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VivaLFuego Feb 4, 2007 4:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 2609841)
VivaL, pardon my ignorance, but wouldn't this preclude the possibility of this track serving as the future leg of a second undergound Loop that includes existing Blue Line subway? Or would there be new track added above this "West Side Subway" tunnel to achieve the above?

Probably, but not necessarily; the subway under Lake actually was built with a flying junction (nice bit of foresight, this is actually there because they eventually wanted to demolish the Lake st. L and replace it with a subway) as it turns towards the NW under Milwaukee (the 2 diverging routes just dead end after about 50 ft) but this would place a track connection to the Clinton subway within the realm of comprehension, if the money and operational need for it were present. Then there's the issue of how you would hook it up at the south end; head west through the portal that already exists in the Ike median, or build a new flying junction underground to loop back into the Blue line subway? The latter option would be massively expensive.

The "ideal" solution would have a perpendicular Monroe st. transitway to eliminate the need for that 2nd loop.

Needless to stay, there's alot of options and possibilities that will utlimately be most contingent on funding.

denizen467 Feb 4, 2007 6:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 2609794)
I am trying to think of another city that has two express lines to the airport. Does London have two express trains to Heathrow?

Both Tokyo's international airports have two completely independent rail systems serving them.

denizen467 Feb 4, 2007 6:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2609360)
Yup, in terms of transit projects, the City is currently pursuing:
1) River Line BRT/LRT
2) West Loop subway/Trasportation Center
3) Mid-city line along the Crosstown ROW from Montrose/Kennedy southward
4) green line infills stops, probably one at Morgan, one at ~18th or Cermak, and one at either Damen or Western (i.e. as many as 3, eventually)
5) downtown subway station rehabs (Jackson/Dearborn currently underway, Grand/State is next, and I think Clark/Division after that.... I wish they'd pick up the pace)
6) Reconstruction of State/Lake L station, and construction of new Washington/Wabash station to replace Madison/Wabash and Randolph/Wabash.

CTA is pursuing:
1) Circle Line
2) Red, Orange, and Yellow extensions
3) Ogden BRT/LRT, but I think this might be about dead at this point
4) Some other cool stuff I can't tell you publicly....yet. But you guys will like it. Some stuff that will hopefully be authorized in the next big transportation bill in 2008 or 2009.

And theres Airport Express, which is unclear whether it's a city project or a CTA project, and hence the quasi-mess surrounding it at the moment.

The CTA stuff will generally take longer to execute than the city stuff because CTA is going through the federal new starts process, whereas the city would be looking to pay for it's projects through TIF and property tax revenues.

VivaLFuego, are you with CTA or something (I guess you wouldn't know CTA #4 above if you weren't..) ? Also, about #4, are you suggesting that, while there aren't enough funds to rehab existing infrastructure, there is already the prospect of getting funding for some new projects authorized within the next year or two?

Also, the above shows that both the City and the CTA are pursuing new lines. Can you (or anybody) explain which has jurisdiction over what?

Rail Claimore Feb 4, 2007 7:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 2610065)
Both Tokyo's international airports have two completely independent rail systems serving them.

Well, Haneda doesn't have any form of express service, just JR's Tokyo Monorail and another local service by some company (I think Keikyuu, but I could be wrong).

Narita has two express services operated by two different companies on two different tracks: N'EX and Skyliner. Both take about an hour from NRT to central Tokyo.

ardecila Feb 4, 2007 8:42 AM

Since this is turning into a "let's all question Viva" thread, let me add another, somewhat unrelated question into the mix.

Is there any reason that the city has not, at certain subway stations, encouraged surrounding buildings to tie themselves into the station? In NY, you see that private architects have used their expertise in creating nice-looking, attractive entrances for subway stops that are integrated into the surrounding buildings.

http://www.forgotten-ny.com/SUBWAYS/...dehomelawn.jpg
http://www.forgotten-ny.com/SUBWAYS/...e-regopark.jpg
http://www.wandco.com/projects/TSQ1-500.jpg


In Chicago, all we have are crappy little claustrophobic stairs with peeling paint, or possibly a Pedway connection. These are uninviting and I'm sure they drive some people away. Of course, North/Clybourn has an above-ground building, and it looks great.

honte Feb 4, 2007 3:21 PM

^ Sorry to sound negative, but those NY buildings do not look appealing to me. Not sure how they are any more "nice looking" or "attractive" than Chicago's. I think the Wilson Station and many other stations along the Red Line, and some of the Blue Line, achieve this feeling but in a much more pleasant manner.

I do agree that North / Clybourn is a nice station, and I am glad they apparently are not planning to tear it down any longer.

VivaLFuego Feb 4, 2007 4:24 PM

^ Well for example, I know the Washington/Wabash station is supposed to integrate with the Garland building. The issue is that if you dont also add the street connections, you get a situation like the Merchandise Mart station which is a real pain to access unless you happen to already be in the building.

the urban politician Feb 4, 2007 4:57 PM

^ Thanks for those great updates, Viva and Shawn.

But when it comes down to it, why should we get our hopes up about any of this stuff when the CTA has derailments every month, and also given the article in the most recent Crains (Feb 3rd edition) talking about how nobody (Daley, the Governer, or Springfield) is even talking about spending money to fix the CTA's woes?

Now I know that this is an operational issue, NOT a capital spending issue. But while Daley has all of these improvements tagged to Chicago winning the Olympics, does he even have a Plan B?

How are we planning to implement any of this if the Olympics don't come to town?

the urban politician Feb 4, 2007 5:07 PM

This is the article of which I speak:

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=23740
Feb. 04, 2007
By Greg Hinz
CTA woes: funding outlook grows dim


Public transit needs appear to be taking a back seat as the contest for state dollars heats up in Springfield.

Chicago-area transit bosses this week are scheduled to officially unveil their funding requests for the legislative session that opened last month. At a minimum, the Regional Transportation Authority is expected to seek about $150 million a year in new money to fill holes in the operating budgets of the Chicago Transit Authority and other agencies, as well as billions of dollars in bonds for capital needs in the next few years.

But Springfield's triumvirate has other priorities, as Gov. Rod Blagojevich focuses on expanding health insurance and keeping his no-new-taxes vow, Senate President Emil Jones pushes education-funding reform and House Speaker Michael Madigan works to shore up pension plans for government employees.

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/image.../og020507p.gif

"Right now, we have three different Democratic leaders who have their own concerns, none of which involves transit," concedes state Rep. Julia Hamos, an Evanston Democrat who heads a House panel studying transit matters for Mr. Madigan.

"I don't hear any of the big three talking about public transit right now," agrees DuPage County Board President Robert Schillerstrom, a Republican.

Mr. Jones' spokeswoman says the Senate chief indeed "is focused on education-funding reform." Mr. Blagojevich "will take transit requests into consideration," his office says. And Ms. Hamos says Mr. Madigan "is walking around with that Commercial Club report," a recent study by the Chicago business group that sounded alarms about unfunded state retirement costs.

Mayor Richard M. Daley's office reports that he would like the General Assembly to give transit more money this session. But Mr. Daley recently has spoken only about boosting funds for schools, not transit. Moreover, the mayor has made it clear he opposes tying new funds to a shift of power from the CTA to the RTA, sources report. The mayor's opposition could cause political problems, because some transit experts and suburban leaders argue that only a strengthened RTA can fully monitor spending and set regional priorities.

If Springfield does nothing, the biggest short-term loser is the CTA, which faces a $110-million hole in this year's budget and needs $6 billion in capital to fix its train system (Crain's, Jan. 22). But Metra and Pace have their own woes, and failing to act could box in pro-transit suburbanites like Mr. Schillerstrom, who supports new money only in exchange for new suburban service.

The best odds are for a capital plan, because it's politically tied to new money for highways. Operating assistance is a harder sell unless the CTA unveils extremely deep service cuts, something it has been reluctant to do so far.

ardecila Feb 4, 2007 6:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 2610458)
^ Sorry to sound negative, but those NY buildings do not look appealing to me. Not sure how they are any more "nice looking" or "attractive" than Chicago's. I think the Wilson Station and many other stations along the Red Line, and some of the Blue Line, achieve this feeling but in a much more pleasant manner.

I do agree that North / Clybourn is a nice station, and I am glad they apparently are not planning to tear it down any longer.

I know that a fair number of stations on the elevated lines accomplish this nicely, which is why I restricted my post to subway stations.

All subway stations except North/Clybourn lack above-ground entrances, instead choosing to rely on narrow, unappealing stairs. While I agree that the CTA's priorities RIGHT NOW should be on maintenance, I'm wondering if the CTA encourages new developments adjacent to its subway stations to tie into those stations and offer unique, attractive entrances using their buildings.

I can think of several new developments right now that could integrate this approach: Block 37, Grand Station (Grand/Milwaukee), Library Tower, and theWit Hotel. An attractive subway entrance will draw many people into these buildings, drawing potential customers for the retail and hotel components of the above developments.

As an added bonus for the CTA, they would no longer have to try to attract retailers into 1940s-era concourse-level shops when the ground-level shops can be outfitted with modern floorplans and fixtures. This in turn can be used to make the concourses more spacious by removing the retailers' partition walls.

brian_b Feb 4, 2007 7:07 PM

I think the CTA needs to investigate starting some sort of public bond issue that is within reach of everyday citizens. Perhaps something like offering a $1000 bond in which the yearly coupon can be used as transit fare instead of actual money. Perhaps even at a guaranteed [discounted] fare that will never change even when the CTA raises fares.

honte Feb 4, 2007 7:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 2610733)
All subway stations except North/Clybourn lack above-ground entrances, instead choosing to rely on narrow, unappealing stairs. While I agree that the CTA's priorities RIGHT NOW should be on maintenance, I'm wondering if the CTA encourages new developments adjacent to its subway stations to tie into those stations and offer unique, attractive entrances using their buildings.

Well don't forget the Clark / Lake entrances, which are accessed through the State of Illinois building to the South and the "Loop Transportation Building" (or whatever that thing was supposed to be) to the North. I think both of these are nice entrances, and I wouldn't be surprised if future buildings handle them this way.

The disadvantage, I think, is lack of visibility and the burden on private owners.

the urban politician Feb 4, 2007 10:21 PM

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-b...ate=2007-02-03
By Bob Tita
Extra trains raise Amtrak ridership
State funds aid increase in round trips; more service demands likely

Amtrak has increased the number of trains traveling between Chicago and three other stops: St. Louis, Quincy and Carbondale. Newscom photo
Additional trains led to a dramatic increase in Amtrak ridership within Illinois late last year.
Ridership in November and December rose 36.4% after Amtrak increased the number of trains operating daily between Chicago and St. Louis, Carbondale and Quincy. Amtrak recorded 155,669 passengers on the three routes during those two months, compared with 114,154 passengers during the same period in 2005.

"Everywhere in the country where you provide high-quality rail service, people will ride it," says Rick Harnish, executive director of the Midwest High Speed Rail Assn., which lobbied the state to pay for additional Amtrak service.

Besides the cost of gasoline, which averages more than $2 a gallon statewide, Mr. Harnish says congested expressways and expensive parking garages provide further incentives for Downstate residents to leave their cars at home when traveling to downtown Chicago. One-way fares between Carbondale and Chicago ranged from $30 to $70 last week.

Illinois is one of 14 states that subsidize Amtrak trains. Last year, the Illinois General Assembly voted to increase Amtrak funding to about $30 million a year from $12 million.

The money allowed the number of state-funded round-trip trains to St. Louis to be increased to three a day from one. Two long-distance Amtrak trains from Chicago also stop at St. Louis, bringing to five the number of daily round trips on that route.

One daily round trip between Chicago and Carbondale was added, bringing the total to three, and another round trip was added between the city and Quincy, bringing the total on that route to four a day. In all, four additional passenger trains began operating in the state on Oct. 30.

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/image.../og020507x.gif

The state money pays for operating expenses that aren't covered by fares. An Amtrak spokesman declines to give specifics for Illinois but says the levels are consistent with Amtrak's 64% average cost-recovery rate from fares.

PENT-UP DEMAND

If ridership continues to increase, state funding for Amtrak could decrease. But demands to expand service to other Illinois cities and add more trains to existing routes are likely to keep pressure on state officials to maintain funding at an elevated level.

"There's tremendous pent-up demand for intercity rail service in Illinois," says Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago.

For instance, Mr. Learner says, trains should be added to Amtrak's Milwaukee-to-Chicago service, because a three-hour gap between trains after 5 p.m. discourages travelers from riding Amtrak. There are now seven trains a day.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Transportation has asked Amtrak to prepare a cost estimate for service from Chicago to Rockford and Dubuque, Iowa. Discussions also are under way about a new route to the Quad Cities and Peoria, which haven't had passenger rail service since the 1970s.

"There would be significant capital costs involved," an Amtrak spokesman says. The tracks and signals used by Amtrak trains must be able to withstand train speeds of at least 79 mph. That's about twice the speed of many freight trains.

Illinois provided more than $80 million in recent years for upgrading tracks, signals and crossing gates for high-speed trains between Chicago and Springfield. Nevertheless, passenger rail advocates argue that the state's support for Amtrak is small compared with the billions of dollars the state spends each year on airports and highways.

"Amtrak service is a veritable drop in the bucket," Mr. Learner says.

VivaLFuego Feb 5, 2007 4:35 AM

The Chicago-Carbondale numbers are great; service was increased by 50%, and ridership increased by 46%, in such a short time period. Pent up demand, indeed. Obviously, at a certain point there would be diminishing returns by adding more trains, but this is great news for people pushing for more intercity rail traffic in the Midwest.

ardecila Feb 5, 2007 10:40 PM

How can there be a 46% increase on the Chicago-Carbondale route if they just instituted it?

Chicago Shawn Feb 5, 2007 10:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2609817)
You also brought up something interesting that has mostly been absent from the public discussion on the Circle Line: There is simply not enough capacity on the State street subway for Red Line + Airport Express (Midway) + Circle Line trains. The Circle line only works if it includes routing Howard-Dan Ryan trains through what was heretofor "Phase 4" of the project, the West Loop subway, which is basically the alignment Shawn described.

Part of the problem is that all of these are pipe dreams, totalling billions in infrastructure costs. Without the political muscle to appropriate funds, these will never happen. The outlook isn't great, but there's some reason for hope: the new congress, which features prominent Illinois and Chicago pols (Emmanuel, Obama, Durbin), and Daley, who's starting to show signs of taking the transportation infrastructure seriously in conjunciton with the Olympic bid.

That is what I have been told by a certain source, some engineers say the Circle Line cannot happen without this new subway. It could be grouped with the CL project and opened by 2016 if suffiecent funding is present. Its a dream for sure, but the Olympics will help the chances of it happening.

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2609817)
All I can say is that I doubt we've heard the last of this concept.

Hmm, me thinks you know something about this. ;) It would be really nice, the Lawrence bus is slower than hell, and always crowded.

VivaLFuego Feb 6, 2007 2:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 2613193)
How can there be a 46% increase on the Chicago-Carbondale route if they just instituted it?

There used to be 2 trains per day in each direction, now there are 3. 50% increase in service, 46% increase in ridership.

^Shawn, next we meet up, let me know who you talked to about it, I'm curious...but yeah, basically the Circle just doesn't work without the Clinton subway as well. And I can imagine that north and south siders wouldn't be thrilled with having their trains now going to the moribund west loop instead of their probable destination in the loop or river north. It would reeeeealy be nice if the State st subway were a 4-track line....

schwerve Feb 6, 2007 2:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2613665)
There used to be 2 trains per day in each direction, now there are 3. 50% increase in service, 46% increase in ridership.

^Shawn, next we meet up, let me know who you talked to about it, I'm curious...but yeah, basically the Circle just doesn't work without the Clinton subway as well. And I can imagine that north and south siders wouldn't be thrilled with having their trains now going to the moribund west loop instead of their probable destination in the loop or river north. It would reeeeealy be nice if the State st subway were a 4-track line....

As the east loop becomes more and more retail and residential oriented, offices are going to be pushed west right into the proposed clinton subway. The average commuter may actually be better off in 10 years with the red line going through the west loop as opposed to state street.

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2609360)
Yup, in terms of transit projects, the City is currently pursuing:
1) River Line BRT/LRT

what are the details for this? I haven't heard of it

Marcu Feb 6, 2007 6:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2611611)
The Chicago-Carbondale numbers are great; service was increased by 50%, and ridership increased by 46%, in such a short time period. Pent up demand, indeed. Obviously, at a certain point there would be diminishing returns by adding more trains, but this is great news for people pushing for more intercity rail traffic in the Midwest.

Downstate certainly needs more connection to Chicago's financial, legal, and service presence. Some of the cities along that route (eg Kankakee) have still not fully recovered from the manuf downturn and can use all the help they can get.

Taft Feb 6, 2007 2:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 2613747)
As the east loop becomes more and more retail and residential oriented, offices are going to be pushed west right into the proposed clinton subway. The average commuter may actually be better off in 10 years with the red line going through the west loop as opposed to state street.

Agreed. This is already happening to a large extent with the huge shiny new office buildings going up on Wacker and East Loop's lumbering transition to retail/housing. useless anecdotal evidence ahead: I know quite a few people working in the West Loop who transfer from the red line to the brown line at Fullerton to avoid a big walk from the east loop. These folks would be happy. But I'm sure, as with the pink line, somebody will eventually complain and try to gum up the works...

Also, if they can pull off a nice super station at North/Clyborn with convenient transfers between the circle and red lines, none of this may be a problem at all. The key is to a) run enough trains, b) make it easy to get between trains and c) make the transfer indoors. If all of that happens, I'm not sure there will be much complaining. Add a convenient brown line transfer into the mix and most Nort'-siders would be in transit heaven.

Taft


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