SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/index.php)
-   Transportation (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=25)
-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

honte Apr 13, 2008 4:24 AM

Bus Tracker is the bomb. That single feature might quadruple my use of the bus... I am perpetually arriving at the stop when the bus is pulling off, leaving me with a possible 30 minute wait. Good move!

ardecila Apr 13, 2008 4:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pottebaum (Post 3481384)
Can it be accessed from non-smart phones?

There are degrees of "smart". My Razr could access it, but I would have to pay my provider for internet access (which I don't do). However, the Nokia I had before probably could not access it.

emathias Apr 13, 2008 6:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 3480638)
I think they should tear out 2 lanes on all the freeways to build a complete El system around the area, its faster than rush hour traffic now anyhow...

Why would you tear out traffic lanes? What possible correlation would that have with a complete "L" system anyway?

I'm all for expanding the "L" system in a way that actually promotes a car-free lifestyle, instead of doing what planners seem enamored of now, which is expanding the "L" as a commuter system.

If the city were serious about having an international-level rail transit system, it would do six things:

1) Map out what they want the system to look like at full build-out.
2) Preserve all the necessary right-of-ways.
3) Rezone areas near existing and future rail lines to support the density necessary to support the full-built-out.
4) Prioritize the build-out by need/usage (in small chunks, if necessary)
5) Apply for/find the money.
6) Build it as they get the money.

They should NOT be changing it every 10 years. They can't plan everything, but the fact that they couldn't get the Clinton-Monroe-Streeterville subways done in the 1970s doesn't mean it should have dropped off the plan. If they had an overarching plan, they could just build what they can get the money for at a given time. In generous times, they get the money for expensive lines, in stingy times they build the cheaper lines.

They really have to identify what a full build-out will look like, though, because otherwise they'll constantly waste time and money doing alternatives studies and they won't reserve appropriate right-of-ways.

If they reserve the right-of-ways and zone to support transit, as they get money to build, they can create a great system that people use because it's convenient. Yeah, the financials for Paris or Madrid are different, but they have build-out plans that they can work toward. We don't - we let politics change ours every 10 years, which is absurd.

Perhaps for the centennial of the Plan of Chicago, the region can get serious about these things and create a plan for full build-out, including supportive zoning and ROW preservation, and then start working toward that instead of this hodge-podge of unrelated, only semi-urban projects that get approved not because they actually make sense, but because their total cost is cheaper. How could anyone actually say that extending the Yellow Line to Old Orchard is more important that a rail (or even BRT) link between the West Loop and Streeterville? More people would use the WL-Streeterville link in one rush hour than would use the Yellow Line extension in a week, but for some f-ed up reason the Yellow Line is being studied and the WL-Streetville solutions are barely talked about.

What a damn waste of time and money.

VivaLFuego Apr 13, 2008 7:09 AM

^ You're making the mistake of viewing the problem as a Transportation/Land Use Planning problem, and prescribing a Transportation/Lane Use solution.

It's all political.

Each disjoint planning board?
Appointed by different politicians from different levels of different governments.

Zoning decisions?
Decentralized to tyrannical Alderscum.

Funding?
Federal, State, Local....each with their own interests and guidelines.

Etc.

We need a flatter organizational structure, integrated transportation/land use planning, and elimination of our Aldermanic system... the latter with extreme prejudice and untamed retribution.

Abner Apr 13, 2008 6:27 PM

Viva, unfortunately Chicago seems like the last place in America that would institute any kind of smart government reform. (Okay, maybe Louisiana.) Portland we are not.

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3481416)
Bus Tracker is the bomb. That single feature might quadruple my use of the bus... I am perpetually arriving at the stop when the bus is pulling off, leaving me with a possible 30 minute wait. Good move!

Yeah this thing is amazing. It might actually induce me to get a new cell phone and contract so I can take advantage of it.

ardecila Apr 13, 2008 7:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3482311)
Okay, maybe Louisiana.

The same state that is so backwards that they elected an Indian-American governor? (sure, he's a neocon, but at least he's not white)

Rail Claimore Apr 13, 2008 7:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3482370)
The same state that is so backwards that they elected an Indian-American governor? (sure, he's a neocon, but at least he's not white)

His foreign policy and views on social issues aside, he's probably the best thing to hit Louisiana in a LONG time.

Abner Apr 13, 2008 8:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3482370)
The same state that is so backwards that they elected an Indian-American governor? (sure, he's a neocon, but at least he's not white)

I wasn't accusing Louisiana of being backward, I was just noting that it is one of relatively few places in this country that might have more intragovernmental strife and corruption than Chicago, which suffers at the ward, city, county, and state levels. I don't want to drag this off the topic of transportation; mainly I was agreeing with VivaLFuego's point that the kind of long-range planning emathias outlined is not possible given our political system. I would also note that some other American cities are in a similar (but I would argue less severe) predicament.

Marcu Apr 14, 2008 4:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3482370)
The same state that is so backwards that they elected an Indian-American governor? (sure, he's a neocon, but at least he's not white)

How does having a non-white governor make a political system not backwards. In fact, how is that relevant to anything? Frankly, the statement is kind of offensive.

Oh yeah and virtually every governmental body around here has people that are "not white" and believe me it's plenty backwards.

Taft Apr 14, 2008 4:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3483213)
How does having a non-white governor make a political system not backwards. In fact, how is that relevant to anything? Frankly, the statement is kind of offensive.

Oh yeah and virtually every governmental body around here has people that are "not white" and believe me it's plenty backwards.

He was being sarcastic, basically trying to say that the state isn't backwards.

Everybody take a deep breath and try not to get so offended, as it seems like no-one here meant any offense...

Taft

Dr. Taco Apr 14, 2008 4:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 3483993)
He was being sarcastic, basically trying to say that the state isn't backwards.

Everybody take a deep breath and try not to get so offended, as it seems like no-one here meant any offense...

Taft

ah yes, saracasm...the least offensive of all forms of humor :rolleyes:

one things for sure, it doesnt have anything to do with the thread, so....

Taft Apr 14, 2008 5:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jstush04 (Post 3484041)
ah yes, saracasm...the least offensive of all forms of humor :rolleyes:

one things for sure, it doesnt have anything to do with the thread, so....

Was that sarcasm? I'm offended.

OK, OK...moving on...

Taft

Dr. Taco Apr 14, 2008 5:42 PM

^ haha, nice :cool:

ardecila Apr 15, 2008 12:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3483213)
How does having a non-white governor make a political system not backwards. In fact, how is that relevant to anything? Frankly, the statement is kind of offensive.

Oh yeah and virtually every governmental body around here has people that are "not white" and believe me it's plenty backwards.

The fact that Louisiana, as a state with a large component of racism and white supremacy in its history, has elected an Indian-American governor tells me that they are being more progressive and are actively rejecting bigoted attitudes. "Progressive" of course is relative; I've honestly heard some people refer to Illinois as progressive.

Of course, if he was the only option against a "bleeding-heart liberal" (whatever that means) then his color might not matter.

(disclaimer: the above statement is not meant to be disparaging to Louisianans, Indian-Americans, or bleeding-heart liberals)
;)

intrepidDesign Apr 15, 2008 1:05 AM

Off topic, but has anyone seen any plans or rendering of the new transit station going under Block 37?

the urban politician Apr 15, 2008 2:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3481668)
I'm all for expanding the "L" system in a way that actually promotes a car-free lifestyle, instead of doing what planners seem enamored of now, which is expanding the "L" as a commuter system.

^ As much as I'm a huge advocate of creating a car-free Chicago, I'll have to be of a devil's advocate on this one by making a small observation:

Cities respond to their needs. How high of a priority is it for Chicago to really have such an extensive transit system that even people out in the neighborhoods can easily get from place to place without a car? (of course, they can do that now by bus, but lets face it--a lot of people aren't fond of bus transit, me included)

Chicago's top priority has long been to keep its downtown the core of everything; and by doing so it has established its downtown as one of the world's leading centers of commerce; a very enviable position.

Now, as long as people continue to live further and further from the core, in the setting of limited transit funds, the city perhaps has 2 options:

1) Extend downtown's "tentacles" (commuter transit lines) further and further out to tap an affluent suburban population that is growing ever more distant

2) Make life better in Chicago's neighborhoods by creating more L lines and better connections between them.

So at this point, what is Chicago's bigger priority? People in the neighborhoods are still managing to get from place to place, often by car if not by cab, bus or bicycle. But if you cut the hand (commuter rail) that feeds your most vital asset (downtown), you're probably making a critical mistake.

That must be how the city's leaders have viewed this issue for a long time. Chicago is a very downtown-centric city in that way, more so than even New York, if you think about it.

Marcu Apr 15, 2008 2:51 PM

^ Good point. And the focus on maintaining a vibrant downtown business district has significantly contributed to Chicago's success. Especially compared to cities like Detroit that for the most part decentralized.

Chicago relies heavily on those far out exurban metra stations to keep its downtown vital. After all, the execs that actually make the decision to keep operations in the Loop are more likely to commute from Barrington/Lake Forest/St. Charles than from the Gold Coast. If Chicago shifts focus to a more internalized system that doesn't focus on bringing in the big shot business people that seem to keep moving farther and farther out to the loop, the businesses may leave. Outside of a few niche industries (eg futures), I just don't see Chicago having the kind of bargaining power at this time to alter residential settlement patterns. So should the RTA focus on improving the el system within city limits? Absolutely. But its in Chicago's best interest to also focus on the metra commuter aspects.

k1052 Apr 15, 2008 4:03 PM

In a "transit development" I'm watching out my office window there are innumnerable EMS/Police/Fire/CTA personell helping people out of the Blue Line subway at Fulton and Clinton.

Reports are that a loop bound train broke down near Clark/Lake and several trains are trapped behind it.

brian_b Apr 15, 2008 4:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 3486560)
In a "transit development" I'm watching out my office window there are innumnerable EMS/Police/Fire/CTA personell helping people out of the Blue Line subway at Fulton and Clinton.

Reports are that a loop bound train broke down near Clark/Lake and several trains are trapped behind it.

Not again!

emathias Apr 15, 2008 9:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3485464)
...
Cities respond to their needs. How high of a priority is it for Chicago to really have such an extensive transit system that even people out in the neighborhoods can easily get from place to place without a car? (of course, they can do that now by bus, but lets face it--a lot of people aren't fond of bus transit, me included)

Cities don't always respond to needs. Plenty of examples of negative-growth cities that focused on the wrong things.

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3485464)
Chicago's top priority has long been to keep its downtown the core of everything; and by doing so it has established its downtown as one of the world's leading centers of commerce; a very enviable position.

First, let me say I'm not approaching this from a city v. suburbs issues. I'm not talking about municipal Chicago, but about Chicagoland. By not educating people on the true costs of giving rail to places where it doesn't make any sense, everyone gets hurt through waste and inefficient transportation.

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3485464)
...
1) Extend downtown's "tentacles" (commuter transit lines) further and further out to tap an affluent suburban population that is growing ever more distant

This makes no sense because it's completely untenable in the long term. The ends of most of the metra lines are already at least 90 minutes from downtown, some are over 2 hours. People simply aren't going to commute any farther than that and, moreover, it's bad public policy to encourage them to commute farther than that.

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3485464)
2) Make life better in Chicago's neighborhoods by creating more L lines and better connections between them.

Yes. That's exactly what I'm advocating. Most of the things that caused the implosion of cities have stabilized, and now that we know what happens if we lose a grip on things like safety and whatnot, I don't see rapid depopulating really happening again in my lifetime (unless, perhaps, an economical flying car is invented).

Chicago is at a point where, in addition to being attractive for companies to locate in our downtown, and to people who want a nice surburban lifestyle (we have some of the best suburbs in the country) we need to continue to be attractive for people who want an urban lifestyle. Plenty of people who've been in the city for a while or who have no alternative are willing to take buses. But to really become the sort of urban city that can compete with the urban lifestyle of cities we like to compare ourselves to, we have to work on creating some sort of rail solution. Subways or "L" lines seem the best, although not the most economical, but smart planning with at-grade lightrail can add a lot of value a lot more economically. Chicago Avenue is a prime example of an east-west street that could handle a streetcar line, and that could make execellent use of it. With a little zoning help, Roosevelt could, too, as could Division and most of the Boulevard system.

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3485464)
So at this point, what is Chicago's bigger priority? People in the neighborhoods are still managing to get from place to place, often by car if not by cab, bus or bicycle. But if you cut the hand (commuter rail) that feeds your most vital asset (downtown), you're probably making a critical mistake.
...

I'm not saying CUT commuter rail, I'm saying stop EXPANDING it. People who commute into downtown from far-out stations mostly drive to those stations. Building the West Loop Transit Center includes adding a couple through-routed segments for Metra Lines, which would ensure existing Metra lines would have schedule capacity to increase at rate far in excess of their current growth for many years without adding new track miles.

As long as downtown Chicago remains the one part of the region that the most people can get to in a reasonable amount of time. Executives prone to pull their offices out to the suburbs will choose to do that no matter how far out commute rails extend, so now that things are relatively stable, the focus should be on attracting businesses AND attracting people to live in the city. The more people you have, the less they'll like living here if they have to rely on congested streets and slow buses.

The focus should be on increasing density around existing Metra stations, and adding rail capacity and increasing density in the core area (particularly the area described in the Central Area Plan). They go hand in hand, and while laisse-faire planning has some advantages, it doesn't do a great job of planning for the accomodation of transportation when you're trying to maintain a specific type of experience for your residents.

VivaLFuego Apr 16, 2008 12:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias
we need to continue to be attractive for people who want an urban lifestyle

Good luck with our current crop of alderman, they seem intent on making this a vertical Naperville. The only alderman that seems open to seizing development opportunity for densification is Burnett of the 27th Ward (see what he's doing with the North/Clybourn area and the bits of West Loop under his purview), but with Cabrini-Green gradually being removed, so is his power base and he'll too soon be replaced by a NIMBY slimeball in the guise of Fioretti or Reilly.

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias
I'm not saying CUT commuter rail, I'm saying stop EXPANDING it.

Generally agreed in terms of extensions from the current termini, but what about new services like the Milwaukee Road North service to Wadsworth, the I-90 portion of STAR line service, the NICTD southward branches, etc? All serving fast-growing residential areas, the first two with significant employment as well, and it would provide direct accessibility to downtown Chicago to funnel workers in. I definitely buy into the argument that you want to maximize downtown Chicago's accessibility with radial rail lines; something on the order of 100,000-120,000 people commute to downtown Chicago each day by commuter rail, the downtown is dependent on it and better for that accessibility.

There are very few parts of the city that have the trip density to support rapid transit L lines that don't already have service. About the only example is the north lakeshore, and a lakefront subway isn't even on the long range plans anymore. That leaves some sort of downtown distribution system, and...anything else other than incremental improvements like the Red/Orange/Yellow extensions? I believe in terms of inter-neighborhood connectivity, Chicago would be much better served (almost infinitely more cost-effectively) by a significant BRT network; the grid system is perfect for it. BRT in Chicago would consist of signalling priority, next bus LED screens at each shelter, infrequent stops (at most ever 1/4 mile, preferably 1/2 mile where possible), wide-door and/or 3-door vehicles, and bus only lanes. High volume stops and transfer locations would have pre-paid boarding. On the wide streets such as Ashland/Western/North(west of Western)/etc, BRT could have dedicated center lanes with raised island platforms a la the streetcar days.

Abner Apr 16, 2008 2:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3487854)
There are very few parts of the city that have the trip density to support rapid transit L lines that don't already have service. About the only example is the north lakeshore, and a lakefront subway isn't even on the long range plans anymore.

What about routes that would expand the usefulness of the current system, like the Mid-City Transitway? That particular idea also has the benefit of having an existing rail embankment to work with, though I'm sure it would still be outrageously expensive. It is probably true, though, that the future of rail rapid transit in the city looks more like the Orange Line and less like the Brown Line.

VivaLFuego Apr 16, 2008 6:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3488058)
What about routes that would expand the usefulness of the current system, like the Mid-City Transitway? That particular idea also has the benefit of having an existing rail embankment to work with, though I'm sure it would still be outrageously expensive. It is probably true, though, that the future of rail rapid transit in the city looks more like the Orange Line and less like the Brown Line.

Tough to say; there would probably be decent ridership potential, as there are many cross-town trips made, but we're not talking anything like Red Line trip density, and many would still choose a more direct bus option like the X49 bus. The Cost-Benefit decision would probably come down to how much the line could be value-engineered to maximum cheapness, meaning no underground segments, spartan stations/intermodel facilities, etc. There are alot of factors in the cost-benefit analysis, e.g. 1) if you're actually inducing new transit trips or reallocating them 2) if any reallocation in part #1 is benefitical by easing peak crowding, 3) reducing auto-vehicle-miles travelled and ergo congestion and pollution, etc.

Of course, all kinds of L system expansion would definitely be worth doing if there were accompanying land use changes to increase density along the proposed routes. (Think major high-density nodes along Cicero on the west side, for example, at the intersection of the Mid-City, Green, and Congress lines, not to mention Jefferson Park). But back in reality, unfortunately that seems unlikely; wish I could be more optimistic.

Given current land use, I feel the only justified rail rapid transit expansions would be: the R/O/Y extensions to improve park 'n ride access for suburban commuters*** and improve accessibility to major employment centers already near L termini, and a downtown distribution system for the commuter rail stations, McCormick Place, and Streeterville. The only part of the city with significant enough non-downtown-oriented trip density for rail rapid transit is the north side, already served by Red and Brown Lines; all others, while utilization may be decent, could still be served capacity-wise by a quality BRT system.

***I've alluded to it a few times, but I don't think there should necessarily be hostility to park n ride facilities at or near terminal stations of the line. For starters, an auto trip intercepted and shifted to rail significantly reduces vehicle-miles-travelled (VMT): perhaps 20-30 miles auto miles are eliminated from their trip, helping congestion and air quality and downtown parking requirements. Additionally, a large enough parking facility can include some convenience retail such as dry cleaning, sundries or *gasp* daycare, which reduces the need for trip chaining and further reduces (VMT). Lastly, these far out locations by nature are generally not optimal as primary employment/mixed use districts, because of their overall inaccessibility relative to the rest of the transit system (Cumberland/Rosemont are exceptions because of their proximity to O'hare, I-90/Schaumburg and I-294/Northbrook). Park n Ride in some cases can improve overall system utilization while acheiving other important goals.

The Dan Ryan branch is sorely missing a major park n ride facility; apparently there were some mega-plans from the 70s to actually build a huge parking garage directly over the expressway at 87th or 79th, connecting directly to the transit station and potentially even with its own entrance/exit ramps. Never gonna happen now, and CTA couldn't even manage to get the planned PNR facility at 79th done for the Dan Ryan reconstruction. The prospect of adding a facility to the south side is to me one of the strongest justifications for the Red Line extension (in addition of course to serving an underserved dense area of town around 111th/Michigan).

ardecila Apr 18, 2008 8:54 PM

The CTA's April Construction Update mentions that the Polk Street entrance to the Harrison station will be re-opened as part of the Escalator Renovation project, and indicated that the work would be done this year.

The budget for this project is not on par with other complete station renovations, so I assume the re-opening will be bare-bones: probably just a good cleaning and maybe a fresh coat of paint. Obviously, the stairs to the street will need to be chiseled out again and railings/signage installed. The mezzanine level there is really only a hallway, so there's no room to install fare collection equipment. Thus, the exit will be exit-only.

nomarandlee Apr 18, 2008 9:48 PM

Amtrak to Iowa City?
 
Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...1,334942.story

Study says riders ready for rail service to Chicago
By NAFEESA SYEED | Associated Press Writer
3:49 PM CDT, April 18, 2008

DES MOINES, Iowa - Proposed railroad service between Iowa City and Chicago would draw 187,000 passengers a year but would require about $55 million in set-up costs, according an Amtrak study released Friday.

Iowa and Illinois also would have to pay annual operating costs of about $6 million, the study said.

Amtrak conducted the study at the request of transportation officials from the two states.

The proposed route would go through the Quad Cities, then to Iowa City along tracks that run south of Interstate 80. The study's estimates assumed there would be two daily round trips.....................
....

Abner Apr 18, 2008 10:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3489457)
Tough to say; there would probably be decent ridership potential, as there are many cross-town trips made, but we're not talking anything like Red Line trip density, and many would still choose a more direct bus option like the X49 bus. The Cost-Benefit decision would probably come down to how much the line could be value-engineered to maximum cheapness, meaning no underground segments, spartan stations/intermodel facilities, etc. There are alot of factors in the cost-benefit analysis, e.g. 1) if you're actually inducing new transit trips or reallocating them 2) if any reallocation in part #1 is benefitical by easing peak crowding, 3) reducing auto-vehicle-miles travelled and ergo congestion and pollution, etc.

Viva, there is some blog entry here that claims that a city-commissioned 2005 study found that the Mid-City Transitway might attract about 90,000 riders a day. I haven't seen that report, do you know if there is any truth to it? Chicago-l.org also remarks that the line has a "high" projected ridership. If it were true, that would be a pretty high number, although of course it would also be a very long (22-mile) line so I don't know about trip density.

I agree with you about park and ride lots and BRT. Whenever I am on Western I just imagine what it would be like to have some kind of serious transit line along it.

VivaLFuego Apr 18, 2008 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3494758)
Viva, there is some blog entry here that claims that a city-commissioned 2005 study found that the Mid-City Transitway might attract about 90,000 riders a day. I haven't seen that report, do you know if there is any truth to it? Chicago-l.org also remarks that the line has a "high" projected ridership. If it were true, that would be a pretty high number, although of course it would also be a very long (22-mile) line so I don't know about trip density.

I agree with you about park and ride lots and BRT. Whenever I am on Western I just imagine what it would be like to have some kind of serious transit line along it.

Let's just say that even I have seen a report on it, I probably wouldn't be able to divulge actual ridership projections :)

...but intuitively 90K seems a bit high unless there were also some sympathetic land use changes. Also, there's the question of what counts as the "Mid-City Transitway": only the Cicero corridor up to Jeff Park? Including 75th between Dan Ryan and Midway? North from Jeff Park to Skokie?

I think it's a cool project, but as you allude to, some serious cross-town BRT on Western and Cicero could do a whole lot of good for a fraction of the cost.

DaleAvella Apr 18, 2008 11:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3485464)
^
Now, as long as people continue to live further and further from the core, in the setting of limited transit funds, the city perhaps has 2 options:

1) Extend downtown's "tentacles" (commuter transit lines) further and further out to tap an affluent suburban population that is growing ever more distant

2) Make life better in Chicago's neighborhoods by creating more L lines and better connections between them.

So at this point, what is Chicago's bigger priority? People in the neighborhoods are still managing to get from place to place, often by car if not by cab, bus or bicycle. But if you cut the hand (commuter rail) that feeds your most vital asset (downtown), you're probably making a critical mistake.

That must be how the city's leaders have viewed this issue for a long time. Chicago is a very downtown-centric city in that way, more so than even New York, if you think about it.

Of course the so-called Circle Line would also nourish the downtown, more so I think that making the L lines longer, by creating density.

Do you think it is more common for a New Yorker to go from Brooklyn to Queens or the Bronx than for a Chicagoan to go from the north side to the west side or south side?

jjk1103 Apr 19, 2008 3:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3494527)
The CTA's April Construction Update mentions that the Polk Street entrance to the Harrison station will be re-opened as part of the Escalator Renovation project, and indicated that the work would be done this year.

The budget for this project is not on par with other complete station renovations, so I assume the re-opening will be bare-bones: probably just a good cleaning and maybe a fresh coat of paint. Obviously, the stairs to the street will need to be chiseled out again and railings/signage installed. The mezzanine level there is really only a hallway, so there's no room to install fare collection equipment. Thus, the exit will be exit-only.

...is there a link to the CTA monthly construction update ?

jjk1103 Apr 19, 2008 3:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3494815)
Let's just say that even I have seen a report on it, I probably wouldn't be able to divulge actual ridership projections :)

...but intuitively 90K seems a bit high unless there were also some sympathetic land use changes. Also, there's the question of what counts as the "Mid-City Transitway": only the Cicero corridor up to Jeff Park? Including 75th between Dan Ryan and Midway? North from Jeff Park to Skokie?

I think it's a cool project, but as you allude to, some serious cross-town BRT on Western and Cicero could do a whole lot of good for a fraction of the cost.

..you keep mentioning "BRT" ...I assume "RT" is rapid transit ...what is the "B" ??? :shrug:

ardecila Apr 19, 2008 3:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jjk1103 (Post 3495279)
...is there a link to the CTA monthly construction update ?

http://www.transitchicago.com/news/m...tionreport.pdf

VivaLFuego Apr 19, 2008 6:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jjk1103 (Post 3495282)
..you keep mentioning "BRT" ...I assume "RT" is rapid transit ...what is the "B" ??? :shrug:

Bus Rapid Transit.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus_rapid_transit

In Chicago, such an implementation would generally consist of signal priority/pre-emption, more bus-only lanes (at least during rush hour), possibly some pre-paid boarding facilities, less frequent stops (generally every 1/2 mile, in some cases at most every 1/4 mile) possibly some raised island platforms on the wider streets like Western.

harryc Apr 21, 2008 12:03 AM

Grand & State
 
April 15 - one worker told me they were "replacing the station"
http://lh6.ggpht.com/harry.r.carmich...JPG?imgmax=720

Caisson work
http://lh6.ggpht.com/harry.r.carmich...JPG?imgmax=720

http://lh5.ggpht.com/harry.r.carmich...JPG?imgmax=800

http://lh4.ggpht.com/harry.r.carmich...JPG?imgmax=640

Roomy workshop.
http://lh3.ggpht.com/harry.r.carmich...JPG?imgmax=720

embed beam - studs help concrete hold on.
http://lh4.ggpht.com/harry.r.carmich...JPG?imgmax=640

http://lh3.ggpht.com/harry.r.carmich...JPG?imgmax=800

http://lh4.ggpht.com/harry.r.carmich...JPG?imgmax=800

OhioGuy Apr 21, 2008 12:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3495620)
Bus Rapid Transit.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus_rapid_transit

In Chicago, such an implementation would generally consist of signal priority/pre-emption, more bus-only lanes (at least during rush hour), possibly some pre-paid boarding facilities, less frequent stops (generally every 1/2 mile, in some cases at most every 1/4 mile) possibly some raised island platforms on the wider streets like Western.

I'm still not a fan of BRT unless it's done like they did with LA's "Orange Line" with ticket machines on platforms and wide doors that slide open instead of the one small door entry at the front of a typical bus. When you have a large group of people needing to get on the bus and only one can get on at a time, it really slows things down. I hopped on the Chicago Ave bus to go from Michigan Ave to the brown line stop yesterday afternoon and I swear I could have walked there quicker than the bus got me there. It just took too long to get everyone on the bus at each of the stops along the way. I saw lights go from green to red to green to red to green before everyone was on the bus and it could proceed onward. But maybe I'm just too anti-bus. I can't stand the stops every 2 blocks, the slow boarding, the constant stoping because of traffic lights, the slowness that results from backed up traffic, etc....

Here's a pic that's posted on Wikipedia of LA's Orange line. It has three entries... you can see people getting on the bus at the back. Instead of slowing everyone down by forcing them to pay as they get on the bus in one entry point, this type of system really speeds things up. Plus of course the Orange Line has its own dedicated right-of-way that makes it great.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...cycle_rack.jpg

Busy Bee Apr 21, 2008 3:56 AM

Quote:

Here's a pic that's posted on Wikipedia of LA's Orange line. It has three entries... you can see people getting on the bus at the back. Instead of slowing everyone down by forcing them to pay as they get on the bus in one entry point, this type of system really speeds things up.
That sounds familiar, oh wait that's right, we had that 70 years ago!

http://davesrailpix.com/cta/jpg/cta0212.jpg
davesrailpix.com

http://davesrailpix.com/cta/jpg/cta0364.jpg
davesrailpix.com

VivaLFuego Apr 21, 2008 3:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3498357)
I'm still not a fan of BRT unless it's done like they did with LA's "Orange Line" with ticket machines on platforms and wide doors that slide open instead of the one small door entry at the front of a typical bus. When you have a large group of people needing to get on the bus and only one can get on at a time, it really slows things down. I hopped on the Chicago Ave bus to go from Michigan Ave to the brown line stop yesterday afternoon and I swear I could have walked there quicker than the bus got me there. It just took too long to get everyone on the bus at each of the stops along the way. I saw lights go from green to red to green to red to green before everyone was on the bus and it could proceed onward. But maybe I'm just too anti-bus. I can't stand the stops every 2 blocks, the slow boarding, the constant stoping because of traffic lights, the slowness that results from backed up traffic, etc....

Like I said:
- Pre-paid boarding in some locations
- Signal Priority
- Bus-only lanes

Quote:

Here's a pic that's posted on Wikipedia of LA's Orange line. It has three entries... you can see people getting on the bus at the back. Instead of slowing everyone down by forcing them to pay as they get on the bus in one entry point, this type of system really speeds things up. Plus of course the Orange Line has its own dedicated right-of-way that makes it great.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...cycle_rack.jpg
[/qoute]
This is not applicable to the Chicago case, and by and large is a poor example of a BRT implementation. Why? It cost nearly a billion dollars. If one is gonna spend that much money on Right-of-way acquisition and station facilities, one might as well build rail. My general point is that substantial improvements to speed/reliability/etc can be made using Chicago's existing grid bus network with reasonable capital cost.

Abner Apr 21, 2008 2:40 PM

Viva, would you be able to give a more concrete vision of how you think BRT could be implemented on an existing street? Say, Western. Would you remove a lane of traffic in each direction and have BRT lanes in the median? Would the lanes have a curb or other barrier to prevent cars from using them? I would love to see BRT on major arterials but am curious about how you think it could be done safely in the space we have without drivers messing things up by being uncooperative. Obviously removing lanes would make some people go completely ballistic and treat BRT buses with even more disregard than they currently treat regular buses.

VivaLFuego Apr 21, 2008 8:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3499327)
Would you remove a lane of traffic in each direction and have BRT lanes in the median? Would the lanes have a curb or other barrier to prevent cars from using them?

(1) Generally-speaking, no traffic lanes removed
(1a) Left-turns disallowed except at signalized intersections, employing a similar signalling technology as is used for street-running light rail.
(1b) Boarding islands would usually be on the far-side of the intersection, so as not to conflict with left-turn movements.
(1c) Where necessary, one side of street parking would be removed from the arterial. On the side where parking is removed, the sidewalk could be widened by a few feet to make the pedestrian experience next to high-speed autos less unpleasant. Many of the lost parking spots could be replaced by paving over the parkway for the first ~50 feet or so of side streets and providing diagonal metered parking.

(2) curb/solid barrier not necessary; reboundable lane dividers would suffice to segregate the center bus lanes.
http://www.ingalcivil.com.au/files/product_image/63.jpg
(randomly found via google images).
For something more permanent (and ready to totally ruin the suspension of an a-hole who disobeys), you could place the subtle and attractive little round concrete humps. Houston light rail:
http://images.nycsubway.org/logo/title-houston.jpg

The car-addicted would surely whine about the tragedy of slightly more difficult left turns, but a strong enough mayor could steamroll the transportation improvements through since most of these are ultimately his call; on most transportation issues, deference shown to Alderscum is out of courtesy and politically-suave ego-stroking. On certain streets, the state (IDOT) could potentially raise a stink, but that's why their concerns (generally focused on maximizing vehicle speed and thoroughput) will be accomodated with shared left-turn lanes, advanced signalizing, and no reduction in through traffic lanes.

emathias Apr 21, 2008 9:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3500172)
(1) Generally-speaking, no traffic lanes removed
(1a) Left-turns disallowed except at signalized intersections, employing a similar signalling technology as is used for street-running light rail.
(1b) Boarding islands would usually be on the far-side of the intersection, so as not to conflict with left-turn movements.
(1c) Where necessary, one side of street parking would be removed from the arterial. On the side where parking is removed, the sidewalk could be widened by a few feet to make the pedestrian experience next to high-speed autos less unpleasant. Many of the lost parking spots could be replaced by paving over the parkway for the first ~50 feet or so of side streets and providing diagonal metered parking.

(2) curb/solid barrier not necessary; reboundable lane dividers would suffice to segregate the center bus lanes.

At what point do at-grade lightrail solutions come into consideration compared to BRT solutions? There is some overlap, but as you get more advanced and more efficent with BRT, doesn't the price differential approach equality at some point? Either one are usually less than half that of grade-seperated rail solutions even at their finest implementation.

ardecila Apr 21, 2008 9:38 PM

BRT is a bit more flexible than light-rail, which is the chief advantage of the technology. For example, a bus could use a BRT lane on King Drive to go quickly though the mid-South Side and reach Hyde Park/Kenwood, where it could leave the BRT lane and do a circulation.

Rail does not provide this flexibility, because every route change requires more rail to be laid.

Nowhereman1280 Apr 21, 2008 9:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3500172)

For something more permanent (and ready to totally ruin the suspension of an a-hole who disobeys), you could place the subtle and attractive little round concrete humps. Houston light rail:
http://images.nycsubway.org/logo/title-houston.jpg

Not in cold climates you can't. The reason they don't put those bumps on the road in the north is because you can't use snowplows if you have bumps. The bumps would all be scraped off after the first snow and you'd have to replace all the plow blades.

VivaLFuego Apr 22, 2008 3:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3500347)
BRT is a bit more flexible than light-rail, which is the chief advantage of the technology. For example, a bus could use a BRT lane on King Drive to go quickly though the mid-South Side and reach Hyde Park/Kenwood, where it could leave the BRT lane and do a circulation.

Rail does not provide this flexibility, because every route change requires more rail to be laid.

Right. It also doesn't involve much ROW or other real estate acquisition like rail would, and has much lower infrastructure costs (power distribution).

^Nowhereman,
Good point on the bumps. I reckon if temporary lane dividers aren't enough, at that point it would probably just be a continuous concrete curb.

Nowhereman1280 Apr 22, 2008 4:22 AM

^^^ Or just giving the popo license to kill on anyone who drives in the bus lanes...

emathias Apr 22, 2008 7:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3500347)
BRT is a bit more flexible than light-rail, which is the chief advantage of the technology. For example, a bus could use a BRT lane on King Drive to go quickly though the mid-South Side and reach Hyde Park/Kenwood, where it could leave the BRT lane and do a circulation.

Rail does not provide this flexibility, because every route change requires more rail to be laid.

This avoids my question.

Rail has a higher capacity than bus. Yes, bus can enter circulation, but don't more people convert from car to rail than car to bus?

Highly efficient design of primary routes can't be significantly different for bus vs. rail. Lightrail, especially trams, don't require much foundation, so adding the rails isn't a huge additional investment compared to only streetscaping to allow pre-boarding payment and other high-effiency solutions to make BRT better than normal buses.

So, again, where is the break-point between BRT and surface rail systems?

harryc Apr 22, 2008 11:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 3501339)
^^^ Or just giving the popo license to kill on anyone who drives in the bus lanes...

Big Brother & $$ --- in London their are traffic cameras monitoring the bus lanes. 2 different cabbies assured us that if you enter that lane you WILL have a ticket in your mailbox by evening, and it would double in 24hrs. The bus lanes had only buses in them.

VivaLFuego Apr 22, 2008 5:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3501569)
So, again, where is the break-point between BRT and surface rail systems?

It is a very important question for any transit investment, but I think it's really location-specific; there's no universal answer. LA provides a decent example of a BRT implementation that might as well have spent a little bit more for LRT.

Another major cost factor to remember for LRT, in addition to power infrastructure and road foundations, is the vehicle requirement. Not only are LRT vehicles more than BRT buses, but they also require substantial real estate acquisition for a yard/maintenance facility.

I'm generally not a fan of LRT except in those few situations where both the capacity requirements and ROW constraints necessitate it. The capacity is only slightly higher than BRT (no reason you can't run a BRT line on, say, a 60-90 second headway), much less than heavy rail, with costs that are generally closer to heavy rail.

Mr Downtown Apr 22, 2008 6:04 PM

To add on to Viva's comments, LRT guideways have become unbelievably expensive. Though you might theoretically think the foundation requirements little different from BRT, any city that has built LRT has spent many millions on utility relocation and foundation work. Then there's the actual trackwork, overhead, and substations.

Besides being astronomically more to build, LRT costs more to operate, even on a place-mile or passenger-mile basis. The vehicles are hugely expensive and require more specialized maintenance. Maintenance of way costs fall on the transit agency rather than another unit of government.

When discussing LA, we should distinguish among the three types of BRT they operate. The 30-year-old El Monte line is a traditional busway, in which ordinary buses circulate for distribution at either end, but have a dedicated freeway lane for the line-haul part of the trip. The Orange Line is a pseudo light-rail line run with special buses on an old railroad ROW, but due to dangerous angled grade crossings the end-to-end speed is poor. Finally, the situation most applicable to Chicago is the network of RapidBus lines along Wilshire, Ventura, and East 6th. With limited stops and signal preemption, those achieve excellent schedule speeds and have been very successful. If I remember correctly, critics noted that RapidBus from Warner Center to Universal City would actually have had faster schedule speed than the Orange Line has.

VivaLFuego Apr 22, 2008 6:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3502423)
When discussing LA, we should distinguish among the three types of BRT they operate. The 30-year-old El Monte line is a traditional busway, in which ordinary buses circulate for distribution at either end, but have a dedicated freeway lane for the line-haul part of the trip. The Orange Line is a pseudo light-rail line run with special buses on an old railroad ROW, but due to dangerous angled grade crossings the end-to-end speed is poor. Finally, the situation most applicable to Chicago is the network of RapidBus lines along Wilshire, Ventura, and East 6th. With limited stops and signal preemption, those achieve excellent schedule speeds and have been very successful. If I remember correctly, critics noted that RapidBus from Warner Center to Universal City would actually have had faster schedule speed than the Orange Line has.

Good point. When I used LA as a bad example, I was referring to the Orange Line. The "MetroRapid" grid network is actually almost exactly what I'm saying Chicago should implement in lieu of more heavy rail (with the latter only built if there are accompanying land use changes).

emathias Apr 22, 2008 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3502423)
To add on to Viva's comments, LRT guideways have become unbelievably expensive. Though you might theoretically think the foundation requirements little different from BRT, any city that has built LRT has spent many millions on utility relocation and foundation work. Then there's the actual trackwork, overhead, and substations. ...

I think maybe I mean streetcars or trams, like the Portland Streetcars (http://www.portlandstreetcar.org/ ), more than I mean the kind of "lightrail" that, for example, Portland's MAX (http://trimet.org/max/index.htm ) is or that runs along the river in New Jersey, which really have more in common with something like Chicago's "L" than they do with streetcar trolleys.

Portland's streetcars are light enough that they don't usually require utility relocation according to their website - the track/bed is only 12 inches deep. Their original 2001 system cost a bit over $12 million/mile including including the purchase of the streetcars themselves and construction of island stations. Since then extensions to the system have cost everywhere from about $15 million /mile including additional cars, to $38 million/mile for a big expansion (doubling, basically), but that includes part of the route going over a large bridge. Each of the Czech cars they use can hold 140 passengers combined seated, standing, they're also narrow, which is good for tight streets.

The costs were low enough that the original build-out was funded by the city itself, with less than 10% of the source funds coming from the Federal government. With prices like that, I would think that the City of Chicago could find a way to put run a trolley from Humbolt Park along Division to the Gold Coast, and maybe one along Chicago Ave, too.

Mr Downtown Apr 23, 2008 1:18 AM

But how would a streetcar get around stalled traffic on Division? There's a reason streetcars in mixed street running survived nowhere except Toronto in North America. The experience is miserable for the streetcar riders creeping across town and for the drivers who get madder and madder because they can't get around the streetcar.

As for the Portland Streetcar, bear in mind that for a tenth of the capital cost, Portland could have bought a fleet of twice as many distinctive new buses and painted a big green stripe on the street so the line would have the same "visibility." And the operating costs for the buses would have been about half, meaning they could run twice as frequently. Let's hope the Portlanders waiting in the rain for the streetcar to arrive realize how lucky they will be to be eventually get to ride in a streetcar instead of a bus.


All times are GMT. The time now is 1:47 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.