SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/index.php)
-   Transportation (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=25)
-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

VivaLFuego Mar 6, 2008 4:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3398112)
Viva: I thought the outmoded signals were on the O'Hare Branch. How can these signals date back to the 50s when the line wasn't constructed until the 70s? I don't doubt that the signals are outmoded, though.

Prior to 2005, the only part of the Blue Line with 'modern' signals, meaning Automatic Train Control with Cab Signalling, was the O'hare Extension from Jefferson Park to O'hare. The Kennedy Extension was built in the late 60s and had block signalling. The Dearborn Subway and Congress branch (in the Ike median) still had original pneumatic block signals from the 1950s (you could even here the whooooosh of the signal tripping if you rode in the back of the rear car sometimes). I'm not sure how old the signals were on the short stretch of Milwaukee Elevated; that portion received major rehabilitation (track/structure/etc) in the last 15 years or so but I'm not sure if any signal work was involved. Either way it was still blind block signalling.
At this point in the signal upgrade project, they've switched over to cab-signalling on various portions of the branch and it's all ongoing, so I don't know the exact status at this point other than the project is supposed to be done in 2009. Maybe one of our construction forumers (Art Vandelay?) has more input/detail.

ArteVandelay Mar 6, 2008 8:17 PM

Automatic train control prior to 2005 on the Blue Line existed from the Western station on the Milwaukee elevated out to Ohare. Apparently at some point the block signals from Western out to the former terminal at Logan Square were removed and replaced, and of course the Kimball subway and Ohare extension were built with ATC. Interestingly enough, between Western/Milwaukee (or more specifically the Armitage Interlocking), and Jefferson Park Interlocking there were no actual signals installed whatsoever. The Ohare extension featured signals at the interlockings, which is the current standard.

Progress - Blue Line from Forest Park into Western/Congress has been cutover to the new system, with punchlist work remaining. From Jefferson Park to Belmont on the Ohare branch has been cutover, and currently crews are working at California/Milwaukee. This should be cutover by the end of next week. Progress will continue down the elevated, then jump back to the Congress, finish the remaining ballasted section, and then finish in the tunnel. Late 2008/early 2009 finish.

Subway is being completed last due to uncertainties with what will actually be built at Block 37 - CTA keeps going back and forth on just how much of the station they want to complete, which obviously affects the signal work significantly through there.

The Blue Line signals and switches are true relics - the interlocking at LaSalle station in the subway still features pneumatic switches, which I believe are the last location these exist systemwide. Of course, the track trips are also pneumatic on the elevated and subway currently too.

Taft Mar 6, 2008 8:49 PM

Viva and Arte: wow! Guys like you make this one of the best forums around.

Thanks for the detailed information.

Taft

ardecila Mar 6, 2008 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3398644)
Also, isn't a traffic lane wider than a rail right-of-way? I don't know about this. Obviously Oak Park's main concern is to avoid the acquisition of property along the Eisenhower--it is pretty densely developed all along there.

A regular traffic lane is wider than a rail track, but I'm pretty sure a BRT lane can be narrower, since it has access control and all the drivers are trained. If the BRT lane is narrower than what federal law requires for a traffic lane, then it can't just be quickly converted back on the whim of some politician.

I would definitely be against property acquisition on the Eisenhower as well, but that may be necessary west of Forest Park, through Bellwood, Maywood, and Hillside, regardless of whether lanes are added or a Blue Line extension is built. I mentioned earlier that a convenient rail right-of-way already exists through those communities (former Chicago, Aurora, & Elgin), but apparently transit planners don't want to use it - the only excuse I've heard is that Forest View Cemetery has blocked part of the path, but the land exists to simply go around it. Planners are fixated on the highway-median alignment, even though the costs are tremendously higher.

Busy Bee Mar 7, 2008 4:30 AM

^ And the exhaust is a lot heavier.

Abner Mar 7, 2008 5:03 AM

The citizens' group trying to rally support for a Blue Line extension (or at least no Eisenhower expansion) is here:
http://www.citizensforappropriatetransportation.org/

There are a bunch of pictures and a fair amount of information.

ardecila Mar 8, 2008 11:18 PM

This article is interesting, but it sounds like CTA is dragging their feet as much as possible. I don't understand why they don't want to add a station in an exploding neighborhood to boost ridership on an underutilized line. Is there a politician or NIMBY group somewhere that's opposed to a new station?

Also, the costs seem exorbitant... $34 million for construction? Why can we build huge luxury homes in the suburbs for $1 million, but a new station with far less square footage and cheaper finishes costs 34 times that?

http://www.nearwestgazette.com/Archi.../News0308c.htm

Study has community hopeful concerning Morgan el stop


A $2.5 million feasibility study and design proposal for a new Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) el station at Morgan and Lake Sts. is expected to be finished by the end of the year—which is not a minute too soon for Roger Romanelli of the Randolph/Fulton Market Association (RFMA) and Bob Wiggs of the West Central Association (WCA).

“The case for a Morgan St. stop is overwhelming," Romanelli said. "We’ve been making that case for almost a decade.”

JV_325i Mar 9, 2008 12:58 AM

^Their feasibility study is nearly 10% of their projection of the cost of a station. I'm with dude in the article: take that money and just build the damn thing. I know money is tight, and so it is easier said than done, but it seems plainly obvious that there needs to be a station in the area they are referring to (of course this is from the Near West Gazette so of course they are going to have some bias. However, on that note at least the article leans towards advocating a stop instead of diminishing the importance of any public transit whatsoever).

ardecila Mar 9, 2008 5:36 AM

West Loop NIMBYs have nothing against better CTA service. The Green Line has been running through the West Loop for 110 years, so it's part of the "character" of their neighborhood - building a new station just makes it more convenient for them to actually use something that they've had to listen to, every 8 minutes, for a very long time.

Most NIMBYs welcome transit improvements, actually. However, they want to have their cake and eat it too. They think that transit will be utilized in a neighborhood where building height is restricted, only large units are built, and everybody has their God-given right to 2 parking spaces fulfilled.

Unfortunately, the real world doesn't work this way.

VivaLFuego Mar 9, 2008 7:52 AM

^Morgan/Lake is a CDOT project, and I'm pretty sure is funded with federal transportation dollars like most CDOT transit projects (probably CMAQ), so it's not really coming out of any local agency's budget.

I was under the impression the station was farther along though.... like, currently in 100% design, with anticipated bidding of construction contracts in early-to-mid-2009. There was some hold-up in hammering out whether there would be a ground-level or elevated station house, and I'm not sure what they ultimately decided (my hunch is ground-level, as land acquisition+construction would probably still come out cheaper than building the foundations for and hoisting up a new station alongside an active rapid transit line). The $34 million sounds reasonable to me (perhaps even a bit low) given the site constraints and ever-ballooning construction costs, but maybe I'm just jaded.

honte Mar 9, 2008 8:28 AM

I am surprised that no one has posted a photo of the bright orange brick elevator tower at Chicago / Franklin yet. I went by there tonight and was quite surprised. It doesn't look half bad, although the size of the station is kind of overbearing.

Still, the exposed galvanized has me very worried. I gather they intend to leave it exposed?

VivaLFuego Mar 9, 2008 5:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3404332)

Still, the exposed galvanized has me very worried. I gather they intend to leave it exposed?

Yeah, the whole Brown Line project went for unpainted galvanized steel in lieu of either stainless or painted. Alot of people disagree with this decision (mostly on aesthetic grounds), but I guess it was a key part of the cost-cutting to bring the Brown Line project back within budget since exposed galvanized is both cheaper to buy than stainless and cheaper to maintain than painted.

Hopefully the quality is decent and it doesn't start rusting horribly within a year...

honte Mar 9, 2008 5:50 PM

^ Thanks for the tip. I think it's a terrible mistake. It will give the stations a second-class, temporary quality unless it's done with great finesse.

The presence of higher-quality materials, such as the glazed brick and glass I saw last night might help lessen this, but the ratio of hot-dipped to other materials I saw looks way skewed in the wrong direction.

ardecila Mar 10, 2008 4:17 AM

While I'm currently really surprised and somewhat disappointed in CTA's choice, it could become a distinctive feature in time. The beautiful old railings on Ravenswood Branch stations were cast-iron and had little sunflowers in them. Since this type of detailing is fantastically expensive today, I'm glad the CTA did something unique to replace the old railings, instead of the ubiquitous stainless steel, even if they did it not as a design choice but as a value-engineering decision.

Of course, the downside to the galvanized is that they are more prone to corrosion. The zinc-oxide layer formed on the galvanized offers fairly good protection against rust, but if the railing gets nicked, say, by a snow shovel or large suitcase, or the tools of a CTA worker, then the zinc is removed and the underlying steel will begin to corrode.

Viva - A ground-level station house for platforms above a street is a rare configuration for Chicago. AFAIK, Cicero/Lake is the only one like it. This should be interesting; hopefully the CTA chooses somebody good for the design.

VivaLFuego Mar 10, 2008 5:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3405631)
While I'm currently really surprised and somewhat disappointed in CTA's choice, it could become a distinctive feature in time. The beautiful old railings on Ravenswood Branch stations were cast-iron and had little sunflowers in them. Since this type of detailing is fantastically expensive today, I'm glad the CTA did something unique to replace the old railings, instead of the ubiquitous stainless steel, even if they did it not as a design choice but as a value-engineering decision.

Check out the new Montrose and Addison stations: They reused many of those old cast iron features in the stations (I think on the stairwells) and it actually turned out pretty nice.

Quote:

Viva - A ground-level station house for platforms above a street is a rare configuration for Chicago. AFAIK, Cicero/Lake is the only one like it. This should be interesting; hopefully the CTA chooses somebody good for the design.
I believe CDOT is handling all contract awards for this project, but obviously CTA is part of the discussions on design criteria. In terms of newer ground-level station houses, the Pink Line stations generally turned out pretty elegant, so at this point I'm not too worried. If anything, this strikes me as an opportunity for some 'value capture', using the ground-level station house to actually build a more substantial structure with retail spaces and maybe even office/commercial space on a few floors above for added revenue (and trip generation). Assuming the stationhouse is located on that crumbly old gas station (SW corner I think?), it could only really hold something in the 4-5 story range anyway. I think most the Lake Street L stops from the mid-1990s are hidden gems, aesthetically, so hopefully Morgan carries that on.

OhioGuy Mar 10, 2008 6:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3405768)
Check out the new Montrose and Addison stations: They reused many of those old cast iron features in the stations (I think on the stairwells) and it actually turned out pretty nice.

I agree. I think those stations were renovated reasonably well considering the cost restraints. I also have no problem with the galvanized. Plus there definitely are old features still remaining from the previous stations. In particular the canopy frames have been salvaged. And in some cases the old station houses are remaining as well. Damen & Sedgwick come to mind. So I really don't have any significant problems with how the brown line stations are turning out.

(I have noticed the Chicago Ave station and I'm not quite sure how I'll end up liking the look of that one...though I guess the renderings on the Chicago-l.org site look ok)

pip Mar 10, 2008 8:35 AM

About rehabbed stations. Look at the Green Line. They are great.

Mr Downtown Mar 10, 2008 3:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3405768)
this strikes me as an opportunity for some 'value capture', using the ground-level station house to actually build a more substantial structure with retail spaces and maybe even office/commercial space on a few floors above for added revenue (and trip generation).

Is that permitted? Is there even a mechanism for FTA and CDOT to get in bed with a private developer? There must be a reason I can't think of a single US example of a rapid transit station being part of a new (nongovernment) development.

Chicago Shawn Mar 10, 2008 4:19 PM

I agree on the Sedgewick station, It was a fantastic job. The Chicago station is looking pretty good, although I hope the chain link fencing on the new Superior St entrance is only temporary. Although its a bit premature to speculate the final outcome, Fullerton and Belmont look very cheap. Looks like some significant VE occurred here when you look at the renderings vs the outcome thus far.

The Pink and Green line renovations look fantastic. The Pink Line stations are really spectacular given the budget constraints.

Now if you really want to suffer depression over station design, check this out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgiFJysMx4c

Nowhereman1280 Mar 10, 2008 5:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3406125)
Is that permitted? Is there even a mechanism for FTA and CDOT to get in bed with a private developer? There must be a reason I can't think of a single US example of a rapid transit station being part of a new (nongovernment) development.

Actually, I hear that the new Loyola Red Line station is going to be part of a new Loyola building including private stores and housing units as well as providing access to the Loyola Campus across Sheridan. One of the possible designs includes a building that straddles Loyola Avenue and the El forming a kind of tunnel around the tracks. Though I doubt that is the design that will be built.

VivaLFuego Mar 10, 2008 5:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3406125)
Is that permitted? Is there even a mechanism for FTA and CDOT to get in bed with a private developer? There must be a reason I can't think of a single US example of a rapid transit station being part of a new (nongovernment) development.

There is, though it's pretty restrictive. Example: The new CTA headquarters building, which was developed by Fifield (or was it Smithfield? Whatever.) The HQ has retail space on the first floor, and was built with excess capacity on the office levels to be leased out (as far as I know, Floor 12 is still vacant in search of a tenant). I do know that FTA grant guidelines are the reason the HQ building was only 12 stories tall and no larger, but I'm not familiar with the intricate regulations controlling that.

aaron38 Mar 10, 2008 5:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 3406283)
Now if you really want to suffer depression over station design, check this out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgiFJysMx4c

Yeah, there was a photo thread posted on those stations. The only thing missing is the violin quartet.

Abner Mar 10, 2008 7:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 3406283)
The Pink and Green line renovations look fantastic. The Pink Line stations are really spectacular given the budget constraints.

I think the Pink Line stations look great too, and with many of them they did a good job of incorporating the historic elements of the old stations, although I do wish the new canopies covered the whole length of the platform. They're nice to look at, but some of the stations with longer stretches of naked lightposts (like Damen) look kind of odd. It's nice that they managed to reuse some of the original canopies though.

Dale Mar 10, 2008 7:54 PM

I just perused the Brown Line website, and I must say that I'm impressed with what they're doing.

MayorOfChicago Mar 11, 2008 6:03 PM

Was this posted? How did I miss this?

1) Diversey Brown Line to open 3 months early with a temporary station on March 30th

2) Southport Brown Line to open upgraded station on March 30th

3) Belmont/Fullerton Stations to be reduced to 1 track southbound March 30th

4) Paulina Station to close March 30th

5) Wellington Station to close March 30th

6) CTA to start using 8-car Brown Line trains immediately upon closure of Paulina and Wellington on March 30th


A station opening early?? I'm amazed. Looking forward to seeing the 8 car trains too, it'll be good for people's mentality. Progress! They're cutting down the # of morning rush trains though, so capacity will be the same...

OhioGuy Mar 11, 2008 9:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago (Post 3408904)
Was this posted? How did I miss this?

Reply #2469 addressed this back in mid February. ;)

emathias Mar 11, 2008 11:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3403699)
Also, the costs seem exorbitant... $34 million for construction? Why can we build huge luxury homes in the suburbs for $1 million, but a new station with far less square footage and cheaper finishes costs 34 times that?

I wish/think that the CTA could do it for less money, too, but a $1,000,000 home is built with the expectation of at most a dozen people using it regularly with a few dozen on a really busy night.

A transit station has to be built to accommodate a thousand times that many people using it every day, so while the finish of the materials may be lesser, the bones of them are much, much higher-end. A station also has to be built to withstand the elements of nature, while a million-dollar home can put one roof over everything so the majority of things in a million-dollar home don't have to be able to stand being exposed to nature.

The price of both steel and concrete have skyrocketed in the past 10 years primarily due to the global building boom spiking demand. China's part of that, but the rest of the world is building a lot, too.

Then there's the simple fact of competition. Only a few companies even bother to bid on CTA projects, whereas if you're building a house you have probably hundreds of general contractors to select from and they have thousands of tradespeople to bid out to. While escalating costs for steel, concrete and wood hit homebuilders and public works projects more or less proportionally, the lack of competition in public works bidding makes it harder to control costs because there just aren't a lot of bidders willing to compete on price.

At least that's my take. I'm sure there are other factors, but in my opinion those are the most significant ones.

ArteVandelay Mar 12, 2008 6:01 PM

Working around an active transit system, with specific work hours and non work hours also significantly impacts costs. While obviously work can be done underneath the elevated structure pretty much whenever, once work advances to track level, rush hours trains cannot be impacted. Consequently there is a significant loss or productivity that contractors must account for in there bids.

CTA specs also contain a slew of items to increase the quality of construction that serve to jack up the price. How effective some of these are is a different topic, but suffice to say that not to many houses are built with 6000 psi concrete, epoxy coated rebar, galvanized structural steel, 100% American made materials, 100% union labor etc. Obviously many of these requirements are actual federal requirements, not CTA requirements.

MayorOfChicago Mar 12, 2008 6:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3409254)
Reply #2469 addressed this back in mid February. ;)


Ha, I went back to page 125 looking, I guess I missed it by 1 page.

I must have missed it the first time round since it was just a link...


I'm for some reason really excited about seeing the 8 car trains finally start running

Chicago3rd Mar 12, 2008 9:48 PM

I was worried that we would lose some of the character of our stations along the Brownline, but am so thankful for the ones that have been finished. Addison is great! Wilson is great! Have to say I am very happy with CTA's overall job on the brownline. I hope when we go back to 4 tracks next year that they CTA can keep the great timing it has now on three up! We all know the service got a hell of a lot better between Fullerton and Belmont ever since they took a 4th track out.

pip Mar 12, 2008 10:29 PM

CTA jockeys schedules to boost West Side service

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=28567

Marcu Mar 12, 2008 11:58 PM

^ About time.

ardecila Mar 13, 2008 1:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ArteVandelay (Post 3411191)
Working around an active transit system, with specific work hours and non work hours also significantly impacts costs. While obviously work can be done underneath the elevated structure pretty much whenever, once work advances to track level, rush hours trains cannot be impacted. Consequently there is a significant loss or productivity that contractors must account for in there bids.

CTA specs also contain a slew of items to increase the quality of construction that serve to jack up the price. How effective some of these are is a different topic, but suffice to say that not to many houses are built with 6000 psi concrete, epoxy coated rebar, galvanized structural steel, 100% American made materials, 100% union labor etc. Obviously many of these requirements are actual federal requirements, not CTA requirements.

Thanks for the overview... where does the rule about American-made materials come into play? For certain things (e.g. lumber) US products are cheaper, but for many materials, foreign-made products come in at a much lower price. Steel, glass, and several other materials could probably give CTA greatly reduced prices if foreign products were chosen.

Of course, the union labor requirement probably adds significant cost, too... but how much cheaper is it to hire non-union labor, where extensive training might be needed? Is non-union labor even available en masse in Chicagoland?

I'm generally in favor of unions, but I have some viewpoints on them that may provoke some off-topic argument, so I'll keep those to myself.

I imagine the problems with working on an active transit line also affect highways, where rebuilding costs are jacked up by having to keep the highway open - I drove the northern Tri-State yesterday, which is completely messy-looking, varying between 2 and 5 lanes with all sorts of crazy pavement changes and erratic temporary jersey barriers. All the lane changes over the course of construction (barrier placement, signs and lane painting) probably requires a whole dedicated crew.

OhioGuy Mar 13, 2008 5:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pip (Post 3411914)
CTA jockeys schedules to boost West Side service

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=28567

I didn't see this posted yesterday, so I didn't know this was happening. Then this morning I looked at the ABC7 website and it had this heading, "CTA plans to close one branch of Blue Line." I screamed "WHAAAAAAAAT?" :haha:

Then I realized it was just the branch that's already served by the pink line (that didn't enter my brain for about the first 5-10 seconds) and I calmed down. ;)

honte Mar 13, 2008 6:10 PM

^ I didn't get it at first either.

UChicagoDomer Mar 16, 2008 2:48 PM

viva,

a couple of weeks ago, when i asked if there was anything in the works re: a south loop el stop, you mentioned off-hand a potential construction of an entrance at the Chinatown stop on Archer. was that speculation or is the CTA actively considering that?

additionally, the plan commission recently (i.e. january) considered a re-zoning request right at Clark and Archer for a 15-story hotel (175 rooms + 69 parking spaces) + ground floor retail. I don't know if it went through or not. and i also don't know whether the city considered seeking concessions from the developer, such as, oh, I don't know, improvements to the el stop?? is that something that chicago (like n.y.) bothers to do, or do station improvements not really ever factor into the zoning/variance calculus?

ardecila Mar 16, 2008 8:41 PM

The hotel project did go through, but I'm pretty sure that See Wong (the developer) will not be paying for any station improvements.

Wong bought the land from Metra, so the Chicago transit system is already getting several million dollars out of this deal. Of course, Metra isn't going to transfer the money to CTA.. *chuckle* It'll probably just go towards padding conductors' retirement benefits.

VivaLFuego Mar 17, 2008 3:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UChicagoDomer (Post 3419503)
viva,

a couple of weeks ago, when i asked if there was anything in the works re: a south loop el stop, you mentioned off-hand a potential construction of an entrance at the Chinatown stop on Archer. was that speculation or is the CTA actively considering that?

Was considered as part of the overall station work as part of the Circle Line project. Who knows if/when that could happen. To my knowledge, no one is hot to build a north entrance at Cermak-Chinatown at this time...

Quote:

additionally, the plan commission recently (i.e. january) considered a re-zoning request right at Clark and Archer for a 15-story hotel (175 rooms + 69 parking spaces) + ground floor retail. I don't know if it went through or not. and i also don't know whether the city considered seeking concessions from the developer, such as, oh, I don't know, improvements to the el stop?? is that something that chicago (like n.y.) bothers to do, or do station improvements not really ever factor into the zoning/variance calculus?
I've never seen the city or an alderman request transit improvements in exchange for density bonus etc, though some developers have volunteered to make transit improvements. It's really not something that's been on the city's radar, at least for most (all?) of my lifetime...

UChicagoDomer Mar 17, 2008 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3420741)
Was considered as part of the overall station work as part of the Circle Line project. Who knows if/when that could happen. To my knowledge, no one is hot to build a north entrance at Cermak-Chinatown at this time...


I've never seen the city or an alderman request transit improvements in exchange for density bonus etc, though some developers have volunteered to make transit improvements. It's really not something that's been on the city's radar, at least for most (all?) of my lifetime...


my god, chicago is so second-rate when it comes to transit. that i have to spend the rest of my life in a city where i'm treated like a second class citizen because incompetent aldermen want their campaign war-chests and wallets padded is enough to induce mild depression.

why is it that charlotte, denver, and dallas (Dallas??!!!) can build miles of new rail and - in Dallas' case - overhaul their entire zoning codes to make them TOD-friendly, while commuters in chicago face gridlock and ugly strip malls no matter where they go or what mode of transportation they use?

the urban politician Mar 17, 2008 1:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UChicagoDomer (Post 3421232)
why is it that charlotte, denver, and dallas (Dallas??!!!) can build miles of new rail and - in Dallas' case - overhaul their entire zoning codes to make them TOD-friendly, while commuters in chicago face gridlock and ugly strip malls no matter where they go or what mode of transportation they use?

^ Aren't you being a wee bit extreme here?

Have you noticed a difference between Charlotte or Dallas versus Chicago? I have--and the amount of TOD in existence in Chicago today is staggering compared to both of those cities combined times 10.

You guys in Chicago are way too damn pessimistic. Yeah, things are far from perfect, but you act as if everybody else has gotten it right and that you exclusively are living under the reign of morons. Hello--we live in America, people, and we have to accept that transit is simply not high on the list of our leaders' priorities and probably won't be for quite some time.

And lets be reminded that Chicago's central-area highrise boom of the past decade has been one of the greatest examples of TOD in the nation.

VivaLFuego Mar 17, 2008 3:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UChicagoDomer (Post 3421232)
why is it that charlotte, denver, and dallas (Dallas??!!!) can build miles of new rail and - in Dallas' case - overhaul their entire zoning codes to make them TOD-friendly, while commuters in chicago face gridlock and ugly strip malls no matter where they go or what mode of transportation they use?

The Chicago zoning code rewrite basically made strip malls verboten in all but a single busines/commercial zoning classification (which is generally only in place on hopeless streets like Cicero or industrial wastelands, anyway). As strip-and-drive-through-blighted streets like Western, Ashland, Broadway, Irving Park, Lawrence etc gradually redevelop under the new zoning code, they will become much more 'urban' and ped-friendly in character. In many cases you can already see this transformation in action from the most recent building boom, though I suspect it will be another 1-2 boom cycles (perhaps another 20-25 years) before the transformation is 'substantially' complete. And even new stripmalls built under the new zoning code (you can see some examples on South Pulaski and South Cicero if you so desire) are an improvement, as stores still can't be set too far back from the street (many just have parking behind the retail, and still have front sidewalk entrances).

Our off-street parking requirement is still a transit-hostile joke, however. I won't argue against the notion that Chicago gov't and CDOT have generally been antithetical to transit interests, but for some time (certainly under Daley) it has at least become much more pedestrian- and bike-friendly...which is better than nothing, I suppose. The streetscape program since the mid-90s has done wonders for making some streets more friendly for bicyclists and pedestrians.

aaron38 Mar 17, 2008 3:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3421289)
Hello--we live in America, people, and we have to accept that transit is simply not high on the list of our leaders' priorities and probably won't be for quite some time.

$3 a gallon gasoline started changing a lot of minds, and $4 a gallon will change a lot more. The change will probably be sooner rather than later.

When a critical mass of people start using transit regularly because it's cheaper, they'll start screaming for it's improvement, and the politicians will take notice.

VivaLFuego Mar 17, 2008 6:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aaron38 (Post 3421476)
$3 a gallon gasoline started changing a lot of minds, and $4 a gallon will change a lot more. The change will probably be sooner rather than later.

When a critical mass of people start using transit regularly because it's cheaper, they'll start screaming for it's improvement, and the politicians will take notice.

No, they'll scream for more fuel-efficient cars and/or substitute energy sources for their cars. Do you remember huge increases in transit mode share from 1973-1980? If oil gets prohibitively expensive, people won't give up cars, they'll just give up oil-guzzling cars. The biggest driver of transit mode share is land use, and until the country starts running up against significant scarcity in developable land (whether naturally or by government urban growth boundary laws), transit will be a niche market for almost every city. That's not to say that well-funded transit can't obtain a somewhat improved mode share and provide many more rides, but the instructive comparison here is Europe, where transit is very well-subsidized but most European countries still have national transit mode shares in the 10-15% (obviously the major cities are a bit higher). Even in Europe, except for the urbanite population, transit is the exception. And of course, Euros have coped with their different cost structure with substantially more fuel-efficient cars.

UChicagoDomer Mar 17, 2008 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3421422)
The Chicago zoning code rewrite basically made strip malls verboten in all but a single busines/commercial zoning classification (which is generally only in place on hopeless streets like Cicero or industrial wastelands, anyway).

has the re-write really made a noticeable difference?

see, e.g.

North Avenue Retail Strip Malls

Roosevelt & Canal Monstrosity

did the "re-write" make single use verboten, or just suburban style strip malls. From a standpoint of TOD, bicycle use, or pedestrian friendly environments, there really is not a lot of difference (i.e. no one is going to walk to that Whole Foods on Roosevelt & Canal, and it's not a fun walk to the Whole Foods on North Ave.)

As to your second post re: increased transit subsidies, there doesn't appear to be any appetite for that in the federal government...

Replacing Transit with Toll Roads
The Department of Transportation under President Bush has placed an emphasis on market-based measures such as toll roads to alleviate congestion, and this has public transit advocates worried that the Federal government sees no role for transit.

Wash. Post article link
"When Democrats took control of Congress and stripped most earmarks from last year's federal budget, Peters took $850 million that would have been shipped to hundreds of municipalities and poured it into Urban Partnerships, a pilot program awarded to five cities on the condition that they test congestion pricing.
"The focus on toll roads alarmed the transit industry, which argues that public transportation is the best way to fight gridlock in cities. Industry leaders say the DOT has made it increasingly difficult for expensive rail projects to qualify for federal dollars. The number of major new rail and bus projects on track for federal funding dropped from 48 in 2001 to 17 in 2007, even as transit ridership hit a 50-year high last year and demand for new service is soaring."

and our Gov is too stupid to provide the state support necessary to secure the federal funding for N.E. Ill., so there goes that bright idea...

the urban politician Mar 18, 2008 2:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UChicagoDomer (Post 3422319)
has the re-write really made a noticeable difference?

see, e.g.

North Avenue Retail Strip Malls

^ I believe that crap was built before the zoning rewrite

Quote:

Roosevelt & Canal Monstrosity

did the "re-write" make single use verboten, or just suburban style strip malls. From a standpoint of TOD, bicycle use, or pedestrian friendly environments, there really is not a lot of difference (i.e. no one is going to walk to that Whole Foods on Roosevelt & Canal, and it's not a fun walk to the Whole Foods on North Ave.)
^ Partly agreed, although if you compare the Southgate mall to the Dominick's ancored shopping center on the SW corner of Roosevelt and Canal, you see a great example that compares pre-and post-zoning rewrite development. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the city wanted all of Southgate mall's parking to be in a garage but Whole Foods demanded their own parking lot, thus the city caved and we got the configuration that we currently have.

UChicagoDomer Mar 18, 2008 2:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3422760)
^ I believe that crap was built before the zoning rewrite



^ Partly agreed, although if you compare the Southgate mall to the Dominick's ancored shopping center on the SW corner of Roosevelt and Canal, you see a great example that compares pre-and post-zoning rewrite development. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the city wanted all of Southgate mall's parking to be in a garage but Whole Foods demanded their own parking lot, thus the city caved and we got the configuration that we currently have.

but it's all the same. neither the dominicks nor the whole foods makes anyone who will be populating the south loop in the next 5 years, including at the Roosevelt Collection next to the Target, want to walk their ass even .5 miles across train tracks, a river, and a parking lot just to buy some over-priced raw milk cheese. So the development is more (commercially) dense and the whole food's parking lot is smaller. big deal. no one is going to want to risk being plowed over by rush hour traffic just to traverse it. and even if one is on a bike, the bike ordinance won't be enforced.

so the "zoning re-write" seems like nothing more than an aesthetic touch-up to suburban-style retail jobs (visitors to whom i show the whole foods still have the same impression that they have of most other big-box development in chicago [maybe with the exception of Target at Clark]: cheap suburban strip mall) and not a reflection of a long-term policy shift toward pedestrian-oriented mixed use.

the urban politician Mar 18, 2008 3:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UChicagoDomer (Post 3422841)
so the "zoning re-write" seems like nothing more than an aesthetic touch-up to suburban-style retail jobs (visitors to whom i show the whole foods still have the same impression that they have of most other big-box development in chicago [maybe with the exception of Target at Clark]: cheap suburban strip mall) and not a reflection of a long-term policy shift toward pedestrian-oriented mixed use.

^ You've got no argument here. I agree that it's just an aesthetic "touch up", but it's certainly better than nothing at all. Compare Southgate Mall to the bullshit on the SW corner of Roosevelt/Canal; can you tell me that it's not a huge improvement, at least aesthetically?

Will people still drive? Of course. It's amazing how much Chicago parallels New York in this way. Right acress the river from Manhattan, in parts of Queens and in Hoboken, you will see giant big-box stores like a Costco or Toys' R Us, much in the same way that you see parts of Chicago's downtown core being surrounded (in some places) by a big-box no-man's land. Even urban dwellers need their big-box fix, I guess..

honte Mar 18, 2008 3:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UChicagoDomer (Post 3422841)
but it's all the same. neither the dominicks nor the whole foods makes anyone who will be populating the south loop in the next 5 years, including at the Roosevelt Collection next to the Target, want to walk their ass even .5 miles across train tracks, a river, and a parking lot just to buy some over-priced raw milk cheese. So the development is more (commercially) dense and the whole food's parking lot is smaller. big deal. no one is going to want to risk being plowed over by rush hour traffic just to traverse it. and even if one is on a bike, the bike ordinance won't be enforced.

I'm not following this. How is any of this the development's fault or the zoning's fault? Should they never build anything distant from a train station because people are too lazy to walk .5 miles? If they're not interested in "over-priced ... cheese" then they can walk 100 feet to the Jewel that wastes tons of prime space right along the elevated with surface parking. Tell me which development you like more?

And, FYI, I have several friends who do walk over that bridge to get to Whole Foods and other stores.

I agree the architecture is heinous aesthetically, but really, I don't see much wrong with the development side. The Canal frontage has lots of outdoor space (albeit configured in a bizarre way above the sidewalk) that seems to anticipate brighter days to come when there would be more activity on the street. I've already witnessed people sitting outside at the cafes on this perch, and really, it's a far better scene than what used to be there. Other good notes: The loading and ugly stuff is conducted below Roosevelt. They worked around the one existing building that has anchored the corner since the 1930s. Elevators are glass-enclosed so that you get a sense of activity. And so forth. Overall, it's a much more ideal planning process than what we usually get. I'm not sure why it irks you so much.

People love to rip on North / Clybourn, but as far as retail districts that cater to autos (and pedestrians) go, I think this is one of the better ones I've seen. I'm not talking about Coral Gables or some kind of ultra-posh stuff, but just the average to above-average market. North / Clybourn manages to maintain some semblance of a nice streetscape. It has diversity and visual interest in most places. The growth pattern feels organic. I find it hard to fault it, and as it continues to densify and redevelop (meaning loss of surface parking and more vertical growth) I like it more. If they implemented free shuttles that moved around in the area from retailer to retailer and circled back to the Red Line station, I think you would see tons of people using transit in this area and walking, and really enjoying themselves. But to expect retail in these neighborhood areas without any parking would be out of touch with reality.

VivaLFuego Mar 18, 2008 3:58 AM

^UCD,
Most of the schlock you criticize (rightfully so) was designed/approved/built before the zoning code re-write, which didn't take full effect 'til 2003/2004. Newer stuff: the Best Buy being built on Roosevelt, the large building on the SE corner of North/Sheffield, the new Whole Foods on Kingsbury (under construction), the new Dominick's at Chicago/Damen, etc. As far as I'm concerned, these new designs, from a form standpoint, do an excellent job of accomodating bike/peds and automobiles.

ardecila Mar 18, 2008 5:35 AM

The new Whole Foods on Kingsbury seems to have an interesting design. A quick google search took me to a rendering posted on flickr, and I learned that Gensler is architect. The building looks huge. Not too long ago, Kingsbury was really sleepy - now the industrial uses will subside there, and the clubs and retail will coalesce.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2411/...2aa3518459.jpg


All times are GMT. The time now is 3:12 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.