emphasis on fixing existing roads, raising the state gas tax to fund road maintenance and transit, and increasing the Chicago region's share of the state's road funding pie.

Called Go to 2040 and based on almost three years of research and public hearings, the plan was released by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, a little-known agency that is responsible for land-use and transportation planning in the seven-county Chicago area.


ardecila Oct 16, 2010 5:33 AM

I found this little tidbit when I was searching for an update on the South Shore's expansion plans.


South Shore passenger service hit by electric rate hikes, recession

In other business, from the audience Richard Watkun asked what the status is of the proposed West Lake extension that would bring South Shore tracks to Lowell and/or Valparaiso. “Has that become a dream that will never happen?” he asked.

[General manager Gerald] Hanas said a stumbling block is no local funding for the project. A new approach could be joint planning on a possible southeast extension of Metra service in Illinois that could save money with a coordinated NICTD project, Hanas explained.
Hanas probably just pulled this out of his ass, but if the SouthEast Service were to somehow be combined with the South Shore's Lowell corridor, that would be ideal. I'm envisioning a line running south from Chicago to Chicago Heights, then eastward to Dyer and then south to Lowell.

Politically, it could get the support of two states in Washington, which would be good, and it wouldn't run all the way out to effing Beecher, as in the current Metra plan. The Indiana side is already more developed. On the downside, it would lose the support of Will County, which wouldn't get any new service. (It could, potentially, be bundled with a Metra Electric extension to Peotone or Kankakee to appease Will County.)

Plus, it wouldn't require the electrification of further trackage in Indiana. That was always a flaw in the original plan - the freight railroads in Indiana refused to allow overhead wires to be strung above their tracks, so the South Shore would have had to buy dual-mode locomotives and coaches or - more likely - just run diesel-powered trains all the way up to Millennium Station. A dual Metra-NICTD train could be operated into LaSalle Street Station without sending polluting and inefficient diesel trains up the lakefront corridor, which will become all-electric in just a few years.

Unfortunately, it wouldn't solve the pressing problem, which is to find a local share of the cost. Indiana voters rejected the creation of a NW Indiana transit district that would have collected a sales tax to build the original lines, and many Indiana residents were skeptical about the usefulness of those lines. Illinois residents probably have a more clear understanding of the benefits of rail, but the state government is still massively broke.

Busy Bee Oct 16, 2010 2:08 PM

Whatever the routing, I still think we should be striving for electric operation. Good grief, this is the 21st century. The use of diesel to haul passenger trains should be diminishing, not expanding.

ardecila Oct 16, 2010 10:30 PM

Although one or two freight railroads have considered electrification, the freight industry overall is pretty resistant. This isn't Europe or Asia where the government owns the lines...

Busy Bee Oct 16, 2010 10:50 PM

Well if South Shore's Indiana line didn't operate under third-world catenary maybe they'd be more ambitious about expanding electric operations.

ardecila Oct 17, 2010 2:48 AM

^ This is true... but you can hardly expect them to run a first-class operation on a third-world budget.

If there was more support for expansion, then perhaps NICTD could build electrified lines along some of the abandoned rights-of-way in NW Indiana. There's a nice one that goes to Crown Point. That would get into the billions, though, like Colorado's plans.

Of course, there hasn't been a mad housing boom in Indiana, and the development that is there is very scattered, making it difficult to serve with a single rail line.

pip Oct 17, 2010 2:53 AM

im going to give props again to the CTA for it's cell phone text arrival times. I use it every time I go to the bus. Every single time, unless the bus is 'due' meaning almost there and I can see it. All my regular stops I have stored in my phone. It's also kinda easy to figure out as they appear in numerical order. 'R' for resfresh! haha the tracker says the bus arrives in 4 minutes, after 2 or so I refresh - why I don't know but I do.

VivaLFuego Oct 17, 2010 3:50 AM

Electrification for the sake of electrification won't be a convincing argument for public investment. On a per-passenger-mile basis, the capital cost of building and maintaining the electricity infrastructure for commuter rail would be far less efficient than diesel-electric locomotives. The other argument is in air quality, which had a lot more sway ~80 years ago compared to today. If service were on a half-hourly or more basis, electrification could start to make sense from a cost efficiency standpoint, but absent that any capital investment could be much more effectively spent elsewhere.

emathias Oct 17, 2010 4:09 AM

Movie with CTA
Netflix has a 1976 movie (I think it was a made-for-TV movie) called "Million Dollar Rip Off" that was set and filmed in Chicago about some con artists who plot to steal fare from CTA stations. The plot has them taking $1.5 million dollars from just 3 stations. That seems like an implausibly high amount of cash from CTA fares in the early 70s, but what do I know ...

Not a great film, but nice to see mid-70s Chicago and the CTA, and it stars Freddy Prinze (Sr.)

Chicago Shawn Oct 19, 2010 3:09 PM

The work crews at Grand and State shifted the plywood barriers this week on the Mezzanine level, exposing the finished parts of the station. Its looking very nice and it already feels more spacious. Not quite sure if its worth $67 million yet, but it is looking pretty good thus far. The stairs to the street include ramps for bicycles constructed out of polished black granite, with little bicycle symbols inscribed into it.

spyguy Oct 19, 2010 7:53 PM

Congress Parkway improvement starts Oct. 21

Quick refresher:
• Narrow and reduce lanes to provide wider sidewalks to accommodate heavier pedestrian traffic and landscape improvements, and decrease the crossing distance of intersections
• Interconnect traffic signals and install countdown pedestrian timers to improve the flow of vehicles and pedestrians through intersections
• Modify a State Street median to facilitate vehicles turning onto eastbound Congress Parkway
• Maintaining bicycle lane connection across Congress Parkway at Plymouth Court and adding bicycle parking
• Landscaped, irrigated medians with pedestrian refuge areas
• Install 20 in-ground planters and seating areas with decorative pavers, 57 above ground landscaped planters, and 71 new trees.
• A LED decorative lighting system, including freestanding fixtures in the median and lineal fixtures attached to decorative metal trellises and the viaduct walls under One Financial Place

Mr Downtown Oct 20, 2010 2:12 AM

^Yikes. I remember the winter they tried to do the Wabash streetscaping. Snowfalls would shut things down for weeks at a time, forcing pedestrians to navigate tenuous plywood bridges that couldn't be shoveled properly, and the quality of the concrete work suffered in a lot of places.

ardecila Oct 20, 2010 3:58 AM

Fortunately, Congress is the least busy street in the Loop for pedestrians. That's a big reason why the streetscaping is needed. CDOT might just close off whole stretches of sidewalk at a time.

I understand your point about winter work, though. It's a sad fact that we have a long and cold winter in Chicago, and unless we want all improvements to come to a halt, construction will have to continue into the winter.

Busy Bee Oct 20, 2010 4:26 AM

Wouldn't be much of an issue material wise if we didn't rely so much on concrete. I'd love it if the entire CBD of Chicago received paver sidewalks and granite curbs. Concrete just doesn't match the high quality environment nor does it hold up to weather and wear. But, I realize I'm dreaming - pragmatism will always when out, and concrete 99% of the time is the most affordable solution - and it looks good for a few years.

denizen467 Oct 21, 2010 5:46 AM

Speaking of Congress, is the Congress Bridge slated for completion this year or next?
Also, looking further westwards, is the Eisenhower resurfacing finished?

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