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CTA Gray Line Jan 8, 2015 6:57 AM

Lawmakers question Metra on Wi-Fi, universal fares
 
https://www.dailyherald.com/article/...ews/150109078/

updated: 1/7/2015 6:20 PM Marni Pyke

State lawmakers put the spotlight on Metra Wednesday over missing a deadline to accept contactless credit cards at pay stations and implement a universal fare card.

A 2011 law mandates Metra, Pace and the CTA to create a universal fare card to be used between all three agencies and requires Metra to allow contactless credit cards for payment by 2015.......

Mr Downtown Jan 8, 2015 3:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6866321)
Am I the only one who thinks the City and CTA have really dropped the ball by not routing the Orange Line north to connect at Wells instead of Wabash?

After the death of the Franklin St. subway (and the taxing district), we had decades of extremely short-term thinking. The Orange Line was value-engineered so severely that it even lost the indoor transfer at Roosevelt. (Luckily, money for that was later found elsewhere.) In the 1980s, developers tried to get the Rock Island line removed altogether, and then—even though it was on a relocatable easement—Metra rebuilt it where it happened to be, instead of where it would enhance future development. The city rebuilt Roosevelt Road in the same shortsighted way. In the 1990s, the landowners in that area insisted that Wells-Wentworth would be such a minor street that it should meander along their curved property line.

Ch.G, Ch.G Jan 8, 2015 5:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6866880)
Funny you should mention that... many mid-century plans included an expressway along Wells Street (really a Wacker Drive extension) with a transit line down the middle, feeding into a new subway Loop.

I was looking at Bertrand Goldberg's original plans for River City, and as usual, he had a better alternative:

http://bertrandgoldberg.org/wp-conte...11/07/rci9.jpg
source

Now I'm dying to go back home and look through the monograph/catalogue from the AIC exhibition a few years ago.

CTA Gray Line Jan 9, 2015 1:39 PM

A Smart way to meet Transit Needs: The CTA Gray Line
 
I hope that you who are interested are making early plans for Wednesday Evening, January 21st: Smart Transit Investment: The CTA Gray Line | Henry George School: http://hgchicago.org/event/a-smart-w...ay-line/?insta

Cost-efficient provision of better transit service for Chicago's south and southeast areas, using available infrastructure.

le_brew Jan 9, 2015 8:02 PM

Union Station
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by orulz (Post 6849653)
Using the post office for some services and keeping Union Station pretty much as-is would be a decent short term solution, but just using the post office as a station does not solve the capacity issues imposed by the limited number of run-through tracks.

after looking over Chicago-Union-Station Master Plan Study have some observations:
  • when the concourse was upgraded in 1991, it did virtually nothing to improve much of anything
  • the short- and medium-term solutions (shifting platforms, columns, moving stairs/escalators) are simply window dressing with no real increased station capacity (sightlines and natural light improvements make things more attractive, but do what in terms of capacity)
  • Amtrak owns CUS facilities and are overly accommodating METRA riders (unclear of the relationship there), unless it's federally mandated that they do so
  • mail platforms and tunnels considered for expanded passenger areas extend to congress and beyond; much too far south of CUS concourse (moving walkways, perhaps) passengers would then be directly adjacent/beneath vacant old post office bldg
  • report states (repeatedly) that amtrak has no interest in the old PO due to complications, but both agencies need to re-consider the old PO since private development has fizzled
  • METRA separating the south track operations (only) from CUS to north part of old PO would greatly relieve congestion and facilitate redevelopment of the (ground levels) of the old post office
  • not mentioned in the report is that streetcar tunnel under the river which if re-furbished could serve as an alternate to the streets, to help distribute passengers into the loop.
as it is, CUS is an 800-pound gorilla fitting into a little black mini-skirt.

10023 Jan 11, 2015 11:12 AM

Streeterville needs some better transit access or something to make it actually feel like a neighborhood. Otherwise the West Loop is a much more attractive location for office development because of proximity to Metra, and there are better places for condos as well.

CTA Gray Line Jan 11, 2015 2:15 PM

$75 million contract awarded for new Loop 'L' station
 
http://www.redeyechicago.com/news/ct...,3605046.story

By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz RedEye

6:31 p.m. CST, January 9, 2015

The city this week moved one step closer to beginning construction on the new Washington/Wabash station in the Loop.

Work is expected to start in the spring on the new stop, which will combine the existing Randolph/Wabash and Madison/Wabash stops in the Loop, said Pete Scales, spokesman for the city Department of Transportation, which is overseeing the project......

Jenner Jan 11, 2015 9:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by le_brew (Post 6869356)
after looking over Chicago-Union-Station Master Plan Study have some observations:
  • when the concourse was upgraded in 1991, it did virtually nothing to improve much of anything
  • the short- and medium-term solutions (shifting platforms, columns, moving stairs/escalators) are simply window dressing with no real increased station capacity (sightlines and natural light improvements make things more attractive, but do what in terms of capacity)
  • Amtrak owns CUS facilities and are overly accommodating METRA riders (unclear of the relationship there), unless it's federally mandated that they do so
  • mail platforms and tunnels considered for expanded passenger areas extend to congress and beyond; much too far south of CUS concourse (moving walkways, perhaps) passengers would then be directly adjacent/beneath vacant old post office bldg
  • report states (repeatedly) that amtrak has no interest in the old PO due to complications, but both agencies need to re-consider the old PO since private development has fizzled
  • METRA separating the south track operations (only) from CUS to north part of old PO would greatly relieve congestion and facilitate redevelopment of the (ground levels) of the old post office
  • not mentioned in the report is that streetcar tunnel under the river which if re-furbished could serve as an alternate to the streets, to help distribute passengers into the loop.
as it is, CUS is an 800-pound gorilla fitting into a little black mini-skirt.

Some responses:
1. It is hard to increase station capacity unless you are able to increase volume or divert passengers to other routes. Increasing volume vertically is hard since you can't stack the tracks at street level, or at the basement level since the baggage operations interfere with passenger movement. You can optionally increase volume by extending the station into the tracks, which reduces track lengths, but then you would need to somehow rearrange the tracks to make up for that missing length. For example, you could extend the southern part of the station by 60-100 feet to allow more pedestrian movement, allow for some bigger hallways, etc. That may not be a bad long term solution as you can rearrange the tracks, switches, platforms, and more. However, this would require more engineering studies to determine obstructions, like the old post office and the new post office. And, the cost would be large, but perhaps worth it.

The least cost option would be to divert passengers via the escalators to the new exits. The best option would be to connect to pedestrian tunnels to the loop.

2. Amtrak may not want the old post office based on the amount of space available. They don't want to own another building. I'm not sure who owns it currently (US Gov?), but they aren't ready to lease any space for any needs yet.

3. Most passengers need access to the financial areas of the city. Moving the CUS Metra South operations further south makes it further for people to walk to/from the train and work.

4. There's lots of things missing from making CUS more effective. For starters, the rest of the train lines aren't connected via transit in case anyone wanted to come in on an existing Metra line and then take Amtrak. b) There should be a short connector to the Clinton subway, but even that is missing. c)And, yes, connections to pedestrian tunnels are missing. d) Ogilvie isn't too far away, and there isn't a connector to there.

There isn't too much you can do with the situation. The basement is used for baggage, and you really can't move the tracks too much.

HomrQT Jan 12, 2015 12:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10023 (Post 6870838)
Streeterville needs some better transit access or something to make it actually feel like a neighborhood. Otherwise the West Loop is a much more attractive location for office development because of proximity to Metra, and there are better places for condos as well.

Still hoping for the city to take on one of it's biggest projects of all time and bring a cta train line through Streeterville and run it along Lincoln Park until you hit Edgewater. I know I'm probably hoping in vain, but it would be so valuable to the city.

ardecila Jan 12, 2015 1:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HomrQT (Post 6871289)
Still hoping for the city to take on one of it's biggest projects of all time and bring a cta train line through Streeterville and run it along Lincoln Park until you hit Edgewater. I know I'm probably hoping in vain, but it would be so valuable to the city.

We may get a Bogota-style median BRT in Lake Shore Drive. Granted, the Outer Drive is not the best place to put stations at Armitage, Fullerton, or Diversey...

le_brew Jan 12, 2015 2:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jenner (Post 6871150)
I'm not sure who owns it currently (US Gov?), but they aren't ready to lease any space for any needs yet.

Most passengers need access to the financial areas of the city. Moving the CUS Metra South operations further south makes it further for people to walk to/from the train and work.

regarding ownership: bill davies, the british developer who is currently trying to unload it. perhaps the US/local gov't will take another look, hopefully METRA.

your other point about too much further south: you already mentioned the clinton street subway stop. it is adjacent to the old PO-- and i mean directly. also, many commuters work in the s. lasalle st. financial district which i'd say is somewhat closer to the old PO than it is to CUS.

anyhow, thanks for your response b/c the discussion needs to be had. . .

link to study: http://www.cityofchicago.org/content...Plan-Study.pdf

HomrQT Jan 12, 2015 2:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6871344)
We may get a Bogota-style median BRT in Lake Shore Drive. Granted, the Outer Drive is not the best place to put stations at Armitage, Fullerton, or Diversey...

Do you think it's possible to convert BRT infrastructure into a light rail? Would be nice if train was the long term goal.

emathias Jan 12, 2015 4:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10023 (Post 6870838)
Streeterville needs some better transit access or something to make it actually feel like a neighborhood. Otherwise the West Loop is a much more attractive location for office development because of proximity to Metra, and there are better places for condos as well.

Or at least the green parts of this map.
http://www.chicago-l.org/plans/image...TD-1968map.jpg
chicago-l.org

ardecila Jan 12, 2015 6:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HomrQT (Post 6871665)
Do you think it's possible to convert BRT infrastructure into a light rail? Would be nice if train was the long term goal.

Sure, it's possible. LA is considering it for their Orange Line and Ottawa is doing it right now. I prefer BRT for Lake Shore Drive though. That way all the bus routes can use the stations, then split off to serve different neighborhoods. Plus, the overhead wires of LRT would be unsightly on the lakefront.

The only genuine advantage of LRT over BRT is capacity, but I doubt the lakefront line would ever max out capacity given its isolation from neighborhoods by being on the Outer Drive.

HomrQT Jan 12, 2015 9:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6871932)
Sure, it's possible. LA is considering it for their Orange Line and Ottawa is doing it right now. I prefer BRT for Lake Shore Drive though. That way all the bus routes can use the stations, then split off to serve different neighborhoods. Plus, the overhead wires of LRT would be unsightly on the lakefront.

The only genuine advantage of LRT over BRT is capacity, but I doubt the lakefront line would ever max out capacity given its isolation from neighborhoods by being on the Outer Drive.

I take it subway would be out of the question? Would the land that constitutes Streeterville not support it? Or is it just too costly?

LaSalle.St.Station Jan 12, 2015 10:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HomrQT (Post 6872119)
I take it subway would be out of the question? Would the land that constitutes Streeterville not support it? Or is it just too costly?

The only way I could ever see this happening is if another push is made for another version of the central area circulator, with a dedicated revenue source. The existing IC and Carroll St right of ways would be the only option I could see. I can't see a new subway to Streeterville for what is essentially a spur line.

ardecila Jan 13, 2015 12:24 AM

This question keeps coming up. Yes, Streeterville needs better transit access. No, it's not clear how it should tie into the existing transit network.

In other news, Gov. Rauner has nominated Randy Blankenhorn as the new head of IDOT. Blankenhorn is an urban planner first and foremost, not a road builder. He is currently in charge of CMAP and has led opposition to the Illiana project, so it looks like that project may thankfully end up on the chopping block soon. Assuming he supports the GOTO 2040 plan he helped draft while at CMAP, he is in favor of a balanced program of highway and transit investment with greater coordination between governments, transit providers, and other agencies. He also pitched a plan for a dedicated sales tax for CMAP, which would fund a competitive grant program for innovative projects.

untitledreality Jan 13, 2015 4:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6872298)

In other news, Gov. Rauner has nominated Randy Blankenhorn as the new head of IDOT. Blankenhorn is an urban planner first and foremost, not a road builder. He is currently in charge of CMAP and has led opposition to the Illiana project, so it looks like that project may thankfully end up on the chopping block soon. Assuming he supports the GOTO 2040 plan he helped draft while at CMAP, he is in favor of a balanced program of highway and transit investment with greater coordination between governments, transit providers, and other agencies. He also pitched a plan for a dedicated sales tax for CMAP, which would fund a competitive grant program for innovative projects.

That is a very positive first move for Rauner.

CTA Gray Line Jan 13, 2015 6:11 AM

Obama presidential library pick could affect nearby transit
 
http://www.redeyechicago.com/news/ct...,3309220.story

By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz RedEye

9:12 a.m. CST, January 12, 2015

A CTA Blue Line station that has been boarded up and abandoned for more than 40 years could reopen if President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama choose to build the Obama presidential library on the city’s West Side.

Should the Obamas settle on a South Side site, the Garfield Green Line stop in Washington Park could see repairs.....

LaSalle.St.Station Jan 13, 2015 6:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6871932)
Sure, it's possible. LA is considering it for their Orange Line and Ottawa is doing it right now. I prefer BRT for Lake Shore Drive though. That way all the bus routes can use the stations, then split off to serve different neighborhoods. Plus, the overhead wires of LRT would be unsightly on the lakefront.

The only genuine advantage of LRT over BRT is capacity, but I doubt the lakefront line would ever max out capacity given its isolation from neighborhoods by being on the Outer Drive.

I always thought an O'Hare style people mover would be beneficial linking up Mccormick place to Illinois Center to Navy Pier to Union Station then back to McCormick place.

Use McPier, Ill Sports Fac., and Metra as funding sources.


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