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

Tcmetro Dec 28, 2022 5:08 PM

Phase 1 of the Forest Park branch reconstruction is about to begin, and CTA received an ASAP grant for the Pulaski station and is seeking a MEGA grant for Cicero and Austin. I wouldn't be surprised if they are attempting to piecemeal the funds together to get the rest of the line redone.

The other major project is the future phases of the Red Purple Modernization. I don't think any would begin construction before 2025, but there's still a lot to figure out on those. I'd rank the difficulty from easiest to hardest as:
1. Purple Line - many of the bridges in south Evanston have already been reconstructed, but six stations will need significant work to handle 8 car trains and add ADA compliant features.
2. Red from Bryn Mawr to Howard - largely similar to the segment under construction to the south, with the addition of a Red-Purple transfer station at Loyola.
3. Red from Addison to Wilson - This project is going to require some significant real estate takings to modernize and a lot of money.

The ASAP program has the most committal from the CTA, which is adding ADA compliancy and elevators to every station. The most challenging of these include the rebuilding of three more stations on the Loop (State/Lake is next), the Damen Blue Line, most Blue Line subway stations, and a few Red Line subway stations. I think it might be a good idea for the CTA to combine other work on the subways with the accessibility projects. The subways are really aged at this point and it would be better to knock a lot of work out at once.

I wish CTA would reconsider at least some of the Circle Line projects. The West Loop, IMD, and Lincoln Yards are some of the/going to be some of the most major job centers outside of downtown, there really needs to be some holistic transportation solutions being considered. Right now all that seems to be happening in those areas is relatively minor street reconfigurations.

Additionally, it would be nice to see more Metra improvements. They've done some good work recently to increase service to 30-60 min frequencies off peak on a few lines. It would be good to see that improved further. Many of the undeveloped "megaproject" sites in the central area are adjacent to Metra and there's a lot of opportunity to build on that. Metra has plans for the West Loop and Lincoln Yards stations, but the 78, Michael Reese Hospital and casino sites would be good places to consider new stops. The O'Hare express is a good idea also, and it would be great to try to tie in Amtrak to that station for airport connections to the Illinois and Michigan services at a minimum.

ardecila Dec 28, 2022 11:27 PM

CTA pursues whatever projects the mayor tells them to. The only thing CTA staff advocate for is State of Good Repair (SOGR) work, because without it the trains will eventually grind to a halt.

The reason the original Circle Line died is because it was Frank Kruesi's pet project, which he pushed without strong support from Mayor Daley or other politicians. When Kruesi was fired and Daley put Huberman in the job, all the planning stopped.

I don't see CTA pursuing anything beyond the first half of TCMetro's list above. The next mayor may put more emphasis on bus lanes, which would be a CDOT and not a CTA project. Or they might decide to pull some weird transit idea out of left field and waste their 4 years studying that.

llamaorama Dec 29, 2022 12:52 AM

This isn't really targeted at Chicago specifically, but I wonder how the next few years of depressed ridership combined with funding shortfalls once federal covid money runs out will play out and if transit agencies rethink some of their pre-pandemic planning visions.

It would be too soon to say that now, but in 3 years if Metra ridership was only a quarter of what it used to be 5 years before in January 2020 and stable at that level and revenue is down, like would still want to pursue buying Alstom bilevels and expand stations or build overpasses?

It might be the right approach ends up being the CTA not building the red line extension, and re-designing station rebuilds to have shorter platforms to reduce costs, running shorter trains, etc. Metra might want to reject the sunk cost fallacy and buy Stadler DMU's or something for their more urban lines and close most of the stations on the more suburban lines to turn them into something between regional and intercity rail like the Atlantic City Line or Montauk Line or Rail Runner.

I know that all sounds horrible but what are they going to do if there's a crisis because office workers stay home permanently, a recession decreases local funding availability, and the feds are under a GOP regime and won't offer aid?

Rizzo Dec 30, 2022 4:20 PM

I believe Chicago rail and bus ridership was experiencing slight declines before the pandemic. Both Metra and CTA had practical solutions with unraveling congestion at junctions, infill stations and balancing service to improve ridership experience and hopefully increase revenues from fare. All these strategies remain good plans, with the exception of the red line, which I still remain skeptical about.

It’s difficult to predict what’s next. The good news is increases in ridership over the last few months has exceeded forecasts last I checked reports, but we’re still at like half of what it was in 2019.

Immediate solutions would be to improve security and reduce fare evasion. Most people I know who have given up on the CTA and now choose to drive and pay for parking said they were sick of dealing with filthy trains and bad behavior like loud music and smoking. People will tolerate a bad commute infrequently but once it becomes chronic, people will stop altogether.

Mr Downtown Dec 30, 2022 4:29 PM

The suburban sales tax that actually pays for Metra remains in place, even if fares collected on trains stay depressed. For that reason, Metra is not going to be looking to close any suburban stops, pissing off the locals. It's actually the stops within city limits—where Metra gets no tax revenue—that are merely done for the sake of public relations.

OhioGuy Dec 31, 2022 2:42 AM

South Shore Line capital investment adding up
Tuesday, December 20, 2022 06:30 AM EDT

Quote:

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Over the next three years, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District will invest about $2 billion dollars in capital projects as the South Shore Line undergoes multiple renovations, including the relocation of the commuter line’s eastern-most stop at South Bend International Airport. Other investments, including the Double Track project near Michigan City and the West Lake Corridor extension in Lake County, are already underway. The NICTD recently announced a $6 million engineering services contract to relocate the station at the airport, a project that could cut the travel time from South Bend to downtown Chicago to 90 minutes, saving about an hour.
Quote:

“By realigning the current station terminus at the South Bend Airport, we can reduce distance, eliminate curves, and reduce grade crossings,” said Noland.

The station would only move about 300 yards, but by re-routing the track, it would eliminate 21 crossing grades and about a 1.5-mile path through the west side of the city, where the trains are required to travel at much lower speeds.
Quote:

Part of the trip-time reduction is due to the $649 million Double Track project near Michigan City. NICTD is adding a second set of tracks for an 17-mile stretch that will help reduce rail log jams.

“We’re nearing the halfway point on Double Track. We’re just about to finish the first season of construction,” said Noland, who adds the project is on time for a May 2024 completion date.

Busy Bee Dec 31, 2022 3:06 AM

Nice to see SSL invested in.

left of center Dec 31, 2022 6:53 PM

With the SSL station at South Bend Airport moving to the west side of the airport, are they planning on running new tracks? Or will the SSL trains still take the slow way around the eastern end of the airport and down Bendix Blvd to the mainline?

I think the SSL should be rerouted from the airport and back to downtown South Bend. Reincorporating the old Union Station would be great if possible. They can combine facilities with Amtrak, which has its own station a bit east of central South Bend.

SIGSEGV Dec 31, 2022 11:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by left of center (Post 9827950)
With the SSL station at South Bend Airport moving to the west side of the airport, are they planning on running new tracks? Or will the SSL trains still take the slow way around the eastern end of the airport and down Bendix Blvd to the mainline?

I think the SSL should be rerouted from the airport and back to downtown South Bend. Reincorporating the old Union Station would be great if possible. They can combine facilities with Amtrak, which has its own station a bit east of central South Bend.

If they build tracks coming to the airport from the west, they can stop both at the airport and downtown. I'm sure the airport works well as a park and ride, but they should really have a downtown stop by the transit center.

Chi-Sky21 Jan 2, 2023 4:18 PM

^Better figure out a transportation plan now.

Bombardier Jan 2, 2023 4:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chi-Sky21 (Post 9828601)
^Better figure out a transportation plan now.

You're not lying! There are a lot of areas that are not well served by public transportation and will be especially difficult to access by vehicle due to the rivers. Is the city intending to address the transportation limits of these areas in anticipation of the added density?

streetline Jan 2, 2023 7:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by marothisu (Post 9828512)
I'm using Census Blocks. The Block Groups don't give what data I'm giving because they're way too big and don't go to the boundaries of the elevated tracks. The blocks line up exactly with the boundaries though. No need to even do some sort of approximation because of that. It's perfectly aligned.

Now, if you go between Lake, Van Buren, Michigan Ave, and Wabash there's actually more people than inside of the tracks and it's over 53,000 ppsm as of the 2020 Census. It's possibly a little more now, maybe closer to 55K ppsm. If you extend that sliver down to Roosevelt then it's just over 60K ppsm as of the 2020 Census. If 1000M is a huge success and adds 1000 residents there, then the density will be almost 69K ppsm. Realistically it could easily be over 70K ppsm within a few years.

That sounds convenient, do you have that block level data uploaded to a private system, or is it searchable and mapable online somewhere I'm not aware of?

I personally find the river and Congress and Michigan Ave a more intuitive boundary when colloquially talking about the loop than the elevated tracks. Counting those narrow boundary areas surrounding the tracks separately seems like it might be slicing things too thin when trying to measure walkable density, given that they are only a block wide in places. But it would definitely be very useful to cut Grant Park and the lake out of density statistics.

Kngkyle Jan 2, 2023 8:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bombardier (Post 9828608)
You're not lying! There are a lot of areas that are not well served by public transportation and will be especially difficult to access by vehicle due to the rivers. Is the city intending to address the transportation limits of these areas in anticipation of the added density?

If you are expecting this mayoral administration or current CTA president/board to do anything sensible wrt transit then prepare to be hugely disappointed. Lightfoot is on record calling Chicago a "car city" and giving out subsidies for people to buy gas. The CTA is run by political appointees who have no relevant experience in the field. Until both of these regimes change (doesn't look likely anytime soon) I have zero hope for the CTA. It's simply not a priority.

emailspyro@gmail.com Jan 3, 2023 12:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BVictor1 (Post 9828598)
https://chicago.suntimes.com/2023/1/...s-sterling-bay

For city’s next growth spurt, follow the money to north-northwest corridor

The city touts its Invest South/West initiative, but the real action is on the other side of town.
By David Roeder Jan 2, 2023, 5:30am CST

Thanks for sharing BVictor. It will spread even further NW all the way to Belmont.
There are so many giant strip malls facing the river, no way those will survive more than 5 years.

Both Elston and Clybourn do need to be updated with either subway lines or a tram line / BRT. How these type of interventions have not been planned is beyond me. Total lack of leadership or interest in public works that benefit the actual residents of this city.

What is sad is the lack of planning for the river. Recently the city completed the Webster bridge for the LY site and they didn’t even bother to add an underpass or pathways for bikes or pedestrians. The LY site is being build as an island with no connectivity to the urban fabric.

lakeshoredrive Jan 3, 2023 12:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emailspyro@gmail.com (Post 9828951)
Thanks for sharing BVictor. It will spread even further NW all the way to Belmont.
There are so many giant strip malls facing the river, no way those will survive more than 5 years.

Both Elston and Clybourn do need to be updated with either subway lines or a tram line / BRT. How these type of interventions have not been planned is beyond me. Total lack of leadership or interest in public works that benefit the actual residents of this city.

What is sad is the lack of planning for the river. Recently the city completed the Webster bridge for the LY site and they didn’t even bother to add an underpass or pathways for bikes or pedestrians. The LY site is being build as an island with no connectivity to the urban fabric.

Urban planning is such a hit and miss in this city :hell:

Randomguy34 Jan 3, 2023 12:28 AM

The city doesn't even need to spend money to build a new subway line when the UP-N/NW lines are right along the river. They just need to have Metra start acting like a rapid transit service by running trains at least every 15 mins, reopen closed the stations, and integrate transfers with CTA services. This is literally how the regional rail system works in London, Paris, Tokyo, etc.

The city has so many low-hanging fruits, but no will to grab for them.

ardecila Jan 3, 2023 4:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9828968)
The city doesn't even need to spend money to build a new subway line when the UP-N/NW lines are right along the river. They just need to have Metra start acting like a rapid transit service by running trains at least every 15 mins, reopen closed the stations, and integrate transfers with CTA services. This is literally how the regional rail system works in London, Paris, Tokyo, etc.

The city has so many low-hanging fruits, but no will to grab for them.

This isn't the right answer. Yes, Metra should start acting more like regional rail but that is not enough to make the North Branch a transit-oriented zone. The North Branch developments are not clustered in dense nodes, but scattered up and down the river, so you need a local transit mode like BRT or streetcar with frequent stops. Maybe you could do something like Docklands Light Rail in London, but I think it would end up being massively expensive relative to the benefit.

Metra's alignment and station locations aren't great either... Clybourn can only serve a small slice of the North Branch/half of Lincoln Yards, and there's never been a station between Clybourn and Ogilvie to reopen. Further north on UP-NW, there is maybe one station that should be reopened at Maplewood (aka Diversey). All the others are too close to Blue Line stops. On UP-N, you could do 2 infill stops at Irving Park or Addison, and Diversey or Fullerton. But none of those infill stations would actually serve the North Branch area in question.

twister244 Jan 3, 2023 5:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9829279)
This isn't the right answer. Yes, Metra should start acting more like regional rail but that is not enough to make the North Branch a transit-oriented zone. The North Branch developments are not clustered in dense nodes, but scattered up and down the river, so you need a local transit mode like BRT or streetcar with frequent stops. Maybe you could do something like Docklands Light Rail in London, but I think it would end up being massively expensive relative to the benefit.

Metra's alignment and station locations aren't great either... Clybourn can only serve a small slice of the North Branch/half of Lincoln Yards, and there's never been a station between Clybourn and Ogilvie to reopen. Further north on UP-NW, there is maybe one station that should be reopened at Maplewood (aka Diversey). All the others are too close to Blue Line stops. On UP-N, you could do 2 infill stops at Irving Park or Addison, and Diversey or Fullerton. But none of those infill stations would actually serve the North Branch area in question.

Given the pace of CTA planning/execution, obviously the development will happen at a pace that exceeds the city's ability to implement any L solution. That said, a BRT seems like the path of least resistance, unless any of the major private players want to go in on some sort of public/private project. Light rail / streetcars sounds sexy, but CTA has no modern experience with this, so would that be a hindrance?

In any case, proper planning should be done for this corridor as it's going to become a hot area pretty quickly.

ardecila Jan 3, 2023 6:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twister244 (Post 9829335)
Light rail / streetcars sounds sexy, but CTA has no modern experience with this, so would that be a hindrance?

Neither did Milwaukee, or Cincinnati, or Kansas City. It's well established technology and CTA can turn to outside companies for expertise if they don't want to build it in-house.

Apart from higher capacity and a better ride quality, the main difference in my mind is that a streetcar system would require a maintenance building and yard near the North Branch corridor, so CTA would need to buy a decent size chunk of land. They can get creative, though - Portland put their streetcar shop under an expressway, so basically free land that's not competing with private development. Chicago has a similar area under the Kennedy by the end of the 606, but if IDOT won't cooperate there are plenty of other open sites. They would also need maybe 2 or 3 electric substations on smaller sites for the overhead power.

The downside is that the North Branch corridor is mostly old rail ROW or side streets, but if they want to extend the system beyond the North Branch (I think extensions to Fullerton Red/Purple, and Western Blue are warranted) there is limited space on arterial streets and there will be a big temptation to run them as mixed-traffic instead of dedicated lanes. This would be slow and vulnerable to disruption.

Klippenstein Jan 3, 2023 7:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emailspyro@gmail.com (Post 9828951)
Both Elston and Clybourn do need to be updated with either subway lines or a tram line / BRT. How these type of interventions have not been planned is beyond me. Total lack of leadership or interest in public works that benefit the actual residents of this city.

Definitely BRT, but any bus would be a good start. From what I see, neither street has a bus right now.


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