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

Alon Feb 25, 2013 8:52 AM

Airport express services tend to really underperform expectations. People aren't willing to spend that much money on saving 10-20 minutes, and some of those lines are comically underused. Seoul's A'REX is about an order of magnitude short of ridership projections, Shanghai's maglev train is such a failure that the city ended up extending the regular subway to the airport, Heathrow gets more ridership out of the Underground and the regular trains than out of the express train, etc.

But even if projections hold, it's not huge money. If you're spending $1.5 billion today to improve operating income by $36 million a year, that's a 2.4% financial rate of return, which is not high enough to justify investment given the risks except maybe if it's funded by the federal government around now (i.e. a deep recession with low interest rates). The social rate of return is close to zero, whereas it's much higher with the Red Line extension given high ridership, more time saved, a more pressing social justice concern, etc.

Removing city stops from Metra Electric has negative social rate of return. You're speeding up suburban traffic at the cost of service to the parts of the city where high ridership is possible if fares and frequency are aligned with those of the L.

Nexis4Jersey Feb 25, 2013 9:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6027557)
Like they did in 1985? Nobody but me ever was brave enough to put his luggage out of reach.

You should the tourists riding the E Train here , they hold their luggage with a death grip even tho it weighs a ton.... So I doubt overhead racks would be used all that much. Even on the NEC , tourists rarely use the racks....they rather put it on the seat or on their lap.... Overhead racks in general don't get that much use...

Beta_Magellan Feb 25, 2013 1:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Standpoor (Post 6027880)
^
It seems to me that according to that report, the cost of adding passing sidings and such is $771 million (in 2006 dollars) and a whole new alignment would be $1.5 Billion (2006). Both of which would include the direct service to Midway. Am I wrong? I am just curious since Hayward was talking more about upgrading existing blue line infrastructure and not building a whole new alignment.

Oops—still, half the cost for less than 20% of the ridership isn’t a great deal. As Alon noted, the operating figures are a it dodgy, and it’s worth noting that the Business Plan came out in 2006, and Daley was still shopping Blue Line airport service around to private-sector partners through 2010—I’m guessing they weren’t convincing outside of city hall.

So much about the plan doesn’t pass the smell test for me: the high revenue projections what’s just a half-hour trip on the El, memories of Block 37, and the fact that I can’t think of any other metro or light rail systems with high peak frequencies (or any at all, really) running such an operation (which makes me think the effects on Blue Line service has been been understated). As I said before it was a Daley idée fixe, a product of the same enthusiastic-but-uncritical approach to transit that brought us the Circle Line, and the same focus on prestige investments with little return on investment (particularly if we’re looking at social return) as the Olympics.

sammyg Feb 25, 2013 8:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alon (Post 6027902)
Airport express services tend to really underperform expectations. People aren't willing to spend that much money on saving 10-20 minutes, and some of those lines are comically underused. Seoul's

Why do they cost so much if they're underused? If the London Airport Express only cost twice the cost of the tube, I'd use it every time (Even if I had to pay for the tube from Paddington to where I was going).

schwerve Feb 25, 2013 9:07 PM

I never understood the proposed airport express alignment from a practical standpoint. It is the most direct route but as the discussion here clearly shows, the difficulties and costs associated aren't worth the benefits. In my opinion the far more cost effective route would actually be sending both a Midway and O'hare express train aligned along the 290/forest park blue line branch and then north/south along the old crosstown right-of-way. That way you make better use of a significant portion of the capital invest since its used by both express trains. While you add some distance, the time could be made up by less congestion and straighter track with higher speeds.

Ideally, instead of spending money on a "Airport Express" you just revive the Mid-City Transitway proposal with a connection to the forest park blue line branch. That way you're actually spending money on a proper transit line but in doing so plan appropriately for the additional airport express (double track, cross overs, etc, as necessary).

Alon Feb 25, 2013 9:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sammyg (Post 6028502)
Why do they cost so much if they're underused? If the London Airport Express only cost twice the cost of the tube, I'd use it every time (Even if I had to pay for the tube from Paddington to where I was going).

It's possible that the fares are indeed revenue-maximizing once the line is built.

Last time I was in London I didn't even look at the express options. The Piccadilly line got me within a few hundred meters of my hotel and is more frequent than any dedicated airport service, even with all the branching it has at its west end.

k1052 Feb 25, 2013 9:35 PM

We'll have transporters before anything ever becomes of the Crosstown or Mid-City transitway.

schwerve Feb 25, 2013 9:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 6028591)
We'll have transporters before anything ever becomes of the Crosstown or Mid-City transitway.

Its no more or less fantasy than an airport express.

ardecila Feb 26, 2013 2:42 AM

Awesome bridge float:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8235/8...beeb951f_b.jpg
flickr/thestingymuffinman

nomarandlee Feb 26, 2013 8:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6026548)
^And by the time you spend 18 minutes trundling to the far north end of the ATS and transferring, you've lost the time savings provided by nonstop running on Metra tracks.

Not sure you get 18 minutes. This video right now shows its a 9 minute ride from one end of the ATS to the other. Add a few minutes for any extention to the O'hare transfer station I figure it will be 11-12 minutes for the ATS to make its full run in the future.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBYQBi3oT1w

When you figure that a traveler going to T1,T3,T5 would have to walk from the bowels of T2 and take an extended walk or hike it to the ATS at T2 to get to the ticket counters/gates in the other terminals anyway I think its pretty much a wash that one system would have a sizable time savings.

Depending on how nice they made the OHare transfer station terminal connecting to the ATS I think I at least would prefer having the ATS drop me right off at the ticket counters rather then have to walk through the lower corridors of T2 which can be rather dreary and intimidating (for non-residents not familiar with the airport).

Vlajos Feb 27, 2013 8:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6029082)

I saw it this morning, pretty cool!

ardecila Feb 28, 2013 7:16 PM

Tracy Swartz is reporting that CTA will build a "new terminal" for the Red Line south of 95th Street. This raises a lot of questions - expansion or replacement of the existing station? interface with Red Line extension? etc. but provides no clear answers. There's a meeting March 14 to discuss the project at Harlan High School near the project location.

Beta_Magellan Feb 28, 2013 7:47 PM

The environmental assessment is here. Based on the fact that it would increase bus capacity by 24% (and that additional bus service is not planned), it looks like it could indeed substitute for a Red Line extension.

Although I’ve defended an extension here, good for the CTA in doing this—terminal capacity was one of the main arguments for extension, so if they’ve solved this less expensively that’s a good thing. And ridership does fan out in multiple directions from 95th (why original plans had east and west branches) and I could see improvements on Michigan and especially Halsted (which was the highest-ridership, though not preferred due to visuals/sound, alignment for an extension)—if they can consider an el along Halsted they can certainly consider a BRT connector to reduce travel times.

the urban politician Feb 28, 2013 7:59 PM

^ The red line extension just doesn't seem worth it to me.

Chicago is doing very little to expand mass transit, unlike the rest of the nation. One can argue that this is because the city's population isn't growing, so why add new service?

But this doesn't address the fact that portions of the city are growing very rapidly. The central area is becoming less of a terminus for commuters and more of a full service neighborhood in its own right. This can justify more investment, and more resources should be devoted to creating new transit services for this growing community.

ardecila Mar 1, 2013 12:13 AM

Again, I'm not sure we have the kind of development to justify more rail. We've already got the rail system LA is building, and it's not operating at capacity like New York's, DC's, or San Francisco's.

There is indeed a large and growing demand for transit downtown, but we also have a huge infrastructure to serve it - two subways and the Loop, plus four commuter rail terminals. Transit between different parts of downtown is better accomplished by buses, which is why CTA is sinking money into bus lanes with prepaid boarding.

I know it's not sexy, but if we came into a few billion dollars, it needs to go towards rebuilding the north Red/Purple Line and renovating downtown stations. As I mentioned a few pages back, decent transfer facilities at Jackson/Van Buren and State/Lake would be huge, even better than the one at Roosevelt.

k1052 Mar 1, 2013 1:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6033590)
I know it's not sexy, but if we came into a few billion dollars, it needs to go towards rebuilding the north Red/Purple Line and renovating downtown stations. As I mentioned a few pages back, decent transfer facilities at Jackson/Van Buren and State/Lake would be huge, even better than the one at Roosevelt.

As I recall one of the projects Rahm announced was the Washington/Wabash station combination along with the Clart/Division rehab and Cermak station. I think the next major loop station project after that was always supposed to be State/Lake. It would be nice to see an integrated transfer from the Red Line to the loop since the current situation is less than ideal.

Given a larger pot of money I'd like to see rail based circulators to service the River North/Streeterville area and across the loop to Millennium station. There are a significant number of less costly/flashy yet important projects that need to be done to the existing rail system...building a flyover at Clark Junction comes to mind.

emathias Mar 1, 2013 2:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6033590)
Again, I'm not sure we have the kind of development to justify more rail. We've already got the rail system LA is building, and it's not operating at capacity like New York's, DC's, or San Francisco's.

There is indeed a large and growing demand for transit downtown, but we also have a huge infrastructure to serve it - two subways and the Loop, plus four commuter rail terminals. Transit between different parts of downtown is better accomplished by buses, which is why CTA is sinking money into bus lanes with prepaid boarding.

I know it's not sexy, but if we came into a few billion dollars, it needs to go towards rebuilding the north Red/Purple Line and renovating downtown stations. As I mentioned a few pages back, decent transfer facilities at Jackson/Van Buren and State/Lake would be huge, even better than the one at Roosevelt.

There are some areas overserved by bus and underserved by rail.

If you live in east Lincoln Park, it can take 30 minutes to get to the Loop at rush hour. For a neighborhood that's only 2-3 miles from the Loop, that's absurd. If there was a subway, that time could be halved.

A subway that ran along the Lakefront, had a transfer point at Clark/Division, ran through Streeterville, through Grant Park, through the South Loop past McCormick Place to the south Lakefront would be of enormous utility, would get hundreds of buses a day off the roads. If you joined that with a cross-loop subway from the West Loop, you could create routes that serve all sorts of purposes. Then adding things like sending the Pink Line to join a Lakefront line directly along 16th Street, BRT or a tramway on Chicago Ave with underground routing east of Orleans until east of Michigan, and a Clinton Street Subway would really enhance the ability of the Central Area to attract transit riders. Suddenly Lincoln Park would have less cars to worry about, the South Lakefront would gain new residents, conventioneers could get from North Michigan to McCormick without using up all the cabs or clogging the streets with literally hundreds of special-purpose shuttles. What would it cost to do all of that? Less than what L.A. is spending, and we'd probably see dramatic increases in ridership, especially if coupled with serious TOD zoning changes (improvements).

ardecila Mar 1, 2013 2:51 AM

^ Bingo. In the case of Clark Junction, the flat junction constrains capacity more than the stations and signals. Problems at Clark Junction don't require a new subway line to Ravenswood and Albany Park.

I'm not saying there aren't parts of town that could use a new rail line, but it's a cost/benefit thing. We don't have any Second Avenues or even any Wilshires that justify a multi-billion dollar subway. We have lots of places to justify $100 million BRT lines.

Justin_Chicago Mar 1, 2013 3:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6033788)
^ Bingo. In the case of Clark Junction, the flat junction constrains capacity more than the stations and signals. Problems at Clark Junction don't require a new subway line to Ravenswood and Albany Park.

I'm not saying there aren't parts of town that could use a new rail line, but it's a cost/benefit thing. We don't have any Second Avenues or even any Wilshires that justify a multi-billion dollar subway. We have lots of places to justify $100 million BRT lines.

I have a few co-workers that live in Albany Park and their commute to our office building in the East Loop is over an hour. That is absurd. The Brown line should run in a diagonal. I wish the city had funds to bury the elevated line underground.

Emathias and I share the same vision. I hope the recent Hyde Park development results in a CTA line connecting the neighborhood. The Metra Electric is my second least favorite transit line after the Brown line.

BRT is a fiscally responsible idea, but a light rail proposal would be a waste of money in my opinion because it is a glorified bus. I live in a city to avoid owning a car. I expect "rapid" transit and all of my experiences with light rail (Portland, Dallas, Minneapolis etc.) was the contrary.

Mr Downtown Mar 1, 2013 5:25 AM

^Kimball to Washington/Wabash is only 37 minutes. How fast do you think it should be?


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