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VivaLFuego Mar 22, 2006 6:03 PM

CHICAGO: Transit Developments
 
Score. The south lakeshore is a long-neglected part of the metro area.

Connect Mar 22, 2006 10:19 PM

Only 15 more passengers??? Maybe they should just buy a couple more standard cars and increase the headway or attach them to the existing trains. I bet a double decker costs alot more than a single.

Busy Bee Mar 23, 2006 11:38 PM

This is great news. More variety the better. It might never be like the days of interurban lines and coach lines crisscrossing the midwest again, not to mention the multitude of mainline passenger trains, but this is a start. Any ground transportation options, in addition to rail, that make it easier to travel without a car between cities I applaud. This express bus will be particularly useful for young students and travelers, like is so common in Europe.

spyguy Mar 24, 2006 12:55 AM

This idea is pretty cool, and awesome that it's coming over from the UK to Chicago. I really hope it does well, and if it does they'll introduce double deckers which will be fun to look at.

Images from website
http://img60.imageshack.us/img60/224...sengers5lf.jpg
http://img60.imageshack.us/img60/461...usfront7jy.jpg http://img60.imageshack.us/img60/589...busback4lb.jpg
http://img60.imageshack.us/img60/425...themove7hl.jpg

brian_b Mar 24, 2006 1:40 AM

Excellent news for both the South Shore and MegaBus!

As for why the South Shore doesn't just add rail cars... On some of their Indiana stops, the trains are already too long. You'll sometimes hear an announcement saying you have to move to the front or back cars if you want to get off at a certain stop.

Steely Dan Mar 24, 2006 6:01 AM

i was just checking out megabus' website, and it looks like if you book early enough, you can get a one-way ticket to milwaukee for a buck! that means a daytrip up to milwaukee will set you back 2 measely friggin dollars, how sweet is that? take that amtrak, and your obscene 40 dollar chicago-milwaukee roundtrip train ticket.

when this service starts up, we're gonna have to set-up a chicago invasion forum meet up in brew city. shit, for two bucks, i'm gonna be making daytrips up there once a month.

nomarandlee Mar 24, 2006 2:09 PM

I love the idea of the Megabus but I was looking at their time tables and man they are slowwww. Not any slower then Greyhound I am sure but they sure as heck ain't doing 75mph with those times. They go right through and dont make stops right? I can't understand why it would take 3h45m to get to Indy. The 1h45m ride to Milwaukee seems pretty reasonable though.

Steely Dan Mar 24, 2006 3:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee
They go right through and dont make stops right? I can't understand why it would take 3h45m to get to Indy.

one word: TRAFFIC

they've got to factor traffic into their scheduling. sure, if they made all their runs at 3 in the morning, it'd be no sweat to get to indy faster, but sometimes just getting out of chicagoland takes a shitload of time.

Chicago Shawn Mar 24, 2006 6:41 PM

Dude this megabus thing is so fucking cool! I saw the ads on the blue line last night. I will surley be using this for weekend trips to other cities, St. Louis and Cleveland are both on my must see to do list. They just need to add a route up to Rockford for my moma visits and I'll be living on cloud 9. Living in Chicago without a car just got easier! :banana:

VivaLFuego Mar 24, 2006 9:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn
Dude this megabus thing is so fucking cool! I saw the ads on the blue line last night. I will surley be using this for weekend trips to other cities, St. Louis and Cleveland are both on my must see to do list. They just need to add a route up to Rockford for my moma visits and I'll be living on cloud 9. Living in Chicago without a car just got easier! :banana:

If theyre going after the college crowd, they should consider weekend/seasonal service to places like Champaign, Bloomington (IL and IN), Madison, Iowa, Ann Arbor as well.

spyguy Mar 24, 2006 9:33 PM

^YES. That's a great idea (especially Champaign and Bloomington) which will definitely be used by college kids with luggage who can then board the CTA or Metra to get home once in Chicago.

Busy Bee Mar 24, 2006 10:34 PM

That's true. Right now between ISU(Bloomington,IL), I think Peoria Charter Coach and a thing called Suburban Express cover most of the "college kids taking the bus home" scene. I don't think either of them go downtown though. I think they go to Scumburg and O'Hare and Midway Airports.

Robert Pence Mar 25, 2006 12:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lukecuj
Booming South Shore Line to add rail cars
The double-deckers being considered would hold 148 passengers -- 15 more than current cars. Changes would have to be made at some stations to accommodate passengers on the higher level.

I'll bet the 133-passenger capacity of existing cars is based on the trailers with 3-2 seating and no restrooms. Those were a bad idea; you can board a train that is full of standees, and in those cars almost all the middle seats (about 26) will be unoccupied. Just look at one of those seats, and you'll get a look from the people on either side that lets you know you could die for just thinking about it. I suppose it's because the seats are narrow.

If the double-deckers provide better-quality seating they'd probably be utilized better, allowing more passengers to sit rather than stand. That would be a plus. The existing cars with 3-2 seating should be refitted with more comfortable 2-2 seating.

South Shore has added a lot of double track west of Dune Park. It might be a good idea to add some express service during peak hours; say, Randoph, Van Buren, Hammond, East Chicago, Dune Park, Michigan City, with alternate expresses stopping at Hegewisch instead of Hammond and Ogden Dunes instead of Dune Park.

I think they'd benefit, too, by installing 4-quadrant crossing gates along the long straightaway west of Michigan City and raising speeds. The cars are capable of 80 - 90 mph (I've seen 90 on the speed indicator in the cab), and much of the track is good for that kind of speed, but typical running speeds are in the 70 mph range. They need to provide better right-of-way protection between Bendix and the South Bend airport so they can make decent speeds between the airport station and the main line. Now, they crawl at car-traffic speeds or slower on that stretch.

brian_b Mar 25, 2006 12:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steely Dan
one word: TRAFFIC

they've got to factor traffic into their scheduling. sure, if they made all their runs at 3 in the morning, it'd be no sweat to get to indy faster, but sometimes just getting out of chicagoland takes a shitload of time.

And as part of the TRAFFIC, surely they are taking the Dan Ryan reconstruction for the next two years into account. That alone is probably adding 45 minutes to an hour to every trip southeast of Chicago.

architect1 Mar 25, 2006 12:50 AM

I think its a cool and good Idea. id like to see the dubble deckers more around hear.

brian_b Mar 26, 2006 5:11 PM

Chicago has partnered with a research firm to survey West Loop residents about the proposed Carrol Ave light rail line. They are sliding surveys under doors all over the West Loop...

Anyway... The survey includes a map with the proposed line.

I don't have a scanner, so I made a Google map of it:
http://www.brianbauer.org/maps/Proposal.html

spyguy Mar 26, 2006 5:24 PM

The one you made is probably better than just a fixed map :)

LA21st Mar 26, 2006 5:31 PM

Whoa. Now that would be something. Can you imagine all the tourists going from the West Loop transportation centers to Navy Pier/Michigan Ave?

wanderer34 Mar 26, 2006 5:36 PM

The South Shore needs the development, not to mention a supertall. Does this Megabus really cost a dollar??? It sounds similar to the Chinatown bus in the NE.

ChiArchie Mar 27, 2006 5:32 AM

Michigan Ave Line Really
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by brian_b
Chicago has partnered with a research firm to survey West Loop residents about the proposed Carrol Ave light rail line. They are sliding surveys under doors all over the West Loop...

Anyway... The survey includes a map with the proposed line.

I don't have a scanner, so I made a Google map of it:
http://www.brianbauer.org/maps/Proposal.html

From the looks of the skematic the old freight bridge by the Mart will be reused. I can't imagine how often that thing would have to raised and lowered in the summer (damn architecture tours ;) ).

But I'm guessing that bridge was fixed years ago, so a new one would be in order. Geez that just sounds like a billion dollars not to mention another loop flood.

But getting from the train stations to the Mag Mile via light rail would be much better than that silly trolley currently in use.

HK Chicago Mar 27, 2006 6:11 AM

The megabus is cool because the region needs better direction connections, and it's nice to see Chicago recognized as the hub... all part of the plan to absorb the other cities into the empire's hinterland.

They should just double their service fee and say tickets for $2, that asterisk immediately made me think of worse terms than $.50.

Rivernorth Mar 27, 2006 8:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian_b
Chicago has partnered with a research firm to survey West Loop residents about the proposed Carrol Ave light rail line. They are sliding surveys under doors all over the West Loop...

Anyway... The survey includes a map with the proposed line.

I don't have a scanner, so I made a Google map of it:
http://www.brianbauer.org/maps/Proposal.html

isnt the Ogden Avenue streetcar supposed to use the Carrol Ave ROW to connect the west side with the west loop train stations and navy pier/michigan avenue? i guess it could be the same project...

also, that link just takes me to a google map of chicago, with nothing about a train line added to it...

spyguy Mar 27, 2006 2:38 PM

^Hmm, maybe its your browser? When I view the map I get a blue/purple line marking the route.

---------
This is about CREATE

http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...i-business-hed

Railroads on track to revival
Freight boom benefits Chicago; tie-ups show infrastructure needs

By Greg Burns

Tribune senior correspondent
Published March 27, 2006

As a 1 1/2-mile-long freight train rumbled past a towering stack of green containers marked "China Shipping" last week, Neil Doyle, aboard his CenterPoint Properties helicopter, swooped in for a closer look.

"That line right there is L.A. to Chicago," he told a pair of Wal-Mart executives riding with him just above one of the world's busier train yards in far southwest suburban Elwood.

After generations of job cuts, consolidation and retrenchment, an old industry is growing anew. Railroads have become hot properties, hauling not only the familiar cargo of coal, grain and domestic products but also the mountain of goods pouring into California ports from Asian factories.

Huge investments in tracks, locomotives, electronic switches and sprawling facilities such as the Elwood hub at the former Joliet Arsenal suddenly make good sense as demand surges and railroad stocks soar.

Chicago stands to reap benefits. Railroads practically created the city in its early days, and it remains the point where East meets West and all six major freight lines come together before heading off again.

An estimated one-third of U.S rail cargo, from corn to clothing, flows through the tangle of track that covers the map of Chicago and its collar counties like spaghetti--creating notorious traffic jams along the way. Trains that take two days to arrive from California might take another two to go a few miles through the Chicago bottleneck.

The industry's boom underscores the need for better infrastructure, but it also raises questions about how much taxpayers should chip in. An ambitious public-private plan that targets the worst of Chicago's train-track entanglements got only a fraction of the federal funding its boosters expected in last year's pork-laden transportation bill.

While the project would help the public by shortening commuting times, improving safety at intersections and reducing exhaust emissions, the $1.5 billion cost presents a big barrier.

"Railroads are the primary economic beneficiaries," said John Gates, retired co-chairman of CenterPoint, which is developing the Joliet Arsenal site. "It's a difficult project for the public sector."

For years, the railroads have threatened to divert traffic from the area to avoid its congestion, but those threats ring hollow in the face of recent investments confirming Chicago's status as the centerpiece of the nation's rail system.

In a matter of months, CSX Corp. is expected to announce plans for another big hub in southern Cook County, industry sources say. That's on top of Union Pacific's giant new hub in Rochelle, Ill., and less-conspicuous local projects undertaken by other lines as well.

At the Joliet Arsenal site run by BNSF Railway Co., which includes the old Burlington Northern and Santa Fe lines, expansion continues on a vast scale.

Last week, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez toured the facility, telling a hometown crowd, "You've got a great advantage." He also voiced confidence in the economy despite the loss of manufacturing jobs in the face of overseas competition.

"This is the future," said Gutierrez, former chief executive of cereal-maker Kellogg Co. "It's all about trading with the rest of the world. This is the best example I can think of."

Construction expands facility

Outside the warehouse where he spoke, construction hummed at a 3.4 million-square-foot Wal-Mart distribution center slated to open this summer. At the rail yard surrounding it, BNSF expects to handle 800,000 containers this year, up from 275,000 in 2004. It might do a million next year, said John Clement Jr., the railroad's senior manager of hub operations.

"We are ahead of the growth," he said. "We know what's coming. We're going to spend the money so we can be there for ourselves and our customers."

The Association of American Railroads expects that this year the major freight lines will invest a record $8.2 billion in new track, buying equipment and improving infrastructure, up more than 20 percent from a strong 2005.

It's a historic shift after many decades when railroads couldn't make enough money to cover their cost of borrowing it, which discouraged capital spending in one of the more capital-intensive businesses.

"My railroad for the first time in maybe half a century will earn its cost of capital," noted Chicagoan Robert Krebs, retired chief executive of BNSF. "It's a vibrant company now."

Though some believe the current railroad boom represents the peak of an economic cycle, others see a longer-term change. After 90 years, the railroads finally have run out of excess capacity. That in turn has restored their ability to raise rates, according to James Valentine, a research analyst for Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley.

"These positive trends in pricing and better returns are likely to continue for years, maybe decades," Valentine said.

Because "all roads lead to Chicago," he added, the region will get a generous slice. "It should receive a disproportionate benefit from the railroads' resurgence."

To a degree, the industry owes today's recovery to a drastic deregulation plan implemented a quarter-century ago.

The 1980 Staggers Rail Act came in the midst of severe financial troubles for the industry.

The government had prevented railroads from setting their rates, closing unprofitable tracks and consolidating networks. Service was terrible, and long-haul truckers gained market share.

Deregulation went hand-in-hand with additional consolidation. Major freight lines once numbering in the dozens combined into the mere half-dozen left today. Employment plunged from 458,000 when Congress approved Staggers to 165,000 as of 2005.

That difficult period left scars, including strained relations with workers and ultracautious management.

Over time, the railroads have increased efficiency by adopting so-called intermodal systems, which enable freight to move from point of origin to distribution destination without being removed from a trailer or giant container. It is more reliable and cheaper than transport over long stretches of highway.

Demand for the coal used to fuel power plants grew as well, and grain shipments remained a steady and important source of railroad profits.

The promise of continued growth makes straightening out Chicago's rail network all the more urgent. But the region's $1.5 billion public-private plan lost its political champion with the retirement in January 2005 of Rep. William Lipinski, a Chicago Democrat known for his transit clout. Just recently the plan suffered another blow when Canadian National Railway Co. withdrew from it.

Because none of the plan's initial construction projects would benefit its line, CN could not justify putting up money for it, a spokesman said. It might rejoin later, he added.

Indeed, the plan is far from dead. The $100 million in federal funding it managed to obtain, coupled with support from the other five railroads, has paid for mapping, surveying and engineering work in anticipation of eventual funding.

Yet it could be stuck in neutral for some time.

Not a priority

"The state has higher priorities, the city has higher priorities, the railroads individually have higher priorities, and it's still needed," said Jim LaBelle, deputy director at Metropolis 2020, a civic group backing the measure.

Meantime, out at the Joliet Arsenal site, BNSF's Clement is doing what he can to keep up with demand. He is adopting electronic systems for speeding the flow of some 2,500 trucks that visit the facility each day, using a software program designed specifically for rail-yard management. Also on the way: global positioning system technology for tracking the thousands of containers piled high on the sweeping expanse of blacktop Clement calls "the parking lot."

The other railroads are on the move too. CSX expects to add 3,500 to its 30,000-plus workforce this year, said spokeswoman Kim Freely. It is increasing capacity by adding 10,000-foot sidings every 15 miles or so on its Chicago-to-Florida run, which will enable slower trains to pull over as needed. Freely confirmed that CSX is looking for a new intermodal site south of the city but declined to elaborate or comment on timing. It has two such sites in the Chicago area.

One emerging threat: Re-regulation. Some coal and chemical shippers, feeling burned as the railroads flex their newfound power to raise freight rates, have started complaining to Congress. It's a struggle that has flared on and off for more than 150 years, and it could flare anew as these old companies continue shifting into a higher gear.

brian_b Mar 27, 2006 4:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rivernorth
isnt the Ogden Avenue streetcar supposed to use the Carrol Ave ROW to connect the west side with the west loop train stations and navy pier/michigan avenue? i guess it could be the same project...

also, that link just takes me to a google map of chicago, with nothing about a train line added to it...

It must be the same project. This survey actually doesn't name the project. It just says proposed transitway.

The link has a line drawn on the map. If you're not getting the line, I don't know what the cause is. It works for me in Safari and Firefox. Are you using IE?

VivaLFuego Mar 27, 2006 6:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChiArchie
From the looks of the skematic the old freight bridge by the Mart will be reused. I can't imagine how often that thing would have to raised and lowered in the summer (damn architecture tours ;) ).

But I'm guessing that bridge was fixed years ago, so a new one would be in order. Geez that just sounds like a billion dollars not to mention another loop flood.

But getting from the train stations to the Mag Mile via light rail would be much better than that silly trolley currently in use.

They'll have to rebuild that bridge for the project, thats one of the major capital costs along with figuring out how the route gets there to begin with. The route given crosses the tracks coming north out of Union Station just north of Clinton and Fulton, which obviously won't work during rush hours as a perpendicular grade crossing. Similarly, there's a huge embankment just east of there with the tracks coming north out of the Ogilve/CNW Train Station. So how to navigate all that, avoiding rail crossings, to get to a rebuilt bridge? Maybe TransitEngr could fill us in.

Liz Mar 27, 2006 8:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wanderer34
The South Shore needs the development, not to mention a supertall. Does this Megabus really cost a dollar??? It sounds similar to the Chinatown bus in the NE.

except hopefully someone working for the company will speak english.

after visiting with a friend in DC and taking a chinatown bus up the NYC for the weekend I was glad to see an equivilant around here. I'd like to see Madison on the list of cities.

Rivernorth Mar 27, 2006 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian_b
It must be the same project. This survey actually doesn't name the project. It just says proposed transitway.

The link has a line drawn on the map. If you're not getting the line, I don't know what the cause is. It works for me in Safari and Firefox. Are you using IE?

Yeah, i was using IE, and it wouldnt show up. I fired up firefox, and the line shows up for it now, so its all good.

Yeah, this might be a different project. The Ogden Avenue streetcar starts at Navy Pier, taking Illinois to LaSalle, then taking the old streetcar tunnel to the Carrol Ave right of way, going over the river in the old rail bridge, going down Clinton Ave to Randolph (using the divided side lanes that Randolph has for a short stretch in the West Loop) to Ogden, then using Ogden's divided side lanes all through the west side to Cermak Ave, using Cermak's extra side lanes (used for diagonal parking now) through Cicero and Berwyn, and terminating/turnaround at North Riverside Mall. Very extensive and possible project... but funding never comes through for cool things like this, heh.

Quote:

They'll have to rebuild that bridge for the project, thats one of the major capital costs along with figuring out how the route gets there to begin with.
The bridge functions just fine, actually. Its an active railway. Union Pacific has a locomotive travel over the bridge once or twice a year to keep its legal status active. It leads nowhere nor serves a purpose anymore in terms of frieght rail anymore, however.

Chicago103 Mar 27, 2006 11:30 PM

When I was younger I always thought about an express big city downtown to big city downtown bus service but I never thought it would actually happen :banana: . I looked at the schedules and it is possible to go on just a day trip to many of these cities (leaving Chicago in the morning and returning back late at night) specifically Milwaukee, Indianapois, and St. Louis. I have never been to Indianapolis and would like to check it out, also when I lived downstate it was relatively easy to get to St. Louis and always thought that moving back to Chicago would mean I wouldnt be able to go back there but now I can :) , then of course Milwaukee is super close and I will actually go to their much advertised summerfest or just go to Milwaukee for the hell of it.

Rivernorth Mar 28, 2006 1:05 AM

Summerfest is awesome. Me and some friends got kicked out last year's due to a drunken brawl. I still think the cops were against us because we were from Chicago. Oh well, still had a blast :)

VivaLFuego Mar 28, 2006 1:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rivernorth
The bridge functions just fine, actually. Its an active railway. Union Pacific has a locomotive travel over the bridge once or twice a year to keep its legal status active. It leads nowhere nor serves a purpose anymore in terms of frieght rail anymore, however.

OK. I've heard that it would have to rebuilt as part of this project, for whateveer reason.
Quote:

When I was younger I always thought about an express big city downtown to big city downtown bus service but I never thought it would actually happen . I looked at the schedules and it is possible to go on just a day trip to many of these cities (leaving Chicago in the morning and returning back late at night) specifically Milwaukee, Indianapois, and St. Louis. I have never been to Indianapolis and would like to check it out, also when I lived downstate it was relatively easy to get to St. Louis and always thought that moving back to Chicago would mean I wouldnt be able to go back there but now I can , then of course Milwaukee is super close and I will actually go to their much advertised summerfest or just go to Milwaukee for the hell of it.
We were supposed to have high-speed rail (110mph) between Chicago and STL functioning at some point this decade which would have theoretically made this possible. Not sure what happened with that.

But I doubt Amtrak would have gotten you there for under $2 each way!

brian_b Mar 28, 2006 3:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rivernorth
Yeah, i was using IE, and it wouldnt show up. I fired up firefox, and the line shows up for it now, so its all good.

Strange... I'm just using the Google Maps API, I would figure it would work with IE just fine :koko:

That's a really interesting tidbit about the bridge. I've never seen that bridge in action and I live in the area. I wonder when they do it, and why.

Rivernorth Mar 28, 2006 5:34 AM

Verification of my drunken claims :)

http://www.suntimes.com/special_sect...-dtbox29c.html

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Chicago Suntimes
THE KINZIE RAIL BRIDGE

The bridge stands upright above the Chicago River just south of Kinzie Street west of the Merchandise Mart, like a salute to dirty water. It's been in the "up" position for years now.

You're not alone if you wonder: When will somebody finally tear the thing down?

But it turns out City Hall is quite proud of the old rail bridge, which is part of something unique to Chicago -- the largest collection of movable bridges in the world. To make sure it could still legally be used if ever it's needed again, the Union Pacific Rail Road cranks it into the "down" position every couple of years and rolls a couple of boxcars over it to maintain its "active" status.

The bridge may yet see new life one day as part of a route for buses or a light rail line.


For now, it remains an important part of Chicago's skyline -- and even had a cameo in John Cusack's 2000 movie "High Fidelity."


Glad to see it wont be going anywhere. It really does add a nice enduring touch of industry in an area rapidly changing to more commercial and residential uses.

alex1 Mar 29, 2006 1:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rivernorth
Summerfest is awesome.

the fest could be very great if they had the right venues for it. I think Chicago needs to steal it outright and Lallapalooza is a start.

Rivernorth Mar 29, 2006 5:45 AM

I dont like how the Summerfest venues are permanent in Milwaukee, in that the entire area is gated off along the lake for the entire year except for 2 weeks in the summer. just seems like such a waste of space for most of the year... which is why Lollapalooza is better :) Im glad to see Lolla become Chicago's music festival... just another nice little claim to fame. I mean, hell, they are expecting 225,000 people over 3 days in Grant Park! Imagine how packed South Michigan Avenue is gonna be!

spyguy Apr 15, 2006 12:47 AM

http://www.transitchicago.com/news/c...ticleid=101316

Public Comment Next Step in Federal New Start Process

Chicago Transit Authority will hold public meetings next month to receive input on the proposed Circle Line project. The meetings are part of the Alternatives Analysis study—the first step in pursuing federal funding for major transit projects. The Alternatives Analysis study is designed to examine all the transit options available and determine a locally preferred alternative.

Meeting dates and venues are:

Tuesday, May 2, 2006
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum
West Wing Auditorium
1852 W. 19th Street
Chicago, IL 60608

Wednesday, May 3, 2006
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Lincoln Park High School
Room 103
2001 N. Orchard Street
Chicago, IL 60614

Thursday, May 4, 2006
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
Molecular Biology Research Building
Room 1017
900 S. Ashland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60607

All venues are accessible to people with disabilities.

The proposed Circle Line would link all of CTA’s rail lines and all of Metra’s lines in a study area bounded by 39th Street on the south, Fullerton Parkway on the north, Western Avenue on the west and Lake Michigan on the east, creating improved transit connections throughout the six-county region and helping to further ease traffic congestion and improve travel times.

DMJM+Harris, A Joint Venture, which specializes in transit/rail, highway and bridge, marine, aviation and energy infrastructures is conducting the Alternatives Analysis study. The Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program requires transit project proposals to proceed through a process of planning, design and construction. The FTA process consists of five formal steps: Alternatives Analysis, Environmental Impact Statement, Preliminary Engineering, Final Design and Construction.

Wright Concept Apr 19, 2006 8:19 PM

This is Cool to hear!

Norsider Apr 21, 2006 2:31 PM

I think a subway down Grand Avenue (accessing Navy Pier) would be way more useful than a line down Carroll. I'd extend the line from Navy Pier to the Mart, then a southward turn to service both major train stations on Clinton, then a slight jog west to run south down a booming S. Halsted street, make an eastward turn to join up with the Orange Line Halsted stop, then the Red Line Cermak Stop, with a termination right under McCormick Place.

The name of this line will be: The Most Useful Line Ever Line.

VivaLFuego Apr 21, 2006 3:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norsider
I think a subway down Grand Avenue (accessing Navy Pier) would be way more useful than a line down Carroll. I'd extend the line from Navy Pier to the Mart, then a southward turn to service both major train stations on Clinton, then a slight jog west to run south down a booming S. Halsted street, make an eastward turn to join up with the Orange Line Halsted stop, then the Red Line Cermak Stop, with a termination right under McCormick Place.

The name of this line will be: The Most Useful Line Ever Line.

Most expensive line ever. The Carrol Ave. ROW already exists and is pretty clear.

Norsider Apr 21, 2006 7:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego
Most expensive line ever. The Carrol Ave. ROW already exists and is pretty clear.


We've spent 400 billion or so blowing shit up in Iraq for more than three years now. That money would have built about 100 of these lines. Just think about that for a second. Expensive is a relative term.

Still, as long as the Carrol Ave ROW goes to Navy Pier, I suppose that'd do also. You'd like to acheive a bit a separation from the Green line on Lake Street though. Carrol's only just across the river.

Chicago3rd Apr 21, 2006 7:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rivernorth
I dont like how the Summerfest venues are permanent in Milwaukee, in that the entire area is gated off along the lake for the entire year except for 2 weeks in the summer. just seems like such a waste of space for most of the year... which is why Lollapalooza is better :) Im glad to see Lolla become Chicago's music festival... just another nice little claim to fame. I mean, hell, they are expecting 225,000 people over 3 days in Grant Park! Imagine how packed South Michigan Avenue is gonna be!

Normally 1.3 million on July 3rd every year...so it is relatively small for Chicago. 1 million people got to each airshow day too.

Segun Apr 21, 2006 7:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spyguy

The proposed Circle Line would link all of CTA’s rail lines and all of Metra’s lines in a study area bounded by 39th Street on the south, Fullerton Parkway on the north, Western Avenue on the west and Lake Michigan on the east, creating improved transit connections throughout the six-county region and helping to further ease traffic congestion and improve travel times.

Has this plan changed? From the original renderings, it looked like it was Roosevelt on the South, North Ave on the North, and Ashland on the west. Or is this just referring to the area around the stops?

VivaLFuego Apr 21, 2006 8:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Segun
Has this plan changed? From the original renderings, it looked like it was Roosevelt on the South, North Ave on the North, and Ashland on the west. Or is this just referring to the area around the stops?

It's part of the "Alternatives Analysis", which basically studies all the areas that would be affected by the plan to identify possible routings and techniques, and find a "locally preferred alternative". Hence the bigger study area.

Wright Concept Apr 21, 2006 9:28 PM

I hope just as a first look, they think of building a third subway tunnel to work for this Circle Line, one that travels down Michigan Avenue. Only stopping every 1/2 mile. Or at the very least upgrade the State Street tunnel with Automatic Train Operation and rebuilt Concrete ties for the tracks to replace the rotting wood ones that are over 60 years old!

Because running 3 lines down the State Street Tunnel with the Red Line already running every 2-3 minutes at Rush Hour and discussion of the Purple Line along with this Circle Line using the tunnel, means for a crowded tunnel.

Norsider Apr 21, 2006 9:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PracticalVisionary
I hope just as a first look, they think of building a third subway tunnel to work for this Circle Line, one that travels down Michigan Avenue. Only stopping every 1/2 mile. Or at the very least upgrade the State Street tunnel with Automatic Train Operation and rebuilt Concrete ties for the tracks to replace the rotting wood ones that are over 60 years old!

Because running 3 lines down the State Street Tunnel with the Red Line already running every 2-3 minutes at Rush Hour and discussion of the Purple Line along with this Circle Line using the tunnel, means for a crowded tunnel.


A Michigan Ave. subway would be duplicating Red Line service I think. I don't believe the Purple Line will need to use the subway. Why not just circle the loop like it does now and connect at North/Cylbourn?

Rail Claimore Apr 21, 2006 10:35 PM

The practical thing to do would be to build the Clinton Street subway to complete an underground Loop, then have that subway extend almost directly northward to meet up with the red line at North and Clybourn, which will be completely rebuilt with the Circle Line subway anyway.

Doing this would solve the overcrowding problems in two ways. Operating the purple line at normal headways outside rush hour to downtown through a new underground tunnel and loop would ease demand on red line trains using the State Street subway. There would still be plenty of capacity left for ridership along the Dan Ryan if they used 4-car trains operating at the same headways. The second way is that this would free up the State Street subway for Circle Line trains in the future.

Norsider Apr 22, 2006 12:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rail Claimore
The practical thing to do would be to build the Clinton Street subway to complete an underground Loop, then have that subway extend almost directly northward to meet up with the red line at North and Clybourn, which will be completely rebuilt with the Circle Line subway anyway.

Doing this would solve the overcrowding problems in two ways. Operating the purple line at normal headways outside rush hour to downtown through a new underground tunnel and loop would ease demand on red line trains using the State Street subway. There would still be plenty of capacity left for ridership along the Dan Ryan if they used 4-car trains operating at the same headways. The second way is that this would free up the State Street subway for Circle Line trains in the future.

I like the idea. Perhaps the brown line could be rerouted to loop underground. Still, access to Navy Pier and McCormick Place is vital to any central area transit improvements. Those two destinations represent countless trips and neither of them are accessible by train. To me, you havev to design transit with certain trips in mind. Connecting the two train stations, navy pier, and McCormick place would cover a LOT of trips.

chitowngza Apr 24, 2006 1:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rail Claimore
The practical thing to do would be to build the Clinton Street subway to complete an underground Loop, then have that subway extend almost directly northward to meet up with the red line at North and Clybourn, which will be completely rebuilt with the Circle Line subway anyway.

Doing this would solve the overcrowding problems in two ways. Operating the purple line at normal headways outside rush hour to downtown through a new underground tunnel and loop would ease demand on red line trains using the State Street subway. There would still be plenty of capacity left for ridership along the Dan Ryan if they used 4-car trains operating at the same headways. The second way is that this would free up the State Street subway for Circle Line trains in the future.

Operating four-car trains down to 95th St during the off-peak times except for overnight service is courting disaster (Red Line-Ryan riders are cranky enough as is...). While I don't necessarily disagree 8-car trains may be a tad longish currently after 10PM on weekdays, on weekends, and even between the rushes, 4 cars during these times is plain too short and will incite complaints. Dan Ryan ridership is higher than that. It would definitely not be feasible when (if?) they *FINALLY* extend the Red Line to SOMEWHERE beyond 95th. I say this with awareness of the possibility Im misreading you. In that case that's on me. But if not, then as a Red Line rider I hafta quickly but respectfully disagree.

Rest of the idea is cool tho. I especially very much support a Clinton subway. Always have. Tho I would go with an alignment that links it with the Blue Line over linking it with the Red Line further north, both discussed in the Central Area Plan. I like the former plan with the purpose of getting people across the river to their Loop jobs or whatever and back quickly. It would also be a convenient way to get deep into downtown if interurban train service ever goes regionally hi-speed and thus gets popular (or at least useful) again.

As much as the coverage of CTA is the envy of so many who don't live here, its still quite flawed and among myriad other things I think its kinda senseless that the L doesn't directly serve the train stations, especially Union Station. The walk to Clinton/Congress from there is just that--a walk. Same with Clinton/Lake from Ogilvie. And it's an outdoor trek; sucks when it's cold. Millennium Station's a bit of a haul from State but at least it has the pedway. LaSalle's really the only one of the four with halfway convenient L access.

Norsider, I agree with you. Places like Navy Pier and McCormick Pl are woefully underserved by public tansit that's NOT the slow buses or those silly tourist trolleys. Heavy rail service for these places just ain't happenin' tho. Not for a very long time at least. Not with the financial and political issues surrounding the projects actually on the table. And as you succinctly noted a few posts back, those who control the purse strings don't always use those funds for the most sane purposes...

Why not just revive the old Circulator plan to serve these places? Wouldn't that be cheaper as an LRT system, or no? It was a great idea when it was first entertained years ago. Too bad the idiot relevant powers-that-be seemed either cool to the idea or actively opposed to it. Least it looks like this Carroll Av talk is the potential beginning of a revival of that, and perhaps it can snowball from there. It would definitely be a hit with tourists and conventioneers (and may even serve a purpose for those of us who actually live here) and keep em outta my way on the L. :P

Another question: Why route the Purple Line to the subways, anyway? Could it not continue to work in its current routing if these additions to the L system came to fruition? Does it have anything to do with this so-called "Pink Line" (:sly: ) routing on the Loop tracks (to me the CTA is playin' themselves if they want me to believe it was ever seriously to be a short-term "experiment;" I've smelled permanece all along...)? Viva, you're always informed and insightful on these sorta things. Whaddaya say?

VivaLFuego Apr 24, 2006 3:52 AM

Well I've had a change in heart from my recent beliefs.

Do the Circle Line....the current plan is solid, with some changes to their proposed loop routing and some of the station locations.

But most importantly...bring back the distributor subway plan!
Subway runs east-west under Monroe st from the Metra stations to Michigan Ave., branches north and south. South branch goes to mccormick place. North branch goes up under fairbanks, and eventually terminated in a 1-way loop going counter clockwise along fairbanks, Dewitt, Walton, Rush, Chicago, then back south on Fairbanks.

Brilliant in every way, just a tad, um, expensive. But the monroe part could largely be done via cut and cover, except for tunneling under the river, plus the costly transfer points at Dearborn and State.

See:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...or_Subways.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:D...tor_Subway.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:P...tor_Subway.jpg

chitowngza Apr 24, 2006 4:18 AM

:previous: Great job on the map; I don't recall ever seeing that before tho I've heard much of it, as well as J. Daley's idea of tunnelling the Loop--something I think is absolutely nuts simply to ever consider. The Distributor plan is cool in concept to me as someone who (for reasons even I don't know) prefers heavy rail. But don't you think it's a somewhat relatively short-ish for the cost in the current US dollar? You don't believe a light-rail method of going most of these places would be just as useful for cheaper?

And the "informed and insightful" :D comment actually pertained to my query on the proposed Evanston Express reroute into State's tunnel. That's something I don't get.

VivaLFuego Apr 24, 2006 2:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chitowngza
:previous: Great job on the map; I don't recall ever seeing that before tho I've heard much of it, as well as J. Daley's idea of tunnelling the Loop--something I think is absolutely nuts simply to ever consider. The Distributor plan is cool in concept to me as someone who (for reasons even I don't know) prefers heavy rail. But don't you think it's a somewhat relatively short-ish for the cost in the current US dollar? You don't believe a light-rail method of going most of these places would be just as useful for cheaper?

And the "informed and insightful" :D comment actually pertained to my query on the proposed Evanston Express reroute into State's tunnel. That's something I don't get.

Yeah that distributor was almost the Central Area Circulator, a light rail project of the late 90s that more or less stalled and fizzled when Daley freaked at the size of the Light Rail vehicles (or thats my understanding at least). But the distributor is the best way to connect the West loop Metra stations to the rest of downtown.

I'm pretty sure the State Street subway can theoretically operate with headways as low as about 90 seconds, and the red line at its peak has headways of 3-4 minutes, so theres some capacity left. Rerouting the purple down there would ease the rush hour crush the red line currently has (not to mention act as a more traditional "red line express"), and let the CTA play with the loop routing some, eventually running 2 lines out to Kimball on what is now Brown (possibly through-routing some Orange line trains), which would also give the flexibility of coming in and out of the loop in different directions to extend all day.

I mean, its not a necessary switch (purple->subway), but its doable operationally especially if CTA has something specific in mind with the added loop capacity.


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