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Mr Downtown Feb 18, 2013 5:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6018674)
what if CTA wants to run a bus to this station in the future?

CTA already runs a bus (the 84) to this station. If they want to use it as a terminal, which seems unlikely, they can just cut the cul-de-sac through to Ridge.

As for why so the design is so retardataire, I think Metra is simply an old railroader culture. You're rewarded for following orders, paying your dues, and achieving consistent results, not for taking chances or thinking creatively.

DCCliff Feb 18, 2013 7:43 AM

Metra is appalling, anachronistic, slightly to the right of James Fisk & Jay Gould; and, with its sacred suburban-souls-hauling mission pretty much tells the city to go to hell. And there is no political will or guts for it to be otherwise. A hugely wasted potential resource for the city as well as the region. Don't ever look for any envelopes to be pushed there. Its keepers, like the denizens of "Our Town," like it just the way it is.

DCCliff Feb 18, 2013 7:53 AM

<<< I disagree. They wasted four years and how many millions of dollars to end up back where they started. The first proposal in 2009 was to take a bunch of property on 10th and 11th. Citizens rejected it. Then there was an alternate plan still running on 10th and 11th with less takings. Citizens rejected it. Then they studied a northern path, central path, and a southern path(rejected it for the umpteenth time), finally settling on a northern path along US-12. Now that is rejected by the citizens who now are overwhelmingly backing an incremental 10th/11th realignment. Give me a break, pick one and let's start trying to find a funding source to build it. >>>

I agree with your disagreement! I'm not trashing community involvement - - just the intelligence of this particular community. The only good is, they will probably eventually get exactly what they deserve. Hope to hell they're happy with it.

CTA Gray Line Feb 18, 2013 8:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DCCliff (Post 6019190)
Metra is appalling, anachronistic, slightly to the right of James Fisk & Jay Gould; and, with its sacred suburban-souls-hauling mission pretty much tells the city to go to hell. And there is no political will or guts for it to be otherwise. A hugely wasted potential resource for the city as well as the region. Don't ever look for any envelopes to be pushed there. Its keepers, like the denizens of "Our Town," like it just the way it is.


You should have Capitalized this part DCC -- METRA...."Pretty much tells the City to GO TO H E L L"

ardecila Feb 18, 2013 8:48 AM

The lack of a direct transfer from UP-North to the Red Line is frustrating. Even if Metra added an infill station at Howard there's still a 2-block walk. Hopefully CTA converts the Purple Line into a full-time express service so that Metra riders can make the one convenient transfer at Davis St and access the North Side.

jpIllInoIs Feb 18, 2013 2:09 PM

CMAP-RTA merger
 
It seems some high level activists/influencers are critical with the accomplishments and direction of the RTA.

RTA-CMAP merger
Under the legislation, the new agency would have specific goals, particularly "doubling the use of public transit" by 2040 and eliminating waste and duplicate efforts by RTA and CMAP.

"You've got to set goals," said State Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, the bill's sponsor. "If you don't set goals, there's no incentive to work harder."

Link said his bill, the Transportation Modernization Act, would streamline the planning and oversight agencies "to more effectively address the region's growth and transportation challenges."

Critics contend the RTA hasn't provided strong enough oversight of the CTA, Metra and Pace. They also blame it for a decline in public transit ridership from 700 million trips in 1983 to 652 million trips in 2011.

"We've given (the RTA) more teeth to do what they need to do, but I don't think they've accomplished what they should have," Link said. "This (merger) is one of the ways we can make it better for everybody."

A civic group, Metropolis Strategies, began calling last year for an end to the RTA and the merger of the agencies. Its campaign was spearheaded by the group's president and CEO, George Ranney, who is credited with being the architect of the RTA when it was created nearly 40 years ago.

Another goal, Link said, would be to reduce the cost of governance. He estimates a merger would save $10 million a year "but not cost the taxpayers of Illinois a dime."

Justin_Chicago Feb 18, 2013 3:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6019217)
The lack of a direct transfer from UP-North to the Red Line is frustrating. Even if Metra added an infill station at Howard there's still a 2-block walk. Hopefully CTA converts the Purple Line into a full-time express service so that Metra riders can make the one convenient transfer at Davis St and access the North Side.

This is why I wish there was a circle line or at least the return of express buses. We need easier connections across all of the rail lines. Once the city cancelled the x80 express down Irving Park, I stopped traveling to Albany Park for grub. I would love to visit Devon Ave and Koreatown for ethnic eats, but in the dead of winter, I rather wait until the summer.

emathias Feb 18, 2013 3:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6019217)
The lack of a direct transfer from UP-North to the Red Line is frustrating. Even if Metra added an infill station at Howard there's still a 2-block walk. Hopefully CTA converts the Purple Line into a full-time express service so that Metra riders can make the one convenient transfer at Davis St and access the North Side.

Adding a stop at Addison for that matter would be smart and useful, too.

Currently, from where I live, the most reliable way to get to the nearest Metra station requires going south, which takes about 15 minutes under best conditions. Then to get about to where an Addison stop would be is about 11 minutes. So that's 26 minutes.

To get from my place to the Addison Brown Line station is 22 minutes. Either would requires some buffer, but that saves 4 minutes both ways as well as gives Roscoe Village/West Lakeview an express commuter option to the West Loop. If you worked at the CME, from Roscoe and Damen your commute is probably around 35-40 minutes. With a Metra option, that could be cut to 25-30, a 25-30% cut.

Justin_Chicago Feb 18, 2013 4:02 PM

What happened to the Central Loop (East - West) BRT Plan? I have not seen any news on it since May and the CTA Website does not have the project listed in their expansion section. Are we still on schedule to begin construction in 2014 with the Union Station Transportation Center?

CTA Gray Line Feb 18, 2013 4:05 PM

CTA approves purchase of 8 more aisle-facing rail cars
 
http://www.redeyechicago.com/news/ch...,4474247.story

By Jon Hilkevitch Tribune reporter

7:09 p.m. CST, February 13, 2013

If 706 rail cars with center-facing seats are 706 too many for some CTA riders who hate being squeezed from both sides and having their view of the city replaced by the paunch of standing passengers, well, 714 of the same cars doesn’t have any better ring to it.

But the CTA board, without public discussion about riders’ reaction to the new rail fleet, on Wednesday unanimously approved a CTA staff recommendation to supplement the original purchase by buying eight additional Bombardier Transportation cars with the aisle-facing seats.

The primary reason for the mini spending spree is that the CTA amassed an estimated $30 million credit with Bombardier. After ordering too many spare parts for the 5000 Series rail cars under the 2006 contract, the CTA subsequently reduced the spare parts procurement, said Phil Lamont, CTA vice president of bus and rail maintenance.

The CTA then struck a deal with Bombardier on the eight extra cars — about $300,000 off the sticker price of each car, officials said.

In addition, part of the credit will be used to replace the fluorescent interior lighting with LED fixtures on all 714 rail cars. The LED lights are brighter, use less electricity and last longer, officials said.

“The traditional fluorescent lights, as time goes by, they yellow, whereas the LEDs will retain their clean, bright look,’’ CTA President Forrest Claypool said.

The contract changes on the 5000 Series fleet have helped the CTA retire the $30 million credit balance, officials said.

The CTA will pay $1,034,831 for each of the eight extra cars. The per-car cost was $1,336,596 in the initial order, officials said.

As part of the upgrade, the CTA agreed to make an accelerated payment of $61 million to Bombardier for the rail car contract, which totals more than $1.14 billion.

Bombardier has delivered 202 cars to the CTA, officials said. The remaining cars, arriving at a rate of one per weekday, will be delivered through 2015.

More cars will follow.

The CTA last week requested design and bid proposals from rail car manufacturers for a potential order of up to 846 next-generation rail cars, to be called the 7000 Series.

The CTA said it plans to spend up to $2 billion on the cars, which could start rolling off assembly lines as early as 2016.

Transit officials promised to conduct customer surveys about rider preferences for seating and other comfort-related features, observe commuters on trains, and conduct other analysis before making decisions on the 7000 Series design.

“This is the first design I am overseeing, and we are going to do the type of research to get it right,’’ Claypool said.

Meanwhile, CTA Chairman Terry Peterson announced specific start and end dates — May 19 and Oct. 19 — for the $425 million project to renovate the tracks on the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line.

The branch will be closed between Cermak-Chinatown and 95th Street over the five months, officials said. Alternative shuttle bus service to the Green Line will be offered.

CTA officials also are negotiating with Metra to possibly expand service temporarily on the Electric District, Peterson said.

Jhilkevitch@tribune.com

Twitter @jhilkevitch

Rizzo Feb 18, 2013 7:09 PM

I'm liking the aisle facing seats now. Never bothered me in NYC. It's only annoying when the driver slams on the brakes and everyone jerks side to side.

But the aisle facing seats have some advantages.

Reduction in vandalism: No more carving or marking up window sills or back of seats.
Uncomfortable for sleeping: The reason why the CTA smells so bad is it's basically nightime housing for the homeless that opt out of shelters. The CTA must make a decision about what they are in business for. Are they in business to provide sleeping conditions for the homeless, or a clean transportation service.
More visibility: You can now see more easily who is coming from each side of the train.

emathias Feb 18, 2013 9:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin_Chicago (Post 6019353)
What happened to the Central Loop (East - West) BRT Plan? I have not seen any news on it since May and the CTA Website does not have the project listed in their expansion section. Are we still on schedule to begin construction in 2014 with the Union Station Transportation Center?

It wouldn't be on the CTA pages because it's a CDOT project.

Construction for it isn't planned until 2014. There is a Chicago BRT event later this month you may be interested in:
http://brtchicago.com/brtevent.html

Justin_Chicago Feb 18, 2013 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6019716)
It wouldn't be on the CTA pages because it's a CDOT project.

Construction for it isn't planned until 2014. There is a Chicago BRT event later this month you may be interested in:
http://brtchicago.com/brtevent.html

Thank you! This BRT should help commuters working in the Prudential, AON and BCBS buildings.

I am surprised there is not a proposed route down Jackson Avenue for those working at CME and CNA. I live in the city and take the redline on a daily basis, so this Central BRT will not affect my daily commute, but I always feel bad for my co-workers traveling from Union/Ogilvie to the Lakeshore East office buildings.

After walking north from the South Loop to 900 N Michigan, I noticed many empty lots and garage parking structures. There are still many opportunities for Office buildings along the East side of the Loop, but developers are more likely to focus on the West Loop unless we improve transportation around the entire Central Business District.

Beta_Magellan Feb 19, 2013 1:54 AM

It’s pretty simple—Jackson-Adams or Jackson-Van Buren isn’t used by as many buses as the Washington-Madison pair.

Most of them probably just walk to work in the Loop—Wacker drive and the River are hardly insurmountable barriers.

CTA Gray Line Feb 19, 2013 7:33 AM

Bill would merge transportation, planning agencies
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,4979648.story

Goal is increased transit use, elimination of duplicate services, legislator says

By Richard Wronski, Chicago Tribune reporter

February 18, 2013

In response to critics who contend the Regional Transportation Authority is broken, legislation has been introduced in Springfield that calls for merging the RTA and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning into a new entity.

The reborn agency — the bill doesn't specify a name — would have the transportation oversight power of the RTA along with the planning, land-use and funding authority of CMAP.

Its 18-member board would be similar in political and geographical representation to the RTA's and CMAP's, coming from Chicago and the surrounding counties. But there would be a new political wrinkle: Three additional members would be appointed by the governor.

Under the legislation, the new agency would have specific goals, particularly "doubling the use of public transit" by 2040 and eliminating waste and duplicate efforts by RTA and CMAP.

"You've got to set goals," said State Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, the bill's sponsor. "If you don't set goals, there's no incentive to work harder."

Link said his bill, the Transportation Modernization Act, would streamline the planning and oversight agencies "to more effectively address the region's growth and transportation challenges."

Critics contend the RTA hasn't provided strong enough oversight of the CTA, Metra and Pace. They also blame it for a decline in public transit ridership from 700 million trips in 1983 to 652 million trips in 2011.

"We've given (the RTA) more teeth to do what they need to do, but I don't think they've accomplished what they should have," Link said. "This (merger) is one of the ways we can make it better for everybody."

A civic group, Metropolis Strategies, began calling last year for an end to the RTA and the merger of the agencies. Its campaign was spearheaded by the group's president and CEO, George Ranney, who is credited with being the architect of the RTA when it was created nearly 40 years ago.

Another goal, Link said, would be to reduce the cost of governance. He estimates a merger would save $10 million a year "but not cost the taxpayers of Illinois a dime."

The agencies are similar in many ways, and frequently collaborate and share research.

The RTA has a staff of about 119, and its 2013 budget is $32.9 million; CMAP's workforce is 102 with a $15.7 million budget for 2013, according to the agencies.

The RTA is the umbrella agency overseeing public transportation in northeastern Illinois. It was created in 1974 with approval of a referendum proposal in the six-county region, but has evolved over the decades.

Amendments to the RTA Act in 1983 and again in 2008 substantially changed the agency's organization, funding and operations and boosted its oversight of the CTA, Metra and Pace.

CMAP is a relatively new and low-profile agency. It was formed in 2005 when the legislature merged the Chicago Area Transportation Study and the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission.

The RTA has a 16-member board appointed by political leaders from each of the six counties. Five members are appointed by the mayor of Chicago.

In a statement Friday, RTA Executive Director Joe Costello said the merger bill "does not change any of the RTA's responsibilities and will not improve mass transit."

CMAP's 15-member board is appointed by political leaders from seven counties. CMAP's board has discussed the idea of merging with the RTA but has not taken a position on the proposal.

The board, a spokesman said, believes "we need to take a regional approach to funding and (the) provision of transit services."

rwronski@tribune.com

Twitter @richwronski

Justin_Chicago Feb 19, 2013 12:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 6019942)
It’s pretty simple—Jackson-Adams or Jackson-Van Buren isn’t used by as many buses as the Washington-Madison pair.

Most of them probably just walk to work in the Loop—Wacker drive and the River are hardly insurmountable barriers.

It is still a 15-18 minute walk from Union Station to office buildings near Michigan Avenue. The city needs to improve East-West transit for those traveling in by commuter trains. I have been lucky since all of my employers have been located within 2-3 blocks of a redline stop, but if office construction grows westward, I will deal with the same unpleasant walk in the rain and snow for a job in the West Loop.

Mister Uptempo Feb 19, 2013 6:55 PM

Possible Improvements to LaSalle Street Station?
 
I was going through the February, 2013 presentation to the Metra board, which can be found here, and I saw an entry on page 90, under State of Good Repair Projects, which allocates $2.6 million for "LaSalle Street Concourse & Engineering for retail at LaSalle Street Station".

Does anyone have any idea what Metra might have up its sleeve on this one?

Beta_Magellan Feb 19, 2013 7:21 PM

So the General Development thread doesn’t get too off-topic with talk about the proposed tourism initiative, I’ve put my response here.

Where’s the extra capacity on the Blue Line? It’s crush-loaded during peak, and closing off the first carriage to tourists will generally annoy people along the line without bringing in any new revenue. I guess you could conceivably do some kind of ten-car thing, but you’ll still have a train ride that’s just as long as a regular Blue Line ride and won’t be able to get off at a number of stations. And again, if you’re going to add cars to the Blue Line, they’d be better put to use in general commuter service—the city and CTA are already looking into bringing more private money and stuff like DBOM—putting it towards regular service will have a higher ROI than a specific airport service.

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 6020615)
Not even talking about that much money for this. 40M-ish worth of FRA compliant DMUs and a direct connection from the O'hare Transfer station to the new directly adjacent rental car facility and ATS. A crapload cheaper than the ill conceived and executed Blue Line express. However this would require Metra to pull it's head out of it's ass or the city/state to pay Amtrak to operate such a service

If they want to get ambitious and extend directly to the terminals some day that can always be done (but at much greater cost that isn't justified right now).

This is basically my view—the only FRA-compliant DMUs are ancient or untested, so they’re not ideal, but if they’re determined to get an airport express quickly it’s the best option.

Mr Downtown Feb 20, 2013 2:45 PM

Indeed, it's probably faster and easier to do an airport line from Union or Ogilvie over steam road trackage—but that would help reinforce the idea that Canal Street is the center of the office district. It's in the city's long-term interest for Dearborn Street to again become the center of downtown. That was the rationale behind the Block 37 terminal.

emathias Feb 20, 2013 3:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6021824)
Indeed, it's probably faster and easier to do an airport line from Union or Ogilvie over steam road trackage—but that would help reinforce the idea that Canal Street is the center of the office district. It's in the city's long-term interest for Dearborn Street to again become the center of downtown. That was the rationale behind the Block 37 terminal.

Among the non-quick-non-cheap-but-partially-already-prepped options, the Blue Line tunnels do have a stub headed west under Lake Street. If there was interest that could be used as a portal to get trains to/from Block 37 to what you're calling "steam road trackage" ROW. The narrowness of the tunnels would limit your options somewhat, but it would only have to get past one station so there could be creative solutions although keeping the trains compatible with all stations would likely be a preferred option of course.


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