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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

jpIllInoIs Jun 11, 2008 3:14 PM

I am very depressed!:( All that money for B37 and it does not even synch up with the vision of a Clinton Street Subway or West Loop Transit Center at Unoin Station which is a long range vision of the Midwest High Speed Rail Assoc.

http://www.downtownairport.com/step05.htm

http://www.midwesthsr.org/

Mr Downtown Jun 12, 2008 2:17 AM

The CTA press release

CTA to Complete Core Work on Tunnels and Station Shell This Year

Chicago Transit Authority President Ron Huberman said that after a
thorough review of the CTA's Block 37 project to develop a transit
center, track connections and direct airport train service, he plans
to recommend to the Chicago Transit Board that the CTA go out to bid
for a private sector partner to building out the station and develop
and operate the service.

ardecila Jun 13, 2008 12:07 AM

This is all covered in the second part of the June 2008 President's Report - and it has pictures!

PDF Warning:
Link

It's great to finally be able to see into the bowels of the station, but it appears that track will in fact not be laid right now. They will probably erect concrete walls to partition off CTA's space, and then pour a basic sub-grade concrete pad, on which tracks can be laid later. They will probably also include a few security doors into the "shell" so that it can be accessed from Block 37's basement levels. And that's it.

After an ungodly sum of money, all we get is a big cavernous space underneath a shopping mall in the Loop, and all the urban legends that this will spawn.

the urban politician Jun 13, 2008 2:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3610282)
After an ungodly sum of money, all we get is a big cavernous space underneath a shopping mall in the Loop, and all the urban legends that this will spawn.

^ But urban legends are sexy, and they add to the mystique of the place ;)

Damn so much pessimism lately among the Chicago forumers... You can literally feel it in the air and make waves with it

Anyhow, I agree with Honte--this was a great visionary investment and (hopefully) that will become more obvious in the upcoming years/decades

jpIllInoIs Jun 13, 2008 2:54 AM

Just a cursory look on MS Earth shows that the Bloomingdale ROW is still intact and unencroached upon. Could this serve as a route for the O'Hare Express?

pip Jun 13, 2008 5:19 AM

one thing about this shell of a station. It will be in the future one hell of a lot easier to get the station and express service up and running now that the tough part has been done. Imagine doing this when all the above building was completed.

the urban politician Jun 13, 2008 2:09 PM

^ Yeah, my only major criticism of the project is that it's not really the best concept. As many here have said, using the Metra ROW instead as an express train between OHare and downtown seems to make the most sense. Couple that with an underground trolley that goes back and forth between Block 37 and Union Station, and you've got yourself a wonderful set up.

The city could still do that, couldn't it? After all, a "shell" under Block 37 is all that we have at this point..

k1052 Jun 13, 2008 2:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3611436)
^ Yeah, my only major criticism of the project is that it's not really the best concept. As many here have said, using the Metra ROW instead as an express train between OHare and downtown seems to make the most sense. Couple that with an underground trolley that goes back and forth between Block 37 and Union Station, and you've got yourself a wonderful set up.

The city could still do that, couldn't it? After all, a "shell" under Block 37 is all that we have at this point..

I can't imagine anything more expensive than building an "underground trolley" between Union Station and B37. Unless you're planning to use part of the disused freight tunnel network as a people mover.

Busy Bee Jun 13, 2008 2:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 3610682)
Just a cursory look on MS Earth shows that the Bloomingdale ROW is still intact and unencroached upon. Could this serve as a route for the O'Hare Express?


I've been saying this for a while now. I wish transit administrators and politicians would read this thread.

emathias Jun 13, 2008 3:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 3611446)
I can't imagine anything more expensive than building an "underground trolley" between Union Station and B37. Unless you're planning to use part of the disused freight tunnel network as a people mover.

Actually, the city has maintained an underground right-of-way (meaning, they'd limited the amount of utilities underground) under Monroe. Since a large part of the expense of a subway in Chicago would be the utility relocation, if they used Monroe it wouldn't necessarily be so bad. The hardest part would actually be getting under the River, I would think.

emathias Jun 13, 2008 3:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 3610682)
Just a cursory look on MS Earth shows that the Bloomingdale ROW is still intact and unencroached upon. Could this serve as a route for the O'Hare Express?

Not a bad idea, and if they did that they could possibly also lay the groundwork for an "L" line roughly mimicing the old Humbolt Park branch but running further west and instead of routing onto Milwaukee, connecting to a future Circle Line.

jpIllInoIs Jun 13, 2008 3:24 PM

^ I knew I read it somewhere, BB. The issue may be that the blue line terminates in the Ohare terminal, while Metra rows end up well east of that at Mannheim Rd. So a connector tunnel would have to be constructed for the OHare Express into the terminal. Otherwise it is like TUP said, just use a Metra ROW all the way.

k1052 Jun 13, 2008 3:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3611520)
Actually, the city has maintained an underground right-of-way (meaning, they'd limited the amount of utilities underground) under Monroe. Since a large part of the expense of a subway in Chicago would be the utility relocation, if they used Monroe it wouldn't necessarily be so bad. The hardest part would actually be getting under the River, I would think.

The Monroe ROW comes up two blocks short of B37, instead of running trains through the Blue line subway northbound you'd have to cut into the Blue or Red at Monroe and run it west under the river to Union. That could end up being a lot of switching especially in a rush period.

I'd much prefer that they build the West Loop Transportation Center and make the easier cuts to connect the O'Hare (where the flyover already exists) and Forrest Park branches under Clinton. Integrating an airport express from a new central terminal that connects to most Metra and the Blue and Red (Washington-Jackson transfers) would be a better investment IMO.

VivaLFuego Jun 13, 2008 6:00 PM

Transit/parking related discussion from the General Developments thread that Steely deemed too off-topic despite having to do with proper amounts of parking in downtown Chicago, which seems like a "General Development" issue to me, but OK...
Quote:

Originally Posted by dagobert (Post 3611775)
Association is not causation, or a more statistical term Correlation is not Causation. In any introductory statistics or econometric analysis course you would learn that there are a number of dependent variables that impact the independent variable.

To say that their is a relationship between amount of parking downtown and public ridership you would have to do a bit of cross-sectional time series data analysis (also known as panel data or longitudal data analysis) which also looks at other contributing factors such as price of oil (we saw a big decline in price of oil in mid 1980s through late 1990s), amount of jobs downtown vs. suburbs, amount of people living downtown vs. suburbs, amount of crime recorded in the city vs. suburbs, amount of crime on CTA trains, cost of driving one mile in a car vs. cost of taking CTA train one mile, cost of parking, etc. Maybe a bigger contributing factor to a decline in ridership after 1984 was decline in price of oil and thus cost of drving and not building of parking in the loop. I might poke around some databases to see if such a study had ever been done for any major American city.

We also have to worry about omitted variable bias (or confounding) since we aren't talking about a controlled experiment but an observational study (looking at historical data). For example we can't measure perception of how safe people feel taking CTA trains as opposed to a car.

Also social attitudes (towards driving, commuting downtown, living in the city) in mid-70s might have been similar to those in early 80s since social attitudes are fairly similar from one year to the next, but they may vary considerably over longer period of time. So if this is true that social attitudes in late 90s are different than in 70s and assumption of independent error terms across observations in a time series is violated. The reason why this is important is because under the classical econometric model error terms for each observation need to be independent of one another. Otherwise error terms reflect omitted variables that influence the demand for parking or public transit ridership. This could also lead to autocorrelation and other problems.

Hope this helps you understand the sheer complexity of analyzing such complex problems as this one, those results are scientific and unbiased.

If you actually read the post of mine that you cited, you'd note that I specifically stated that my stats didn't constitute causal proof, but whatever. I'd consider posting stats on historical transit ridership, gas prices (remember when transit ridership plummeted in the late 90s when oil was $15/barrel? Me neither.) but I hesitate to bother...

dagobert Jun 13, 2008 7:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3611836)
Transit/parking related discussion from the General Developments thread that Steely deemed too off-topic despite having to do with proper amounts of parking in downtown Chicago, which seems like a "General Development" issue to me, but OK...


If you actually read the post of mine that you cited, you'd note that I specifically stated that my stats didn't constitute causal proof, but whatever. I'd consider posting stats on historical transit ridership, gas prices (remember when transit ridership plummeted in the late 90s when oil was $15/barrel? Me neither.) but I hesitate to bother...

For your cross-sectional time series analysis on transit ridership to be useful you will want to use more variables than just gas prices, cost of parking downtown, and amount of parking available. Otherwise you'll have omitted variable bias. Preferably you will want to use quarterly data to increase the number of observations since n=30 is the bare minimum for it to be any good and also you should do seasonal adjustments. It might take some time to track down the sources for a lot of pertinent variables but it would make for a fascinating research study. I’m curious of results myself.

VivaLFuego Jun 13, 2008 8:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dagobert (Post 3611967)
For your cross-sectional time series analysis on transit ridership to be useful you will want to use more variables than just gas prices, cost of parking downtown, and amount of parking available. Otherwise you'll have omitted variable bias. Preferably you will want to use quarterly data to increase the number of observations since n=30 is the bare minimum for it to be any good and also you should do seasonal adjustments. It might take some time to track down the sources for a lot of pertinent variables but it would make for a fascinating research study. I’m curious of results myself.

True.... or one can just review any of the multitude of already-existing studies (and resulting multinomial logistic choice models) regarding mode split; included variables almost invariable include not only things like income, travel time, and car ownership, but also variables like out-of-pocket cost and walking/access time, just two of many variables that capture the impact of parking availability on mode choice. All else equal, more parking -> cheaper parking rates + higher availability of parking in proximity to destination. Chicago's core did not empty out in the period 1984-1992, in fact this period encompassed a very substantial real estate boom primarily focused on commercial/office construction....and lots and lots of parking garages in the heart of the loop, in contrast to the previous paradigm of large surface lots on the periphery outside the loop, with no (new) parking allowed inside the loop.

Also, I'm not certain seasonal data would be absolutely necessary to draw conclusions; there is high seasonal cyclic variability of course, but these cycles occur annually, so as long as the annual data measure consistent time periods, they are comparable. To the extent seasonal data would be useful, you could do 12-month rolling averages and more precisely determine the inflection points to correlate to possible contributing events/policies/etc. Unfortunately, the farther back in time you go, the sparser such data, be it transit ridership or employment figures, gets.

honte Jun 13, 2008 11:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 3611472)
I've been saying this for a while now. I wish transit administrators and politicians would read this thread.

I doubt the yuppies along that line would stand for fast trains speeding past their shoddily-built condo buildings.

the urban politician Jun 14, 2008 2:40 PM

^ I'm pretty sure at some point they considered that alternative.

But my amateur look at this situation leads me to one conclusion: Daley wants the Airport Express hub to be at Block 37, not at Union Station.

The east loop area has been Daley's major focus during his entire time in office. Millennium Park, the revitalized Theatre district, State St, and now the (admittedly weak) final centerpiece--Block 37. I think Daley wants this area to be the center of it all for Chicago, and according to his vision this is the most logical place to put the Airport Express stop. I imagine he sees this area potentially being a much larger draw for leisure & business travelers, etc and attracting even more high-end hotels.

Mr Downtown Jun 14, 2008 6:30 PM

^With some logic. The more we allow the office core to drift westward, the more difficult it is for city-dwellers and south suburbanites to access those jobs. A Block 37 airport terminal helps to keep the traditional Loop at the center of the region.

I was told that the engineers studied both a MILW alignment and a Blue Line express. To their surprise, the costs and speed were about the same. Besides the Loop terminal location, service on CTA tracks can be controlled more readily by City Hall than could a Metra operation.

Taft Jun 14, 2008 6:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3613472)
^ I'm pretty sure at some point they considered that alternative.

But my amateur look at this situation leads me to one conclusion: Daley wants the Airport Express hub to be at Block 37, not at Union Station.

The east loop area has been Daley's major focus during his entire time in office. Millennium Park, the revitalized Theatre district, State St, and now the (admittedly weak) final centerpiece--Block 37. I think Daley wants this area to be the center of it all for Chicago, and according to his vision this is the most logical place to put the Airport Express stop. I imagine he sees this area potentially being a much larger draw for leisure & business travelers, etc and attracting even more high-end hotels.

Well, 2009 will go along way toward achieving this, IMO. You've got the Carson's building conversion, the shops opening in B37, the new news studio, etc. all finishing. Should be an exciting time to watch this area...

Taft


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