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

ardecila Feb 27, 2012 6:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jenner (Post 5606664)
I'm using Riko's diagrams, assuming his diagrams are to scale. The distance between 222 Riverside and the Great Hall building is 60'. Part of track 1 and 2 are already under Canal.

The diagrams must not be to scale... even measurement on Google Earth shows 100' from one building line to the other. CDOT's RFP document confirms it.

Quote:

Through routing really doesn't fix the issue of destination traffic. Most traffic occurs at rush hour going into or out of Chicago. Usually after those trains are finished unloading, they will head into the yard and wait until the next use at rush hour. In the current configuration, the trains are already at the places where they are needed the most. Also your idea of creating new platform under Canal would completely disconnect those platforms from the rest of the station.
In the interim, trains could continue to go to a yard. They would just switch yards - so BNSF would go to Western Ave. Yard and Milwaukee District would go to the Roosevelt Road Yard. It's sort of half-assed, but it's an improvement over the current situation. Why keep the train downtown - where space is at an huge premium - until you absolutely need it?

In the long run, Metra needs to start running frequent regional service - maybe not all the way out to Harvard and Manhattan, but definitely to inner-ring suburbs and certainly to the parts of Chicago that are close to a Metra line but nowhere near the L. Service to communities further out should run less frequently to discourage sprawl - these exurban services can still terminate downtown.

Also in the long run, the dramatic increase on regional Amtrak service under the MWRRI will start to eat up many of the existing tracks, and regional passengers need longer to board because of their bags, the ticket-checking procedure, security, and whatever other obstacles Amtrak manages to come up with.

Quote:

Before we add any more tracks, I think the idea of traffic management needs to be tackled.
It's not like they're ignoring small fixes.

Lake Street Interlocking
Yard Upgrades/Dispatching Center

In the end, it won't be enough for the hub of all American railroads. The last time we had massive passenger volumes traveling through Chicago, we had 6 massive terminals. Today, we know that all intercity trains should be centralized, and we have a perfect facility to do it - but that leaves a lot less room for Metra when all is said and done.

jpIllInoIs Feb 27, 2012 5:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5606715)
In the end, it won't be enough for the hub of all American railroads. The last time we had massive passenger volumes traveling through Chicago, we had 6 massive terminals. Today, we know that all intercity trains should be centralized, and we have a perfect facility to do it - but that leaves a lot less room for Metra when all is said and done.


How busy is Olgilve? Does the former CNW depot have excess capacity to take on some Metra trains to make room for the increased Hiawatha service and proposed 2nd daily run of the Empire Builder: Chi-Milw-St.Paul? Or is the north concourse of CUS not as overtaxed as the South concourse?

Beta_Magellan Feb 27, 2012 11:01 PM

Whenever I’ve seen a specific reference to congestion and capacity at Union Station (beyond the basic “Union Station is at/approaching capacity) it always focuses on the southern terminal. Given that the northern terminals only have to deal with the Milwaukee District trains, NCS, Hiawatha and Empire Builder, I don’t think there’s any need to shift traffic from Union Station’s north terminus to Ogilvie.

I’ve seen vague statements about Ogilvie approaching capacity in the Central Area Action Plans, but nothing specific.

orulz Feb 28, 2012 1:03 AM

There is plan to move the Metra SWS to LaSalle from the south side of Union Station. It's part of the CREATE 75th St Corridor Improvement Project. Though at 2tph peak, removing SWS will have a minimal impact on Union Station congestion. The bigger reason I think is just to be able to run more SWS trains period.

ardecila Feb 28, 2012 2:23 AM

^^ Yep. SWS only runs 2tph because there's no room for any more at Union. It serves some of the fastest growing suburbs in Chicagoland, so you bet Metra wants to capture those riders with more frequent service.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5607623)
Whenever I’ve seen a specific reference to congestion and capacity at Union Station (beyond the basic “Union Station is at/approaching capacity) it always focuses on the southern terminal. Given that the northern terminals only have to deal with the Milwaukee District trains, NCS, Hiawatha and Empire Builder, I don’t think there’s any need to shift traffic from Union Station’s north terminus to Ogilvie.

I’ve seen vague statements about Ogilvie approaching capacity in the Central Area Action Plans, but nothing specific.

Ogilvie is crowded but passenger traffic is not growing at the volumes seen on the BNSF. Shifting other Metra trains there would pose an operational problem because the three UP lines are owned and operated entirely by UP, including conductors, engineers, ticket agents, and maintenance personnel. UP still owns the approach tracks and on its Metra operations, it is very over-protective to avoid even the slightest whiff of liability or responsibility (hence the total shutdowns during typical thunderstorms). They would fight to keep Milwaukee District trains off of their viaducts.

It could probably be done, but expect UP to drag their heels for years.

Also, as you mention, the north platforms at Union are less congested. The Madison St stairs are quite helpful, since commuters can access their trains from both ends of the platform and the trains load faster.

chicagopcclcar1 Feb 28, 2012 4:15 AM

IRM March 25, CTA "L" Charter 1/2 Sold Out
 
The Illinois Railway Museum is sponsoring a third straight six car CTA "L" charter, The Snowflake Special, Sunday, March 25. The previous two annual charters completely sold out and this year's charter is outpacing last year's sell-out. In olden days these charters were called "inspection trips" because they often went into yards and travelled on other non-revenue tracks and the 2012 Snowflake keeps that heritage alive, starting with the Harlem yard in Forest Park and going all the way to the lower yard at 63rd and Calumet at the other end of the Green line for example. Lines covered by this year's charter include Green, Pink, Blue, Purple, and Yellow. The Blue is as far as Jefferson Park, the Green as far as East 63rd/ Cottage Grove, to Dempster/Skokie on the Yellow and Linden on the Purple. Lunch will be at four stops around the Loop as usual. Photography is encouraged with photo stops and photo runbys and knowledgeble persons are available to respond to questions. The six car consist will be 2400 series Boeing cars expected to be retired within the next two years. The charter is also a fund-raiser aimed at preserving two cars of the 2400 series. Charter details and ticket ordering is available on the IRM website, but time is running short.




http://www3.irm.org/store/index.phpm...ducts_id=\1895


David Harrison

Jenner Feb 28, 2012 4:51 AM

Regarding traffic management -- I was really talking more about passenger loading and unloading. I came in on a train and unloaded just as tons of passengers were in the concourse waiting to get on a train. All the escalators were going in my opposite direction, which makes for bad passenger flow.

I can't see how they would have good passenger flow with having both Metra and Amtrak sharing the same floor. I would try to create a new basement level for Amtrak passengers, either under the Great Hall or under the concourse (or both). We could even try to move the Amtrak trains to go to the basement level, which would then clear up the entire concourse level tracks for Metra only (we can even add the O'Hare express on this level too). The Amtrak trains could even go under the basement level so that they are through routed. This would double the track capacity of Union. However, I'm not sure that the BNSF and the SWS freight companies would appreciate added commuter trains on their already busy freight network.

While we are at it, we might as well move the Greyhound station to be at Union as well, so that most of the transportation options are consolidated at Union.

ardecila Feb 28, 2012 6:26 AM

SWS is owned by Norfolk Southern, but Metra controls a portion of the route inside the city. It's really a moot point anyway, since NS doesn't really use the line at all except to run freights to their Landers Yard at 75th Street. South of that all the way to the end at Manhattan, there is virtually no freight traffic. When the 75th Street project is done, SWS will be effectively separate from any significant freight traffic along its entire length.

orulz Feb 28, 2012 9:12 PM

Speaking of the SWS and new service at Lasalle, what is the latest on the proposed SES? It looks like they have a final LPA now out of the AA process, have they begun the environmental review yet?

This will clearly depend on the Englewood Flyover which is already in the works. Another flyover also sees to be planned at Dolton Junction.

ardecila Feb 28, 2012 11:59 PM

Yeah, they'll definitely need one at Dolton Junction (interestingly, the Dolton station would be integrated into the flyover).

Unfortunately, the SES requires the use of the UP tracks through Roseland. The city is seeking to relocate these tracks onto the CN/Metra Electric ROW, both to eliminate grade crossings and to open up UP's ROW for the Red Line Extension and avoid any property takings.

On the other hand, the SES improvements would immensely improve the on-time performance of Amtrak's Cardinal and Hoosier State.

paytonc Feb 29, 2012 3:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5602734)
With Metra you pay either before boarding or after you've boarded and get in trouble if you stay on longer than you'd paid for. The difference is not difficult to understand conceptually, but when trying to design a uniform payment system there are processes and equipment changes that would need to happen.

Not really. Plenty of distance-priced commuter rail systems use smart cards, typically by tagging into the system and then out of the system at kiosks, rather than at turnstiles. The Medill article mentioned CalTrain, which actually embraced the TransLink/Clipper system long before BART did. Yes, conductors do carry RFID readers to verify cards, but doing so is as fast as checking paper tickets. Closer to home, the Northstar line in suburban Minneapolis works like the Hiawatha line; you pre-pay your fare amount.

BTW, the Medill article seemed gratifyingly tough on Metra -- or maybe I'm just used to the Trib's fawning attitude towards suburban services.

ardecila Feb 29, 2012 4:30 AM

Chicagoans in general are frustrated with Metra's backwardness. They may not know the finer points of rail operation or TOD strategy, but they want to pay with credit cards, transfer easily to CTA, and NOT get delayed for 3 hours by a harmless thunderstorm.

Metra has this folksy public image that presents the illusion of rider responsiveness - this is best displayed in their 1990s-era newsletter, which is printed in one-color blue and set in Times New Roman despite representing a railroad that carries 300,000 people each day. In reality they are rigidly dogmatic, inflexible, and completely resistant to change or outside suggestion.

You know it's bad when it's easier to make politicians compel Metra than it is to convince Metra willingly.

Can you explain how the tagging system works on Caltrain? When 40 people get off at a station, is there a line at the machine to tag out? How do they prevent or discourage freeloaders?

denizen467 Feb 29, 2012 6:57 AM

What is the expected completion date for the Englewood Flyover? It would be nice to have occasional photo, or informational, updates in these threads - it might be hard to get down there and to get useful photo angles, but once in a while would be nice. The updates and photos presented at createprogram.org offer next to nothing.

Incidentally the schematic PDF here is a really neat (if terribly abbreviated) graphic of the nation's economy as it relates to Chicago, and of just what made Chicago what it came to be. (Though I suspect the auto flows are net in the opposite direction.) I can't believe that to this day I've never seen one like this; it should be "required reading" in area schools.

ardecila Feb 29, 2012 9:44 AM

They haven't awarded the contract yet, so there is no progress to update on. Bids are due by March 20, and Metra will probably award the contract soon after that unless there are major issues. Construction will probably begin by summer.

Invitation for Bids (PDF)

This is a good illustration of why these projects take so long... the conditions on the site are complex, so preparing the design takes a lot of time - and then each stakeholder must scrutinize the plan and ask for changes. More months of design, months of waiting for design to be approved, etc. In the meantime the politicians can have a "groundbreaking" and everybody pats themselves on the back. Now that Metra is actually bidding out the project, that means the construction documents are completed. Any changes at this point will be quick and done between the engineer and contractor.

By contrast, the UP-North project is an organizational breeze, with only one railroad to deal with and a simple set of project goals.

untitledreality Feb 29, 2012 9:13 PM

Quote:

CDOT proposes road diets, protected bike lanes for King, 31st and 55th

http://gridchicago.com/2012/cdot-pro...31st-and-55th/
Some much needed road diets and PBLs proposed in the near South side. I am especially fond of the proposed reworking on MLK from 35th to 51st. In addition to benefiting bicyclists and pedestrians, the calmed traffic could make this stretch much more desirable for people interested in the area.

emathias Feb 29, 2012 10:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paytonc (Post 5609370)
Not really. Plenty of distance-priced commuter rail systems use smart cards, typically by tagging into the system and then out of the system at kiosks, rather than at turnstiles. The Medill article mentioned CalTrain, which actually embraced the TransLink/Clipper system long before BART did. Yes, conductors do carry RFID readers to verify cards, but doing so is as fast as checking paper tickets. Closer to home, the Northstar line in suburban Minneapolis works like the Hiawatha line; you pre-pay your fare amount.

BTW, the Medill article seemed gratifyingly tough on Metra -- or maybe I'm just used to the Trib's fawning attitude towards suburban services.

My original point was not that it can't be implemented or that it hasn't already been implemented in other places, it was simply that it can't be implemented in only a few weeks. Lead times for ordering the amount of equipment they'd need alone probably would take longer than that. Testing the equipment and determining how to handle broken cards or card readers (i.e. the inability to pay by someone who is prepared to pay) all needs to happen along with publicity and other types of things necessary to set up a new public process. In a large organization, those sorts of things take time even when the organization is enthusiastic about change - which Metra most certainly is not.

denizen467 Mar 1, 2012 1:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5609691)
They haven't awarded the contract yet, so there is no progress to update on.

I thought there was big news from last summer or so that it had begun. Maybe it was just about having gotten the funding, plus some precious photo ops for the pols.

ardecila Mar 1, 2012 5:29 PM

Yes, it was a photo op. Official sources called it a groundbreaking, and some secondary news sources interpreted that to mean construction would start immediately. The official sources never actually said when construction would start.

CTA Gray Line Mar 1, 2012 6:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5609482)
Chicagoans in general are frustrated with Metra's backwardness. They may not know the finer points of rail operation or TOD strategy, but they want to pay with credit cards, transfer easily to CTA, and NOT get delayed for 3 hours by a harmless thunderstorm.

Metra has this folksy public image that presents the illusion of rider responsiveness - this is best displayed in their 1990s-era newsletter, which is printed in one-color blue and set in Times New Roman despite representing a railroad that carries 300,000 people each day. In reality they are rigidly dogmatic, inflexible, and completely resistant to change or outside suggestion.


"In reality they are rigidly dogmatic, inflexible, and completely resistant to change or outside suggestion".

I can tell you how T R U E that statement is from trying to get then to listen (UNSUCCESSFULLY) for Sixteen Years now: http://www.box.com/shared/jqvpx489un

ardecila Mar 1, 2012 10:31 PM

Cool.

Quote:

Emanuel Unveils $1-Billion-Plus Infrastructure Bank
March 01, 2012
by Greg Hinz


With an assist from former President Bill Clinton, Mayor Rahm Emanuel Thursday announced formation of what amounts to a Chicago infrastructure bank to fund hundreds of millions of dollars worth of energy-efficiency improvements, transportation and other projects.

Mr. Emanuel said he hopes to soon begin spending $200 million to retrofit city buildings to make them more energy efficient — something that would save $20 million a year and provide a revenue stream to repay investors and borrowers.

But that's a relatively small piece of what Mr. Emanuel, a former investment banker, hopes will be a much larger initiative — to be called the Chicago Infrastructure Trust — one that potentially could attract well over $1 billion in investor cash, bank loans and funds from major foundations.

Details on some of this are a little vague. But the mayor's office produced letters of "preliminary non-binding interest" and of "support" from top financial firms. Included are Citibank, which wrote that it is "highly interested" in a $200 million commitment; J.P. Morgan Asset Management, which mentioned a $250 million figure, and Macquarie Group, a worldwide leader in asset management.

Mr. Emanuel said the core idea is to fund not routine maintenance and upkeep but “transformative” projects that would remake the city, such as building bus rapid transit (BRT) express bus lines. But he hinted that not everything would have to be extra special, because available resources for capital needs are extremely lacking.
Citibank, JP Morgan, and Macquarie? I'm surprised we're still dealing with those guys.


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