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VivaLFuego Aug 23, 2007 3:50 AM

^I never bought the idea that the Airport Express was a money-maker....I suppose it's only a moneymaker in the Robert Moses sense, e.g. somehow convince the taxpayers to cover the massive capital cost of building the thing, and then let you keep the revenue from operations instead of just using those to pay down the bonds to build it. There's no way at the fares they're talking ($7-15) they could come anywhere close to covering the capital cost of this beast of a project. But Kruesi always seemed more interested in grand visioning (Circle Line, Airport Express, Line Extensions, increasing frequencies, new bus routes, etc) and the political side of things, and less in the nitty gritty details like financials and labor law, the very things that Huberman has focused alot of effort on tackling (e.g. the new union agreements that restructure the pension and health care, and reducing overtime labor expense).

Since (I've heard) this thing can't qualify as a New Start program, it will basically fall on CDOT to come up with any capital money for express trackage and for the new airport terminals (a vital component, especially at Midway). It also depends on the airlines giving a damn (which they don't) to at least invest in installing ticketing and baggage-tagging stations at the downtown terminal.

In a semi-related note, I noticed the flight departure information screens are up and running at Clark/Lake. Pretty useless, but kinda cool.

nomarandlee Aug 23, 2007 6:45 AM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...i_tab01_layout

Quote:

Daley says tax hike for transit essential
State must act fast to stave off cuts, higher fares, he says

By Gary Washburn | Tribune staff reporter
10:38 PM CDT, August 22, 2007

With fare increases and service cuts just days away for Chicago Transit Authority and Pace riders, Mayor Richard Daley on Wednesday renewed his call for Springfield to head off the pain by approving a sales-tax increase for the Chicago area.

"I think the General Assembly has to understand—what is the alternative?" Daley said of proposed legislation that would raise the sales tax in Cook County and the collar counties to bail out the region's public-transit system. "There is no alternative in regards to mass transportation."...........

Mr Downtown Aug 23, 2007 3:44 PM

Of course, in 1983 we were told we'd be able to check our bags in the lobby of 203 North LaSalle (originally called the "Transportation Center" for exactly that reason) and then hop on the O'Hare Extension downstairs to go to the airport.

ardecila Aug 23, 2007 10:20 PM

Clark/Lake is a slick transfer station, no doubt about it. There's nothing like it anywhere else on the CTA system, since our rail lines don't cross each other. The Roosevelt station in State Place is also pretty cool, but it doesn't integrate into the building so well.

the urban politician Aug 23, 2007 10:26 PM

Why Chicagoans aren't raising hell about possible transit fare hikes and service cuts:

Because they DON'T really believe it's going to happen. They think that the state and the city are playing their usual game of tit for tat and, ultimately, somebody will come to the rescue. This is almost identical to 2005, at least reading the press. Everybody makes headlines about looming cuts for weeks and weeks and then finally somebody coughs up some cash.

I just think it's sad and pathetic, but perhaps some day leaders won't suck so damn badly. But then again, I'm sure they've been saying that since the time of Mesopotamia, 8000 years ago...

OhioGuy Aug 23, 2007 10:58 PM

Great day on the CTA today. I don't know what exactly was happening, but it sounded like the northbound brown line trains weren't able to cross the northside mainline tracks onto the Ravenswood branch. I guess something with the track transfer stopped working? Anyway, I got on the brown line at the Washington stop in the loop and proceeded to ride it the entire way around only to find out they were going to send us around the loop again! So I got f&cking pissed and decided to switch to the Red line. Once I got off, I noticed a purple line train was directly behind, so I decided to take that up to Belmont instead. I hopped on and we headed north, only to stop and sit on the tracks for at least 20 minutes without moving at all between Sedgwick & Armitage. The rest of the trip up to Belmont crawled at an excruciatingly slow pace. I've never seen so many people rolling their eyes & bitching on their cell phones at one time before. People were pissed. In the end it took me over 1.5 hrs to travel just 7 miles from the loop to Lincoln Square on what is supposedly "rapid transit." The CTA should probably just remove any mention of "rapid" for their El lines on the north side of the city. It's just plain false advertising. "Rapid" my ass! I can't remember the last time I've been on the El where I haven't had to deal with delays. My experiences on the NYC subway & DC subway have never been even remotely as poor as the CTA is on a daily basis. And the f&cking state politicians just let it get worse & worse. I think they should all have to spend at least a week riding it to get an idea of just how pathetic it is right now. I was so close to choosing Metra at Ogilvie & taking it north to Ravenswood, but opted to use the CTA instead. Obviously a bad decision. :brickwall:

-OhioGuy (letting off steam that was buildling & building & building while sitting & sitting & sitting on the El today) :(

pip Aug 23, 2007 11:12 PM

^Hey I hear you.

I took the Purple Line Express[http://www.feebleminds-gifs.com/smiley-faces-75.gif] to Evanston last night from Belmont.

What a joke.

Kngkyle Aug 24, 2007 12:11 AM

At least a little good news coming from transit in Illinois..

On right track, Amtrak ridership soars in Illinois

08/23/2007

Train service between St. Louis and Chicago might just be a hit with travelers.

Passenger train ridership in the St. Louis-Chicago corridor is up more than 40 percent since October, when Amtrak added two trains to the three that already offered daily round-trip service.

Amtrak also added one train each to its Chicago-Quincy and Chicago-Carbondale corridors, and those routes also have seen big ridership gains. The expanded service was made possible when the Illinois Legislature almost doubled the state's Amtrak funding to $24 million.

"The additional frequencies give passengers more opportunities to ride," Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said. Before the trains were added, he said, passengers were sometimes turned away.

Three friends from the Bloomington, Ill., area who arrived in St. Louis via Amtrak early Wednesday afternoon for a brief vacation said the train ride was an appealing part of their holiday.

"We just came down to spend a few days," said Carolyn Conn, 63, of Leroy, Ill.,

"And ride on Amtrak," added Evelyn Johnson, 69, also of Leroy. Beverly Hamblin, 72, of Downs, Ill., was the third member of the party.

The women said they had taken the train to Chicago or Springfield before, but it was the first time they had visited St. Louis together. Conn said it probably would not be the last. She said the train was comfortable, arrived only five minutes later than scheduled and the round-trip fare was only $25.

Magliari said the strong rivalry between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs helps boost ridership during the baseball season. And, with the additional trains, "You can get to Chicago or St. Louis in time for a game and get back home the same day," he said.

Amtrak stops on the Chicago-St. Louis route are in Alton, Carlinville, Springfield, Lincoln, Normal, Pontiac, Dwight, Joliet and Summit.

The ridership gains have exceeded the optimistic expectations of Illinois and Amtrak officials but have not been without a downside. Trains are often late and it is usually because Amtrak shares its routes with freight trains.

"We had some teething problems in the beginning," Magliari said. "The service was initiated without any additional infrastructure."

But on-time performance has improved steadily, and officials of Amtrak, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Union Pacific railroad are discussing improvements that will make it easier for Amtrak trains to pass the freights, he said.

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/new...2?OpenDocument

VivaLFuego Aug 24, 2007 12:27 AM

^ The strong storm around 4pm really messed things up at Clark Junction and also the Blue Line. There were several downed trees on the right of way throughout the system (power shut off, single-tracking until it's cleared), and they were throwing switches manually at Clark Junction since something in the lightning storm fried their indications at the tower. Trains were backed up significantly on Red, Brown, and Blue today. If it's any consolation, traffic was a disaster too, and I saw alot of angry people standing outside their cars on the phone with their insurance agent since fallen branches had smashed their roofs and/or windshields. Further consolation could be the fracas in New York every time there's significant rain, when the shallower tunnels flood and literally hundreds of thousands of people pour into the streets simultaneously hoping to get on a bus or taxi. Maybe TUP can speak to that...

I take it to mean there weren't any announcement made? I took the Red at about 5:40 and it wasn't too different than usual (e.g. quite crowded). Huberman recently named a new General Manager at the Control Center, so I'm anxious to see if there is any review of and improvement in real-time communications.

Attrill Aug 24, 2007 12:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3027846)
Great day on the CTA today. I don't know what exactly was happening, but it sounded like the northbound brown line trains weren't able to cross the northside mainline tracks onto the Ravenswood branch. I guess something with the track transfer stopped working? Anyway, I got on the brown line at the Washington stop in the loop and proceeded to ride it the entire way around only to find out they were going to send us around the loop again! So I got f&cking pissed and decided to switch to the Red line. Once I got off, I noticed a purple line train was directly behind, so I decided to take that up to Belmont instead. I hopped on and we headed north, only to stop and sit on the tracks for at least 20 minutes without moving at all between Sedgwick & Armitage. The rest of the trip up to Belmont crawled at an excruciatingly slow pace. I've never seen so many people rolling their eyes & bitching on their cell phones at one time before. People were pissed. In the end it took me over 1.5 hrs to travel just 7 miles from the loop to Lincoln Square on what is supposedly "rapid transit." The CTA should probably just remove any mention of "rapid" for their El lines on the north side of the city. It's just plain false advertising. "Rapid" my ass! I can't remember the last time I've been on the El where I haven't had to deal with delays. My experiences on the NYC subway & DC subway have never been even remotely as poor as the CTA is on a daily basis. And the f&cking state politicians just let it get worse & worse. I think they should all have to spend at least a week riding it to get an idea of just how pathetic it is right now. I was so close to choosing Metra at Ogilvie & taking it north to Ravenswood, but opted to use the CTA instead. Obviously a bad decision. :brickwall:

-OhioGuy (letting off steam that was buildling & building & building while sitting & sitting & sitting on the El today) :(

The regular disruptions in service piss me off a lot - but I'd give the CTA a pass today due to how severe today's storm was.

All Metra lines were shut down for a few hours due to trees across tracks, traffic lights were out all over the city, trees fell across streets (Logan Blvd. had at least 5 or 6 trees down and blocking at least one lane of traffic) - you couldn't get anywhere using any method of transportation today. I couldn't even walk outside wihtout being knocked down at 3:30 this afternoon. It was crazy ass storm.

harryc Aug 24, 2007 1:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Attrill (Post 3028065)
The regular disruptions in service piss me off a lot - but I'd give the CTA a pass today due to how severe today's storm was.

All Metra lines were shut down for a few hours due to trees across tracks, traffic lights were out all over the city, trees fell across streets (Logan Blvd. had at least 5 or 6 trees down and blocking at least one lane of traffic) - you couldn't get anywhere using any method of transportation today. I couldn't even walk outside wihtout being knocked down at 3:30 this afternoon. It was crazy ass storm.

Driving didn't work so well today either - Oak Park - 7pm

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1068/...b0eed3.jpg?v=0

Green Line - Bike - No problem ( other than very wet )

( car was parked, nobody hurt )

LaSalle.St.Station Aug 24, 2007 8:46 AM

i love how metro pols promote mass transit as an avoidence of weather related problems ,when it is most susesptable to weather.... false advertising, but its the Government so no one can sue.

Attrill Aug 24, 2007 5:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LaSalle.St.Station (Post 3028807)
i love how metro pols promote mass transit as an avoidence of weather related problems ,when it is most susesptable to weather.... false advertising, but its the Government so no one can sue.

Mass transit is the most suceptable to weather?!?!?

:koko:

Highways are much more affected by weather - Try taking the Ike on a day when it's drizzling or when there are snow flurries. Yesterday the roads were hit just as hard, if not harder, than mass transit. It took me 1.5 hours to get from Andersonville to Logan Sq. (it usually takes me 20-30 minutes). Traffic lights were out on Western, California was flooded in areas, and trees were blocking Logan Sq. Blvd.

whyhuhwhy Aug 24, 2007 11:47 PM

^

Yesterday the weather affected transit MORE than the roads. If you checked out GCMTravel the only highway that was having trouble was Lake Shore Drive (61 minutes from downtown to Foster!). All the other highways were worse than your average day but not by much. Very much unlike the complete chaos on the El system I witnessed.

Considering that when the power is out the entire road does not dissappear or remain totally and utterly functionless unlike portions of the El, yes, I would say that mass transit is at least as susceptible to the weather. Besides roads are multimodal. If a tree falls along the El or the power runs out, you can forget riding on that train for a while. With roads you can just try and find another one.

The more and more I live in Chicago the more I realize that getting our roadways working properly is the main priority. I live right by the Belmont station and it is faster for me to take Ashland->Ridge up to my job at the Evanston Northwestern Memorial Hospital than it is to take the Purple Line express, which doesn't stop all the way to Howard, and drops you literally within 50 feet of the hospital. If driving is faster than THAT we have a serious problem. And that stretch seems to be working just fine with no real slow zones.

Last week I decided to be adventurous again and take the El up to work. I literally waited for the Purple line for *45* minutes, only to be 42 minutes LATE for work. And I'm in Pediatrics and need to see patients. You could say the CTA lost a customer for a LONG time. I was incredibly pissed. It took me over an hour and a half to take the Purple Line express up to Evanston from Belmont because I was waiting so long.

I know we all want transit to work but the longer I live here the more I realize that cars are the best way to get anywhere. They are the only multi-modal door-to-door solution in 99% of the cases and the road grid we have is unmatched compared to any transit network. Cars are also becoming much more efficient. I spend less money in gas going to and from work now than I do for a month long CTA pass. I mean where is the incentive? Am I supposed to ride it because it "feels" warm and fuzzy, yet it is slower and more expensive for me? Bullcrap.

But the good news is transit doesn't have to be trains. It can be buses.

But the thing is I want to like the El and I keep giving them these chances. But the system is BROKEN. Same with the highways in this city. They are BROKEN. There is no reason why this afternoon Friday inbound on the Kennedy I noticed that GCMTravel.com was reported 128 minutes from O'Hare to the Circle. That is a BROKEN system. And it is because it is poorly designed. With express lanes configured outbound you have 6 lanes going into 4 inbound which creates a mess. Same with the Ike. The Ike is not the problem, it is the Avenues. 4 lanes goes into 3 goes into 4. And of course it is always backed up BEFORE the Avenues each direction. Same with Western/Lincoln/Lawrence. You have Lincoln dumping onto Western and then going off again at Lawrence. Always a complete clusterf*ck not because of cars, or roads, but because it is poorly designed.

There are horrible bottlenecks in this city that are not being addressed. Express lanes are garbage in a city where there are just as many reverse commuters. There is no reason the Ike should be 4->3->4 lane configuration. Etc.

But this falls on deaf ears here. People have literally taken it up the ass in Chicago both with the horrible CTA and the horribly designed freeway system and are just used to being screwed over either way. Funny thing is our Governor seems to not be doing anything about it. Instead we are getting plenty of expansions out in the burbs for the Tollway system that was never that congested to begin with RELATIVE to the horrible Kennedy-Edens junction and Ike-thru-Avenues.

dvidler Aug 25, 2007 1:08 AM

I agree, it does feel like those who want efficient transit are not heard. And the CTA does have a lot of work to do. But I feel that the key to public transportation in the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois is the 2016 Olympics. If we are actually going to make a real run at this event we will need to demonstrate that public transportation is viable. And if we want to demonstrate to the world that Chicago is indeed "world class" we will need excellent public transportation.

honte Aug 25, 2007 1:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 3030264)
Instead we are getting plenty of expansions out in the burbs for the Tollway system that was never that congested to begin with RELATIVE to the horrible Kennedy-Edens junction and Ike-thru-Avenues.

I actually don't disagree with much of what you said, as much as I wish it were otherwise. I tend to use the CTA when needed to get to the Loop; for those without regular destinations at regular times each day, I just can't see the system being workable in its current state.

However, I do disagree with the above. The tollway junctions were the worst thing I have ever witnessed traffic-wise in my life. Seriously. I used to reverse-commute to Schaumburg, and the junction at I-90 and I-294 at the toll plaza, prior to I-Pass, was the quickest way to despise your life I could imagine. I used to sit there dreaming of the I-94 junction.

The I-Pass makeover was a very wise thing, because it has helped a lot of these situations, and in the process reduces pollution from idle cars, etc.

VivaLFuego Aug 25, 2007 3:42 PM

I live car free and take the L on average 4 times a day (2 legs for each trip to work), about 1000 times per year, and rarely have problems, my commute varies from 25-35 minutes which I think is reasonable given I have a transfer. I probably have a "disaster commute" (e.g. more than 45 minutes) about once every 2-3 months, which compares favorably with when I drove every day for a previous job location.

I think it's a question of where you choose to live and work. If either of those are in less than ideal conditions for transit, chances are that driving will be the more logical choice. Only a small fraction of the massive Chicago area is truly transit friendly, yet people have this expectation that transit service will be convenient and high-quality everywhere despite the region funding transit at about a quarter of the rate per capita as world class cities like Paris. It's worth noting that our transit funded with a 1% sales tax is comparable to the funding of other cities like LA, Atlanta, Houston, etc, and yet, which agencies provide more service per capita with the same tax revenue per capita? Exactly.

45 min for a purple express is too long, especially if they never gave an announcement. I think CTA's biggest deficiency that is in their control is customer communications, particularly real-time. When they went to 3-track operations for Belmont and Fullerton, they cut the frequency of Purples to every 15 minutes, which is actually longer than the travel time savings Belmont->Howard, so I'd generally recommend taking the first thing that comes (Belmont->Howard on Red averages about 25-30 minutes, which is 7-10 minutes longer than it should due to slow zones....)

And the reason we need trains is that traffic in Chicago sucks. It's practically impossible to provide reliable bus service on Chicago streets during either peak period or Saturday afternoons. It's impossible because even the best schedule becomes meaningless because of the unpredictability of the timing and locations of many traffic backups. And once a bus gets significantly off schedule, it has a ripple effect that leads to bunching. The only solution would be to have many more buses and many more drivers on duty at all times so that you ensure no matter what, that every terminal departure is on time. But of course that would require a massive budget increase to provide basically the same level of service.

whyhuhwhy Aug 25, 2007 7:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3030409)
I actually don't disagree with much of what you said, as much as I wish it were otherwise. I tend to use the CTA when needed to get to the Loop; for those without regular destinations at regular times each day, I just can't see the system being workable in its current state.

However, I do disagree with the above. The tollway junctions were the worst thing I have ever witnessed traffic-wise in my life. Seriously. I used to reverse-commute to Schaumburg, and the junction at I-90 and I-294 at the toll plaza, prior to I-Pass, was the quickest way to despise your life I could imagine. I used to sit there dreaming of the I-94 junction.

The I-Pass makeover was a very wise thing, because it has helped a lot of these situations, and in the process reduces pollution from idle cars, etc.


Yeah I should have been more clear. With "tollway expansion" I was speaking more about how they are adding lanes out in the burbs but can't fix the Edens-Kennedy junction and the Ike at the Avenues which are both BROKEN and a MESS. The I-Pass idea on-the-ther hand is a fantastic idea. I'm all about efficiency and getting people moving, and I-Pass definetly excels at this. It reduces bottlenecks.

I am REALLY hoping that we get the Olympics and get a huge influx of funding for our transportation network. This means highways AND rail. I mean it is Saturday afternoon right now and GCMTravel is reporting the Kennedy inbound as being red, and I've driven on red. Red is BAD. Red is you are basically barely crawling. On a weekend there is no excuse. Couple this regular traffic with what we will see in 2016 by natural increase, and than add on top of that the OLYMPICS, and Chicago's transportation network could reach the breaking point.

Seriously, I know not many people read this forum but we as Chicagoans need to demand that we start fixing our infrastructure instead of expanding government services. Getting people to and from work efficiently is utmost priority and our system lately *IS* failing. On a day with great weather and no major accidents there is no reason why O'Hare to Downtown should be 128 minutes like it was yesterday. That's OVER TWO HOURS. And the answer is not to have all of these people park at Cumberland and ride the El in. Cumberland probably holds what, 1000 cars at most? And there is also no reason why taking the El should be significantly slower than driving. Luckily they seem to be working on the El and I'll reserve judgment for a couple years, but it just amazes me the amount of traffic that the Kennedy is expected to hold with just three lanes. I'm not saying we need to become an Atlanta, but we should at least be LOOKING to solutions to get rid of needless bottlenecks.

The express lanes were a good idea at one time but now the city is HOT and people love coming downtown and LIVING here (and reverse commuting). Yesterday you had this amazing situation, and it is NOT atypical: Outbound downtown to O'Hare was 34 minutes. Inbound O'Hare to downtown was 128 minutes. This was yesterday around 6PM. And whoever was running the system was asleep at the controls because there was no congestion outbound, but TWO HOURS worth of it inbound, yet the express lanes stayed configured for outbound only.

I'm just glad I wasn't caught up in it, but I looked at the data on my computer in absolute amazement. Can you imagine being a visitor and going downtown and sitting through that absolute hell?

Marcu Aug 27, 2007 12:29 AM

^^ Congestion is easy to criticize but difficult to costly to correct. I really don't see a solution to the Edens/Kennedy junction mess unless you're willing to plow through a couple dozen city blocks. The big dig thing will never happen and there is too much opposition to a truck route through the west side (which I'm all for). If there's any specific solution you can think of, please point it out. Same goes for streets like Cumberland.

whyhuhwhy Aug 27, 2007 9:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3033435)
^^ Congestion is easy to criticize but difficult to costly to correct. I really don't see a solution to the Edens/Kennedy junction mess unless you're willing to plow through a couple dozen city blocks. The big dig thing will never happen and there is too much opposition to a truck route through the west side (which I'm all for). If there's any specific solution you can think of, please point it out. Same goes for streets like Cumberland.

Big dig stuff only needs to be done if you want to go underneath downtowns.

No reason to widen and plow through blocks of housing when you can build up. Double decking highways is popular in California and it's just a matter of time before we'll need to do something similar for the Kennedy junction. The Kennedy already splits up the neighborhoods and it already single decked/raised for most of its run, so there really is no aesthetic reason to not double deck out there. The other solution is to get rid of the express lanes altogether, or double deck the express portion. I've seen this in Houston I believe.

Either way by 2016 that junction will be a parking lot 24/7 if something is not done. Chicago has just too many visitors and sits at too much of a crossroads for something not to be done long term.

I agree it is easier said than done but there needs to be someone to step up who has some clout and at least admit that there is a problem and that they are at least looking into a solution for it. Unfortunately, and I hope you don't take offense to this, I've noticed all too many Chicagoans have the same attitude as you, and that is that nothing can be done and since there is no solution we should just sit back and allow it to get worse. And it has gotten *much* worse just in the last 5-10 years.


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