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ardecila Aug 18, 2013 8:26 PM

Win. This removes one huge barrier to the eventual discounting of transfers.

By improving convenience, it will still attract new riders and generate new trips involving multiple agencies, even if riders need to pay twice. Hopefully this will be a full adoption; monthly and ten-ride tickets should be shifted onto the Ventra card.

I think it may also nudge the dial towards more multi-modal thinking... Planners may consider more types of transfer facilities if everyone's using the same payment system.

Mr Downtown Aug 19, 2013 3:27 AM

Maybe next Julie Hamos can legislate memory schedules for Metra lines.

dennis1 Aug 20, 2013 4:43 AM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...0,787673.story

Public comment should be allowed as the task force named by Gov. Pat Quinn develops reforms for the Chicago area's mass transit system, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski said Monday.

The 15-member panel that Quinn appointed should hold several public forums so transit users and taxpayers can participate in the process, the Western Springs Democrat said in a letter to the panel's co-chairmen.

ardecila Aug 20, 2013 5:32 AM

CTA plans to renovate Quincy.

http://www.transitchicago.com/news/d...ArticleId=3198

I'm not sure what I should be more puzzled about... the outrageous price of $15M for a pair of elevators, or the fact that the City apparently couldn't find a better use for $15M in the LaSalle Central TIF district?

CTA Gray Line Aug 20, 2013 5:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dennis1 (Post 6238013)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...0,787673.story

Public comment should be allowed as the task force named by Gov. Pat Quinn develops reforms for the Chicago area's mass transit system, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski said Monday.

The 15-member panel that Quinn appointed should hold several public forums so transit users and taxpayers can participate in the process, the Western Springs Democrat said in a letter to the panel's co-chairmen.


If you read at the bottom of the article, already this "Schneider" person is saying "no public input" -- Time to bombard the Governor's Office with calls and e-mails to allow THE PUBLIC to testify at ALL of these Hearings. How can they decide what to do with TAXPAYER MONEY without TAXPAYER INPUT.

This is the same as the Metra Board mess (Secret meetings), will the Governor have to create a Panel to investigate this Panel???

denizen467 Aug 20, 2013 8:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6238048)
the outrageous price of $15M for a pair of elevators

They're doing more than just elevators obviously, but I wonder if security issues are boosting the cost - it overlooks the Quincy block that runs adjacent to the Federal Reserve, which is so heavily guarded it's got that high metal fence and those drawbridge-like flap thingies that protrude upwards from the pavement to prevent vehicular entry, except when lowered by the guard.

Mr Downtown Aug 20, 2013 3:07 PM

It's also very strange, as Quincy was the "restored" station CTA pledged to preserve so they could tear down all the others around the Loop. I have restored in quotes because in the end they replaced so much of the material that one would have to say reconstructed rather than restored.

Rizzo Aug 21, 2013 1:10 AM

Some of those other stations look awful right now. Wish some of that went toward interim improvements.

OhioGuy Aug 21, 2013 1:21 AM

The CBS affiliate in Chicago reported on the progress of the Southside red line rebuild last week. The link includes a video news piece:

CTA’s Massive Red Line Project Right On TrackCTA’s Massive Red Line Project Right On Track

And from the Redeye:

And the least favorite CTA station is ...

Quote:

No, Cubs, no.

Though the Cubs adopted the Sheridan stop in Uptown eight years ago, this station isn't a hit among fans on gameday. Some fans would rather wait in long lines just to get into the Addison station in Wrigleyville after the game than walk a few more blocks to the Sheridan stop, the lovable loser of the two stations.

But don't worry, Sheridan, you've managed to beat the Addison stop in one contest: Going Public's fifth annual Crust Station contest to honor the worst CTA rail station based on rider crabbiness. Sheridan won for its dinginess, narrow platforms and lack of accessibility for riders with disabilities.

"[Sheridan] floods when it rains even moderately; the platform is made of wood that's really slippery when it freezes or gets a coat of frost; and the overall feel of the station is dirty," wrote Steffany Amacher, 28, of the South Loop. "The stairwells are very narrow, allowing for only one direction of traffic."

Dagny Kight of Edgewater seconded the stairs complaint— "disgusting and scary."

bnk Aug 23, 2013 6:26 PM

moved to O'Hare thread

Chicago Shawn Aug 24, 2013 1:40 AM

Judge orders Pine Grove-Addison Divvy Station to remain place for now
DNA info Link

For those of you who had't heard, a collection of loser NIMBYs in a Lakeview 3 flat have sued the city and Alderman Cappleman after a Divvy station was placed in the street near their building's door and are claiming that it will attract strangers at all hours, generate litter and is a threat to their children.

Sun-times article Here

HowardL Aug 24, 2013 2:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 6243104)
Judge orders Pine Grove-Addison Divvy Station to remain place for now
DNA info Link

For those of you who had't heard, a collection of loser NIMBYs in a Lakeview 3 flat have sued the city and Alderman Cappleman after a Divvy station was placed in the street near their building's door and are claiming that it will attract strangers at all hours, generate litter and is a threat to their children.

Sun-times article Here

I'm so ashamed of my neighbors sometimes. I live around the corner from here.

I have a CTA bus stop like 20 steps from my front door. It had never occurred to me that the bus stop was bad for me or my building.

And good christ, CTA riders are way more sketchy than blue bike riding, annual fee paying people.

Chicago Shawn Aug 24, 2013 3:27 AM

^Please email Alderman Cappleman in support of the present station location. If these nitwits win, it can jeopardize the bike share program by complicating the locations of all bike stations, present and future as long as there are enough whiners. Citibikes in NYC has become a big lightning rod issue for some for the same reason, location of the docks. The street is public doman for ALL modes of transportation and if Chicago really aims to be more multi-modal a line must be drawn in the sand on this.

The guy in lakeview filed the lawsuit the day after the station was installed. Perhaps a bit too much time on their hands...

Here is the original Sun-Times Article

Some of the comments really roast the filers of the lawsuit

On the flip side, many people further north in uptown really want more docks and the 47th ward is spending discretionary menu money to bring more bikes in.

Rizzo Aug 24, 2013 4:03 AM

My landlord wanted a divvy bike share in front of our building so they could call it an added amenity, lol. So even if it affects land values maybe it raises rents? As for condo owners, that space is a public easement. The city can do whatever.

HowardL Aug 26, 2013 2:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 6243199)
^Please email Alderman Cappleman in support of the present station location. If these nitwits win, it can jeopardize the bike share program by complicating the locations of all bike stations, present and future as long as there are enough whiners.

Awesome suggestion. I just sent him a message in support.

CTA Gray Line Aug 26, 2013 7:02 AM

Public Forums for Draft Title VI Policies
 
http://metrarail.com/metra/en/home/u..._policies.html


CHICAGO (August 15, 2013) – Metra is inviting public review and comment on its proposed Title VI Major Service Change and Fare/Service Equity policies. The intent of the proposed policies are to provide assurance that any changes in transit service and fares are made in compliance with Title VI, which was enacted as part of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

In August 2012, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released updated guidance on compliance with Title VI for transit providers that receive federal grants. The updated Title VI Circular includes new requirements to establish major service change, disparate impact, and disproportionate burden policies.

Transit providers must engage the public in development of these policies and must seek Board approval of these policies. Metra is holding a series of public meetings across its six-county service region to ensure that its customers and stakeholders are aware of the changes and have the opportunity to provide comment.

Metra seeks public comment on the following draft Title VI policies:

The Major Service Change policy: establishes Metra’s definition of “major service change”;

The Disparate Impact policy: sets a threshold to measure whether or not a proposed fare or major service change creates a discriminatory effect on riders based on race, color or national origin; and

The Disproportionate Burden policy: sets a threshold to measure whether or not a proposed fare or major service change creates a discriminatory effect on riders based on poverty status.
Public Meetings in the six-county Metra service region are scheduled as follows:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Waukegan City Hall, 100 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Waukegan, IL 60085; and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Woodstock City Hall, 121 W. Calhoun St., Woodstock, IL 60098.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Metra Headquarters, 547 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60661; from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at The Centre of Elgin, West Conference Room, 100 Symphony Way, Elgin, IL., 60120; from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Cicero Town Hall, Room 107, 4949 W. Cermak Rd., Cicero, IL., 60804; and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at West Chicago City Hall, City Council Chambers, 475 Main St., West Chicago, IL. 60185.

Thursday, August 29, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Aurora Transportation Center, 233 N. Broadway, Aurora, IL. 60507.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Homewood Village Hall, Council Chambers, 2020 Chestnut Rd., Homewood, IL., 60430 and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Joliet City Hall, 150 W. Jefferson St., Room #2, Joliet, IL., 60432 .

Thursday, September 5, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the City of Evanston Civic Center, Room 2404, 2100 Ridge Rd., Evanston, IL, 60201.

Comments may be made in person at the public meetings, or via email at titleVIfeedback@metrarail.com. Comments must be received later than September 5.

Reasonable auxiliary aids or services necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate will be provided. Metra meetings are conducted in accessible locations and materials can be provided in accessible formats and in languages other than English.

Persons requiring assistance or language accommodation are requested to notify Metra of their needs well in advance to provide sufficient time to make these accommodations. Requests should be made to Shanta Williams at (312) 322-6323.


You better believe I'll be there, who knows where this may lead....

Mike Payne

ardecila Aug 27, 2013 1:24 AM

Wow, hard to believe. Only a few years ago I was marveling at the next-train system on the DC Metro and cynically assuming we'd never get something like that here. This is truly a great achievement that improves user experience on the rail system, kudos to the CTA.

I'm especially glad they ditched that contract with Titan and switched to a special elongated LCD screen that doesn't show any of those damn ads. Seems like they worked out the overheating problem and other issues as well.

Quote:

Train Tracker Screens Arrive at All Rail Stations Ahead of Schedule
8/26/2013


All CTA rail stations now feature electronic screens displaying CTA’s popular Train Tracker service, a plan intended to improve the customer experience and was completed ahead of schedule, the CTA announced today.

Last week, CTA installed the screens at the Madison/Wabash Loop elevated station, completing an installation program announced last year and scheduled for completion by Labor Day 2013.

Rizzo Aug 27, 2013 1:33 AM

Great news! I really like the new screens.

Will they be retiring the vintage screens I see at Fullerton and Belmont that show times? They aren't very useful and just say "Thank you for riding the CTA" I don't want a thank you, I want times. I was trying to determine whether to board the brown line or red line but couldn't because the older style electronic signs wouldn't say.

ardecila Aug 27, 2013 2:09 AM

Not sure. Maybe Viva could chime in.

I do like the colored LED signs; I assume they are cheaper and have a longer life than the LCD screens, but I could be totally wrong. The LCDs really seem 21st-century, though - definitely several generations ahead of the LED-based systems in DC, Paris, or Barcelona.

Rizzo Aug 27, 2013 6:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6245512)
Not sure. Maybe Viva could chime in.

I do like the colored LED signs; I assume they are cheaper and have a longer life than the LCD screens, but I could be totally wrong. The LCDs really seem 21st-century, though - definitely several generations ahead of the LED-based systems in DC, Paris, or Barcelona.

I wouldn't mind the LED boards if they operated correctly. But they display "Thank you for riding the CTA" way too long. I'm not sure why it displays this message instead of transit times 100% of the time unless it's a malfunction. I really don't think a sterile thank you is important. In fact it shows poor customer service for failing to deliver necessary information. While I have my phone to check I don't like taking it out at the stations.

DCCliff Aug 28, 2013 4:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hayward (Post 6245660)
I wouldn't mind the LED boards if they operated correctly. But they display "Thank you for riding the CTA" way too long. I'm not sure why it displays this message instead of transit times 100% of the time unless it's a malfunction. I really don't think a sterile thank you is important. In fact it shows poor customer service for failing to deliver necessary information. While I have my phone to check I don't like taking it out at the stations.

AMEN, AMEN!! I've been saying this over and over. The stupid message is distracting and diminishes the effectiveness of the rider receiving the data. Why can't the idiots understand this??

Nexis4Jersey Aug 28, 2013 5:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DCCliff (Post 6247291)
AMEN, AMEN!! I've been saying this over and over. The stupid message is distracting and diminishes the effectiveness of the rider receiving the data. Why can't the idiots understand this??

The signs here say Good Service or the date , they don't say when the next train is coming. There useless signs , they don't even make announcements unless the trains are late by 5 mins.

Via Chicago Aug 28, 2013 5:50 PM

speaking of notifications, does anyone know what the deal is with the audio arrival announcements at some stations? like western brown line has this...but the vast majority do not. is this just a weird legacy thing that hasnt been phased out? i actually think its pretty useful but i dont get the impression its being expanded.

Busy Bee Aug 28, 2013 6:56 PM

Regarding the previous comments regarding that somehow LED is obsolete compared to LCD when it comes to these arrival boards... There is no better example of a arrival board anywhere on the planet than Paris and it happens to use LED, and it does it in a clean, minimalist way, showing nothing unnecessary and telling only the needed information. No thank you for riding nonsense, no oops your train is late - that's what the next train time is for, no reminding you what day it is, nothing except what is needed.

Paris. How do you improve on this?

http://www.bloggingwithjosephking.co...2/DSC00643.jpg
x

ardecila Aug 28, 2013 10:32 PM

Jeez, image size!

I'd argue that the flexibility of CTA's signs (LED/LCD both) is a huge advantage. Yes, it can be abused for advertisements or meaningless pleasantries, but it can also provide real-time information on disruptions and service-pattern changes. Information on the weather is useful at underground stations. I appreciate the clock function, too (but I've always thought public clocks were an essential part of urbanity)

CTA Gray Line Aug 29, 2013 6:36 AM

Democrat defends targeted Metra Board members, predicts ouster move will fail
 
http://www.suntimes.com/22216172-761...will-fail.html

By ROSALIND ROSSI Transportation Reporter August 28, 2013 7:11PM

Updated: August 28, 2013 8:23PM

A Democratic Cook County commissioner Wednesday predicted a proposed resolution asking half the Metra board to resign would fail and said the idea was “terrible public policy” because the “bad apples” on the Metra Board have already bailed out.

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin defended three Metra Board members targeted for ouster just as state Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) said the refusal of at least two of the trio to resign made them the “poster children for why we need change.”

Meanwhile, the co-chair of Gov. Patrick Quinn’s new transit task force said Wednesday “that’s a real problem” if Metra board members are refusing calls from their political sponsors to step down.

“That’s obviously one of the things we’ll be looking at if it doesn’t get resolved very quickly,’’ task force co-chair George Ranney told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force will convene for the first time at 1 p.m. next Tuesday in Room N502 of the Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle Street. Public comment is welcome.

Quinn appointed the task force’s 15 members in the wake of a scandal that has gripped Metra ever since board members agreed to pay ex-CEO Alex Clifford $871,000 to exit his contract eight months early and keep mum about the deal — unless questioned by authorities. Since then, public hearings have revealed that at the time, Clifford had threatened a whistleblower lawsuit, based on his charges that two board members wanted to dump him for refusing to “play ball’’ on patronage and contracts.

Ranney said he expects the task force to look at how the region’s transit operations stack up against others across the nation, and how the best-performing systems are governed.

“Something needs to be done to restore Metra’s credibility. That’s part of our assignment,’’ said Ranney, CEO of Metropolis Strategies and former chair of another task force that helped create the RTA.

Five of 11 Metra Board members have resigned since the Clifford mess went public, including former chair Brad O’Halloran and colleague Larry Huggins. Both were mentioned prominently in an April 3 memo in which Clifford outlined patronage and contract-related requests by the two men and accused them of trying to orchestrate his ouster.

Suffredin noted that the April 3 memo never mentioned the three suburban Cook County Metra Board members — Don De Graff, Arlene Mulder and William Widmer III — whom opposing Republicans on the County Board now want to dump. The four Republicans have sponsored a resolution — only advisory and yet to be approved — that asks all three Metra Board members to resign pending the selection of replacements by Cook County commissioners. De Graff and Mulder say they have no plans to leave. Widmer has not responded to requests for comment.

“I think it is terrible public policy to appoint quality people to these boards and then try to pull the rug out from them, especially when the bad apples appear to be O’Halloran and Huggins, and they are gone,’’ Suffredin said.

“There’s no indication anywhere that any of these three [De Graff, Mulder and Widmer] have done anything wrong.’’

However, Franks accused the trio and the rest of the board of failing to ask tough questions as the tangle of Clifford accusations unraveled before their eyes. Franks said he would have “probed more” about an insurance policy that board members say was barely mentioned and then shrugged off, but RTA auditors say would have provided $10 million in liability coverage if Clifford had sued Metra.

“To continue to say they were kept in the dark means they weren’t tenacious enough, they weren’t doing their job,” Franks said.

“They are cooking their own goose. They are proving why there needs to be fundamental change.’’

Also Wednesday, Democratic Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski asked anyone interested in filling O’Halloran’s southwest and west suburban Metra seat to send him a resume and cover letter. In a news release, Tobolski said he wanted to make the nomination process “as transparent and open as possible.’’

Wrote Tobolski: “This is a great opportunity to serve your community and be a leader.’’

CTA Gray Line Aug 29, 2013 6:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 6248300)
http://www.suntimes.com/22216172-761...will-fail.html

By ROSALIND ROSSI Transportation Reporter August 28, 2013 7:11PM

Updated: August 28, 2013 8:23PM

A Democratic Cook County commissioner Wednesday predicted a proposed resolution asking half the Metra board to resign would fail and said the idea was “terrible public policy” because the “bad apples” on the Metra Board have already bailed out.

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin defended three Metra Board members targeted for ouster just as state Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) said the refusal of at least two of the trio to resign made them the “poster children for why we need change.”

Meanwhile, the co-chair of Gov. Patrick Quinn’s new transit task force said Wednesday “that’s a real problem” if Metra board members are refusing calls from their political sponsors to step down.

“That’s obviously one of the things we’ll be looking at if it doesn’t get resolved very quickly,’’ task force co-chair George Ranney told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force will convene for the first time at 1 p.m. next Tuesday in Room N502 of the Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle Street. Public comment is welcome.

Quinn appointed the task force’s 15 members in the wake of a scandal that has gripped Metra ever since board members agreed to pay ex-CEO Alex Clifford $871,000 to exit his contract eight months early and keep mum about the deal — unless questioned by authorities. Since then, public hearings have revealed that at the time, Clifford had threatened a whistleblower lawsuit, based on his charges that two board members wanted to dump him for refusing to “play ball’’ on patronage and contracts.

Ranney said he expects the task force to look at how the region’s transit operations stack up against others across the nation, and how the best-performing systems are governed.

“Something needs to be done to restore Metra’s credibility. That’s part of our assignment,’’ said Ranney, CEO of Metropolis Strategies and former chair of another task force that helped create the RTA.

Five of 11 Metra Board members have resigned since the Clifford mess went public, including former chair Brad O’Halloran and colleague Larry Huggins. Both were mentioned prominently in an April 3 memo in which Clifford outlined patronage and contract-related requests by the two men and accused them of trying to orchestrate his ouster.

Suffredin noted that the April 3 memo never mentioned the three suburban Cook County Metra Board members — Don De Graff, Arlene Mulder and William Widmer III — whom opposing Republicans on the County Board now want to dump. The four Republicans have sponsored a resolution — only advisory and yet to be approved — that asks all three Metra Board members to resign pending the selection of replacements by Cook County commissioners. De Graff and Mulder say they have no plans to leave. Widmer has not responded to requests for comment.

“I think it is terrible public policy to appoint quality people to these boards and then try to pull the rug out from them, especially when the bad apples appear to be O’Halloran and Huggins, and they are gone,’’ Suffredin said.

“There’s no indication anywhere that any of these three [De Graff, Mulder and Widmer] have done anything wrong.’’

However, Franks accused the trio and the rest of the board of failing to ask tough questions as the tangle of Clifford accusations unraveled before their eyes. Franks said he would have “probed more” about an insurance policy that board members say was barely mentioned and then shrugged off, but RTA auditors say would have provided $10 million in liability coverage if Clifford had sued Metra.

“To continue to say they were kept in the dark means they weren’t tenacious enough, they weren’t doing their job,” Franks said.

“They are cooking their own goose. They are proving why there needs to be fundamental change.’’

Also Wednesday, Democratic Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski asked anyone interested in filling O’Halloran’s southwest and west suburban Metra seat to send him a resume and cover letter. In a news release, Tobolski said he wanted to make the nomination process “as transparent and open as possible.’’

Wrote Tobolski: “This is a great opportunity to serve your community and be a leader.’’


The Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force will convene for the first time at 1 p.m. next Tuesday in Room N502 of the Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle Street.

PUBLIC COMMENT IS WELCOME.

Time to say what you have to say where it MIGHT actually count -- or keep your opinions to yourself......

emathias Aug 29, 2013 2:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hayward (Post 6245660)
I wouldn't mind the LED boards if they operated correctly. But they display "Thank you for riding the CTA" way too long. I'm not sure why it displays this message instead of transit times 100% of the time unless it's a malfunction. I really don't think a sterile thank you is important. In fact it shows poor customer service for failing to deliver necessary information. While I have my phone to check I don't like taking it out at the stations.

Quote:

Originally Posted by DCCliff (Post 6247291)
AMEN, AMEN!! I've been saying this over and over. The stupid message is distracting and diminishes the effectiveness of the rider receiving the data. Why can't the idiots understand this??

Email the CTA and (politely) ask them to stop doing it. It may not immediately spur them to action, but the absolutely do track customer feedback and it will influence their decisions on what to work on over the long run. If they get enough complaints, they will act more quickly.

Busy Bee Aug 29, 2013 3:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 6248300)
http://www.suntimes.com/22216172-761...will-fail.html

Ranney said he expects the task force to look at how the region’s transit operations stack up against others across the nation, and how the best-performing systems are governed.


Hmm, maybe this is the problem with most US operations. There comparing themselves to other woefully inadequate domestic commuter systems instead of higher quality examples abroad. No wonder they seem clueless.

ardecila Aug 29, 2013 4:39 PM

Of course. That being said, there are things to learn. I think Caltrain provides a much higher-quality and frequent service than Metra, for example.

On the other hand, I don't know of any domestic agencies where commuter rail and local transit have free transfers or cross-ticketing.

mattb112885 Aug 29, 2013 8:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6248629)
Of course. That being said, there are things to learn. I think Caltrain provides a much higher-quality and frequent service than Metra, for example.

On the other hand, I don't know of any domestic agencies where commuter rail and local transit have free transfers or cross-ticketing.

In Los Angeles Metrolink (commuter rail) passengers can transfer to Metro (local transit) and many other local transit authorities for free. Source:

http://www.metrolinktrains.com/howto...sitconnections

ardecila Aug 29, 2013 9:33 PM

Cool, didn't know that. Now I'm wishing for Alex Clifford back, lol. The Chicago system should allow the reverse, as well; CTA pass holders or ticket holders should be able to use Metra like a CTA line within the A/B fare zones and get the same transfer privileges.

emathias Aug 29, 2013 9:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6249038)
Cool, didn't know that. Now I'm wishing for Alex Clifford back, lol. The Chicago system should allow the reverse, as well; CTA pass holders or ticket holders should be able to use Metra like a CTA line within the A/B fare zones and get the same transfer privileges.

Got my vote.

CTA Gray Line Aug 30, 2013 4:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6249038)
Cool, didn't know that. Now I'm wishing for Alex Clifford back, lol. The Chicago system should allow the reverse, as well; CTA pass holders or ticket holders should be able to use Metra like a CTA line within the A/B fare zones and get the same transfer privileges.

Congratulations -- You've just described CTA Gray Line services on the Metra Electric District!

ardecila Aug 30, 2013 5:06 AM

I want all Metra services to work this way. In the case of Metra Electric, increased frequencies and improved stations may become necessary as the south lakefront densifies, similar to the Gray Line idea. But Metra riders who board at Ravenswood or Oak Park should get discounted transfers to CTA bus or rail; right now anybody who doesn't work near the Metra terminals will take the much slower CTA service all the way, just to get closer to their destination.

BVictor1 Aug 30, 2013 1:49 PM

http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en...nestation.html

August 29, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Breaks Ground for Cermak Avenue Green Line Station

New Station Near McCormick Place Part of $92 Million in CTA Station Developments that will Foster Economic Growth Throughout the Near South Side.

http://www.cityofchicago.org/content...8.29.13CTA.pdf

Mr Downtown Aug 30, 2013 3:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6249038)
CTA pass holders or ticket holders should be able to use Metra like a CTA line within the A/B fare zones

I agree in principle, but there are practical and political considerations. You'd have Oak Parkers and Evanstonians flocking to Metra rather than CTA, and taking all the seats (at least outbound) from the far suburbanites who mostly pay for Metra.

ardecila Aug 30, 2013 4:53 PM

How? The seats would be occupied by the time Metra trains arrive in Oak Park or Evanston inbound. Outbound, some Evanston/Oak Park residents would choose to stand, while some would sit and exchange their seats at those outlying stations.

Ultimately, Metra would need to add frequency on the innermost segments of busy lines, hopefully with a few infill stations.

I agree that there are political considerations but we're now facing a near-total turnover of the Metra board and major turnover in its administration. Many of the new people will not have the assumptions of their predecessors, at least not at first. I'm convinced a transfer agreement between agencies would make suburbanites consume just as much CTA service as their city counterparts consuming Metra service.

Mr Downtown Aug 30, 2013 6:04 PM

It's not the Metra board, it's the basic RTA agreement about where funding comes from and what it can be spent on. And generations of mistrust between city and suburbs.

Rizzo Aug 30, 2013 11:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6248489)
Email the CTA and (politely) ask them to stop doing it. It may not immediately spur them to action, but the absolutely do track customer feedback and it will influence their decisions on what to work on over the long run. If they get enough complaints, they will act more quickly.

Did this morning and they got back with me ASAP. The new signs will only show train times that will replace the old LED ones. They are hardwired with that message. But will be replaced in 2014. Yay!

CTA Gray Line Sep 3, 2013 7:27 AM

RTA proposes merging transit agencies’ planning departments
 
http://www.suntimes.com/22312847-761...partments.html

As Gov. Pat Quinn’s new transit task force meets for the first time Tuesday amid rising questions about Metra and calls for a transit shakeup, the Regional Transit Authority is proposing to merge the planning departments of the area’s transit agencies into a single planning body.

“These planners often operate in silos that result in inefficiencies, including lack of communication and competition for funds, all of which diminish the shared goal of optimal regional accessibility,” RTA chairman John Gates wrote in a memo dated Sept. 3. The memo, obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, was to his own board and to the heads of the city and surrounding counties. He estimated that the combined 100 planners of the RTA, Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, Pace and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning cost the region up to $20 million.

Gates cited planning snafus such as “overpriced joint” fares when the CTA began reconstructing the Red Line without considering Pace riders who use the 95th Street station or parallel Metra service in asking the General Assembly to legislate the consolidation under the RTA, CMAP or one of the other agencies.

Gates was not available Monday, but RTA executive director Joe Costello said lawmakers should “give us a mandate to work together like this. That’s not to say we couldn’t get in a room and decide to do it. That hasn’t happened, frankly.”

An RTA spokeswoman said remaining details had yet to be hammered out, such as how much money could be saved and the logistics of merging departments of agencies in separate headquarters. Pace, for example, is in Arlington Heights, about 20 miles outside Chicago’s Loop and the other agencies.

CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase asked to see the memo, then declined to comment. Metra spokesman Michael Gillis also declined to comment.

Quinn’s 15-member Northeastern Public Transit Task Force will convene at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Room N502 of the Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle Street. Comments from the public will be accepted.

Quinn has charged the group, which includes former corruption-busting U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, with evaluating whether the Regional Transit Authority and the three agencies it oversees — the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace — should be “reorganized, streamlined or restructured” to “ensure greater efficiency, accountability, coordination and transparency.”

The task force was created in the wake of what Quinn called “another scandal” at Metra. The suburban rail agency has faced a rising tide of criticism since its board gave ex-CEO Alex Clifford a 26-month, up to $871,000 farewell handshake in exchange for leaving eight months early and keeping mum about it — except before investigative agencies.

RTA Chairman John Gates Jr. has said the Metra controversy proves the RTA needs more oversight powers, while Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Bill Daley wants to eliminate the RTA “as we know it’’ for dropping the ball in overseeing Metra. Meanwhile, State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) favors replacing the entire Metra board and installing an “emergency manager.’’

ardecila Sep 8, 2013 11:01 PM

Went past some of the UP-North work on the north side today... The bridge girders at Irving Park are getting painted in canary yellow. I've never seen that on steelwork before... Usually it's green, grey, red, blue, or brown.

The yellow creates a nice bright feeling underneath. Hopefully it doesn't show the dirt (or pigeon crap) too much.

Nouvellecosse Sep 9, 2013 12:58 AM

That seems to be really common in Pittsburgh, but outside of that it's practically unheard of.

ardecila Sep 9, 2013 2:27 AM

Ah, yeah, I faintly remember that. Maybe the engineers were some Yinzers.

Rizzo Sep 9, 2013 4:49 AM

I was thinking Pittsburgh also. But I noticed the SPUI overpasses in Michigan were receiving yellow. Always seems to show up where there's a ton of steel on a bridge. Also, bridges should have an angled plate welded on the lower flange to keep the birds away. The CTA had done this.

CTA Gray Line Sep 9, 2013 2:29 PM

Emanuel expected to name former alderman to Metra board
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,6104096.story

By Jennifer Delgado, Chicago Tribune reporter
7:03 a.m. CDT, September 9, 2013

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday will appoint an outspoken former alderman to represent Chicago on Metra's board of directors as the commuter rail agency tries to bounce back from a summer mired in controversy.

Martin Oberman would replace Larry Huggins, a longtime board member who stepped down in August amid allegations of patronage and interference with contracts. Huggins has denied the accusations.

During his time as 43rd Ward alderman from 1975-87, Oberman openly sparred with powerful mayors and became known as the council's dean of independents. He advocated for ethical reform and sued to get basic budget information from the city.

The appointment comes at a crucial time for Metra, the agency that in June ousted CEO Alex Clifford and gave him a severance package of as much as $871,000 after he threatened to file a whistle-blower lawsuit over alleged political back-scratching and questionable contracts at the nation's second-largest commuter service.

In the wake of a public backlash, five board members resigned, leaving the board without the supermajority needed to appoint a new chairman. Critics also have called on some of the remaining members to step down.

"Marty Oberman has been a leader for reform and accountability in government and a vigilant protector of taxpayer interests throughout his lifetime of service to Chicago and Illinois," said Emanuel in a statement. "The Metra board needs a new chapter and a fresh start."

Oberman, 68, said it only took him a few hours to think over Emanuel's request to join the Metra board. The civil litigation lawyer said he was surprised but has always had a strong desire to be in public service.

If his appointment is approved by the City Council, Oberman said, some of his first tasks will be to minimize the harm that has been done by the recent scandals and learn more about the transit operation and its budget.

An avid cyclist who bikes from his home in Lincoln Park to his job in the Loop, Oberman occasionally rides Metra. And while he doesn't have an extensive background in transportation, his strengths are oversight and holding people accountable for their actions, he said.

"I think that the reason (the mayor) asked me to take this position is because he wants an independent voice on the Metra board who will work on reform," said Oberman. "I don't expect to be taking orders from anyone."

The nomination is a smart one for the mayor, said Dick Simpson, a former alderman and now a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Oberman has always been opposed to patronage and is someone who is not beholden to a political boss, Simpson said.

In making the appointment, Emanuel is trying to craft a reformist image and counter the appearance of someone who doesn't listen to the public, like in the recent Chicago Public Schools closings, Simpson added.

"He could have appointed other people who were more machine-type politicians," he said. "In this appointment, he chose among the best of the good-government representatives."

Metra board member Jack Schaffer said his reaction to the news is positive. He remembers Oberman as an "independent thinker" who went up against the Richard J. Daley administration in the 1970s.

"Frankly, if he's reform-minded and doesn't believe in what sometimes is referred to as the 'Chicago way,' I would view his presence on the board as a plus," said Schaffer, who represents McHenry County.

Oberman's appointment will help the board move toward full strength and make two key decisions — electing a new board chairman and selecting a permanent CEO. Schaffer added that he doesn't discount Oberman for not having an extensive transit background.

"I would hope that these people are going to be appointed and they're going to come in and do the best job they can," Schaffer said. "And the appointing authorities will leave them alone and let them do their job."

Oberman joined the City Council in 1975 and became the leader of the independent bloc along with then-Ald. David Orr, who is now Cook County clerk.

Before stepping down in 1987, Oberman worked under four mayoral administrations, three of which he openly criticized.

But in the mid-1980s, he often voted with then-Mayor Harold Washington, whom he said did a "spectacular job of reforming the city." Oberman also unsuccessfully ran for Illinois attorney general twice, in 1986 and 1994. On a third occasion, in 1982, he campaigned for the office but never filed his candidacy.

Along with serving as first general counsel for the Illinois Racing Board, Oberman has chaired the city's Committee on Public Records and Information and recently sat on Emanuel's Midway Airport Advisory Panel. He also helped file a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Emanuel's campaign during the controversy over whether Emanuel met Chicago's residency requirements to run for mayor.

Last year, he wrote an opinion piece in the Tribune supporting what he said was transparency in Emanuel's administration. Despite that piece, Oberman said he's not in Emanuel's camp but feels the mayor has done a good job cleaning up City Hall.

Oberman said he plans to decline the $15,000 stipend that comes with the Metra position. He also said he spent the weekend studying the Metra budget and is ready for the assignment.

Metra riders "should feel comfortable knowing I'll be working for them," he said.

jmdelgado@tribune.com

Twitter @jendelgado1

jpIllInoIs Sep 9, 2013 6:42 PM

Brown Line Slow Zone upgrade
 
Will they be able to make use of the 4 track segment between Chicago and Armitage?


CTA begins rehabbing Ravenswood Connector

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) yesterday launched major construction work on the $71.2 million Ravenswood Connector rehabilitation project.

Workers are repairing and replacing components on the steel structure between the Armitage and Merchandise Mart elevated stations. Once that work is completed next year, crews will begin replacing ties and track components.

The project will enable CTA to eliminate more than 70 percent of Brown Line slow zones, and improve safety and reliability on a key segment of the Brown and Purple lines between Armitage Avenue and the Loop, according to a press release.

ardecila Sep 9, 2013 7:45 PM

Probably not. However, if/when CTA builds a Brown Line station at Division, they'll probably shift trains to the outside tracks with a center platform.

emathias Sep 9, 2013 8:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6260366)
Probably not. However, if/when CTA builds a Brown Line station at Division, they'll probably shift trains to the outside tracks with a center platform.

Maybe, maybe not. Would there be a precedent for doing that to a section of track that wasn't already spread apart? Cermak is getting a center platform because the tracks are already spread, and Morgan got side platforms when the tracks were centered, albeit mostly because there is Lake Street underneath. But, for example, when they rebuilt the Western stop on the Brown Line some years back (long before the station expansion project), they didn't choose to make it centered even though it was done in the ADA era and thus needed elevators on both sides. I think the CTA likely would make side platforms there. Maybe more expensive, but straight tracks are less wear on the trains and tracks.

jpIllInoIs Sep 12, 2013 4:03 PM

Edgewater Metra station
 
SunTimes article
Construction of Edgewater Metra station could begin in spring
BY TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporter September 2, 2013 4:39PM
Updated: September 3, 2013 2:12AM

As Metra tries to move forward from a scandal-filled year, many in Edgewater are focusing on something they’ve been waiting on for years: a new Metra station.

The North Side neighborhood will see ground broken on a new station at Peterson and Ridge as soon as spring, Metra officials said.

There are images in the link...


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