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pyropius Jan 15, 2011 10:45 PM

Is there any talk of bringing back A/B stations on the red line?

My biggest beef is getting up to Evanston during non-rush periods. When I do it, I all too often end up waiting at Howard for a purple line train for ten minutes or more. I'm not alone, either; in my experience there are usually a lot of people waiting on the platform that came on the red line with me, especially around noon. It would be nice if say every other or every third NB non-rush red line train continued on to Evanston, as it would save a lot of people that transfer time. I also worry that the CTA wouldn't recognize that this is an unmet need because (I believe) they don't have figures for how many passengers ride the red line through to the purple line, since (I believe) they track only boardings.

I know it's largely self-serving, but I think there would be a demand for a non-rush quasi-express service on the red line via a combination of A/B (or other limited-stop) service and some trains that continue on to Evanston.

ardecila Jan 15, 2011 11:48 PM

That's why they plan to expand the express service through new stations at Wilson and Loyola in certain alternatives. That would accompany the introduction of more express service. I'm not sure how it would work operationally... they might send the Purple Line into the State St Subway, or they might only run it as far as Belmont or Fullerton (taking over from Howard as the transfer point), or they might just extend the existing rush-hour service into a 5am-10pm sorta thing from Linden to the Loop.

Equilibria Jan 16, 2011 12:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pyropius (Post 5127428)
It would be nice if say every other or every third NB non-rush red line train continued on to Evanston, as it would save a lot of people that transfer time.

As a fellow Evanston resident, I've puzzled over why this hasn't been done already. My best guess (other than the historical element) is that the CTA would face opposition from Evanston and particularly Wilmette residents about the "bad element" taking the train up from the South Side. I actually think that's the biggest reason the Purple Line exists at all at this point. (I don't mean to pick on Wilmette - that would be the dead end for people who rode all the way).

It's unfortunate that people would think that way, but the Red Line does have a bit of a seedy reputation up here. Not so much of a problem during rush hour, but late at night...

VivaLFuego Jan 16, 2011 3:10 AM

^ More problematically, the Purple Line platforms can only handle 6-car trains, while the Red Line runs 8-car trains from about 6am til 10pm.

pyropius Jan 19, 2011 2:47 AM

:previous: Ah, I didn't realize that.

ardecila Jan 20, 2011 7:43 AM

Quote:

RTA to weigh cost, practicality of switching diesel locomotives to electric
Concern over soot, emissions prompts officials to study issue
January 18, 2011|By Richard Wronski, Tribune reporter


Of Metra's 11 routes, the Electric Line is the only one whose trains are powered by electricity. But with heightened concerns over toxic locomotive fumes, some officials wonder if dumping diesel power on Metra's other lines isn't such a bad idea.

No one is proposing that Metra stop running diesel, Costello said, but the RTA and the Transit Finance Learning Exchange are co-hosting a March 22 discussion of the costs and issues involved in converting to electric commuter rail lines.

-----

Metra says electrifying its 10 diesel lines would be hugely impractical.

"To convert from diesel, you'd have to rebuild the entire line and start from scratch," spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said. "The costs are astronomical."

Metra bought the former Illinois Central Electric line in 1987. The IC electrified its commuter tracks in 1926 to allay complaints of smoke and noise from steam locomotives along the lakefront.
Electrifying the whole Metra network might be impractical. However, if it can be done on the BNSF and the UP-North lines, it would be hugely beneficial to the service. At rush hour, trains are packed very densely on these lines. Especially on the BNSF, I'm not sure there's any more room for growth, withe one of the busiest schedules in the country for passenger rail (both Metra and Amtrak) and one of the busiest schedules in the country for freight.

Electrification would allow for quicker acceleration, shaving a few minutes here and there and possibly allowing for another set of trains to be added. Of course, the wires would need to be designed to allow double-stack containers underneath them. It is possible... the Indians have already done it.

Plus, BNSF has already indicated that they're willing to consider electrification. Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but Berkshire Hathaway owns both BNSF and IMPulse NC (an overhead wire company). ;)

Beta_Magellan Jan 20, 2011 7:59 PM

I remember reading that electrification was supposed to be finished in the thirties, but it was interrupted by Great Depression and only the IC was able to finish. It definitely made the most sense to electrify that line first, since it probably had the highest density of riders at the time and basically worked more like a rapid transit than commuter line, and the Electric District still has the second-highest number of passengers per mile today. However, the interurbans at that time also ran on electric power to the western and northern suburbs, so maybe the C&NW and whatever the BNSF's predecessor was saw less need to electrify their lines as they occupied different niches (I think--don't know much about regional rail in the early-mid twentieth century).

It would be great to electrify the BNSF and UP-North, but at least on the BNSF line we'd miss out on one of the big benefits--switching to lightweight EMU's along the lines of what Caltrain hopes to do, since there's way too much freight on that line. I could see it working on the UP-North and Northwest given the low levels of freight traffic there, but that would preclude eventually through-routing it to the BNSF line (I know how impossible the West Loop Transportation Center seems, but I was at one of the Go TO 2040 meetings this summer and CMAP emphatically stated that Metra needs really through-routing). Still, we'd be able to claim that Chicago has nuclear-powered trains. :cool:

ardecila Jan 20, 2011 8:54 PM

In the 1920s, the BNSF would have been the CB&Q (Burlington Route).

Caltrain may have the option of switching to EMUs, but Chicago simply doesn't. Not unless we accept EMUs heavy enough to operate on US railroads (like SEPTA uses). If Metra electrified, we'd most likely end up more like NJT, with some European knockoff locomotive pulling the same bilevel cars we've always used.

Thundertubs Jan 20, 2011 9:01 PM

In light of mayoral candidate Emanuel's recent endorsement of the Red Line extension to 130th Street: I'm curious, what is capacity like on the Dan Ryan branch? Would there be enough room to handle riders from the four proposed new stations, or would more trains need to be added?

Busy Bee Jan 20, 2011 9:11 PM

^Yeah, lightweight EMU's (like a Stadtler or Siemens Desiro) are better suited to 1 to 2 train length consists. The passenger volume on most of Metra's long-haul commuter lines warrants bigger and longer trainsets anyway. Think Berlin S-Bahn, Paris RER, London Overground. FRA compatibilty is only one issue, and an issue I don't think would really be part of the equation. As far as North American operations, an electrified Metra line would pretty much look just like the current Metra Electric or CSS+SB. Other examples of course would be Metro North New Haven branch, NJT (Arrow cars) and Septa suburban routes. I see no reason that with electrification, Metra would continue with locomotive hauled push-pull consists. Technology has made that type of operation less desirable and efficient through the introduction of powered bogies under multiple cars that increases acceleration and multi-car dynamic braking.

BVictor1 Jan 20, 2011 10:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thundertubs (Post 5133472)
In light of mayoral candidate Emanuel's recent endorsement of the Red Line extension to 130th Street: I'm curious, what is capacity like on the Dan Ryan branch? Would there be enough room to handle riders from the four proposed new stations, or would more trains need to be added?

Because there's a longer distance to travel, there would more likely be more trains added.

VivaLFuego Jan 20, 2011 10:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thundertubs (Post 5133472)
In light of mayoral candidate Emanuel's recent endorsement of the Red Line extension to 130th Street: I'm curious, what is capacity like on the Dan Ryan branch? Would there be enough room to handle riders from the four proposed new stations, or would more trains need to be added?

At present, service levels and capacity are primarily driven by the northern half of the route. Also, the nature of ridership on the Dan Ryan branch involves a lot of rides within the branch --- it's less downtown-focused than other routes, so it's peak vehicle requirement isn't as steep.

That said, the extension would obviously still require the purchase of more railcars because of the increased running time of the route (i.e. even at similar service frequencies as now, you'd need more railcars to provide service).

whyhuhwhy Jan 21, 2011 1:08 AM

Chicago No. 1 in road congestion
New study says commuters here waste an average of 70 hours on the road annually
By Jon Hilkevitch, TRIBUNE REPORTER

http://www.chicagotribune.com/classi...,4877984.story

--

Is there ANY good news lately in Chicago? I used to be really fond of this place, even just 10 years ago, but my wife and I are actively trying to leave lately, it's just a matter of finding another job. Everything just seems to be getting worse here.

the urban politician Jan 21, 2011 3:27 AM

^ There's plenty of good news.

But no amount of good news will convince the person who has already made up his own mind. You chose to leave, and now you're rationalizing your decision.

Mr Downtown Jan 21, 2011 4:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 5133491)
I see no reason that with electrification, Metra would continue with locomotive hauled push-pull consists.

Cost of the rolling stock. One loco and nine unpowered trailers is cheaper than 10 MU cars. Look at NJTransit, which has moved away from MU operation to loco-hauled.

Beta_Magellan Jan 21, 2011 5:28 AM

And aren’t the new Metra Electric trains mixing in unpowered cars pulled by EMU pairs, too?

CTA Gray Line Jan 21, 2011 6:23 AM

http://www.ntui.org/itef/cta-to-wast...oggle#more-324

As stated here by the NTUI, the Red Line Extension is a HUGE WASTE of SCARCE Transit Capital Funds (like the +$200 Million spent on the U N U S E D Block 37 Airport Express SuperStation) ; when there is a Project that would create NINE TIMES AS MANY New CTA 'L' Stations (37 vs 4) on Chicago's South Side for ONE / SEVENTH the Red Line Extensions Capital Cost ($200 Million vs $1.2 BILLION): http://bit.ly/GrayLineInfo

And on Page 19 of their Getting-on-Track Report, CNT and CTAQC recommend the Gray Line Project for Immediate Funding above A L L Transportation Projects in the entire Chicago Area: http://www.illinoispirg.org/uploads/...g-on-Track.pdf

CTA Gray Line Jan 21, 2011 6:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5134123)
And aren’t the new Metra Electric trains mixing in unpowered cars pulled by EMU pairs, too?

No, they are all Motor Cars (and thus all have to be Inspected and Certified as Locomotives - more expensive than plain trailers).

emathias Jan 21, 2011 7:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 5134196)
http://www.ntui.org/itef/cta-to-wast...oggle#more-324

As stated here by the NTUI, the Red Line Extension is a HUGE WASTE of SCARCE Transit Capital Funds (like the +$200 Million spent on the U N U S E D Block 37 Airport Express SuperStation) ; when there is a Project that would create NINE TIMES AS MANY New CTA 'L' Stations (37 vs 4) on Chicago's South Side for ONE / SEVENTH the Red Line Extensions Capital Cost ($200 Million vs $1.2 BILLION): http://bit.ly/GrayLineInfo

And on Page 19 of their Getting-on-Track Report, CNT and CTAQC recommend the Gray Line Project for Immediate Funding above A L L Transportation Projects in the entire Chicago Area: http://www.illinoispirg.org/uploads/...g-on-Track.pdf

I think you're mostly preaching to the choir, Mike :cheers:

CTA Gray Line Jan 21, 2011 9:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5134234)
I think you're mostly preaching to the choir, Mike :cheers:

Thanks, that is Really Good to hear!!

ardecila Jan 21, 2011 11:43 AM

Eh, I think they should build both. If the Grey Line would really be that cheap, then Illinois can probably pull that out of a state capital bill once the state has some money again, with no Federal funding required.

They won't do it, of course (even though they could) because the people at Metra have their head stuck up their ass. They plan the STAR Line, ask for several billion from the Feds to build it, and then call electrification a pipe dream. Asshats.

On the worthiness of the Red Line extension: 95th was never designed to be a proper terminal. It has hundreds of buses coming in and out, and it's overcrowded because of all the people trying to transfer from train>bus and vice versa. That's CTA's public rationale for the extension, as well as the usual stuff about replacing bus operating costs with rail operating costs, etc... It's not bullshit, though.... 95th is a very poorly-planned station for the high amount of traffic it has, and there's no room to expand without tearing up the neighborhood and the Dan Ryan along with it.

Plus, if anybody is driving into the city from the south, there's no park-and-ride for them to use, and surrounding streets are both dangerous and the street parking is heavily restricted with various permits.

OrdoSeclorum Jan 21, 2011 4:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 5133790)
Chicago No. 1 in road congestion
New study says commuters here waste an average of 70 hours on the road annually
By Jon Hilkevitch, TRIBUNE REPORTER

http://www.chicagotribune.com/classi...,4877984.story

--

Is there ANY good news lately in Chicago? I used to be really fond of this place, even just 10 years ago, but my wife and I are actively trying to leave lately, it's just a matter of finding another job. Everything just seems to be getting worse here.


Lots of good news, in fact.

On this topic though, there's awesome news. In September a study of commute times showed that Chicago has the shortest commutes in the country of any city in the country. Nashville and Oklahoma City are te worst. It's because we don't have to go very far and because we have options. This study assumes that every car traveling under 60mph is experiencing congestion. The speed limit on highways in the city is 55mph, so if you are driving at 3:00 AM on the Dan Ryan, you're experiencing traffic delays.

Chicago, lowest commute times in the country: http://www.ceosforcities.org/pagefil...aphicFINAL.jpg

whyhuhwhy Jan 21, 2011 4:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 5133944)
^ There's plenty of good news.

But no amount of good news will convince the person who has already made up his own mind. You chose to leave, and now you're rationalizing your decision.

Wrong. I didn't choose to leave, I have a good job and haven't quit yet. I'm not trying to rationalize anything. I won't lie when I say both my wife and I *want* to leave lately though, and we are both born and raised here/nearby. Just five years ago I was Mr. Chicago with all my friends. I convinced two of my best friends to move here, one from West Palm Beach, another from Milwaukee, and decided on a job here versus better paying ones elsewhere.

But please tell me some good news. I mean it. I need to hear it as I'm on my wits ends. I want to want to stay here. I bought a home in the city and the value is WAY down, we have the highest gas prices in the country, the worst traffic congestion (worse than LA!), the most scary pension/deficit problem in the entire country (look at what we spend and what we take in, look at our pension obligations, we're screwed and I predict the state of Illinois to declare bankruptcy if Congress ever allows this), my state income tax just went up 67% along with everyone else who lives here poor or rich, and people in this state/city just keep re-electing the same people over and over again without wanting any change and instead of cutting spending in this state they "won't increase it more than 2% year over year." And people are leaving. My best friend from West Palm just moved to Peoria. And according to United Vans we have the most negative domestic migration in the country right now, worse than Detroit.

Please tell me something good I need to hear it. I may be able to put up with all of the above if we had world class transit or the weather were actually decent, but Chicago has neither. I hate to sound like a hater but most of my friends have become the same way and have really turned on Chicago lately. It's like we are a constant laughing stock around the country lately.

schwerve Jan 21, 2011 4:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 5134196)
http://www.ntui.org/itef/cta-to-wast...oggle#more-324

As stated here by the NTUI, the Red Line Extension is a HUGE WASTE of SCARCE Transit Capital Funds (like the +$200 Million spent on the U N U S E D Block 37 Airport Express SuperStation) ; when there is a Project that would create NINE TIMES AS MANY New CTA 'L' Stations (37 vs 4) on Chicago's South Side for ONE / SEVENTH the Red Line Extensions Capital Cost ($200 Million vs $1.2 BILLION): http://bit.ly/GrayLineInfo

And on Page 19 of their Getting-on-Track Report, CNT and CTAQC recommend the Gray Line Project for Immediate Funding above A L L Transportation Projects in the entire Chicago Area: http://www.illinoispirg.org/uploads/...g-on-Track.pdf

If you want to spend 200 million dollars to increase trains on the ME, I'm all for it. However, be honest about the plan, it isn't new service, it's increased service. You purposely use the transfer of title from Metra to the CTA to misleadingly call the project a "a new CTA line". In fact there's no reason to change agencies on the line at all. Why would the CTA spend $200 million dollars on a line that, according to your website, loses money for Metra and doesn't connect into CTA's existing system? That's certainly a boondoogle. Instead of calling your little transit fantasy "the Grey line" be an adult and call for money to be spent on improved Metra service. Most people are behind that, including myself.

whyhuhwhy Jan 21, 2011 4:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OrdoSeclorum (Post 5134501)
Lots of good news, in fact.

On this topic though, there's awesome news. In September a study of commute times showed that Chicago has the shortest commutes in the country of any city in the country. Nashville and Oklahoma City are te worst. It's because we don't have to go very far and because we have options. This study assumes that every car traveling under 60mph is experiencing congestion. The speed limit on highways in the city is 55mph, so if you are driving at 3:00 AM on the Dan Ryan, you're experiencing traffic delays.

Chicago, lowest commute times in the country: http://www.ceosforcities.org/pagefil...aphicFINAL.jpg

The traffic is bad here and it is getting much worse though. The mother of all studies (the TTI annual mobility report) confirms this.

VivaLFuego Jan 21, 2011 5:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 5134503)
Wrong. I didn't choose to leave, I have a good job and haven't quit yet. I'm not trying to rationalize anything. I won't lie when I say both my wife and I *want* to leave lately though, and we are both born and raised here/nearby. Just five years ago I was Mr. Chicago with all my friends. I convinced two of my best friends to move here, one from West Palm Beach, another from Milwaukee, and decided on a job here versus better paying ones elsewhere.

But please tell me some good news. I mean it. I need to hear it as I'm on my wits ends. I want to want to stay here. I bought a home in the city and the value is WAY down, we have the highest gas prices in the country, the worst traffic congestion (worse than LA!), the most scary pension/deficit problem in the entire country (look at what we spend and what we take in, look at our pension obligations, we're screwed and I predict the state of Illinois to declare bankruptcy if Congress ever allows this), my state income tax just went up 67% along with everyone else who lives here poor or rich, and people in this state/city just keep re-electing the same people over and over again without wanting any change and instead of cutting spending in this state they "won't increase it more than 2% year over year." And people are leaving. My best friend from West Palm just moved to Peoria. And according to United Vans we have the most negative domestic migration in the country right now, worse than Detroit.

Please tell me something good I need to hear it. I may be able to put up with all of the above if we had world class transit or the weather were actually decent, but Chicago has neither. I hate to sound like a hater but most of my friends have become the same way and have really turned on Chicago lately. It's like we are a constant laughing stock around the country lately.

Like tup says, it sounds like your mind is made up. Remember that most of the country has a fairly negative outlook at the moment... where are you thinking looks better these days? Even booming Texas now has a $25bn budget deficit. Most states are looking at some form of tax increases. And if you enjoy the things that make a city a city, how many states with major urban centers have a lower tax environment than Illinois, even with the income tax increase?

The traffic congestion stats are a bit... weird, and not very useful for broad generalizations. It all depends when and where you're driving. Chicago's peak road congestion is bad, but otherwise mobility is quite good outside of a few bottlenecks. LA is just jammed all day.

VivaLFuego Jan 21, 2011 5:35 PM

For those interested, CTA has posted this "Scoping Book" in preparation for the public EIS meetings next week:

http://www.transitchicago.com/assets...purple_FTA.pdf

emathias Jan 21, 2011 6:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 5134530)
If you want to spend 200 million dollars to increase trains on the ME, I'm all for it. However, be honest about the plan, it isn't new service, it's increased service. You purposely use the transfer of title from Metra to the CTA to misleadingly call the project a "a new CTA line". In fact there's no reason to change agencies on the line at all. Why would the CTA spend $200 million dollars on a line that, according to your website, loses money for Metra and doesn't connect into CTA's existing system? That's certainly a boondoogle. Instead of calling your little transit fantasy "the Grey line" be an adult and call for money to be spent on improved Metra service. Most people are behind that, including myself.

First off, it's the "Gray Line" since we're in the U.S. and not Britain, not the "Grey" line.

Second, there would be no reason to change agencies if Metra actually cared about City services. But they don't, and they've REPEATEDLY stated so, and demonstrated so. Even then it might not be necessary if Metra stopped ignoring the REQUIREMENT given it by the RTA to develop a unified fare system with the CTA. Metra has steadfastly refused and/or intentionally dragged its feet on that, though, meaning that it doesn't "connect" to the CTA physically, but it also doesn't "connect" via fare medium. If Metra Electric local service were turned into a CTA operation, service would be more frequent, bus transfers would be handled under CTA norms, which would almost instantly increase ridership (and take some pressure off the Red Line but also induce new ridership), and it would make certain things - like re-extending the Green Line to Jackson Park (for what would be a much-improved transfer-connection to "normal" CTA rail service) easier and more likely to happen.

In other words, despite your condescending "adult" snide (the man who is advocating the Gray Line is very much an adult and has been advocating for it for nearly 20 years now), the idea of bringing local Metra Electric service under the operations of the CTA may be the only way to bring service levels up to a level appropriate for the needs of City residents. It neatly sidesteps a number of contentious Metra/suburbs/city issues, and while it would probably cost more than $200 million, it would almost certainly cost less than the Red Line extension while providing service enhancements that would positively impact far more people than the Red Line extension will.

CTA Gray Line Jan 21, 2011 6:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 5134530)
If you want to spend 200 million dollars to increase trains on the ME, I'm all for it. However, be honest about the plan, it isn't new service, it's increased service. You purposely use the transfer of title from Metra to the CTA to misleadingly call the project a "a new CTA line".

>> I don't understand why people keep having that misinterpretation, there is N O "change of title"; CTA would LEASE operation of the Metra trains by Metra crews (NO CTA personnel would be involved in any train operation).



In fact there's no reason to change agencies on the line at all. Why would the CTA spend $200 million dollars on a line that, according to your website, loses money for Metra and doesn't connect into CTA's existing system?

>> Did you read "Access and Transfers" on the first "Welcome to the Gray Line Website" Page?? And besides transfers downtown it would allow complete intertransfer with A L L the CTA bus lines it intersects throughout Chicago's South Side.

That's certainly a boondoogle. Instead of calling your little transit fantasy "the Grey line" (correctly spelled GRAY Line) be an adult and call for money to be spent on improved Metra service. Most people are behind that, including myself.

>> Thanks for your support!!

emathias Jan 21, 2011 6:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 5134503)
...
we are both born and raised here/nearby.
...

Have you ever lived anywhere else? Are you sure you're not just experiencing "the grass is always greener" syndrome during the worst national recession in your lifetime?

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 5134503)
... I bought a home in the city and the value is WAY down, ...

This is true in the majority of the country, and for the most part it's not any one region's fault - it was a national problem.

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 5134503)
... we have the highest gas prices in the country, the worst traffic congestion (worse than LA!) ...

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 5134503)
... my state income tax just went up 67% along with everyone else who lives here poor or rich, and people in this state/city just keep re-electing the same people over and over again without wanting any change and instead of cutting spending in this state they "won't increase it more than 2% year over year." ...

I don't like that tax rate either, and they DEFINITELY should cut more. But even with the increase, Illinois and even Chicago do not have an unusually high tax burden relative to other states and large cities. Despite all the hype, we're still not in the top five for overall tax burden, and once the dust settles we'll probably still not be in the top 10. Before the recent issues, we weren't even in the top 20.

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 5134503)
... And people are leaving. My best friend from West Palm just moved to Peoria. And according to United Vans we have the most negative domestic migration in the country right now, worse than Detroit. ...

I don't know where you're getting your data. As far as I can tell, United Vans only publishes state-level data, not city-level. And even then, for 2010 (the most recent study) Illinois does NOT have the worst net domestic migration in the country - not even close. What state does? New Jersey. Even in the Midwest, Michigan and Missouri both have higher losses than Illinois. According to the list, we're closer in numbers to New York and Indiana than we are to New Jersey and Michigan.

Besides, almost all big, international cities have high domestic out-migration just due to the nature of how cities work. Young single people move to big cities to get jobs or go to school. They work hard, do well, have kids (this is key - two people move in, two people plus kids move out) and some (not all, but some) choose to settle elsewhere, often in smaller, quieter places since with kids they can't afford the avail themselves of the city's advantages anyway. Not something to worry about to bash a city over, it's just the way the world works.

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 5134503)
Please tell me something good I need to hear it. I may be able to put up with all of the above if we had world class transit or the weather were actually decent, but Chicago has neither. I hate to sound like a hater but most of my friends have become the same way and have really turned on Chicago lately. It's like we are a constant laughing stock around the country lately.

Weather here ain't great. But on balance I don't think it's any worse than Boston or New York City or Toronto or even Philly. It's certainly no worse than places like Berlin and Moscow and Beijing and Minneapolis.

Transit here is better than you give it credit for. It could be better, for sure, but car travel and transit do compete. I think Chicago has a good balance. It's a lot easier to drive here than it is in Paris or London, and we still have very useable transit (I'm car-free here for the past 12 years) even if it's not quite as rail-comprehensive as Paris or New York.

Honestly, the only thing that really worries me about Illinois (and thus Chicago) is the pensions issue. And I think that can be worked out. The rest of the issues, even the other budget issues, I know can and will be worked out. Chicago is still positioned very well to take advantage of a recovery. I've been here 15 years. I grew up near Portland, Oregon, which a lot of urban people admire, and I have family in Idaho, which a lot of anti-tax, anti-government people admire. But I have no interest in trading Chicago for either of those places. No place is perfect, but Chicago really is a great city and, despite some big problems (largely also problems in the rest of the nation), I think it's still on the upswing.

Beta_Magellan Jan 21, 2011 6:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 5134546)
The traffic is bad here and it is getting much worse though. The mother of all studies (the TTI annual mobility report) confirms this.

Whose methodology is flawed, according to Brookings:

Quote:

The critique, by Joe Cortright, argues that comparing travel times during rush hour to other times of day misses a key element: the lengths of those trips. Compare Charlotte and Chicago. While the TTI regularly identifies Chicago as one of the worst performers, Cortright’s study shows that not only are traffic delays in these two metros nearly the same, the situation in Charlotte is actually much worse since Charlotte travelers spend much more time on their trip and are exposed to traffic for a much longer period of time. The rub, according to Cortright, is that by failing to account for travel distance, it misses a key component of metropolitan traffic: land use and development patterns.

In fact, Cortright turns the whole thing on its head. Places like Nashville, Oklahoma City, Birmingham, and Kansas City that rank ok by the TTI are actually the worst performers according to the CEOs for Cities study. Conversely, Miami, New York, Sacramento, and Chicago turn out to be not so bad after all. In other words, the emphasis here is on accessibility (more economic and social interaction) rather than mobility (more movement).
Also take a look at this pdf from the National Transportation Policy Project.

schwerve Jan 21, 2011 7:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5134688)
First off, it's the "Gray Line" since we're in the U.S. and not Britain, not the "Grey" line.

Second, there would be no reason to change agencies if Metra actually cared about City services. But they don't, and they've REPEATEDLY stated so, and demonstrated so. Even then it might not be necessary if Metra stopped ignoring the REQUIREMENT given it by the RTA to develop a unified fare system with the CTA. Metra has steadfastly refused and/or intentionally dragged its feet on that, though, meaning that it doesn't "connect" to the CTA physically, but it also doesn't "connect" via fare medium. If Metra Electric local service were turned into a CTA operation, service would be more frequent, bus transfers would be handled under CTA norms, which would almost instantly increase ridership (and take some pressure off the Red Line but also induce new ridership), and it would make certain things - like re-extending the Green Line to Jackson Park (for what would be a much-improved transfer-connection to "normal" CTA rail service) easier and more likely to happen.

In other words, despite your condescending "adult" snide (the man who is advocating the Gray Line is very much an adult and has been advocating for it for nearly 20 years now), the idea of bringing local Metra Electric service under the operations of the CTA may be the only way to bring service levels up to a level appropriate for the needs of City residents. It neatly sidesteps a number of contentious Metra/suburbs/city issues, and while it would probably cost more than $200 million, it would almost certainly cost less than the Red Line extension while providing service enhancements that would positively impact far more people than the Red Line extension will.

You've accurately described the problem, and I agree with that assessment. But this is not a serious solution because it does not deal with any of the new issues created. The CTA is just used as a foil to highlight the issues with Metra without actually assessing the limitations and complicated bureaucracy which would need to be created to actually implement the solution. The idea of incorporating a completely independent rail system which they don't maintain, operate, or train personnel, but are completely responsible for in the eyes of the public for is a nightmare. The CTA had issues with the yellow line because it had overhead caternary electrification and you don't think that moving the ME to the CTA wouldn't result in a host of new problems? Again, I have no issues with the idea of spending money to increase service on that portion of the line, but if the proposal wants to be taken seriously by me and others, don't ignore the host of problems associated with the solution and label it for what it is. It should say something when one guy has been arguing for something for twenty years and almost nobody takes him seriously.

Nowhereman1280 Jan 21, 2011 7:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 5134503)
Wrong. I didn't choose to leave, I have a good job and haven't quit yet. I'm not trying to rationalize anything. I won't lie when I say both my wife and I *want* to leave lately though, and we are both born and raised here/nearby. Just five years ago I was Mr. Chicago with all my friends. I convinced two of my best friends to move here, one from West Palm Beach, another from Milwaukee, and decided on a job here versus better paying ones elsewhere.

But please tell me some good news. I mean it. I need to hear it as I'm on my wits ends. I want to want to stay here. I bought a home in the city and the value is WAY down, we have the highest gas prices in the country, the worst traffic congestion (worse than LA!), the most scary pension/deficit problem in the entire country (look at what we spend and what we take in, look at our pension obligations, we're screwed and I predict the state of Illinois to declare bankruptcy if Congress ever allows this), my state income tax just went up 67% along with everyone else who lives here poor or rich, and people in this state/city just keep re-electing the same people over and over again without wanting any change and instead of cutting spending in this state they "won't increase it more than 2% year over year." And people are leaving. My best friend from West Palm just moved to Peoria. And according to United Vans we have the most negative domestic migration in the country right now, worse than Detroit.

Please tell me something good I need to hear it. I may be able to put up with all of the above if we had world class transit or the weather were actually decent, but Chicago has neither. I hate to sound like a hater but most of my friends have become the same way and have really turned on Chicago lately. It's like we are a constant laughing stock around the country lately.

You just sound like a pessimist to me. All but 5 states or something like that are facing massive budget deficits right now, Illinois is the first to actually raise their income tax to do something about it. You should be glad you live in a state that is at least going to attempt financial solvency. Chicago does have world class transit, its just a unique system that is among the oldest in the entire world and built in the most challenging soil type for tunneling. For a 125 year old system, the EL is pretty damn good. Finally, that report is bullshit, traffic in Chicago is nowhere near as bad as it is in LA. When you get on the freeway at rush hour and traffic is moving at 25 mph, be thankful because in LA its going 5-10 mph all day long... I'd know I lived there all summer long and it sucked. And I view high gas prices as a good thing, it more accurately reflects the true costs of driving to society.

One thing you have to get used to in Chicago is that we always fear being second best and therefore blow small negatives up into a huge deal.

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 5134530)
If you want to spend 200 million dollars to increase trains on the ME, I'm all for it. However, be honest about the plan, it isn't new service, it's increased service. You purposely use the transfer of title from Metra to the CTA to misleadingly call the project a "a new CTA line". In fact there's no reason to change agencies on the line at all. Why would the CTA spend $200 million dollars on a line that, according to your website, loses money for Metra and doesn't connect into CTA's existing system? That's certainly a boondoogle. Instead of calling your little transit fantasy "the Grey line" be an adult and call for money to be spent on improved Metra service. Most people are behind that, including myself.

The Gray line is completely feasible and could connect into the El system. The St. Charles Air Line tracks could be used to feed the line over to the Red, Green, Orange trunk at Roosevelt and connect right into the heart of the system. Additionally the Green Line could be re-extended to Jackson Park and provide even more connectivity.

CTA Gray Line Jan 21, 2011 7:44 PM

Schwerve said: "It should say something when one guy has been arguing for something for twenty years and almost nobody takes him seriously".

>> Since we're into snide remarks - "DID YOU READ PAGE 19 OF GETTING-ON-TRACK": http://www.illinoispirg.org/uploads/...g-on-Track.pdf

>> Are you able to understand the things that you read????

>> What does the statement "Recommended above A L L Transportation Projects (not Public Transit - TRANSPORTATION) in the Chicago Area" mean to YOU Schwerve????

whyhuhwhy Jan 21, 2011 7:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5134733)
Have you ever lived anywhere else? Are you sure you're not just experiencing "the grass is always greener" syndrome during the worst national recession in your lifetime?

This is true in the majority of the country, and for the most part it's not any one region's fault - it was a national problem.

I don't like that tax rate either, and they DEFINITELY should cut more. But even with the increase, Illinois and even Chicago do not have an unusually high tax burden relative to other states and large cities. Despite all the hype, we're still not in the top five for overall tax burden, and once the dust settles we'll probably still not be in the top 10. Before the recent issues, we weren't even in the top 20.

I don't know where you're getting your data. As far as I can tell, United Vans only publishes state-level data, not city-level. And even then, for 2010 (the most recent study) Illinois does NOT have the worst net domestic migration in the country - not even close. What state does? New Jersey. Even in the Midwest, Michigan and Missouri both have higher losses than Illinois. According to the list, we're closer in numbers to New York and Indiana than we are to New Jersey and Michigan.

Besides, almost all big, international cities have high domestic out-migration just due to the nature of how cities work. Young single people move to big cities to get jobs or go to school. They work hard, do well, have kids (this is key - two people move in, two people plus kids move out) and some (not all, but some) choose to settle elsewhere, often in smaller, quieter places since with kids they can't afford the avail themselves of the city's advantages anyway. Not something to worry about to bash a city over, it's just the way the world works.

Weather here ain't great. But on balance I don't think it's any worse than Boston or New York City or Toronto or even Philly. It's certainly no worse than places like Berlin and Moscow and Beijing and Minneapolis.

Transit here is better than you give it credit for. It could be better, for sure, but car travel and transit do compete. I think Chicago has a good balance. It's a lot easier to drive here than it is in Paris or London, and we still have very useable transit (I'm car-free here for the past 12 years) even if it's not quite as rail-comprehensive as Paris or New York.

Honestly, the only thing that really worries me about Illinois (and thus Chicago) is the pensions issue. And I think that can be worked out. The rest of the issues, even the other budget issues, I know can and will be worked out. Chicago is still positioned very well to take advantage of a recovery. I've been here 15 years. I grew up near Portland, Oregon, which a lot of urban people admire, and I have family in Idaho, which a lot of anti-tax, anti-government people admire. But I have no interest in trading Chicago for either of those places. No place is perfect, but Chicago really is a great city and, despite some big problems (largely also problems in the rest of the nation), I think it's still on the upswing.

Lived all over the place when I was younger. London, NYC, North Carolina, Madison Wisconsin. Of course those were back in boom times.

I appreciate your optimism. It helps. I feel like I'm surrounded by nothing but pessimism here lately. All you do is turn on the news and see Chicago is the worst in this and Illinois is the worst in that. It's constant lately it seems. And its serious issues too. The middle of the night, lame duck massive income and business tax increase did not help, let me tell you. I guess if Illinois can solve its pension issue and at least admit that there are some serious outdated highway bottlenecks here, I'll become a lot more optimistic. I hope Emanuel wins the mayoral bid because at least he has publically stated he is going to try to look into cutting current state employee pensions, while the other candidates have gone on record that they are going to try to "increase revenue." It seems all of our tax dollars lately go into enriching the government and its employees. I remember back in the 70's and 80's the taxes were lower and there was much more new infrastructure and construction being done by the government, way more than today. I wish we would get back to those days. Instead most of our budget seems to go to retired workers whose unions paid millions of dollars to get certain people, who they negotiate with, elected. At least I can see Emanuel busting some heads together.

Beta_Magellan Jan 21, 2011 7:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line
No, they are all Motor Cars (and thus all have to be Inspected and Certified as Locomotives - more expensive than plain trailers).

Didn’t see this when skimming through the thread earlier—thanks for the answer!

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5134688)
Metra Electric local service were turned into a CTA operation, service would be more frequent, bus transfers would be handled under CTA norms, which would almost instantly increase ridership (and take some pressure off the Red Line but also induce new ridership), and it would make certain things - like re-extending the Green Line to Jackson Park (for what would be a much-improved transfer-connection to "normal" CTA rail service) easier and more likely to happen.

If anything, the Dan Ryan segment of the Red Line has excess capacity, due to greater usage on the north side. Where it does have trouble is where ardecila mentions, at the 95th Street not-intended-to-be-a-terminal.

Quote:

the idea of bringing local Metra Electric service under the operations of the CTA may be the only way to bring service levels up to a level appropriate for the needs of City residents. It neatly sidesteps a number of contentious Metra/suburbs/city issues, and while it would probably cost more than $200 million, it would almost certainly cost less than the Red Line extension while providing service enhancements that would positively impact far more people than the Red Line extension will.
I definitely agree about this—but only for the mainline down to 63rd and the South Chicago branch (which also has the advantage of being recently rebuilt to ADA standards). One thing that’s worth remembering is that the IC was already reducing service to the South Side before Metra took over, mainly in response to two things: competition from the CTA (with its subsidized fares) and declining demand for downtown trips. Looking at the South Chicago branch, we see a number of different CTA bus routes paralleling it (which, in my experience, tend to be pretty packed), so it looks to me like there competition from the CTA the major factor. Still, according to RTAMS the stations there average around 195 boardings per weekday (taking out 93rd, which is a major outlier).

In contrast, the mainline stations between 63rd and Kensington (another big outlier) average about 62 boardings per weekday. Part of this is competition from the CTA’s integrated bus and rail network, but I think a large part of it is also the fact that a lot of people who live in further south don’t work downtown, and a lot of the ridership on the Dan Ryan line and major bus lines is for non-CBD travel. If someone who lives in Roseland needs to get to the 74th Street industrial belt, for example, the Gray Line won’t do him much good. It also seems to me like riders south of 95th tend to live further west (a Halsted elevated route to 115th had the highest cost-effectiveness rating of any of the Red Line extension alternatives), so the preferred Red Line alignment—in between Halsted and State—makes a more sense to me rather than having a frequent service along Cottage Grove, basically at the eastern edge of the far south neighborhoods.

It’s also worth remembering that the Red Line extension’s cost is so high because it extends all the way to 130th rather than 115th (I haven’t seen to figures after inflation, but IIRC if only extended to 115th the cost was $800 million, as opposed to $1.1 billion for a full extension to 130th) and the CTA wants new shops-and-yards, which adds about another $200 million to the 130th option and $300 million to the 115th one (higher for 115th because of the need for extra track to reach the yards, at 120th). I don’t have the links on me at the moment, but they’re at the CTA’s red line extension page.

Despite my critique, I think it’s worth noting that I still think the Gray Line’s a great idea—just a great idea I’m in partial disagreement with, if that nuance is able to be transmitted across the internet.

a chicago bearcat Jan 21, 2011 8:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 5134765)
The Gray line is completely feasible and could connect into the El system. The St. Charles Air Line tracks could be used to feed the line over to the Red, Green, Orange trunk at Roosevelt and connect right into the heart of the system. Additionally the Green Line could be re-extended to Jackson Park and provide even more connectivity.

How far north do the electric line tracks extend? do they reach Lake St, or just stop somewhere in between Lake & Randolph underneath Illinois Center?

If they make it all the way to Lake, it would seem simpler for system connectivity to build a transfer tunnel, such as at the Jackson stop, to a State/Lake super station with free transfers to Red, Brown, Pink, Green, Orange & Purple lines, similar to at Clark/Lake.

It would be less expensive than reusing the St Charles, & tying it into the red green & orange, & would maintain transit service between Millennium Park, the Museum Campus, & McCormick Place.

OrdoSeclorum Jan 21, 2011 8:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 5134503)
my state income tax just went up 67% along with everyone else who lives here poor or rich, and people in this state/city just keep re-electing the same people over and over again without wanting any change and instead of cutting spending in this state they "won't increase it more than 2% year over year."

As I posted earlier, we don't have the worst traffic in the country. We have the lowest commute times in the country, ahead of 2nd place New Orleans.

Chicago's income tax is still going to be lower than all the surrounding states. After the tax hike, it will be lower than all but Indiana and Michigan. Shrug. Nationwide, our tax burden is about 25th. Move to Mississippi if you like, I guess.

The CTA has been upgraded. Red and Purple lines will be upgraded soon. Ridership is up relative to the economy and despite service cuts. The CTA tracker is useful and a success. We are getting some BRT soon.

Chicago has added 200 high-rises in the last 11 years. Basically equivalent to all of Seattle.

Corporate headquarters continue to move downtown. Chicago's financial industry is strong internationally and improving.

Groupon is one of the most buzzed about companies in the world and is about to enter the Fortune 500. Chicago has rocketed up the list of places receiving venture capital the last few years.

Chicago's population is flat, losing low-income residents to the sun belt and gaining high-income residents and college grads from all over the country. Our percentage of college-grad retention is good and improving.

Your home value would have dropped more in most other cities (at least, any city you would want to live in.)

We have the shortest commutes in the country and the best culture/cost-of-living ratio in North America.

This week it was announced that Chicago has more Five Diamond restaurants than any other city. We have the best Symphony in North America. We have the best bike-expressway along the lake in North America. We have the best bus system in North America and good trains.

If you don't like the weather, what can I tell you. Of the six or seven "cities I like" It's damn similar to Boston and New York and better than Toronto and Montreal. San Fransisco, Seattle and Vancouver have warmer winters. Shrug.

If you're not happy, you're not happy. If you're not happy because of what Chicago is like, you probably wouldn't be happy in any other city. Unless the last six weeks of winter really makes you depressed. Then you should consult a physician.

Beta_Magellan Jan 21, 2011 8:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 5134851)
Lived all over the place when I was younger. London, NYC, North Carolina, Madison Wisconsin. Of course those were back in boom times.

I appreciate your optimism. It helps. I feel like I'm surrounded by nothing but pessimism here lately. All you do is turn on the news and see Chicago is the worst in this and Illinois is the worst in that. It's constant lately it seems. And its serious issues too. The middle of the night, lame duck massive income and business tax increase did not help, let me tell you. I guess if Illinois can solve its pension issue and at least admit that there are some serious outdated highway bottlenecks here, I'll become a lot more optimistic. I hope Emanuel wins the mayoral bid because at least he has publically stated he is going to try to look into cutting current state employee pensions, while the other candidates have gone on record that they are going to try to "increase revenue." It seems all of our tax dollars lately go into enriching the government and its employees. I remember back in the 70's and 80's the taxes were lower and there was much more new infrastructure and construction being done by the government, way more than today. I wish we would get back to those days. Instead most of our budget seems to go to retired workers whose unions paid millions of dollars to get certain people, who they negotiate with, elected. At least I can see Emanuel busting some heads together.

The Feds were much more into urban infrastructure before the Reagan and Gingrich years, and one of the reasons for TIFs caught on was as a way to make up for the loss of federal revenue. That said, although I can’t say anything about your total tax burden, business taxes are still less here than in Wisconsin (so we only have to worry about Indiana stealing out jobs), and the fact that we’re going to keep Champaign-Urbana and UIC afloat and sidewalks mended will do a lot more good for the state than people realize. As Richard Longworth notes,

Quote:

Business interests, in Illinois and in other states, are screaming about the higher taxes, saying it hurts the states' business climate. In fact, higher taxes, while painful, are a lot better than reduced spending on infrastructure, early childhood education, worker training and all the other programs that strengthen a state's capital -- human and otherwise -- and make it a good place to invest.
It’s also important to note that people always take their current situation and extend it to the past and future to make judgments—it’s just a human thing, and it makes prediction really difficult. Vaclav Smil, the great energy scientist, notes that the biggest determinant in predictions about future il prices is the price of oil at the time of the prediction. Go to 1970’s section of paleofuture.com—it’s all apocalyptic stuff, because people were in an apocalyptic mood at the time. And although bad stuff’s certainly happened, we are still here.

Stimulating discussions going on here today, but you’ve also reminded me I have to run off and register to vote!

OrdoSeclorum Jan 21, 2011 8:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 5134546)
The traffic is bad here and it is getting much worse though. The mother of all studies (the TTI annual mobility report) confirms this.

It does not. The TTI considers all traffic moving below 60mph to be "delayed." The speed limit is 55mph on most urban highways. Chicago has the shortest commutes of any large metro.

emathias Jan 21, 2011 8:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 5134762)
... The CTA had issues with the yellow line because it had overhead caternary electrification and you don't think that moving the ME to the CTA wouldn't result in a host of new problems?

The only issues I'm aware of the CTA having had with catenary on the Yellow Line was that it prevented through-routing and cross-line sharing of cars that are otherwise identical, adding complexity to a system that wasn't big enough to justify it.

I'm not sure how that's relevant for a line that is in no way physically cross-compatible but would be run at service levels and with fare media compatible with the rest of the CTA system and whose rolling stock would remain completely incompatible with the rest of the system. The Gray Line could justify staying physically separate but with compatible service levels and fare media because it is physically separate, and because it is far bigger than the Yellow Line in every possible way.

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 5134762)
Again, I have no issues with the idea of spending money to increase service on that portion of the line, but if the proposal wants to be taken seriously by me and others, don't ignore the host of problems associated with the solution and label it for what it is. It should say something when one guy has been arguing for something for twenty years and almost nobody takes him seriously.

It would behove you to actually know who and what you're talking about before making such blanket statements that make you look ill-informed.

About the only two agencies that haven't endorsed the Gray Line are the CTA and Metra. Almost every single planning committee and agency has endorsed the idea at levels from outright recommending it be implemented to at least calling on Metra and CTA to seriously study it to be able to answer the questions that a non-insider simply doesn't have access to the information to authoritatively answer.

If you bothered to learn about the Gray Line, you'd realize that it suffers mainly from the fact that it is being advocated by an outsider and it doesn't neatly fit into existing ways of thinking of Chicago-area transit by the transit establishment and it would require two (needlessly) antagonistic agencies to actually coordinate and work together. It doesn't help matters when people don't look into what's been done for it and casually dismiss it as fringe. Again, probably because it doesn't neatly fit into the current paradigm of thinking, which scares some people.

schwerve Jan 21, 2011 9:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5134937)
If you bothered to learn about the Gray Line, you'd realize that it suffers mainly from the fact that it is being advocated by an outsider and it doesn't neatly fit into existing ways of thinking of Chicago-area transit by the transit establishment and it would require two (needlessly) antagonistic agencies to actually coordinate and work together. It doesn't help matters when people don't look into what's been done for it and casually dismiss it as fringe. Again, probably because it doesn't neatly fit into the current paradigm of thinking, which scares some people.

no, I dismiss it because its a waste of money and would essentially kill any thought of CTA expansion for the next two decades. It puts and underserved line into bureaucratic limbo (always a good way to improve service), it approximately doubles the labor costs irregardless of increasing service, creates a new department in both the CTA and Metra with associated full-time employees to manage oversite and contracting services, cuts existing ridership revenue in half thanks to cheaper fares (on an already money losing line), requires a complete rebuild of every station on the line, and puts huge strain on existing CTA capital and operating budgets. All of this without dealing with the cost of transfer/lease of the system from Metra to CTA (that ain't cheap). And for what? increased frequency without showing a potential increased ridership or service area. Tell me why the CTA would want that? Let's purchase a line we did not design, plan, or build, nor will we operate, train personnel, or maintain, that has historically shown to underperform to significantly increase our overhead and hollow out our capital and operating budgets, sounds good to me.

I have a better idea, take all of this time spent talking about creating an incredibly complicated and costly system, and show Metra a ridership study for increased service and fare integration. Metra doesn't care about these things because the majority of their ridership doesn't care either.

schwerve Jan 21, 2011 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 5134843)
Schwerve said: "It should say something when one guy has been arguing for something for twenty years and almost nobody takes him seriously".

>> Since we're into snide remarks - "DID YOU READ PAGE 19 OF GETTING-ON-TRACK": http://www.illinoispirg.org/uploads/...g-on-Track.pdf

>> Are you able to understand the things that you read????

>> What does the statement "Recommended above A L L Transportation Projects (not Public Transit - TRANSPORTATION) in the Chicago Area" mean to YOU Schwerve????

Have you read it? The rationale is factually incorrect.

"Thanks to the high number of new passengers that would be served, and how well the line would support good land use practices and boost economic development, among other benefits,"

The proposal does not serves a single new rider, not one. Increased frequency can lead to increased overall ridership but not new service (I repeat, I'm not against increased frequency on the line, I'm arguing against the byzantine and costly way in which it would be implemented). These planning agencies are evaluating the gray line as if its a new line because that's what it's being sold as, which is misleading at best.

CTA Gray Line Jan 21, 2011 10:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 5135038)
Have you read it? The rationale is factually incorrect.

"Thanks to the high number of new passengers that would be served, and how well the line would support good land use practices and boost economic development, among other benefits,"

The proposal does not serves a single new rider, not one. Increased frequency can lead to increased overall ridership but not new service (I repeat, I'm not against increased frequency on the line, I'm arguing against the byzantine and costly way in which it would be implemented). These planning agencies are evaluating the gray line as if its a new line because that's what it's being sold as, which is misleading at best.


>> So my minimum-wage and not-all-that-smart butt somehow mesmerized or Jedi Mind Tricked the people in these organizations into supporting the plan.

>> And I want to point out that they said A L L TRANSPORTATION (not "Public Transit") Projects; which I would interpret to mean A L L (O'Hare Expansion, Thorndale Expy. and Western Bypass, CREATE, STAR Line, SES, etc., etc., etc.....), or am I misinterpreting the term "A L L" ???


>> On this page, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (our Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization) provides a link to MY PERSONAL PRIVATE CITIZEN'S WEBSITE (See "Gray Line" under "Metra Electric District Improvements") to explain the Proposal; A L L the other links on the Page are to other Government Agencies, how exactly did I mesmerize the Extremely Intelligent people staffing our Regional MPO into including the Project in their Regional Transportation Plan??

>> http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/shared-.../project-links

>> The Gray Line is the O N L Y Major Capital Project in the CMAP RTP submitted by a Private Citizen, rather than a Transit Operator, Municipality, or Government Agency.

schwerve Jan 21, 2011 10:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 5135064)
>> So my minimum-wage and not-all-that-smart butt somehow mesmerized or Jedi Mind Tricked the people in these organizations into supporting the plan.

>> And I want to point out that they said TRANSPORTATION Projects; which I would interpret to mean ALL (O'Hare Expansion, Thorndale Expy. and Western Bypass, CREATE, STAR Line, SES, etc., etc., etc.....), or am I misinterpreting the term "A L L" ???

no, you've explicitly ignored my argument that their rationale is factually wrong. If it were a "new" service and actually cost the amount you've cited, I wouldn't be on this side of the argument. You're website and publication material specifically sells the proposal as "new" that is again, misleading at best and the low level employees at the Frontier Group in California don't really know the difference.

CTA Gray Line Jan 21, 2011 11:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 5135079)
no, you've explicitly ignored my argument that their rationale is factually wrong. If it were a "new" service and actually cost the amount you've cited, I wouldn't be on this side of the argument. You're website and publication material specifically sells the proposal as "new" that is again, misleading at best and the low level employees at the Frontier Group in California don't really know the difference.


>> Is there any CTA 'L' Service to Hyde Park and South Shore NOW, wouldn't that type of service starting be "new"; and CTA 'L' service to the Ford Plant on 130th & Torrence would certainly be "New" - as there is N O Public Transit of any type there NOW.

>> And yes, it is branded as a "New" CTA 'L' Line - because "use your UFC to get on the Metra Electric" does not carry the same subliminal influence (especially in attracting TOD).

>> How would YOU provide improved MED service; and why don't you create a website.

schwerve Jan 21, 2011 11:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 5135109)
How would YOU provide improved MED service; and why don't you create a website.

Seriously? I have graduate level degrees in Civil Engineering have an understand of transit planning (not my specialty, but have taken some classes) and have worked for transit agencies on multi-billion dollar projects, and I'm not qualified to plan for the CTA, or any agency, because I don't have the necessary experience. I'm perfectly happy to critique plans from my base of knowledge, but hell if I think the CTA should make any decision based upon a dude on the internet.

CTA Gray Line Jan 21, 2011 11:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5134937)
The only issues I'm aware of the CTA having had with catenary on the Yellow Line was that it prevented through-routing and cross-line sharing of cars that are otherwise identical, adding complexity to a system that wasn't big enough to justify it.

I'm not sure how that's relevant for a line that is in no way physically cross-compatible but would be run at service levels and with fare media compatible with the rest of the CTA system and whose rolling stock would remain completely incompatible with the rest of the system. The Gray Line could justify staying physically separate but with compatible service levels and fare media because it is physically separate, and because it is far bigger than the Yellow Line in every possible way.



It would behove you to actually know who and what you're talking about before making such blanket statements that make you look ill-informed.

About the only two agencies that haven't endorsed the Gray Line are the CTA and Metra. Almost every single planning committee and agency has endorsed the idea at levels from outright recommending it be implemented to at least calling on Metra and CTA to seriously study it to be able to answer the questions that a non-insider simply doesn't have access to the information to authoritatively answer.

If you bothered to learn about the Gray Line, you'd realize that it suffers mainly from the fact that it is being advocated by an outsider and it doesn't neatly fit into existing ways of thinking of Chicago-area transit by the transit establishment and it would require two (needlessly) antagonistic agencies to actually coordinate and work together. It doesn't help matters when people don't look into what's been done for it and casually dismiss it as fringe. Again, probably because it doesn't neatly fit into the current paradigm of thinking, which scares some people.

>> Thank You much emathius, you express my thoughts and actions exactly.

>> I don't want to read TOO much into this - but about 2 weeks ago I had an hour long meeting with Metra's Planning Dept to discuss basic Gray Line concepts, and the upcoming RTA/CDOT South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study (which is going to be V E R Y thorough - to an Extreme Degree, I was surprised to hear just how much they are planning).

CTA Gray Line Jan 21, 2011 11:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 5135139)
Seriously? I have graduate level degrees in Civil Engineering have an understand of transit planning (not my specialty, but have taken some classes) and have worked for transit agencies on multi-billion dollar projects, and I'm not qualified to plan for the CTA, or any agency, because I don't have the necessary experience. I'm perfectly happy to critique plans from my base of knowledge, but hell if I think the CTA should make any decision based upon a dude on the internet.


>> I AM NOT qualified to make plans for CTA or Metra either(and I have NONE of your training); but I AM QUALIFIED to make plans for underutilized infrastructure existing in M Y Community when NOBODY ELSE is going to do it (and if anybody doesn't like that - TOO BAD)

>> But I'll bet CTA can be MADE to make a decision based on the Illinois Inspector General applying Rep. Jack Frank's recently passed SB 3943 giving him Authority Over the RTA, CTA, Metra, and Pace to eliminate fraud, corruption, and W A S T E (as in the present direct competition with each other).

>> I am in communication with Rep. Franks and the IG Office.

schwerve Jan 21, 2011 11:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 5135170)
>> But I'll bet CTA can be MADE to make a decision based on the Illinois Inspector General applying Rep. Jack Frank's SB 3943 giving him Authority Over the RTA, CTA, Metra, and Pace to eliminate fraud, corruption, and W A S T E.

>> I am in communication with Rep. Franks and the IG Office.

Congrats, it's good to know that a guy with a website and the right connections can force a transit agency serving 3 million people into doing what he wants.


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