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Mr Downtown Aug 28, 2020 10:36 PM

Maybe, but a bigger issue is that south suburbanites just don't work downtown any more. Or more to the point, the folks who work downtown nowadays don't think of Homewood or Hazel Crest or Park Forest as a place they want to raise a family.

sentinel Aug 28, 2020 11:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 9025818)
Maybe, but a bigger issue is that south suburbanites just don't work downtown any more. Or more to the point, the folks who work downtown nowadays don't think of Homewood or Hazel Crest or Park Forest as a place they want to raise a family.

Is this anecdotal or based on sourced information?

Mr Downtown Aug 29, 2020 3:29 AM

Observational. The large numbers of administrative and middle-management positions that used to be the mainstay of the Black middle class just don't exist any more, at least not downtown. Downtown jobs have become much more tech and finance focused, and the workforce younger and whiter.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...717-story.html

emathias Sep 1, 2020 4:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 9025512)
I'm not sure additional trains are in the scheme, at least initially, but full fare integration is. You could board a Metra train same as a CTA train, same transfer charge.

There are lots of empty seats on especially the Metra Electric. Letting folks in Riverdale, Harvey, Robbins, or Blue Island more easily get to downtown or North Side service or retail jobs could mean a lot for southern Cook County.

In the long term, if transit survives COVID, electrifying UP-North and creating a tunnel through Streeterville then West to join tracks south of the Clybourn station would enable through-routing Metra Electric and essentially adding useful rapid transit to the South Lakefront and the North Side. Imagine being able to take a train from Hyde Park to Lincoln Yards or Ravenswood to McCormick Place or even just the East Loop.

TR Devlin Sep 2, 2020 2:44 PM

From the Illinois Department of Transportation

Quote:

Two Ramps at Jane Byrne Interchange to Open

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today that two reconstructed ramps will open at the Jane Byrne Interchange. Originally slated to open in October, the ramp from inbound Eisenhower Expressway (Interstate 290) to the outbound Kennedy Expressway (Interstate 90/94) will open, weather permitting, Wednesday, Sept. 2, one month ahead of schedule. The ramp from outbound Ida B. Wells Drive to the outbound Kennedy opens, weather permitting, the week of Sept. 14.

Mr Downtown Sep 2, 2020 6:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 9028723)
Imagine being able to take a train from Hyde Park to Lincoln Yards

Ahhh, Lincoln Yards can rot in inaccessibility. When someone buys inaccessible industrial land, it shouldn't be the public that pays to turn it into a new regional office hub.

Chicago's initial S-Bahn line should be O'Hare to Homewood via Union Station. S2 would run Winnetka to Blue Island, also via the Union Station runthrough tracks. Connecting two lakefront lines via the lakefront does nothing for new connections.

https://i.imgur.com/gu48htU.jpg

sentinel Sep 2, 2020 7:08 PM

That's a very nice map - apologies for my ignorance, what is that from? I'm not familiar with this project, or is this your proposal?

Edit: I just saw the credit on the side; well done.

ardecila Sep 2, 2020 8:52 PM

I don't love the idea of a Clark tunnel through the Loop - it's an easy connection for Rock Island but it's a little far from regional destinations closer to the lakefront like Northwestern Hospital, the museums or Millennium Park. It really does nothing to expand the "transit core" which seems like a missed opportunity for a multi-billion dollar project. I guess the only advantage is you can have Red/Blue Line connections at Jackson or Washington with one block of transfer tunnel...

I'd rather see Rock Island trains go into a short tunnel toward the lake around 26th, and then put your big south transfer point at McCormick Place. Then the Rock Island trains would continue up through Grant Park on existing tracks to a tunnel under Stetson/Fairbanks and Chicago. Probably about the same amount of tunneling, just split into two chunks. The south tunnel wouldn't have any stations so it could be cheap-ish; the north tunnel would have 2-3 at Streeterville, Water Tower/State and maybe Cabrini or Halsted.

Mr Downtown Sep 3, 2020 1:50 AM

I don't think it makes sense to send heavy capacity regional lines into parkland where no one lives or works. Museum Campus, McCormick Place, Mag Mile, and NMH are best served by a last-mile connector I call the C-Line:

https://i.imgur.com/qWkWn6W.jpg

lakeshoredrive Sep 4, 2020 6:42 PM

I saw a video on Facebook from CTA that talked about how they were moving forward with the red line extension.

jpIllInoIs Sep 6, 2020 3:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lakeshoredrive (Post 9032287)
I saw a video on Facebook from CTA that talked about how they were moving forward with the red line extension.

Biggest f'n waste of money!:doh:

sentinel Sep 7, 2020 4:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 9033680)
Biggest f'n waste of money!:doh:

Why? Because people won't use it?

emathias Sep 7, 2020 6:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 9030574)
I don't think it makes sense to send heavy capacity regional lines into parkland where no one lives or works. Museum Campus, McCormick Place, Mag Mile, and NMH are best served by a last-mile connector I call the C-Line:
...

I think this is one of the most intelligent ideas for dramatically improving downtown access and circulation I've ever seen proposed. There are possibilities for tweaks (for example, I think the NE loopback for the circulator might better be routed up Fairbanks crossing Lake Shore Park looping around Dewitt, Chestnut, and Pearson) but even without tweaks it would be a tremendous improvement and solve virtually every major transit issue for downtown. A Clinton Subway had been discussed for decades and only really needs funding to get done. Other than funding in general, the hardest part would probably be the S-Bahn part, since the best way to do that would be to electric the UP lines, which might be a tall order. It might be possible to only electrify the parts in Chicago and Evanston and do shorter, non-suburban (plus Evanston) runs for the S-Bahn parts if some sidings could be identified for staging on the UP segments. That would be great for the City and for downtown. The Circulator portion appears to be proposed as either BRT or streetcar segments, but with a few judicious segments as subways (making Clinton more like the proposed West Loop Transportation Center, for example, and making good use of Carroll) it would be faster than most streetcars and more like Boston's Green Line which is mostly streetcar but has subway segments.

If successful, additional lines could be added at some point, such as a line up the West Bank of the River, crossing Goose Island on Cherry/Hickory crossing on the barely used pedestrian/rail bridge to Lincoln Yards to the Clybourn station. That would tie West Bucktown to Lincoln Yards, to Goose Island to the former Tribune site to Fulton River/River West to the West Loop, which would be useful for a lot of things. A pipe dream extension would use Cortland all the way to the Western Blue Line station, though, as I say, that would be a pipe dream but if it happened there would finally be a tie from WP to LP and as long as long as we're dreaming it would become an independent line using Armitage to the Park with a jog North to Diversey or even Belmont. And potentially Roosevelt segments could be turned into subways, too, if ridership was high enough. Finally, if the Reese/Prairie Shore and Mercy areas get built out, extending the circulator to serve them would be a no-brainer which might eventually torn into extending it down Cottage Grove or Drexel all the way to Hyde Park, helping revive the South Lakefront in conjunction with the Metra Electric turning into the S-Bahn. Looking the Streeterville branch to the McCormick branch through the current ME busway with streetcars might become politically possible if the circulator worked well, too.

So, yeah, it's brilliant because each stage you propose is very strong on its own, and together it's exactly what's needed, and it has a structure that lends itself to useful expansion, too. I admit I still wish a Monroe subway circulator with north/south branches to Streeterville and McCormick was possible, but your solution solves most of the same problems while having broader impact and probably a lower price tag.

SIGSEGV Sep 7, 2020 6:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 9030574)
I don't think it makes sense to send heavy capacity regional lines into parkland where no one lives or works. Museum Campus, McCormick Place, Mag Mile, and NMH are best served by a last-mile connector I call the C-Line:

https://i.imgur.com/qWkWn6W.jpg

I'd say the only thing missing there is an in-fill Blue Line stop connecting to Clinton/Lake.

Mr Downtown Sep 8, 2020 3:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 9034598)
I think this is one of the most intelligent ideas for dramatically improving downtown access and circulation I've ever seen proposed.

That's high praise, and I appreciate it.

I keep thinking that we could start running the C-Line (or 123 bus) next summer by just using the platform hours we're currently using on the 124 and 130 buses. Roosevelt already has bus lanes a good part of the way, and the ones on Canal and Clinton could probably be extended without drawing too much blood. Grand and Illinois would be much tougher, but I don't think running in traffic would prove fatal to the idea.

Phase I of the S-Bahn is also not terribly expensive, requiring only three turnouts and a couple of tail tracks at the terminals. Of course, ADA-compliant stations aren't cheap, but easier for an S-Bahn than for a true metro. I'd run it with European DMUs rather than electrifying any new trackage.

Of course, a Clinton subway will be expensive, but the real estate it benefits could pretty easily be TIFfed for the local match to a hefty federal grant. That can't be said of a Red Line South extension to serve the sewage treatment plant.

orulz Sep 18, 2020 5:41 PM

Very late to this party but I think that S-Bahn plan looks awesome.

One nitpick. I would choose the SWS for a S-Bahn branch over the Rock Island Beverly Branch, given that it bisects a huge swath of the city that is relatively dense, more transit dependent, and yet has no decent rail transit.

Add in some infill stations of course.

ardecila Sep 18, 2020 6:33 PM

^ Curious by what standard the Southwest Side is "dense"... there's a reason it didn't get a rapid transit line until the early 90s (although you can argue chicken and egg - it probably would have developed more densely if it got an L line in 1910 or 1920). Numerical density is only half the story, you also need to look at how people are distributed, SWS kind of skirts the densest parts of Englewood, Auburn Gresham, Gage/Marquette Park, etc with not a lot of apartment buildings around the tracks. Beverly is less dense overall but does have lots of walkable areas with apartments right around the Rock Island.

There are actually some dense areas along SWS in Gage Park and Marquette Park, but it hasn't really translated into ridership thus far. Maybe Metra could increase service once the junction at 75th is rebuilt and the trains shift to LaSalle Station... but remember that SWS isn't grade separated once you cross Kedzie. Lots of high-volume intersections in the suburbs that would get start backing up traffic with frequent trains every 5-10 minutes. Rock Island isn't completely grade separated either but it's much better.

One more thing is that Rock Island is also slated to be the main intercity corridor for Amtrak trains to St Louis and beyond, so you kill two birds with one stone by investing in that corridor.

Randomguy34 Sep 18, 2020 8:40 PM

^ The SWS used to have stations at Western, Ashland, Racine, and Halsted until 1984. Since the line will start running from Lasalle St Station in a couple years, reopening the stations and running frequent service could go a long way to improving transit in the area.


Speaking of frequent service, Metra announced in their board meeting that they're considering several initiatives including frequent all-day service, fare transfers, off-peak pricing. No concrete plans yet other than piloting improved MED and RID, but they plan to do a line-by-line service plan: https://activetrans.org/blog/metra-m...uburban-riders

Edit: some images from the author's twitter

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EiDS54KW...jpg&name=small


https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EiDS54JX...jpg&name=small
Source: https://twitter.com/StarLineChicago/...75797360144385

ardecila Sep 19, 2020 2:07 AM

Yes, also Romayne Brown was promoted to Chairperson of Metra's board... She served at CTA for decades (working her way up to Director of Rail Operations) and absolutely seems like someone who should understand the value of frequent, regular service.

There's such a culture divide between "transit" people and "railroad" people in America that it's great to see a crossover like this - from a woman of color, no less.

Mr Downtown Sep 19, 2020 10:58 PM

The current chair (a friend of mine) is a guy who grew up on the IC and also knows the value of frequent, regular service. It was during his term that schedules were tweaked to give Hyde Park 20-minute service most of the day, and fares from city stations reduced.

But people forget that the Great Schism of 1983 gives ALL city tax support to CTA. Metra gets not one dime from residents of Chicago, except any fares they might pay. Selling a bunch of Chicagoans seats to ride a few miles at half the cost of providing those seats is just not a smart move, especially if it leaves those who actually pay the bills standing in the aisles leaving Ogilvie. (Well, we can dream that such days come again.)

The South Cook Fair Transit Pilot Project (organized by another friend) looks very promising, but it's not Metra who's been standing in the way of that. It's CTA.


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