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

ardecila Apr 23, 2007 9:07 PM

The Pink Line was an excuse to get CTA to rebuild the Paulina Connector between the Green Line and Blue Line. This is the first phase of the Circle Line that Kruesi wanted to build.

Also, the Cermak branch of the Blue Line was being rebuilt at the time, and CTA saw an opportunity to score come political capital (by better serving Lawndale/Cicero) while pushing the Circle Line a bit farther along at the same time.

I wonder how the next phase of the Circle Line will be used once it's done.

MayorOfChicago Apr 23, 2007 9:52 PM

Plus, the Pink Line got to let them scream - LOOK AT THE NEW TRANSIT LINE WE'RE OPENING FOR YOU!!!!

nomarandlee Apr 23, 2007 10:56 PM

CTA to expand bus-GPS system
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

CTA to expand bus-GPS system

By Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune transportation reporter
Published April 23, 2007, 3:33 PM CDT

The Chicago Transit Authority board today decided to move ahead with a system that will allow customers to track the location of every bus on the street.

The Bus Tracker system, which has been tested on an experimental basis on the No. 20 Madison route, will allow customers to use their computers or mobile devices to access an Internet site that will tell them the exact location of the next bus on any route in the system.

Success with the GPS-based technology and positive feedback from riders on the Madison route prompted the board to approve about $25 million in contracts to equip the entire 1,900-bus fleet with the devices. The system will update every 15 seconds.

The CTA expects to expand the service to cover all North Side bus routes in the vicinity of the three-track operations on the Red, Brown and Purple Lines by this summer. It should be fully deployed in other areas by 2008.

With this move, the CTA will begin to replace an unproductive and outmoded method that depends on bus supervisors with pens and clipboards to monitor bus traffic. Chicago would be the first city to deploy the technology citywide.



Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Mr Downtown Apr 23, 2007 11:00 PM

Here's my understanding of the situation: Having been convinced to spend Illinois First money on the Paulina Connector, RTA insisted on having it used in revenue service. Never mind that half the Pink Line's running time is spent on lines that need no additional capacity (or in fact have too many trains already, such as the Loop L). Never mind that not a single new station was served. Never mind that CTA was short of operating funds already.

But certain staff members were so invested in the idea that it will be difficult to get them to objectively assess the results for board review.

mikeelm Apr 23, 2007 11:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago (Post 2788166)
I think a lot of it has to do with the northside branches that are falling apart are ones moving 185,000 people every day into downtown for work. Not just that it's white people. Not to mention the blue line to O'hare. Such an embarrassment for the tens of thousands of visitors who use that line each summer when on vacation.

What do you mean not that's it's just white people?

ardecila Apr 23, 2007 11:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 2788956)
Here's my understanding of the situation: Having been convinced to spend Illinois First money on the Paulina Connector, RTA insisted on having it used in revenue service. Never mind that half the Pink Line's running time is spent on lines that need no additional capacity (or in fact have too many trains already, such as the Loop L). Never mind that not a single new station was served. Never mind that CTA was short of operating funds already.

But certain staff members were so invested in the idea that it will be difficult to get them to objectively assess the results for board review.

Exactly. Here's just another example of the politics that come into play with everything in this city.

I wonder - would it save money if the Pink and Brown lines were consolidated and through-routed around the Loop? We could call it "The Brink" and have some cool marketing campaign for it. But seriously, would it reduce operating costs?

brian_b Apr 24, 2007 12:02 AM

I happen to really like the Pink Line, mainly because I live a block from the Clinton Pink/Green station and the addition effectively doubled the frequency of trains. It's really nice!

brian_b Apr 24, 2007 12:19 AM

By the way, does anyone know the actual operations increase of the Pink Line? Remember that it is nothing more than a rerouting of existing train service. But I thought the CTA did add some more Blue Line trains to make up for the rerouting. Anyone know how many, and how the ridership is doing?

VivaLFuego Apr 24, 2007 3:19 AM

We'll also see what Huberman has to say about Pink, since I think going back to the old blue line routing is an easy way to save a few million a year without a significant ridership loss. Kruesi's modus operandi was to maintain and expand service levels wherever possible to expand ridership, which is why year after year he proposed budgets with deficits and budgets with capital funds diverted to operating where possible. It's incredible (both in good and bad ways, of course) that in his (relatively) long tenure at CTA, he never once cut service, and in fact expanded it significantly, despite the structural funding problem. Just aobut every other CTA President over the past 25 years oversaw substantial reductions in levels of service (partially due to the funding situation and partially due to reduced demand for transit caused by flight from the city).

A manager/business type would have cut service every year.....2% one year, 6% the next, etc, cuts that would mostly be felt by transit riders, until suddenly the system was shrunk so far, and commuting patterns diverging from transit so much, that there was simply very little transit constituency left to care about providing any sort of widespread transit (at least, that was the "Kruesi School of Transit Management"). Do you think Kruesi wasn't aware of the decades of service cuts and plummeting ridership, going hand in hand to culminate in King Daley saying in 1996 that public transit's constituency is no more?

The converse argument is that if the entire system were well maintained and reliable (i.e. not diverting capital funds to operating or to expansions), then it becomes easier to make the case for increased funding for expanded service when the demand develops for it. It's partially a question of whether quality/quantity transit induces demand, or if demand for transit is out of the transit agency's control.

Going back to the Pink Line, instituting the new routing with the accompanying service increases on 2 lines (Forest Park Blue AND Cermak Pink) that still never see a crush load a single time all week, is trademark Kruesi. And I assume (perhaps incorrectly; time will tell) that Huberman will have a much more down-to-earth view of things; stick to the basics, do what is reasonably possible to trim services in a way that impacts the fewest riders, etc. Huberman's reputation tells me we'll see significant revisions to 2008: several pet bus routes that serve few people and are otherwise largely duplicated (129, 38, etc.) would be cut, and the parts of the system with service levels that are much too high (many bus routes, the Cermak and Forest Park and South Green Lines) would see some level of service reduction, all in order to save significant money (potentially $10+ million) with very little ridership loss.

Perhaps it's what Chicago needs; or perhaps, as Kruesi feared, less service will mean less riders, and fewer constituents demanding transit service.

honte Apr 24, 2007 4:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian_b (Post 2789120)
I happen to really like the Pink Line, mainly because I live a block from the Clinton Pink/Green station and the addition effectively doubled the frequency of trains. It's really nice!

I really like it too. I've taken it on several occasions, while I hardly ever took the old Cermak branch. I think once the circle line is built, it will be a real asset.

The key to making it work, though, would be to institute a real transfer station where it crosses the Blue Line at the Eisenhower. I figured they would be trying to do this with the circle line anyway.

As a complete transit novice, I happen to agree with VivaL's last hypothesis (the Kruesi line of thinking): More lines = more options = more ridership.

Rail Claimore Apr 25, 2007 6:59 AM

^I'm a regular pink-line user as well, and it's shortened many of my trips to the north and northwest sides. And as for getting to school, I primarily use the #7.

VivaLFuego Apr 25, 2007 4:24 PM

The Pink certainly makes the whole Douglas branch more accessible. When it was just the Blue Line, the Douglas had 13 minute PEAK headways and nearly 20 minute off peak headways, which is much less pleasant than the 8 minute peak and 10-12 minute off-peak headways that the Pink has. It's really just a question of money; more train runs equals more money to pay operators, more money on vehicle maintenance since you're adding more miles, etc.

Chicago3rd Apr 27, 2007 8:15 PM

CTA Fullerton Construction Photos
 
I am a geek and find it very interesting!

http://wilbsnodgrassiii.smugmug.com/...47385356-M.jpg
http://wilbsnodgrassiii.smugmug.com/...47385357-M.jpg

Old northbound verses the new northbound platform:
http://wilbsnodgrassiii.smugmug.com/...47385370-L.jpg

http://wilbsnodgrassiii.smugmug.com/...47385377-L.jpg

http://wilbsnodgrassiii.smugmug.com/...47385392-M.jpg

http://wilbsnodgrassiii.smugmug.com/...47385408-L.jpg

Chicago Shawn Apr 27, 2007 9:05 PM

^cool pics.


ArteVandelay, I would like to commend the good work you and your crew are doing on the Blue Line. The slow zone between Grand and Chicago is fixed and the train now has a quick 40 second smooth glide between those two stations. I was so happy that I could have shit a brick yesterday morning. Keep up the good work!

Chicago3rd Apr 27, 2007 9:15 PM

^^I have had the best brownline commutes in my 36 months of using it. Hope we can stay a 3 track system! ;-) So thanks CTA!

VivaLFuego Apr 27, 2007 9:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 2800202)
^^I have had the best brownline commutes in my 36 months of using it. Hope we can stay a 3 track system! ;-) So thanks CTA!

Yes, it's very funny how running times, in both directions for Red, and at least southbound for Brown, all decreased after the implementation of 3-track. Hmm.

The subway work is progressing bit by bit. You guys should also notice that there is new lighting in the northbound tunnel of the Red Line subway, at least between Lake and North/Clybourn, soon to be installed southbound as well. I think the plan is for most or all of the wooden ties on the Blue (from Grand north to the portal) and Red (from Lake to North/Clybourn) to be replaced with concrete and thereby completely removing slow zones (but don't quote me on the exact locations, though I know it's already underway in the Blue line).

At this point, the thing we should all be terrified of is if the General Assembly doesn't come up with a new revenue source for transit operating funds (or worse yet, if the General Assembly passes a revenue package that doesn't include transit, meaning transit won't get anything for years). The city would very seriously be looking at an armageddon scenario that would make us beg for the Doomsday budget from a couple years ago.

ArteVandelay Apr 27, 2007 9:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 2800168)
I would like to commend the good work you and your crew are doing on the Blue Line.

Muchos Gracias. The track down there was in horrible shape and has seen a lot of improvements recently. Still lot of work to be done down there though - half tie replacements will hit that area in full force in the next few weeks, so brace yourself for nightly single tracks and occasional full 50 hour weekend single tracks. Couple months though and everyone should be zipping between those two stations 24/7 for a long time. Finally.


BTW - I love seeing the CTA progress pics just like all the different skyscraper progress photos. Keep em coming.

Chicago3rd Apr 27, 2007 10:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2800265)
Yes, it's very funny how running times, in both directions for Red, and at least southbound for Brown, all decreased after the implementation of 3-track. Hmm.

Well, shelfishly I can say having three stations down between Western and Belmont on the Brown line has helped.

Also, the trains heading north no longer have to wait for one another at Belmont or Fullerton and when we get the 4th track back..that is something that CTA and GPS needs to continue.

I noticed that some of the ridership culture has changed too. More people are moving into the middle of the train right away. More people are getting up sooner to depart from the trains. Haven't had as many people holding doors either (I say $500) tickets for that 5 seconds delay times 1,000 people folks (83 minutes)...time adds up.

Note no reference to CTA and the GA. It is Friday....70-80F this weekend. And I agree with you on that. So I don't want to start my weekend off with a rant.

OhioGuy Apr 27, 2007 11:10 PM

The brown line is running on a decent schedule, though I haven't really noticed much progress on the Montrose & Addision stations over the past few months. Whenever I'm on the train going through those two areas, the most workers I've ever seen was *maybe* 5 (and that's only happened on about 2 occasions). Oh well. As long as they're finished by the end of the year (construction was suppose to take 12 months: December '06 - December '07), I guess that's all that matters.

nomarandlee May 2, 2007 12:01 PM

New boss vows lean CTA
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...-newslocal-hed

New boss vows lean CTA
Staff cuts, service upgrades part of bid for state money, he says

By Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune transportation reporter
Published May 2, 2007

New CTA President Ron Huberman said he will launch a major management shake-up tied to a reform effort to convince state legislators that the transit agency is cutting waste and deserves a funding bailout this year.

Huberman, whose City Hall nomination to the post was approved 7-0 Tuesday by the transit agency's board, said everyone from top managers down to bus drivers and rail station janitors will be given a chance to prove there is a place for them at a leaner, more efficiently run and customer-focused CTA.

But pink slips will be handed out, Huberman said in a Tribune interview on the eve of his appointment to succeed Frank Kruesi. The Chicago Transit Authority will be transformed into a performance-based organization, starting with changes in management, he said.

"We will be doing a lot of slashing," said Huberman, who has served as Mayor Richard Daley's chief of staff for the last two years. He previously directed the city's 911 center and worked on technology and policy issues in the Police Department. As CTA president, he will earn $198,000 a year, according to agency spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney.

"There will be changes in the CTA management team...
. I want people who are willing to give me very long days and weekends," Huberman said.

"Those who meet the goals we will be looking to promote. Those people who can't perform -- it doesn't matter who they are and who they know -- simply will not be able to stay on the bus, so to speak," he said.

CTA Chairwoman Carole Brown said Tuesday that she looked forward to Huberman's "fresh perspective" on solving the agency's problems. Brown denied reports of a personality conflict between her and Huberman and said she would stay on as chairwoman for as long as she remained effective.

Borrowing an idea that retail businesses have used to measure customer satisfaction, Huberman said teams of people posing as commuters will be launched in an expansion of the city's "mystery shopping program." The tool has been used to gauge how quickly city departments respond to complaints ranging from potholes to contracting practices.

"Mystery shopping" will be used at the CTA to help determine how well the agency is serving riders' needs, Huberman said.

"We will be getting on buses and trains, walking up to customer service counters and measuring the experience, then taking corrective action wherever we find problems," he said.

Huberman said his priority will be improving customers' experience of riding trains and buses by focusing on consistent service, cleanliness and courtesy.

He said Daley made it clear those are the agency's top goals when the mayor invited Huberman to dinner a few weeks ago to ask him to straighten out the CTA.

After that meal, Huberman said he hung up his car keys and has been riding buses and trains to commute from his North Side home.

Huberman, 35, appeared undaunted when reminded by a reporter that Kruesi's mantra to CTA employees for 9 1/2 years was to provide service that is " on time, clean, safe and friendly" -- a standard that Daley made clear to Huberman has not been achieved.

Huberman said that like Kruesi, he will ride the system regularly.

But Huberman, who favors a military-style haircut and power neckties with his suits, as opposed to Kruesi's trademark yellow jacket and Dennis the Menace coiffure, said: "Do not expect to see a CTA map on my tie" -- a reference to the other staple of Kruesi's wardrobe.

Huberman said his lack of a transit background or familiarity with the CTA are positives that will allow him to come in with a fresh perspective and introduce a dramatic overhaul without flinching, changes he expects will be applauded in Springfield.

"I don't really know the story behind the story on why certain things are the way they are, which I think is really healthy," he said. "It gives me the opportunity to see things exactly how our customers see them."

He vowed, starting this week, to go through the CTA budget line by line and "cut costs wherever possible in significant ways."

His first trip to meet lawmakers in Springfield is already set for Wednesday, Huberman's first full day on the job.

The CTA faces a $110 million operating shortfall this year if new state funding is not provided. Agency officials said they are preparing service cuts and possible fare increases that could take effect as early as July.

The CTA system also has unmet capital-improvement needs of $5.8 billion.

Huberman said Tuesday that his primary focus will be to cut costs internally -- starting with the layers of CTA administrators -- before considering raising fares.

"We need to put together a package for Springfield that shows there are internal management reforms that are going to happen," Huberman said.

However, he said the CTA cannot manage itself out of the problem of inadequate funding. He said the CTA, as well as Metra and Pace, still need more money to maintain the current system, improve operations and expand the regional transit system for future growth.

But he is talking the talk that officials in Springfield haven't heard enough of from the CTA.

"There is a lot on the management side that we plan to do to improve consistency across the line," Huberman said. "It is not purely dependent on capital and operations funding increases."

----------

jhilkevitch@tribune.com



Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune


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