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Busy Bee Oct 1, 2006 3:36 PM

That's right. I got me London public figures crossed.

urban_encounter Oct 1, 2006 5:47 PM

Daley says West Side rail line needed if city lands Olympics
Chicago Tribune
Published October 1, 2006



CHICAGO -- Mayor Richard Daley said Chicago has a lot at stake in landing the 2016 Olympic Games--namely transportation in underserved areas of the city.

The mayor said Saturday that both Atlanta and Salt Lake City received federal transportation funding, and that if the Olympics were to come to Chicago, he would push for a north-south rail route on the West Side to improve access to Olympic sites.

On a recent trip to Washington, Daley spoke with senators and congressmen from Illinois as well as officials from the White House about Chicago's bid to win the Olympics, along with its transportation needs.

"The Olympics is basically privately financed," Daley said. "What we look at the federal government [for] is what they did in Salt Lake City and Atlanta. They did public transportation and basic security."

Security in Chicago already has been ratcheted up since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, so the city would be free to funnel public funding toward transportation, he said.

The city's rail transportation is a spoke system with no way to move easily from north to south on the West Side.

"We have to move it west so people can come from the north and vice versa," he said. "That's one of the issues I talked about

Nowhereman1280 Oct 2, 2006 7:09 AM

That west side rail would be nice, it would also be nice if they got the whole circle line built too. They also need to make the stuff that already exists work flawlessly. So much to do! So much to do! Federal cash would be handy!

VivaLFuego Oct 2, 2006 2:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280
That west side rail would be nice, it would also be nice if they got the whole circle line built too. They also need to make the stuff that already exists work flawlessly. So much to do! So much to do! Federal cash would be handy!

There should be some local cash, too. After the derailment, CTA has been doign alot of work in re-calibrating its Track Maintenance processes, unfortauntely things got so bad for so long that it will take a while to fix. At this point, I would say it will be about (or, at least) a year before the bulk of permanent slow zones are mitigated throughout the system. Alot of people wax indignantly about not expanding CTA until the current system is perfect, but I think this is a very poor long-term strategy given how long these projects take from conception to operation.

the urban politician Oct 2, 2006 3:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego
Alot of people wax indignantly about not expanding CTA until the current system is perfect, but I think this is a very poor long-term strategy given how long these projects take from conception to operation.

^ I agree, esp since Capital and Operational budgets are exclusive.

One thing for sure we shouldn't count on is the Olympics to fix any of this, because they ain't coming. Time to get creative

Taft Oct 2, 2006 4:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician
^ I agree, esp since Capital and Operational budgets are exclusive.

One thing for sure we shouldn't count on is the Olympics to fix any of this, because they ain't coming. Time to get creative

I'm thinking the mayor is waiting it out with the olympics to see if he can get a "coupon" for fixing the system for free. Given his track record for putting city money into the CTA pot, he is obviously loath to give the CTA any more than the required amount of tax revenue. With growing dissatisfaction with the service he needs to put forward a "plan"
to fix the system. Thus, the major runs around making statements connecting a Chicago Olympics with improved public transportation. Placate the people while doing nothing. Gotta hand it to him, he knows how to play the game.

Anyway, I'd expect a real (and quite belated) bailout plan to emerge if the Chicago Olympics go up in smoke.

We definitely need more city and state funds going towards the existing system. With some breathing room in their operating budget, the CTA could be made into a world class system. With the current bad blood between springfield and the CTA and the major's lack of dedication in terms of money, the CTA is starving to death.

I completely agree about big initiatives and the need to push them even no matter the operating situation. We just can't stagnate, especially given the rate of change in Chicago's neighborhoods.

Taft

the urban politician Oct 4, 2006 12:32 AM

^ Well, I'm guessing they still want the station to be able to accommodate express trains some time in the future.

What I don't understand is this--these are nonstop trains but they won't shave off any time for the trip to the airport? If that's the case, then why would I pay $10 for this trip instead of the usual $2 that a ride from the loop to OHare would normally cost? All just because I can ride a special train that has extra room for luggage?

Not getting the logic here.

One thing for sure, I'm guessing this decision was made in response to growing criticism, with that Crains commentary this weekend delivering the final blow. Perhaps this is a sign that the city is finally waking up to reality with its transit woes.

VivaLFuego Oct 4, 2006 12:34 AM

^ The Crain's report should have talked to some people at CTA, or at least some people at the tight-lipped CTA should have been allowed to release more information by their superiors, because this isn't exactly right from my understanding. The Airport service is basically Phase I of the long-term project, which is still undergoing planning but is yet unfunded. It's not that the plans are scrapped, but that no one has found money for it yet. Not a good article.

But yeah, if the actual express service is scrapped for good, that station under B37 is a total waste of money that could have gone towards much needed improvements elsewhere in the system. I mean, to get to O'hare now, I take the bus west to the Blue line then hop on, I don't go all the way downtown, nor would I for service that would be just as slow as the regular trains, and especially not to pay extra.

The potential saving grace is if 1) the downtown terminal still could do the baggage check and flight check-in, so ever though the train ride would be a full 45 minutes, at least that other stuff is dealt with before you reach the airport. This part is left unclear. and 2) with #1 included, the service is perhaps $5-7. Otherwise, who would bother?

the urban politician Oct 4, 2006 12:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego
^ The Crain's report should have talked to some people at CTA, or at least some people at the tight-lipped CTA should have been allowed to release more information by their superiors, because this isn't exactly right from my understanding. The Airport service is basically Phase I of the long-term project, which is still undergoing planning but is yet unfunded. It's not that the plans are scrapped, but that no one has found money for it yet. Not a good article.

But yeah, if the actual express service is scrapped for good, that station under B37 is a total waste of money that could have gone towards much needed improvements elsewhere in the system. I mean, to get to O'hare now, I take the bus west to the Blue line then hop on, I don't go all the way downtown, nor would I for service that would be just as slow as the regular trains, and especially not to pay extra.

The potential saving grace is if 1) the downtown terminal still could do the baggage check and flight check-in, so ever though the train ride would be a full 45 minutes, at least that other stuff is dealt with before you reach the airport. This part is left unclear. and 2) with #1 included, the service is perhaps $5-7. Otherwise, who would bother?

^ An even more clever swindle (and I wouldn't put it past Chicago, as I've been learning over the years) is that this is EXACTLY phase I of the project, but it's being depicted as such ("we've decided to postpone/cancel the rest of the project) as a response to growing criticism. In reality, the CTA isn't doing anything differently from before, it's just being recast as a change in plan.

BTW, the baggage check is a good point. Baggage check with flight info, etc etc would tip the scales in favor of such a trip being worth it. I guess we need more info on this. I'm guessing there will be more in tommorrow's Tribune

MayorOfChicago Oct 4, 2006 2:45 AM

Am I high?

Why spent 5X more to get on a train downtown (at a place when you can usually get a seat anyway) to spend the exact same amount of time doing a stop-and-go behind a train full of other people right in front of you who spent $2?

they'd better have the baggage deal and commit to this express train thing in the future. Otherwise I can think of many other ways they can flush their money down the toilet.

the urban politician Oct 4, 2006 3:43 AM

^ Yeah, even with baggage check in $10 will be a bit steep. They should make it cheaper, perhaps $6, then raise the price later on when express lines are built.

VivaLFuego Oct 4, 2006 3:52 AM

I think if:

- Baggage check
- Downtown flight check-in / boarding pass printout
- Refurbished, comfortable, plush trains with TVs yadda yadda

it would be worth the extra fee. without all 3 of those, however, I really don't see any point to the service.

The other issue is that terminal access from the Midway Orange Line station is really dreadful, at least in O'hare it dumps you right by Terminals 2/3 and a short walk from Terminal 1. Yet operationally, the airport nonstop/express services requires both O'hare and Midway service because of the track configuration (this is easier to show graphically than describe), not just one or the other.

I guess it could all still work, but theres just not enough detail thats public yet to inspire enough confidence. Plenty of people pay the $2 subway fee PLUS $5 to TRANSFER to an airtrain in NYC, so thats $7 for a trip over an hour long, with a transfer, and no amenities like baggage check, special trains, etc. So $10 for an easy, comfortable trip seems reasonable to me.

VivaLFuego Oct 4, 2006 3:53 AM

In other news, I was reading about the Illinois Tollway's $5.3 billion construction program to renew and widen all their roads. Just imagine what could be accomplished in the Chicago region if even just half of that money were devoted to transit projects :(

denizen467 Oct 4, 2006 7:30 AM

I think many of you are wrong, mainly because you are looking at the project from a Chicagoan's point of view. I think this is a great interim step before they get the funding (like, 10 years or something maybe?) to roll out a real airport express.
Think of the impact this has for visitors - most visitors would be totally reluctant to take another city's subway system, especially with luggage, laptops, passports, etc. But if there's something officially called an 'airport shuttle' then they know it works and it's safe. As long as the carriages are relatively nice (toss in a plasma screen here and there with useful info, comfy seats, carpeting, etc.) and it actually runs on time, I think this will be a hit.
You have to realize that when someone's got tons of luggage, laptop/passport/valuables, *jet lag*, and maybe is scrambling making various calls on their cell phone, an ordinary Blue Line is just not palatable because of lack of safety, convenience, and quiet. Imagine flying in to O'Hare on a bad weather day at 11pm and the taxi line is a mile long; how many people would ride the Blue Line in that condition at that hour? Now even our frailest of citizens will have a guaranteed safe, reasonably comfortable ride to a safe station with cabs etc.
Also, note that the stations downtown are still shitty - not user friendly for somebody with incorrect change or with lots of luggage. A B37 airport station would (hopefully) have ample elevators, escalators, signage, vending, extra time to board and alight the train especially with luggage, and maybe even luggage lockers. I saw two women carrying a stroller down a narrow flight of stairs downtown on Saturday. Really friggin' embarrassing, and a super station, even without airport check-in, would do wonders for that.

Wright Concept Oct 4, 2006 5:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467
I think many of you are wrong, mainly because you are looking at the project from a Chicagoan's point of view. I think this is a great interim step before they get the funding (like, 10 years or something maybe?) to roll out a real airport express.

Also, note that the stations downtown are still shitty - not user friendly for somebody with incorrect change or with lots of luggage. A B37 airport station would (hopefully) have ample elevators, escalators, signage, vending, extra time to board and alight the train especially with luggage, and maybe even luggage lockers. I saw two women carrying a stroller down a narrow flight of stairs downtown on Saturday. Really friggin' embarrassing, and a super station, even without airport check-in, would do wonders for that.


But on that note, wouldn't that arguement for better station amenties be a better use for the funds for THE EXISTING SYSTEM in Downtown Chicago. Room to have wider staircases/escalators and fare control mezzanines. More space for Superstations on some of the older Elevated Loop Stations such as State/Lake or Randolph/Wabash.

I'm an outsider that visits Chicago at least once a year and goes on the Blue Line Near North-O'Hare treck to get there. I think an Airport Express system would be nice for Chicago- especially since they are going for an Olympic bid. I think that might be one of the differences between LA, SF or Chicago getting the Olympics.

Norsider Oct 4, 2006 5:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego
In other news, I was reading about the Illinois Tollway's $5.3 billion construction program to renew and widen all their roads. Just imagine what could be accomplished in the Chicago region if even just half of that money were devoted to transit projects :(

Just one of the many reasons why my head explodes when I hear some nay-sayer "inform" me that there isn't enough money to do such-and-such a project. $2-3 billion for a subway line is NOTHING. Chump change. That's what the US spends in one week to fuck around in Iraq. We spend billions of dollars every year on widening the roads (which, by the way, is nothing more than a public subsidy for private housing developers in Mokena or elsewhere in BuFu), but people seem to be hardwired to recoil in disgust when they hear the pricetag of a CTA improvement. Grrr.

VivaLFuego Oct 4, 2006 6:00 PM

The "alternate" proposal would be awesome....imagine 22 minutes to O'hare! Again, if the region can spend $5.3 billion on widening tollways, this could easily be a reality if people want it.

Norsider Oct 4, 2006 6:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee
http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/7...rcle27.article

CTA Circle Line down to 2 options
Both alternatives might involve new underground rail


[I]September 27, 2006
BY MONIFA THOMAS Transportation Reporter
For the first time, the CTA also floated potential locations for new Circle Line stations, including stops at United Center and Cermak/Blue Island and connections to four Metra lines on Ashland Avenue.

At a public meeting Tuesday, CTA officials said the Circle Line will likely run along one of two routes. The proposed Ashland corridor follows the existing Orange Line along Archer to Ashland, where it heads north and then east on North Avenue before connecting with the Red Line at North and Clybourn.



The second option, known as the Ashland/Ogden corridor, follows almost the same path but cuts from Ashland to Division via Ogden Avenue.


Goddamit. I am terribly disappointed that they deep sixed the Western corridor. The Ashland corridor will be largely redundant as most of the journey is already covered by the pink line. Bottom line is that the vast majority of the Ashland corridor ALREADY HAS TRANSIT. It's just a pointless corridor. It'll save time on trips? Yeah right, I'll take one transfer to go a bit out of my way over two transfers any day of the week. Cutting across Ogden would make it even more pointless as the route wouldn't even touch all the Ashland development from Lake to Fullerton. Have the morons planning this even once driven the route they're proposing? It's all industrial and train tracks and viaducts and slums! Just a complete and total waste of resources.

A north/south line on Western Ave, however, would have about a million riders a day, and basically double the reach of train system. And it's far enough out from downtown that two transfers might even be worth it. Huge missed opportunity in my view. Why is my city so fucking incompetent when it comes to planning for transit? All they seem to be able to do is duplicate their own existing service and/or attempt to compete with the far superior Metra as a commuter system. Bloody morons.

Wright Concept Oct 4, 2006 6:38 PM

^ To my knowledge most of Western Corridor from Berwyn to 95th is in a parkway that could be built as a nice concrete elevated line or an easy to build subway since the boulevard is wider and next to a railroad right-of-way for portions of it which can cut costs. When I was in college, a friend who lives on the South Side and I thought that would really help Chicago a route down Western because of that very condition.

VivaLFuego Oct 4, 2006 7:55 PM

Can't build much (any) new elevated structure through a built-up area because it would fail the environmental impact study. hence all elevated options were thrown out. the western option was thrown out because it was incredibly more expensive than the ashland corridor with only moderately higher projected ridership.

best case, there would be a loop at around halsted/Clinton, to improve transit and density in the central area, then a more "outer" loop at about western for the reasons described above (then a pipe dream loop out by cicero to complete the network). but realistically, these options aren't likely, so i'll take a single loop at Ashland over nothing at all.


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