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

k1052 Sep 12, 2010 10:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4978901)
^ You know, with the exception of demo'ing a highrise, I could not agree more with this.

222 really needs to go if there is to be any hope of unscrewing the concourse area and to accommodate through tracking to increase capacity/flexibility for Metra and Amtrak

ardecila Sep 13, 2010 1:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haworthia (Post 4978931)
I also agree about the Clinton/Kingsbury Subway. I don't see why this isn't the highest priority for the CTA. Metra and Amtrak (or Megabus/Greyhound for that matter) are not integrated like they should be with the L. This could really tie everything together. It would make the whole spectrum of transit services more attractive. I've seen calls for plans like this in various Central Area plans, but I never actually hear about any real steps to do it.

In the last phase of Circle Line planning, CTA acknowledged the idea and put it in their long-term plan. They also acknowledged the Brown Line extension to Jefferson Park.

There's a complex process that has to be followed for new projects - they need to be included in CMAP's long-term plan, CTA has to see a need and then order an Alternatives Analysis, etc. And, of course, a major politician probably has to push for it at various points. Other cities have a environment that's easier to navigate for transit planners, but here it's quite difficult (from what I understand).

Long Range Plan for CTA Capital Projects (distinct from the short-term plan including the Red/Orange/Yellow extensions and Circle Line Phase II)
Circle Line Vision (northern half)
BRT-Cicero
BRT-Ashland
BRT-Western
BRT-79th
BRT-Clybourn to McCormick Place
HRT-Midway to Pink Line
HRT-Kimball to Jefferson Park
HRT-West Loop (Clinton-Larrabee)
Transit to South Works Site

Mr Downtown Sep 13, 2010 3:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 4978967)
222 really needs to go if there is to be any hope of unscrewing the concourse area and to accommodate through tracking to increase capacity/flexibility for Metra and Amtrak

No, there's a lot that could be done by pushing various functions, such as ticketing and food vendors, upward into the first two floors of 222. The health club (old IMM) is an enormous sunlit column-free space that could be used to great advantage.

As for through-tracking, there are already two through tracks. During WWII, when long cross-country troop trains were regularly passing through Chicago, there was a scheme to connect tracks 17 & 26 to create an additional through track at the east end. Apparently the original caissons had been placed with that in mind, and I'm guessing 222 South Riverside didn't change that. There's another runthrough track that doesn't have platform access. Also there's a service roadway next to the river that's underused. With a few million dollars of work and a small encroachment on the river channel, I think there's room for a total of four through tracks next to the river. It will be many, many decades before our region needs more capacity than that.

sammyg Sep 13, 2010 3:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4979460)
No, there's a lot that could be done by pushing various functions, such as ticketing and food vendors, upward into the first two floors of 222.

Or back into the headhouse.

VivaLFuego Sep 13, 2010 3:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haworthia (Post 4978931)
^^^ TUP, I have to imagine the CTA loses a lot of money on the South branch of the Green Line. That's where I think you are dead on with the infill station idea. The South Loop really needs another station or two. Does anyone know if this is moving forward? I remember hearing about how TIF money was supposed to pay for some stations once upon a time, but haven't heard anything in a while.

I forget which TIF districts exactly, but two different TIF districts definitely have substantial money (I think around $20m each) budgeted for at least one South Loop infill station. Of course, there is still the eternal question of whether a new station would be at 18th, Cermak, or both. In the past, Cermak always had higher ridership projections due to proximity to McCormick Place and improved bus transfer options, but the high population growth in South Loop makes any projections for an 18th Station a bit suspect, in my view, before new Census data are released. I think there was a perception that City Hall preferred a Cermak station, but given that things are set to change dramatically next Spring I would guess any decisions on that front are on hold until then.

Quote:

Metra and Amtrak (or Megabus/Greyhound for that matter) are not integrated like they should be with the L. This could really tie everything together. It would make the whole spectrum of transit services more attractive. I've seen calls for plans like this in various Central Area plans, but I never actually hear about any real steps to do it.
For whatever it's worth, the bus lanes grant that was awarded to CDOT recently included preliminary design/scoping work for a multi-bay off-street bus facility on the site of the surface parking lot on the northern portion of the block bounded by Jackson/Canal/Clinton (just north of the Union Station parking garage). Conveniently, there is even a blocked-off underground walkway crossing Jackson from the Great Hall building that could be reopened to connect to the bus facility directly with no required street crossing. There is a concept rendering floating around somewhere but I don't remember where I saw it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4979460)
The health club (old IMM) is an enormous sunlit column-free space that could be used to great advantage.

I've wondered about this building in terms of improving the sorry Concourse situation. Who owns it? Are there other tenants other than the health club?

Haworthia Sep 13, 2010 3:34 PM

Quite a bit of work on the UP Westline. Here is an article about it

Metra train station project chugs along in Elmhurst
By Annemarie Mannion, TribLocal reporter

Improvements to the Union Pacific West rail line and to the Metra station in Elmhurst are slated for completion sometime this fall.

The project, which is also being done at 11 others on the line, is intended to improve operations.

"It's a project to make the line run more smoothly and efficiently," said Michael Gillis, a Metra spokesman. "There are old signaling systems that need improvement."

The work includes adding crossovers, which allow incoming trains to switch tracks if a train is already on the track.

"It increases the flexibility when you're running a train," Gillis said.

The work includes adding sidewalks to better channel where pedestrians walk.


-------------------------------------

I've observed much of this work taking the train everyday. Other work that I've seen includes a pedestrian underpass in Winfield, some new track between Elmhurst and Berkley, in addition to adding and replacing (work still in progress) some small bridges to support 3-tracks (the UP-West Line goes down to two track between River Forest and Elmhurst). It's beautiful to see something get done. For those curious, here are the details of this work: http://metraconnects.metrarail.com/upw.php.

ardecila Sep 13, 2010 4:40 PM

Union Station Intermodal Center

http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/1...intermodal.jpg

This could turn out right, or it could turn out wrong. I'd love it if they built something like Kennedy Plaza in Providence... they do a great job of blending in historic architecture, and reconciling the opposing natures of a public plaza and a bus terminal.

Mr Downtown Sep 13, 2010 5:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4979477)
I've wondered about this building in terms of improving the sorry Concourse situation. Who owns it? Are there other tenants other than the health club?

As far as I know, it's owned by the same owner as 222 South Riverside. It would take some work to separate them, as "444 W Jackson" contains a long entrance corridor, the loading dock, and probably other functions for the office tower.

I believe the big Corner Bakery is a tenant of 444, not of Union Station (though Corner Bakery has another outpost down in the food court). Here's a street-level plan I did a few years ago:

http://i52.tinypic.com/9vfjab.jpg

denizen467 Sep 14, 2010 7:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4979584)
Union Station Intermodal Center


This could turn out right, or it could turn out wrong. I'd love it if they built something like Kennedy Plaza in Providence... they do a great job of blending in historic architecture, and reconciling the opposing natures of a public plaza and a bus terminal.

Whoa ... is this for real? Is this city-owned land? I wonder whether a bus terminal would generate more revenue than a daily stuffed car parking lot - so it seems unlikely private enterprise would run this.

Is this supposed to replace the ad-hoc bus berthing along Canal? Do the Greyhound buses stay on Harrison?

The best thing would be to rebuild the entire block with a massive multilevel multiuse structure containing a bus terminal, parking and also car rental, and kiss & ride lanes serving Union Station (and the future WLTC). (Come to think of it, is the wait for plans on WLTC what's keeping this block from redevelopment?)

Mr Downtown Sep 14, 2010 2:53 PM

I think the situation is that CDOT very much wants it and Amtrak very much doesn't (because they don't want to provide facilities for Megabus). Curious things about the rendering above: why no stairways or ramps down to station floor level? The sloping site would seem to allow ingenious ways to get from trains to buses without having to cross Jackson. Why no taxi lane? And what are those LRVs hiding in the shadows next to the parking garage?

Nowhereman1280 Sep 14, 2010 3:35 PM

^^^ Nice catch with the LRVs, perhaps they are trying to represent some future iteration of the Kinze/caroll busway or light rail or something like that?

Mr Downtown Sep 14, 2010 4:55 PM

^Yes, it would make sense, but notice that there's no room for passenger loading. They're up against the parking garage wall. I guess the designer is just showing that as possible mid-day storage, and that a real LRT line could be routed through one of the bus lanes.

ardecila Sep 14, 2010 8:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4980653)
I think the situation is that CDOT very much wants it and Amtrak very much doesn't (because they don't want to provide facilities for Megabus). Curious things about the rendering above: why no stairways or ramps down to station floor level? The sloping site would seem to allow ingenious ways to get from trains to buses without having to cross Jackson. Why no taxi lane? And what are those LRVs hiding in the shadows next to the parking garage?

There are stairways. The other renderings show them... they're further down and hidden by the tree canopy.

Apparently, CDOT commissioned Terry Guen, so this is something approximating the actual planned design.

The description also mentions a taxi stand, although it would probably just replace the bus lane on Jackson.

VivaLFuego Sep 14, 2010 9:31 PM

^ Good sleuthing ardec.

The general idea would be for the 120-series "downtown distributor" buses to use this terminal as their layover/staging spot. I've heard conflicting things about whether intercity buses are a part of the plan, so I'd say that part is still up in the air. If Megabus is willing to pay a curb fee then it seems an ideal opportunity, and the Great Hall could actually function as a waiting area for intercity Megabus travelers (again if Megabus is willing to pay a rental fee for ticketing/information screens inside Union Station). Taxi loading is of course also up in the air. I've still never heard a convincingly good reason why the existing dual taxi ramps accessible directly from the Concourse can't be reopened as part of all this, and sending taxis into the bus terminal would clog it to the point of negating any potential traffic engineering benefit of having the off-street facility.

pip Sep 18, 2010 1:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by elguero (Post 4978324)
The text arrival times have actually been usable for a while if you happened to know your stop number, but the addition to the bus stop location signs has made it far, far more useful. Overall I'm a definite fan, it's a small change that makes a big difference in using the CTA.

Did suddenly every bus stop get the addition to the bus stop location signs or have a I just noticed or luckily the busses I take got them?

That is such a great thing lol. I love it. I have saved in my phone the bus stop numbers I take and text the CTA while walking towards the stops. All the time now every time I text to see when the next bus is coming. And it works! It's so simple to use.

Mr Downtown Sep 18, 2010 2:00 AM

The stickers were ordered last winter but they had to wait for sustained warm weather to put them up, and it takes a while to do 11,577 signs--both sides.

ardecila Sep 18, 2010 2:55 AM

Nice figure there... I had no idea how many bus stops were in the city.

I was actually in the early stages of planning a little website with an applet that would automatically generate stickers for any given bus stop in the city, so people could do it guerilla-style. Good to know the CTA already anticipated the need.

It would be nice to put the Bus Tracker information not on a sticker on the bus stop sign, but on the inside of the shelter somewhere. Of course, if a stop is busy enough for a shelter, it should probably have a Next Bus LED sign...

sentinel Sep 18, 2010 3:08 AM

Well I don't care what you think of HSR, pro or con (or maybe just because I'm a little tipsy right now)
but this is BIG news, considering that it's happening in IL first:

High-speed rail construction begins
September 17, 2010

(AP) — Politicians on Friday cast Illinois as a pioneer for being the first to roll federal stimulus money into a high-speed passenger rail line, claiming that the jobs, tourism and traveler convenience anticipated from the St. Louis-to-Chicago route justifies the $1.1 billion taxpayer tab.

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/artic...ruction-begins

spyguy Sep 18, 2010 4:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4985158)
The stickers were ordered last winter but they had to wait for sustained warm weather to put them up, and it takes a while to do 11,577 signs--both sides.

QR Codes would be nice, although it's probably too late and too advanced for the CTA right now.

emathias Sep 18, 2010 5:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spyguy (Post 4985617)
QR Codes would be nice, although it's probably too late and too advanced for the CTA right now.

Advanced? Outside of specific industrial applications, they're a gimmicky joke. I certainly don't think they'd be worth the CTA spending time and money on. A human-readable number can be used by any phone that can send text messages - even smart phones. A QR code can be used only by smart phones - and even then I would argue that opening the QR app, snapping the photo, waiting for it to process and retrieve info is probably slower on average than just texting off the stop number to the CTA or manually inputting the stop number into an app. I personally hope the CTA never uses non-human-readable coding on their signs.


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