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the urban politician Feb 9, 2008 7:30 PM

^ You know, a great way for the CTA to exert some influence on planning (if at all possible) is to threaten to halt service at certain stations if the land around them is not upzoned to certain specifications.

I'd love to see how fat fuck Levar would respond to something like that

Chicago Shawn Feb 9, 2008 7:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eventually...Chicago (Post 3342893)
The one thing that has to power to cream WLCO and any other community group is unbridled demand and money. Because as powerful as those people may be, when a new 12 story building is on the blocks for the west loop, there are 100's of new voters waiting behind. And not one politician can resist getting more power.

Sorry but no. WLCO has has a power lock on the alderman of the 2nd and 27th Wards, Fioretti and Burnett, this is because it represents a large portion of their constituents. They will automatically block any building over 115 feet in height, design and use does not matter. 12 story buildings are even too tall. 111 S. Peoria had two 12 story buildings proposed, but WLCO shrieked no, with some wanting single family homes instead. As a result, Burnett told them to go back to the drawing board. 1260 West Madison also was cut down from two 13 story buildings to 10 story buildings and then 8 story buildings, which to some are "still too dense".

The only solution will come from ward boundary shifts that divide up the community among many alderman so NIMBY voter retaliation does not not account for a huge percentage of the turnout.

Chicago Shawn Feb 9, 2008 7:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3343243)
^ You know, a great way for the CTA to exert some influence on planning (if at all possible) is to threaten to halt service at certain stations if the land around them is not upzoned to certain specifications.

I'd love to see how fat fuck Levar would respond to something like that

Most people around there drive anyway, or if they have to, will take Metra, because don't you know the CTA is "unsafe". I have actually heard from a certain resident that the CTA extension up the Kennedy allowed "the brothers from the hood to come rape, rob and pillage the neighborhood" -Exact words. :( This is the type of retarded mentality that exists up there. It is very old school exclusionary, racist, "last stand" neighborhood on the edge of the city where folks were pushed to the edges by minority infiltration of their previous communities. I know this is a pretty big blanket statement, but the older residents have this sort of mentality with a varying degree depending on who it is. That is why I mentioned earlier that there needs to be a generational change in addition to Levar passing the baton.

Cutting off CTA service will do nothing but hurt the employees of local business and beyond, as Jefferson Park is not the final destination for many who pass through there, but rather a major transfer point from car to train, bus to train, train to train, or bus to bus.

pip Feb 9, 2008 8:58 PM

In a way I think it is might rich of Chicago to be clammoring for more money from the region for the CTA, which really is for Chicagoans, considering that it seems as though the suburbs are doing more TOD, thus increasing ridership, than many city neighborhoods. If Chicago wants money from the region then maybe they ought to consider delevoping strategies for increasing ridership rather than discouraging it and at the same time expecting the State to bail them out.

VivaLFuego Feb 10, 2008 6:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3343243)
^ You know, a great way for the CTA to exert some influence on planning (if at all possible) is to threaten to halt service at certain stations if the land around them is not upzoned to certain specifications.

If only. That's a tough one politically, it would amount to a declaration of war of sorts by the mayor (who controls the CTA via a majority of the board appointments) against the aldermen. Mister Mayor knows that a huge amount of his power base is the simple fact that he keeps aldermen very happy, and there are very obvious efforts within City Hall (which I think most with experience there can attest, at least under Daley II) to keep the aldermen happy. Then Daley can call in support when he really needs it, like approving the budget.

And remember, transit's constituency died in 1996. In fairness, I don't think Daley has any particular antipathy/hostility towards transit or transit-oriented development, it's just so far removed from his radar of priorities that he would stake his political future on it.

Quote:

In a way I think it is might rich of Chicago to be clammoring for more money from the region for the CTA, which really is for Chicagoans, considering that it seems as though the suburbs are doing more TOD, thus increasing ridership, than many city neighborhoods. If Chicago wants money from the region then maybe they ought to consider delevoping strategies for increasing ridership rather than discouraging it and at the same time expecting the State to bail them out.
Couldn't agree more, and it is so frustrating that many suburbs have much more coherent and successful TOD policies than the city. Probably half a dozen suburban downtowns have transit-oriented village feel that should be the envy of any of the outlier CTA stations in lower-density neighborhoods if not for sheer idiocy (Jefferson Park, Ravenswood)
With a better development policy that encouraged more ridership, either the farebox recovery ratio could be increased to reduce the dependency on public subsidy (following the general Canadian model), or the fares could be kept lower thereby encouraging even more ridership (the American model). Instead we plug along with a very odd system from a legislative standpoint; high fares, and a relatively low recovery ratio.

the urban politician Feb 10, 2008 6:24 AM

^ Just to play devil's advocate (to myself), if it is true that CTA trains on the north side are packed to the brim every weekday, is TOD even necessary or possible?

And would it simply not make more sense to pursue development around less utilized lines (ie Green, west side branch of the Blue, etc)? I realize that we've had this discussion over and over again, but to me it seems that as a city, Chicago has no other way to grow but south and west (and of course "up", at least where community groups will tolerate it).

Apparently, people just won't tolerate more density. No matter how much we wish for it, the people of Chicago have cast their vote. The city's only real hope is to replicate north side densities in other parts of town. 20-30,000 people per square mile is likely going to be too much to ask for, so why not seek 15,000 per square mile over a larger area?

emathias Feb 10, 2008 7:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pip (Post 3343419)
In a way I think it is might rich of Chicago to be clammoring for more money from the region for the CTA, which really is for Chicagoans, considering that it seems as though the suburbs are doing more TOD, thus increasing ridership, than many city neighborhoods. If Chicago wants money from the region then maybe they ought to consider delevoping strategies for increasing ridership rather than discouraging it and at the same time expecting the State to bail them out.

I've always thought that, regardless of the neighborhood, any plot within about a 3 block radius of an "L" station should be required to be built to a minimum of 3 stories and automatically allowed, without alderman review, to 10 stories. In some areas, those limits should be even higher, but if an area has an "L" stop, that level of zoning should be a no-brainer. It should also not be allowed to put a gas station within 2 blocks of an "L" station, since a gas stations has absolutely zero relevance to mass transit. A 1-story hot dog stand would be a better use of land near an "L" station than a gas station.

emathias Feb 10, 2008 7:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3344419)
^ Just to play devil's advocate (to myself), if it is true that CTA trains on the north side are packed to the brim every weekday, is TOD even necessary or possible?

And would it simply not make more sense to pursue development around less utilized lines (ie Green, west side branch of the Blue, etc)? I realize that we've had this discussion over and over again, but to me it seems that as a city, Chicago has no other way to grow but south and west (and of course "up", at least where community groups will tolerate it).

Apparently, people just won't tolerate more density. No matter how much we wish for it, the people of Chicago have cast their vote. The city's only real hope is to replicate north side densities in other parts of town. 20-30,000 people per square mile is likely going to be too much to ask for, so why not seek 15,000 per square mile over a larger area?

Well, first of all, the city average is just over 12,000 sq/mi, so I don't think 15,000 is really much of a "goal," more like an inevitable result of a growing population.

Second, I think TOD (I hope you're meaning transit-oriented development and not something else) should be pursued everywhere that there's the opportunity. Certainly the greatest potential for expansion of it is in areas that have the most room for growth, which would be along much of the Green Line, as well as parts of the Pink, Blue and Orange Lines (and the Line everyone forgets about, the Yellow Line).

A good general goal for the city would be to zone areas served by rail so that they will probably achieve at least 30,000 people per square mile within 3/8 - 1/2 mile radiuses from rail stations through natural process. To do this, the city would have to remove aldermanic power from the areas served by rail covered by that density formula. Basically the agreement would be "the city will invest in your neighborhood, but in return you lose some planning so that we aren't just throwing money out the window." If they used a 1/2 mile radius, which is an area of just over 3/4 of a square mile, the city should target 20-25,000 people within that radius of the station. Now, if they managed that, they would have slightly more than the current population of the entire city living near "L" stations. Even if they only used 3/8 of a mile radius, that would be nearly 1.7 million people living within an easy 10 minute walk of a rail station. The last time I asked the CTA what that current figure was, I was told it was about half a million - so in effect we'd be at least tripling the pedestrian base.

Also, I think people will tolerate more density when it's well-planned and pitched as a way to supplement existing investment.

Finally, the North Side does have capacity. Currently it's very near max capacity because of the work on the Fullerton and Belmont stations, but there is capacity once the Brown Line is finished, and it would be possible to increase capacity again if necessary by running 10-car trains on the Red Line. In fact, if you just invested in modern switching and signals, you could probably run at least 25% more trains that currently run. Coupled with the expanded Brown Line trains (they could run 8-car trains by this fall if they wanted to, once Wellington and Paulina shut down), the North Side can handle more riders. You are right, though, that it would (probably) be cheapest to make your ridership gains on lines that are most underutilized, like the south branch of the Green Line.

the urban politician Feb 10, 2008 4:59 PM

^ Couldn't agree more.

One of the things that is probably holding back the otherwise rational approach of upzoning sites around L stops on the north side is that the pressure cooker hasn't boiled over yet. It appears that as long as there are other, underutilized places to develop, land prices will never reach critical levels that simply force neighborhoods to go vertical, and Alderman can continue to contain areas of lower zoning.

Look at west loop gate. It is underdeveloped, yet there are still so many sites elsewhere where higher density is being built, that it really has not become a true problem for the city yet.

honte Feb 10, 2008 5:10 PM

^ I'm not sure that's entirely a bad thing. While I understand the idea that places like Jefferson Park should be developed with higher density, and I do adore density, if you drive along the Congress Branch or Lake Street L, we all know the vacant lots situation in these areas. It does seem like the Jefferson Parks of the world have a case for wanting to keep things as-is for the time being, not only to protect what they value in their areas, but also in a broader sense of evening out the city's development patterns.

OhioGuy Feb 10, 2008 5:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3344512)
Coupled with the expanded Brown Line trains (they could run 8-car trains by this fall if they wanted to, once Wellington and Paulina shut down)

Does the CTA have any plans to begin running 8 car trains when those two stations shut down? I was actually just thinking about this fact a couple weeks ago. Southport should be open by April 1st, allowing for Paulina to be shut down. Diversey should be open by June 30th, allowing for Wellington to be shut down. And as you noted, at that point every station that is open on the brown line would be long enough to handle an 8 car train.

Mr Downtown Feb 10, 2008 6:46 PM

Well, they'd have to get some more cars first. Oh, and a place to keep them at night.

emathias Feb 10, 2008 7:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3345065)
Well, they'd have to get some more cars first. Oh, and a place to keep them at night.

No they wouldn't. They could run 8-car trains as long as they're still only using 3-tracks between Fullerton and Belmont since at peak rush hour they still don't run as many total cars as they did before the expansion project began.

20 6-car trains (the most they ran at rush hour pre-expansion) is the same number of cars as 15 8-car trains. And they could keep doing that until they get more cars, even after they return to 4-track service, since it doesn't significantly reduce quality of service (3-minute vs. 4-minute headways is barely noticeable to most riders) and it saves them some money in operator payroll costs. As a bonus, fewer trains into the Loop means less chance of delay and less waiting, so faster rush hour operations.

Lost in most discussions about 8-car expansion is that the CTA can use the capacity to reduce train frequency instead of just increase capacity, which saves some operator labor costs at the (probably minor, at least at rush hour) expense of rider convenience.

VivaLFuego Feb 13, 2008 8:54 PM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,2937641.story
Quote:

the CTA announced it will add weekend service from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays on the Yellow Line/Skokie Swift on March 30.
Good news, generally.

Also, they announced that the southbound Red line schedule will be reduced to accomodate the next phase in 3-tracking at Belmont and Fullerton when there will only be 1 southbound track in operation. This should make the AM commute absolutely dreadful since south of North Avenue it's already a challenge to squeeze onto any of the Brown and Red lines or the #22 bus, but at least we're entering the home stretch of that project.

OhioGuy Feb 13, 2008 9:13 PM

Quote:

As part of the North Side renovation, the number of Brown Line trains will stay the same, but the CTA will operate eight-car Brown Line trains instead of the six-car trains currently operating. The agency is able to add the extra cars because many of the stations along the Brown Line route have had their platforms extended to accommodate the longer trains.
So are they closing down Wellington before Diversey opens up? They certainly can't operate 8 car brown line trains at Wellington right now. I guess they're going to have to close it down early, despite saying no two adjacent brown line stations would be closed during construction. The adjacent Diversey station to the south won't be opening up until the end of June. That will really suck for people near Diversey that have been walking up to Wellington to catch the train (something I've been doing since Diversey closed last summer). Now for a three month period it'll be an even further walk up to Belmont or now south to Fullerton to catch the train for those in & around Diversey. I guess the one positive is that the longer walks will occur in spring rather than winter. It's not so bad walking further distances if the weather is pleasant.

Eventually...Chicago Feb 13, 2008 9:40 PM

^^^ Diversey would be open at the end of June, Wellington would not be shutdown until diversey is open

OhioGuy Feb 13, 2008 9:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eventually...Chicago (Post 3352350)
^^^ Diversey would be open at the end of June, Wellington would not be shutdown until diversey is open

But that doesn't explain how they can run 8 car trains on the brown line after March 30th if Wellington is still open. As it stands, you'd have two cars in the train that wouldn't have any platform to stop at for passengers to get on/off at Wellington. Unless they're going to alternate between 6 & 8 car trains during rush hours, I don't see how it's possible to keep Wellington open for rush hour commuters when the trains would be too long to stop there.

VivaLFuego Feb 13, 2008 11:16 PM

My guess is that they either have or will rework the construction schedule of Diversey to allow the station to open in April, even if it's not yet substantially complete (e.g. no elevators, temporary railings and light fixtures, etc.). Not sure what the extra cost of that would be, though.

2PRUROCKS! Feb 13, 2008 11:25 PM

According to Crain's a temporary station will open at Diversey March 30.

http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=28188

Mr. Huberman also outlined a timetable for when Brown Line stations are scheduled to either reopen or close. Those dates are:

Southport, to open March 30
Wellington, to close March 30
Paulina, to close March 30
Diversey, to open June 28 (a temporary station will open on March 30)
Damen, to open in November
Irving Park, to open in December

OhioGuy Feb 14, 2008 12:11 AM

That's great to hear a temporary Diversey station will be opened up, especially since that means the total reconstruction downtime for the residents in that area will end up being less lengthy than others have experienced at their own local brown line stops. :)

SkokieSwift Feb 14, 2008 6:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3352271)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,2937641.story


the CTA announced it will add weekend service from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays on the Yellow Line/Skokie Swift on March 30.

Nice! Thanks for posting.

emathias Feb 14, 2008 2:46 PM

I love it when breaking news proves me right so quickly. ;-)

Seriously, though, I'm especially happy that Diversey will get an early opening, even if it is just a temporary station. I like a lot of stuff on Diversey and have missed that station.

VivaLFuego Feb 14, 2008 3:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3354013)

Seriously, though, I'm especially happy that Diversey will get an early opening, even if it is just a temporary station. I like a lot of stuff on Diversey and have missed that station.

I'm looking forward to Southport re-opening, that's a gem of a commercial street in terms of restaurants, bars, and the Music Box.

Chicago3rd Feb 14, 2008 3:33 PM

^^ Less than two more years to enjoy having stations shut down from Western to the Loop. I love not doing all the stops. (yes, a selfish Western Brownline rider).

VivaLFuego Feb 14, 2008 8:42 PM

Daley made a major announcement today on a $227 million capital program to improve "safety and reliability" on the CTA.

Press Release:
http://www.transitchicago.com/news/c...ticleid=123887

It says this is federally-funded, so I'm not sure if these are just the usual federal formula funds that are being assembled into a single/coherent program.

The big "good" news items for me:
- Overhauling the Nova LFS (6400-series) buses, which are 7 years old and otherwise would be run into the ground in a few years.
- Upgrading the signal system (not sure what they plan to do, but anything would be good, particularly on the unreliable North Main line.

the urban politician Feb 15, 2008 3:59 AM

^ I'd like to see some money put into multilingual ticket dispensors.

Seriously, though, how did Daley suddenly get this lump sum of cash?

I wonder if this has anything to do with Daley's meeting with President Bush a short while back.

"Hey George, we're trying to get the Olympics so I need some extra cash for the CTA. Oh, and can Congress hurry up and pass that anti-doping law?"

"Sure Dick. Now lets go have that pint of Guinness and some chicken fingers"

Abner Feb 15, 2008 4:19 AM

.pdf presentation of the plan: http://www.transitchicago.com/news/m...apitalplan.pdf

It says the plan will use surplus funds from the Douglas branch reconstruction and the cell phones in subways service, plus borrowing from future federal formula funds. Doesn't give the relative breakdown between those two sources.

The plan apparently also includes buying 150 new hybrid articulated buses and reducing slow zones by over 100,000 feet by this December.

I guess they are getting some pretty good mileage out of the Douglas reconstruction, although I can't figure out why the trains still have to go so dang slow over the whole Paulina connector.

k1052 Feb 15, 2008 3:22 PM

The rail highlights seem to be:

1) Structural work (especially on the Green Line-Englewood branch)

2) Platform lighting/signage/canopy upgrades

3) Repairs and upgrades to signal/computer systems

4) Overhauls of all Red Line and most of Blue Line rolling stock

5) Computer information system to track maintenance, slow zones, workforce, etc..

6) Slow zone work: O'Hare branch, State Street subway, Green Line-Englewood, Ravenswood Brown Line, Northside Main, and Dan Ryan.

VivaLFuego Feb 15, 2008 4:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3355887)
I guess they are getting some pretty good mileage out of the Douglas reconstruction, although I can't figure out why the trains still have to go so dang slow over the whole Paulina connector.

The only explanation I've ever heard for this is because the new track/structure had to follow exactly the same alignment and profile as the old in order to avoid procuring a whole new EIS; basically it would have been a whole seperate project and couldn't have been piggy-backed onto the EIS for the New Start rehab.

The money appears to just be bonding out future expected federal funds, there's no new money here. This is in addition to the future expected federal funds that were bonded out to repair the O'hare slow zones, and the future expected federal funds that were bonded out to buy more railcars. In short, this is all just borrowing against the future, which has been the recurring theme of repeatedly getting these sorts of public agencies into crisis/doomsday mode.

Abner Feb 15, 2008 5:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3356600)
The only explanation I've ever heard for this is because the new track/structure had to follow exactly the same alignment and profile as the old in order to avoid procuring a whole new EIS; basically it would have been a whole seperate project and couldn't have been piggy-backed onto the EIS for the New Start rehab.

What a shame that the rules prevented straightening out some of the bends in the alignment; there certainly would have been plenty of room on either side of the track to do so. That's over half a mile of permanently slow track that would be a major portion of the Circle Line.

Maybe we can hope that borrowing against future federal funding makes a little more sense now that we can potentially look forward to an administration change and an end to this funding desert.

emathias Feb 15, 2008 6:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3356827)
Maybe we can hope that borrowing against future federal funding makes a little more sense now that we can potentially look forward to an administration change and an end to this funding desert.

Once that's over, I hope we can move on to a funding dessert ... mmm, sweet, sweet, fundsicles ...

OhioGuy Feb 15, 2008 6:44 PM

Is this map from Chicago-l.org still fairly representative of the circle line's planned routing?

http://www.chicago-l.org/articles/images/circleline.jpg

Marcu Feb 15, 2008 7:39 PM

Do they ever plan on overhauling the far north side leg of the red line? Is that heavily used part of the system really in better shape than the Englewood branch? Other than Howard Street which has seen continous work for the past 5 years or so, most of the stations need work. And the slow zones are at times unbearable. Will I live til the day when Howard to Lake is a 30 minute commute?

Eventually...Chicago Feb 15, 2008 8:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3355844)

I wonder if this has anything to do with Daley's meeting with President Bush a short while back.

"Hey George, we're trying to get the Olympics so I need some extra cash for the CTA. Oh, and can Congress hurry up and pass that anti-doping law?"

"Sure Dick. Now lets go have that pint of Guinness and some chicken fingers"

i don't think so! Daley is irish so he probably just threatened to beat the shit out of him. ;)

Eventually...Chicago Feb 15, 2008 8:20 PM

personally the thing i wish the would do the most is the bus tracking system, like they do with the 20 madison. If users of the CTA could know exactly where busses are, it would make even a late running bus reliable because you can figure out alternative means and accurately chose the shortest trip.

For example, i'm near 13th and michigan and every morning i go to union station. If i could tell right away, if the #1 bus is coming in the next few minutes i would know whether i should instead take the EL or the 127 circulator.

k1052 Feb 15, 2008 8:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3357119)
Do they ever plan on overhauling the far north side leg of the red line? Is that heavily used part of the system really in better shape than the Englewood branch? Other than Howard Street which has seen continous work for the past 5 years or so, most of the stations need work. And the slow zones are at times unbearable. Will I live til the day when Howard to Lake is a 30 minute commute?

They've been doing some track work on the Howard branch already, hopefully this means there is much more to come. It is among the lines slated (according to this) for further work. IIRC, the Englewood has serious structural and track deficiencies. You aren't going to see station overhauls on the Howard branch unless they get a LOT more money.

When three tracking finishes up and if/when they clear up the worst of the slow zones (north of Sheridan to Addison) things should improve quite a bit on the Red Line. The work they've from Clark Junction down though the State street subway already makes a world of difference. I never thought I'd see a travel time of less than 15 minutes from Belmont to Lake.

VivaLFuego Feb 15, 2008 8:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3357119)
Do they ever plan on overhauling the far north side leg of the red line? Is that heavily used part of the system really in better shape than the Englewood branch? Other than Howard Street which has seen continous work for the past 5 years or so, most of the stations need work. And the slow zones are at times unbearable. Will I live til the day when Howard to Lake is a 30 minute commute?

There's a contract currently out to bid for major trackwork along the North Main and Ravenswood branches that will remove all track-related slow zones. I think the idea is to build the Purple Express tracks to a 65 or 70mph standard, at least along their straightaways, as well.

Of course, as you point out, many of the North Main's stations and viaducts are in sorry shape, and alot more capital money will be needed before those are taken care of. Some work will be done sprucing them up...patching concrete in the viaducts, paint jobs, etc. I think there is a project currently underway thats completely replacing the canopies and light fixtures at Argyle, Berwyn, Bryn Mawr, Thorndale, Morse, and Jarvis, but I'm not sure where progress is on that.

VivaLFuego Feb 15, 2008 8:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eventually...Chicago (Post 3357216)
personally the thing i wish the would do the most is the bus tracking system, like they do with the 20 madison. If users of the CTA could know exactly where busses are, it would make even a late running bus reliable because you can figure out alternative means and accurately chose the shortest trip.

For example, i'm near 13th and michigan and every morning i go to union station. If i could tell right away, if the #1 bus is coming in the next few minutes i would know whether i should instead take the EL or the 127 circulator.

The hardware is currently being installed on the buses....this is a pretty major undertaking that has to proceed garage-by-garage. Basically includes putting in a cellular modem and Mobile Access Router (MAR) on the bus, which then has to be connected to the existing GPS tracking computer. I don't know the roll-out timeline, but I think alot of people underestimated the complexity involved in doing such a project systemwide on 2000+ buses operating on 150+ routes at 12000+ bus stops.

Abner Feb 15, 2008 9:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3357288)
I think the idea is to build the Purple Express trains to a 65 or 70mph standard, at least along their straightaways, as well.

Wow, really?

Marcu Feb 16, 2008 1:56 AM

^ That sounds amazing. Howard to Belmont in 5-10 minutes.

OhioGuy Feb 16, 2008 2:42 AM

It took me just 11 minutes on the Red line to go from the Addison stop to the Chicago stop on Thursday. My cell phone said 5:06pm when I boarded and it was 5:17pm when we pulled into the Chicago station. Nice speed! :)

(I've never had a train conductor going soooooo quickly through the subway)

the urban politician Feb 16, 2008 2:51 AM

Viva, I just wanted to tell you that your insider transit info is highly appreciated

nomarandlee Feb 16, 2008 6:35 AM

Durbin raises questions about pending Chicago-area railway sale
 
Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,2465105.story

Durbin raises questions about pending Chicago-area railway sale
More analysis needed on proposal, he says


By Richard Wronski | Tribune reporter
10:42 PM CST, February 15, 2008

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Friday raised red flags about the pending sale of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway line that skirts the Chicago area, saying the sale poses potential risks to Amtrak routes and Metra's proposed STAR Line commuter service.

The Illinois Democrat urges the federal board that oversees railroad mergers to broaden an environmental impact analysis of the EJ&E sale and to hold additional public hearings to weigh potential economic losses to towns along Amtrak routes from Chicago through Champaign and Carbondale.

........Also on Friday, Canadian National officials released a letter sent to Durbin that promised to allow Amtrak to use the portion of its inner-city route that carries the passenger line "indefinitely" or until an alternative becomes available.

The railroad also said it is negotiating with Metra regarding the STAR Line "in the hope of resolving [concerns] to everyone's benefit."
Great Durbin, hope your not trying to hamper a much needed area development and upgrades just to appeal to an ill conceived expensive pet transit project.

Dr. Taco Feb 16, 2008 6:33 PM

hey, does anybody know if the city is planning on removing the defunct ramps on 90/94 where it goes right by the loop? aka randolph to 290... cuz that'd be a perfect way to get some more merge for the functional onramps that are quite suicidal right now

VivaLFuego Feb 17, 2008 12:22 AM

^I've wondered that too....I mean obviously that was the long term goal with eliminating every other on-ramp, but I wonder if that will have to wait until whatever federally-funded project actually totally replaces the roadbed for that stretch of 90/94.

UChicagoDomer Feb 18, 2008 12:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 3358300)
Great Durbin, hope your not trying to hamper a much needed area development and upgrades just to appeal to an ill conceived expensive pet transit project.

so if the CN deal does go through, does mean that the tracks going east-west near 18th st. in the south loop will be abandoned (I had heard that the CN purchase would free up something near downtown and wasn't sure what exactly it was), and, if so, is that route being considered as a means to hook the Circle Line up with the Metra Electric?

Mr Downtown Feb 18, 2008 3:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UChicagoDomer (Post 3361951)
so if the CN deal does go through, does mean that the tracks going east-west near 18th st. in the south loop will be abandoned

Yes, if CN purchases the EJ&E, they would be able to abandon the St. Charles Air Line. But first someone has to figure out how to get Amtrak trains to and from the former IC north of Homewood.

Quote:

is that route being considered as a means to hook the Circle Line up with the Metra Electric?
Nope, no one other than me can see any reason whatsoever to keep an already dedicated, east-west, grade-separated rail line that connects several crucial assets in a rapidly growing part of the city. The folks from the planning and transportation agencies just look at me like I'm daft and say "well, it's only a few blocks from the Circle Line." Because, of course, CTA rail is the only rail transit there ever was or ever will be and, of course, the Circle Line will be open and running within months.

What possible reason could there ever be to run any trains differently than they ran in 1894? Well, there's the small problem that the office district is moving west, close to Union and Ogilvie, but farther and farther from Van Buren and Millennium. Running some Metra Electric trains into Union would help keep that line relevant to the region.

Instead, the city is intent on converting the SCAL into a greenway, with bike and ped trails. No one's ever explained how they intend for it to cross the Metra Rock Island tracks.

the urban politician Feb 18, 2008 5:35 PM

^ Abandoning the St Charles Air Line seems ill-conceived. The city should really take another look at that.

Am I correct that the Metra Electric is the only Metra Line that wouldn't be connected to the proposed Circle Line?

Abner Feb 18, 2008 5:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3362095)
Nope, no one other than me can see any reason whatsoever to keep an already dedicated, east-west, grade-separated rail line that connects several crucial assets in a rapidly growing part of the city. The folks from the planning and transportation agencies just look at me like I'm daft and say "well, it's only a few blocks from the Circle Line." Because, of course, CTA rail is the only rail transit there ever was or ever will be and, of course, the Circle Line will be open and running within months.

What possible reason could there ever be to run any trains differently than they ran in 1894? Well, there's the small problem that the office district is moving west, close to Union and Ogilvie, but farther and farther from Van Buren and Millennium. Running some Metra Electric trains into Union would help keep that line relevant to the region.

Instead, the city is intent on converting the SCAL into a greenway, with bike and ped trails. No one's ever explained how they intend for it to cross the Metra Rock Island tracks.

That's interesting. How far west would the line be abandoned--up to the yard immediately west of the Dan Ryan? Would that have any effect on the tracks west of that point? Is there any possibility of any public input process before the decision is made on what to do with the line?

If it's realistic to run the Metra Electric into Union Station, it certainly seems like a better terminus than Millennium. Converting such a short line into a bike/pedestrian greenway doesn't seem to make that much sense.

Nowhereman1280 Feb 18, 2008 5:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3357908)
It took me just 11 minutes on the Red line to go from the Addison stop to the Chicago stop on Thursday. My cell phone said 5:06pm when I boarded and it was 5:17pm when we pulled into the Chicago station. Nice speed! :)

(I've never had a train conductor going soooooo quickly through the subway)

Yeah I know, I was on the train Thursday and actually got from Loyola Red to Chicago Red in less than 30 minutes I believe it was 26. They were hauling ass the whole way, it was wild.

Its been running really fast all weekend as well, it only took ~15 min last night to go from Sheridan to Chicago last night.


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