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

orulz Dec 24, 2016 1:03 PM

The connector is supposed to be at least partly underground too, right? So wouldn't the cost concerns over tunneling apply as well?

I agree that through routing for commuter trains is probably not practical at current US tunneling costs, but four through tracks can be provided at Union Station without any tunnels and without tearing anything down, and if tunneling costs were in line with Europe, then a single new four track bored tunnel (I propose Millennium Station-Streeterville-Chicago) might be possible.

Mr Downtown Dec 24, 2016 5:14 PM

As the Connector team has gotten more into the details, they're now talking about nearly a mile of tunneling to get through Streeterville.

The Connector project is a rather strange hybrid that can't decide if it's about line-haul, distribution, or making areas like Finkl Steel and Riverside Park more developable. Most of the steering committee is development folks who don't think real critically about the various rôles public transit plays, and what justifies public financing of it. They don't really get the difference between streetcar and light rail, between AGT and CTA heavy rail. The white paper talks a lot about capacity limits of CTA on the North Side, but the proposed solution won't short-turn any trainsets or lengthen a single platform. Instead, it's about serving developable land in the center-city-periphery from Streeterville to Pilsen to McCormick Square, and incidentally being somewhat useful to Metra riders.

jpIllInoIs Dec 25, 2016 1:43 PM

IL: Study Says CTA Could Sell Some Linden Parking Space for Retail, Residential Development
KATHY ROUTLIFFE ON DEC 23, 2016
SOURCE: MCCLATCHY

Dec. 23--Chicago Transit Authority officials say they are reviewing the findings of a study that says the agency could net at least $2 million -- and ultimately the possibility of a residentially denser, more transit-friendly Wilmette neighborhood -- by selling some of its Purple Line station parking lot property.

The study, by graduate students in the Transit Oriented Development studio program at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Urban Transportation Center, recommends that CTA officials actively seek developers who could build a multi-story retail-residential project near the intersection of 4th Street and Linden Avenue.

Bringing new residents into the area known as Linden Square could revive its currently depressed retail scene by making the business district more attractive to new retail, study authors said. Those new residents could also provide new Purple Line ridership, which could more than make up for riders who might be lost by cutting parking lot size, they said.

The Purple Line has the lowest average weekly ridership of the CTA's seven end-of-line stations, with only 1,125 riders, compared to the Red Line's Howard Station ridership of 7,912, according to the study.

Students estimated that the CTA could sell 40 percent of the parking it has on its 5.4-acre Linden property for between $2.6 million and $3.5 million. It could sell half of its parking area for between $3.3 million and $4.4 million, the study team stated.

Selling either amount of land would still leave the station with enough parking to handle most, if not all, of its needs, the study authors said, because the lots are underused.

The study cited 2014 and 2015 parking data to reach that conclusion. According to the study, average monthly parking didn't exceed 50 percent in 2014, and in 2015 it only exceeded 50 percent between July and September, when ridership peaked during the Chicago Cubs baseball season. That year, monthly parking use was as low as 20 percent in January, according to the study.

Pin-Jung Ho, one of the study's authors, said Dec. 13 that her team was surprised at the seasonal ridership swings they found. Although daily commuters normally comprise about 80 percent of total Purple Line ridership, that changed in the summer, when people headed to Chicago for Cubs games, she said.

Ho's three-person team, which also worked with village officials, estimated the development value of the CTA land at $56 per square foot, compared to the development value of more than $79 per square foot the team estimated for the mixed-use development now underway at 611 Green Bay Road in downtown Wilmette.

The study recommended that any developer interested in a Linden Square project could expect to take roughly nine months to navigate Wilmette's zoning process, including potentially winning permits for a four-story project instead of the three-story limit of the district's current zoning before completing a land purchase. Winning the height bonuses could increase the sale price the CTA could command, study authors said.

Copyright 2016 - Pioneer Press Newspapers, Suburban Chicago

the urban politician Dec 25, 2016 4:41 PM

^ Nice find.

I really hope that these seeds of TOD will blossom into something in our region that will finally get us up to par with other cities in the world (particularly our Canadian neighbors to the north) in making better use of our transit resources

cyked3 Dec 26, 2016 3:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 7660604)
Instead, it's about serving developable land in the center-city-periphery from Streeterville to Pilsen to McCormick Square, and incidentally being somewhat useful to Metra riders.

But those seem like a worthy goals. And I think development-oriented transit might actually get money under the Trump administration.

Personally, I think Crossrail + Connector + connection between blue line and union station would totally transform Chicago transit for the better.

ardecila Dec 26, 2016 8:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 7660604)
The Connector project is a rather strange hybrid that can't decide if it's about line-haul, distribution, or making areas like Finkl Steel and Riverside Park more developable.

Well, given the acrimony between city and suburban officials (and their respective transit agencies), plus the resistance of existing traditional neighborhoods to denser development, the Connector might be the best we can hope for. We can't even muster a consensus around common-sense, low-cost and useful improvements like BRT.

The Connector, by serving some existing dense areas (River North, South Loop) and linking into new developable lands along the river, can at least generate its own dense, transit-oriented urbanism without running into confrontations with pesky neighbors over height, shadows and traffic.

WrightCONCEPT Dec 26, 2016 10:42 PM

Connector just another attempt to polish a turd.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 7660604)

The Connector project is a rather strange hybrid that can't decide if it's about line-haul, distribution, or making areas like Finkl Steel and Riverside Park more developable. Most of the steering committee is development folks who don't think real critically about the various rôles public transit plays, and what justifies public financing of it. They don't really get the difference between streetcar and light rail, between AGT and CTA heavy rail. The white paper talks a lot about capacity limits of CTA on the North Side, but the proposed solution won't short-turn any train sets or lengthen a single platform. Instead, it's about serving developable land in the center-city-periphery...

Exactly! After finding and reading this White Paper thoroughly and having time to pause to think, I don't believe that this will get off the ground without a viable long term financing model much the same reason of the last plans of the Chicago CBD since 1968...it is too Downtown focused and there is not a greater regional benefit that is directly linked what I mean by that if you're on the Northside you're thinking I have to travel all the way downtown to make the connection that I can already do now on the bus or deal with the crowds, so what?

The pro/cons in the back section is complete load of claptrap because they haven't defined what the actual cross section of what a corridor should look like to minimize costs and have an effective design, because that is usually the basis for your cost and financing model.

The Vancouver Canada Line built as a light metro P3 approach and it has already reached the design limits of the line in a short time frame because of the dismally short 130' platform lengths yet, no mention of that constraint in their pros/cons.

If this is a real transportation solution to relieve Northside overcrowding shouldn't the Northern branch be constructed first to give immediate relief to the Brown/Purple Line segments and not the segment to River North/Streeterville?

There is not barely a mention of the role Metra could play a role with this and as I read this the more I think the Gray Line proposal should link up with this to actually make a feasible project that can get off the ground quickly and possibly even go to the voters for a sales tax in Cook County along with other capital operational and core capacity improvements to the CTA system.

WrightCONCEPT Dec 26, 2016 10:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7661338)
Well, given the acrimony between city and suburban officials (and their respective transit agencies), plus the resistance of existing traditional neighborhoods to denser development, the Connector might be the best we can hope for. We can't even muster a consensus around common-sense, low-cost and useful improvements like BRT...

I would agree that this the best that can be done given the setbacks but I'd argue you can't muster consensus around common-sense improvements in Cook County and that is where it has to begin to make opportunities like the Connector and other projects viable which has been the lesson learned throughout these plans since 1968 yet this proposal will just repeats the same mistake for one important reason.

If there is a cost over run in this project, who picks up the tab? City of Chicago? CTA? RTA? This CCAC?

ardecila Dec 27, 2016 1:04 AM

^ Not sure I understand the hate for the 1968 plan. As much as I'm sentimental about the Loop L, I think we would have a much stronger transit system today if the 1968 plan had been built in its entirety. Far better connections between lines downtown (including Metra), underground/sheltered platforms for all lines, grade-separated junctions allowing higher capacity, etc.

The plan was also pretty prescient and saw the future need for transit to Streeterville, western River North, West Loop, South Loop etc... all the areas that are held back today because they don't have efficient transit connections.

WrightCONCEPT Dec 27, 2016 3:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7661457)
^ Not sure I understand the hate for the 1968 plan. As much as I'm sentimental about the Loop L, I think we would have a much stronger transit system today if the 1968 plan had been built in its entirety. Far better connections between lines downtown (including Metra), underground/sheltered platforms for all lines, grade-separated junctions allowing higher capacity, etc.

The plan was also pretty prescient and saw the future need for transit to Streeterville, western River North, West Loop, South Loop etc... all the areas that are held back today because they don't have efficient transit connections.

I don't hate the 1968 plan I have a PDF copy from college when I went to IIT, I hate the political execution of these big plans because it is too centric and does not engage outside the Central City to bring allies into the fold all of which are the reasons these big plans over the years have not been executed to the level of detail that is needed and we have these service constraints.

It's not the plan but the messaging and execution of that plan.

This is also the reason if they need to get Federal Funding or other state funding sources to fund portions of infrastructure that coalition will need to take place to make it happen.

emathias Dec 27, 2016 2:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WrightCONCEPT (Post 7661510)
I don't hate the 1968 plan I have a PDF copy from college when I went to IIT,
...

I find the plan fascinating, but I've never seen it in its entirety - are you aware of any full copies online and/or are you able to scan it in and do something like post it to a public or semi-public location on Dropbox or Google Drive or something?

Mr Downtown Dec 27, 2016 5:10 PM

The Connector is still in much too early a study stage to discuss who'll pick up cost overruns. CCAC is still trying to figure out what to propose, and which players to try to bring in as allies. If they want FTA money they'll need one of the transit agencies, for political cover (elites proposing yet another project for downtown rather than the 'hoods!) they may want allies in various minority communities. Because it's Chicago, obviously they'll need the mayor's office to nod approval.

CCAC was much buoyed when the General Assembly approved the Transit TIF law, and hope a similar district can be set up for their new toy. To me, that seems like the only way it can be politically feasible: if downtown developers pay for the gadgetbahn that will make them lots and lots of money by allowing dense development on former industrial sites.

WrightCONCEPT Dec 27, 2016 5:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 7661661)
I find the plan fascinating, but I've never seen it in its entirety - are you aware of any full copies online and/or are you able to scan it in and do something like post it to a public or semi-public location on Dropbox or Google Drive or something?

I have the file in an external hard drive in storage. I got it from my professor in 2003 and I have held on to it. I have to search through what I have and see if I can upload it

WrightCONCEPT Dec 27, 2016 6:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 7661755)

The Connector is still in much too early a study stage to discuss who'll pick up cost overruns. CCAC is still trying to figure out what to propose, and which players to try to bring in as allies. If they want FTA money they'll need one of the transit agencies, for political cover (elites proposing yet another project for downtown rather than the 'hoods!) they may want allies in various minority communities. Because it's Chicago, obviously they'll need the mayor's office to nod approval.

My cause for alarm revolves around how low the contingency is out of a $750M project as you say haven't been defined, they assume only $19M , that is only 2.5% for something you need a minimum of 5% cushion. I don't care how early in the project or process this is, that will scare off a private investor let alone a public agency, I am watching this happen right now in Downtown LA with the Streetcar project.

Also the local match is only 50% of the project to which they assume need a 50% to come from the FTA which requires automatically an alliance with CTA/City Aldermen/Congressional Leaders.

Even strategies of value capture through possibly reducing parking requirements of the development to create an in-kind contribution to the cost of parking structure or parking spaces to the development for a station box for this structure should be something addressed in the white paper as it is conceptual.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 7661755)
CCAC was much buoyed when the General Assembly approved the Transit TIF law, and hope a similar district can be set up for their new toy. To me, that seems like the only way it can be politically feasible: if downtown developers pay for the gadgetbahn that will make them lots and lots of money by allowing dense development on former industrial sites.

Does this run the risk of jeopardizing the Core Capital improvements to the CTA system that may currently fund station modernization and refurbishments or is that $$$ to pay for those station improvements coming from a different pot?

ardecila Dec 27, 2016 7:59 PM

^ Core Capacity is intended for refurbishment and capacity improvements of existing, overtaxed rail lines, which limits its usefulness to only a handful of US cities (Chicago, NY, DC, Boston). As the law is currently written, it can't be used for a new transit line or extension.

Assuming no major changes to how transit projects are authorized by USDOT, this project would compete for New Starts funding like the rest of the country. In theory, this project's ridership should be competitive based on the sheer density of the areas it serves and the need for downtown distribution, but its overall competitiveness will depend on its cost as well.

Side note: Uber and Lyft now have amassed a wealth of data on origins and destinations in our major cities. Their customers skew more wealthy/middle class, but I wonder if their data could be used to suggest possible new transit lines (or bolster the case for lines like the Connector)? They wouldn't just give up that data for free but maybe the city could use airport access and taxes as bargaining chips.

Mr Downtown Dec 27, 2016 9:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7661871)
In theory, this project's ridership should be competitive based on the sheer density of the areas it serves and the need for downtown distribution

Because the central area is already so well served by transit, when run on the Connector alignment, the modeling software FTA normally uses to evaluate projects doesn't predict any new riders at all.

LouisVanDerWright Dec 27, 2016 10:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7661457)
^ Not sure I understand the hate for the 1968 plan. As much as I'm sentimental about the Loop L, I think we would have a much stronger transit system today if the 1968 plan had been built in its entirety. Far better connections between lines downtown (including Metra), underground/sheltered platforms for all lines, grade-separated junctions allowing higher capacity, etc.

The plan was also pretty prescient and saw the future need for transit to Streeterville, western River North, West Loop, South Loop etc... all the areas that are held back today because they don't have efficient transit connections.

The problem with that is if they had started building the 1968 plan they probably would have finished half of one of the subways and then just leveled the loop at which point they would have said "well darn, looks like no one rides the train anymore" and left us with only the Blue and Red line still functioning. Sure it would have been great if it was implented in its entirety, but the odds are it would have fallen far short of that probably destroying the rest of the system in the process.


Also, all hail the Loop elevated, it is our Eiffel Tower. An Eiffel Tower that is actually useful and makes insane shrieking noises at all hours of the day. There is nothing wrong with that!

denizen467 Dec 28, 2016 9:05 PM

Finally. I wonder if they tackle the middle track or the eastern track now. It's been a mystery to me how they will finally start tearing down the old viaducts while leaving 1 active inbound track undisrupted.
Quote:

Metra Union Pacific North riders this spring will see the next phase of a project to replace bridges on Chicago's North Side, from Grace Street to Balmoral Avenue. As part of this two-year $30 million project, the new inbound half of the Ravenswood station will be built, spokesman Michael Gillis said.
Actually, this excerpt is from the annual Trib rundown of the coming year's transportation projects (usually by Hilkevitch until he departed the Trib at the end of last year) - always fun to mine for tidbits you weren't aware about (and schedule updates for projects seemingly mired in fog).

Chicago transit in 2017 By Mary Wisniewski

ardecila Dec 28, 2016 9:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 7661976)
The problem with that is if they had started building the 1968 plan they probably would have finished half of one of the subways and then just leveled the loop at which point they would have said "well darn, looks like no one rides the train anymore" and left us with only the Blue and Red line still functioning. Sure it would have been great if it was implented in its entirety, but the odds are it would have fallen far short of that probably destroying the rest of the system in the process.


Also, all hail the Loop elevated, it is our Eiffel Tower. An Eiffel Tower that is actually useful and makes insane shrieking noises at all hours of the day. There is nothing wrong with that!

Idk, other big transit projects back in the 60s/70s were completed.

DC Metro was built, NY built a bunch of new tunnel connections, etc. Boston moved pretty much all of its elevated lines underground.

WrightCONCEPT Dec 29, 2016 1:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 7661976)
The problem with that is if they had started building the 1968 plan they probably would have finished half of one of the subways and then just leveled the loop at which point they would have said "well darn, looks like no one rides the train anymore" and left us with only the Blue and Red line still functioning. Sure it would have been great if it was implented in its entirety, but the odds are it would have fallen far short of that probably destroying the rest of the system in the process.


Also, all hail the Loop elevated, it is our Eiffel Tower. An Eiffel Tower that is actually useful and makes insane shrieking noises at all hours of the day. There is nothing wrong with that!

Possibly but the only reason it didn't occur was there wasn't an additional (or not enough) revenue or financing source(s) that can be leveraged with the 80% UMTA Federal Funds match to build the projects.


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