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miketoronto Jan 4, 2008 11:58 PM

What do you guys think of my L train extension ideas?

------

ORANGE LINE
-Extension from Midway to Westfield Chicago Ridge Mall.
With stops at 79th Ave, 87th Ave, Chicago Ridge Mall.

BROWN LINE
-Extension from Kimbell to Westfield Shoppingtown Old Orchard Mall.
With stops at Northwestern University, Lincolnwood Town Centre, Oakton Community College, Old Orchard Mall.

BLUE LINE O'HARE BRANCH
-Extension from O'Hare Airport to Woodfield Mall. One stop, at Woodfield Mall. No stops inbetween O'Hare and Woodfield Mall.

PINK LINE
-Extension from 34th/Cermak, to Oakbrook Terrace and Midwestern University.

Marcu Jan 5, 2008 12:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by miketoronto (Post 3260798)
What do you guys think of my L train extension ideas?

------

ORANGE LINE
-Extension from Midway to Westfield Chicago Ridge Mall.
With stops at 79th Ave, 87th Ave, Chicago Ridge Mall.

BROWN LINE
-Extension from Kimbell to Westfield Shoppingtown Old Orchard Mall.
With stops at Northwestern University, Lincolnwood Town Centre, Oakton Community College, Old Orchard Mall.

BLUE LINE O'HARE BRANCH
-Extension from O'Hare Airport to Woodfield Mall. One stop, at Woodfield Mall. No stops inbetween O'Hare and Woodfield Mall.

PINK LINE
-Extension from 34th/Cermak, to Oakbrook Terrace and Midwestern University.

The Brown line exension will never happen. Too many communities to go through, Northwestern is served by the purple line and metra, Lincolnwood doesn't want el service, and an Old Orchard yellow line stop seems to be in the works.

There seems to be some opposition to extending the blue line to Woodfield. Metra already provides service from Ohare anyway and there are too many stops there as it is.

The pink line should be eliminated all together. I have no clue where midwestern university is and too many rich and politically powerful communities in between to get everyone's support. And once again, already served by Metra.

The orange line extension is not needed. Not enough density.

miketoronto Jan 5, 2008 1:51 AM

Why would suburbs be against having rapid transit expanded into their borders? Usually any district, suburb or not would beg to have rapid transit extended into their borders.
Also for the Brown Line I mean the Northwest University campus near Skoie. Not the one near the lake. On the transit map there seems to be two campus'.

Attrill Jan 5, 2008 2:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by miketoronto (Post 3260798)
What do you guys think of my L train extension ideas?

Are you sending us the money for all the CTA changes you're proposing? :)

I definitely understand the attraction of looking at a map and thinking about expanding the CTA, but let us know how to get Madigan, Jones, and Blago to act like adults first.

emathias Jan 5, 2008 3:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by miketoronto (Post 3260798)
What do you guys think of my L train extension ideas?

I wouldn't support them - in fact I'd probably actively protest against them if they were slated before more pressing urban routes.

The "L" is an urban rail system, not a suburban rail system. With the possible exception of a shuttle system connecting the end of the Blue Line to Woodfield, I don't think any of your ideas would be used much (they would be used, but the operative word in that sentence is "much") or even appropriate to the areas they would serve.

There are way, way to many routes in the core of the city (such as a line from the West Loop to the Michigan Avenue/STreeterville area and/or the Loop to McCormick Place) or that connect parts of existing branches (for example, the Midcity Transitway from about Jefferson Park on the Blue Line south past Midway and then east ot the Red Line at about 79th or the Brown Line extended not north, but west to Jefferson Park on the Blue Line or the Pink to the Orange) that should be added before the types of suburban systems you describe should be considered. In my opinion, the only thing related to rail that should be going on in Chicago suburbs are a couple minor Metra extensions to existing lines and, in a few corridors, corridor preservation for possible future use. There are probably some corridors that could benefit from enhanced bus service, but outside of the first ring suburbs, there is just not the density necessary to support urban rail - and certainly not to support it over strictly urban projects.

emathias Jan 5, 2008 3:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G (Post 3259472)
I don't know about that. The tenor of that article is par for the course for the Economist. They're always either negative or ambivalent; very cautiously optimistic is the happiest they ever get. Not that the problem isn't real. But:

"If the Illinois state legislature does not act by January 20th, more than half of bus routes in the city will be eliminated, some 2,400 transport workers will be sacked and fares will be raised. Suburban rail and bus lines face cuts as well. Commuters will be forced to drive on already crowded roads or walk to a distant bus or train—this in the depths of winter, with pavements icy and kerbs surrounded by lakes of frigid slush."

...really?

Yeah, really. Now, chances are something will get at least partly worked out, but the way the legislature has been dicking around all year it's a pretty real threat. The Economist's evaluation of the Illinois legislature as being an example of how NOT to govern is pretty much spot on accurate.

And I don't think you actually read the Economist. If anything, they're like a teen party magazine compared to the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times.

Mr Downtown Jan 5, 2008 11:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by miketoronto (Post 3260986)
Why would suburbs be against having rapid transit expanded into their borders?

Fear of city residents. Historically, US suburbs were fiercely protective of their separation from central cities such as Chicago. Suburban residents often have irrational fears that transit extensions will give homeless people and urban criminals easy access to their neighborhoods. When you add the threat of eminent domain takings, noisy trains, and higher taxes, suburban transit extensions are quickly buried.

In addition, Chicago's rapid transit equipment is only marginally suitable for a run as long as Loop-Schaumburg. The cars (only a little larger than the Scarborough Line's) have short wheelbases, weigh less than many "light rail" vehicles, have hard seats and no washrooms. If track geometry is not beautifully maintained, they become very uncomfortable at speed.

Much smarter to integrate fares and let the regional rail network handle regional trips.

(Incidentally, next time you need a book review for uni, you might be interested in a book illuminating the differences between Canadian and US cities: Goldberg, Michael A. and Mercer, John. The Myth of the North American City: Continentalism Challenged. UBC Press, 1986)

aaron38 Jan 6, 2008 1:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3262559)
In addition, Chicago's rapid transit equipment is only marginally suitable for a run as long as Loop-Schaumburg. The cars (only a little larger than the Scarborough Line's) have short wheelbases, weigh less than many "light rail" vehicles, have hard seats and no washrooms. If track geometry is not beautifully maintained, they become very uncomfortable at speed.

As much as I would love a Blue line extension to Schaumburg, you make a good point.

And with the UP-NW to Jefferson Park transfer, it isn't really needed.

ardecila Jan 6, 2008 3:54 AM

If the Brown Line is extended anywhere, it should be extended westward to meet the Blue Line at Montrose or Jeff Park.

I do like the idea of an extension out to Oakbrook. There are several rights of way, currently trails, that could be used in conjunction with I-88 to extend either the Pink or Blue Line out to the mall, which is also an employment center. Also, the metal elevated structures in the city give a misleading impression of the noise L trains create. Concrete viaducts generate much less noise, especially when sound walls are incorporated.

Bellwood, Hillside, and Maywood all have high minority populations, low income levels, and from a demographic perspective, are merely extensions of the West Side. Would residents of these communities oppose additional transit in their communities?

OhioGuy Jan 6, 2008 8:52 PM

U.S. President To Be Briefed On Chicago 2016 Bid

Quote:

The White House also wants to know how it can help the city’s bid, said the source.

Mayor Daley says Chicago needs a new rapid transit line west of the downtown area. He said Saturday that the federal government usually supports Olympic host cities with transportation, public safety and security, reports the Chicago Tribune.

k1052 Jan 7, 2008 3:00 PM

And the push for the Circle Line is on.

jephweiser Jan 7, 2008 7:02 PM

Speaking of the Circle Line, where does it stand? I know they did the Alternatives Analysis in 06 and had narrowed down the route options, but I thought they were going to recommend exact route and whether it would be heavy rail, light rail or rapid bus. Has the funding crisis stopped the process in its tracks?

k1052 Jan 7, 2008 7:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jephweiser (Post 3265839)
Speaking of the Circle Line, where does it stand? I know they did the Alternatives Analysis in 06 and had narrowed down the route options, but I thought they were going to recommend exact route and whether it would be heavy rail, light rail or rapid bus. Has the funding crisis stopped the process in its tracks?

Provided they can get the Feds to pony up the capital funding I'm sure the CTA would be happy to proceed with it.

The last proposal I saw would be heavy rail that ties into the rest of the train system. The first stage (Paulina connector rehab) is already complete and in service for the Pink Line. The most expensive part will be the final subway leg up Ashland and over to North Ave/Clybourn. Taking the Brown Line underground to link up with the new Clybourn station probably won't be cheap either. I would also think the feds would have to cover some new rolling stock as well.

Mr Downtown Jan 7, 2008 9:45 PM

With Kruesi gone, common sense may prevail and the Circle Line will quietly disappear.

honte Jan 7, 2008 10:31 PM

^ Maybe Mr. Downtown won't find a use for it, but those of us in the neighborhoods outside of downtown look forward to it greatly.

ardecila Jan 7, 2008 10:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 3265882)
Taking the Brown Line underground to link up with the new Clybourn station probably won't be cheap either.

This was never part of the plan, I don't think.

Phase III involved building a new elevated Brown Line station at Halsted with a connection to the subway station.

VivaLFuego Jan 8, 2008 1:14 AM

In response to miketoronto's idea, there actually was a pretty serious planning effort about 4-5 years ago in regards to how to better connect the I-90 employment corridor to the regional transit network. Basically, this meant Pace studied BRT, Metra studied DMU commuter service, and CTA studied Blue Line extensions. The CTA service had far-and-away the highest ridership (but of course the greatest cost). The service would have operated at 70mph and taken between 15-18 minutes O'hare-Schaumburg Convention Center; if the Blue Line south of O'hare were also upgraded to 70mph, these are still reasonable travel times, particularly in the peak period when I-90 and I-294 are a mess.

Of course, we all know that somehow the region settled on Metra's STAR line concept, for reasons most people can't figure out (since even Pace's BRT "J-line" solution, connecting O'hare, Rosemont, Schaumburg, and Oakbrook via BRT, was projected to have much higher ridership at lower cost).

Abner Jan 8, 2008 5:10 PM

Was the 70 mph limit ever reached on the O'Hare Blue Line? If not, was it just for equipment/safety reasons?

Chicago3rd Jan 8, 2008 5:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3266296)
^ Maybe Mr. Downtown won't find a use for it, but those of us in the neighborhoods outside of downtown look forward to it greatly.

Only if we can make those areas denser. If the neighborhoods are willing to allow much more density withing 1/4 mile of an El Station (mid and highrises) then I am all for expanding the present day system.

VivaLFuego Jan 8, 2008 5:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3267820)
Was the 70 mph limit ever reached on the O'Hare Blue Line? If not, was it just for equipment/safety reasons?

No. My understanding is that as the tracks are rebuilt (at least the ties and fasteners) from Addison-O'hare under the current project, they will be built to a 70mph standard. I believe the running rail from Jeff Park-O'hare was also at a 70mph. However, running trains at that speed would require a greater maintenance expenditure, both for the rail cars and the tracks, so I'm not sure if/when it might happen. CTA rail cars can, in theory, go 70mph, though for now they are limited to 55.


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