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Mr Downtown Aug 10, 2013 4:16 PM

No Cermak station construction yet.

Vlajos Aug 12, 2013 4:56 PM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6221560)
LOL... proving that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I always liked IDOT's logo... we have complex webs of infrastructure in Illinois; I always just assumed that was an abstracted version of the weaving between various modes of transportation. It also pays homage to the Celtic heritage of Illinois politicians.

Never noticed the weird ligatures, though, and the gordian knot interpretation is equally apt.

Me too

ardecila Aug 12, 2013 5:26 PM

Speaking of IDOT...

Concepts for the Eisenhower interchanges have been released formally.

Austin is similar. Note the grade-separated bike path... this reminds me of I-66 in Arlington, VA with the Custis Trail. The decking is similar, too. I love the idea of building a bike superhighway in this area. Oak Park is just a little too far from the Loop to be a comfortable bike commute if the whole length is on-street...

TOD Deck Concept
Shown for Austin, but could be built at Harlem, Oak Park, and/or Austin

Mainline Concept for "The Avenues"
Designed to accommodate a busway or Blue Line extension with minimal fuss later on

untitledreality Aug 13, 2013 12:52 AM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6229654)

...Austin is similar.

As if pedestrian access to the Forest Park Blue wasn't inhospitable enough.

ardecila Aug 13, 2013 3:09 AM

I think this is an improvement. There are other renderings showing a pretty substantial decorative fence, like the one on Roosevelt in the South Loop, with planter beds, street trees, and other things to break the wind and make the sidewalks more pleasant.

It's not ideal, but the TOD concept that goes along with it will improve things even further.

Also: CTA is considering some major changes to the Blue Line stations. Many of them involve widening platforms and revising the vertical access with elevators/escalators, removing or supplementing the long ramps (many of these ramps are not ADA-compliant). It's almost certain that the headhouses on the overpasses would also be replaced with more spacious facilities.

the urban politician Aug 13, 2013 12:32 PM

My contribution:

Get rid of the parking lots in the TOD deck concept. Retailers will almost immediately be tempted to place their store entrances at the lot, and CTA riders will have to "walk around back" to enter the store, defeating the whole purpose.

ardecila Aug 13, 2013 2:11 PM

Maybe. I think these were largely envisioned as fast food/coffee/etc where shoplifting isn't as big of an issue, so the tenants can maintain two unsecured entrances.

Yes, retailers may try to close street entrances... but Oak Park can always write a two-entrance system into the zoning. With new technology like RFID tags, anti-shoplifting systems are becoming a lot cheaper. I think many retailers will even do this willingly; the front sidewalk is not just a sidewalk but a busy rail/bus station with many potential customers.

sukwoo Aug 13, 2013 4:06 PM

Its great to see the TOD concept. It would be especially appropriate at Oak Park Ave where there is no highway ramp. It would go a long way towards reconnecting the two halves of the small business district which has been bisected by the Ike.

Chicago Shawn Aug 13, 2013 5:42 PM

Love the retail bridge/deck conecpt. Works great in Columbus, Ohio, where it was first tried out. One of the retail buildings is a high-end steakhouse, proof that high-end commercial uses can work in such a building. Visually completes the streetscape, improves pedestrian experience, adds potential ridership to the Blue Line, adds jobs right on top of transit and generates brand new tax revenue where none existed before. Its win-win on all fronts.

sukwoo Aug 13, 2013 8:58 PM

Is there a link for this concept images?

ardecila Aug 13, 2013 9:45 PM

Oops, sorry.

i290 viz cag 16 boards.pdf (large PDF)

i290cag 16 presentation2013jul17071613final.pdf

CTA Gray Line Aug 14, 2013 4:34 AM

I am sure that they must have something planned, but in the images there is a new CTA entrance on the East side of the street -- but no visible connection to the train platform (only the existing ramp up to the West side Headhouse).

OrdoSeclorum Aug 14, 2013 12:46 PM

The group of truckers discount furniture warehouses that want to prevent BRT on Ashland are meeting twice this month:


NO to Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Ashland Avenue
YES to Modern, Cost-Effective Bus Service on Ashland with Expanded Service to Andersonville

Attend our next Coalition meeting this Friday 8/16 at 1p at First Baptist Congregational Church 1613 W. Washington Blvd. Please RSVP.

Attend the Ashland Avenue Meeting on Wednesday 8/28 at 6:30p at Orlando Glass and Trim 641 N. Ashland Ave. Please RSVP."

Might be a good meeting to attend.

OhioGuy Aug 15, 2013 2:40 AM

This is from last week, but I thought it was worthwhile to post:

Chicago Says Goodbye to 40-Year-Old 'L' Rail Cars


Some rail cars on Chicago's "L" are so old they got a retirement party.

The Chicago Transit Authority on Thursday offered nostalgic riders a ceremonial last trip on a series of cars built more than 40 years ago.

The agency calls the 2200-series the workhorse of the Blue Line running between downtown and O'Hare International Airport.

The car's boxy look was designed by architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill to match the route's modernist stations.

Among its distinctive features are the pivoting "blinker" doors.
Was there a particular reason why these cars were used on the blue line? With the narrow doors, it seems strange to use them on a line serving customers traveling to/from O'Hare with bulky luggage to squeeze on-board.

K 22 Aug 15, 2013 3:53 AM

So... how's the Dan Ryan Red Line Rehab going? Is it still scheduled to be complete in 2 months?

Mr Downtown Aug 15, 2013 1:47 PM

Dan Ryan rehab on schedule.
ctaweb on flickr

electricron Aug 15, 2013 4:00 PM


Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6233524)
Dan Ryan rehab on schedule.
ctaweb on flickr

Why are they laying wood ties instead of concrete ties?
It seems if they are rebuilding the corridor down to the ballast level they should have considering using cheaper and longer life concrete ties.

orulz Aug 15, 2013 6:22 PM

Concrete ties are way more expensive to buy and install than wood, and they don't have as much benefit in a corridor with few to no curves that will see fewer trains.

The only reason that they are so prevalent in transit construction in spite of the cheapness of wood ties in the US is that the "new starts" funding process prioritizes enormous up-front expenditures (since a significant portion, up to 50 or even 80%, can come from the federal government) in order to achieve an absolute minimum in maintenance costs where 100% of the costs must be borne locally.

There is a reason the vast majority of freight railroads in the US use wood ties: in the long term, except where tracks are extremely curvy and/or traffic is very fast or heavy, the total lifecycle cost for wood is lower, even if they have to go through and selectively replace deteriorating ties several times during what would be the lifespan of a concrete tie.

Mr Downtown Aug 15, 2013 6:28 PM

Also, CTA has had bad experience with concrete ties, including the ones they tore out on this very line (an older two-block design).

The experience with concrete ties in the US has been mixed at best. Amtrak, Metro North, and New Jersey Transit have all put in concrete ties only to remove them a few years later.

chicagopcclcar1 Aug 15, 2013 9:58 PM


Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6233904)
Also, CTA has had bad experience with concrete ties, including the ones they tore out on this very line (an older two-block design).

The experience with concrete ties in the US has been mixed at best. Amtrak, Metro North, and New Jersey Transit have all put in concrete ties only to remove them a few years later.

Thanks to Mr. Downtown and to Orulz.....There is this idea among many people that concrete ties are automatically the best choice in all circumstances. Thanks to both of you for taking time to correct this misinformation. Concrete ties is not the answer in all situations.

The two piece French design that the city and the CTA experimented with in the 1960s is found today more in solid fixed-transitways rather than in ballasted track work. The city reimbursed the CTA for removal of the concrete ties and replacement with wood ties in the early 70s. There's still a stash of those ties in the CTA's 63rd St, lower yard.


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