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Marcu Jan 29, 2007 2:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2595702)
^ re: the Crain's op-ed

The Circle Line plan includes potential transfers to every Metra Line where it intersects with the Circle. If these facilities are built right and there's a successful marketing effort through the Chicago area about the new transit possibilities, the line could be an incredible success, boosting transit ridership not just in the heart of Chicago, but throughout the metro area.

At this point the majority of Metra commuters use it only out of necessity...that is to get to and from work without having to park/be stuck in traffic. The circle line can drastically change that and make the entire area much more transit friendly. Along with the recent phenomenon of higher density downtown-type areas along suburban metra stops, the circle line has great potential. Let's just hope it's rail and not bus.

mikeelm Jan 29, 2007 2:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 2594168)
You gotta love how Crains keeps riding Daley's ass on this issue. Sort of makes up for the eerie silence coming from Chicago's other two newspapers:
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-b...ticle_id=27177
January 27, 2007:
Mayor Daley, fix our rapid transit system
Chicago's rapid transit system is rolling toward a disastrous tipping point.
So far, riders have stuck with the elevated train system as service has gotten worse and worse. As Greg Hinz reported last week, delays, slow zones and derailments are crippling this crucial cog in the city's infrastructure. Derailments, delays and equipment malfunctions make every morning's commute a crapshoot. Meetings are missed, work goes undone and precious hours are wasted as workers sit on stalled trains.

At some point, ridership will plummet as commuters abandon the trains for more reliable transportation and businesses depart downtown for more accessible locations. The effect on the city's economy will be devastating.

Only Mayor Richard M. Daley can save the train system. So far, he's mostly ignored the deterioration of service as trains swell with downtown office workers commuting from the gentrifying neighborhoods of the North and Northwest sides — a predictable side effect of the middle-class renaissance he worked so hard to foster.

Now he must make the el his top priority. He must personally take the lead in pressing Springfield and Washington for the billions needed to fix the system. And he must make clear to CTA management that maintenance and repair should take precedence over glitzy projects like the Circle Line and the downtown super-station.

If the mayor needs personal incentive to get involved, he should consider two things: Without a functioning rapid transit system to move spectators around the city, Chicago can forget about landing the 2016 Olympics; and anger over lousy train service on the South Side contributed to Mayor Jane Byrne's defeat by Harold Washington in 1983.
He'll need to be both creative and flexible. For example, he should be willing to cede oversight of CTA capital spending to a broader transit agency like the Regional Transportation Authority. And he should look for new ways to finance repairs and upgrades, perhaps by privatizing operations such as the CTA's garages.

It won't be easy or glamorous. But securing reliable, efficient rapid transit for future generations of Chicagoans would make a fine mayoral legacy.

Wonder how his Dad handled the CTA? I know at one time he wanted to eliminate the L and put it all underground but other than that did he do a better job with the CTA and if so why isn't his son doing the same?

ardecila Jan 29, 2007 3:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago2020 (Post 2595505)
On another note, did anyone come up with a figure as to how much it would cost to get the CTA back on track???

CTA estimates it at $5.8 billion for replacing signals, overhauling railcars, replacing rails and ties, upgrading slow zones, repainting, and other things. All this collectively will bring the system into what CTA calls a "state of good repair".

Guys, a big part of why our L tracks have such a short life is because 90% of the system is above ground, on century-old viaducts, in Chicago's harsh winter climate. In other cities, like New York, DC, Paris, London, etc. where a greater amount of the system is underground, the track life is much longer because it isn't exposed to weather.

VivaLFuego Jan 29, 2007 3:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 2596061)

Guys, a big part of why our L tracks have such a short life is because 90% of the system is above ground, on century-old viaducts, in Chicago's harsh winter climate. In other cities, like New York, DC, Paris, London, etc. where a greater amount of the system is underground, the track life is much longer because it isn't exposed to weather.

Correct. For example, our short subways just had rail replacement done in the 90s, and the tie replacement will be done this year, with assorted signalling upgrades during the 90s and 00s (currently ongoing on the blue line). So that's an asset life of 50+ years for underground lines, whereas tracks on the surface need major work every 25-30 years.

nomarandlee Jan 29, 2007 10:21 AM

New track, platform debut today at Fullerton L stop
 
http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/2...rail29.article

New track, platform debut today at Fullerton L stop

January 29, 2007
BY MONIFA THOMAS Transportation Reporter
Northbound Brown and Purple Line Express trains will begin using a new track and station platform at Fullerton today.
The new track was built in preparation for this spring, when the CTA takes one of its four tracks at Fullerton and Belmont out of service for the next two years as part of the agency's Brown Line expansion project.

At worst, travel times on the Red, Brown and Purple Lines could double once three-tracking begins, the CTA has said.

Elsewhere on the Brown Line, there will be a temporary entrance for the Sedgwick stop at Hudson Avenue, about one block west from the existing one.

Belmont, Fullerton and Sedgwick are among 18 Brown Line stations being rebuilt, so they can accommodate riders with disabilities and longer trains.

mjmjthomas@suntimes.com

Rail Claimore Jan 30, 2007 4:44 AM

I don't know that putting a lot of the elevated sections of track underground would be politically smart considering the el is something many in the city have an attachment to, but then again, a lot of people don't like the noisiness of it either. Many of the outer elevated sections of track don't get the train traffic to warrant putting them underground anyway.

A new underground loop (Clinton Street Subway) is an absolute must for the CTA... I think it's even more important than the circle line considering this mile-long subway segment alone would greatly increase capacity and operation flexibility on the current blue line routes and do what the circle line also intends to do: connect easily to Metra lines.

orulz Jan 30, 2007 4:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2595702)
2) Not sure why so many people are down on the Circle Line. Aside from the obvious of improving interconnectivity in the Chicago central area and speeding up cross-town trips, it provides the potentially huuuuge benefit of the linkup to all the Metra lines.
...
The Circle Line would serve ... North/Clybourn.

Speaking of the Circle Line and Metra in the North/Clybourn area, why is it desirable to curve east at Ashland & North, requiring an additional Metra station, rather than curving east at Cortland or Armitage, near the existing Metra station? Is it just a matter of money? Pushing the line north would increase the Circle Line's coverage quite a bit. There could be three stations at the north end of the circle, at Ashland & North, Ashland & Cortland (transfer to Metra) and Clybourn & Cortland, rather than just one, at North & Ashland (new transfer to Metra.)

This would add about 3/4 mile of additional tunnel, so it would certainly cost more, so maybe that's why, but then again this would open up a couple more neighborhoods to TOD as well and help Metra run more efficiently.

Anyway. Just talkin'.

Chicago3rd Jan 30, 2007 5:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 2596567)
http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/2...rail29.article

New track, platform debut today at Fullerton L stop

January 29, 2007
BY MONIFA THOMAS Transportation Reporter
Northbound Brown and Purple Line Express trains will begin using a new track and station platform at Fullerton today.
The new track was built in preparation for this spring, when the CTA takes one of its four tracks at Fullerton and Belmont out of service for the next two years as part of the agency's Brown Line expansion project.

At worst, travel times on the Red, Brown and Purple Lines could double once three-tracking begins, the CTA has said.

Elsewhere on the Brown Line, there will be a temporary entrance for the Sedgwick stop at Hudson Avenue, about one block west from the existing one.

Belmont, Fullerton and Sedgwick are among 18 Brown Line stations being rebuilt, so they can accommodate riders with disabilities and longer trains.

mjmjthomas@suntimes.com

Fullerton Station looking south from East Side old Platform - New platform to the left
http://wilsnodgrass.smugmug.com/photos/126481414-M.jpg
http://wilsnodgrass.smugmug.com/photos/126481422-M.jpg
http://wilsnodgrass.smugmug.com/photos/126481401-M.jpg
http://wilsnodgrass.smugmug.com/photos/126481397-M.jpg
Looking North crossing over to new platform
http://wilsnodgrass.smugmug.com/photos/126481388-M.jpg
Platform
http://wilsnodgrass.smugmug.com/photos/126481366-M.jpg
http://wilsnodgrass.smugmug.com/photos/126481359-M.jpg
http://wilsnodgrass.smugmug.com/photos/126481354-L.jpg

MayorOfChicago Jan 30, 2007 6:24 PM

^ I saw that last night on the way home. Kinda caught me (and everyone else) off guard a little. It's funny when a Brown and Red get into that station at the same time because everyone runs for those little walkways and pretty much has a head on collision with the other group.

I also noticed how SMOOTH the new track was. It's only about a block long, but it was much quieter and smoother than the rest of the elevated. It really made me wish replacing the track was part of this new revamp as well. At least on the main line section.

I assume they'll extend the new platform out towards where the old northbound brown line tracks are. The stairs come up RIGHT at the edge of the new platform, clearly a northbound red line couldn't open it's doors right there when the platform is in full use.

Does anyone know how that's going to work?

Move the brown line to the east and start service on the new platform (already done)

Extend the new platform to the west over the old northbound brown line tracks.

Finish new tracks for northbound red line service

Tear down the old platform

Do the whole thing over again for the southbound platform/s\

?

Chicago3rd Jan 30, 2007 6:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago (Post 2599590)
^ I saw that last night on the way home. Kinda caught me (and everyone else) off guard a little. It's funny when a Brown and Red get into that station at the same time because everyone runs for those little walkways and pretty much has a head on collision with the other group.

I also noticed how SMOOTH the new track was. It's only about a block long, but it was much quieter and smoother than the rest of the elevated. It really made me wish replacing the track was part of this new revamp as well. At least on the main line section.

I assume they'll extend the new platform out towards where the old northbound brown line tracks are. The stairs come up RIGHT at the edge of the new platform, clearly a northbound red line couldn't open it's doors right there when the platform is in full use.

Does anyone know how that's going to work?

Move the brown line to the east and start service on the new platform (already done)

Extend the new platform to the west over the old northbound brown line tracks.

Finish new tracks for northbound red line service

Tear down the old platform

Do the whole thing over again for the southbound platform/s\

?


We are seeing 2/3 of the Plat form. The Remaining 3rd will be created over the track between the two platforms. So the new red line will be approx where the old platform now is.

I wish CTA could have had a little forth thought and created a 5th rail at both Belmont and Fullerton so Express trains could be run or when there were emergencies at those two major stations trains could bi-pass them. But I think CTA holding up 10,000's a people in those cases is smarter.

VivaLFuego Jan 31, 2007 10:53 PM

^ Cool! It's interesting how the auto-oriented suburbia (Schaumburg and Arlington Heights here, much of the LA area, etc.), after 50 years, are now trying to move towards more compact and transit-oriented development.

Busy Bee Feb 1, 2007 12:07 AM

I'd like to be more hopeful of Schaumburg's plans, but I'm envisioning Streets of Woodfield II with a train station. http://images.skyscraperpage.com/ima...ilies/yuck.gif
I hope I'm wrong. They should hire Optima to build a cluster of sleek condo and apartment towers in the plan.

spyguy Feb 1, 2007 12:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 2602582)
They should hire Optima to build a cluster of sleek condo and apartment towers in the plan.

Hell, I'd like to see something like Old Orchard Woods in Chicago.

Busy Bee Feb 1, 2007 12:55 AM

^Agreed. Times 10. Or More.

ardecila Feb 1, 2007 1:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 2602582)
I'd like to be more hopeful of Schaumburg's plans, but I'm envisioning Streets of Woodfield II with a train station. http://images.skyscraperpage.com/ima...ilies/yuck.gif
I hope I'm wrong.

Why? Streets of Woodfield with a train station would be a huge improvement compared to 99% of Schaumburg.

For anyone interested, some preliminary land-use planning:
http://img398.imageshack.us/img398/6...aumstarfa1.jpg

I go around this area pretty frequently. The development to the SW of the station could actually happen. There's a 3-building office park there right now, but a small street grid could easily be overlaid onto the parking lot and the new blocks filled with buildings.

The larger development area to the NE is filled with a ton of low-rent, 2-story 70s apartments. I'm not sure how easy it will be to get those guys to leave.

Chicago Shawn Feb 1, 2007 7:52 AM

^They plan on tearing down the Walden Apts? That seams pretty stupid considering how many units exist there. It would much more sustainable to alter the layout a bit and fill in some of the open green space. It would be nice if they could get the new hotel to rid itself of that massive parking lot, and convert it to garage parking inside a few new high-rises.

kalmia Feb 1, 2007 9:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nergie (Post 2590236)
The Manhattan charge is for the tunnels and bridges and is all day long. ERP would vary at the peak hours maybe $8 dollars. It is not perfect, but if the cost is high enough and if the trains provide an attractive alternative why pay a high $$$ amount. But I agree with you we are a society that will never be comfortable with giving up our little personnel space on 4-wheels.

...

If those tunnels and bridges were opperated privately for profit with no imposed price controls, they would likely charge more for peek usage. This, of course, would be call 'price gouging' and 'taking advantage of those who have to travel at certain times'. Gas stations change their prices at different times of day and on different days. I've heard of stations raising prices during high traffic times and lowering prices the rest of the day.



Quote:

Originally Posted by nergie (Post 2590236)
...

Here is an idea, let's make cars expensive like Singapore. They have a COE that is priced per the engine size. Cars are also like $20-30K more expensive that the States. For example a Honda Accord it will cost $80K Singapore Dollars to buy it and another $24K Singapore Dollars for the 10-year COE. That is roughly $67K USD, and after 10 years if you have to buy a new COE. Most people in Singapore buy a new car after the 10 years and take the scrap value the gov't pays for the car.

Ah an urbanist's dream.

Or just stop subsidizing highway construction. Railroads have to pay to maintain their own tracks, but car and truck drivers don't pay except on a few toll roads.

Compare long haul trucking to freight trains. One pays for its right of way, and the other has the government pay for it. This makes the more innefficient trucking industry over used.

End all subsidies, and the most efficient will win out. This will mean an end to the Department of Transportation. States will no longer be able to maintain and build the limited access highways, so they will have to sell them off. This could be used to pay off a lot of government debt. Many more rail lines would likely be built to run for profit all over the city and surounding areas. The existing rail lines would likely run much better and without tax money.

Who would buy this stuff? Foreigners who have lots of $US from all the stuff they have been exporting to the US. What else can they do with all those dollars? Some already have been buying (or trying to buy) major assets in the US. The city of Chicago already received $1.83 billion for a 99 year lease on the Skyway (part of I-90). Maybe some of the other major expressways could be sold off some day.

Marcu Feb 1, 2007 6:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kalmia (Post 2603727)

Or just stop subsidizing highway construction. Railroads have to pay to maintain their own tracks, but car and truck drivers don't pay except on a few toll roads.

Most road construction and maintenance is paid through the gasoline tax (which is about 30% of gas costs) so it really ends up being fairly close to pay as you go (with gas guzzlers being disproportionaly taxed). This is especially true for local roads. Federal earmark highway provisions usually go to new hwy construction and massive expansion projects (Boston's Big Dig is a great example), not maintenance. In any case, these types of bills should certainly be done away with and we should switch to a pay as you go system (with tolls and exclusively through the gas tax).

The situation for roads is not unique however. The Dept of Trans. subsidizes virtually every form of transportation, whether through federally funded airport construction, amtrak subsidies, light rail, or port oversight. Mobility in generally seen as a public good and subsidies tend to benefit the working class who would otherwise not be able to afford to travel.

nergie Feb 1, 2007 6:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kalmia (Post 2603727)
If those tunnels and bridges were opperated privately for profit with no imposed price controls, they would likely charge more for peek usage. This, of course, would be call 'price gouging' and 'taking advantage of those who have to travel at certain times'. Gas stations change their prices at different times of day and on different days. I've heard of stations raising prices during high traffic times and lowering prices the rest of the day.





Or just stop subsidizing highway construction. Railroads have to pay to maintain their own tracks, but car and truck drivers don't pay except on a few toll roads.

Compare long haul trucking to freight trains. One pays for its right of way, and the other has the government pay for it. This makes the more innefficient trucking industry over used.

End all subsidies, and the most efficient will win out. This will mean an end to the Department of Transportation. States will no longer be able to maintain and build the limited access highways, so they will have to sell them off. This could be used to pay off a lot of government debt. Many more rail lines would likely be built to run for profit all over the city and surounding areas. The existing rail lines would likely run much better and without tax money.

Who would buy this stuff? Foreigners who have lots of $US from all the stuff they have been exporting to the US. What else can they do with all those dollars? Some already have been buying (or trying to buy) major assets in the US. The city of Chicago already received $1.83 billion for a 99 year lease on the Skyway (part of I-90). Maybe some of the other major expressways could be sold off some day.

I am in agreement with you, however the trucking industry will always be necessary as trains cannot go everywhere. Interstate commerce would definetely benefit from rail, as it is more cost efficient for 1-mile long train versus hunderds of trucks. The problem is the rail infrastructure needs to be really beefed up to handle the uptick in usuage.

The government both Federal and States should work with the railroads to improve this infrastructure. One of the big ticket items in the recent transportation bill was trying to debottleneck the Chicago rail network.

Chicago3rd Feb 1, 2007 10:42 PM

Could someone please post the CRAINS Jan 24th Editorial on CTA! It is so great to have a business coming to the aid of over throwing Krusie and waking Daley up!


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