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ardecila Sep 26, 2015 6:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 7172397)
Don't Amtrak trains use high-level platforms all along the East Coast? Why not here? All the Amtrak equipment I see in the CUS yards have traps for high-level boarding.

Yes, and the Cardinal will continue to use this equipment for the foreseeable future. However, the Hoosier State may switch to the new Superliner-style bilevel cars which are not designed for high platforms.

N830MH Sep 27, 2015 10:44 PM

Didn't see the news lately.

CTA want to connecting Brown Line & Blue Line.

http://chicago.curbed.com/archives/2...blue-lines.php

Does anybody know about Brown Line extension?

OhioGuy Sep 28, 2015 12:44 AM

^^ I commented earlier this month in this thread about my desire for the brown line to connect to the blue line at Jefferson Park. Though in the link you provided, I'm not sure why they talk about a transfer at Kimball. If the brown line is extended to the blue line, I would assume the transfer would happen at Jefferson Park. Or better yet, both the blue line *and* the brown line would service O'Hare and no transfer would be required between the two lines.

Quote:

The connector would also make it much easier for North Siders to get to O'Hare as residents off the Brown and Red lines would be able to transfer at Kimball to head to the airport.
Also of note, the map shown in the article indicates only one additional station at Elston. There should be two stations, not one. Yes, Elston should have a station. But so too should there be a station at Pulaski & Lawrence (with perhaps an auxiliary entrance to the Pulaski station somewhere around Springfield & Lawrence).

http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs...26.46%20PM.png

(sorry, I tried to resize the image I was posting to something more manageable for the typical screen size, but none of the code I tried seemed to work)

ardecila Sep 28, 2015 4:24 AM

I actually think ONLY Pulaski should get a station. There isn't enough density or commerical activity around Elston/Lawrence to merit a station, and Elston doesn't have any bus service to transfer to.

If there is a second intermediary station, it should really be at Cicero/Lamon. Yes, it's a total dead zone right now, but there are some large industrial parcels that could be developed densely, and the opportunity to transfer to Metra and/or Amtrak.

N830MH Sep 28, 2015 7:01 AM

[QUOTE=OhioGuy;7179214]^^ I commented earlier this month in this thread about my desire for the brown line to connect to the blue line at Jefferson Park. Though in the link you provided, I'm not sure why they talk about a transfer at Kimball. If the brown line is extended to the blue line, I would assume the transfer would happen at Jefferson Park. Or better yet, both the blue line *and* the brown line would service O'Hare and no transfer would be required between the two lines.

Right, they will go to O'Hare Airport. There is no need to transfer. They will stay at the same line. It will connect to Blue Line. No trains change, no transfer. Stay where they are! The trip will continue to O'Hare is a final stop.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 7179214)
Also of note, the map shown in the article indicates only one additional station at Elston. There should be two stations, not one. Yes, Elston should have a station. But so too should there be a station at Pulaski & Lawrence (with perhaps an auxiliary entrance to the Pulaski station somewhere around Springfield & Lawrence).

Yes, according to the map, the brown line will go to O'Hare. It will be last stop, but there is no need to required a transfer.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 7179214)
(sorry, I tried to resize the image I was posting to something more manageable for the typical screen size, but none of the code I tried seemed to work)

It's okay. You don't have resize the map. Just leave it alone.

orulz Sep 28, 2015 4:54 PM

Everybody seems to take for granted that the Brown line should connect to the Blue at Jefferson Park and then extend out to O'Hare, but I think this is a waste because:

(1) Running the brown line out to O'Hare doubles service on the least crowded portion of the O'Hare blue line branch, and conversely would restrict headways closer to downtown.
(2) Making enough room in the median for a portal and flying junction with the Brown Line would involve massive, extensive, and expensive freeway work and probably significant reconfiguration of the Jefferson Park Station. $$$

Better, in my opinion, would be to curve the line south at Cicero, along the Beltway Railroad ROW, and connect at Montrose instead. This gains the following:
(1) It's pretty close (1/2 mile) from Six Corners, which IMO gives it more potential for TOD than Jefferson Park
(2) It would cost less because there would be less tunneling and no expensive blue line junction to build
(3) You could connect with both the MD-N Metra line and the UP-NW Metra line (After building platforms) instead of just the UP-NW
(4) It could be extended further south along the unused Beltway Railroad ROW as the Mid City Transitway
(5) It provides a better route via transfer towards downtown for riders on the outer brown line

The downsides are:
(1) No direct brown line service to O'Hare, but is this really that important? It would be an easy ride with a transfer, and still a massive improvement over the present condition.
(2) The distance to O'Hare for brown line riders would be slightly longer
(3) This would foreclose on a potential new blue/brown track connection, but the existing blue/pink connection near the medical district should be sufficient for non-revenue moves to/from the blue line; if it ever becomes insufficient, they could always run a track through the tunnel under Block 37.

As far as implementation is concerned:

The UP-NW line would have to be elevated over the MD-N and this new Brown Line. If double stack and catenary are considered, you would have to raise UP-NW by about 30'. This could be done with a 1% grade within 3000' on the north side and about 3500' to the south. I would leave a 1200' level section on a long viaduct over Cicero, MD-N, and Montrose. The platforms would be on this viaduct. The grade to reach the new elevation would be on retained fill stretching from just south of Lawrence to just west of Keeler/Irving Park. The Kostner overpass would have to be rebuilt. If double stack is not a consideration on MD-N, you could probably go about 5' lower but Kostner would still need to be rebuilt. This would be similar in scope and cost to the Englewood Flyover project, which, while not cheap at $130m, would be chump change compared to the cost of buidling a longer tunnel and all the freeway work required for the blue/brown junction. Not to mention the benefits of a new rail/rail grade separation on two busy passenger lines.

The brown line could curve south near Cicero and emerge in a portal on the unused Beltway Railroad ROW north of Wilson. It could cross Wilson and the Kennedy on the existing railroad bridges, curve southeast on the existing UP-NW embankment, under the new UP-NW viaduct, where a station would be located directly beneath the platforms of the UP-NW. Then it would curve south along the Beltway Railroad ROW. Potentially the first phase could even include a station at Irving Park. To allow for future extension to the Mid-City Transitway corridor, it would have to climb high enough to cross over the MD-N line. Grades are not a concern for a rapid transit line; 4% grades could extend 750' on either side.

The MD-N line would retain its existing elevation, embankment, and bridges; The Mayfair platforms could probably be moved further to the north to make transfer distances shorter but this wouldn't necessarily have to occur with the initial construction.

A tunnel under the Brown and UP-NW at an elevation of about 614' would be low enough to cross under the brown/UP-NW which are about 626' and high enough to cross over southbound lanes of the Edens/Kennedy junction which are about 595' there, and connecting to the northern end of the Blue Line platform in the median. Possibly the bridge could continue across the northbound lanes to the corner of Sunnyside/Knox, giving the neighborhood a less circuitous connection to the station, if the neighborhood would allow it. (If I had one of those houses, I sure would - I would love the convenience, and if I was concerned about privacy or crime, I would just put up a fence).

I think the gas station at the NE corner of Cicero/Montrose as well as the MBS building between the tracks on the north side of Montrose would be a good spot for a headhouse/TOD complex.

Check here for a map/diagram, for the more visually oriented.

At any rate, I hope connecting at Jefferson Park isn't a foregone conclusion. This would seem to be a feasible alternative and the EIS alternatives analysis phase requires evaluating all feasible alternatives.

emathias Sep 28, 2015 7:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by N830MH (Post 7179157)
Didn't see the news lately.

CTA want to connecting Brown Line & Blue Line.

http://chicago.curbed.com/archives/2...blue-lines.php

Does anybody know about Brown Line extension?

Although the CTA has included it in a few vision plans, it's not a current CTA plan AFAIK. The article is talking about a transit advocacy group pushing for it, not the CTA itself.

My guess is that the CTA has its hands full just trying to get the Red/Purple modernization plan funded. Maybe (maybe) after that it will look harder at a Blue/Brown connection, but my guess is that an Orange Line extension might take precedence since it's been talked about a lot more seriously by the CTA in the recent past.

I kinda like the idea of putting it to Montrose instead of Jefferson Park. There are pros and cons both ways, but running the trains through to O'Hare, to me, is in no way a "must-have" as long as the transfer between the two is pretty easy.

Jibba Sep 28, 2015 7:18 PM

Loop BRT platform/shed
 
http://i.imgur.com/loih5jb.jpg?1

orulz Sep 28, 2015 8:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 7179920)
Although the CTA has included it in a few vision plans, it's not a current CTA plan AFAIK. The article is talking about a transit advocacy group pushing for it, not the CTA itself.

My guess is that the CTA has its hands full just trying to get the Red/Purple modernization plan funded. Maybe (maybe) after that it will look harder at a Blue/Brown connection, but my guess is that an Orange Line extension might take precedence since it's been talked about a lot more seriously by the CTA in the recent past.

I kinda like the idea of putting it to Montrose instead of Jefferson Park. There are pros and cons both ways, but running the trains through to O'Hare, to me, is in no way a "must-have" as long as the transfer between the two is pretty easy.

At Montrose, it would be about 100m, or approximately a one-minute walk, to cross the southbound lanes of the Edens/Kennedy.

The only way IMO to make Jefferson Park work efficiently (without over-serving the outer portion of the line and constraining frequency on the inner portions of the blue and brown lines) would be to set it up as a three- or four-track station with cross-platform transfers, and short-turn some trains there.

That would make some Brown Line->O'Hare trips direct, and make even the ones requiring a transfer, cross-platform. So, if Brown Line->O'Hare is the only goal, and money is no object, this is the way to go.

The right-of-way requirements for such a configuration would be severe. You'd need a wider ROW, perhaps by up to 50' for a four track configuration. The tunnel structure that carries the UP-NW and the bridge that carries Milwaukee Avenue over the Kennedy would both have to be rebuilt. Or you could do something nutty like put the eastbound lanes into a cut-and-cover tunnel, and put the two addtional tracks where the lanes used to be. Or build part of the station underground. All costly endeavors.

It gets even more complicated if you try to terminate the "Lime Line" Mid-City Transitway at Jefferson Park as well, as the Transit Future people suggest. Then you have three lines coming from the south/southeast/east all trying to converge into one headed towards O'Hare. You would pretty much need a massive underground complex to handle this, compared with doing it at Montrose where it can all easily be done aboveground.

ardecila Sep 29, 2015 3:44 AM

I admire the detailed thought in the Montrose proposal! Ultimately though, I can't support it because of the land use. You would be spending billions to create a transit hub surrounded by expressways and hemmed in by single-family neighborhoods. With the amount of transit clustered there, you could easily support a secondary CBD on par with downtown Evanston, but that will never happen with the bungalow folks.

Jefferson Park at least is a historic commercial hub with the potential for significant density and station-area amenities. Also, don't discount the value of the bus network. Jeff Park is a key bus hub that wouldn't be replicated at Montrose.

At Jeff Park, you really have a choice - you can have a quick transfer between Brown and Blue Line platforms, but the Brown Line has to terminate. Or you can build a Brown Line station a few hundred feet away with a long transfer tunnel, build a flying junction west of Milwaukee where there is room, and extend the Brown Line to O'Hare.

Rizzo Sep 29, 2015 4:18 AM

Cant tell you how much I've dreamed of something like this ever since I moved next to the brown line (literally), but I've always gotten stuck at what ardecila has mentioned. I could dream of Ashland Ave subways and Jefferson Park transit superstations, but besides convenient ways of getting around town, development matters alot. I think you'd have to prove alot of growth to back it up, and the surrounding areas will be frozen in time for decades to come except for a few sad 5-story TODs. Hard to believe the brown line would post some astonishing numbers of increased passenger count. The buses are still going to do all the work for people in excess of a half mile walk from El stations.

orulz Sep 29, 2015 2:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7180457)
I admire the detailed thought in the Montrose proposal! Ultimately though, I can't support it because of the land use. You would be spending billions to create a transit hub surrounded by expressways and hemmed in by single-family neighborhoods. With the amount of transit clustered there, you could easily support a secondary CBD on par with downtown Evanston, but that will never happen with the bungalow folks.

Jefferson Park at least is a historic commercial hub with the potential for significant density and station-area amenities. Also, don't discount the value of the bus network. Jeff Park is a key bus hub that wouldn't be replicated at Montrose.

At Jeff Park, you really have a choice - you can have a quick transfer between Brown and Blue Line platforms, but the Brown Line has to terminate. Or you can build a Brown Line station a few hundred feet away with a long transfer tunnel, build a flying junction west of Milwaukee where there is room, and extend the Brown Line to O'Hare.

IMO, Jefferson Park is also pretty badly hemmed in by freeways, railroads, and single family development. At Montrose, as I mentioned, Six Corners is also a historic commercial hub and is just a half-mile away, a bit of a walk but not too bad, and it's significantly bigger than Jefferson Park, or at least what's left of Jefferson Park after the Kennedy was punched through.

Initially, the Cicero corridor south between Montrose and Six Corners could redevelop without much resistance. But long term, Probably all the land between Cicero and the Beltway RR, Milwaukee and the Kennedy, would be a good target. There's a few SFH's in there but not too many. The ones directly facing Cicero are a given, but for the other ones, sometimes a developer can negotiate with an entire neighborhood collectively and reach a buyout agreement for a price slightly above market rate so everybody wins.

The only infrastructure issue would be connecting the street grid east across the MD-N line, which is shoud not be too difficult considering the MD-N is already on an embankment about 10' higher than the surrounding land.

If this were Northern Virginia I would say this sort of redevelopment would be a no brainer and get off the ground quickly without too much opposition. Chicago doesn't have as much in the way of suburban TODs and neighborhoods may be more entrenched, so it may be harder.

VivaLFuego Sep 29, 2015 4:23 PM

The challenges at the other end are also significant and yet to be discussed. I'm trying to think through the construction staging and envisioning Brown Line operations during construction, and again there are some tough and costly choices.

Realistically I don't see how the land under Kimball Yard and station isn't used for doglegging the ROW up to Lawrence, since the costs and engineering complexity of tunneling under the residential areas would be tremendous. Service would probably be truncated to Western, as it's hard to imagine terminal operations on the grade level portion with crossings every block, and the only crossover is west of Francisco. West of Western, where do you incline into the subway? Probably east of Kedzie to also eliminate that grade crossing at a major street and improve the curve geometry when heading northwest. So you're demo'ing Kedzie and Kimball stations, and probably consolidating those in a single subway station, possibly under the current yard (depending on where you inclined into the subway) or maybe under Lawrence west of Kimball. The latter might be operationally preferable based on what your curve geometry is on the dogleg, having a station oriented on the diagonal might force sharp curves, though would allow for entrances approximating the current stations. Siting the Kimball subway station (and could two new subway stations really be justified?) would be it's own challenge.

You'd need a place to store and maintain the Brown Line fleet during construction, since Kimball Yard would be cut off and largely demolished for trenching the subway --- last I recall, there is some spare capacity at Midway (which already runs a few peak Brown trains) and at 54th, but not a ton, so expansion projects might be necessary at one of those or at another yard. Possibly the shorter route and less demand would equal a wash on total Brown Line operating costs during the project despite the extra deadheading needed to run service from a far-away yard. Then you're rebuilding the Kimball yard and shops, but you'll have a capacity issue because of the extra car requirements for the new longer Brown Line service, and this is assuming you don't have to give the land up for some residential or commercial development the alderman demands, meaning those ~200+ cars would have to operate from somewhere else. Maybe if Brown is through-routed to Blue, Rosemont could be expanded.

And tunneling under Lawrence is an unknown of cost versus technique versus how much disruption the neighborhood would tolerate.

I don't have a "recommended plan" here -- other than not doing the project or spending any significant amount of money on it any time soon, because there are far more critical fish to fry like Red-Purple Mod.

Baronvonellis Sep 29, 2015 4:54 PM

1. Go back in time to when the brown line was built and that area was empty fields and have them extend it to Jefferson Park. In 50 years a thing called an airport will be built in that direction where people can travel on flying machines.

2. In 50 years from now, we will have teleportation machines rendering the whole CTA and Ohare obsolete thus no need for the brown line extension. ;)

3. Get Bill Gates to fund it.

k1052 Sep 29, 2015 5:08 PM

Clark/Division work pics
 
The CTA has posted pics of the completed work. I'll miss the old, though degraded by time and wear, styling of the Art Moderne station but being able to actually see more than a few feet in front of you is a pretty nice benefit.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ctaweb

emathias Sep 29, 2015 6:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 7180940)
The challenges at the other end are also significant and yet to be discussed. I'm trying to think through the construction staging and envisioning Brown Line operations during construction, and again there are some tough and costly choices.

Realistically I don't see how the land under Kimball Yard and station isn't used for doglegging the ROW up to Lawrence, since the costs and engineering complexity of tunneling under the residential areas would be tremendous. Service would probably be truncated to Western, as it's hard to imagine terminal operations on the grade level portion with crossings every block, and the only crossover is west of Francisco. West of Western, where do you incline into the subway? Probably east of Kedzie to also eliminate that grade crossing at a major street and improve the curve geometry when heading northwest. So you're demo'ing Kedzie and Kimball stations, and probably consolidating those in a single subway station, possibly under the current yard (depending on where you inclined into the subway) or maybe under Lawrence west of Kimball. The latter might be operationally preferable based on what your curve geometry is on the dogleg, having a station oriented on the diagonal might force sharp curves, though would allow for entrances approximating the current stations. Siting the Kimball subway station (and could two new subway stations really be justified?) would be it's own challenge.

You'd need a place to store and maintain the Brown Line fleet during construction, since Kimball Yard would be cut off and largely demolished for trenching the subway --- last I recall, there is some spare capacity at Midway (which already runs a few peak Brown trains) and at 54th, but not a ton, so expansion projects might be necessary at one of those or at another yard. Possibly the shorter route and less demand would equal a wash on total Brown Line operating costs during the project despite the extra deadheading needed to run service from a far-away yard. Then you're rebuilding the Kimball yard and shops, but you'll have a capacity issue because of the extra car requirements for the new longer Brown Line service, and this is assuming you don't have to give the land up for some residential or commercial development the alderman demands, meaning those ~200+ cars would have to operate from somewhere else. Maybe if Brown is through-routed to Blue, Rosemont could be expanded.

And tunneling under Lawrence is an unknown of cost versus technique versus how much disruption the neighborhood would tolerate.

I don't have a "recommended plan" here -- other than not doing the project or spending any significant amount of money on it any time soon, because there are far more critical fish to fry like Red-Purple Mod.

There are the alleys on either side of the tracks. If you closed Spaulding you could preserve access to the yard while starting the the decline immediately after Kedzie Street, which would be made possible by moving the Kedzie station to the east side of Kedzie. Paying off the impacted homeowners for the time while they lose access to their garages wouldn't be very expensive within the scope of the project. Currently access to the storage part of the Kimball yard is from the west, so the tracks would have to be changed to be accessed from the east while Kimball station is demolished to prepare for the turn to be under Lawrence. The new station could be west of Lawrence with an entrance at Kimball and at St. Louis, extending the reach of that station. While Kimball and Lawrence are dug up, Kimball buses would have to be re-routed to Kedzie anyway. This would all be somewhat complex, but I don't think it would be out of the question at all.

Additionally, but putting the incline between Kedzie and Kimball, you could bury the yard (which would, admittedly, make operations complex during that period), which would allow more storage tracks as the end result, since the west end station would just be through-tracks. You could even then build TOD development on top of the then-submerged yard, further improving the area. Alternatively you could buy out the western side of Spaulding between Lawrence and the current tracks to create even more flexibility and yard expansion.

Another alternative would be to get ride of Kedzie during construction and start your incline after Francisco and either rebuild Kedzie as a subway station or just eliminate it - or eliminate Francisco, start the incline immediately after the river, and restore Kedzie as a subway station stretching east instead of west with a linear park where the line used to be. Manor St. would probably have to be closed then, but starting the portal somewhere with no car access would reduce the chances of a drunk driver or even just pedestrians entering the subway. It would also mean that there'd only be one at-grade crossing, at Rockwell, further improving safety, and give the CTA some additional track run for operational staging during construction.

ardecila Sep 30, 2015 3:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 7181025)
The CTA has posted pics of the completed work. I'll miss the old, though degraded by time and wear, styling of the Art Moderne station but being able to actually see more than a few feet in front of you is a pretty nice benefit.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ctaweb

Just in time to go check out Halal Guys! om nom nom

chrisvfr800i Sep 30, 2015 2:42 PM

I traversed the new "Diverging Diamond" interchange at Rt59 & I88 this morning, and it really works! Too bad the rest of Rt 59 is such a nightmare.

Busy Bee Sep 30, 2015 4:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 7181025)
The CTA has posted pics of the completed work. I'll miss the old, though degraded by time and wear, styling of the Art Moderne station but being able to actually see more than a few feet in front of you is a pretty nice benefit.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ctaweb

Didn't exactly turn out like the rendering:

https://farm8.static.flickr.com/7034...23d1757949.jpg
https://farm8.static.flickr.com/7034...23d1757949.jpg

My single biggest issue with the subway station rehabs (since Chicago) is the horrendous tile and "finish design" including that putrid color scheme, the skylines, the ridiculous typography. All. They have to do is put a nice white or grey tile on the wall with large station names in Helvetica even and it wouldn't look like a circus or children's fun world. The quality looks like it's there, the design is repugnant.

Randomguy34 Sep 30, 2015 4:22 PM

^ That rendering is for the Lasalle/Division entrance. It's close to what it looks like in real life except for the fact that the white tiles are the typical blue tiles.


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