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jamesinclair Jan 12, 2007 10:44 AM

Just a random question: Why arent any of Chicagos lines underground? Is it a groundwater issue like Miami? Or a cost one?

brian_b Jan 12, 2007 3:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesinclair (Post 2561216)
Just a random question: Why arent any of Chicagos lines underground? Is it a groundwater issue like Miami? Or a cost one?

Chicago does have underground lines.

The elevated sections were all built privately by competing companies long long ago. It was probably much easier to get the necessary right of ways to build elevated lines than subways, and cheaper too.

It wasn't until the early 20th century that it was all consolidated into one system and then it was around 1947 that the government took over. That's when subways and stuff started happening.

Marcu Jan 12, 2007 3:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesinclair (Post 2561216)
Just a random question: Why arent any of Chicagos lines underground? Is it a groundwater issue like Miami? Or a cost one?

Some of the lines are underground for part of the time (red and blue). Others are not for several reasons, including cost, tradition, and "that's just the way they were built back when mass transit was privately run".

Chicago3rd Jan 12, 2007 9:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lukecuj (Post 2561656)
God I Love Daley, doesn't take bullshit and in a sentence points out the 800 pound gorilla that's in the room that everyone seems to ignore.


But there is no way we can believe Daley or CTA beyond the obvious...its old.

How about telling us Mr. Daley how you are going to get the $6 Billion dollars. Why aren't you at the for front of turning the CTA around?

We need independent inspections of the Brown and Red Line station rehabs to make sure we got our moneys worth. How can anyone design something new or construct something new that already has incredible puddling on the platform?

We need audits of how many buses are really running. There is no way to prove we are getting our money's worth.

17,000 people will not be able to get home up the Red Line starting in April. Why isn't the money we pay to run the trains that will be cut not being switched over to new temporary buses? Will CTA just eat it with no accounting?

What sort of "real" transit planning was actually put into the northside as far as what are all the options? Why aren't they going to double up on completeing Fullerton first then go up and do Belmont? Why aren't they converting to a A&B System...so all the trains only make half the stops between Armitage and Addison? Why isn't CTA able to manage traffic like they do on the Kennedy....I mean what were the real options they had and what were the reasons this plan to close down two sides (Belmont & Fullteron) won out.

Oh that is right CTA doesn't have any accountability and Major Daley doesn't give a shit..he has a Chauffer.

Dorothy Brown isn't much better. She is for the people...yet she has no plans for CTA or anything else. She has a campaign based totally on "hate Daley".

Sad sad sad.

BnaBreaker Jan 12, 2007 9:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spyguy (Post 2560261)
http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/2...011107.article

Aldermen: CTA a 'third-world transit system'

January 11, 2007
BY FRAN SPIELMAN
City Hall Reporter

Calling Chicago a world-class city with a “third-world transit system,” a pair of aldermen vowed Thursday to hold City Council hearings into derailments, mechanical breakdowns and daily service delays that have made their constituents’ lives miserable.

Aldermen Ricardo Munoz (22nd) and Joe Moore (49th) are accusing CTA President Frank Kruesi of “gross incompetence” even before capacity cuts of up to 25 percent slated to begin April 2 and continue for two years. Cuts are tied to the next phase of Brown Line reconstruction.

They’re upset about the Blue Line derailment last summer, the Red Line evacuation in November and about countless other service delays that never made headlines.

They’re furious about the increasing number of “slow zones” and about the CTA’s decision to spent $385 million to build a Block 37 “super-station” when their neighborhood stations are “crumbling.”

“It’s unconscionable that a city as great as Chicago has a third-world transit system. That’s really what the CTA has become,” Moore said.

“It’s already bad and the slowdowns as a result of work on the Brown Line are going to make it that much worse. That’s why it behooves us to get to the bottom of this or you’re not going to have anybody riding the CTA anymore. They’ll walk away in disgust.”

Munoz added, “It’s obvious that, with all of the delays and breakdowns, the CTA has got to do something differently. We want hearings to find out what they’re doing wrong and be able to help them find the money to be a better transit system.”

Mayor Daley reacted defensively to the City Council broadside, the second against the CTA in the last month by aldermen who previously demanded the return of CTA conductors.

The mayor argued that Kruesi, his longest-serving adviser, is doing a “good job” under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

“Gross incompetence — by them [aldermen]?” Daley said, facetiously suggesting that the CTA close lines that run through the wards of aldermen who don’t want to put up with reconstruction-related delays.

“When you take the amount of people that are moved in and out of the CTA, they do a tremendous job. Remember, we haven’t gotten any state funding for how many years for operating costs…There’s service disruptions because, unfortunately, it’s an old L system. Think about it. That system is very, very challenging and old.”

Interesting article, and sadly, quite true, at least in my experience. I love Chicago and I love the EL but seriously, the subway in Cairo, Egypt is nicer and far more efficient than the EL.

Rail Claimore Jan 13, 2007 10:37 PM

Well letsee...

Red: South Side rehab, northside partial rehab with brown line, state street subway needs work
Blue: Nothing done so far, probably needs work from Jeff Park to Forest Park
Brown: Rehab current
Purple: Nothing done so far
Yellow: New station coming soon, is a rehab even needed?
Pink: Rehabed a few years ago, Paulina Connector rebuilt.
Green: Rehabed in the 90's
Orange: Relatively new line.

So of all those lines, after any current construction projects, the only parts of the system that will need to be overhauled are the two downtown subways, the far northside el, and both ends of the blue line. That's not bad considering CTA only started rebuilding all their lines what, 15 years ago? We'll merely have about 30% of the system left to overhaul, and that's not bad for a publicly-run agency.

jjk1103 Jan 15, 2007 2:07 PM

...I know this may be a dumb question....but I was told (a while ago) that all they (CTA) are doing for the $530MM is rehabbing the stations .......NOT rebuilding the basic 100yo steel superstructure in between the stations ?? ....is that true, and if so.....how can it cost $530MM just to rehab and extend only the stations? :shrug:

Chicago Shawn Jan 15, 2007 10:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jjk1103 (Post 2565697)
...I know this may be a dumb question....but I was told (a while ago) that all they (CTA) are doing for the $530MM is rehabbing the stations .......NOT rebuilding the basic 100yo steel superstructure in between the stations ?? ....is that true, and if so.....how can it cost $530MM just to rehab and extend only the stations? :shrug:

Believe it or not, but it costs $15-20 million to build a fully ADA accessible elevated station. Factor in that times all the stations being rebuilt and add in the cost of eniment domain and demolition for staging areas.

VivaLFuego Jan 15, 2007 10:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 2566141)
Believe it or not, but it costs $15-20 million to build a fully ADA accessible elevated station. Factor in that times all the stations being rebuilt and add in the cost of eniment domain and demolition for staging areas.

Yep, most of the stations are being totally rebuilt (with the exception of Kimball and Western, I think), not just getting platform extensions and a new coat of paint. Also, don't forget all the design costs, and not to mention all the signalling and power distribution work that is being done as well.

jjk1103 Jan 16, 2007 12:28 AM

...ok, so the bottom line is ....that in 10 years (or so) Frank Krusei is going to be back at the well begging for another $530MM to rebuild the basic steel superstructure ! Great !! ....this can not be too implausable considering that they totally re-built the Douglas and Lake Steet EL's ...not just the stations ...and they were just as old as the Kimball Line...... GREAT !!! :koko: :hell: :yuck: :slob:

mikeelm Jan 16, 2007 1:28 AM

What is Mr. Kurusi's justifacation for building a new facility and not improving servies and Structures for the CTA?

alex1 Jan 16, 2007 2:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lukecuj (Post 2561656)
God I Love Daley, doesn't take bullshit and in a sentence points out the 800 pound gorilla that's in the room that everyone seems to ignore.

I see it the opposite. He needs to put pressure on getting things done. You know, become a real leader. Between Kruesi and Daley, I really doubt that the CTAs problems will subside.

As much as I love Chicago, I will not live in a city that has a "third world" transit system. While there might be a stretch in that quote, I have surely seen first world and 2nd world transit systems that far outdo our CTA.

I move away come September for grad school and will decide upon nY, Boston or overseas come graduation if CTA doesn't get its act together.

jjk1103 Jan 16, 2007 2:43 AM

...I read somewhere that they are going to build a completely new subway line in NYC.....is that true ?

the urban politician Jan 16, 2007 2:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alex1 (Post 2566547)
I move away come September for grad school and will decide upon nY, Boston or overseas come graduation if CTA doesn't get its act together.

^ Considering Boston's similar transit woes, I would go with either NY or overseas of Chicago's L keeps tickling your feathers.

NY's system has some annoying snags (service disruptions), but they are very well managed. They are announced fairly ahead of time, the dates that service will be disrupted are posted at the stations, and plenty of ramped up bus service (sometimes even shuttle buses) tends to compensate for whatever is lost. People don't seem to view the MTA with disdain and regard them as incompetent as I'm always hearing people say about the CTA.

Alex: I would guess that once the Brown Line rehab is done, things will be running quite nicely, if you're willing to wait it out. I can certainly understand why everyone is angry, though. I depend on transit every day--I hand my daily commute over to these guys--and I get pissed off if I'm even delayed by 10 minutes.

One thing that may get Daley off his ass about transit is if some downtown firms formed a coalition demanding improvements in transit or else threatening to move to the suburbs or elsewhere. Ultimately, that's what it may have to come down to

jamesinclair Jan 16, 2007 4:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 2561441)
Some of the lines are underground for part of the time (red and blue). Others are not for several reasons, including cost, tradition, and "that's just the way they were built back when mass transit was privately run".

Have there ever been proposals to move a line underground in downtown? My only experience with elevated lines (besides Miami, which has the groundwater issue) is Boston, where the two elevated lines were removed, one to below grade (but open) and another removed forever

VivaLFuego Jan 16, 2007 4:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesinclair (Post 2566840)
Have there ever been proposals to move a line underground in downtown? My only experience with elevated lines (besides Miami, which has the groundwater issue) is Boston, where the two elevated lines were removed, one to below grade (but open) and another removed forever

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago...a_Transit_Plan

Taft Jan 16, 2007 2:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 2566635)
I can certainly understand why everyone is angry, though. I depend on transit every day--I hand my daily commute over to these guys--and I get pissed off if I'm even delayed by 10 minutes.

I understand the anger myself. I'm one of the people that will be affected by this move (I ride the brown every day). I do feel, however, that a lot of the anger is misplaced.

The CTA had a budget of around 500 mil for the project, right? When faced with soaring construction costs and higher bids (like we've seen on EVERY SINGLE PROJECT discussed on these boards), they opted to come in on budget and close some stations during construction. What happened? The public went ape-shit. What was their alternative? They don't have the money, so what are they going to do?

Now the same thing happens with track closures. I'm sure they would love an unlimited budget and political support which would allow property acquisitions and infrastructure for a fifth set of tracks. But the fact is: they have *neither* of those things. What the hell are they supposed to do?

If someone has a plausible answer for these questions, I'd like to hear them. So far, however, I just hear bellyaching. Sure, I sympathize. This will be a very painful couple of years (blue line to the halsted bus for me). But we need to focus on what can be done to correct the problem: get the CTA more backing and funds.

I put the blame on the Illinois legislature, Daley and the suburbs. Each has done their part to erode the CTA either financially, politically or both. The problem we are facing now, of course, is that city and state coffers are seriously short. I don't see a major monetary infusion coming from either in the short term. Which basically means: we're screwed.

Quote:

One thing that may get Daley off his ass about transit is if some downtown firms formed a coalition demanding improvements in transit or else threatening to move to the suburbs or elsewhere. Ultimately, that's what it may have to come down to
I like this idea, but I question the feasibility. I seriously question where public money would come from without a tax increase. And we know how hard a tax increase for transit is to get passed (but *I* don't use it! why should *I* pay?). I also like the idea of a public-corporate partnership along the lines of Millennium park. Hell, I'd take a new transit line for downtown over 10 Millennium parks any day. But I see two problems with this.

First, a central strategy in getting corporate money for MP was to allow "branding" for just about everything in the park. The sponsors knew this was going to be high profile art, which helped sell them on the idea. Given a transit line has a far lower profile (there is no central focus, there is little/no art, etc.), I don't see sponsors chomping at the bit to get in on it.

Second, the amount of money needed by transit makes the budget for MP look like small potatoes. MP's 500 mil is barely enough to rehab a line's stations, let alone build a new line (especially underground). Sure, it would help (especially with track repairs and rehabs), but again, would a corporate sponsor really want to pay for repairs? I doubt it.

I personally see little hope in getting better transit in Chicagoland without a serious political shift. I would *love* to be convinced otherwise.

Taft

Jaroslaw Jan 16, 2007 8:14 PM

As far as $$$ for the CTA, I keep thinking this: over a hundred big buildings have gone up in Chicago during the current boom. All of these new buildings contribute new property taxes. Where does this money go? Everything that's going up in Chicago is getting a "free ride", taking advantage of infrastructure built decades ago, with no new capacity being added, whether it's roads or rail... where does the extra tax revenue go??? Can anyone help me on this?

VivaLFuego Jan 16, 2007 8:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jaroslaw (Post 2568078)
As far as $$$ for the CTA, I keep thinking this: over a hundred big buildings have gone up in Chicago during the current boom. All of these new buildings contribute new property taxes. Where does this money go? Everything that's going up in Chicago is getting a "free ride", taking advantage of infrastructure built decades ago, with no new capacity being added, whether it's roads or rail... where does the extra tax revenue go??? Can anyone help me on this?

TIF districts....it goes into slush funds that the aldermen can divvy up.

That said, CTA (and the RTA) get $0 annually from property tax, which is absurd. Chicago transit funding is solely from sales tax, which does not keep up with inflation meaning the subsidy shrinks every year.

Chicago Shawn Jan 16, 2007 8:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jaroslaw (Post 2568078)
As far as $$$ for the CTA, I keep thinking this: over a hundred big buildings have gone up in Chicago during the current boom. All of these new buildings contribute new property taxes. Where does this money go? Everything that's going up in Chicago is getting a "free ride", taking advantage of infrastructure built decades ago, with no new capacity being added, whether it's roads or rail... where does the extra tax revenue go??? Can anyone help me on this?

A lot of it is locked up in the city's multiple TIFs, which absorb property tax revenue increases for 23 years. The new LaSalle Street TIF will help fund the Carrol Avenue light rail line (AKA River Line).

I think a density bonus should be added for developers who make a donation to a transit improvement trust fund, just like the very sucessful affordable housing fund which raised $12 millon in its first year. Sure it may not be much, but its something. I brought this up to Daley himself when I had a brief chance to talk to him, and he said the city is exploring the use of TIFs for transit improvements.


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