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Chicago3rd May 4, 2009 2:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChicagoChicago (Post 4230343)
Are you really trying to argue that the current spending is NOT unprecedented? The link you showed cited WWII as the largest federal spending in relation to GDP. A time when we committed nearly 2 million soldiers to the war, and countless people back home supporting it. That's what you compare our current spending to? Your argument is an EPIC FAILURE.

It is factually percentage wise not unprecedented. It doesn't matter where the money goes to...WWII or now....it isn't unprecedented. Unprecedented would be above WWII.

denizen467 May 4, 2009 3:55 AM

I guess one thing that a big park-n-ride garage at Old Orchard would do is open up, to people living in Glenview, Skokie, Niles, and places nearby, the possibility of taking the el to Wrigley Field or to music concerts (Aragon, Riviera, Vic, Park West, Metro, Morse Theater, etc etc) or myriad other places along the Red Line that aren't particularly accessible using Metra.

Many might even realize they can have an extra beer or two at the game or concert because it would wear off by the time they return to their car at Old Orchard.

In fact the only other really public park-n-ride facility I can think of on the Purple Line is the giant Evanston municipal garage across from Davis Street Station (not sure about Central Street Station and Wilmette has small capacity). So this is kind of a new concept for the northern suburbs that might invite new uses.

Mr Downtown May 4, 2009 5:04 AM

How would a Park 'n Ride at Old Orchard differ a great deal from the existing one on Dempster Street in encouraging transit use?

denizen467 May 4, 2009 5:24 AM

Admittedly I'm not very familiar with the Dempster station; I've only driven by and haven't taken a close look at it. But I'm pretty sure there isn't a large parking garage as with Old Orchard - and is Dempster parking even covered? Also, maybe it's just me, but I feel traffic and navigation are easier around Old Orchard, while Dempster is more congested.

Regarding users who would be making only the occasional trip into the city, one other difference is that most people couldn't find Dempster Station on a map without hunting for it, while Old Orchard is much more of a no-brainer. The easy recognition of being right on I-94 and right at the biggest shopping center in the region means it's "top-of-mind" information, making it less of a psychological jump for many people to find and use, especially if coming by highway. It would also be an easier place for groups of people to pick as a meeting place, especially with things to do (and eat) nearby while waiting for other people in the group.

But more generally, by reaching further north into the more "suburban-y" suburbs (in contrast to Skokie, kind of urban), you may be attracting people who really haven't been public transit users. And the idea of 11 minutes allllll the way to Howard would be pretty attractive to some.

Edit: Forgot one big point: Old Orchard extension ---> big jump in Yellow Line ridership ---> economically viable to extend operating hours and increase frequences (wishful thinking?), which benefits all Yellow Line stations.

denizen467 May 4, 2009 5:47 AM

I'll also add the thought that the growing number of people buying condos or renting in Downtown Evanston - many of whom live there so that they don't have to use a car - suddenly can get to Old Orchard (without dealing with any buses). Travel time would be like 20 minutes, excluding waiting at Howard. NU undergrads also could be a group that finds this particularly appealing. Perhaps this would also slightly increase the appeal for others to move into the downtown there - Old Orchard being one of the (top 5?) biggest (non-outlet) malls in NE Illinois.

Since the 1980s and 1990s saw a bunch of retail decamp Downtown Evanston for Old Orchard, this kind of reunites residents with a full complement of shopping options once again (though it be a capitulation to suburbia's dominance, alas).

ardecila May 4, 2009 6:30 AM

^^ That seems a little crazy. I doubt many downtown Evanston residents or Northwestern students are going to go out of the way to Howard just to get to Old Orchard when several Pace and CTA buses would do the job without a transfer.

A suburban transportation story with regional implications:

Prairie Parkway: A road to nowhere?
U.S. Rep Bill Foster has other ideas for his district's use of funding for the proposed outer-belt expressway

Tribune staff reporter Mike Dorning in Washington contributed to this report | Tribune reporter
May 4, 2009

The fate of the Prairie Parkway remains uncertain barely six months after Congress approved $207 million for the fiercely debated highway that would cut a swath through Kendall County.

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, a freshman Democrat whose 14th District would be bisected by the controversial outer-belt, is trying to pull the plug on what would be the Chicago region's latest major highway. Instead, he wants to spend the money on other road projects but will need congressional approval to do so.

Funding was earmarked for the parkway by Foster's high-profile predecessor, former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who resigned last year.

Some were skeptical that Foster could tamper with Hastert's pet project, but with a Democratic administration and Congress now in charge, he may have a good chance, observers say.

----

Foster and many parkway opponents believe the federal money would be better spent by improving existing highways, such as Illinois Highway 47 and bridges across the Fox River.

Foster also wants to widen Eola Road in Aurora from two to four lanes to eliminate a traffic bottleneck.

Rick Powell, the Prairie Parkway project manager at IDOT, said the state has no immediate plans to begin work.

---------

Jan Strasma is leader of the opposition coalition that calls the highway a "sprawlway" which will bring uncontrolled growth and wreak environmental damage.

"We would like to pronounce it dead," Strasma said, "but it's still on life support, and until the funding issues are ironed out at the federal and state level, I don't think we can pronounce it dead."

VivaLFuego May 4, 2009 4:30 PM

As long as its relatively easy (and, specifically, free) to park at Old Orchard, transit usage to access the mall will be fairly limited, and primarily consist of employees. That's not necessarily a bad thing - the same is basically true of the Orange Line extension to Ford City and South Cicero Ave. But if there's an easy and free option to drive, people with car access will generally choose to drive by an overwhelming share. The main question in cost-effectiveness then would be to what extent the extension does open up untapped markets for CTA rapid transit service and the places it serves. The Orange Line extension intuitively is a very strong candidate due to massive unmet demand for Loop-oriented transportation from the southwest side. I haven't seen the demand modeling for the Yellow Line extension, but I'm skeptical that there is a great deal of demand that isn't already met by some combination of the Dempster Park-n-Ride lot and Metra service. That said, if the single-track extension keeps costs low enough that it becomes cost-effective, then why not continue to pursue it? I believe travel time between Dempster and Old Orchard will be somewhere in the vicinity of 3-4 minutes, meaning service demand would have to increase dramatically before the single-track segment reached any capacity constraint.

Chicago Shawn May 4, 2009 7:10 PM

I took a look at the cost projections of the Yellow Line extension...

The locally preferred alternative as proposed: $270 Million Capitol cost, $1.9 Million Operational and maintenance.
Both the trench option and running all the way up the old ROW to Old Orchard are projected to be more expensive.


BRT: $40 Million capitol cost, $1.4 Million Operational and maintenance.

Projected ridership: 2 million with rail vs. 300,000 by BRT.

I think that this is justified. If ridership projections hold true, than an average paid fare of $1.00 per person would more than pay for the operational costs. Build it.

http://www.transitchicago.com/assets...il_30_2009.pdf

Chicago Shawn May 4, 2009 8:21 PM

On the Prairie Parkway...

Hallelujah! Hopefully we can shelve this project once and for all. The real need for road expansions in this part of the metro are more bridge connections for the Fox River and selected road widening. For whatever reason, the Prairie Parkway plan calls for not only building the expressway but also widening Route 47 which parallels the proposed routing. This is wasteful redundancy, especially when most of the land in western Kane County has been targeted for agricultural preservation.

the urban politician May 4, 2009 9:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4231543)
I took a look at the cost projections of the Yellow Line extension...

The locally preferred alternative as proposed: $270 Million Capitol cost, $1.9 Million Operational and maintenance.
Both the trench option and running all the way up the old ROW to Old Orchard are projected to be more expensive.


BRT: $40 Million capitol cost, $1.4 Million Operational and maintenance.

Projected ridership: 2 million with rail vs. 300,000 by BRT.

I think that this is justified. If ridership projections hold true, than an average paid fare of $1.00 per person would more than pay for the operational costs. Build it.

http://www.transitchicago.com/assets...il_30_2009.pdf

^ If the extension is one track then I imagine that trains will only be inbound or outbound during certain times of the day, right?

So if I lived downtown and wanted to take the train to Old Orchard Mall at 8 am on a Tuesday would it even be possible, since that is during rush hour and I would assume that all trains would be inbound?

Mr Downtown May 4, 2009 9:22 PM

No, it's only about 1.5 miles/4 minutes from Dempster to Old Orchard. (That's one of the things that makes this why bother.) So you can just shuttle to Old Orchard and back along a single track at 10 minute headways.

the urban politician May 4, 2009 9:27 PM

^ I've generally been with you with the why bother argument (although Shawn's cost analysis is quite compelling), but I don't see a 4 minute difference as one of the reasons not to build it.

Four minutes at, say 30 mph, is certainly not that short of a distance. Add to that the fact that there is a college, a school, and the region's largest shopping mall at the end of the line, and it makes sense to go the extra short distance. My issue, of course, is the unwillingness of the mall owner to cooperate--to me that's the real kicker.

SkokieSwift May 5, 2009 12:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4230782)
Admittedly I'm not very familiar with the Dempster station; I've only driven by and haven't taken a close look at it. But I'm pretty sure there isn't a large parking garage as with Old Orchard - and is Dempster parking even covered? Also, maybe it's just me, but I feel traffic and navigation are easier around Old Orchard, while Dempster is more congested.

There is a rather large park-n-ride lot (776 spaces) @ the Dempster Station.

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4230782)
Regarding users who would be making only the occasional trip into the city, one other difference is that most people couldn't find Dempster Station on a map without hunting for it, while Old Orchard is much more of a no-brainer. The easy recognition of being right on I-94 and right at the biggest shopping center in the region means it's "top-of-mind" information, making it less of a psychological jump for many people to find and use, especially if coming by highway.

Well, there's a Dempster exit off 94, and the station is only a half mile or so to the east, so finding the station should be a no-brainer.

. . .

However, if my screen name isn't obvious enough, I support the yellow line extension to Old Orchard and Oakton infill station (grew up 3 blocks from there), as well as additional infill stations for east Skokie and Evanston. As long as it stays SWIFT between the stations!

Mr Downtown May 5, 2009 1:44 AM

The ridership projections are pretty suspicious. If memory serves, they're predicting 3000 daily boardings at Old Orchard, when Dempster only has 1600. It's a long unpleasant walk to the office buildings or Old Orchard Woods. The "university" is a commuter college that nearly all students will continue to drive to in between jobs or other responsibilities. The high school is not attended by students living near either of the other two stops.

Now if the village had the courage to do Buckhead-style redevelopment of the single-family houses on the north side of Old Orchard Road, it might make sense as a regional investment. But otherwise, I say use $30 million to build a bus roadway, put the other $240 million in the bank and use the interest to run shuttle buses in perpetuity from Dempster to all four destinations.

Abner May 5, 2009 3:00 AM

Is it generally agreed that an extension to Old Orchard is a higher priority for the Yellow Line than an infill station or two on the current route?

If I were to decide how to spend $270 million on transit in the northern suburbs, I think I would choose to rehab the Purple Line before extending the Yellow. Of course, I have no idea how much the Purple Line would require to get to a state of good repair.

denizen467 May 5, 2009 6:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SkokieSwift (Post 4232143)
There is a rather large park-n-ride lot (776 spaces) @ the Dempster Station.

Thanks for checking. But, where? I took a look at an aerial photo. I see very little near the station. I also see nothing covered, which would be a deal killer for many prospective rail users.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SkokieSwift (Post 4232143)
Well, there's a Dempster exit off 94, and the station is only a half mile or so to the east, so finding the station should be a no-brainer.

A no-brainer because you're from there.
Wading a half-mile into a suburb you've never been to, and a quasi-suburban, quasi-suburban one like Skokie, in a relatively visually monotonous area of 1960s-1970s architectural duds and strip malls and drive-thrus with few distinctive geographic features, is not a no-brainer. It's at least a little-bit-brainer, at least for the psychology of most car-centric suburbanites. You really have to set the hurdle low to get some people to use trains.

Also, can I just say, I'm very sorry but "let's meet in Skokie" or "Oh I usually just drive to Skokie" is still one of the most un-sexy things you can say in a group of people. Especially Glenview/etc/Northshore residents. "Old Orchard" has a little more of a chic ring to it (despite technically being in .. Skokie). It sounds superficial, but to a lot of people, most of Skokie is just a black hole or monotonous no-man's land betwen the Edens and the North Shore Channel. You figure out where the station is once, and ultimately you've forgotten the geography when the occasion arises to try the train again. I'm not taking pleasure in harshin' on Skokie or most of Skokie; just saying one of the prevailing outsiders' views is relevant here.

For Old Orchard, everyone knows where it is, you never forget where it is, it is not (or is less) visually unpleasant to pass through, and there is stuff to do and plenty of covered parking there. That is a no-brainer.

(Much of the above serves an addition to my initial response to Mr. Downtown's question about advantages of an Old Orchard park-n-ride over Dempster.)

denizen467 May 5, 2009 6:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 4232350)
Is it generally agreed that an extension to Old Orchard is a higher priority for the Yellow Line than an infill station or two on the current route?

If I were to decide how to spend $270 million on transit in the northern suburbs, I think I would choose to rehab the Purple Line before extending the Yellow. Of course, I have no idea how much the Purple Line would require to get to a state of good repair.

I think the rehab would not be eligible for new starts funding.

Abner May 5, 2009 6:47 AM

Yeah, that part confuses me. We rehabbed the Douglas branch using New Starts funding, but presumably the Purple Line is not in such horrible shape that the same arguments the CTA made for that project would apply. I really hope the New Starts program gets some degree of reform; it drags project planning out, but more important, it illogically biases funding away from maintenance and repair.

ardecila May 5, 2009 7:14 AM

The Douglas branch didn't receive New Starts money because it was in worse shape than the Purple Line, but because Frank Kruesi had the political pull in Washington to get USDOT to accept the rehab project as a New Start. Same goes for the Green Line. Once you've got the important people agreeing with you, the spin is easy.

With strict New Start nazis in Washington, it's doubtful that even the Brown Line project would have passed, since it involved 0 new miles of rail.

I don't think a Purple Line renovation will be in the works for New Start funding anytime soon. Think about this: in the next 6-8 years, if everything goes according to the CAAP, CTA will be looking for New Starts funding for the following projects:

Red Line Extension
Orange Line Extension
Yellow Line Extension
Circle Line
Clinton Street Subway
Carroll Street Transitway
Monroe Street Transitway
Lakefront Transitway

Those are EIGHT major, major projects. Some of these may be combined, but the figures add up the same. The Lakefront Transitway is probably the smallest on the list, since 80% of it already exists, and the Circle Line will not be the complex rail line that everyone expected, most likely some form of busway instead. Regardless, we're talking ~$10 billion of transit projects here, and that's not even including the other things that are being discussed like Airport Express and the Blue Line Extension (to Lombard).

Nor does it include improvements to the Metra system - and let's face it, Metra's ambitions pale in financial comparison to CTA's. Even the STAR Line would run on existing tracks and would require only the construction of stations and signaling, plus trains and a yard somewhere. All relatively simple and inexpensive stuff to build out in the suburbs.

schwerve May 5, 2009 3:01 PM

^to be fair, clinton and the transitways will be done by CDOT as opposed to the CTA.


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