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

VivaLFuego Nov 28, 2008 1:23 AM

The Cervero study you cited:

http://www.nctr.usf.edu/jpt/pdf/JPT11-3Cervero.pdf
http://www.cityofsancarlos.org/civic...sp?BlobID=4453

...seems to run counter to your assertion of the brilliant and infallible NIMBY prophecy of inevitable congestion resulting from TOD. It doesn't 100% settle the issue, but pretty clearly higher density housing near transit facilities generates fewer vehicle trips per unit than lower density housing away from transit facility. See his chart on page 14.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3938310)
For all our wishful thinking, increased density does lead to increased congestion, because in an affluent free society transit only captures journey-to-work and a few other easily made trips. Those are a relatively modest proportion of all trips.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Berwyn (Post 3939037)
While I'm not prepared to go search for a study linking TODs to reduced automobile trips, I have a really hard time believing that a residential development next to the El station would have the same transit ridership as single family homes in Palatine.

You're generally correct in your skepticism, but it's more of a correlation effect than a causation effect, I think.

Of course, there is a difference in trip generation rates, and total trips. The correlation between trip generation and density is not (negative) one-to-one, so with dense housing there will be more trips than suburbia, but fewer trips per capita. Again, we get back to whether we should give a rat's behind that for 10 minutes a day some poor old lady might have to wait an entire light cycle (or 2! the horror!) to clear an intersection, or whether we should indeed give it the weight of a violation of constitutional rights, as seems to be the trend throughout most of the country. MrD is partially right, but I think being misleading: very dense housing can cause "congestion" but there's a big difference between the congestion caused by 4-flats and that caused by highrises, say. And around many rail stations in Chicago, there's no hope of anything other than single family homes or industrial/commercial uses.

All this further ignores that residential land uses really don't generate many car trips relatively speaking (except for very short time periods each day), and their trip generation rates certainly pale in comparison of the trip generation rates of retail and most other commercial uses. Remember all that smog-belching gridlock in Central Station and the Gold Coast (north of Division)? Me neither.

Chicago Shawn Nov 29, 2008 4:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Berwyn (Post 3939037)
How about some background on the studies. What cities were involved? Were "compact" or "neotraditional" neighborhoods included along with TODs?

The reason I ask is because there are a lot of so-called "Smart Growth" neighborhoods being built that are compact and neotraditional but lack any sort of transit component. If those types of communities were included in the ITE study, I could see how the results could be skewed.

While I'm not prepared to go search for a study linking TODs to reduced automobile trips, I have a really hard time believing that a residential development next to the El station would have the same transit ridership as single family homes in Palatine.

Its also important to note where exactly the people in the study work. Outside of two cities (NYC and Chicago), the majority of office space for metropolitan areas is decentralized into suburbs, where people are going to drive to work, unless they just can't afford to. Most of the suburban office parks have very, very limited transit service or no service at all; and if your work schedule shifts beyond the typical 9-5 hours, than transit is of no practical use to you. Despite the fact that people may still very well work in these locations, they may still choose to locate in suburban TODs to provide quick access to city attractions. However, since the daily commute is to the suburban office park, then declines in VMT will be minimal. However as was noted by others, short trips for small purchases can probably be made on foot in mixed-use TODs.

the urban politician Nov 30, 2008 5:10 AM

I just wanted to comment on the recent news that Chicago will stop running those free trolleys downtown next year. Every time I've been to Chicago, those trolleys have been full of people.

Is this a good idea for the tourism industry?

pip Nov 30, 2008 6:09 AM

hmmm... as someone who works in a restaurant downtown that caters to tourists I have thought about that. It really depends on how you look at it. I would guess that whether the trolleys be there or not won't effect the number of tourists visiting.

The disadvantages is that it means more tourists on the CTA. To work I take an Express Bus to downtown and like clockwork when we get off LSD and onto Michigan Ave. Tourists think the CTA bus drivers are tour guides. Questions, like you go to such and such and what are their hours, ask directions, and figure out how to ride a bus. Small things but takes a lot of time, annoying day after day. Those are offenses akin to me going to lets say Cleveland and getting off a highway in my car onto the offramp coming to a stop blocking traffic and looking at a map.

the Advantages is that more people will be riding the CTA. Overall the benefits outweigh the negatives.

If this cutback includes the neighborhood trolley tours, I cringe to say this - I can't stand tourists that yell at you in your city from the trolley cars nor the gawking like the pedestrian is a freak show, then that is not a good thing.

If you can't tell while I think tourism is good I don't generally like many, many does not mean most, tourists. Probably a result of battle fatigue from working in a tourist restaurant.

VivaLFuego Nov 30, 2008 7:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3942166)
I just wanted to comment on the recent news that Chicago will stop running those free trolleys downtown next year. Every time I've been to Chicago, those trolleys have been full of people.

Is this a good idea for the tourism industry?

Good question. Of course, I would have preferred all along that the city just spend the money to contract CTA to operate a shuttle service integrated with the CTA network rather than a bunch of separate heritage trolleys ("ride this quainte public transport, a crude facsimile of what poor ol' Grandpa used before he fled the squalid industrial city"). That said, intuitively I think some sort of free circulator service targeted at tourists and visitors, at least between the downtown destinations - Museum Campus, Mag Mile, Navy Pier, State Street, Union Station - has a great deal of value. I'd rather the heritage trolleys than nothing at all, but subsidized #124 and #157 service would be a decent compromise.

ardecila Nov 30, 2008 8:35 AM

I like the way it's done in DC... a system of "circulator" routes was set up. It's subsidized by the city, planned by WMATA, and operated by a private company.

The system uses buses painted in a colorful and modern scheme to set them apart from WMATA's buses, but there is full fare integration with WMATA's payment system. The system also has separate signs at bus stops to help differentiate it from regular buses and allay the fears of tourists.

Chicago Shawn Nov 30, 2008 2:52 PM

The free trolley system was financed by CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation Air Quality) grants which are handed out by the federal government, often to run trial services such as the trolleys. While running the routes, as part of the grant, the trolleys had to use a clean burning fuel, which was propane. During chartered services or public tours, the trolleys then could use conventional diesel. CMAQ grants have also financed CTA service extensions such as Yellow Line weekend service and later hours on the #65 Grand Bus. CMAQ Grants through a temporary, and after they expire, the operating agency must either trim the service back or find a way to pay for it if deemed successful. Right now the city in its budget crunch has no extra money to spare for convenient yet entirely supplemental service. There are not any trolley routes that do not already have CTA coverage.

the urban politician Nov 30, 2008 3:54 PM

Let me ask this: if Chicago were to stop running these permanently, could it ultimately be a good thing?

I sometimes wonder if the city bends too far backwards for tourists (parking, free tours, etc), sort of a "have it your way" philosophy. I'm not sure if this is based on some sort of concern that if it doesn't make itself easily accessible, people will go elsewhere.

But sometimes it is the actual urban environment that attracts people to Chicago's downtown, not just the shops and the theaters. People maybe will learn to use a taxicab, ride a bus, or just walk and explore the city.

That's the appeal--the "experience" of downtown. Let people figure these things out for themselves; after all, the resources for transportation are already there anyhow. When people are challenged they become more intrigued and more interested in what a place has to offer

VivaLFuego Nov 30, 2008 5:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 3942562)
CMAQ grants have also financed CTA service extensions such as Yellow Line weekend service and later hours on the #65 Grand Bus.

I think the #65 was a JARC (Job Access Reverse Commute) project, not CMAQ. But yeah, the trolleys were partially CMAQ-funded if memory serves. Are you sure the ulta-low sulfur diesel-electric hybrid buses CTA runs wouldn't meet the regs?

Mr Downtown Dec 1, 2008 12:24 AM

I always thought it bizarre that tourists would wait for most of an hour on Grand/Lower Michigan for the free trolley instead of taking the #29 bus (marked Navy Pier) or just walking the 3000 feet to Navy Pier. But tourists are very apprehensive about places like Chicago. When you talk to them, they say strange things like "we don't have buses in Dallas" or they stand on the trolleys facing forward, hanging onto the overhead strap like slabs of beef. Think of the questions even scraperfans post in the Traveling to Chicago threads, the bizarre (to us) fears about their safety if they wander into the wrong neighborhood or stay at the wrong hotel, of how people will just say they'll skip the Museum of Science and Industry instead of taking an express bus to get there. People have been convinced by fearmongering newscasters that getting on the wrong bus in a place like Chicago will lead them and their family to certain death. So it's a real uphill battle to get them to remember the route numbers and persuade them to just hop aboard.

Busy Bee Dec 1, 2008 3:14 AM

I'd like to think such behavior will eventually subside with the newer generation and progressive thinking of urbanism and diversity brought on through education and cultural influence—but we'll see.

MayorOfChicago Dec 1, 2008 4:04 AM

the trolleys are "safety" to the tourists from smaller towns and areas around the country where Chicago would be extremely foreign.

I know looking at people in Iowa where I'm from, the average family or couple visiting would be 50X more likely to jump on a trolley to go around the downtown than try and "figure out" the CTA. Of course taking the CTA we all know it's fairly basic knowledge and obvious, but to tourists I don't think this is understood.

Tourists see all the residents and regulars on the buses and trains and I think that intimidates many people. They're not totally sure where they're going, there's a bunch of people who know exactly what they're doing already on the bus and they don't want to be delayed for a second.

I'm certainly one of those people who rolls their eyes when the tourists get on and you begin the "does this bus go.....well how do I get there......how do I transfer.....do you stop......how much is it.......which way is north......how do I get to Fullerton......well how long will I have to wait for that......but I don't want to go there........"

The trolleys are good because they're comfort for the tourists and separate the people who know what's up from the people that don't.

The trolleys are bad because they make Chicago's downtown even more of a disneyland to tourists. It's that much harder for a visitor to get a feel of what it's like to live in this city, and the excitment and intrige people seem to experience when they figure out and use the buses and trains. To most people that's an adventure in itself. Riding the play trolley with 50 other tourists just comes off as "fake".

I'll miss the trolleys though, people really did appreciate them, and were left with positive feelings at the fact they were all free. Impressions impressions impressions...

ardecila Dec 1, 2008 4:26 AM

Why not simply charge for the trolleys? Obviously, they're being cancelled for financial reasons. If tourists feel more comfortable on them, then keep the existing system and stick some fareboxes in the trolleys. Tourists, in theory, would pay a premium to ride the trolley system over CTA, which should be able to cover the operating costs.

Mr Downtown Dec 1, 2008 5:24 AM

Well, there already is a paid trolley system. At $26/day it makes you realize how heavily subsidized the "free" trolleys are.

denizen467 Dec 1, 2008 8:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3943935)
Well, there already is a paid trolley system. At $26/day it makes you realize how heavily subsidized the "free" trolleys are.

That raises the interesting question of whether private enterprises will just come in and fill the vaccuum created by cancellation of this popular service.

Although I question the relevancy of your $26 figure - (1) the underlying costs could be quite different (though admittedly I know next to nothing about either service) and (2) it could represent a sizeable private sector markup that obscures the true cost.

the urban politician Dec 1, 2008 3:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 3944232)
That raises the interesting question of whether private enterprises will just come in and fill the vaccuum created by cancellation of this popular service.

^ Oh, I think they'll be lining up:

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_u0VRFlV-sa0/RV...061108+123.jpg

arenn Dec 1, 2008 9:12 PM

In fairness to tourists, they don't know how far away Navy Pier is, or exactly the bus route they should take to get there. The free trolley isn't just free, it's also safer. It also let's tourists avoid apprehension about looking like an idiot or an easy mark if they board a regular bus without really knowing how it works. That's not just an artifact of suburbanism. I'm a hardened transit rider but even I struggle to know how the bus works in cities I've never been to before.

the urban politician Dec 2, 2008 2:47 AM

^ Oh, boo hoo. We need to stop acting like we're the military and non-city people are bright-eyed little civilians.

Morons who haven't finished elementary school can figure out a bus or train system, so I'm pretty sure that with a few minutes of effort & planning, a map, and some sign reading nearly anyone can find a way to get to Navy Pier from Ogilvie Station.

Chicago isn't Disney World. I'd really love to see the city just leave some things up to chance and not worry so much about being so easily accessible to as many people as possible. The more I think about it, dropping the free trolleys is a good thing. If people can't find a way to get to Navy Pier then they don't deserve to go there!

ardecila Dec 2, 2008 4:36 AM

^^ You're starting to sound like a New Yorker. ;)

emathias Dec 2, 2008 2:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3946074)
...
If people can't find a way to get to Navy Pier then they don't deserve to go there!

Not being a huge fan of Navy Pier, I'd argue that if they're too dumb to find it then they'd "deserve to go there" all the more ... ;-)


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