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ardecila Sep 25, 2011 11:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 5422875)
Poking around a bit it seems CDOT paid for it by borrowing against a number of other projects that were given federal funds, including the Clark/Division rebuild.

Hmm, seems you're right.

emathias Sep 26, 2011 3:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J_M_Tungsten (Post 5422877)
Ha, Post apocalypse definitely fits Clark/division

I agree, and it's been that way for at least a couple decades.

If Reilly is going to attempt to hijack the Jewel site with their redevelopment plans, perhaps he could just get them to do something to help integrate with whatever the city has planned for that remodel. I know one of the original rejuvenation plans for Clark/Division included putting in an entrance at Lasalle, although I don't know if they're still considering that. It'd be nice if they did, though.

It's really too bad that the city hadn't just spec'd out all the remodels and had them ready to go so they could have captured more of the stimulus funding. It might be nice, too, if Rahm asked CDOT to come up with some better-looking tile options. The current standard isn't really one I think is worth maintaining just for consistency's sake.

Mr Downtown Sep 26, 2011 4:11 AM

Apparently I'm the only person who thinks Chicago's subway stations should be restored rather than remuddled. Chicago's subways stations had a handsome, though spare, WPA Moderne design. Curved gray Vitrolite walls led to stairways lined with "radio black" marble. Down on the platform, bright (for the time) fluorescent lights illuminated clear, open platforms. Signage used a modern sans-serif design created specifically for the system.

Now we're intent on wiping out all of this moderne design just because the stations need fresh paint and better lights, and replacing it with a third-rate imitation of the IRT.

denizen467 Sep 26, 2011 5:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 5422145)
See the steel members sticking up on both sides of the tracks above the rail height? That makes them through-trusses, though they're quite shallow compared to what you might be picturing crossing a river.

You practically can't get that when you google "through truss" -- you always end up with what you might possibly refer to as a box truss river bridge. I suppose the term might have a different meaning (your meaning) in the urban context of road-rail viaducts as opposed to long spans.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 5422145)
I guess my thought was that if you were building a big new yard and crossing, it would be easy to elevate it an additional foot, or to depress the boulevard that much. By dividing it into three short segments, the girders could be under 40 feet, with less depth and less concern about torsion. Some combination of glass or polycarbonate just underneath could take care of dripping oil or debris. But I'd love to hear other ideas that don't rely on wishful thinking (this won't be a hump yard).

I remember the stated reason for the recent rebuilding of the North Avenue bridge as a combination suspension and cable-stayed bridge was to minimize the thickness of the bridge deck, in order to maximize clearance underneath. Presumably just depressing Garfield for a few blocks would be far cheaper than building something practically Calatrava-esque for a simple railyard at the edge of an impoverished neighborhood, but maybe it indicates there could be configurations other than those relying on the brute force of chubby girders to deal with the Garfield issue.

Speaking of the North Avenue bridge, the recent advent of bright and inexpensive LED lighting would allow the city (or NS) to bathe the entire underside of the Garfield viaduct in light, hopefully addressing one of the main worries there.

k1052 Sep 26, 2011 2:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5422923)
Hmm, seems you're right.

Looks like they got some more money between 2007 and now and the rebuild is apparently funded, including an entrance and mezzanine at LaSalle. Completion by......2017 :rolleyes:

Fortunately the long awaited combination of loop stops over Wabash is also still slowly moving forward.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/classi...4960861.column

Nowhereman1280 Sep 26, 2011 3:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 5423196)
Apparently I'm the only person who thinks Chicago's subway stations should be restored rather than remuddled. Chicago's subways stations had a handsome, though spare, WPA Moderne design. Curved gray Vitrolite walls led to stairways lined with "radio black" marble. Down on the platform, bright (for the time) fluorescent lights illuminated clear, open platforms. Signage used a modern sans-serif design created specifically for the system.

Now we're intent on wiping out all of this moderne design just because the stations need fresh paint and better lights, and replacing it with a third-rate imitation of the IRT.

No, I completely agree with you. I'm liking the program Rahm is pushing with the renovations/clean up of 100 stations. Unfortunately it might have come too late to buy time for more than a handful of the old stations. It certainly has bought some time for the Logan Square station which is much much nicer looking now. In fact, it looks almost brand new with the exception of a few hack-job repairs where ill-matched and over sized brick was used to patch the walls. I really like the design of the Belmont and Logan Square stations and am glad they will be cleaned up back to their clean modernist appearance.

My one complaint is that there is no auxiliary entrance at Belmont which really hampers it's ability to serve the extremely dense areas north of Milwaukee/Diversey as well as they should be served (Spaulding Aux is the only entrance within reasonable distance of that area and it's practically a 5 min walk once you are on the long ass platform). Any idea if there are plans to build an auxiliary entrance at Wellington/Wisner and Kimball? I assume the station was designed with that as a future option. In any case they at least need to add another set of stairs on the West side of Kimball because the current station entrance is just not big enough to handle the amount of traffic Belmont Blue gets. I regularly find the platform there crowded to the point that it is almost dangerous during morning rush. There are huge numbers of people piling out of buses and onto the train.

ardecila Sep 26, 2011 4:04 PM

The news about Clark/Division is very welcome. CTA is taking the opportunity to extend the platform by an additional 2 cars, and building an entirely new mezzanine at LaSalle will prevent the annoying disruptions to riders that occurred at Grand. Then, once LaSalle is mostly complete, the Clark entrance can be shut down completely for modernization. It's a really smart move, even if it does extend the construction timeline. 2017 is really not that far out.

I wonder, though, if the new mezzanine is meant to forestall discussions of a new Brown Line station at Division.

I'm less thrilled about the new station at Washington/Wells. The east stationhouse at Madison is an architectural gem, and the stationhouses at Randolph are the same kind of elegant early-Modern design as the subways. On the positive side, it seems like there will be lots of access points to the new station, so the consolidation shouldn't affect walking times too much.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 5423196)
Apparently I'm the only person who thinks Chicago's subway stations should be restored rather than remuddled.

Mr. D, I agree with you about the elegant minimalism of the State Street Subway, but I'm not sure it's something that can really be restored. Vitrolite is out of production, and modern glazed-block doesn't have the same opacity or razor-thin grout lines. The large painted surfaces don't look very good over time, either, because the original concrete pours of the tunnels have serious issues with waterproofing.

Especially in harsh situations like an underground cavern, architects really need to future-proof their designs (within reason) so that ongoing maintenance and replacement can occur. Unfortunately, the WPA Moderne designs were a creature of their time, and shoestring public-transit budgets don't allow for expensive preservation work.

I do, however, wish the new designs had something more to offer than tacky multi-colored mosaics. SOM really set the bar for underground facilities at Millennium Station - easily my favorite train station in the United States. The CTA architecture has gotten better, though - I like the dark-blue barrel vault in the mezzanine at Grand. It really helps to organize the space. The new interior at North/Clybourn is also fairly well-done and restrained. Also, they all seem to use the same long box-shaped lighting fixtures, so that if one is broken, it can be replaced easily.

k1052 Sep 26, 2011 4:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5423535)
I wonder, though, if the new mezzanine is meant to forestall discussions of a new Brown Line station at Division.

The new mezzanine combined with 10 car Red Line trains would probably only work to service existing and near term demand. Many times people waiting for trains at Clark/Division are not able to board during rush since the cars are already full to the gills.

The Division Brown Line stop will have to be built as well, particularly when the Atrium Village redevelopment goes ahead and the redevelopment of the CHA land gathers steam in coming years.

ardecila Sep 26, 2011 7:46 PM

10-car Red Line trains? I don't even see that as a possibility. North/Clybourn, Grand, Chicago, Harrison, and Roosevelt are not long enough for 10 cars (are they??) South of there, it should be fairly easy to add 2 car lengths to the Dan Ryan platforms, and the Loop stations are all one continuous platform anyway.

k1052 Sep 26, 2011 10:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5423848)
10-car Red Line trains? I don't even see that as a possibility. North/Clybourn, Grand, Chicago, Harrison, and Roosevelt are not long enough for 10 cars (are they??) South of there, it should be fairly easy to add 2 car lengths to the Dan Ryan platforms, and the Loop stations are all one continuous platform anyway.

IIRC, most of the issues were on the north side not in the subway. Belmont and Fullerton were not long enough until their rebuild was done. Sheridan and I think a couple others are also not long enough or are on curves which can't accommodate longer trains. There also probably isn't enough rolling stock to cover longer trains on the present rush headways.

CTA Gray Line Sep 27, 2011 7:42 AM

What about extending the North end of the Washington/Wabash station (or a
walkway) to provide an enclosed connection (stair & elevator) to the Pedway.
This would provide an all-weather connection to both the Red Line Lake Station
and Millennium Station.

I wonder about CTA planners in that they didn't include this from the start.

I will be contacting CTA and CMAP.

denizen467 Sep 27, 2011 12:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5423848)
the Loop stations are all one continuous platform anyway.

I haven't looked since the Block 37 Red-Blue cutover was built - did they fence off and end up shortening either of the Red stations adjoining it or was only the minimum necessary removed?

emathias Sep 27, 2011 6:52 PM

I noticed the City Inspector General's report estimated that making LSD a toll road might net the City around $80 million a year, depending on how much it discouraged driving on the Drive.

At that rate, that alone (assuming a typical range for State and Federal matching) would be enough to finance the rebuilding of the North Red Line. Which would seem appropriate, given a better-performing Red Line would be necessary if LSD started charging tolls since I think a lot of people would switch.

Thoughts?

k1052 Sep 27, 2011 7:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5425147)
I noticed the City Inspector General's report estimated that making LSD a toll road might net the City around $80 million a year, depending on how much it discouraged driving on the Drive.

At that rate, that alone (assuming a typical range for State and Federal matching) would be enough to finance the rebuilding of the North Red Line. Which would seem appropriate, given a better-performing Red Line would be necessary if LSD started charging tolls since I think a lot of people would switch.

Thoughts?

As part of a more comprehensive expansion of the CTA such a radical idea might be tolerated. Combined with the possible casino revenue it wouldn't be impossible to clear something like $225M per year for transit projects in local money alone.

ardecila Sep 27, 2011 9:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 5424668)
I haven't looked since the Block 37 Red-Blue cutover was built - did they fence off and end up shortening either of the Red stations adjoining it or was only the minimum necessary removed?

They never finished the crossover. They never built the bellmouth structures on either side. If they wanted to actually use the thing, it would be at least another $100 million in work.

In the Blue Line, I believe they cut through the platform north of Washington. In the Red Line, they never did anything to the platform (but still closed the Washington stop anyway).

Actually, my guess is that the Washington closure was more about speeding up service than the actual availability of platform space. Having a station at Lake is just more convenient for transfers and for serving the river corridor.

CTA Gray Line Sep 28, 2011 6:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 5424612)
What about extending the North end of the Washington/Wabash station (or a
walkway) to provide an enclosed connection (stair & elevator) to the Pedway.
This would provide an all-weather connection to both the Red Line Lake Station
and Millennium Station.

There is plenty of room along the east side of the Wabash Ave. 'L' tracks north of Washington for a walkway over the street with room in the planter area for stairs/escalators and an elevator to access the Pedway that crosses underneath Wabash just north of mid-block (there is a street entrance on the east side of Wabash): http://g.co/maps/zb3e7

ardecila Oct 3, 2011 8:33 PM

Nobody posted this awesome news...

Quote:

CTA to install tracker screens at 400 bus shelters
Posted by Greg H. at 9/30/2011 11:32 AM CDT

Under an initiative unveiled Friday morning by CTA President Forrest Claypool and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, light-emitting diode displays will be posted at 400 bus shelters around the city.

With four lines of text, the displays will provide bus arrival information and, eventually, customer alerts on service, transfer points and the like.

The displays -- which will somewhat resemble displays in some subway and el stations -- will face outward, so that everyone waiting can get a look.

The $3.8-million project will be funded by the CTA and grants from the Regional Transportation Authority and Federal Transit Authority. The city will operate and maintain the screens, in cooperation with bus-shelter owner J. C. Decaux.

Officials say the 400 displays will be installed by next September, with some in each of the city's 50 wards. Locations were selected based on ridership, transfers and location of multiple bus routes.
http://img706.imageshack.us/img706/7885/65138800.jpg

emathias Oct 3, 2011 8:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5432019)
Nobody posted this awesome news...



http://img706.imageshack.us/img706/7885/65138800.jpg

If that's a static display like that, then I like it.

I just hope they're not like the stupid "L" ones that flash the arrival time for like 2 seconds every minute, so you have to stand there and literally stare at the sign for a minute just to know the arrival time while the date and time slowly scroll past.

Speaking of which, the CTA MUST know that method in the "L" stations is completely stupid - when will they fix it?

N830MH Oct 3, 2011 10:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5432035)

Speaking of which, the CTA MUST know that method in the "L" stations is completely stupid - when will they fix it?

My guess there is technical problem. They didn't fixed it correctly. It was not CTA fault.

ardecila Oct 3, 2011 11:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5432035)
If that's a static display like that, then I like it.

I just hope they're not like the stupid "L" ones that flash the arrival time for like 2 seconds every minute, so you have to stand there and literally stare at the sign for a minute just to know the arrival time while the date and time slowly scroll past.

Speaking of which, the CTA MUST know that method in the "L" stations is completely stupid - when will they fix it?

All 400 of the new displays will be similar to the one pictured. They won't be the single-line scrolling displays, and they won't be the Titan Outdoor screens that show ads.

I'm more frustrated by the constant reminders to renew my Chicago Card. That's information better relegated to a poster.

MayorOfChicago Oct 4, 2011 12:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5432035)
If that's a static display like that, then I like it.

I just hope they're not like the stupid "L" ones that flash the arrival time for like 2 seconds every minute, so you have to stand there and literally stare at the sign for a minute just to know the arrival time while the date and time slowly scroll past.

Speaking of which, the CTA MUST know that method in the "L" stations is completely stupid - when will they fix it?

I also hate how you can't read the things on the fullerton and belmont stations unless you're standing in a certain area. The supports and lights block the information.

denizen467 Oct 4, 2011 11:22 AM

I've always thought Chicago's encouragement of major arterials as bike routes as rather crazy. Buses, trucks, and 6-way intersections, on top of the usual rush of passenger cars, are incompatible with 200-pound blobs of metal and flesh. There is no overriding reason why the major arterials are where bicyclists' routes need to go. Instead, designating a side street, just 1 block over, into a major bicycle arterial would seem to be a better solution (assuming you could get past NIMBY issues, including loss of street parking). This could be repeated at regular intervals throughout the street grid. Bicyclists could still have access to arterials, but ideally it would be people whose origin/destination was there, while thru traffic would use the side streets.


http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...enways01m.html

Seattle plans side-street pathways for cyclists
By Mike Lindblom
Seattle Times transportation reporter

For several years, Seattle has painted bicycle lanes or icons on nearly all major streets, in hopes of encouraging people to ride.

Cycling has increased, but a lot of people remain ambivalent, including Jennifer Litowski of Ballard. She's comfortable riding some of the less-busy arterials. But when her 5-year-old son's bike is attached to the rear, she's not so nimble. The two detour to a calmer side street.

That's the idea behind "greenways" — networks of residential roads outfitted with speed bumps, landscaped curbs that make portions of a street narrower, or stop signs to give cyclists and pedestrians priority over cars.

Seattle is building its first greenway across the Wallingford area this fall and will install signs for a future route on north Beacon Hill, while advocacy groups are suggesting routes in at least three other neighborhoods. Mayor Mike McGinn is proposing $150,000 for design and public outreach on a route in Rainier Valley next year.

...

"It's not about getting people out of cars, it's about letting people who want to ride bikes get out and ride their damn bikes," said a smiling Eli Goldberg, a University District greenway advocate who encouraged an audience last week to campaign for Proposition 1. ...

MayorOfChicago Oct 4, 2011 2:20 PM

and the slow death continues.....two sets of fare increases and two sets of service cuts in 4 years is a lot to take.

Quote:

Claypool: CTA faces $277M in red ink for 2012

8:52 a.m. CDT, October 4, 2011
The CTA faces a $277 million budget deficit next year, the transit agency's president disclosed Tuesday, without unveiling a strategy to close the gap.

CTA President Forrest Claypool told the City Club of Chicago that the transit authority has borrowed $554 million over the last four years and that its legal borrowing limit has been reached.

Claypool this month will present a proposed 2012 budget that is expected to include a fare increase and possible service cuts.

The CTA last raised fares in 2009 and cut service last year -- trimming bus service by 18 percent and rail service by 9 percent.

Claypool said the transit agency must cut costs -- in part by getting rid of "archaic and expensive work rules" -- to cope with increasing expenses and declining revenue.

He cited a Tribune story published Tuesday that chronicled a massive absenteeism problem at the CTA that has contributed to the cancellations of hundreds of bus and train runs this year.

The CTA is spending $40 million in 2011 to staff hundreds of extra workers every day to fill in for employees who call in sick, CTA officials said.

k1052 Oct 4, 2011 3:14 PM

The unions are going to have to give, substantially, now that they can't enjoy the absence of a disinterested mayor. Claypool will certainly have Rahm's backing on getting the concessions he needs to maintain service levels...probably including a modest fare increase as well.

Vlajos Oct 4, 2011 3:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 5432846)
The unions are going to have to give, substantially, now that they can't enjoy the absence of a disinterested mayor. Claypool will certainly have Rahm's backing on getting the concessions he needs to maintain service levels...probably including a modest fare increase as well.

This is correct

emathias Oct 4, 2011 3:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by N830MH (Post 5432166)
My guess there is technical problem. They didn't fixed it correctly. It was not CTA fault.

Since apparently English isn't your first language I won't criticize your grammar, however the content of your message is absolutely incorrect. There really is no one other than the CTA to hold accountable for the poor methodology used for the rail station arrival signs, and fixing it would be completely within the capability of the CTA. Technical aspects may make it harder to fix than it appears to the general public, but it is still absolutely the CTA's fault.

nicksplace27 Oct 4, 2011 4:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 5432846)
The unions are going to have to give, substantially, now that they can't enjoy the absence of a disinterested mayor. Claypool will certainly have Rahm's backing on getting the concessions he needs to maintain service levels...probably including a modest fare increase as well.

Fare increases are a bad idea. It'll lead to a drop in riders which would outweigh any increase in revenue. We need to flex transit spending as a whole by taking money from highway tolls and funding to the CTA. We have a big enough rail worker and user base to give that idea credence and clout, right?

k1052 Oct 4, 2011 5:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nicksplace27 (Post 5432939)
Fare increases are a bad idea. It'll lead to a drop in riders which would outweigh any increase in revenue. We need to flex transit spending as a whole by taking money from highway tolls and funding to the CTA. We have a big enough rail worker and user base to give that idea credence and clout, right?

A fare increase in the range of 25 cents starting in 2012 wouldn't be too onerous, provided major concessions can be secured from the union. Claypool already indicated that it's on the table earlier this year.

The long term funding situation is something that needs to be addressed by the City however the mayor does not seem amenable to tolling presently free roads.

Nowhereman1280 Oct 4, 2011 5:17 PM

Roads within the city should not be tolled. They should be tolled at the city limits to punish those who choose to live outside of the city.

nicksplace27 Oct 4, 2011 5:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 5432963)
A fare increase in the range of 25 cents starting in 2012 wouldn't be too onerous, provided major concessions can be secured from the union. Claypool already indicated that it's on the table earlier this year.

The long term funding situation is something that needs to be addressed by the City however the mayor does not seem amenable to tolling presently free roads.

25 cents isn't terrible but it isn't good either. If they could increase the one time fare by 25 cents but peg the cost of the one-week and one-month passes; so as to retain and encourage larger purchases and more use, I'd be in favor of that.

And I'm talking about something politically suicidal like putting new tolls on roads in the city. I'm talking about a metropolitan region, like the existing Kennedy tolls in schaumburg and elsewhere, be put into improving blue line service because they do benefit from it. That is flexing.

Nowhereman1280 Oct 4, 2011 7:07 PM

^^^ That's not possible. The tolls in those locations back bonds and their revenue is already spoken for and used to back those bonds. It is state revenue anyhow and would never be diverted to Chicago even if it were legally possible.

nicksplace27 Oct 4, 2011 7:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 5433093)
^^^ That's not possible. The tolls in those locations back bonds and their revenue is already spoken for and used to back those bonds. It is state revenue anyhow and would never be diverted to Chicago even if it were legally possible.

I know it's politically not feasible. But last time I checked, Chicago was in Illinois and the suburbs would wither and die without Chicago's cultural and economic base. So, it's not like a change in policy and funding mechanisms to recognize the metropolitian reality of the area wouldn't be helpful. Once those bonds mature and funding mechanisms can change; we should change them.

Other metropolitan regions do flexing. We should start to advocate for it to begin to mitigate this infastructure problem the whole region has.

ardecila Oct 4, 2011 10:19 PM

The suburbs already fund CTA through the sales tax.

To be honest, I don't think Chicagoans will put up with a European level of taxation. A new tax would only make the city less appealing to businesses and residents at a time when the city faces huge demographic issues. Personally, I'd rather focus all of CTA's energy on exacting greater savings out of the unions. If absenteeism is such a huge problem, then the problem employees should be fired, immediately - not sheltered behind a protective union.

I'd also aim for claiming a greater share of the existing sales tax revenue collected in the city. Where does the rest of the revenue go currently?

emathias Oct 5, 2011 3:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5433335)
The suburbs already fund CTA through the sales tax.

To be honest, I don't think Chicagoans will put up with a European level of taxation. A new tax would only make the city less appealing to businesses and residents at a time when the city faces huge demographic issues. Personally, I'd rather focus all of CTA's energy on exacting greater savings out of the unions. If absenteeism is such a huge problem, then the problem employees should be fired, immediately - not sheltered behind a protective union.

I'd also aim for claiming a greater share of the existing sales tax revenue collected in the city. Where does the rest of the revenue go currently?

I wrote this for another forum.

It's interesting. The Cook County portion has more or less kept up with inflation, although it has varied some year-by-year.

Overall, for Cook County only, 2010 generated 25% more sales tax revenue for the CTA as compared to 2000. According to this inflation calculator, inflation between 2000 and 2010 was a nudge over 26%.

Adding in the revenue now collected in the other counties, though, the CTA received 37.8% more in 2010 than in 2000.

Year-by-year, Cook County CTA sales tax (deduced from this RTAMS page):

00-01 < 1% decrease
01-02 ~$2.5 million, ~1% decrease
02-03 ~$3.5 million, ~1.3% increase
03-04 ~$8 million, ~3% increase
04-05 ~$10 million, ~3.7% increase
05-06 ~$20 million, ~7.3% increase
06-07 ~$4.5 million, ~1.5% increase
07-08 ~$12.9 million, ~4.2% increase + $30 million from outer counties
08-09 ~$4.4 million, ~1.4% decrease + $32 million from outer counties
09-10 ~$14.3 million, ~4.6% increase + $33 million from outer counties

In 2000, the CTA had a budget of about $819 million.
In 2010, the budget was proposed at $1,285 million, and increase of 57%.

In the 2010 budget, labor alone accounted for $852 million, 66% of the total budget with about 9,500 positions. In 2000, labor accounted for $613 million, which was nearly 75% of the budget, with 11,290 positions. 39% increase in wage costs, which exceeds inflation even on top of fewer workers. All things being equal, if the ratio of labor to non-labor expenses is decreasing, it points to a bigger issue with non-labor costs than with labor costs. In this particular example, though, given the reduction of workforce at the same time as over-inflation increases in labor costs, I think it points to an across-the-board problem with costs being out of control.

In 2000, the CTA carried 450.5 million riders, in 2010, the CTA carried about 517 million riders, an increase of about 14.8%. I think that probably means that the 9% increase in employees is at least somewhat defensible even if steps could be taken to make it not strictly necessary. What seems to be less defensible, however, is the much-higher-than-inflation growth in wage costs.

But looking at the budget numbers, what really jumps out to me is not just the accelerated growth in employee compensation, but the jump in the category of "Other Expense," that leaped from $49 million in 2000, to $192 million in the 2010 budget.

One thing that has been unavoidable, for the most part, is the jump in fuel and electricity costs from $35.5 million in 2000 to $139 million in 2009 and $103 million in 2010 (bus cuts=less fuel).

Fuel is what it is. We can help address that by replacing regular buses with hybrids, or continuing to have higher load factors and drive riders to electric trains but that's not a good short-term fix for a budget crisis.

Wages would seem to need to be curtailed. Seeing the wages exceed inflation during a time when private sector wages have increased below inflation is not sustainable.

And I really would like to know what the "Other Services" aka "Other Expense" category includes. That seems to have been a significant jump in those costs in 2010 vs. 2000.

ardecila Oct 5, 2011 8:20 PM

Total revenue for 2010 was only $14 million? Or is that the delta, and the percentage change is relative to the inflated-adjusted budget of the previous year?

I think CTA especially is hobbled because the people in charge of funding (the taxpayers/politicians) have a much more visceral reaction to the plight of the CTA workers than they do to gaps in the CTA's budget. They're perfectly willing to support higher wages for CTA employees, whom they view as members of their own community, but unwilling to pay higher taxes or higher fares to pay those employees. If presented with the dilemma, usually taxpayers will attribute CTA's huge budgetary issues to waste, graft, and corruption, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the huge compensation and benefits that CTA workers collectively earn.

Personally, I'd love to see CTA's unionized workers earn a high salary with zero pension benefits and little to no sick days or vacation time (health insurance would, of course, still be included). The high wages would compensate for the relative lack of benefits, and CTA wouldn't be saddled with hugely expensive long-term commitments. I'm starting to get really sick of this "borrow against the future" crap. We've been doing it at all levels of government since Reagan, at least.

VivaLFuego Oct 6, 2011 2:12 AM

Where did you get that year 2000 labor force number? In 2000 CTA had a headcount of 11,290.

emathias Oct 6, 2011 4:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 5434948)
Where did you get that year 2000 labor force number? In 2000 CTA had a headcount of 11,290.

I took it out of the budget documents on their website.

emathias Oct 6, 2011 5:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 5434948)
Where did you get that year 2000 labor force number? In 2000 CTA had a headcount of 11,290.

I took it out of the budget documents on their website, but I appear to have missed a dividing line and only included Transit Operations positions instead of the entire staffing. I corrected it.

ardecila Oct 11, 2011 11:08 PM

Quote:

Details of Emanuel's budget leaking: hotel, parking fees to rise; condo rebate to vanish
Posted by Greg H. at 10/11/2011 4:26 PM CDT


The first details of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's first proposed city budget are leaking out and, though sales and property taxes will remain unchanged, there'll be lots and lots of other pain spread all around.

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* A "congestion fee" -- a higher tax on certain central area parking lots during certain portions of the day -- will be imposed. Team Rahm isn't yet saying how much the levy will be, but is reporting that funds will be used to rebuild two downtown el stations and pay for an express bus system known as bus rapid transit.
This is interesting, since Daley's inability to get a new parking fee passed is the only reason we don't already have rapid buses... anybody remember the $120 million that was owed to the CTA by the Bush-era FTA for BRT? Man, we could have had BRT on Chicago, Halsted, Jeffrey, and 87th by now.

I assume the two stations are Clark/Division and the new Washington/Wabash station.

the urban politician Oct 12, 2011 1:52 AM

^ I"m lovin' it!

Of course, when I come to Chicago I usually drive and park downtown (if I'm willing to pay for it, I still get to call myself an urbanist--after all, I'm not complaining that the parking isn't free).

Here's hoping they build an express BRT along Chicago Ave and have a stop on Damen. I just bought a rental property a stone's throw away from there...

Rizzo Oct 12, 2011 5:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5441182)
This is interesting, since Daley's inability to get a new parking fee passed is the only reason we don't already have rapid buses... anybody remember the $120 million that was owed to the CTA by the Bush-era FTA for BRT? Man, we could have had BRT on Chicago, Halsted, Jeffrey, and 87th by now.

I assume the two stations are Clark/Division and the new Washington/Wabash station.

I hope so.

ardecila Oct 12, 2011 9:43 PM

Well, those stations are the two that have gotten buzz lately. It seems like the South Loop infill station on the Green Line (16th, 18th, and/or Cermak) has been moved to the back burner. A year ago, it seemed like that was the next top priority for CDOT.

Also, anybody know what happened to the Navy Pier flyover or the LSD/IC bridges at 35th?

Baronvonellis Oct 13, 2011 1:27 AM

http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news...metra-20111010

The Englewood Flyover project broke ground this week. This is a big part of CREATE and easing metra and Amtrack congestion. Glad it's going to go ahead now.

Rizzo Oct 13, 2011 6:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5442488)
Well, those stations are the two that have gotten buzz lately. It seems like the South Loop infill station on the Green Line (16th, 18th, and/or Cermak) has been moved to the back burner. A year ago, it seemed like that was the next top priority for CDOT.

Also, anybody know what happened to the Navy Pier flyover or the LSD/IC bridges at 35th?

The Navy Pier flyover still needs more funding.

sammyg Oct 13, 2011 1:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baronvonellis (Post 5442744)
http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news...metra-20111010

The Englewood Flyover project broke ground this week. This is a big part of CREATE and easing metra and Amtrack congestion. Glad it's going to go ahead now.

Woo-hoo!

In other good news, the chicagobus forums have been posting pictures of the new 5000-series CTA cars beginning to arrive at the Skokie yards.
http://forum.chicagobus.org/topic/17...post__p__33497

lawfin Oct 13, 2011 11:43 PM

This goes out to Mr Downtown who I believe in the past has made the claim that highways are self-funded via user fees....ie gas tax. This puts the lie to that claim.

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/...s-to-highways/


If my memory is inaccurate about said claim I apologize in advance.

Ch.G, Ch.G Oct 14, 2011 1:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 5443870)
This goes out to Mr Downtown who I believe in the past has made the claim that highways are self-funded via user fees....ie gas tax. This puts the lie to that claim.

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/...s-to-highways/


If my memory is accurate about said claim I apologize in advance.

Someone definitely bandied about that rumor.

Rizzo Oct 14, 2011 3:49 AM

I know resurfacing projects aren't exactly big news, but Michigan Avenue from Oak to Illinois was all milled down today. Over the last couple of years, the metal plates had piled up, the roadway had sunk dramatically, and street corners overflowed with water. I wonder how many CTA buses died as a result of large potholes and collapsed grates.

Haworthia Oct 14, 2011 11:15 PM

An 'L' stop here is long overdue. Rahm is on a roll.

Quote:

City plans McCormick Place el station
Posted by Greg H. at 10/14/2011 5:12 PM CDT on Chicago Business
City Hall announced plans late Friday to build a $50 million el station on the doorstep of McCormick Place—the first dividend of sorts from Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed 2012 city budget.

According to the Chicago Department of Transportation, the new stop will be between Cermak Road and 23rd Street on the Green line. The line at that point runs along Wabash Avenue, about two city blocks from the western entrance to the McCormick Place.

McCormick Place now is served only by buses and the Orange line, which is several blocks farther west. Construction could begin next year, according to the department, with completion set for 2014.
Source:
Chicago Business

lawfin Oct 15, 2011 12:21 AM

^^^^The green line could use several more stops on the near south side like it used to have hopefully we'll see one at maybe 18th and say 31st or so. It could really help with developing the area I think.

Also eventually bring back 63rd all the way to stony or at least the 63rd Metra. Tie it in with the gray line or whatever it would be great.

Or right I am on the green line cool aid right now.....also extend it out to midway it'd be about 4 miles or so....how much could that be :)


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