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the urban politician Aug 25, 2006 8:02 PM

^ $25,000 per year? They pay janitors better than that.

So we have some chick from Dupage running the show now? Hopefully she's not as much of an ass as her predecessor, who once said "We're not a charity service" as a response to why Metra hadn't orignally planned for the proposed STAR line to serve the south suburbs.

VivaLFuego Aug 25, 2006 11:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician
^ $25,000 per year? They pay janitors better than that.

So we have some chick from Dupage running the show now? Hopefully she's not as much of an ass as her predecessor, who once said "We're not a charity service" as a response to why Metra hadn't orignally planned for the proposed STAR line to serve the south suburbs.

$25,000 + full benefits isn't bad for a board position, she has a day job too. board members at CTA get the same deal, and except for chairman they only need to show up about 12 times a year for that 25K. not bad.

nomarandlee Aug 30, 2006 3:29 PM

Our long commute just gets longer
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

Our long commute just gets longer

Chicago-area residents spend more time getting to and from work, and many of them even go to the `extreme': 90 minutes and up each way

By John McCormick, Jeff Long and Darnell Little, Tribune staff reporters
Published August 30, 2006


The alarm rings at Mary Ellen Patterson's McHenry County home, and she's off--skirting the traffic jams at the high school, motoring down Lake-Cook Road, catching the 7:11 a.m. train at Barrington and finishing with a brisk walk to her Loop office, about an hour and a half after she started.

She is what the U.S. Census Bureau calls an "extreme commuter," somebody who spends more than 90 minutes each way getting to and from work--among the fastest-growing segments of workaday travelers.


The number of extreme commuters in McHenry County grew from about 8,600 in 2002 to 10,700 in 2005, according to census data released Tuesday. In Will County, the number of extreme commuters doubled to about 15,000.

The report also shows average commuting times rising in all five collar counties. Holding down the far corners of the metropolitan area, McHenry County and Will County had average commutes long enough to rank them among the top 25 in the nation.

In spite of gas prices exceeding $3 per gallon, the data suggest the region's sprawl in search of bigger and more affordable housing marched on unabated last year.

Despite the 5 a.m. wake-ups, despite all the time she has to think about her commute during her 40-mile treks, Patterson said she has no regrets.

"I like the quiet out here," said Patterson, a relative newcomer to the world of extreme commuting, after she filled her mini-van's tank. "Besides, the price of housing in Chicago is unbelievable. I couldn't afford to live down there."

The national average for a one-way commute is 25.1 minutes, significantly lower than the 34.4 minutes reported in McHenry County and the 34.3 minutes in Will. Both counties saw their times grow by more than two minutes between 2000 and 2005.Demographers say the longer commuting times--self-reported by survey participants--are a reflection of suburban employment growth failing to keep up with population growth.

"The economic base is not sufficient enough in those counties to sustain all of the workers there, so they are going someplace else to work," said Marc Thomas, information services manager for the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission. "That's showing up in the commute times, as more people move out there to live but still have to work in another area."

Nearly half of McHenry County workers, for example, work in another county, the new census data show, compared with 12.5 percent of those who live in Cook County. Residents of Will County were least likely to stay within their home county, with 57.3 percent saying they work elsewhere.

With limited mass transit available, most suburbanites drive their cars to work. Just 3.9 percent of McHenry County workers report taking mass transportation, compared with 16.7 percent in Cook County and 25.3 percent in Chicago, where trains and buses are more accessible.

In each of the Chicago area's six counties, the most common time to leave for work was between 7 and 7:30 a.m. In some suburban counties, many people leave for work between 6:30 and 7 a.m.

The new data are part of the annual American Community Survey, a program slated to replace the so-called long form that has historically asked the most detailed census questions every 10 years.

The results from the survey previously were only available for cities and counties with at least 250,000 people, but in several releases this summer and fall they are being published for areas with 65,000 people or more.

The new census data come just ahead of a study to be released Thursday by the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation that shows the Chicago area has the second-most congested roads in the nation, behind the Los Angeles area.

The report, citing data from the Texas Transportation Institute and other state and federal research efforts, says driving times here during peak traffic are 57 percent longer than they are during off-peak times. If trends continue, the report suggests rush-hour drives here could take 88 percent longer than non-peak by 2030.
The report also states that road capacity is not keeping up with population growth and that by 2030 Illinois will need roughly 4,450 new lane-miles of road at a cost of $55 billion in today's dollars.

Chicago remains the Second City when it comes to commuting times for residents of the nation's largest cities, behind only New York. Chicago clocked in with an average of 34.3 minutes, compared with 39.1 minutes for New York. Los Angeles, without its surrounding metropolitan area, came in fifth, after Philadelphia and Newark, N.J.

City or suburbs, there are few signs of relief on the horizon.

Officials say transportation planning in rapidly growing McHenry County is hampered in part by geography. The Fox River cuts a swath down the county's eastern edge and commuters headed toward Chicago have just two main routes in the southeast corner of the county to cross the river.

Meanwhile, the north-south routes that take commuters to the Northwest Tollway grow more congested every year, including Illinois Highway 31, Illinois Highway 47, and Randall Road, a county highway.

"It appears that people are willing to stomach that because of the quality of life in McHenry County," said County Board Chairman Kenneth Koehler

The congestion comes at a time when state funding for road projects is dwindling, according to Jason Osborn, the county's transportation planning and program coordinator.

"The rest of the suburbs grew at a time when the highway system was heavily funded, so they could expand" Osborn said.

Meanwhile, with about 300,000 residents now in McHenry County, projections for 2030 say that as many as 450,000 people will call the county home. Osborn predicts congestion will get much worse, even with the lane expansions now under way.

Although riding the train can make the commute more productive for some people, others battle it out in their cars.Jeff Shoemaker, 52, pulled into the Algonquin Citgo on Illinois Highway 62 on Monday evening with a Rolling Stones CD blaring in his black Pontiac Solstice and his usual frustration over the commute home to Lake in the Hills from Oak Brook.

It's about 37 miles to his office, and the drive one way can take from an hour to more than 90 minutes, if weather and construction conspire to slow traffic.

"I think about it every day," he said of the commute. "I hate it."

VivaLFuego Aug 30, 2006 5:05 PM

[QUOTE=nomarandlee
"I think about it every day," he said of the commute. "I hate it."[/QUOTE]

Well gee, you live in Lake in the Hills and work in Oakbrook...

Also I think people underestimate their commute time. Is that door-to-door? I hardly know anyone with door to door times of under 25 minutes, and thats a sampling of throughout the metro area.....and that's supposedly the average time?

Skurry Aug 30, 2006 5:53 PM

Commuting is going to be bad no matter what, in SimCity I can never solve that problem without sacrificing hundreds of homes and strong business!

Back to the real world.
It used to take me over two hours to get from Edgewater to Schaumberg! almost five hours a day wasted! I took the red line to the blue line (or walked sometimes) to Union Station and then the Metra out the Schaumberg. I think the Circle line would have trimmed that commute down quite a bit.

Now however I have a 15 min commute door to door, and I LOVE it! :banana:

Chicago Shawn Aug 30, 2006 8:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed


The new census data come just ahead of a study to be released Thursday by the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation that shows the Chicago area has the second-most congested roads in the nation, behind the Los Angeles area.

The report, citing data from the Texas Transportation Institute and other state and federal research efforts, says driving times here during peak traffic are 57 percent longer than they are during off-peak times. If trends continue, the report suggests rush-hour drives here could take 88 percent longer than non-peak by 2030.
The report also states that road capacity is not keeping up with population growth and that by 2030 Illinois will need roughly 4,450 new lane-miles of road at a cost of $55 billion in today's dollars.

Chicago remains the Second City when it comes to commuting times for residents of the nation's largest cities, behind only New York. Chicago clocked in with an average of 34.3 minutes, compared with 39.1 minutes for New York. Los Angeles, without its surrounding metropolitan area, came in fifth, after Philadelphia and Newark, N.J.


All the more reason to begin investing more cash into public transit NOW, and advocating for more compact mixed use development around transit stations. Half of that $55 billion figure could build us about 20 brand new rapid transit lines, reducing commute times, congestion, and pollution for the whole region, and would modify growth patterns to become more sustainable, with increased density of infill and mixed use developement. Of course, in this country that is a pipe dream, and in reality nearly all that money will go to miniscule road upgrades in suburbia so places like Naperville and scumburg can "upgrade" already excessivley wide roads and only further continue the never ending paradox of road expansions brought upon ourselfs. When will the majority here begin to see the light? The cost of gas sure isn't doing it yet.

nomarandlee Sep 5, 2006 9:38 PM

[QUOTE=Lukecuj]IMO they should have a dedicated train that runs express between the O'hare stop and Union Station all day and night.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[B]




I agree, and I think it was considered before they went with the the Blue Line Airport Exress right? I am guessing that Daley doesn't want any competition to the precious airport express even though a frequant Metra train on the North Central Line makes a good deal of sense. Is the freight very heavy on that line that it makes it problamatic to run more trains?

An express train on that line from the north of O'Hare as well. It could help alleviate a lot of the 294 traffic from the north in Cook/Lake county.

Chicago Shawn Sep 5, 2006 10:29 PM

[QUOTE=nomarandlee]
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lukecuj
IMO they should have a dedicated train that runs express between the O'hare stop and Union Station all day and night.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[B]




I agree, and I think it was considered before they went with the the Blue Line Airport Exress right? I am guessing that Daley doesn't want any competition to the precious airport express even though a frequant Metra train on the North Central Line makes a good deal of sense. Is the freight very heavy on that line that it makes it problamatic to run more trains?

An express train on that line from the north of O'Hare as well. It could help alleviate a lot of the 294 traffic from the north in Cook/Lake county.


Yes, frieght traffic on the Wisconsin Central (Canadian National) line is very heavy. In fact, part of the reason the line was double tracked was for increased frieght trains in addition to more Metra service. The double tracking should have been completed a few years earlier, but it ws held up because the brilliant people on the Lake County planning board thought if no transportation was expanded, sprawl would slow down.

VivaLFuego Sep 6, 2006 12:38 AM

[QUOTE=Chicago Shawn]
Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee


Yes, frieght traffic on the Wisconsin Central (Canadian National) line is very heavy. In fact, part of the reason the line was double tracked was for increased frieght trains in addition to more Metra service. The double tracking should have been completed a few years earlier, but it ws held up because the brilliant people on the Lake County planning board thought if no transportation was expanded, sprawl would slow down.

A worthwhile hope, I mean nobody is talkng about expanding the Edens anytime soon.

The Ohare Transfer stop on the NCS would be much more useful if the Airport People Mover were extended the 1/2-1 mile or so from its current terminus.

The issue as I understand it is that the mayor REALLY wants something where you check your bags and check in for your flight downtown, then ride a train directly to the terminal. It would -clearly- be most cost effective to beef up the commuter lines or even reactivate some freight ROW (like the Bloomingdale) to get out to O'hare, but the issue is 1) O'hare Transfer is nowhere near the terminal and 2) Union Station is very poorly connected with the rest of the central area in terms of rapid transit.

Persnally I think it would make more sense (in terms of total benefit vs. total cost) to beef up the NCS for airport express and connect it to the people mover, then actually build the circulator streetcar system downtown, with the carrol ave. "riverfront line" to connect to River North and Mag Mile, and the Monroe St line to cut straight from the commuter rail through the loop to the park.

The current Airport Express plan is projected to cost around $1 billion, which includes the downtown superstation, airport terminals, and some component of road construction (since retaining walls on the Kennedy would be moved outwards as part of a total roadway reconstruction, allowing room for express tracks). Think of what that billion could do in terms of upgrading the commuter lines out towards O'hare and improving rapid transit connections to the commuter rail stations downtown? (The city should take some initiative to provide friendly and well-signed walking transfers between all 4 commuter stations and rapid transit.)

But, I'm not Da Mayor, nor do I work in CDOT.

the urban politician Sep 6, 2006 2:54 AM

^ That's all great, but here's what I don't understand for the life of me. First of all, I'm surprised that such a massive project (are you also including the express trains to Midway in that cost estimate?) would only cost 1 billion dollars.

More importantly, where are they going to get the money for this project? I recall reading that the city is not trying to get federal funding--yet they have been incredibly mum about this. How are they planning to make this work from a financial standpoint?

VivaLFuego Sep 6, 2006 2:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician
^ That's all great, but here's what I don't understand for the life of me. First of all, I'm surprised that such a massive project (are you also including the express trains to Midway in that cost estimate?) would only cost 1 billion dollars.

More importantly, where are they going to get the money for this project? I recall reading that the city is not trying to get federal funding--yet they have been incredibly mum about this. How are they planning to make this work from a financial standpoint?

I would assume it will be mostly bonds (repaid with property tax), and TIF money (again, property tax). $1billion seems about right if you assume that the I-90 reconstruction was happening anyway and don't include that cost. $1bn would be just for the trackage, rolling stock (84 railcars) and the new stations.

Busy Bee Sep 6, 2006 9:41 PM

Quote:

...or even reactivate some freight ROW (like the Bloomingdale)
Yes. I have always felt that Bloomingdale held the greatest potential for a Heathrow Express style of operation. Of course I still want the superstation under B37, I just want CTA tunnel compatible trains and a branch from that tunnel to get to the Bloomingdale ROW.

I just have poor feelings about ramming express service on infrastructure that wasn't built for it. Ideally I'd like to see the CTA O'Hare line and the Airport Express be seperate things entirely.

Busy Bee Sep 11, 2006 9:33 PM

Quote:

During the morning rush, all the seats usually are taken by the time southbound Red Line trains have traveled from the Howard Street terminal to the Loyola stop in Rogers Park. Everybody boarding south of that point must stuff themselves onto packed trains for the long ride downtown.
Too bad Wilson Yard isn't around any longer. Empty trains could be brought in heading south to alleviate overcrowding.

Wright Concept Sep 11, 2006 9:53 PM

^Not only that they could add an all-day express service on the Purple Line and utilizing existing switches can allow Purple Line trains to operate express ala NYC only stopping at Loyola and Sheridan and then share the Red Line tracks into State Street to Roosevelt or stay on the loop to help the Brown Line.

A second option could suspend Purple Line service, which would free-up some operation room to allow the Red Line trains to operate in this fashion, again utilizing the existing system pieces so it's quicker to implement:

Howard-Loyola local then "Express" to Belmont.
Loyola to Lawrence or Wilson Local then "Express" to Belmont
Lawrence or Wilson to Belmont local.

With both options between Belmont and Fullerton suspend the Diversey and Wellington stops and provide a bus shuttle on Sheffield to run between Belmont and Fullerton. Thus freeing more track to allow trains to speed through.

I'm surpised that the CTA hasn't beefed up it's 140 numbered express bus services from the Northside to Downtown for the additional riders who can use that service to avoid the crowding.

VivaLFuego Sep 12, 2006 2:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PracticalVisionary
^Not only that they could add an all-day express service on the Purple Line and utilizing existing switches can allow Purple Line trains to operate express ala NYC only stopping at Loyola and Sheridan and then share the Red Line tracks into State Street to Roosevelt or stay on the loop to help the Brown Line.

A second option could suspend Purple Line service, which would free-up some operation room to allow the Red Line trains to operate in this fashion, again utilizing the existing system pieces so it's quicker to implement:

Howard-Loyola local then "Express" to Belmont.
Loyola to Lawrence or Wilson Local then "Express" to Belmont
Lawrence or Wilson to Belmont local.

I'm surprised none of these have been considered for rush hour services.....I've actually asked some CTA planning staff about it and never got a satisfactory answer. Unfortunately, the speed of trips is not a current CTA priority :-\

Wright Concept Sep 12, 2006 3:42 PM

Well what do you expect it's the CTA. But one of the things that is very important during this phase that you mitigate as many potential delays as possible and running 3 lines in one track direction requires some good coordination as well as reducing some stops to keep up with the bunching.

Also the all day Express idea in the First suggestion needs serious consideration because those express tracks just sit there begging for a train to speed through it.

Kevin J Sep 12, 2006 3:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee
Too bad Wilson Yard isn't around any longer. Empty trains could be brought in heading south to alleviate overcrowding.

That statement about all seats being filled during the morning rush after the Loyola stop isn't true at all. I've entered the train at Berwyn, which is several stops south of Loyola, at various times between 7 and 8:30 am for the last 7 years. In all that time, I have had to stand maybe two or three times a year, and that was usually because there was some big delay backing up the trains. The seats usually aren't filled until Lawrence or Wilson.

I suppose your idea about adding trains at Wilson Yards would have still helped people south of Wilson get seats, but my point is that the article vastly overstated the extent of the crowding.

the urban politician Sep 12, 2006 4:59 PM

Can somebody explain to me how the purple line express (PLE) works? Does it actually run on its own tracks?

The reason I ask is this. Instead of a complicated A or B red line mechanism, why not just have the PLE act as the de facto express line of the north side? Have it skip Wellington, Diversey, Armitage, Sedgewick (having the red and brown already serve those), while also having the PLE stop at Bryn Mawr and perhaps one other place (Sheridan? you get the picture).

It seems so easy. That's how it is in Manhattan. For example, in a given route, intead of having a 1 Express & 1 local, a whole train line acts as the express line of a given route, in this case the 2 train.

Can't the same be easily applied to Chicago's north side? Have the PLE make one or two stops north of Belmont, and eliminate some of its stops south of Fullerton, while having the red and brown lines stop at EVERY stop in between, with plenty of transfer points.

This is assuming that the purple line has its own tracks

VivaLFuego Sep 12, 2006 7:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician
Can somebody explain to me how the purple line express (PLE) works? Does it actually run on its own tracks?

The reason I ask is this. Instead of a complicated A or B red line mechanism, why not just have the PLE act as the de facto express line of the north side? Have it skip Wellington, Diversey, Armitage, Sedgewick (having the red and brown already serve those), while also having the PLE stop at Bryn Mawr and perhaps one other place (Sheridan? you get the picture).

It seems so easy. That's how it is in Manhattan. For example, in a given route, intead of having a 1 Express & 1 local, a whole train line acts as the express line of a given route, in this case the 2 train.

Can't the same be easily applied to Chicago's north side? Have the PLE make one or two stops north of Belmont, and eliminate some of its stops south of Fullerton, while having the red and brown lines stop at EVERY stop in between, with plenty of transfer points.

This is assuming that the purple line has its own tracks

The purple has its own tracks north of Belmont. It shares the outside tracks with the Brown south of Belmont. Up until the late 90s, it actually did run express, not stopping at Diversey, Wellington, etc....but in the 90s they had to continuously increase the frequency of the brown line, it's now every 3-4 minutes in rush hour, so there's no point in having purples skip stops because it won't save any time being stuck behind a local brown.

The old north side mainline (which, south of armitage, followed the brown line to downtown, but the outer tracks have been removed and its only 2 tracks) was very new york-like, 4 tracks, inner express and outer local, but over the years the routing has become very convoluted. it would make more sense to run the purple in the center tracks south of belmont (sharing with red) then run into the subway downtown, if you ask me...

mikeelm Sep 13, 2006 1:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PracticalVisionary
Well what do you expect it's the CTA. But one of the things that is very important during this phase that you mitigate as many potential delays as possible and running 3 lines in one track direction requires some good coordination as well as reducing some stops to keep up with the bunching.

Also the all day Express idea in the First suggestion needs serious consideration because those express tracks just sit there begging for a train to speed through it.

WEll he probably expects the CTA to do a good job in operating trains without delay and when these things keep happening day in and day out than there's obviously something wrong.


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