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BorisMolotov Feb 9, 2012 12:32 AM

^ Who's getting the money for these? If these are installed as they say there's going to be A LOT of cash coming in, along with EVEN MORE complaints.

Beta_Magellan Feb 9, 2012 5:41 AM

Although I understand it’s in the spirit of this thread to dream (and I’m one of the more egregious fantasizers here), in the end the issue is that rebuilding streets to be safer costs money, whereas having Leviathan step in and threaten you with a fine raises money. Given the financial situation of the city and the fact that Emanuel’s in a strong enough position to absorb the heat that comes with those, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

denizen467 Feb 9, 2012 7:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (in Highrise thread) (Post 5583466)
The high-speed rail alignment complicates things, too - if it's ever built, it will create an inaccessible "island" between the tunnel portal and the Milwaukee District tracks a half-block to the south. My best guess is that this is reserved for a small railyard to store passenger equipment, but I'm not sure.

Is this long-mentioned "tunnel portal" contemplated to become the entrance into the WLTC (if it is built)? If WLTC isn't built under Clinton Street and instead some kind of through-routing via Union Station is engineered, does most underground excavation (including the portal) become unnecessary?

Regarding the outbound side of the K Station area, is the HSR planned to run along the existing Amtrak alignment?

ardecila Feb 9, 2012 9:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pyropius (Post 5582354)
Any idea which buildings would have to go to straighten the Red/Purple track at Sheridan and Irving? That intersection has seen enough carnage (Walgreen's, Thorek) in the past few years already...

The latest PDFs show a Red Line station at Irving Park, not at Sheridan. I don't think that's a mistake or a simple renaming - I think they're gonna move the station to a spot north of Irving Park next to Graceland. Then the station won't be sandwiched between two curves of track and those curves can be widened without messing up the straight station platforms.

My best guess is that the only buildings to go will be Tropico and 945 W Dakin (nondescript garage) plus the Ann Sather Garden and the 2-flat directly east. No huge swath of destruction, just wider, smoother curves.

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 5583548)
Is this long-mentioned "tunnel portal" contemplated to become the entrance into the WLTC (if it is built)? If WLTC isn't built under Clinton Street and instead some kind of through-routing via Union Station is engineered, does most underground excavation (including the portal) become unnecessary?

Regarding the outbound side of the K Station area, is the HSR planned to run along the existing Amtrak alignment?

Yes, it's for the WLTC.

I don't think there are any firm plans. Saving the ROW is unusually prescient for city bureaucrats - probably the WLTC is the pet project of somebody at CDOT who heard about the K Station project and raised hell with Zoning to get the ROW saved.

Logically, you'd probably want four tracks for the Milwaukee District on the massive West Side viaduct. Those four tracks would run east to Peoria at grade, where the northern two tracks would continue due east to the tunnel entrance at Union, and the southern two (or three) would veer to the south using the current alignment to access Union Station at-grade.

If through tracks were ever built at Union, that might not rule out a tunnel, but it would certainly postpone it a few decades.

emathias Feb 9, 2012 2:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5583585)
The latest PDFs show a Red Line station at Irving Park, not at Sheridan. I don't think that's a mistake or a simple renaming - I think they're gonna move the station to a spot north of Irving Park next to Graceland. Then the station won't be sandwiched between two curves of track and those curves can be widened without messing up the straight station platforms.
...

Interesting. That would ever-so-slightly move the station closer for most people north of irving, or west of Clark, although it also ever-so-slightly makes it a longer hike for people coming from southeast of there. Seeing as the potential ridership growth from the area directly west of the tracks around Irving Park is pretty dead (haha) I wonder if that's a net positive.

MayorOfChicago Feb 9, 2012 4:16 PM

Yikes, I really hope they don't move that station up north of Irving. I actually live on Sheridan just north of Irving. That would place the station over 500 feet west of Sheridan, and honestly because of the cemetery almost everyone who walks to that thing (most people) are coming either north or south on Sheridan or east on Irving Park.

To get to the new station walking from the north, you'd have to turn on Buena and walk 500 feet to the alley, then south about 1,100 feet until you got down near Irving Park to the station. There's no other access from the north along there since it's a very long 2 block stretch of buildings with no alley access or roads going east/west from Sheridan (because of the cemetery, no need). Even for people taking the Sheridan bus you're not going to have to either get off at Buena and walk 500 feet to the west and then up to 2 blocks south in the alley, or go to Irving Park and walk 500 feet to the west. Most everyone getting on that thing from Iriving is coming from the west, and now they're going to have to cross the street.

Basically the only way in would probably be from Irving Park, and would enter onto one end of the platform assuming they're going to be smoothing out the curve to the south. It's going to be a strange configuration, and far less efficient and handy for people than current.

Honestly, I've been taking that train from Sheridan for years, and the trains come into that curve fairly quickly, then slow down as they pull directly into the station. Then they leave the station directly into the curve and speed up again. If they're slowing down at the new Irving Park station and stopping anyway, I don't see how much time they're going to save going into a smoother curve entirely before or after the fact.

That curve now can't add more than maybe 5-10 seconds coming in and 5-10 seconds coming out because of the fact you're already pulling into or out of a station. I don't see how moving that station to an awkward place that makes it another 500 feet to get to is going to help more than it hurts.

Lots of people I see are coming from Gordan Terrace, Belle Plaine and Cuyler. They're physically going to be closer to the station, but it'll be a further walk because they have to get around that big two block stretch with no access points, and then walk down past Kenmore basically to the cemetery. The ONLY people for which it will be closer will be those living on Kenmore to the north of Irving Park.

MayorOfChicago Feb 9, 2012 4:40 PM

Looked closer at the proposals. Looks like they'd do a station at Iriving Park with a slight curve reduction in one, and then probably take out everything along Iriving and some buildings on Kenmore as well as Sheridan and put in a new 10-car station that stretches between Kenmore and Sheridan at an angle. That would sure decimate that corner even more than it already has been with the hospital tearing down the entire northeast corner and the southeast corner being that set-back walgreens.

emathias Feb 9, 2012 4:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago (Post 5583849)
Looked closer at the proposals. Looks like they'd do a station at Iriving Park with a slight curve reduction in one, and then probably take out everything along Iriving and some buildings on Kenmore as well as Sheridan and put in a new 10-car station that stretches between Kenmore and Sheridan at an angle. That would sure decimate that corner even more than it already has been with the hospital tearing down the entire northeast corner and the southeast corner being that set-back walgreens.

yeah, since the boards list a secondary entrance at Sheridan, I think this is correct. As nice as it would be to have an entrance on Irving Park for the bus, that would be a really high price to pay for straightened curves and a longer platform, potentially unless the CTA also acted as a developer and replaced the buildings it destroys with new, dense construction in that area around it - which seems like a long shot, since the CTA has never really shown much interest in being a developer.

It *might* be possible to accomplish that just taking 2-3 buildings on Irving closest to that curve and the building immediately to the north of the existing station plus a few back yards (not ideal, especially for the current residents of those buildings, but a lot better than totally demolishing them from a community standpoint) - remember that this WON'T be a transfer station, so it almost certainly wouldn't be rebuilt with double-islands, which means the tracks don't need to be wider than they currently are even with a wider platform.

emathias Feb 9, 2012 5:46 PM

Sheridan/Irving?
 
http://www.mathiasen.com/sheridan.jpg
Google Maps as edited by me

Maybe they have something like this in mind. The red building would be demo'd just for clearance, the yellow ones demo'd for a stationhouse. Ideally the building next to the red part might just get the sliver left and expand south, but there'd be other options. But if this is what they have in mind (I extended the platform length to 10 car-length), then it'd be the best of both world's - existing entrance on Sheridan preserved, with better access for bus transfers on Irving, plus a closer entrance for people coming from Kenmore or west of the cemetaries. Walking from the west, an entrance at Kenmore saves 2-3 minutes which may not sound like a lot, but I bet it would result in thousands of extra riders over the course of a year.

ardecila Feb 9, 2012 7:23 PM

I'm in favor of building the station north of Irving Park. There could be platform extensions to an entrance on the south side of Irving, and the city could seize three properties and extend Belle Plaine to a far-north rotogate entrance.

Side note: how do you pronounce "Cuyler"?

Vlajos Feb 9, 2012 7:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5584171)
I'm in favor of building the station north of Irving Park. There could be platform extensions to an entrance on the south side of Irving, and the city could seize three properties and extend Belle Plaine to a far-north rotogate entrance.

Side note: how do you pronounce "Cuyler"?

Kyler

lawfin Feb 9, 2012 7:44 PM

I always wondered if it was named after kiki cuyler....prob not but you never know until you do

untitledreality Feb 9, 2012 9:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5583989)
Maybe they have something like this in mind. The red building would be demo'd just for clearance, the yellow ones demo'd for a stationhouse. Ideally the building next to the red part might just get the sliver left and expand south, but there'd be other options. But if this is what they have in mind (I extended the platform length to 10 car-length), then it'd be the best of both world's - existing entrance on Sheridan preserved, with better access for bus transfers on Irving, plus a closer entrance for people coming from Kenmore or west of the cemetaries. Walking from the west, an entrance at Kenmore saves 2-3 minutes which may not sound like a lot, but I bet it would result in thousands of extra riders over the course of a year.

I don't know whether you are overly optimistic or am I just overly pessimistic, because I cannot fathom the CTA straightening this double curve without blowing up the entire area. I can see them easily demolishing the buildings I have highlighted to just gradually straighten the area and to accommodate 10 car trains.

I hope they don't, but I have a feeling they will. If they do we can only hope for them to really go after building out the Irving frontage under the new viaduct.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-a.../s1000/RPM.jpg

Beta_Magellan Feb 9, 2012 11:19 PM

Also worth mentioning that under both proposals Sheridan is listed as a Red Line-only station, so in both cases we’re likely looking at a single central island platform to reduce cost and footprint (it’s probably impossible to squeeze two ADA-compliant ones in there).

That said, I don’t see how either could be done all that cheaply—an Irving Park station could be done without any property acquisition, but you’d probably still need to rework/rebuild the elevated structure to fit in an ADA-compliant center island platform, plus a bit more reconstruction if they get rid of the old platforms to alleviate the s-curve a little bit (a very little bit—is it even all that possible to get any meaningful time/wear-and-tear saving from such small adjustments?)

I’d guess something like emathias’s quick warp of the existing satellite imagery would provide a higher benefit level—you ease the curves some more, you don’t lose access to Sheridan, and although you’ll lose a couple of properties they’ll mostly be west of Irving Park & Sheridan near the “dead zone” (pardon the pun) of the cemetery. I’d say an entrance on Sheridan would, in the long run, do more for that intersection even if there’s some property demolition west of it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5583870)
[Unless] the CTA also acted as a developer and replaced the buildings it destroys with new, dense construction in that area around it - which seems like a long shot, since the CTA has never really shown much interest in being a developer.

It’s worth noting that the CTA also isn’t a huge landowner—in terms of redevelopment potential, they have yard facilities (being used) and park and rides, but that’s about it. On Sheridan I’m confident they’ll have something, at least like a Dunkin Donuts and newsstand they have in many of their stations (although something more creative would be nice). Assuming they take properties on the south side of Irving I’d love to see something like the viaducts in Berlin.

Although we obviously won’t get something as pretty, there’s also the challenge of how good the retail environment is along Irving Park—currently it’s all-residential, which makes me wonder how strong demand is for retail near the cemetery (even if it’s a major road. Having a solid retailer step in and offer to chip in to develop the demolisheded parcels into a pleasant under-the-viaduct commercial space would be ideal—if that’s not possible, maybe we should hope for a Taj Mahal on irving Park to keep the space under the elevateds from being a dead space.

pyropius Feb 10, 2012 6:27 AM

Thorek + Walgreen's + CTA = systematic destruction of that whole neighborhood.

Quote:

Originally Posted by untitledreality (Post 5584390)


emathias Feb 10, 2012 6:45 PM

Crain's is reporting that the suburban House Republicans have broken ranks with the party leadership and are publicly criticizing the recent controversial transportation bill in the House. That's a good sign in a lot of ways, not just transit.

Buckman821 Feb 10, 2012 7:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by untitledreality (Post 5584390)
I don't know whether you are overly optimistic or am I just overly pessimistic, because I cannot fathom the CTA straightening this double curve without blowing up the entire area. I can see them easily demolishing the buildings I have highlighted to just gradually straighten the area and to accommodate 10 car trains.

I hope they don't, but I have a feeling they will. If they do we can only hope for them to really go after building out the Irving frontage under the new viaduct.

I was thinking the same thing. I would think that actually your view might err on the optimistic side if anything.

I saw this comment from "BP Fan" on Uptown Update, which makes me think this might get pretty ugly:

Quote:

I went to the open house on Tuesday specifically to learn what was being considered for the Sheridan stop. I thought it was strange that on the various plan maps the stop name was Sheridan on some maps and Irving Park on others.

This is what I learned:

Due to the narrowness of the Sheridan platform the station cannot be made handicapped accessible. Therefore, all renovation/modernization plans currently under consideration include a new station.

Under the Basic Rehabilitation with Transfer Stations option Sheridan will be replaced with a new Irving Park stop. It would be located north of Irving behind the residential buildings on the west side of Kenmore. The primary station entrance would be on Irving and the secondary entrance (which is required by law) would be on Kenmore between Irving and Buena. There is an empty lot on the block that they have identified as the potential location.

Under both Modernization options (with and without station consolidation) the plan is to rework the track to soften the curves to 45% from the current 90% turns and build a new station in the same general area as the current stop with the primary entrance on Irving and the secondary entrance at Sheridan and Dakin. This plan would require significantly more land
acquisition.
I'm not sure where to come down on this one exactly. I appreciate the need for modern transit but this area might end up getting decimated. I wish there were another way.

lawfin Feb 10, 2012 7:10 PM

its a tough spot and there are going to be casualties I just hope the improved speed around those bends is worth the loss of those buildings I think it will be. Maybe they could agree to replace whatever is lost with an equal or greater level of density nearby...just a thought

Jenner Feb 11, 2012 6:28 AM

I had looked at the satellite views a couple days ago, and basically came up with the same set of buildings that untitledReality proposed. I would guess a couple more buildings may need to be bought as well.

I see that at 4008 Kenmore a private lot behind the residential building. I'm not sure if the CTA could start the Sheridan curve at that lot or not, considering that the lot is part of the building parcel. In fact, I'm not sure what the city/CTA policy is regarding going over private undeveloped plots such as parking areas -- would a plot need to be subdivided and bought by the CTA, or would the whole parcel need to be bought?

I don't think the houses are in any way historic, but I suppose they could be moved, ala This Old House. They could be moved to the corner of Sheridan and Irving Park, and use the parking lot and the vacant lot on the north side. It could be a token gesture on behalf of the CTA.

chicagopcclcar1 Feb 11, 2012 5:56 PM

Could 70MPH Be Coming to CTA Blue and Orange Lines
 
Mayor Rahm Emanuel hinted last Wednesday during a conference with United Airlines employees that his staff is studying shaving up to 12 minutes off CTA scheduled times between downtown and the two airports: O'Hare International and Midway. Although the overly publicized "slow zone elimination" was included in the discussion, other hard specifics were left out, leading myself to wonder if after operating a complete fleet of high performance cars, since the last 5-50s were withdrawn from service by the CTA in the 1990s, would they at last get to run at their top speed.

At present the entire fleet of CTA "L" cars is capable of 70 MPH. During testing, the trouble plauged Bombardier AC5000s took weeks to reach that speed, but they finally did. I don't know how often that capability has been tested in the years of evaluation that followed, LOL. Capable as they are, CTA trains are limited to 58MPH. There are stretches, all in expressway medians and in the subway where the signals are set at 70 MPH, but only to allow the 58 MPH operation without a brake penalty for overspeeding.

A test run using the then-new 3200s occurred on the Midway line to gauge the advantage of 70 MPH. A ten percent premium was added to curves. Certainly it wasn't a scientific study. I was told that lots of birds got a "surprise", LOL.

Strangely, last week's story flew under the radar. Fortunately, both the Blue and the Orange lines feature long station separation conducive to higher speeds, something overlooked by some who want to retain each and every station in the Red/Purple study. That was one aspect of the subway proposal for the Red/Purple that I liked.

Most CTA "L" lines share one detriment to higher speeds.....rough switchwork. Definately some field trips to examine and learn from other transit properties who do good switchwork is in order.

Here is the news coverage....since they are "all rights reserved" I didn't reproduce them:

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/02/...-ohare-midway/

Note how the speed-up was missed in the official PR:

http://www.cityofchicago.org/content...dunitedai.html

David Harrison


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