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

k1052 Jan 26, 2014 3:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kolchak (Post 6423258)
The 2nd street subway in NYC - that is a real transit project. New light rail in LA even qualifies. But this in Chicago...

It sounds like this is just another idea floated that has found wings precisely because we won't be getting any real money for major transit innovation for a long time.

The 2nd Ave Subway is an effort closing in on 90 years old with only 1 of 4 phases is funded and under construction (and with the ESA hemorrhaging cash don't expect to seed it finished in my lifetime). I'd prefer not to use that as an example of successful transit planning.

A multitude of heavy rail transit expansions planned in this city over the recent decades have gone nowhere for either lack of money, political will, or both. Another dead end proposal isn't what the city needs. The city has a lot of transit bones between CTA rail and Metra already...connecting them in a useful fashion (with decent BRT) and zoning for real TOD lets the city leverage what it already has at realistic costs.

ardecila Jan 26, 2014 8:08 PM

The Second Avenue Subway is a perfect example of why we can't really build more rail in Chicago. 90 years of planning, a constant and unceasing battle for funding, insane cost overruns, etc. Yet nobody denies it's a worthy project - the ridership on 2nd Ave will be comparable with the world's busiest subway lines.*

For everyone saying we should build a subway down Western instead, I agree - but I live in the real world. The only way a subway line is ever happening is if we tax all of Chicagoland to pay for it, in line with what LA did on Measure R, but pigs aren't flying yet so I don't hold out much hope.

The BRT proposal is realistic and achievable, and it will cause significant ridership gains while improving the usefulness of the rest of CTA's system. For the first time, I am pretty optimistic about the direction Chicago's taking with regards to TOD as well. The City Council and Mayor are now familiar with the concept, baby legislative steps have been taken, and even regular Chicagoans are starting to understand why density is important near L stations.



*= I suspect that many of these problems are inter-related - the lack of political will (nationally and on a state level) makes it difficult to find funding, while the relative scarcity of transit construction raises costs.

le_brew Jan 26, 2014 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kolchak (Post 6423121)
I remember the Jackson lanes.
And really what I fear is coming will be just that - another way over budget transit fiasco.

i agree with you so wholely on both points.

what bothers me, too, is that cities like the smaller san fran, and little ol' dc are kicking our darn butts. . .

here's a link sent to me by ardecila from another thread which is worth a review. it's a complilation of plans that never came to fruition, as well as reviewing transit in other cities:
http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20090416.php

what gives?

CTA Gray Line Jan 27, 2014 11:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by le_brew (Post 6423861)
i agree with you so wholely on both points.

what bothers me, too, is that cities like the smaller san fran, and little ol' dc are kicking our darn butts. . .

here's a link sent to me by ardecila from another thread which is worth a review. it's a complilation of plans that never came to fruition, as well as reviewing transit in other cities:
http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20090416.php

what gives?

In those other Cities the idea and goal is to provide expansive, inclusive, and efficient Public Transportation.

In Chicago the idea and goal is [ P O L I T I C S ] to STUFF as much MONEY as you can into your Campaign Contributors Back Pockets.

But OF COURSE they have to make it SEEM like the Public is getting something for THEIR (the TAXPAYER'S) Money - like our Popular and Profitable Block 37 SuperStation.
Or the new CTA Green Line Cermak/McCormick Place Station, just West of the White Castle at Cermak & Wabash -- FOUR whole Blocks from the Great Hall: http://goo.gl/maps/jo2PS

k1052 Jan 27, 2014 1:25 PM

I'm cautiously optimistic that the new Cermak station will be a success between the arena/hotels going in and the resurgence in residential construction.

le_brew Jan 27, 2014 2:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 6424587)
Or the new CTA Green Line Cermak/McCormick Place Station, just West of the White Castle at Cermak & Wabash -- FOUR whole Blocks from the Great Hall: http://goo.gl/maps/jo2PS

and like less than 3 blocks from red line chinatown station. . .
what is the benefit compared to that expense?

orulz Jan 27, 2014 5:53 PM

Change of subject.

Could Chicago possibly implement something like the UP Express they're now building in Toronto? I just read about this project for the first time and it seems like an ideal model for how airport express trains could be implemented in the US. High points:
  1. Ties into the commuter rail network
  2. Involves a newly built but pretty short (3km) spur from an existing rail line to the airport
  3. Uses DMUs
  4. Station is directly adjacent to one of the terminals, and a people mover can be used to access the others
  5. Trains run every 15 minutes
  6. Excellent station facilities including platform screen doors

What are the main technical issues that would have to be overcome? Track capacity on the MD-W/NCS lines? Platform capacity at Union Station? Would nobody even use it since the Blue Line already exists and would no doubt be a cheaper ride?

Tom Servo Jan 27, 2014 10:24 PM

Been riding the train lately... What are these new blue cars??? And how long have they been in service? I hated them at first, but they've grown on me, and now I kind of love them!

Mr Downtown Jan 28, 2014 2:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orulz (Post 6424969)
Could Chicago possibly implement something like [Toronto's] UP Express?

Could. Something similar was studied when the Daley administration was working on the airport express proposals. As I understand it, the engineers who ran the simulations discovered that service via the Blue Line would work almost as well.

I think there's certainly capacity available on the Milw-W. I personally think it might work better to extend a line from Bensenville yard north into O'Hare rather than use the CN (NCS) track, which CN would much rather use for freight trains. However, that would require tunneling under all those new east-west runways. Would the FAA require the entire line to be in tunnel?

In my opinion, the bigger challenge is at the downtown end. Union Station isn't convenient to CTA rail, to the office core, or to hotels. The beauty of the Block 37 scheme was that it reinforced the importance of the central Loop.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Servo (Post 6425425)
What are these new blue cars??? And how long have they been in service?

The first 5000s arrived in 2009 and went into service in 2010. Sometime last year they began arriving with blue plastic interiors. Of course, the change order I'm really waiting for is to go back to two-and-one transverse seating.

CTA Gray Line Jan 28, 2014 2:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 6424614)
I'm cautiously optimistic that the new Cermak station will be a success between the arena/hotels going in and the resurgence in residential construction.

And of course Politics I G N O R E S the Metra Electric/Gray Line Station DIRECTLY ATTACHED to the Great Hall (like the Merchandise Mart Station).

LouisVanDerWright Jan 28, 2014 3:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 6425752)
And of course Politics I G N O R E S the Metra Electric/Gray Line Station DIRECTLY ATTACHED to the Great Hall (like the Merchandise Mart Station).

This is the best point I think I've seen you make in favor of your Gray Line proposal. I think the Green Line Cermak Station will work well, but now that you mention it, would rather see that money go towards creating a new line on the south side that provides better service to major destinations like U of C and McCormick Place.

My one question about your proposal is how do you maximize the service radius of the hypothetical gray line? My one problem with the idea is that 50% of the radius is wasted on the park and lake. It is typically more efficient for a line to run a few blocks inland from the lake so you get as many people as possible within a 5-10 minute walk of the new line.

oshkeoto Jan 28, 2014 3:20 AM

^ Between 26th and 47th Street, it's actually worse than that - you have to cross a fairly lengthy rail/undeveloped zone before you even get to any houses or stores. I think you just suck it up and decide that it's most useful for people who live further south, in Hyde Park, South Shore, South Chicago, and so on. I mean, it's actually not even that great for the University of Chicago - the main part of the campus is centered three-quarters of a mile away - but if the neighborhood continues to build up around 53rd and Lake Park, it could still be useful.

Mr Downtown Jan 28, 2014 4:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 6425800)
better service to major destinations like U of C and McCormick Place.

I don't think McCormick Place is really a major destination for transit. Trade show attendees are often transit-averse, don't need to have their trips subsidized, and seem to be pretty well served by the door-to-door hotel service that uses the busway.

LouisVanDerWright Jan 28, 2014 5:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6425936)
I don't think McCormick Place is really a major destination for transit. Trade show attendees are often transit-averse, don't need to have their trips subsidized, and seem to be pretty well served by the door-to-door hotel service that uses the busway.

You have a point that many shows are mainly out of towners and fewer of them tend to use transit. But at the same time, plenty of tourists in Chicago seem to have no problem using the Blue Line or Orange Line to get to their hotel which seems to be a function of the direct access from the airports to the L. So I think the same would apply to going from hotels downtown to McCormick Place, but only if it had direct access. I don't see many tourists walking from the hotel to the train then the train to McCormick Place if it isn't a direct connection.

Also, there are plenty of shows at McCormick Place that draw mainly a local audience. For example, the Auto Show alone would probably draw tens of thousands of rides a day when it is running.

CTA Gray Line Jan 28, 2014 6:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 6425800)
This is the best point I think I've seen you make in favor of your Gray Line proposal. I think the Green Line Cermak Station will work well, but now that you mention it, would rather see that money go towards creating a new line on the south side that provides better service to major destinations like U of C and McCormick Place.

My one question about your proposal is how do you maximize the service radius of the hypothetical gray line? My one problem with the idea is that 50% of the radius is wasted on the park and lake. It is typically more efficient for a line to run a few blocks inland from the lake so you get as many people as possible within a 5-10 minute walk of the new line.

You must remember that I am talking about using existing facilities (Not a new construction) -- so that die is already cast. South of Hyde Park the MED leaves the Lakefront for inland areas.

CTA Gray Line Jan 28, 2014 6:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 6425975)
You have a point that many shows are mainly out of towners and fewer of them tend to use transit. But at the same time, plenty of tourists in Chicago seem to have no problem using the Blue Line or Orange Line to get to their hotel which seems to be a function of the direct access from the airports to the L. So I think the same would apply to going from hotels downtown to McCormick Place, but only if it had direct access. I don't see many tourists walking from the hotel to the train then the train to McCormick Place if it isn't a direct connection.

Also, there are plenty of shows at McCormick Place that draw mainly a local audience. For example, the Auto Show alone would probably draw tens of thousands of rides a day when it is running.

Again, nobody seems to think of providing Transit for all the 1,000's of people that WORK there (Hotel staff, Maintainence, Vendors, Tradesman, Security, Food Service, Set up and Tear down, etc., etc., etc....)

I used to service Typewriters and Copiers at McCormick Place for many years -- and I NEVER took Public Transit (who wants to wait an hour and 10 minutes for a CTA Bus).

Even though parking was/is an EXPENSIVE NIGHTMARE there, it was WAY better than standing and waiting for a Bus that NEVER comes (you finally get sick of waiting and end up calling a Taxi).

le_brew Jan 28, 2014 3:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 6426011)
Again, nobody seems to think of providing Transit for all the 1,000's of people that WORK there (Hotel staff, Maintainence, Vendors, Tradesman, Security, Food Service, Set up and Tear down, etc., etc., etc....)

do you have any info on usage of the mccormick place station today? personally, when i lived in the s.chgo community yrs ago i had never, nor did anyone i know, ever consider commuting to downtown on metra. the station was not that far off, but taking a bus to nearest cta sta. was always the way.

i support the gray line theory, but politics aside, could some marketing and scheduling frequency boost the metra electric ridership without a full transition to a gray line?

Mr Downtown Jan 28, 2014 3:32 PM

McCormick Place station had 137 boardings per day in the 2006 count. About 4300 jobs are located within a half mile.

CTA operates special express bus service from the Metra terminals for the Auto Show, and ridership must run into the dozens.

LouisVanDerWright Jan 28, 2014 4:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6426244)
McCormick Place station had 137 boardings per day in the 2006 count. About 4300 jobs are located within a half mile.

CTA operates special express bus service from the Metra terminals for the Auto Show, and ridership must run into the dozens.

Again, because getting there is so miserable on transit. Who is going to take a Metra from Millennium Station to McCormick Place when trains are operating at 15 minute headways at best and usually more like 20-25 min headways? Hell, I could walk to McCormick Place faster than most Metra Trains could get me there...

Same goes with special express bus service, of course no one uses a service that only exists a few days a year. Part of the benefit of heavy rail stations is permanence. If you always know you can get frequent, fast, reliable service on transit to a location, then you are exponentially more likely to use transit to go to that location. The services you describe are literally the opposite, slow, infrequent, and, in the case of the buses, completely fleeting in their existence. How can you expect high ridership on transit that is a complete mess. I am willing to bet the Cermak Green Station will quickly move into the top 20% or so of L stations immediately upon opening simply because it offers a reasonable option to get to McCormick Place without guessing whether or not the magic express bus will show up or having to try to find out where the temporary station is. However, I am willing to bet a Gray Line CTA station at McCormick Place would rank in the top 10-15 busiest stations with ease.

Mr Downtown Jan 28, 2014 5:12 PM

Hmmm. If we're placing bets, I will predict that, in its third year of operation, Cermak Green Line will be right around 120th of CTA's 166 stations in number of boardings.

As for McCormick Place service, when was the last time you or one of your friends actually went there? Just because there are a lot of people inside the building on certain days doesn't mean it's a big destination for public transit. The vast majority of the visitors are from out of town or the suburbs, traveling on expense accounts. You could run a shuttle every 10 minutes from Millennium and they still wouldn't find it more convenient or attractive than driving or being shuttled in special buses directly from their hotels.


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