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zilfondel Oct 28, 2007 9:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aaron38 (Post 3123993)
No, I live in the burbs. My wife and I go downtown to shows and such, and we always end up driving because the parking costs aren't high enough for me to convince my wife to give up the convinience of the car.

She's not going to go to the train station, get on a train, walk out of the train station, then hail a cab, and spend $20 bucks doing all that, if we can just drive down and valet for $20.

I'm just wondering when that parking cost will get high enough so that middle incomers like me have enough financial incentive to take the train.

The train's defiinitely cheaper if I go downtown by myself, but it's a wash if it's me and my wife.

And Mass Transit is in no way cost effective for a group. My wife went to a two day conference downtown last month with 4 coworkers. The first day they took the train, and with cabfare ended up paying basically $15 each for transit.
The next day they carpooled and payed $4 each for parking. Metra needs some sort of group discount.

Sounds like you guys need a downtown circulator system to distribute passengers around the loop instead of an expensive taxi?

We've been using a short-hop streetcar system for that in Portland, although Chicago would probably have such a high demand for it that you'd need extremely short headways.

Also, they tend not to decrease ridership on the main trunk heavy rail or bus routes - but just the opposite (induce demand cause its more convenient on to get around downtown w/out a car) - demand kinda just appears out of nowhere, from what our little town has experienced. :cheers:

the urban politician Oct 28, 2007 4:33 PM

^ I don't mind carpooling. It is at least in some way a form of group transportation.

It's those people driving alone that we need to lure towards transit (IMO)

UChicagoDomer Oct 28, 2007 5:13 PM

Re: Circulator
 
Does anyone know the status of the Carroll Avenue Transitway project? There was a informational seminar a few weeks ago. Did anyone attend, and how far away are they from constructing it (and will it be BRT or is there even a slight possibility of light rail)? Likewise, how will this coordinate with Lipinksi's Ogden Avenue Streetcar plan?

UChicagoDomer Oct 28, 2007 5:14 PM

Re: Circulator
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zilfondel (Post 3131206)
Sounds like you guys need a downtown circulator system to distribute passengers around the loop instead of an expensive taxi?

We've been using a short-hop streetcar system for that in Portland, although Chicago would probably have such a high demand for it that you'd need extremely short headways.

Also, they tend not to decrease ridership on the main trunk heavy rail or bus routes - but just the opposite (induce demand cause its more convenient on to get around downtown w/out a car) - demand kinda just appears out of nowhere, from what our little town has experienced. :cheers:

Sorry, I meant to include this quote in that last post.

ardecila Oct 28, 2007 7:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UChicagoDomer (Post 3131494)
Does anyone know the status of the Carroll Avenue Transitway project? There was a informational seminar a few weeks ago. Did anyone attend, and how far away are they from constructing it (and will it be BRT or is there even a slight possibility of light rail)? Likewise, how will this coordinate with Lipinksi's Ogden Avenue Streetcar plan?

I don't think anybody from here went. There was a $25 entrance fee for non-AIA members, IIRC.

I'll email the presenter and see if I can get any information. BRT is pretty much a given at this point, since it presents the lowest costs. Also, buses from BRT can be run on normal streets, which is a huge advantage since the route can be modified on-the-fly to respond to traffic jams and accidents. This will be very useful on the Streeterville portion of the route. Don't give up hope, though - once the city buys all the right-of-way and sets up BRT platforms, a light rail conversion is quite cheap if the passenger volumes demand it.

The Ogden part of the route is a huge stretch running from the Carroll Avenue Bridge over the river, down Wayman/Carroll out to Ogden, where it turns southwest and runs all the way to Cermak in Lawndale, then heads west on Cermak out to the North Riverside Mall in North Riverside.

The Ogden part of the route is extremely redundant, because it follows a path very similar to the Pink Line, which was just rebuilt at a steep price. A better use of money would be to re-extend the Pink Line out to its original terminal at Harlem Avenue. The old right-of-way is filled with little parking lots now that could easily be converted back to transit use with zero building demolition, and maybe a few street closures.

UChicagoDomer Oct 29, 2007 12:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3131665)
I don't think anybody from here went. There was a $25 entrance fee for non-AIA members, IIRC.

I'll email the presenter and see if I can get any information. BRT is pretty much a given at this point, since it presents the lowest costs. Also, buses from BRT can be run on normal streets, which is a huge advantage since the route can be modified on-the-fly to respond to traffic jams and accidents. This will be very useful on the Streeterville portion of the route. Don't give up hope, though - once the city buys all the right-of-way and sets up BRT platforms, a light rail conversion is quite cheap if the passenger volumes demand it.

The Ogden part of the route is a huge stretch running from the Carroll Avenue Bridge over the river, down Wayman/Carroll out to Ogden, where it turns southwest and runs all the way to Cermak in Lawndale, then heads west on Cermak out to the North Riverside Mall in North Riverside.

The Ogden part of the route is extremely redundant, because it follows a path very similar to the Pink Line, which was just rebuilt at a steep price. A better use of money would be to re-extend the Pink Line out to its original terminal at Harlem Avenue. The old right-of-way is filled with little parking lots now that could easily be converted back to transit use with zero building demolition, and maybe a few street closures.

That's interesting to hear about the Carroll Avenue bit. If our friend from Portland (who I quoted in my previous post) is to be believed, then there will presumably be a large demand for the BRT service from suburban commuters to Union and NW stations. I worry, however, that BRT will be subject to the same traffic flow vagaries that plague regular CTA buses on Michigan Ave. during rush hour and that the BRT platforms will only be about two blocks apart (which, given, is better than the current 1 block separation for CTA buses) creating bus-bunching potential.

Re: Ogden, I was under the impression that Senator Lipinski was bound and determined to get the streetcar concept funding in Congress. At first I was instinctively glad that Chicago planned to use a diagonal street for transit (as I wish they would for Clybourne and Lincoln), but upon a second look at the map, you're right: the route doesn't seem to accomplish much.

forumly_chgoman Oct 29, 2007 4:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago2020 (Post 3130343)
THE DAN RYAN IS OFFICIALLY COMPLETE!!!!

http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/1...3382d2bld2.jpg

here's a pic from flickr courtesy of Jiachun GUO's


Yeah and amazingly we have NO MONEY for CTA despite its massively higher throughput

jpIllInoIs Oct 29, 2007 12:27 PM

Amtrak ridership up again
 
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...57347&ssid=180

Central Highlights

Huge gains are tied to increased frequencies in Illinois, with the three routes between Chicago and downstate communities showing large increases. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has more than doubled the size of its contract with Amtrak, providing three of the five round-trips on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor and two round-trips each on the Carbondale and Quincy routes, starting late last October.

On the Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service corridor, ridership is up by 55.8 percent for the state trains and 42 percent for the corridor, with total of 477,888. Ridership between Chicago and Carbondale, the route the Illini and Saluki trains share with the City of New Orleans, is up by 67.4 percent for the state-supported trains and 46 percent for the corridor, totaling 263,809. For the Chicago-Galesburg-Quincy route of the Illinois Zephyr, Carl Sandburg and other trains, ridership has gained 41.4 percent for the state-sponsored trains and 33 percent for the route, with 194,535 passengers.

Also from the Amtrak hub in Chicago is the Hiawatha Service, with up to seven daily round-trips sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation with IDOT. Nearly 600,000 passengers rode the trains between Milwaukee and Chicago last year, an increase of 2.6 percent.

The state-supported routes in Michigan — Grand Rapids-St. Joseph-Chicago Pere Marquette and the Port Huron-East Lansing-Chicago Blue Water — also posted increases. Ridership on the Pere Marquette was up 2.8 percent and on the Blue Water, 3.1 percent.

OhioGuy Oct 29, 2007 1:45 PM

I wish Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited line had better scheduling instead of just one train departing each day. It doesn't leave Chicago until 10pm which means I if I want to take it home to Ohio, I wouldn't arrive until after 2am. Guess I'll just stick with a car instead of Amtrak.

VivaLFuego Oct 29, 2007 2:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3132805)
I wish Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited line had better scheduling instead of just one train departing each day. It doesn't leave Chicago until 10pm which means I if I want to take it home to Ohio, I wouldn't arrive until after 2am. Guess I'll just stick with a car instead of Amtrak.

Well it sounds like if Indiana and Ohio had any interest whatsoever, IDOT would be open to joint-sponsorship of more frequent services (note the frequent service on the Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan lines). I wouldn't blame this on Amtrak....maybe write some congresscritters in Indiana and Ohio to voice your support of more service on that corridor.

jpIllInoIs Oct 29, 2007 8:55 PM

^ You got that right Viva. The fact that Indiana does not have service between Louisville and Indy and that Fort Wayne has no service and that Indy and Chicago do not have expanded service puts this one squarely on the Indiana State governemnts table. The higher ridership levels in Ill are all acheived thru State level contributions!

Alliance Oct 29, 2007 9:18 PM

http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/1...3382d2bld2.jpg

OMG look at OMP!

chitowngza Oct 30, 2007 5:16 PM

(Article) CTA called hurdle to Olympics
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...i_tab01_layout


EDIT: I'm aware that yesterday this article had been linkified and partially pasted over in the 2016 bid thread in City Discussions. The following is the draft from today's edition in full copy-and-paste.

If you can, I recommend following the link and checking out the Topix comment section of this article. It's a trip, as it often is for articles on this type of subject...


-----------------
CTA called hurdle to Olympics
Chicago must fix crumbling system, U.S. lawmaker says


By Jon Hilkevitch | Tribune transportation reporter
October 30, 2007


-----Chicago has the ingredients for developing a world-class transportation system, but unless reinvestment begins promptly, the city may have few mass-transit services left when the 2016 Olympics are held, federal lawmakers warned Monday.

Pointing to the transit crisis just days away, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) bashed Illinois as "the poster child for neglect" during a congressional field hearing downtown that examined the city's transportation needs if it hosts the Summer Games in nine years.

He said the political gridlock in Springfield that has pushed the Chicago Transit Authority toward next week's "doomsday" service cuts and fare increases complicates the Daley administration's efforts to prove it is prepared to be the Olympic host city.

DeFazio is chairman of the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee, which wields influence in the fierce competition among cities vying to win billions of dollars in federal grants and funding earmarks for coveted transportation projects.

"It seems that the state and the governor are walking away from a minimal responsibility to maintain an existing system, let alone dramatically enhance it," DeFazio said in response to testimony at the hearing about rusting CTA trains and buses, crumbling viaducts, and miles of streets and dozens of bridges in disrepair across the Chicago area.

"You're in a full crisis mode, and the whole country is going to be watching this week," DeFazio said about the dozens of bus routes that the CTA and Pace are set to eliminate Sunday if the legislature fails to approve new operating subsidies.

Since the Illinois FIRST program ended four years ago, the state has gone without a source to fund capital improvements. That could lead to a significant loss in future federal aid if Illinois doesn't come up with the necessary matching funds.

Mayor Richard Daley, often criticized for not using his clout to force a solution to the long-running transit funding standoff, went on the offensive with drastic cuts only days away.

"To me, it's pretty clear," Daley said Monday at a separate event. "Either [the governor and the General Assembly] support public transit or they don't. This is do-or-die time."

"Springfield needs to remember that another round of short-term, stopgap, Band-Aid solutions is not the answer we need," the mayor said.

The House subcommittee's field hearing, held in a courtroom at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, was the first outside Washington in advance of Congress reauthorizing federal transportation legislation that will expire in 2009.

Officials from the CTA, Metra, Pace, the state and city transportation departments and the Chicago 2016 Committee were among those invited to testify.

CTA President Ron Huberman said the transit system could serve the Olympics well—but only if it is brought up to a state of good repair. Huberman summarized $6.3 billion in unfunded capital projects at the CTA ranging from rail slow-zones in need of new track and railroad ties to replacement of aging trains and buses.

Among proposed CTA projects that would make the city's Olympic bid more attractive to the International Olympic Committee, Huberman said, would be the Circle Line rail service connecting with many existing CTA and Metra rail stations in the downtown area and the extension of the Red Line to 130th Street. It currently ends at 95th Street.

U.S. Rep. John Duncan Jr. of Tennessee, the ranking Republican on the subcommittee, said it was his impression that modernization of the CTA system is necessary regardless of whether Chicago is chosen for the 2016 Olympics.

But Duncan called on local officials to prioritize projects "because we can't do everything at once," he said.

Surprisingly, none of the transportation officials used the hearing to pitch new projects as being vital to hosting an Olympics that would serve an estimated 2 million visitors.

Setting up the right transportation system presents one of the biggest challenges to a successful Olympic bid, said Doug Arnot, a senior vice president for Chicago 2016.

Yet Chicago's bid plans do not call for adding any significant transportation infrastructure, said Arnot, who was involved in planning for four Olympic Games, including in Atlanta, Sydney and Salt Lake City.

"Although we recognize that in the past cities have often looked at the prospect of the Games as a chance to bring forward long-planned projects, Chicago 2016 has not proposed, nor has budgeted, for any long-term city infrastructure projects," Arnot told the subcommittee.


Before the 1996 Summer Games held in Atlanta, the existing rail system was expanded by three new stations, 7 miles of new track and other improvements to system capacity. During those Games, rail service was provided 24 hours and rail cars were reconfigured to boost passenger capacity. The bus system also was beefed up.

But much of the CTA's bus and rail service, which provides 1.6 million rides a day, already operates at capacity during rush periods. The Chicago 2016 Committee plans to supplement CTA service mainly with shuttle buses to transport spectators and athletes to Olympic venues.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), a subcommittee member who requested Monday's hearing, said he remains optimistic that a funding deal will be worked out in Springfield before Sunday when the CTA will eliminate 39 bus routes and Pace will stop running shuttle buses to suburban Metra stations due to huge budget deficits.

"I am confident the state and local governments will address the immediate needs," Lipinski said.

Differing from others who testified, Lipinski maintained that "fortunately, Chicago already has a world-class transportation system."

His views were not well received by disabled transit activists who disrupted the hearing for about 10 minutes, chanting, "We need transit now" and "What about the money for the CTA?"

The protest prompted U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) to note that "there is a lot of passion about not necessarily tomorrow's transportation issues (linked to the Olympics) but today's transportation issues."

DeFazio seemed to agree.

"There are some very immediate problems that need to be resolved or there won't be a transit system upon which to build for 2016," said DeFazio. State government has "dropped the ball and booted it," he said.



jhilkevitch@tribune.com

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

chitowngza Oct 31, 2007 3:39 AM

Email from CTA, Tue 10/30/2007
 
The latest message from Lake and Clinton...


---------------------------------

From: chicagocard@transitchicago.com

Subject: Please Prepare for Next Week


Letter from CTA President Ron Huberman

Dear CTA Customer:

On November 4th -- less than one week from today -- the CTA will be forced to cut service and raise fares as a result of insufficient state funding. All of us at the CTA understand the hardship that these service cuts and fare increases will cause you. We do not want to make these cuts, and we have been fighting for funding to avoid making them.

I ask that you take the time to prepare for next week's commute. If you currently use service that will be eliminated, go online to transitchicago.com, or call 1-888-YOUR-CTA, to identify alternative service options. Try to use this alternative service at least once this week so you are familiar with it.

We are asking all of our customers to avoid the rush hour whenever possible by leaving early or late. With the reduction in bus service, we anticipate greater crowds on remaining buses and trains as customers seek different ways to get to work. Customers should expect longer travel times.

This is a crucial time to contact the Governor and your state legislators to tell them how important mass transit is to you. The Illinois General Assembly still has not acted to pass legislation that would guarantee the CTA's fiscal health and ensure that there are no more "doomsdays." Without action from the General Assembly, the CTA is required by law to balance its budget, forcing these service cuts and fare increases. Visit transitchicago.com, or call 1-888-YOUR-CTA, for information on how you can easily send a message to your state legislators. With your support, we are hopeful that we will finally get a long-term solution to the CTA's funding shortfalls and put future "doomsdays" to rest. If the State enacts pending legislation before November 4th, the service cuts and fare increases will not go into effect.

Sincerely,

Ron Huberman

chiphile Oct 31, 2007 12:12 PM

Excuse me while I rant.
I'm sick of this shit. Chicago should secede from the state and charge every suburbanite $100 to use O'Hare and another $25 to enter the city. Then we'll see how quickly the state wants Chicago back, and how quickly they miraculously find the cash for the CTA.

And if I could throw in an anti-Bush thing here... The fucking war is costing $255 million per day. For fuck's sake, just stop one day of war and fix the CTA. Fuck this state, fuck this country, my goodness!

This is exactly how the Soviet Union fell. They neglected everything at home and got their asses into all sorts of wars.

God damn it.. Pakistan could pull $300 million out of its ass right now, but America and Illinois can't.

Marcu Oct 31, 2007 1:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chiphile (Post 3137255)
Excuse me while I rant.
I'm sick of this shit. Chicago should secede from the state and charge every suburbanite $100 to use O'Hare and another $25 to enter the city.

O'Hare: It's called landing fees. The feds pay for most of the construction. The city gets the windfall. Why do you think Daley lobbied for it so hard?

Fee to enter city: Do you have any idea what percentage of parking fee proceeds, sports venue proceeds, restaurant checks, etc. the city gets? it's significantly higher than what most of us (city people) would pay in the suburbs.

Quote:

This is exactly how the Soviet Union fell. They neglected everything at home and got their asses into all sorts of wars.

God damn it.. Pakistan could pull $300 million out of its ass right now, but America and Illinois can't.
Umm. I'm not sure that warrants a response. But I can say the Soviet Union was not in involved in any wars when it fell.

Taft Oct 31, 2007 2:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3137348)
Umm. I'm not sure that warrants a response. But I can say the Soviet Union was not in involved in any wars when it fell.

Only the cold "war." I would largely agree with chiphile's point overall, though: the Soviet Union invested most of their assets in an unsustainable military buildup and put practically nothing into their domestic infrastructure or economy. This, combined with Soviet Republic uprisings led to their ultimate downfall.

Moving past history, I think this argument has some merit as related to our current transit woes. While I put the majority of the blame on lack of local and state funding (with another healthy dose going to past CTA mis-management and the labor unions), we can't ignore the lack of federal funds the transit infrastructure in the region gets. When people look at the estimated 100 billion we will spend on the Iraq war by its end, I can understand the frustration that must arise. I know I would personally rather have seen that war money invested in our national infrastructure.

To the issue at hand, Daley, Madigan, Jones and Blago should be ashamed. Do they have any idea how much money their little "stall tactic" of a 24mil cash infusion is costing the CTA in the long run? And the fact that we came so close to doomsday before they acted means the CTA will have spent millions unnecessarily preparing for doomsday, even if we eventually avoid it. They are just screwing all of us right now and wasting literally millions of dollars playing their little political games.

It is a crying shame.

Taft

Marcu Oct 31, 2007 2:29 PM

^ The feds have very little to do with the situation. Most cities in the US, even very auto-centric ones with little support for government participation, have been able to either sustain service levels (eg NYC, Boston) or partake in major expansion (Houston, LA, Salt Lake, Nashville, etc.) with the same level of support from the feds and in many cases lower local taxes. The blame falls squarely on state and city governments.

VivaLFuego Oct 31, 2007 4:13 PM

The Feds don't provide subsidy for transit operations in big cities, but rather only provide funds for expansion and asset maintenance. The maintenance funds are largely distributed on a formula that is based on regional/metropolitan population.

All of this combines to put Chicago transit operations in a particularly precarious financial position because of their size relative to the subsidoes they're entitled to. Put a simple way, compare our transit capital assets to Atlanta's. We're maybe what, 50% larger than them, but our transit network is many times larger. The formula funds from the Feds are quite simply inadequate to maintain CTA's assets; the system is to big relative to those funds. So the deficiency in capital dollars is very clear.

From an operating standpoint, Chicago's network is too big and has too high a statutory recovery ratio relative to the total sales tax collected for operations. Places like Atlanta have a 1% sales tax to fund operations. So does Chicago. Who runs a higher quantity service? Chicago operates a much higher quantity of transit per capita than Atlanta, and yet the tax revenue per person to pay for those operations are fairly similar.

All of it combines to mean that the Chicago region must decide whether it will live within its current means of funding sources (federal and state) and therefore shrink the system, or increase local revenues to maintain the expansive and frequent network we have. And since its so complicated, its very hard for transit advocates to convince politicians to raise that revenue, especially when an idiot press and belligerently ignorant suburbanites give thise politicians the cover to avoid action with unsubstantied claims of "graft" "corruption" and "incompetence" as the sole causes of CTA's perenially precarious finances. As if a handful of hacks making $75K/year (while still unjustified) are the cause of a structural annual deficit best measured in the tens of millions of dollars.

The problem is indeed the fault of state and local politicians. They've chosen to force service quantity to be maintained when the funding is clearly inadequate to support it. When the decisions were made to rebuild the Lake, South Main, and Douglas branches, there should have been a commensurate structural increase in revenues collected to support these money-losing parts of the system. But of course instead the pols simply enacted a structure that makes CTA capital assets continuously deteriorate faster than they can be maintained and replaced, and have to run operations in such way that practically guarentees relatively high fares and relatively low quality service. Until the structure changes, none of this will change. SB572 and the casino bill combined might give us 5-10 golden years until the next crisis. The problem then is that SB572 is so generous to Metra that they may never again i our lifetimes have a funding issue, so good luck getting suburban support for any transit reform at that point. Once again, we'll have our worthless elected officials to thank.

Marcu Oct 31, 2007 6:54 PM

Quote:

As if a handful of hacks making $75K/year (while still unjustified) are the cause of a structural annual deficit best measured in the tens of millions of dollars.
Well it's 75k/yr + pension contributions + healthcare + very high levels of workers comp collection adding up to about 125k/yr. So around 400 "hacks" adds up to 50 million dollars. Would you be willing to argue there's less than 400 hacks at the county, city, and state level? Stroger alone gets 1000 patronage positions to fill. And this doesn't even include contracts, outside consultants, lawsuits stemming form illegal hiring practices, etc. It's more than just a drop in the bucket. I'd be very surprised if the total cost is less than $400 million/yr.


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