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

streetline Apr 12, 2014 3:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 6535944)
I'll agree. CTA, MBTA, and Pace when considered as part of the whole isn't as bad as some will suggest. Just look at th daily ridership data....
1) CTA = Bus: 925,074, Rail: 715,420, Subtotal: 1.64 million
2) Merta = Rail: 303,800
3) Pace = Bus: 87,000
Totals = Rail: over 1 million, Bus: over 1 million
2 million daily trips each day is not bad for a metro population over 9.7 million.

Yes, and these numbers are why I have serious reservations about the various public transit reform plans being floated lately.

Mostly-Chicagoan CTA handles 1,640,494 daily riders, while mostly-suburban Metra and Pace handle 390,800 combined, less than a quarter of the CTA's load. And yet these proposals have the tables turned, with the city representatives drastically outnumbered (10:6 in the Biss proposal, and and even worse 16:5 in Governor Quinn's task force's version).

It seems to me that a transit board should represent it's system's users, and these proposals aren't even close.

ardecila Apr 12, 2014 3:52 AM

CTA's proper ridership base is Cook County, not the City of Chicago. Plus, governor-appointed board members are not beholden to the suburbs especially. It's a stretch to say the CTA territory is "drastically outnumbered". I think the Task Force plan does a good job of balancing population vs. ridership criteria for power on the board.

Ultimately the modest share of transit money that Metra receives only restricts Metra's options for expansion. They only spend money on state-of-good-repair and cheap outward extensions into the cornfields. They simply don't have the resources to do anything transformative, like a downtown subway for through routing, a circumferential line or an upgrade of lines to full regional service with 20-30min headways, high platforms, electrification, etc. Without transformative transit projects, the suburbs will continue to be auto-oriented low density bedroom communities.

le_brew Apr 12, 2014 1:18 PM

until a couple months ago, I had not known how extensive the IC station is b/c I had only seen the s. shore part. I walked from Randolph through the pedway; then thru the station, all along the lower-level (underground, or whatever) to s. water st. into IL center. that was so amazing to me having never seen that. how awesome would that be to connect thru to n. Michigan ave.? though i'm sure it's more complicated than what meets the eye!

Mr Downtown Apr 12, 2014 1:25 PM

I believe simply putting all Metra lines on 30-minute "memory" schedules from early morning to late night would be transformative to the region.

We need to encourage more downtown Evanstons to spring up, not try to reach the Woodfield Corporate Centers and Canteras of the region. The "last mile" problem will forever make transit too frustrating a way to serve sprawling corporate villas like Prairie Stone or The Esplanade.

ardecila Apr 12, 2014 4:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6536397)
I believe simply putting all Metra lines on 30-minute "memory" schedules from early morning to late night would be transformative to the region.

We need to encourage more downtown Evanstons to spring up, not try to reach the Woodfield Corporate Centers and Canteras of the region. The "last mile" problem will forever make transit too frustrating a way to serve sprawling corporate villas like Prairie Stone or The Esplanade.

That would be ideal, but we live in a region where the land along railroads is chopped into countless little fiefdoms, most of which abhor any kind of density or tall buildings. Ownership of land is also dispersed, so it's much harder to coordinate redevelopment even if the voters are on board.

Prairie Stone and Cantera are easy to redevelop - large developers can come in and re-do things on a large scale, as we are seeing in Northern Virginia. Within the office-park context, I still think expressway medians are a poor location for rail/bus stations (the side of the expressway or the parallel arterial road are better spots) but I fully believe that the expressway sectors need better transit service. This also ignores the millions of Chicagoans who live near expressways and not Metra lines, who need backbone transit service even if there's no redevelopment.

le_brew Apr 12, 2014 8:44 PM

close-in TOD potential
 
jefferson park was headed in that direction prior to the economic downturn, and i don't recall if there was any real community controversy when the 4 or 5 additional levels were added to the 9-story veteran's sq bldg. there were other plans for adjacent vacant land aplenty, ripe for development beside the kennedy.

oakton st. adjacent to the yellow line in skokie is now being discovered

howard st. station has much more potential.

95th/dan ryan vicinity, i would love to see TOD, but is there any zoning restriction, as such? other than residential, there seems to be plenty of fast food and gas station mini-mall type structure adjacent to the sta.

streetline Apr 12, 2014 8:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6536188)
CTA's proper ridership base is Cook County, not the City of Chicago. Plus, governor-appointed board members are not beholden to the suburbs especially. It's a stretch to say the CTA territory is "drastically outnumbered". I think the Task Force plan does a good job of balancing population vs. ridership criteria for power on the board.

Ultimately the modest share of transit money that Metra receives only restricts Metra's options for expansion. They only spend money on state-of-good-repair and cheap outward extensions into the cornfields. They simply don't have the resources to do anything transformative, like a downtown subway for through routing, a circumferential line or an upgrade of lines to full regional service with 20-30min headways, high platforms, electrification, etc. Without transformative transit projects, the suburbs will continue to be auto-oriented low density bedroom communities.

The CTA may have a little reach beyond Chicago, just as Metra has some stations within, but I doubt the CTA's suburban ridership (balanced with Pace and Metra's Chicago ridership) would shift those ratios much.

And given that state level politics have historically sided against big cities like Chicago, I've got to expect the same will continue to be true here. But even if we were to consider the governor's appointees neutral, that's still 10:5 against the city.

And all of the improvements you mention taken together won't make most suburbs cease to be "auto-oriented low density bedroom communities". The suburbs are the way they are because the people running them want it that way; you just said so yourself: "we live in a region where the land along railroads is chopped into countless little fiefdoms, most of which abhor any kind of density or tall buildings". Another thing a lot of them abhor is easy access to rapid transit, just look at the reactions to the plans to extend the yellow line to Old Orchard.

The city's density is what makes transit workable. Reallocating representation (and thus priorities) away from dense areas into the corn fields you mention seems likely to result in a sprawling network without the ridership to support itself and a core of underfunded crumbling century old infrastructure where the people who actually use the system live.

I'm not blind to the advantages of the systems working together more effectively, but it seems to me that a lot of people are getting lost in utopian fantasies of how things could be better and not thinking of all the ways this change of control could make things worse. This plan looks worryingly likely to produce the transit version of the Illiana toll road to me.

ardecila Apr 12, 2014 9:07 PM

Yes, Jeff Park is a natural TOD node but the neighbors have proven to be hostile to development in the past. Ald. Arena seems to have a more principled pro-development stance than the corrupt, flip-flopping Levar... Hopefully we see some action in that area, but it really needs to have the density of downtown Evanston and instead it's like a sleepier version of Park Ridge.

ardecila Apr 12, 2014 9:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by streetline (Post 6536838)
The city's density is what makes transit workable. Reallocating representation (and thus priorities) away from dense areas into the corn fields you mention seems likely to result in a sprawling network without the ridership to support itself and a core of underfunded crumbling century old infrastructure where the people who actually use the system live.

I just don't think this is sustainable politically. We need voters across Chicagoland to understand and support transit, which means all of Chicagoland needs to benefit. Chicago spends so little on transit per capita compared to its peer cities precisely because suburbanites see so little benefit to transit spending - the benefits all accrue to the city.

Like it or not, the suburbs contain the vast majority of Chicagoland's population. That won't change anytime soon and Chicago will ultimately lose out to those peer cities unless it has a unified push with its suburbs.

streetline Apr 12, 2014 9:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6536847)
I just don't think this is sustainable politically. We need voters across Chicagoland to understand and support transit, which means all of Chicagoland needs to benefit. Chicago spends so little on transit per capita compared to its peer cities precisely because suburbanites see so little benefit to transit spending - the benefits all accrue to the city.

Like it or not, the suburbs contain the vast majority of Chicagoland's population. That won't change anytime soon and Chicago will ultimately lose out to those peer cities unless it has a unified push with its suburbs.

The thing is, as you implied, the suburbs don't currently "understand and support transit".
So how can it be a unified push, rather than a city push voted down by a suburban pull?
And how will a transit system undermining itself at the board level ever make itself more popular?

A lot of noise is made about corruption and lack of cooperation, but in spite of all that Chicago has the most cost efficient transit system of it's scale and age in the US. Let's not pretend we have nothing to lose.

emathias Apr 12, 2014 11:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6536847)
I just don't think this is sustainable politically. We need voters across Chicagoland to understand and support transit, which means all of Chicagoland needs to benefit. Chicago spends so little on transit per capita compared to its peer cities precisely because suburbanites see so little benefit to transit spending - the benefits all accrue to the city.

Like it or not, the suburbs contain the vast majority of Chicagoland's population. That won't change anytime soon and Chicago will ultimately lose out to those peer cities unless it has a unified push with its suburbs.

Chicago will lose to its peer cities if the CITY can't provide EXCELLENT transit service. If it wastes money providing mediocre service to people who don't even use it and choose to live in places where it's inefficient to provide it, then the city will not be able to provide workable transit and people who care about that will choose other cities.

Myself included.

If Chicago wants to become Phoenix, fine. But I won't stay if it chooses that route, and I'm guessing it won't attract nearly as many people who know what good transit and good quality of life really is. For most people globally, being auto-dependent is not their idea of good quality of life. They may choose to own a car, but they don't want it to be their only option and most are smart enough to know that if they choose a single family home with a huge yard and low taxes, they will only be able to choose a car.

There's a reason that software companies in the Bay Area are choosing more and more to be in the city of San Francisco and even ones that aren't are choosing to provide free private busing options for employees who choose to live in San Francisco. It's because a lot of knowledge workers prefer real urban life but even in high-tax Bay Area, you can't provide fast, efficient transit into low-density suburbs.

Having transit-friendly suburban nodes is one thing, but trying to provide walk-to-transit service for the vast majority of suburbanites in the current Chicagoland built environment is ridiculously implausible.

The region needs to recognize that and focus transit-oriented development near existing transit, and double-down on providing better, more comprehensive transit in areas where transit-friendly users are already locating. And, yes, that means more subways in/near the Central Area, and no more extensions further and further into low-density suburbs.

le_brew Apr 13, 2014 7:06 PM

A Modest Transit Proposal: Put The Public In Public Transit
 
here is a series i missed:

By Natasha Julius
http://www.beachwoodreporter.com/pol...oposal_put.php

contains many of the ideas already discussed here, but a few twists
if anyone already posted, i apologize in advance

ardecila Apr 14, 2014 2:21 AM

Harrison Station Rehab

Finally, an entrance canopy that's not some lame historic thing! Right in front of Jones HS, this is a huge improvement. It's probably cheaper, too... looks like it can be built in the field instead of trucked in.

http://i.imgur.com/Svz0wEn.jpg

Tile Patterns:
http://i.imgur.com/dNt89Hd.jpg

Mr Downtown Apr 14, 2014 3:22 AM

I'm pleased to have an alternative to the fake Edwardian stuff they did on State and Dearborn, but I'm not sure this is the answer. There's something just clunky enough about it to make me suspect in-house design at CTA or CDOT.

My biggest concern, as always, is erasing all traces of the rather handsome PWA Moderne of the original subway mezzanines. I wish they could simply be restored rather than having to be tarted up as something else.

Rizzo Apr 14, 2014 5:27 AM

Looking at the opening day photos of the old subway stations, they were quite classy looking. Probably could have still looked good if they were taken care of or not modified.

I'm not a fan of the CTA using tile. It's too much maintenance since it gets tagged so easily. And what about water damage? They should consider using granite rain screens to allow water to drain out behind the face panel. The stone would last forever and it can't easily be damaged from vandalism.

Using standoff glass on that enclosure was smart though as it's easy to maintain.

ardecila Apr 14, 2014 5:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6538125)
I'm pleased to have an alternative to the fake Edwardian stuff they did on State and Dearborn, but I'm not sure this is the answer. There's something just clunky enough about it to make me suspect in-house design at CTA or CDOT.

My biggest concern, as always, is erasing all traces of the rather handsome PWA Moderne of the original subway mezzanines. I wish they could simply be restored rather than having to be tarted up as something else.

Oh, it's obviously in-house design and it is somewhat clunky. But the black ornamental canopies they've been putting in as-of-late are also pretty clunky. I admit the ones on State are pretty elegant, but that's about it.

None of the subway renovations thus far have had great interiors. North/Clybourn comes the closest, mainly because it stayed pretty neutral. The original structural glass/vitrolite interiors were fantastic but not well-suited to changing requirements over the years. CTA's massive assistant booths, turnstiles, and metal fences don't help either... sight lines are terrible in most of the mezzanines.

Mr Downtown Apr 14, 2014 1:54 PM

I don't think anything on the interior at North/Clybourn was actually replaced except the ceiling and lighting. The tile walls were just cleaned or—in some places—painted (!).

Its ironic to mention sightlines, because of the innovative way the original mezzanines were designed with curved walls and obtuse angles precisely so there would be no hiding places.

paytonc Apr 14, 2014 6:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6536847)
I just don't think this is sustainable politically... Like it or not, the suburbs contain the vast majority of Chicagoland's population. That won't change anytime soon and Chicago will ultimately lose out to those peer cities unless it has a unified push with its suburbs.

Not only do the suburbs house most of the people, they also house most of the money. Chicago can't afford to go it alone, and the suburbs will demand greater accountability for where their tax revenues go. The other transit systems pointed to as models (SFMTA is an exception) rely much more heavily on suburban tax revenues than CTA -- e.g., Massachusetts and Minnesota devote a slice of statewide sales tax revenue to metro transit, whereas CTA pretty much only gets a slice of Cook County's tax revenue.

wierdaaron Apr 14, 2014 7:44 PM

Re the Harrison station rehab: http://www.transitchicago.com/harrisonrehab/

That page says the back entrance on Polk won't be redone with the modern red/white design, it'll just be maintained.

Good news to me, the Harrison station is probably the dumpiest underground station in the downtown area -- except maybe for Lasalle blue line. I doubt it'll be turned into a pristine unterstraße oasis, but any improvement would be welcome.

Randomguy34 Apr 14, 2014 8:01 PM

Nothing can ever beat the Lasalle Blue Line station.


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