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bnk Nov 10, 2007 10:24 PM

What is this all about?

http://www.chicagotribune.com/servic...,5140885.story


TRIBUNE EXCLUSIVE: O'Hare stuck with flight cap: FAA decision shocks city, threatens runway project funding

By Jon Hilkevitch

Tribune transportation reporter

November 10, 2007

In an about-face, the Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that a 3-year-old cap on flights into O'Hare International Airport won't be lifted in November 2008, when the first new runway is scheduled to open.

The policy reversal delivers a potential setback to the city's $15 billion expansion plans at O'Hare and could hamper new airline competition that promised to benefit consumers.

During a visit to Chicago, Henry Krakowski, the FAA's new chief of air-traffic operations, told the Tribune that the decision to extend controls on airline arrivals at O'Hare is aimed at keeping flight delays and cancellations in check.

"The new runway will get traffic on and off the airport faster," Krakowski said. But it won't lead to a significant increase in flights, he said.

...

Krakowski's disclosure that the flight caps won't be lifted a year from now took city officials by surprise.

"When flight caps were proposed for O'Hare, the city was assured that they would sunset in 2008," said Karen Pride, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Aviation. Rosemarie Andolino, director of the O'Hare expansion project, said that based on city projections, O'Hare would be able to handle an additional 50,000 flights annually after the first new O'Hare runway opens and an existing runway is extended.

FAA projections were far lower.

"I think we need to sit down with Mr. Krakowski because he is new to this position," Andolino said. "The flight caps are not supposed to be in place for perpetuity."

Robert Everson, the FAA's tactical operations program director in the Midwest, confirmed Krakowski's assessment that the initial airfield changes are designed to address delays, not boost capacity.

"The new runway is going to relieve some congestion, but not all delays are going to go away," Everson said.

...

The FAA originally promised that the O'Hare restrictions, limiting the airlines to a maximum of 88 arrivals per hour, would be eliminated when the first new runway opened as part of an eventual eight-runway reconfiguration of the airfield.

Before the FAA restrictions, the airlines often scheduled as many as 120 arrivals per hour during busy periods. Combined with an equal number of departures, that often created gridlock at the airport and hours-long flight delays in Chicago and elsewhere.

FAA officials said the opening of the first new O'Hare runway, at the north end of the airfield, likely won't increase flights much because of its proximity to several existing runways.

"You really don't get much capacity increase until you go to Phase Two with the next runway on the south end," said Krakowski, a former United executive who was an O'Hare-based captain at the airline for many years.

But so far, the airlines have not agreed to pay for the second portion of O'Hare expansion, citing concerns about construction delays and spiraling costs.

The Daley administration initially said the massive airport project would be finished in 2013. Lacking airline agreements and still fighting airport opponents in court over the relocation of a nearby cemetery, the city has not set a date for the project's completion.

The extension of flight caps would severely complicate Chicago's effort to pay for the O'Hare expansion, which is behind schedule and at least $400 million over budget.

...

:(

DHamp Nov 10, 2007 11:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ginsan2 (Post 3158628)
Why is it that in a city of Chicago's size with so much tax revenue, there's no money left over for transit? Should $6 billion really be such an unachievable figure? Really and truly?

The CTA is part of the RTA (which also runs Pace and Metra serving the suburbs primarily), which is and always has been funded by the STATE not the city. Spread the word because there are a lot of people that think it's the city's fault for not funding the CTA properly, and that's not the case at all.

ginsan2 Nov 11, 2007 12:28 AM

I'm pretty sure Chicago could just pay Detroit to send some mobs to burn down southern Illinois for ya'll ;)

At the very least, MSU probably has a department that handles these sorts of things.

UChicagoDomer Nov 11, 2007 7:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3158674)
I'm gonna ask a somewhat obvious question (or maybe not).

Do y'all think that transit improvements should serve existing development, or dictate new development in low-density areas?


Compare, say, the Carroll Transitway with the Circle Line. The Carroll Transitway serves a huge corridor and provides service to an extremely popular trip - going from the West Loop commuter stations to Streeterville destinations like the Mag Mile and Navy Pier. Currently, the thousands of people per year who make this trip either use bus, taxi, or foot - but they're already making that trip somehow. These thousands of people have effected lots of dense development around the Mag Mile, simply because of their numbers. A few people choose to drive from home to avoid the long trip across the Loop from the Metra stations.

The upside to this type of transit-building is that you have guaranteed high levels of ridership. The downside is that the new transit line won't really serve to increase development levels along its route, since high-density development already exists there. Another downside is that, with heavy, tall buildings over much of the corridor, the route needs to conform to the streetgrid more, which limits your turning radii and makes diagonals very tricky.

The Circle Line, on the other hand, attempts to create a totally new trip type - transferring from Metra lines and CTA lines to other Metra/CTA lines without going downtown. Crosstown trips like this haven't ever been facilitated by Chicago's rail network, which means that for many years, people have avoided rail for crosstown trips, using either buses or driving.

So by building the Circle Line, you are creating a new corridor and a new trip type, and then hoping that people start making that trip. Once the transit line is in place, you then hope that developers latch on to the possibilities and over time, restructure the city to accommodate the new line. These lines can, in essence, be built anywhere. There are infinite possibilities.

The upside is that you can bring development to low-density, perhaps poverty-stricken areas. The construction of new lines is also easier through low-density neighborhoods, since property values are lower. The downside is that you run the risk of low ridership, making the new line a tremendous waste of money.

I think it's great to propose plenty of new CTA and Metra lines that look good on a map, but we all need to remember that the most popular commutes in Chicagoland still lead from outlying areas to downtown. There's plenty of other commutes, but they all have highly-dispersed start and end points that are difficult to serve with transit.


I don't know that the two conceptions of transit (dictate new development vs. serve existing demand) are all that mutually exclusive. Yes, the Circle Line will go to currently underdeveloped urban areas, but the point of the Circle Line as I understand it isn't necessarily to serve those areas. It seems instead that the Circle Line will create transit options for entertainment-tourism purposes rather than just merely the daily commute. It allows the everyday commuter to reach areas of the city that otherwise would have been accessible only with a trip downtown and then back out again. I agree that for those commuting to work everyday, the Circle Line is only of minimal importance and that Daley's Carroll Avenue Plan (which, I believe, is also needed) is much more useful. But Chicago's transformation from industrial city to financial/legal/technological service industry city has also transformed Chicago from backwood Midwestern stockyard city to tourism city. To make the city more accessible to its Euro-toting tourist-shoppers, it should make its transit look more like this:

http://subway.umka.org/map-paris.html

than this:

http://www.lightrailnow.org/facts/fa_sd_2005-map.htm

so, in short, the city needs both Carroll Avenue and the Circle Line (and, for that matter, the Cicero Avenue Mid-City Transitway Line).

Attrill Nov 12, 2007 12:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UChicagoDomer (Post 3160293)
it should make its transit look more like this:
http://subway.umka.org/map-paris.html

than this:
http://www.lightrailnow.org/facts/fa_sd_2005-map.htm

so, in short, the city needs both Carroll Avenue and the Circle Line (and, for that matter, the Cicero Avenue Mid-City Transitway Line).

Or like this.

I think we actually need two circle lines - an inner one that roughly follows the currently proposed route and an outer one that extends the brown line to the Blue line and then follows Cicero down to at least Midway and cuts back to the Red line.

the urban politician Nov 12, 2007 12:24 AM

I think that transit should serve existing development, especially where it would generate a lot of rides, all things considered. I'm not going to get into the whole CTA crisis, but you all know what I"m talking about.

We have office towers sprouting up north of the River, another major hospital coming, more residential & hotel development, and of course tourist attractions (MCA, Navy Pier, etc) which, combined, justify a transit line.

On the flip side, I'm not sure how a new transit line in a less populated area will really spur development if the city doesn't have much of a comprehensive TOD strategy.

Busy Bee Nov 12, 2007 1:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Attrill (Post 3160730)
Or like this.

I think we actually need two circle lines - an inner one that roughly follows the currently proposed route and an outer one that extends the brown line to the Blue line and then follows Cicero down to at least Midway and cuts back to the Red line.

Agreed. Now we just need a few more billion on top of the 5-8 we already are pleading for.

ardecila Nov 12, 2007 1:56 AM

It's been repeated many times - money for expansion comes from the Feds. Money for operating comes from locally-collected sales taxes, ticket sales, and other sources (including, unfortunately, state bailouts).

The Feds also fund major renovation projects (like the Brown Line) that involve large amounts of construction, and increase capacity.

Guys, I'll put it to you this way: if we ever want to see something that remotely resembles the L network we've dreamed up, then CTA needs to find a way to lower construction costs. It's as simple as that. Hire foreign labor, relax the weird ADA interpretations, and stop building huge expensive new stations when small, conservative ones will do. As the cost of our transit proposals goes down, their likelihood goes up.

Let's see - assuming CTA can cobble up the land that's needed for the Carroll Busway, construction shouldn't require more than 40 or 50 million. Cincinnati is building a streetcar line with 4 miles of track, overhead wire, 18 stops, 6 streetcars, and a maintenance facility for $88 million (and that includes a 20% safety factor!). The sheer cost of new construction in Chicago is appalling.

OhioGuy Nov 12, 2007 3:29 AM

Anyone know how soon the Montrose & Addison brown line stations will be reopening? They closed down in early December last year and reconstruction was suppose to take 12 months. I would assume we're just 3 weeks away, but I haven't heard if everything is on schedule. I'm also curious if there is any word as to when the Damen stop will be closing down? Will it be as soon as Montrose reopens? When it does I'll have to start using the Western stop (fortunately it's only an extra 2 block walk compared to the Damen stop for me).

ardecila Nov 12, 2007 6:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3161043)
I would assume we're just 3 weeks away, but I haven't heard if everything is on schedule.

Yup, everything is on schedule. Everything you mentioned will happen.

Nov. 8th CTA Press Release

Marcu Nov 12, 2007 7:31 AM

Great News. Cheaper flights and more money for expansion.
 
O'HARE | Limits set to expire as planned: FAA

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/6...-FAA11.article

"The report is wrong," said FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory. "We have had no change. The rule has always stated that the caps are in place until Oct. 31, 2008, [and] they're scheduled to be lifted in October of 2008 as planned."

Marcu Nov 12, 2007 7:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3160880)
The sheer cost of new construction in Chicago is appalling.

The bids coming in suggest there's a very high probability of antitrust behavior. There definitely needs to be an investigation.

k1052 Nov 12, 2007 3:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3160880)
Let's see - assuming CTA can cobble up the land that's needed for the Carroll Busway, construction shouldn't require more than 40 or 50 million. Cincinnati is building a streetcar line with 4 miles of track, overhead wire, 18 stops, 6 streetcars, and a maintenance facility for $88 million (and that includes a 20% safety factor!). The sheer cost of new construction in Chicago is appalling.

The largest (most expensive) hurdle is going to be the river crossing. The clearance of the existing rail bridge is too low to allow river traffic to clear when in the down position. They are either going to have to demo the existing structure and build a new bridge (Like they had to do at Kinzie) with higher clearance or go under the river.

VivaLFuego Nov 12, 2007 3:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3160880)
Guys, I'll put it to you this way: if we ever want to see something that remotely resembles the L network we've dreamed up, then CTA needs to find a way to lower construction costs. It's as simple as that. Hire foreign labor, relax the weird ADA interpretations, and stop building huge expensive new stations when small, conservative ones will do. As the cost of our transit proposals goes down, their likelihood goes up.

The politicians who fund such things are the only ones with the power to allow such cost-saving measures in construction.

VivaLFuego Nov 12, 2007 3:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 3161697)
The largest (most expensive) hurdle is going to be the river crossing. The clearance of the existing rail bridge is too low to allow river traffic to clear when in the down position. They are either going to have to demo the existing structure and build a new bridge (Like they had to do at Kinzie) with higher clearance or go under the river.

Yeah....$40-50 mil is way low....costs to procure the vehicles alone will probably be close to that much. The bridge would probably be another $50-100 million (since the old one has to be removed). Station facilities would likely run in the ballpark of $10 mil each for the easy ones, anything requiring excavation or significant utility relocation could be more. Then there's integration with the existing traffic control (signal) systems. Upgrades to maintenance facilities to deal with the new vehicles. Systemwide signage (don't scoff, this is expensive....several million $). Plus, much of the construction has to take place without interuption to the local surroundings....such mitigation factors (for noise, dust, and traffic impacts) will be expensive in their own right, not to mention make the project schedule longer and therefore more expensive. Including overhead costs for architectural services and construction management, I don't see how the thing could possibly come in under $200mil. Likely it would cost in the $300m range for BRT. LRT would be more because of the power delivery infrastructure and signalling costs; would probably require a new substation and of course higher-voltage utility lines.

honte Nov 12, 2007 7:21 PM

^ I am nearly positive that this Kinzie bridge was included in the City's landmark designation of old rail bridges not long ago. :tup: So, it probably will have to be worked around when the circulator comes into play.

k1052 Nov 12, 2007 9:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3162111)
^ I am nearly positive that this Kinzie bridge was included in the City's landmark designation of old rail bridges not long ago. :tup: So, it probably will have to be worked around when the circulator comes into play.

There would be no room to go around on the western side without demolishing that set of older townhouses, Fulton House, or Riverbend.

As the owner of a unit in Riverbend I don't endorse the latter.;)

VivaLFuego Nov 12, 2007 9:22 PM

Well, rehabbing the bridge would probably be somewhat similar in cost to removing it and performing all-new construction. Given costs for other bridges along the river, something close to $40 mil for design and construction for that bridge seems reasonable; bridges along the north branch no longer have to lift, correct?

k1052 Nov 12, 2007 9:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3162348)
Well, rehabbing the bridge would probably be somewhat similar in cost to removing it and performing all-new construction. Given costs for other bridges along the river, something close to $40 mil for design and construction for that bridge seems reasonable; bridges along the north branch no longer have to lift, correct?

The cost of the new North Avenue bridge is estimated at 20ish million. Assuming it overruns (like almost all projects do) say 25-30 million to replace the rail bridge. That also assumes approval can be secured to remove the existing structure.

Edit: Yes no lifting required anymore. The bridge at Grand is now bolted together and I think they only managed it to lift for the inspection by praying to Allah, God, Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, and sacrificing a small goat.

OhioGuy Nov 12, 2007 11:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3161353)
Yup, everything is on schedule. Everything you mentioned will happen.

Nov. 8th CTA Press Release

They have signs up in the Damen station now with information. I hadn't been on the brown line for a couple weeks. Thanks for pointing out the press release though. :)

I had a nice pleasant surprise today while riding the brown line from Lakeview back to Lincoln Square. We didn't have to slow down to go through the Southport construction zone! My little trip only required a slow down through the Addison construction. Otherwise both Montrose & Southport we flew through. I was quite happy! :banana: I'll be even happier if they can run trains just as quickly through the construction zones at Damen & Irving Park as they consistently maintained through the Montrose construction. My fingers are crossed.


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