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ardecila Dec 23, 2007 10:03 PM

Does the Kennedy branch have the same problems generating ridership that the Dan Ryan or Eisenhower branches do? I always assumed that the relative popularity of northwest side neighborhoods canceled out the poor surroundings of transit stations.

The Kennedy branch right now has other problems (slow zones/outdated signaling) that create slow zones and make the service less desirable, but it seems like River Road, Cumberland, Harlem, and Jeff Park are able to overcome their locational problems because of the local development and the many feeder bus lines that serve those stations. O'Hare riders add some more ridership. It would seem that the Kennedy branch succeeds in spite of its expressway-median location.

While we're talking about the Blue Line, is there anything that can be done to salvage ridership on the Forest Park branch? If ridership rebounded here, the Blue Line could easily overtake Red as the busiest.

VivaLFuego Dec 24, 2007 7:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3243303)
Does the Kennedy branch have the same problems generating ridership that the Dan Ryan or Eisenhower branches do? I always assumed that the relative popularity of northwest side neighborhoods canceled out the poor surroundings of transit stations.

Short answer is "yeah, sort of".

For the stations Addison - O'hare, there are over 35,000 daily boardings. This compares with about 22,000 on Congress (UIC-Forest Park) and 51,000 on the Dan Ryan (Cermak-95th).

On the one hand, there is definite value for everyone in the area by having O'hare connected to the Loop by rapid transit.

On the other, we look at cost effectiveness in terms of daily boardings per route-mile. The route-miles portion of this ratio takes into account the wear and tear on vehicles, and the amount of trackage that must be maintained.

Addison to O'hare is over 10 route-miles long.
For comparison, Congress branch is about 8 miles long, and Dan Ryan is about 9 miles.

For further contrast, the portion of the Blue line between Grand and Logan Square we'll call this the "old school Northwest service circa 1950-1970":
26,000 daily boardings
3.5 route-miles

So even though some of the farther out stations have otherwise excellent ridership figures, those figure's aren't commensurate with the financial pressure put on the system by the station's distance.

Mr Downtown Dec 26, 2007 6:43 PM

Perhaps it's useful to remember two big historical factors:

One is that the Illinois Central functioned as the South Lakefront's rapid transit line. Electrified since 1926, with high-level loading and closely spaced stations. Those of us who know Chicago only in the RTA/Metra era forget that the IC ran 10-minute headways or less, all day long.

The other is that the far South Side was not focused so much on commuting to the Loop. Industrial job centers were much more important.

VivaLFuego Dec 26, 2007 8:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3246324)
The other is that the far South Side was not focused so much on commuting to the Loop. Industrial job centers were much more important.

I think this is a very important point. Even high density doesn't necessarily translate to high rail usage, with Pilsen being a local obvious example of this. There is the simple issue of whether there is the trip density (in terms of the quantity of Origin-Destination pairs) between the South Lakeshore and Downtown that isn't met by current capacity, both in transit and roads (a substantial number of the wealthy in South Shore simply drive downtown, and LSD traffic isn't bad until north of the Stevenson merge).

Rail Claimore Dec 26, 2007 8:26 PM

^Centralization is an interesting subject to bring up in this thread. Despite the massive office corridors on I-90 and I-88, the northern half of Chicagoland is much more tired to the Loop than the southern half, which is much more industrial, thus employment areas are spread out and so is traffic. Simple observance of congestion levels illustrates this. Personal experience has told me that Chicagoland south of I-55 is much easier than north of it to navigate by car, even during rush hour.

Mr Downtown Dec 26, 2007 8:59 PM

Even when thinking about the whole region, we have to bear in mind that only 18 percent of Chicagoland jobs are downtown. Focusing all our attention on high-density line-haul public-vehicle transit along the radial corridors is like the general fighting the last war. Trying to use those same tactics (STAR Line, anyone?) to serve widely dispersed suburban origins and destinations is even sillier.

VivaLFuego Dec 26, 2007 9:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3246502)
Even when thinking about the whole region, we have to bear in mind that only 18 percent of Chicagoland jobs are downtown. Focusing all our attention on high-density line-haul public-vehicle transit along the radial corridors is like the general fighting the last war. Trying to use those same tactics (STAR Line, anyone?) to serve widely dispersed suburban origins and destinations is even sillier.

Do any transit junkies support the STAR line? The things got PORK written all over it.

k1052 Dec 26, 2007 9:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3246508)
Do any transit junkies support the STAR line? The things got PORK written all over it.

The money could be better spent extending existing lines to service further outlying areas and the construction of multi-level parking structures at high traffic stations where possible. IMO.

nomarandlee Dec 27, 2007 8:55 AM

Metra
 
Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,1386689.story

Sunrise Express an early success
Metra riders like reverse commute

By Richard Wronski | Tribune staff reporter
10:31 PM CST, December 26, 2007

Every day before dawn, with rush hour already building, an increasing number of early-rising Chicagoans climb aboard a train in an effort to get to jobs at schools, hospitals and companies as far north as Lake County by 7 a.m.

They're riding Metra's Sunrise Express, a "reverse commute" train that in just nine months has far exceeded ridership expectations—a sign, advocates say, of the need for more alternatives to the area's congested highways.

Average ridership on the train has grown from about 60 passengers a day from its start in April to more than 300 passengers in early December, Metra reports. That ridership is more than triple the initial predictions, officials said....................
..

alex1 Dec 27, 2007 3:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3246508)
Do any transit junkies support the STAR line? The things got PORK written all over it.

as much as I think the money should go to better projects, I do think the STAR line is needed. But only if the projects that surround it in the future do as much as possible to mitigate even further sprawl while increasing the share of transit usage metrowide.

it's a longshot to see everything land as I would like it to but one that I wouldn't mind see played out.

orulz Dec 27, 2007 4:52 PM

I think the STAR line would make a lot more sense if it followed a route OTHER than the EJ&E. With the EJ&E, basically all you're doing is providing a way for people in outer suburbs to park & ride to O'Hare. The fact that the EJ&E stays pretty much far away from everything makes it much more useful as a freight bypass.

IMO, a superior route would be to serve the historic downtown areas along the Fox River, like Elgin, South Elgin, St Charles, Geneva, Batavia, and Aurora, plus downtown Joliet on the Illinois River. There are some abandoned interurban rights-of-way that could, potentially, be used to do this. It would be hard to find an alignment that doesn't require at least some street running, so a light DMU interurban line, like the NJT River Line between Trenton and Camden, would be the concept.

But the STAR line as proposed? A useless, pointless waste of money.

BVictor1 Dec 29, 2007 1:59 AM

http://www.metroplanning.org/calendar.asp?objectID=4160

MPC ROUNDTABLE BREAKFAST
Within Our Reach: Your World in a Half Mile

January 10

8:30 am–10:30 am
Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson, Blvd., Crystal Room, Chicago
Cost for MPC donors: $15.00
Cost for non-donors: $15.00

MPC 2008 Winter Roundtable Series. Join transit experts, planners, developers and public officials from Chicago and peer cities to learn how the public and private sectors can work together to create great urban places.

The next time you take public transportation, look around you. Every person on that train or bus starts and ends his or her trip as a pedestrian. Now imagine leaving the station or bus and having all your needs within reach: a full array of services and retail options, an affordable home, and entertainment and dining choices – all within walking distance.
On Thursday, January 10, 2008 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) will host Within our Reach: Your World in Half a Mile, a unique conversation with some of the country's most knowledgeable transit experts, including developers and planners from Chicago and peer cities, about why transit-oriented development (TOD) is critical to urban vitality.
Vibrant, walkable communities don't happen accidentally; they are created and must be carefully nurtured. Development that is seamlessly oriented around transit pays dividends well beyond homeowners' pocketbooks and convenience — it is a boon for local businesses, protects the environment through massive energy and emissions savings, and supports better transit service and increased ridership.
CTA has renewed its commitment to integrate transit more fully into its surrounding communities. Both MPC and CTA recognize the market value of our region's transit facilities and how capturing that value will build local economies while improving transit service and operation for current and future customers.
Join us on January 10 th for Within our Reach: Your World in Half a Mile to learn how the public and private sectors can work together to create great urban places.

MODERATOR
David Taylor
CNU, National Director
Sustainable Transportation Solutions, HDR, Inc.
PANELISTS
Catherine Cox-Blair
Principal City Planner, Denver
James Keefe
President and Principal, Trinity Financial, Boston
Ald. Mary Ann Smith
48th Ward, Chicago
Sam Assefa
Deputy Commissioner Dept. of Planning and Development, Chicago

Registration cost is $15.00.
Register early as seating is limited. Cancellations must be received 48 hours in advance to prevent being charged.
Breakfast will be provided.
This roundtable is co-hosted with the Chicago Transit Authority and generously sponsored by Bombardier.

For more information
Pam Lee
Development Assistant
312-863-6011

ardecila Dec 31, 2007 1:30 AM

CTA to replace old rail station signs with uniform system, boost updates
Chicago Tribune
December 24, 2007

Outdated or confusing signs are posted at almost half of the CTA's rail stations, according to a new inventory that found misleading information at station entrances, fare-collection areas and on platforms.

Such signs are daily reminders of the many changes in transit service that have occurred over the years. But more important, they indicate the pressing need for the Chicago Transit Authority to provide more accurate travel advice to its customers.

Even in a time of "doomsday" budgets, an effort is under way to replace the hodgepodge of signs with a consistent design that provides straightforward information, officials said.

http://img120.imageshack.us/img120/4803/34414501pj5.jpg

--------------------------------------------------------------

The article mentions that all 144 CTA stations will be receiving small erasable whiteboards where service disruptions can quickly be written and updated.

Busy Bee Dec 31, 2007 4:04 AM

^SUCKS!!!

From a graphic designer's perspective the Frankle-Monigle signs are functionally and aesthetically more advanced... http://chicago-l.org/signage/platfor...x.html#frankle Talk about a tiny step forward CTA.

Another thing I also don't understand is why the grid address location continues to be so prominent. Is this really something that alot of people use? I'm not saying that it should be eliminated, but it just seems other information would be more valuable for a transit wayfinding system. Not to be gloomy, but this seems like another lost opportunity and is certainly not world class in appearance.

honte Dec 31, 2007 4:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 3252550)
^SUCKS!!!

From a graphic designer's perspective the Frankle-Monigle signs are functionally and aesthetically more advanced...

Yes, those are much more beautiful and sophisticated. Why not use them?

Busy Bee Dec 31, 2007 4:31 AM

Answer: Because the CTA can't do anything right. DUH.

pip Dec 31, 2007 5:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 3252550)
^SUCKS!!!

From a graphic designer's perspective the Frankle-Monigle signs are functionally and aesthetically more advanced... http://chicago-l.org/signage/platfor...x.html#frankle Talk about a tiny step forward CTA.

Another thing I also don't understand is why the grid address location continues to be so prominent. Is this really something that alot of people use? I'm not saying that it should be eliminated, but it just seems other information would be more valuable for a transit wayfinding system. Not to be gloomy, but this seems like another lost opportunity and is certainly not world class in appearance.

So lets say you are not from this neighborhood; 3400 South/ 1800 West or 6300North/900 West.

I think that gives a great indication of where you are.

Nowhereman1280 Dec 31, 2007 6:12 AM

^^^ Yeah, I use it all the time. It is most helpful on the subway and angled lines like the Blue to o'hare and Orange to Midway, it is easy to lose your bearings on those lines and, if you aren't already familiar with those lines, it is very helpful.

BVictor1 Dec 31, 2007 7:08 AM

http://www.suntimes.com/news/comment...its30a.article

Railroaded
A small, peaceful Will County community is about to get a noisy neighbor in the form of a rail and truck yard

December 30, 2007

'We came here to live the rest of our lives in a good way," said 77-year-old Crete resident Carolyn Jernberg, showing off the wintry bucolic view outside her cozy home in the Village Woods retirement complex. It's a peaceful place on the southeastern edge of this Will County town, surrounded on three sides by the Balmoral Woods golf course and featuring a gracefully curving lake.

ardecila Dec 31, 2007 9:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 3252550)
Another thing I also don't understand is why the grid address location continues to be so prominent. Is this really something that alot of people use? I'm not saying that it should be eliminated, but it just seems other information would be more valuable for a transit wayfinding system.

It's quite important because the whole gist of Chicago's organization is that it's on a grid. Major streets are every half-mile, and every major street has a bus line. This means that with only two bus rides, you can get from within 1/4 mile from your origin to within 1/4 mi from your destination, no matter where they are in the city.

The L system provides a (usually) faster ride than a local bus that stops every block, so it can be a faster and better replacement for one of the legs of the trip.

The grid coordinates on the station signs allow for a much better, more user-friendly system of orienteering than simply relying on street names. For example, somebody looking for an address at 2902 North Ashland only needs to ride to a station with a close N/S coordinate (Diversey at 2800N) and take the #76 bus westward to Ashland/Diversey. From there (2800 North Ashland), it's only a simple 1-block walk to the destination.

You can piss and moan about how cold and/or sterile it is to refer to a location in the city by a coordinate, but the grid is one of the many reasons that Chicago is the City That Works. When somebody needs to get to a certain place at a certain address, I don't think they care what neighborhood it's in or what local landmarks are nearby; they just want to get there as fast as possible.


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