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Randomguy34 Oct 18, 2022 1:56 AM

Metra's 2023-27 capital budget is out. The two big things are a) Metra is still planning to shift towards a regional rail model with frequent service throughout the day. b) Metra is taking over operations of the Union Pacific lines! This has big implications about the need for the A-2 flyover if they can just route the MD lines to Ogilvie and UP-W to Union Station.

Article: https://www.progressiverailroading.c...ic-plan--67780

twister244 Oct 18, 2022 2:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9763484)
Metra's 2023-27 capital budget is out. The two big things are a) Metra is still planning to shift towards a regional rail model with frequent service throughout the day. b) Metra is taking over operations of the Union Pacific lines! This has big implications about the need for the A-2 flyover if they can just route the MD lines to Ogilvie and UP-W to Union Station.

Article: https://www.progressiverailroading.c...ic-plan--67780

I think this is a good move by Metra. Having trains move more often during the day to serve as a more regional mover makes sense. Not that it's not important to move people to/from downtown. The burbs here have an advantage of having several older downtown areas that can benefit from this as well. Some of the construction in Mt. Prospect is a good example.

I also didn't realize they were getting new trains in 2025.

left of center Oct 18, 2022 6:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9763484)
Metra's 2023-27 capital budget is out. The two big things are a) Metra is still planning to shift towards a regional rail model with frequent service throughout the day. b) Metra is taking over operations of the Union Pacific lines! This has big implications about the need for the A-2 flyover if they can just route the MD lines to Ogilvie and UP-W to Union Station.

Article: https://www.progressiverailroading.c...ic-plan--67780

When you say taking over operations, does that mean Metra will own those tracks outright? If so, that's great. They won't have to worry about UNP prioritizing freight traffic and constantly delaying passenger trains!

Randomguy34 Oct 18, 2022 7:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by left of center (Post 9764133)
When you say taking over operations, does that mean Metra will own those tracks outright? If so, that's great. They won't have to worry about UNP prioritizing freight traffic and constantly delaying passenger trains!

Page 30 of the budget says "The transfer of Union Pacific (UP) PSA activities is also planned to begin in 2023, and the budget includes a provision for temporary initial costs that may be incurred."

This seems to imply the transfer will be incremental. It will probably start with Metra operating the lines through trackage rights agreements, while UP still owns the tracks, similar to the NCS and Heritage Corridor. This would also mean conductors would be employed by Metra rather than UP. Purchasing of tracks & stations will probably happen later down the line.

Bonsai Tree Oct 18, 2022 7:19 PM

From what I've read, there's no indicated UP wants to give up its responsibilities. It's simply that UP wants Metra to operate the trains themselves, instead of having them use UP employees to run. So basically Metra is budgeting to have their own employees run the trains instead of Union Pacific. UP still owns the tracks, coordinates trains, etc.

https://www.up.com/media/statements/metra/index.htm

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-revi...muter-dispute/

Busy Bee Oct 18, 2022 8:11 PM

Let me just say this arrangement where the railroad that owns the tracks actually operates the passenger trains of a public metropolitan commuter rail agency instead of just some sort of access agreement is one of the most bizarre out there.

ardecila Oct 19, 2022 2:02 AM

UP will never surrender UP-W since it's part of their busiest transcon freight corridor. UP-N and UP-NW are probably available for the right price, probably in the high 9 figures, but Metra isn't interested in buying since that means they take on all the responsibility of maintenance.

As for switching Metra terminals to avoid the A-2 project, you can't run all the MD lines into Ogilvie, there's not enough room. You could maybe run MD-N into Ogilvie and UP-W out of Union since they have similar service volumes (31 vs 29 daily round trips respectively) but MD-W and NCS have to stay at Union. They might also need to restore the 4th track between Union and Pacific Jct (most bridges still in place).

ardecila Oct 26, 2022 4:04 PM

Groundbreaking for 75th St Corridor
https://www.illinois.gov/news/press-release.25609.html

They have the money and a contractor selected, so work should begin in the next few weeks. Some advance work is already visible on Google Maps from a few months ago, so they already have a head start. Note this is only the Forest Hill Flyover (aka P3 + GS19) that will elevate CSX tracks over the Belt Railway and Metra/NS tracks, and over 71st St. This should reduce Metra delays on the Southwest Service, though.

A future phase (P2/EW2) will build a 2nd flyover to link Southwest Service to the Rock Island tracks and bring SWS into LaSalle St Station instead of Union. That part is not funded yet.

Not shown on the map but they are also raising the existing Rock Island flyover at 79th St so they can run double stacks under it... once this is done, Metra will build the new Auburn Park station on the flyover.

https://i.ibb.co/GCsT99Q/Screenshot-...-26-110058.png

bnk Oct 26, 2022 6:31 PM

more info




https://chicago.suntimes.com/2022/10...uthern-ashburn

$380 million flyover project expected to ease rail congestion
Planners hope a new rail bridge will resolve one of the largest chokepoints for passenger and freight rail traffic in the nation.


By Manny Ramos Oct 25, 2022, 5:06pm CDT

A $380 million railroad project on the South Side is expected to eliminate one of the most congested rail chokepoints in the Chicago area.

“Make no mistake, Chicago is a transportation and economic epicenter for all of North America,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at the CSX Forest Hill Yard, 7545 S. Western Ave., where the ceremonial groundbreaking for the project was held Tuesday. “It is a critical part of who we are and has been from our very beginning and it continues to be important today.”

More than a dozen local and federal leaders gathered at the rail yard in Chicago’s Ashburn neighborhood to celebrate what’s officially known as the Forest Hill Flyover.

Construction on the new rail bridge at 75th Street is expected to start this month. When complete, officials said, freight traffic will move more smoothly as the flyover reduces areas where tracks used by the Belt Railway Company, CSX and Norfolk Southern cross each other.

Currently, Lightfoot said, 30 Metra trains cross paths with 90 freight trains every day in that area.
...

The flyover will also help connect Metra’s Southwest Service with the existing Rock Island District tracks — increasing capacity while also improving reliability. Conflicts between 30 Southwest Service Metra trains and 35 freight trains operating on the Western Avenue corridor would be removed.

Metra trains cross freight tracks at multiple locations, including the Forest Hill Junction, and during peak commuter periods only Metra trains are allowed to run in these areas. This can cause both freight trains and Metra trains to sit idle for lengthy delays.

The project also includes eliminating a street-level rail crossing on 71st Street and improving safety and convenience for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.

These projects are the first two parts of four major projects being developed as part of the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project. It’s the largest project to date from the Chicago Region Environment and Transportation Efficiency Program.

That program, also known as CREATE, is a public-private partnership that works to improve how passengers and goods travel by rail. It is supported by transportation departments at the federal, state, county and city level.

...

Garcia said Chicago has the busiest freight rail hub in the country, with nearly 500 freight trains and 750 passenger trains moving through the city every day. He said the project will eliminate 8,500 annual hours of passenger delays.

...

Chi-Sky21 Oct 26, 2022 8:01 PM

My question is this, how much do the rail companies pay for these projects? We should tie fixing these issues that cost us 100s of millions of dollars and improve THEIR business to them giving up or at discount unused rail....like for example Carrol St. That will NEVER function for the rail lines again.

ardecila Oct 26, 2022 8:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chi-Sky21 (Post 9772758)
My question is this, how much do the rail companies pay for these projects? We should tie fixing these issues that cost us 100s of millions of dollars and improve THEIR business to them giving up or at discount unused rail....like for example Carrol St. That will NEVER function for the rail lines again.

They do contribute. I can't find numbers broken out for the individual projects, but CREATE overall has seen freight railroads contribute 23% of total costs ($375M).

Here's the breakdown:
  • Freight railroads: 23%
  • Federal gov't: 39%
  • State gov't: 28%
  • City/county/RTA: 10%

source: FHWA


As for unused rail lines: the City of Chicago doesn't want to take them over until they have a use for them. It's a matter of liability: you don't want someone suing the city because a chunk of concrete fell on their head, or because they tripped on an old rail in the street, or because criminal activity is occurring on the rail line. The city has unofficial agreements with the freight RRs for Carroll Ave/North Branch, the Paseo corridor in Pilsen/Little Village, the Kenwood Line, etc. Whenever the city wants to move, the freight RRs are happy to hand over these lines. A few years ago the city was forced to take over the rail line running thru Lincoln Yards and Goose Island; the freight RR parked tanker cars in the middle of the street to pressure the city into taking action.

twister244 Oct 26, 2022 9:39 PM

I noticed workers working on repairing the exposed/eroded portions of the Brown Line flyover today during a midday errand. Good to see they are working on a solution.

LouisVanDerWright Dec 9, 2022 1:30 AM

The giant gantry crane monster that's assembling the red line is totally insane.

ardecila Dec 22, 2022 3:41 PM

Some early Christmas gifts from CTA:

CTA starting work (finally) on rehabbing the Congress branch:
https://www.transitchicago.com/cta-a...egoryId=2&pg=2

$105M to rebuild the tracks between UIC-Halsted and Medical District, plus an upgrade project to the Racine station including an elevator for accessibility. i'm glad they're finally starting, but it's annoying they are piecemealing this instead of just knocking it out like CTA did for the Dan Ryan branch 10 years ago.

CTA gets $118M for accessibility improvements:
https://www.chicagobusiness.com/poli...pete-buttigieg

Unfortunately because of our batshit construction costs, the money won't go very far - possibly only 2 stations, Belmont and Irving Park on the Blue Line. The article references Pulaski, but I can't tell if they are referring to the Pulaski entrance at Irving Park, or the Pulaski station on the Congress branch. CTA's official press release does claim it is "three stations", fwiw, but that's still an average of $40M per station. (A brand new station only costs $80M at Damen Green Line.) Both Irving Park and Belmont saw major work recently, now they have to go back and rip up those stations again to add elevators. Just insane the way they do things.

Chicago Ave bus lanes now permanent
https://chi.streetsblog.org/2022/12/09/bus-lanes/

During Covid, CDOT painted some janky "bus lanes" on Chicago Ave from Ashland to Western. The signage was poor, no red paint was used, and the restrictions were rush hour only. Drivers totally ignored them. Now the city has finally added the red paint along the full mile from Ashland to Western and made the bus lane 24/7 instead of rush hour only. I'm sure drivers will still cheat, but now it will just be the assholes instead of just normal drivers that are confused.

Randomguy34 Dec 22, 2022 9:31 PM

How the hell is the CTA spending $40 million at each station for an elevator? For its elevated MED stations, Metra is spending $11 million at each station to renovate and install elevators:
https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/loca...roved/3022565/

galleyfox Dec 22, 2022 10:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9822905)
How the hell is the CTA spending $40 million at each station for an elevator? For its elevated MED stations, Metra is spending $11 million at each station to renovate and install elevators:
https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/loca...roved/3022565/

I assume there’s something funky about these locations that the CTA is leaving for last? Almost all the unfinished stations are either on the Blue Line, suburban, or in the Loop.


https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FknYb32XgAEv-YS.jpg
https://www.transitchicago.com/asset..._508_FINAL.pdf

Randomguy34 Dec 23, 2022 1:52 AM

Belmont is the only one that barely makes sense, since it is underground. Irving Park and Pulaski though are in the middle of an expressway, no way it should cost this much.

glowrock Dec 23, 2022 1:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9822905)
How the hell is the CTA spending $40 million at each station for an elevator? For its elevated MED stations, Metra is spending $11 million at each station to renovate and install elevators:
https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/loca...roved/3022565/

I agree that the Belmont station rehab was a joke. It was all cosmetic, nothing really changed. The elevator situation there is pretty complex, however. I do understand substantial new tunneling needs to occur, accounting for the cost. Not sure about the Pulaski Congress Line station situation, though.

Aaron (Glowrock)

ardecila Dec 26, 2022 11:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9823112)
Belmont is the only one that barely makes sense, since it is underground. Irving Park and Pulaski though are in the middle of an expressway, no way it should cost this much.

Quote:

Originally Posted by glowrock (Post 9823328)
I agree that the Belmont station rehab was a joke. It was all cosmetic, nothing really changed. The elevator situation there is pretty complex, however. I do understand substantial new tunneling needs to occur, accounting for the cost. Not sure about the Pulaski Congress Line station situation, though.

Aaron (Glowrock)

Part of the high cost is that CTA has decided they can't add elevators without also building 2nd exits from each platform for fire safety. I don't know why they have made this decision, which makes accessibility much harder and more expensive to achieve.

Pulaski was built with two exits, but closed its 2nd exit (to Keeler) long ago. My guess is that the Pulaski project will rebuild the Pulaski stationhouse similar to the Ogden stationhouse at IMD (before/after). That project cost $23M. Currently the Pulaski stationhouse has a long ramp, it will be altered to a stair/elevator combo. Presumably the Keeler entrance will be reopened too, both to provide temporary access during station construction and to provide a 2nd fire exit after completion. No idea if the Keeler exit will be an auxiliary entrance, or just a fire exit only.

Irving Park has a whopping four exits designed to facilitate easy bus transfers. If all four exits need elevators, that could get very difficult, especially considering how narrow the platform is.

Belmont was only built with one exit, but they may be planning to add an emergency exit at the south end of the platform near Kimball/Barry. CTA is already building a new substation in this area to provide more juice to Blue Line trains.

Quote:

Originally Posted by galleyfox (Post 9822967)
I assume there’s something funky about these locations that the CTA is leaving for last? Almost all the unfinished stations are either on the Blue Line, suburban, or in the Loop.

It's not that these locations are especially challenging (except for the subway stations and Loop L stations) - it's that the job of adding accessibility keeps getting harder and more expensive. See above.

Also, the Blue Line can't be shut down for a big modernization like the Green Line had - it's too important to the city's economy. You could maybe do a big reconstruction on the Congress branch, but the Feds have not dumping cash like they used to. So CTA has apparently decided to piecemeal the modernization of both ends of the Blue Line.

moorhosj1 Dec 28, 2022 3:07 PM

With the Red/Purple Modernization underway and the Red Extension funded, is there any indication of the CTA’s next big priority? By “big” I mean more than a few new stations or renovations.

Seems like a good time to line up the old Circle Line project for the next flow of Federal money.

Tcmetro Dec 28, 2022 5:08 PM

Phase 1 of the Forest Park branch reconstruction is about to begin, and CTA received an ASAP grant for the Pulaski station and is seeking a MEGA grant for Cicero and Austin. I wouldn't be surprised if they are attempting to piecemeal the funds together to get the rest of the line redone.

The other major project is the future phases of the Red Purple Modernization. I don't think any would begin construction before 2025, but there's still a lot to figure out on those. I'd rank the difficulty from easiest to hardest as:
1. Purple Line - many of the bridges in south Evanston have already been reconstructed, but six stations will need significant work to handle 8 car trains and add ADA compliant features.
2. Red from Bryn Mawr to Howard - largely similar to the segment under construction to the south, with the addition of a Red-Purple transfer station at Loyola.
3. Red from Addison to Wilson - This project is going to require some significant real estate takings to modernize and a lot of money.

The ASAP program has the most committal from the CTA, which is adding ADA compliancy and elevators to every station. The most challenging of these include the rebuilding of three more stations on the Loop (State/Lake is next), the Damen Blue Line, most Blue Line subway stations, and a few Red Line subway stations. I think it might be a good idea for the CTA to combine other work on the subways with the accessibility projects. The subways are really aged at this point and it would be better to knock a lot of work out at once.

I wish CTA would reconsider at least some of the Circle Line projects. The West Loop, IMD, and Lincoln Yards are some of the/going to be some of the most major job centers outside of downtown, there really needs to be some holistic transportation solutions being considered. Right now all that seems to be happening in those areas is relatively minor street reconfigurations.

Additionally, it would be nice to see more Metra improvements. They've done some good work recently to increase service to 30-60 min frequencies off peak on a few lines. It would be good to see that improved further. Many of the undeveloped "megaproject" sites in the central area are adjacent to Metra and there's a lot of opportunity to build on that. Metra has plans for the West Loop and Lincoln Yards stations, but the 78, Michael Reese Hospital and casino sites would be good places to consider new stops. The O'Hare express is a good idea also, and it would be great to try to tie in Amtrak to that station for airport connections to the Illinois and Michigan services at a minimum.

ardecila Dec 28, 2022 11:27 PM

CTA pursues whatever projects the mayor tells them to. The only thing CTA staff advocate for is State of Good Repair (SOGR) work, because without it the trains will eventually grind to a halt.

The reason the original Circle Line died is because it was Frank Kruesi's pet project, which he pushed without strong support from Mayor Daley or other politicians. When Kruesi was fired and Daley put Huberman in the job, all the planning stopped.

I don't see CTA pursuing anything beyond the first half of TCMetro's list above. The next mayor may put more emphasis on bus lanes, which would be a CDOT and not a CTA project. Or they might decide to pull some weird transit idea out of left field and waste their 4 years studying that.

llamaorama Dec 29, 2022 12:52 AM

This isn't really targeted at Chicago specifically, but I wonder how the next few years of depressed ridership combined with funding shortfalls once federal covid money runs out will play out and if transit agencies rethink some of their pre-pandemic planning visions.

It would be too soon to say that now, but in 3 years if Metra ridership was only a quarter of what it used to be 5 years before in January 2020 and stable at that level and revenue is down, like would still want to pursue buying Alstom bilevels and expand stations or build overpasses?

It might be the right approach ends up being the CTA not building the red line extension, and re-designing station rebuilds to have shorter platforms to reduce costs, running shorter trains, etc. Metra might want to reject the sunk cost fallacy and buy Stadler DMU's or something for their more urban lines and close most of the stations on the more suburban lines to turn them into something between regional and intercity rail like the Atlantic City Line or Montauk Line or Rail Runner.

I know that all sounds horrible but what are they going to do if there's a crisis because office workers stay home permanently, a recession decreases local funding availability, and the feds are under a GOP regime and won't offer aid?

Rizzo Dec 30, 2022 4:20 PM

I believe Chicago rail and bus ridership was experiencing slight declines before the pandemic. Both Metra and CTA had practical solutions with unraveling congestion at junctions, infill stations and balancing service to improve ridership experience and hopefully increase revenues from fare. All these strategies remain good plans, with the exception of the red line, which I still remain skeptical about.

It’s difficult to predict what’s next. The good news is increases in ridership over the last few months has exceeded forecasts last I checked reports, but we’re still at like half of what it was in 2019.

Immediate solutions would be to improve security and reduce fare evasion. Most people I know who have given up on the CTA and now choose to drive and pay for parking said they were sick of dealing with filthy trains and bad behavior like loud music and smoking. People will tolerate a bad commute infrequently but once it becomes chronic, people will stop altogether.

Mr Downtown Dec 30, 2022 4:29 PM

The suburban sales tax that actually pays for Metra remains in place, even if fares collected on trains stay depressed. For that reason, Metra is not going to be looking to close any suburban stops, pissing off the locals. It's actually the stops within city limits—where Metra gets no tax revenue—that are merely done for the sake of public relations.

OhioGuy Dec 31, 2022 2:42 AM

South Shore Line capital investment adding up
Tuesday, December 20, 2022 06:30 AM EDT

Quote:

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Over the next three years, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District will invest about $2 billion dollars in capital projects as the South Shore Line undergoes multiple renovations, including the relocation of the commuter line’s eastern-most stop at South Bend International Airport. Other investments, including the Double Track project near Michigan City and the West Lake Corridor extension in Lake County, are already underway. The NICTD recently announced a $6 million engineering services contract to relocate the station at the airport, a project that could cut the travel time from South Bend to downtown Chicago to 90 minutes, saving about an hour.
Quote:

“By realigning the current station terminus at the South Bend Airport, we can reduce distance, eliminate curves, and reduce grade crossings,” said Noland.

The station would only move about 300 yards, but by re-routing the track, it would eliminate 21 crossing grades and about a 1.5-mile path through the west side of the city, where the trains are required to travel at much lower speeds.
Quote:

Part of the trip-time reduction is due to the $649 million Double Track project near Michigan City. NICTD is adding a second set of tracks for an 17-mile stretch that will help reduce rail log jams.

“We’re nearing the halfway point on Double Track. We’re just about to finish the first season of construction,” said Noland, who adds the project is on time for a May 2024 completion date.

Busy Bee Dec 31, 2022 3:06 AM

Nice to see SSL invested in.

left of center Dec 31, 2022 6:53 PM

With the SSL station at South Bend Airport moving to the west side of the airport, are they planning on running new tracks? Or will the SSL trains still take the slow way around the eastern end of the airport and down Bendix Blvd to the mainline?

I think the SSL should be rerouted from the airport and back to downtown South Bend. Reincorporating the old Union Station would be great if possible. They can combine facilities with Amtrak, which has its own station a bit east of central South Bend.

SIGSEGV Dec 31, 2022 11:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by left of center (Post 9827950)
With the SSL station at South Bend Airport moving to the west side of the airport, are they planning on running new tracks? Or will the SSL trains still take the slow way around the eastern end of the airport and down Bendix Blvd to the mainline?

I think the SSL should be rerouted from the airport and back to downtown South Bend. Reincorporating the old Union Station would be great if possible. They can combine facilities with Amtrak, which has its own station a bit east of central South Bend.

If they build tracks coming to the airport from the west, they can stop both at the airport and downtown. I'm sure the airport works well as a park and ride, but they should really have a downtown stop by the transit center.

Chi-Sky21 Jan 2, 2023 4:18 PM

^Better figure out a transportation plan now.

Bombardier Jan 2, 2023 4:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chi-Sky21 (Post 9828601)
^Better figure out a transportation plan now.

You're not lying! There are a lot of areas that are not well served by public transportation and will be especially difficult to access by vehicle due to the rivers. Is the city intending to address the transportation limits of these areas in anticipation of the added density?

streetline Jan 2, 2023 7:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by marothisu (Post 9828512)
I'm using Census Blocks. The Block Groups don't give what data I'm giving because they're way too big and don't go to the boundaries of the elevated tracks. The blocks line up exactly with the boundaries though. No need to even do some sort of approximation because of that. It's perfectly aligned.

Now, if you go between Lake, Van Buren, Michigan Ave, and Wabash there's actually more people than inside of the tracks and it's over 53,000 ppsm as of the 2020 Census. It's possibly a little more now, maybe closer to 55K ppsm. If you extend that sliver down to Roosevelt then it's just over 60K ppsm as of the 2020 Census. If 1000M is a huge success and adds 1000 residents there, then the density will be almost 69K ppsm. Realistically it could easily be over 70K ppsm within a few years.

That sounds convenient, do you have that block level data uploaded to a private system, or is it searchable and mapable online somewhere I'm not aware of?

I personally find the river and Congress and Michigan Ave a more intuitive boundary when colloquially talking about the loop than the elevated tracks. Counting those narrow boundary areas surrounding the tracks separately seems like it might be slicing things too thin when trying to measure walkable density, given that they are only a block wide in places. But it would definitely be very useful to cut Grant Park and the lake out of density statistics.

Kngkyle Jan 2, 2023 8:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bombardier (Post 9828608)
You're not lying! There are a lot of areas that are not well served by public transportation and will be especially difficult to access by vehicle due to the rivers. Is the city intending to address the transportation limits of these areas in anticipation of the added density?

If you are expecting this mayoral administration or current CTA president/board to do anything sensible wrt transit then prepare to be hugely disappointed. Lightfoot is on record calling Chicago a "car city" and giving out subsidies for people to buy gas. The CTA is run by political appointees who have no relevant experience in the field. Until both of these regimes change (doesn't look likely anytime soon) I have zero hope for the CTA. It's simply not a priority.

emailspyro@gmail.com Jan 3, 2023 12:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BVictor1 (Post 9828598)
https://chicago.suntimes.com/2023/1/...s-sterling-bay

For city’s next growth spurt, follow the money to north-northwest corridor

The city touts its Invest South/West initiative, but the real action is on the other side of town.
By David Roeder Jan 2, 2023, 5:30am CST

Thanks for sharing BVictor. It will spread even further NW all the way to Belmont.
There are so many giant strip malls facing the river, no way those will survive more than 5 years.

Both Elston and Clybourn do need to be updated with either subway lines or a tram line / BRT. How these type of interventions have not been planned is beyond me. Total lack of leadership or interest in public works that benefit the actual residents of this city.

What is sad is the lack of planning for the river. Recently the city completed the Webster bridge for the LY site and they didn’t even bother to add an underpass or pathways for bikes or pedestrians. The LY site is being build as an island with no connectivity to the urban fabric.

lakeshoredrive Jan 3, 2023 12:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emailspyro@gmail.com (Post 9828951)
Thanks for sharing BVictor. It will spread even further NW all the way to Belmont.
There are so many giant strip malls facing the river, no way those will survive more than 5 years.

Both Elston and Clybourn do need to be updated with either subway lines or a tram line / BRT. How these type of interventions have not been planned is beyond me. Total lack of leadership or interest in public works that benefit the actual residents of this city.

What is sad is the lack of planning for the river. Recently the city completed the Webster bridge for the LY site and they didn’t even bother to add an underpass or pathways for bikes or pedestrians. The LY site is being build as an island with no connectivity to the urban fabric.

Urban planning is such a hit and miss in this city :hell:

Randomguy34 Jan 3, 2023 12:28 AM

The city doesn't even need to spend money to build a new subway line when the UP-N/NW lines are right along the river. They just need to have Metra start acting like a rapid transit service by running trains at least every 15 mins, reopen closed the stations, and integrate transfers with CTA services. This is literally how the regional rail system works in London, Paris, Tokyo, etc.

The city has so many low-hanging fruits, but no will to grab for them.

ardecila Jan 3, 2023 4:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9828968)
The city doesn't even need to spend money to build a new subway line when the UP-N/NW lines are right along the river. They just need to have Metra start acting like a rapid transit service by running trains at least every 15 mins, reopen closed the stations, and integrate transfers with CTA services. This is literally how the regional rail system works in London, Paris, Tokyo, etc.

The city has so many low-hanging fruits, but no will to grab for them.

This isn't the right answer. Yes, Metra should start acting more like regional rail but that is not enough to make the North Branch a transit-oriented zone. The North Branch developments are not clustered in dense nodes, but scattered up and down the river, so you need a local transit mode like BRT or streetcar with frequent stops. Maybe you could do something like Docklands Light Rail in London, but I think it would end up being massively expensive relative to the benefit.

Metra's alignment and station locations aren't great either... Clybourn can only serve a small slice of the North Branch/half of Lincoln Yards, and there's never been a station between Clybourn and Ogilvie to reopen. Further north on UP-NW, there is maybe one station that should be reopened at Maplewood (aka Diversey). All the others are too close to Blue Line stops. On UP-N, you could do 2 infill stops at Irving Park or Addison, and Diversey or Fullerton. But none of those infill stations would actually serve the North Branch area in question.

twister244 Jan 3, 2023 5:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9829279)
This isn't the right answer. Yes, Metra should start acting more like regional rail but that is not enough to make the North Branch a transit-oriented zone. The North Branch developments are not clustered in dense nodes, but scattered up and down the river, so you need a local transit mode like BRT or streetcar with frequent stops. Maybe you could do something like Docklands Light Rail in London, but I think it would end up being massively expensive relative to the benefit.

Metra's alignment and station locations aren't great either... Clybourn can only serve a small slice of the North Branch/half of Lincoln Yards, and there's never been a station between Clybourn and Ogilvie to reopen. Further north on UP-NW, there is maybe one station that should be reopened at Maplewood (aka Diversey). All the others are too close to Blue Line stops. On UP-N, you could do 2 infill stops at Irving Park or Addison, and Diversey or Fullerton. But none of those infill stations would actually serve the North Branch area in question.

Given the pace of CTA planning/execution, obviously the development will happen at a pace that exceeds the city's ability to implement any L solution. That said, a BRT seems like the path of least resistance, unless any of the major private players want to go in on some sort of public/private project. Light rail / streetcars sounds sexy, but CTA has no modern experience with this, so would that be a hindrance?

In any case, proper planning should be done for this corridor as it's going to become a hot area pretty quickly.

ardecila Jan 3, 2023 6:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twister244 (Post 9829335)
Light rail / streetcars sounds sexy, but CTA has no modern experience with this, so would that be a hindrance?

Neither did Milwaukee, or Cincinnati, or Kansas City. It's well established technology and CTA can turn to outside companies for expertise if they don't want to build it in-house.

Apart from higher capacity and a better ride quality, the main difference in my mind is that a streetcar system would require a maintenance building and yard near the North Branch corridor, so CTA would need to buy a decent size chunk of land. They can get creative, though - Portland put their streetcar shop under an expressway, so basically free land that's not competing with private development. Chicago has a similar area under the Kennedy by the end of the 606, but if IDOT won't cooperate there are plenty of other open sites. They would also need maybe 2 or 3 electric substations on smaller sites for the overhead power.

The downside is that the North Branch corridor is mostly old rail ROW or side streets, but if they want to extend the system beyond the North Branch (I think extensions to Fullerton Red/Purple, and Western Blue are warranted) there is limited space on arterial streets and there will be a big temptation to run them as mixed-traffic instead of dedicated lanes. This would be slow and vulnerable to disruption.

Klippenstein Jan 3, 2023 7:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emailspyro@gmail.com (Post 9828951)
Both Elston and Clybourn do need to be updated with either subway lines or a tram line / BRT. How these type of interventions have not been planned is beyond me. Total lack of leadership or interest in public works that benefit the actual residents of this city.

Definitely BRT, but any bus would be a good start. From what I see, neither street has a bus right now.

orulz Jan 3, 2023 8:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SIGSEGV (Post 9828059)
If they build tracks coming to the airport from the west, they can stop both at the airport and downtown. I'm sure the airport works well as a park and ride, but they should really have a downtown stop by the transit center.

The way the realignment is currently planned, there will not be any connection to the existing alignment on the east side of the airport and down Bendix Road, so a further extension to the South Bend Amtrak Station or downtown South Bend will not be possible, short of demolishing the airport terminal.

It is likely that they plan to rip up the tracks connecting from the airport to Bendix Rd; whether they would even keep the tracks along Bendix in place at all is probably an open question as well. It doesn't seem like there are any active freight customers along this route anymore.

Seems a shame.

https://cdn.greatnews.life/wp-conten...134256.860.jpg

Mr. Chicago Jan 3, 2023 9:07 PM

Mr. Chicago here,
WHAT? Transportation in the NW corridor should not be this much of an issue. There is a terrific river -- use it. Start taking bids on river taxi service
which, by the way is very popular in NYC, Furthermore take bids on a monorail
system along the river which can provide direct service building to building. Take bids even from Musk if you must, Chicago can use the taxes from private enterprise. Let these new systems start way up the river where I and a million others can park and take what is offered.( I still mourn for the garage on St Clair)
I said this some time ago, Chicago can make the list of Venice, Amsterdam
and Saint Petersburgh for its urban river culture. If done correctly, the new features in the city can be better than a supertall.

Busy Bee Jan 3, 2023 9:59 PM

^Some trains would originate from the airport and some would originate from a downtown station. Same for termination. The tracks don't need to "run through" the airport to the current east side tracks to provide this service. The municipal leadership of SB is in agreement that a downtown station is desired.

colemonkee Jan 3, 2023 10:13 PM

No mention of a monorail on SSP should ever go without a reference to the best example of a monorail in human history...

https://imgur.com/5m2k9Pl.jpg

mattropolis Jan 3, 2023 10:49 PM

Better not to have a branch. The trains run very infrequently as it is. If they are going to relocate the station, at least do it right and align it so you can go through.

Mr. Chicago Jan 3, 2023 10:57 PM

Mr. Chicago here,
I do not quite get it , but be that as it may. Monorails work in cities as diverse as Detroit and Miami. Am I to understand monorails are impossible in Chicago? Furthermore on the topic of transportation in the area, between bicycles and cars, consider staggered commute hours or half -hours. Assign a street for bicycles only for an half-hour morning and evenings.

Busy Bee Jan 3, 2023 11:27 PM

^The only alternative would be to build the west side airport connector but run a precision timed shuttle to the main with a new transfer platform. But then obvious (and fair) questions arise about whether a nice shuttle bus could fulfill the same need and forego an airport terminal SSL station altogether in exchange for a very nice downown extension and station initiative. If SSL freight handling to Chicago was to be proven lucrative, a west side alignment could be back in contention as you would be investing in the rail connection anyway. There's zero advantage to building a west side connection and then through routing across airport property and running SB bound over the very east side route back to the main that takes too long.

Tcmetro Jan 3, 2023 11:38 PM

Is there any good reason that the station is at the airport? All the flights seem to be regional jets to big 3 hubs or Allegiant vacation oriented destinations. I can't imagine many of the South Shore passengers are interfacing with the airport in any other way.

rgarri4 Jan 4, 2023 1:13 AM

1. Because monorails are barely built anymore, cost to built and maintain is super expensive.

2. Monorails have no way of utilizing existing 2 track lines. Or the other way around. Existing 2 track cars cant utilize new monorail lines. You don't have this limitation with all the other options.

3. Track changeovers are super slow and complicated with the mono track, leading to layouts avoiding them as much as possible. This limits the flexibility of the layout to simple lines and loops.

emailspyro@gmail.com Jan 4, 2023 2:31 AM

Loving all the responses and clearly the city should have already had a plan for Clybourn, Elston but they have ZERO plans or studies. How do we get something going so that we can hold officials accountable?
Under Rahm there was much talk about a new train line to connect Ohare to downtown faster. Perhaps a new line should have the following stops:
- Wolf Point / Fulton Market
- Casino
- Goose Island
- North Ave and Elston
- LY connecting to Clybourn Metra
- Ashland and Fullerton
- Western and Belmont
- Avondale
- Express to Ohare


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