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twister244 Feb 28, 2023 11:34 PM

Well - Here's one sure way to increase CTA/Metra pickup NW of downtown.....

https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/loca...month/3083105/

ardecila Mar 1, 2023 6:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian_b (Post 9875165)
What more could you want from them? The town is so tiny that everything is a 15 minute walk or less from the station.

What I want is to restore the train station to the correct (downtown/Main St) location in each of these towns. If they had done so in Elburn, there would be little need for a TOD plan because the existing streets all converge on the downtown already.

bnk Mar 5, 2023 10:53 PM

Not sure if this regional rail network is still alive.



https://siteselection.com/issues/202...gs-to-come.cfm

From Site Selection magazine, January 2023


The Shape Of Things To Come

Infrastructure investments drive momentum in the Midwest.


I
llinois Gov. JB Pritzker is happy to point out that his state was ahead of the federal government in making generational investments toward infrastructure development. Pritzker, who was re-elected in November, spearheaded “Rebuild Illinois,” a $45 billion capital improvement project approved by the Illinois legislature during the first months of his first term in office. In August, Gov. Pritzker announced that under Rebuild Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation had made more than $8.6 billion in improvements to some 4,422 miles of highway and 412 bridges.

“Since I signed our historic, bipartisan infrastructure program into law,” he said, “Rebuild Illinois has undertaken a massive transformation of our state’s transportation systems.”

And not just that, Pritzker boasts, but now that funds are flowing from the $550 billion federal Infrastructure Act, Illinois, he contends, owns a commanding position for associated funding by already having laid the groundwork for specific road, rail, airport and port projects. The Infrastructure Act, state officials say, has allowed the state to expand projected spending by $4 billion.

“Because we passed Rebuild Illinois two-and-a-half years before, we are actually shovel-ready,” Pritzker said, “We’re in a position to do much more and more quickly.”

Under the year-old Infrastructure Act, Illinois has banked $73 million toward the state’s single most conspicuous transportation project, the $7.1 billion modernization of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the world’s fourth busiest. That project recorded a milestone in November when Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg travelled to Chicago to announce that — after a four-plus year environmental review — the ambitious renovation had received final clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Chicago’s transportation infrastructure,” Buttigieg said at O’Hare, “is what makes this city an economic powerhouse of global importance.”

“We’re in a position to do much more and more quickly.”

— JB Pritzker, Illinois Governor

Projects analyzed under the FAA review include new terminals and concourses, on-airport hotels and airfield and taxiway improvements. With the federal green light, construction is set to begin this spring on two satellite concourses that are to provide more than 1 million sq. ft. of gate and amenity space. The new configuration, said Mayor Lori Lightfoot, will dramatically expand the airport’s ability to accommodate aircraft of all sizes.


https://siteselection.com/images/1223SS_Midwest-one.jpg


...

As intriguing as it may sound, do not hold your breath, for the ultimate end-product is a 40-year dream with a projected price tag of up to $162 billion. The plan envisions a 3,000-mile passenger rail network consisting of “pillar corridors” radiating out of Chicago with endpoints in Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Detroit. Trains would run as fast as 125 miles per hour. A “hub and spoke” layout would serve to incorporate destinations as far-flung as Sioux Falls, Des Moines, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison, Carbondale, Dayton and Cleveland.

...

twister244 Mar 5, 2023 11:33 PM

Here's a question - Is there a place for someone like Brightline within the Chicago/Midwest arena?

I hadn't heard of Brightline until two seconds ago hearing about the LA/Vegas route about to be developed. I don't know the background, but when I looked up the trains and routes in Florida, they look damn nice.

Obviously Metra technically has jurisdiction for the metro suburban market, but can Brightline make an entrance with something like a Chicago/Milwaukee route?.... Or a Chicago-MI route? Or is this something Amtrack also plans on tackling?

Just thinking out loud after looking up Brightline....

bnk Mar 6, 2023 12:01 AM

Good question and I look forwards to a thoughtful question.

One thing I noted about that train map.
Most Big universities are on the line.

I did notice a few misses. Such as Iowa City, Bloomington Indiana, Ann Arbor Michigan, DeKalb Illinois but I figure it's on there and overlooked like the others I mentioned.

Getting to Milwaukee, Madison, and Urbana Illinois than on to Carbondale should be top priority first. Of course, for ND, South Bend but that should be easy too, the infrastructure is more than already there in many duplicates I figure. At even a slow speed of 125 mph, you're still going to have to under dig or overfly. At Grade crossings should really be avoided at all costs.

Imagine if we ever got the trains up to speeds one can see in Japan.
The Iowa line should be easy and pretty straight forward all the way to Omaha Nebraska.


Video Link

Busy Bee Mar 6, 2023 12:05 AM

They're not going to be going to any corridor thats already served by Amtrak. Brightline in Florida and the high desert between LA and LV are both fulfilling a market that previously did not exist - albeit one much more traditional diesel "higher speed" rail and the other very much real electrified true high speed rail.

twister244 Mar 6, 2023 3:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9883659)
They're not going to be going to any corridor thats already served by Amtrak. Brightline in Florida and the high desert between LA and LV are both fulfilling a market that previously did not exist - albeit one much more traditional diesel "higher speed" rail and the other very much real electrified true high speed rail.

That's a good point..... Here in the Chicago area, there really isn't much ground that isn't already covered by CTA/Metra/Amtrak...... Unless you start thinking about any routes not in the works from any of these agencies, that also don't already exist for a high-speed upgrade.

With that said - It could be kinda cool if Brightline could establish some "loop" routes to connect various lines across the city/metro. Think if it as an "RER" that can loop you through the city, connecting CTA lines - Almost like the CTA circle route we have all dreamed of. Then you have another one or two suburban "RER"-like routes that connect various Metra lines.

Of course, this may be very difficult in the city as there would have to be land bought, etc, etc. I'm sure any costs/red tape would preclude this idea ever getting beyond a bar conversation, let alone an actual idea penciled on paper.

ardecila Mar 6, 2023 4:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twister244 (Post 9883642)
Here's a question - Is there a place for someone like Brightline within the Chicago/Midwest arena?

I hadn't heard of Brightline until two seconds ago hearing about the LA/Vegas route about to be developed. I don't know the background, but when I looked up the trains and routes in Florida, they look damn nice.

Obviously Metra technically has jurisdiction for the metro suburban market, but can Brightline make an entrance with something like a Chicago/Milwaukee route?.... Or a Chicago-MI route? Or is this something Amtrack also plans on tackling?

Just thinking out loud after looking up Brightline....

Unlikely. The investor appetite to fund rail privately in the Midwest is non-existent, because of our slow population growth and limited tourism market. The strongest city-pair travel markets in the Midwest all cross state lines too, which make the approval process exceptionally tough when you start talking about building thru red states like Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio.

Maybe if Brightline was a smashing business success, you'd see more companies forming and trying to take on the Midwest, or maybe even the Class I freight railroads getting back into the passenger game. But as it stands, Brightline is only modestly successful even in a high-growth state with huge tourism numbers.

Both of the current Brightline projects are sort of unique situations too. In Florida they had the existing FEC mainline with a highly cooperative freight partner, and a cooperative toll highway authority that let them expand to Orlando. In California, they have hundreds of miles of open desert between Victorville and Vegas, a cooperative state government letting them use I-15, and they have shied away from entering the LA basin where construction gets difficult.

I think any private effort in the Midwest will end up more like Texas Central. Lawsuits and political opposition will kill it before it starts.

twister244 Mar 6, 2023 6:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9884076)
Unlikely. The investor appetite to fund rail privately in the Midwest is non-existent, because of our slow population growth and limited tourism market. The strongest city-pair travel markets in the Midwest all cross state lines too, which make the approval process exceptionally tough when you start talking about building thru red states like Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio.

Maybe if Brightline was a smashing business success, you'd see more companies forming and trying to take on the Midwest, or maybe even the Class I freight railroads getting back into the passenger game. But as it stands, Brightline is only modestly successful even in a high-growth state with huge tourism numbers.

Both of the current Brightline projects are sort of unique situations too. In Florida they had the existing FEC mainline with a highly cooperative freight partner, and a cooperative toll highway authority that let them expand to Orlando. In California, they have hundreds of miles of open desert between Victorville and Vegas, a cooperative state government letting them use I-15, and they have shied away from entering the LA basin where construction gets difficult.

I think any private effort in the Midwest will end up more like Texas Central. Lawsuits and political opposition will kill it before it starts.

Thanks for the rundown - Makes sense. They seem to offer a pretty solid product, so hopefully it gains some traction where they are putting them in.

sammyg Mar 10, 2023 7:05 PM

If you always wanted your own CTA car, a place in West Virginia is selling some old 2400-class cars for the price of a mid-size car.(they ran on the Purple Line until the 5000s started coming in)

https://chicago.suntimes.com/2023/3/...-west-virginia

Busy Bee Mar 10, 2023 7:51 PM

^^^Never really cared for the looks of the BV 2400 cars. The Budd 2200's were beautiful to me with the sharp lines, corrugated sides and the blinker doors. If I could turn one of those into a backyard studio I would.

Randomguy34 Mar 17, 2023 9:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9854574)
Yes, but the MEGA was not specifically a rail program. There are several other big pots of money reserved for rail that Amtrak could go for, and there are further rounds of MEGA grant funding in FY23, FY24, FY25 so this won't be Amtrak's only bite at the apple for Chicago Gateway. Still, I am very surprised that we didn't get a grant considering the regional support lined up behind it.

HSR Alliance gave an update and it seems like Chicago Gateway didn't get a MEGA grant because it didn't quite fit the criteria of the program. The good news is that Amtrak recognizes this is a critical project and is splitting the program into 4 different projects, and will apply for FY22-23 FSP grant for all 4 projects :cheers: Here's a quote from Amtrak expressing their support for the program:

Quote:

"Amtrak and our partners in Chicago and throughout the Midwest agree route and station concourse investments envisioned by Chicago Hub Improvement Program (CHIP) are of national importance. We have unprecedented support from business and government leaders and we will continue to seek every available federal funding opportunity for every element of CHIP."

ardecila Mar 18, 2023 12:11 AM

The "criteria for the program" being big, splashy projects with big, splashy ribbon cuttings like the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincy.

Glad to hear this is still alive, though. Hopefully they stop handicapping themselves and do the whole thing properly - a 2 track ramp into Union Station instead of single track, properly refurbishing the SCAL bridge, a 2-track quadrant connection at 16th St, triple-tracking the Rock Island (or 4-track passing segments), etc.

OhioGuy Mar 20, 2023 4:04 PM

CTA Begins Plan To Rebuild Red Line’s Sheridan, Rogers Park Stops In Massive North Branch Overhaul
Block Club Chicago | Joe Ward | 9:20 PM CDT on Mar 16, 2023

Quote:

As work continues on the rebuilding of the Red Line in Uptown and Edgewater, the CTA is now turning its attention to reconstructing the remainder of the transit line’s north branch.

The CTA is in the early stages of planning to rebuild the century-old Red Line stations and rail infrastructure not yet included in the massive Red-Purple Modernization Project.

That includes rebuilding the Sheridan stop and overhauling much of the Red Line infrastructure in Rogers Park, possibly including the Howard Street terminal, CTA officials said at a community meeting Tuesday.

CTA is also planning to overhaul the Purple Line branch that extends into Evanston and Wilmette, officials said.
Quote:

The Sheridan station, near the corner of Sheridan and Irving Park roads, is sandwiched between buildings. Its current footprint is too small for fully accessible features.

The station needs to be fully reconstructed to make it accessible, but engineers and architects will have to get creative if they are to work within the existing station footprint, said Christina Bader, project manager at CTA.

The Red Line tracks follow an S-curve just north of Sheridan, a feature that slows down service. Straightening it out will be a challenge as CTA only owns the land within the existing rail infrastructure, Bader said.

“There’s both old and new development that makes streaming the curve challenging,” Bader said at a community meeting Tuesday. “We’re looking at all options here, which include station location.”

Busy Bee Mar 20, 2023 5:12 PM

Here's a completely fair question... Is the time lost from the slowing of trains through the Sheridan s-curve, an s-curve with a station in the middle of it unlike say the old sharp s-curve at Harrison/Wabash, really significant enough to spend massive amounts of $ on saving at most 10 or 15 seconds with a huge smoothed out trackway?

OhioGuy Mar 20, 2023 5:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9896940)
Here's a completely fair question... Is the time lost from the slowing of trains through the Sheridan s-curve, an s-curve with a station in the middle of it unlike say the old sharp s-curve at Harrison/Wabash, really significant enough to spend massive amounts of $ on saving at most 10 or 15 seconds with a huge smoothed out trackway?

Red line trains already need to slow down for the stop anyway, so I wouldn't think the S-curve is overly detrimental to speedy service... though it does slow down express service on the purple line since it doesn't typically stop at Sheridan. I'm relucant to see the little retail corridor outside the current Sheridan station demolished/altered significantly to make the curve smoother when red line trains will always need to slow down in that general area regardless of the presence of the S-curve in order to stop at the station.

If they need to move the station because the current spot is too constrained to make it fully accessible, I would assume they'd move it to the north side of Irving Park where there's adjacent linear parking along Graceland Cemetery that could be used for an expanded/fully accessible station?

Nexis4Jersey Mar 21, 2023 8:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twister244 (Post 9883642)
Here's a question - Is there a place for someone like Brightline within the Chicago/Midwest arena?

I hadn't heard of Brightline until two seconds ago hearing about the LA/Vegas route about to be developed. I don't know the background, but when I looked up the trains and routes in Florida, they look damn nice.

Obviously Metra technically has jurisdiction for the metro suburban market, but can Brightline make an entrance with something like a Chicago/Milwaukee route?.... Or a Chicago-MI route? Or is this something Amtrack also plans on tackling?

Just thinking out loud after looking up Brightline....

The only new corridors I see Brightline taking up are the Texas Triangle Routes...but the rest of the Country will largely have to deal with Amtrak and most state plans seem to acknowledge that. Amtrak has a lot of plans for the Midwestern Region and if the FRA Study gains traction then the Interstate Regions will be well-connected as well. Michigan , Minnesota and Illinois have strong plans and securing funding seems to be easier. While Ohio , Indiana , Wisconsin , Missouri are kinda shaky in the funding / political will dept. I'll just list the plans/proposals for the Chicago Amtrak Hub over the next 15-20yrs , I don't know the final name of some of these proposed services so I just them a generic name. I pulled most of this off of the 2035 plan and various state proposals and the FRA long distance Study with the full build out.

Chicago Hub
Illinois - Indiana - Michigan : Southern / Eastern Routes

  • Build an upgraded Airline Route allowing for direct access to Chicago Union Station from the Eastern Routes
  • Overhauling the Chicago Union Station Complex
  • Shift Amtrak Operations over to the South Shore Line West of Michigan City for increased reliability
  • Increase Track Speeds to 90-110mph along all Illinois and Michigan Routes
  • Increase Service along the Amtrak Pere Marquette 1x>3x daily
  • Increase Service along the Amtrak Wolverine 3x> 6x daily
  • Increase Service along the Amtrak Blue Water 1x>2x daily
  • Increase Service along the Amtrak Illini/Saluki 2x>3x daily
  • New Service : Amtrak Hoosier Northern – Chicago – Fort Wayne – Toledo – Cleveland – 2x daily
  • Restore the Amtrak Hoosier State and extend to Cincinnati – 3x daily
  • Restore the Amtrak Kentucky Cardinal to Louisville – Indianapolis – Chicago – 3x daily
  • Restore the Amtrak Three Rivers Service : Chicago – Fort Wayne – Akron – Youngstown – Pittsburgh – Harrisburg – Philly – NY – 1x daily
  • Restore the Amtrak Mountaineer : Chicago - Cincinnati - Christiansburg - Roanoke - Petersburg - Norfolk - 1x daily
  • Restore the Amtrak Floridian : Chicago - Louisville - Nashville - Birmingham - Jacksonville - Orlando - Tampa & Miami - 1x daily
  • Restore the Amtrak International : Chicago - Kalamazoo - Detroit - London - Toronto - 1x daily

Illinois - Iowa - Missouri : Western Routes
  • New Service : Amtrak Quad Cities service to Iowa City – Davenport – Chicago – 3x daily
  • Restore the Amtrak Black Hawk service to Dubuque – Rockford – Chicago – 3x daily
  • Extend Carl Sandburg to Hannibal - Quincy - Naperville - Chicago - 3x daily


Illinois - Wisconsin : Northern Routes

  • New Hiawatha Service to Green Bay from Chicago-Milwaukee – 3x daily
  • New Hiawatha Service to Madison from Chicago-Milwaukee – 5x daily
  • New Service : Amtrak Great Rivers to St. Paul via Eau Claire from Chicago-Milwaukee – 2x daily
  • Restore the Amtrak North Coast Hiawatha - Seattle - Spokane - Missoula - Bismark - Fargo - St Paul - Eau Caire - Milwaukee - Chicago - 1x daily


Now I have a few proposals that i'd like to see happen over the next 20yrs a mixture of Amtrak & Regional Rail Expansions , though very unlikely to happen without a massive political shift
  • Extend the Metra Electric Line to Kankakee
  • Extend the South Shore Line to Goshen
  • New Electric Regional Rail service to Fort Wayne from Chicago Millennium Station
  • Extend the Electrified West Lake Corridor to Lafayette
  • Electrify the remaining Diesel Metra lines
  • Electrify the Amtrak Illinois , Hiawatha to Milwaukee & Michigan Routes
  • Build the Metra Southeast Service : Chicago – Thorton – South Chicago – Balmoral Park
  • Southern Tier Limited : Chicago - Toledo - Cleveland - Erie - Binghamton - Scranton - Newark - Hoboken - 1x daily
  • North Star - Chicago : Milwaukee-Appleton-Superior-Duluth -1x daily
  • Restore & Extend the Amtrak Lake Country Limited : Madison – Janesville – Chicago – 3x daily

CaptainJilliams Mar 23, 2023 9:44 PM

Not sure if this belongs in the airport thread, transit thread, or both. A new way to get to O'hare is coming in a couple of years...

United and Archer will open an air taxi route to Chicago’s O’Hare airport in 2025

Quote:

Archer Aviation and United Airlines announced a partnership today to launch a commercial air taxi route in Chicago. The companies plan to open the flight path between downtown and O’Hare International Airport in 2025.

Besides being United’s headquarters and largest hub, Chicago's airport commute makes it an ideal testbed for flying taxis. For example, the drive to or from O’Hare, in the western suburb of Rosemont, can take anywhere from 35 minutes to over an hour, depending on traffic; even in one of the city’s elevated trains, it can take around 45 minutes. But Archer estimates a flight in one of its air taxis will only take 10 minutes to travel from O’Hare to its destination at a downtown helipad. The program will initially be limited to the mainline O’Hare / downtown route, but the companies eventually plan to add smaller paths to surrounding communities.
https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/VV...29f17d.cf.webp

https://www.engadget.com/united-and-...191352804.html

SIGSEGV Mar 23, 2023 9:51 PM

Hmm is that location really going to save people a lot of time? No way to build a heliport on top of a building or something? Roof of the union station tower would be kind of ideal...

I guess if you can clear security at the heliport and you're flying united it would save lots of time.

twister244 Mar 23, 2023 10:21 PM

Cool! Although I would prefer to see a landing location somewhere in downtown, but I assume if the program is scalable and successful, they could extend it to multiple drop off locations.

Are there any other cities planning on something like this, or can we gloat at being first here?

Klippenstein Mar 23, 2023 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twister244 (Post 9900332)
Are there any other cities planning on something like this, or can we gloat at being first here?

I’d say that they need to get it approved and off the ground to be able to float about being the first. Many ideas like this have come and gone, but having United Airlines behind it gives this some credibility.

ardecila Mar 24, 2023 4:19 AM

The article specifies they will start offering service from Newark airport to Manhattan. Not sure we’ll be first. I live near the helipad and I’m really not looking forward to this noise every 15 minutes.

Kngkyle Mar 24, 2023 7:30 PM

Ah yes. More transport innovation from Silicon Valley. An electric helicopter that almost certainly burns more CO2 to produce than a normal helicopter does in its entire lifecycle.

The heliport location also makes this largely useless since you still have to get a car to get anywhere.... this is in contrast to Manhattan where you can actually just walk from Wall Street to the helipad. Manhattan being an island and the tunnels/bridges being gridlocked 75% of the time also makes NY a much more compelling use case... a use case that is already proven with Blade offering traditional helicopter service for $195 per seat.

streetline Mar 25, 2023 2:10 AM

Given the location of the "vertiport" a ~10 minute drive from downtown, I'd think they'd need an integration deal with some ride hail app to make this work.

I suppose some execs might just have their secretaries schedule a car and a VTOL and a plane ticket separately and not care, but they'll broaden their audience if people in a hurry can book at least the car and VTOL together with one tap.

And given they're flying specifically to O'Hare, and probably heavily targeting United ticketholders even if they'll take others' money, I'm expecting they'll end up encouraging people to share VTOL rides during the times leading up to popular airline route departures.

It could be like a flying public bus for people with expense accounts.

Chicago29 Mar 25, 2023 2:44 PM

23 March Damen Green Line station progress via FH Paschen- https://www.instagram.com/p/CqIxQyQN...d=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
https://cdn.inflact.com/media/337259...e909d773896c5c

ardecila Mar 25, 2023 9:07 PM

Unbelievable how long it takes to pour foundations for a one-story building... and after several years of delay on the actual construction start!

I know they are reinforcing the existing steel El structure, which is more time-consuming work and very delicate with Green Line trains passing every few minutes...

Randomguy34 Mar 29, 2023 8:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9895111)
HSR Alliance gave an update and it seems like Chicago Gateway didn't get a MEGA grant because it didn't quite fit the criteria of the program. The good news is that Amtrak recognizes this is a critical project and is splitting the program into 4 different projects, and will apply for FY22-23 FSP grant for all 4 projects :cheers:

Looks like Amtrak is also seeking $175 million for the program through their annual portion of IIJA. Amtrak wasn't kidding about applying for every possible grant to fund Chicago Gateway. Hopefully we hear some good news soon.

Grant request: https://media.amtrak.com/wp-content/...ials-FINAL.pdf

Randomguy34 Mar 30, 2023 9:06 PM

Union Pacific Transferring Commuter Rail Services to Metra
Quote:

Union Pacific is working with Metra to safely and seamlessly transfer its commuter rail operation in Chicago, including the employees who perform the work. Union Pacific anticipates completing the transfer by the end of first quarter 2024.

As part of the transition, Metra will take over services including train crew, mechanical, car cleaning, rolling stock maintenance, ticket sales and some engineering services. Several management employees transitioned to Metra earlier this year, with plans to start transferring Mechanical and Transportation craft professionals in third quarter 2023.

“We greatly appreciate Metra’s collaboration in continuing to provide excellent and safe service to commuters during this transition,” said Eric Gehringer, executive vice president-Operations. “Thank you to our employees for your outstanding dedication and teamwork to provide uninterrupted commuter experience.”

Union Pacific will continue to maintain the track and manage train movements on its lines: Union Pacific West, Union Pacific Northwest and Union Pacific North.
https://www.up.com/media/releases/me...-nr-230330.htm

twister244 Mar 30, 2023 9:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9906270)
Union Pacific Transferring Commuter Rail Services to Metra

https://www.up.com/media/releases/me...-nr-230330.htm

Does UP even use these tracks for anything other than passenger rail? I've always assumed they are shared lines, but maybe I totally made a bad assumption. I'm only familiar with the UP-NW route and have never seen anything other than Metra on the routes.

sukwoo Mar 31, 2023 1:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twister244 (Post 9906281)
Does UP even use these tracks for anything other than passenger rail? I've always assumed they are shared lines, but maybe I totally made a bad assumption. I'm only familiar with the UP-NW route and have never seen anything other than Metra on the routes.

The UP-West runs on Union Pacific's trunk line to California. Lots of freight traffic.

BVictor1 Apr 3, 2023 5:16 PM

April 2023 Plan Commission
 
132 E. Van Buren St. &
401-407 S. Michigan Ave.
(Loop, 42nd Ward)

A proposed Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance application, submitted by the Commuter Rail Division of the Regional Transportation Authority ("Metra"), for the property located at 132 E. Van Buren St. and 401-407 S. Michigan Ave. The site is currently zoned IPD No. 677, T District, POS-1 and is within the Public Use Zone of the Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection District. The applicant proposes to rehabilitate the Van Buren commuter rail station. The project will renovate station components and include a green roof as part of overall roof improvements, tunnel and stair construction, elevator “Pop-up” enclosures, ADA Improvements, platform improvements, and Van Buren Pedestrian Bridge ADA improvements.

nomarandlee Apr 3, 2023 6:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BVictor1 (Post 9909029)
132 E. Van Buren St. &
401-407 S. Michigan Ave.
(Loop, 42nd Ward)

A proposed Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance application, submitted by the Commuter Rail Division of the Regional Transportation Authority ("Metra"), for the property located at 132 E. Van Buren St. and 401-407 S. Michigan Ave. The site is currently zoned IPD No. 677, T District, POS-1 and is within the Public Use Zone of the Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection District. The applicant proposes to rehabilitate the Van Buren commuter rail station. The project will renovate station components and include a green roof as part of overall roof improvements, tunnel and stair construction, elevator “Pop-up” enclosures, ADA Improvements, platform improvements, and Van Buren Pedestrian Bridge ADA improvements.

Trying to read between the lines here, perhaps a little too closely. Is there even the smallest chance this funding could attempt to parlay this into decking over the station and that segment of Grant Park? I mean, talking about green roofs and "pop-up enclosures" certainly makes me ponder that the push to deck over the station could be attempted. How I wish......

Klippenstein Apr 3, 2023 10:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 9909087)
Trying to read between the lines here, perhaps a little too closely. Is there even the smallest chance this funding could attempt to parlay this into decking over the station and that segment of Grant Park? I mean, talking about green roofs and "pop-up enclosures" certainly makes me ponder that the push to deck over the station could be attempted. How I wish......

No. There was an article detailing some of the renovations that included an elevator shaft where the current Paris metro donated iron work is. It would be a pretty conventional “pop up” elevator shaft that meets ADA requirements. The roof that would be greened is the one over the current station that is west of the tracks probably would not even include the overhang over track 1, but I could be wrong.

ardecila Apr 4, 2023 3:25 AM

Yeah the green roof would replace the ugly gravel roof portion above the stationhouse, and tidy up all of the mechanical equipment in that area.

Supposedly it will also include a 3rd platform on the east side that will turn this from a 3-track station into a 4-track station. A 4th mainline track is needed through this area once South Shore starts running their West Lake trains to Dyer.

Overall this is a much-needed investment in a crumbling area of Grant Park. Hopefully they can do Congress Plaza next... for such an important part of the cityscape and a historically important site of protest, it's really in terrible condition.

ithakas Apr 4, 2023 5:47 PM

Does anyone know the most effective methods of lobbying for small changes in the walkability/streetscape of your neighborhood? (Ie. raised crosswalks, bumpouts, etc.)

Last night I walked to meet a family member to watch the championship game at a bar two blocks away from my apartment, and each way almost got hit by a car turning into a crosswalk where I had the right of way... so yeah, I'm thinking I'm pretty fed up.

https://www.looper.com/img/gallery/t...1638649352.jpg

ardecila Apr 4, 2023 6:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ithakas (Post 9909897)
Does anyone know the most effective methods of lobbying for small changes in the walkability/streetscape of your neighborhood? (Ie. raised crosswalks, bumpouts, etc.)

Last night I walked to meet a family member to watch the championship game at a bar two blocks away from my apartment, and each way almost got hit by a car turning into a crosswalk where I had the right of way... so yeah, I'm thinking I'm pretty fed up.

Write to your alderman or their chief of staff... each alderman gets "menu money" every year to do small projects. If you can rally a few hundred neighbors to support your idea and the cost is reasonable, there's a good chance you can make it happen. Raised crosswalks are not fully embraced by CDOT yet, but you can get a bumpout, a flashing stop sign, a median refuge island, restriping the crosswalk with paint, etc.

CDOT is also piloting "left turn hardening" which could be a solution for your problem, but those little flexposts don't survive very long:
https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/dept...e-to-impr.html

Randomguy34 Apr 7, 2023 7:38 PM

Here's a Q&A Crain's editorial board held for Johnson two weeks ago, below are his responses regarding transit. Glad to see the Union Station revamp and BRT are a priority!

Quote:

How well is the CTA working now?
I think from the standpoint of the riders, we're fed up with CTA service. And I think CTA workers are also fed up with being assaulted and attacked. They’re not social service workers, but they often find themselves at the front lines of the social issues our City is facing. On-time performance has plummeted. People are waiting longer for their bus or train to arrive, and they don’t feel safe on the platforms. Staffing levels are way down.

What should be done differently?
There is a wide range of things that should be done differently. The CTA needs to make reliability its Number One priority. If service is fast, reliable, clean, and safe, people will leave the car at home and take the train or bus instead. I think the CTA could be more customer-oriented. Bus rapid transit (BRT) should be expanded and fully implemented across key corridors in Chicago. I want to create 500 bus priority signals to speed trips. I will work with the CTA to address the staffing shortage it is facing. There was a study that looked at this issue and its leading recommendation was to listen to the transit workers themselves, to make them a part of the decision-making process. It also concluded that transit agencies need to figure out how to have better working environments. The CTA can and must be a place where Chicagoans go and seek a fulfilling career. We need to hire and train 1,000 new bus and train operators, and we need to pay them fairly.

Where does revamping Union Station stand on your priority list?
I fully support the coalition of state, local, and federal leaders in their request for $251 million in MEGA grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for this important project. While Chicago wasn't on the list of recipients this year, I think next year we can put together an even better proposal from an even bigger coalition.

Should the city continue with its $9.5 billion O’Hare terminal expansion and modernization program?
The Department of Aviation is leading that project. The CDA is self-supporting and gets its money for airport improvements from airport-related fees, taxes, and agreements with the airlines. O’Hare airport is one of Chicago’s greatest assets, and these projects will help keep it that way. Raising the airline fuels tax would also help fund needed improvements.
https://www.chicagobusiness.com/poli...-questionnaire

Roy_Batty Apr 18, 2023 1:36 AM

Does anyone know if there are any future plans to build overpasses for grade separation in those tracks north to Union Station in West Loop? For all the new high density developments in West Loop, level crossings make the neighborhood feel somehow underdeveloped and industrial. Not to forget these tracks are used by 3 Metra lines and Amtrak services to the west, being one of the main arteries feeding Union Station.

jpIllInoIs Apr 20, 2023 5:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roy_Batty (Post 9921038)
Does anyone know if there are any future plans to build overpasses for grade separation in those tracks north to Union Station in West Loop? For all the new high density developments in West Loop, level crossings make the neighborhood feel somehow underdeveloped and industrial. Not to forget these tracks are used by 3 Metra lines and Amtrak services to the west, being one of the main arteries feeding Union Station.

NONE, although there is a plan to add a Metra station at Racine. https://chicago.urbanize.city/post/w...-alderman-says

Roy_Batty Apr 24, 2023 3:59 AM

I just read in Chicago YIMBY that the Van Buren Metra station overhaul is going to cost 100 million USD. That only includes changing and expanding the entrance in the east side of Michigan Avenue (the one with the Paris Metro art nouveau access structure), replacing broken windows and overall esthetics of the west entrance, making the roof a rooftop garden, adding stairs and a ramp to the existing bridge crossing the station, some basic updates to the house station + platform and adding a new access via Jackson street with ramps and elevators. How can this cost 100 million USD? This seems overly expensive.

ardecila Apr 24, 2023 4:52 AM

It’s a bigger project than you think, they are digging up everything in the park between Michigan and the rail trench, going two levels down, and rebuilding from scratch. The existing ramped tunnels don’t meet ADA slope requirements and they leak like a sieve, so hopefully the total rebuild will solve both problems.

They are also building a 4th mainline track and a 3rd platform east of the existing two, which should provide more capacity into Millennium Station for South Shore’s new line to Dyer.

glowrock Apr 24, 2023 12:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9926592)
It’s a bigger project than you think, they are digging up everything in the park between Michigan and the rail trench, going two levels down, and rebuilding from scratch. The existing ramped tunnels don’t meet ADA slope requirements and they leak like a sieve, so hopefully the total rebuild will solve both problems.

They are also building a 4th mainline track and a 3rd platform east of the existing two, which should provide more capacity into Millennium Station for South Shore’s new line to Dyer.

Exactly. So much of this revamp won't really be noticed by most people using the station, yet everything listed is of the utmost importance to address. I'm glad Metra is doing what really needs to be done instead of some haphazard patchwork that only address a few critical issues but leaves everything else neglected.

Aaron (Glowrock)

Randomguy34 Apr 25, 2023 10:47 PM

43rd St station renovation

https://files.constantcontact.com/55...d033b1a7da.png

Quote:

The Chicago Transit Authority is proposing upgrades to the existing 43rd St. Green Line station. Improvements include: A new entryway into station house with a full glass entry for better light and security, new smaller footprint exit stair on southwest corner, improved cover and handrails on southeast stair, improved platform guard rails and barriers to prevent unwanted entry to adjacent properties, upgraded platform canopy and fascia, new interior stairs, ceilings, and other finishes, upgraded security cameras and systems, modernized elevators with new floors and other finishes, and installation of new artwork.

Currently, the renovations are in the design procurement and environmental coordination stages. Design development will continue through Q2 2024, with construction beginning in Q4 2024. According to the preliminary schedule, CTA estimates substantial project completion by Q2 2025.
https://myemail.constantcontact.com/...id=OI_Byg58CO0

sentinel Apr 26, 2023 9:36 PM

Does anyone know what the status of the State & Lake superstation currently is?

lakeshoredrive Apr 27, 2023 6:21 PM

I just saw that Johnson appointed Buckner to the sub-committee for public transit. That is really good news in my opinion. Hopefully this will help with CTA becoming reliable again.

chicagoguy1 Apr 27, 2023 9:30 PM

Not only reliable, but more importantly safe. riding the redline in this city is like the wild wild west, I think riding a train in Afghanistan would be safer and cleaner

Chicago Shawn Apr 27, 2023 11:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sentinel (Post 9929316)
Does anyone know what the status of the State & Lake superstation currently is?

Utility relocations are ongoing, quite a bit of that work has since been completed.

Chicago Shawn Apr 27, 2023 11:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lakeshoredrive (Post 9930086)
I just saw that Johnson appointed Buckner to the sub-committee for public transit. That is really good news in my opinion. Hopefully this will help with CTA becoming reliable again.

Great move, also helps that Buckner can introduce legislation in the state house to help with the inevitable fiscal crises CTA will be facing in the near future. If he is directly engaged with CTA, that will hopefully make this process proactive rather than a 11th hour solution to head off a doomsday scenario of service cuts.

SIGSEGV Apr 28, 2023 4:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 9930459)
Utility relocations are ongoing, quite a bit of that work has since been completed.

My condo association sent this update about it:

Quote:

State/Lake Station Project Utility Work Update – 4/26/23

CDOT, the Alderman’s office, and the Chicago Loop Alliance are committed to keeping stakeholders as informed as possible as advance relocations by utility companies continues. Work status updates are below. If your business or building’s utility service(s) are affected by the ongoing work, the utility company will contact you directly. All dates and durations listed below are weather dependent.



CenTrio (chilled water) construction work at street/sidewalk level is complete. Some final insulation installation and cabling may be finishing up in the next few days.



ComEd (electricity) completed construction work at street/sidewalk level on Wabash Ave north of Lake St and will start installing cables next week. Work on Wabash Ave south of Lake St is still underway. Work on the southeast corner of Lake St and State St will occur the next two weekends, April 28-30 and May 5-7. Additional work on Lake St will start in the next few weeks. ComEd work will last through August.



Western Utility (telecoms) is actively working on State St. Work between Randolph and Benton Pl/Couch Pl is expected to finish 5-19-23 and work between Benton Pl/Couch Pl is expected to finish 6-9-23. Work on Lake St will start immediately following.



Lane Closure Impacts

During construction of utility relocates, at least 1 lane will remain open on Lake St and Wabash Ave and 1 lane each direction on State St.



Work Hours

ComEd and Western Utility will generally be working daytime hours. Daytime hours are 9-4 M-F and 8-8 Sat. Some ComEd work may occur between 6:00-10:00 PM, to better accommodate CTA’s daytime bus service. Utility companies are aware of and required to abide by the Chicago noise ordinance, which limits noisy work in overnight hours.


The utility work has somehow resulted in power outages to our elevators :shrug:

Randomguy34 Apr 28, 2023 5:25 AM

Surprised Janesville, WI is even considering a Metra stop as an option. The only way that would work is if Metra is chosen to operate the Rockford-Chicago route.

Rock County will form ad hoc committee to examine rail service expansion
Quote:

Rock County will form an ad hoc committee to explore passenger rail development in the county.

County Supervisor Jim Farrell of Janesville, who drafted a resolution that was approved by the county board two weeks ago, said the ad hoc committee will work with the cities of Janesville and Beloit to examine the potential of rail expansion.

The county sent a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration in September with hopes of securing a rail stop in the county either in Janesville or Beloit to connect to Madison and Milwaukee via Amtrak.

Farrell and County Administrator Josh Smith have met with representatives from the High Speed Rail Alliance, a group lobbying for passenger rail expansion. The resolution said passenger rail expansion through Rock County is “more likely” to be through Metra routes from Chicago and its northwest suburbs.


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