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Mr Downtown Jun 11, 2014 2:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by clark wellington (Post 6613051)
What I'm hearing is, the Gray (Gold) Line has no chance because of the person supporting it (and politics).

No, it's unlikely because—despite its instinctive appeal—it's just not that great an idea.

The RTA's 2012 South Lakefront Corridor Study found only modest benefits and high costs for the "Gold Line:"
"If it were assumed that capacity expansion at Millennium Station and along the main line was not needed, the capital cost per new rider would be over $13 and the overall cost per new rider (including operating costs) would be over $35. . .. The operating cost of the Gold Line service plan would be substantial at approximately $60 million annually. The average operating cost per rider would be $12.90. Current operating costs per rider are about $8 per rider.. . given the relatively low cost-effectiveness of the project, obtaining the necessary Federal New Starts funding would be very difficult. TOD impacts are not expected to be large since there already is existing rail service in the corridor."
http://www.rtams.org/reportLibrary/2282.pdf

emathias Jun 11, 2014 2:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6613556)
No, it's unlikely because—despite its instinctive appeal—it's just not that great an idea.

The RTA's 2012 South Lakefront Corridor Study found only modest benefits and high costs for the "Gold Line:"
...
TOD impacts are not expected to be large since there already is existing rail service in the corridor."
http://www.rtams.org/reportLibrary/2282.pdf

Thank you for posting that - the numbers are interesting.

I think it's kind of small-minded that they're so dismissive of TOD benefits, however, as well as the lack of foward-thinking. There is a lot that could be done with the line going forward, both relatively inexpensive things that build on new TOD investments (additional stations in the currently under-developed mid-south area come to mind), medium-expensive things that improve services and safety (such as cut-and-covering the street-running portions in the South Shore), and grander, more expensive things that improve the entire region (such as running it under Monroe to the West Loop and then north as part of an electrified UP-N line with additional TOD and stations where the UP-N line runs). Some of that is quite expensive, but would add value and open up parts of the city currently well-built, but capable of handling additional density with better service for both the south lakefront and the north side off the lakefront.

As a short-term plan, it seems way to expensive and of limited use, but as a long-term plan it would add enormous value to the Loop, the West Loop, the mid south lakefront, South Shore, Goose Island, west Lakeview, Ravenswood, west Rogers Park and the north shore suburbs. Name another infrastructure project that would benefit such a wide range of areas, at any cost? This is where regional planning would be very beneficial, because they could fund the planning and design of such an endpoint, and then break it into digestible pieces to be built as funds become available. You could probably even do all that for the cost of Boston's Big Dig in today's dollars, with a truly regional impact bigger than the Big Dig.

ardecila Jun 11, 2014 5:49 PM

Should be far less than the Big Dig... the West Loop Metra tunnel was estimated at less than $1 billion. Everything else (electrification, flyovers, infill stations) would probably be about $1-2 billion.

Mr Downtown Jun 11, 2014 9:14 PM

At some point, though, it becomes a solution looking for a problem, like buying a horse because you found a horseshoe.

I don't know that we can just assume inexhaustible demand for in-city residential, in all geographic sectors, and while downtown transit service helps spur redevelopment, it clearly isn't the only factor. Fast frequent service on the Green Line hasn't made much difference to the areas around its stations. In fact, those neighborhoods lost nearly 100,000 people between 2000 and 2010.

wierdaaron Jun 11, 2014 10:15 PM

Rahm's getting ready to sign some checks for construction of Wilson and 95th red line stations.

http://chicago.curbed.com/archives/2...ne-station.php

This one has a bit of a Heathrow feel to it (95th terminal):

http://chicago.curbed.com/uploads/Sc...17.53%20PM.png

ardecila Jun 11, 2014 11:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6614212)
At some point, though, it becomes a solution looking for a problem, like buying a horse because you found a horseshoe.

I don't know that we can just assume inexhaustible demand for in-city residential, in all geographic sectors, and while downtown transit service helps spur redevelopment, it clearly isn't the only factor. Fast frequent service on the Green Line hasn't made much difference to the areas around its stations. In fact, those neighborhoods lost nearly 100,000 people between 2000 and 2010.

None of us can predict with 100% certainty the growth of the city, but we can push it in certain directions through public investment. There's no reason the sector model will always dictate Chicago's growth.

The South Lakefront was once a highly desirable area before the Great Migration and its subsequent (racism-driven) transformation into the Black Belt. I don't see any law of nature saying it can't become desirable again given certain transit investments and improvements like the Obama library.

clark wellington Jun 12, 2014 12:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6614426)
None of us can predict with 100% certainty the growth of the city, but we can push it in certain directions through public investment.

That's sort of what's spurring my questioning. I need to look more into the analysis that Mr. D posted to understand the approach, but if it's a choice between a Red Line extension and the Gold Line, it seems like the Gold Line could be a winner. In that case, you're comparing the cost of upgrades to an even larger one (not simply the cost of running the ME as is).

I also don't think the one-seat trip is as big a deal as others do. The biggest employment center is the Loop, and the Gold Line would take people there. Getting to the Red Line would require a ~three block walk on the Pedway, but if the connection were improved (signage and whatnot), it doesn't seem like a major impediment.

The biggest upside of the Gold Line (vs. a Red Line extension) is that it runs through neighborhoods that still are densely populated (e.g., Hyde Park, South Shore) and others that could be incredibly attractive in the coming decades (e.g., Douglas). The potential there just seems too strong to ignore.

Mr Downtown Jun 12, 2014 2:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by clark wellington (Post 6614494)
The biggest employment center is the Loop, and the Gold Line would take people there.

But increasingly it's not the East Loop, where Metra Electric goes. New office jobs are in the West Loop, tech in River North and Fulton Market, healthcare in Streeterville or IMD. Railfans assume that workers are just dying to trade their one-seat or two-seat bus ride for a three-seat ride so long as the middle seat is in a train. I'm not so sure that's the main priority for the AA or nurse who just wants to know when she'll get to the bus stop nearest her South Shore apartment.

k1052 Jun 12, 2014 2:58 PM

At current density I don't see how a Gold/Grey line project is justifiable at this time. In the interim it is probably more worthwhile to use more BRT from the south side since that presents a fewer obstacles with a lot less cost. If trends change then the rail proposals can be revisited. In that spirit the St. Charles Air Line ROW should be preserved since such a service will most definitely need access to the west loop to be attractive.

emathias Jun 12, 2014 3:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6614212)
At some point, though, it becomes a solution looking for a problem, like buying a horse because you found a horseshoe.

I don't know that we can just assume inexhaustible demand for in-city residential, in all geographic sectors, and while downtown transit service helps spur redevelopment, it clearly isn't the only factor. Fast frequent service on the Green Line hasn't made much difference to the areas around its stations. In fact, those neighborhoods lost nearly 100,000 people between 2000 and 2010.

There are a number of reasons that the areas along the Green Line lost so much population, but first we should recognize that the areas directly abutting the Lake are very different from the areas directly adjacent to the Green Line both in appeal and convenience.

Much of the population lost along the Green Line was the demolition of existing public housing, with the much slower rebuilding of new housing. Some of it, in some relevant areas, was also the first seeds of gentrification, when low-income-high-children households are replaced with mid-income-low-or-no-children households. To the extent that the population decline was related to the loss of public housing and gentrification, both are positive indicators for mid-to-long-term population growth (or re-growth) in the area.

le_brew Jun 12, 2014 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6613590)
grander, more expensive things that improve the entire region (such as running it under Monroe to the West Loop and then north as part of an electrified UP-N line with additional TOD and stations where the UP-N line runs). Some of that is quite expensive, but would add value and open up parts of the city currently well-built, but capable of handling additional density with better service for both the south lakefront and the north side off the lakefront.

a short lake street extension, either the el or blue line subway, would connect existing CTA rails directly into s. shore station.

Mr Downtown Jun 12, 2014 11:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by le_brew (Post 6615987)
a short lake street extension, either the el or blue line subway, would connect existing CTA rails directly into s. shore station.

How exactly would that work? Have a grade crossing in the State Street Subway?

le_brew Jun 12, 2014 11:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6616041)
How exactly would that work? Have a grade crossing in the State Street Subway?

perhaps, with proper crossing signals

denizen467 Jun 13, 2014 4:16 AM

Not to derail (pun is a complete coincidence) the southeast side discussion, but I have a question. Metra's Union Pacific North Line looks as though the addition of the 3rd set of tracks between Bryn Mawr and Addison is nearing completion - viaducts, retaining walls, and landscaping seem done, although laying of actual ties and rails, and modification of signaling, may still be going on.

Does anyone know what this year's work entails, and whether the teardown and replacement of one of the existing set of tracks will begin this year? It was hard to find any recent news on UP.com. I wonder whether they tear down the eastern set, or the now-middle set, of tracks as the next phase. Either way it looks like it will be more complicated than just bolting on the extra tracks on the western edge of the line.

emathias Jun 13, 2014 4:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by le_brew (Post 6615987)
a short lake street extension, either the el or blue line subway, would connect existing CTA rails directly into s. shore station.

I don't think that would be practical, and would limit the utility of providing rides from the southeast to the West Loop and from the north (or even northwest) to the East Loop or McCormick area.

k1052 Jun 13, 2014 1:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 6616521)
Not to derail (pun is a complete coincidence) the southeast side discussion, but I have a question. Metra's Union Pacific North Line looks as though the addition of the 3rd set of tracks between Bryn Mawr and Addison is nearing completion - viaducts, retaining walls, and landscaping seem done, although laying of actual ties and rails, and modification of signaling, may still be going on.

Does anyone know what this year's work entails, and whether the teardown and replacement of one of the existing set of tracks will begin this year? It was hard to find any recent news on UP.com. I wonder whether they tear down the eastern set, or the now-middle set, of tracks as the next phase. Either way it looks like it will be more complicated than just bolting on the extra tracks on the western edge of the line.

They're starting Addison to Webster next year...not to be completed until 2019 I think. They are phasing the work to maintain two track service at all times, the failure to do so was the cause of the meltdowns on the line during 2011 when they started. AFAIK no permanent third track is being left at this time but the project was restructured so that it would be possible in the future.

sukwoo Jun 13, 2014 2:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by le_brew (Post 6615987)
a short lake street extension, either the el or blue line subway, would connect existing CTA rails directly into s. shore station.

Wouldn't it be more practical to (someday) connect the ME to the south side El or State St subway somewhere in the South Loop (maybe via the St. Charles airline)?

k1052 Jun 13, 2014 3:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sukwoo (Post 6616973)
Wouldn't it be more practical to (someday) connect the ME to the south side El or State St subway somewhere in the South Loop (maybe via the St. Charles airline)?

Uh..no since the systems are not at all compatible. Not to mention the Loop tracks are already rather congested at rush.

Connecting Union Station directly to the air line by rebuilding the bridge over the yard to access the station throat tracks seems like the best long term option.

sukwoo Jun 13, 2014 3:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 6617011)
Uh..no since the systems are not at all compatible. Not to mention the Loop tracks are already rather congested at rush.

Connecting Union Station directly to the air line by rebuilding the bridge over the yard to access the station throat tracks seems like the best long term option.

Well, this would be assuming that there was enough growth/gentrification in South Shore to make it worthwhile to pay for infrastructure/rolling stock which would be compatible with CTA. Maybe a 20-30 year project.

le_brew Jun 13, 2014 4:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6616545)
I don't think that would be practical, and would limit the utility of providing rides from the southeast to the West Loop and from the north (or even northwest) to the East Loop or McCormick area.

I have to disagree with you (not argumentative).

what I am suggesting could be a shuttle service going east, for just those few blocks, connecting with either the lake street el (if above), or if the subway, to/from the lake transfer station-- a straight shot down lake str to IL Center, thus Randolph station. (have to add that I am not suggesting combining the two systems; just and CTA station for transfer @ IL Cntr)

not sure when you say "limit the utility" but anything of this nature would enhance connections from the southeast to the west loop and all that you stated above, which would be a great improvement to anything there is now.


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