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the urban politician May 1, 2009 2:32 PM

For those Chicagoans out there who criticize the new Central Area Action Plan's focus on expensive transportation investments downtown, I think it wouldn't hurt to get a sense of perspective.

Chicago continues to slip further behind NYC in transit investments. I would advise many of you to direct critics (as well as yourselves) to spend a few minutes browsing through these. This, my friends, is what I call ambition for the future--the projects at that website are what procuring vitality for the 21st century is all about.

Kudos to the people behind Chicago's Central Area Action Plan, which is no less ambitious, IMO. My fear isn't in the planning, but in the execution--will Chicago's leadership maintain the will to move forward boldly, as is clearly happening in NYC, or will more opportunities for advancement be lost?

arenn May 1, 2009 2:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4220265)
Has there been any mention that any portion of the infrastructure stimulus funds might go to rebuilding Red Line viaducts? I am thinking particularly of Edgewater, Rogers Park, and north and south of there, though there might be crumbling viaducts elsewhere too. It would seem to me that redoing viaducts would be one of the most shovel-ready (or otherwise fast-track) projects there could be (more so than high-speed rail). Some of those bastards are in seriously dangerous-looking shape - and some are kind of impeding major arterials (Hollywood; Loyola; etc.).

For that matter, Metra definitely has some antiquated viaducts too; have those ever come up as priority issues (whether this year or in years past)?

I'd like to see most viaduct work funded out of highway money. The recent UP-NW viaduct replacement were as much about increasing clearances for trucks as anything. Tractor trailers aren't Metra's problem.

Busy Bee May 1, 2009 2:46 PM

^100% agree.

Chicago3rd May 1, 2009 4:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 4226110)
I do not find it comforting that you had to use WORLD WAR II as the one time in our history where we spent more, that's for sure! Unprecedented sounds about right. Thanks for the data. I knew we were spending a lot but I didn't realize we were closing in on WORLD WAR II-style spending when there isn't even a world war! LOL.

You shouldn't try to change the meaning of the words you use.

UNPRECENDENTED:
having no precedent
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unprecedented

PRECENDENT:
prior in time, order, arrangement, or significance
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/precedent

Chicago3rd May 1, 2009 4:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4226801)
For those Chicagoans out there who criticize the new Central Area Action Plan's focus on expensive transportation investments downtown, I think it wouldn't hurt to get a sense of perspective.

Chicago continues to slip further behind NYC in transit investments. I would advise many of you to direct critics (as well as yourselves) to spend a few minutes browsing through these. This, my friends, is what I call ambition for the future--the projects at that website are what procuring vitality for the 21st century is all about.

Kudos to the people behind Chicago's Central Area Action Plan, which is no less ambitious, IMO. My fear isn't in the planning, but in the execution--will Chicago's leadership maintain the will to move forward boldly, as is clearly happening in NYC, or will more opportunities for advancement be lost?

If IL started getting back $ for $ from the Federal Taxes we get (we are a donor state) we would be getting about $1.5 billion dollars a year of our money back from the Feds and that could pay on this supposed high cost plan.

lawfin May 1, 2009 4:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 4226036)
Factually speaking this is incorrect. If you state stuff like this you should show us data to back it up. Try looking up government spending GDP percent. Also looking into the little thing called WWII. Also check out the GDP from 1920's (pre-depression) through to the 1930's (we called it the great depression). It jumped from about 12% up to 20% average and WWII as high as 52%. 46% for 2009. So what you said is NOT TRULY UNPRECEDENTED.

Government Spending As Percent Of GDP
Year $ %

2000 9817 33.01
2001 10128 33.91
2002 10469.6 35.32
2003 10960.8 35.86
2004 11685.9 35.32
2005 12421.9 35.44
2006 13178.4 35.69
2007 13807.5 35.53
2008 14280.7 37.07
2009 14291 44.72
2010 14902 41.29

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/...state=US&col=c

Umm unless I am misunderstanding these numbers, they appear to be incorrect at least according to CIA factbook

https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/us.html

which appear to indicate that in 2008 spending was a little more than 21% of GDP not 37%....maybe I am misunderstanding the numbers you are presenting

Nor do they gel with numbers on the CBO website which from what I gather projects outlays to be about 28% of GDP this years...decreasing moving forward

Both CIA factbook and CBO at least are ostensibly non-partisan. The site you presented is essentially a right wing screed against Obama
case in point a quote:
Quote:

Originally Posted by www.usgovernmentspending.com

"Used to be that the National Debt only went up to pay for wars. Then President Reagan increased the debt to win the Cold War. Now President Obama is increasing the debt to bail out the banks — and anyone else that needs a cool trillion or so.

It essentially says Reagan, Big Deficits.....Gooooood,
Obama, BIg Deficits..........Baaaaaaad


If you are going to present numbers to back up some concern of your at the very least use a credible source, instead of some Grover Norquist infused drivel

This guy: http://www.christopherchantrill.com/ is the publisher of the website you referenced.

Here are a few gems on quick perusal:
Quote:

Originally Posted by http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/04/the_difference_between_them_an.html
"People have a canny way of figuring out how to make ends meet. The authentic expressivists are no different. If people won't pony up the money to support their creative projects voluntarily, then the only sensible thing to do is to force them. Government should provide grants and funding to creative people: it's only simple justice.

All sorts of things about our age start to make sense when you get inside the head of the authentic expressivist. Abortion, for example. You really can't allow an unexpected pregnancy to divert you from your own way. You can't expect someone to soldier on in an uninspiring marriage when they could be following their bliss with someone more compatible. You can't really expect someone to pay for their kid's health care when they could get S-CHIP and spend the savings on their creative development.

Do you see now why liberals hate conservatives with such a passion? See why liberals scorn the warrior ethic, the faithful spouse ethic, the volunteer ethic, the pro-life ethic, the natalist ethic? Conservatives think that, while the creative life is a wonderful thing, it ought to be kept in perspective. Children come first. Entree comes before dessert. Do the right thing, not the easy thing. To the authentic expressivist, that is intolerable."

Quote:

Originally Posted by http://www.roadtothemiddleclass.com/oped59_religion.html
"WHEN PEOPLE make the great migration from the country to the city, how do they acquires the skills of the city? How do they adapt from the life of the sun to the life of the clock? How do they change from a life in thrall to a noble lord to a life in thrall to the almighty dollar? It is clear that one road is faith, the monotheistic faith of Judaism and Christianity that encourages its believers to cast aside the life of instinct and impulse and build instead a life of faith and purpose.

But weren’t the people in the countryside—the peasants and farmers—religious, and didn’t they lose their faith as they came to the secularized city? That is the received paradigm of the secularized elite that experiences the Enlightenment as a moment when modern man awoke from the superstitions of the past and learned to base society on rational principles. In God is Dead, British British sociologist Steve Bruce experiences western Europe beginning in the religious era of the Protestant Reformation and gradually secularizing through individualism, rationalism, and relativism to the present European disinterest in religion. But American sociologist Rodney Stark and his collaborators disagree. From their research, they conclude that the pre-modern era was not religious. In revolutionary North America, only 15 percent of the population were church adherents. But by 1850 after the rise of Methodism over 35 percent were church adherents. Today, over 60 percent of Americans are church adherents.

Perhaps both sociologists are right if we understand the Christianity of the agricultural era as a top-down affair. The lord was Christian, the church was established, and the peasants got with the program. In the United States, where there is no lord and no established church, the people build their own churches. In Peru, for instance, where Pentecostalism is growing rapidly, the Catholic church is usually located in the central Plaza de Armas alongside the government buildings; the Iglesia Cristiana Pentecostes is a hole-in-the-wall on some side street.

Christianity answers the need of the person who is learning how to take responsibility for his life in the rough and tumble of the city. That is why the Wesley brothers found a ready population for their Methodism in England and colonial North America. That is why the Methodist circuit-riders of early nineteenth century United States doubled the church adherence of Americans in 50 years. That is why “Dagger” John Hughes, first Catholic archbishop of New York, energized the Irish and Italian immigrants of mid-nineteenth century Gotham to a new revivalist Catholicism that had learned from the Methodist revivalists. That is why Christianity is booming in Africa and South America, and reportedly spreading in China against firm repression. That is why Christianity is booming in the striver suburbs of North America, and why a new Pentecostal church opens in New York City every three weeks. And that is why Christianity does not thrive in Europe, where the welfare states relieves the people of the need to take responsibility for their lives.

In Latin America, writes David Stoll, Penecostalism characteristically empowers and frees women from their subjection to the humiliation and depredations of the Latin machista culture of the “street, bar, brothel, football stadium, and drug culture… The restoration of the family as a viable moral, cultural, amd economic household, largely through the reformation of the male and the elimination of the double standard of morality for the two sexes” is the key result of converting to Pentecostalism. And the Protestant movement easily accommodates the prosperity gospel, as a celebration of the improvement in material prosperity that follows the abandonment of machista culture.

The urban sophisticates who have mastered the life of the city have forgotten the power of Christianity. They see its rigid rules and its personal relationship with God as superstition. Advancing beyond rules and traditional roles; they believe in creativity and universal community. Their faith extols the right to experiment and to pursue the demands of the creative life, and their most authentic experience is the heroic break with their strict Catholic or Protestant childhood. Knowing only their own needs, and blind to “the other” plodding along the road to the middle class, they declare war on “so-called Christians,” and support pressure groups organized to drive religion from the public square.'

I think I could be a little more succinct than Mr. Windbag Chantrill :
Kooky

ardecila May 1, 2009 6:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4226801)
For those Chicagoans out there who criticize the new Central Area Action Plan's focus on expensive transportation investments downtown, I think it wouldn't hurt to get a sense of perspective.

Chicago continues to slip further behind NYC in transit investments. I would advise many of you to direct critics (as well as yourselves) to spend a few minutes browsing through these. This, my friends, is what I call ambition for the future--the projects at that website are what procuring vitality for the 21st century is all about.

Kudos to the people behind Chicago's Central Area Action Plan, which is no less ambitious, IMO. My fear isn't in the planning, but in the execution--will Chicago's leadership maintain the will to move forward boldly, as is clearly happening in NYC, or will more opportunities for advancement be lost?

Planning for growth is nice, but New York's projects are about addressing capacity problems. Penn Station has the most complex and messed-up scheduling in the country, because it only has two tracks from the west, one from the north, and two from the east coming into it, serving America's busiest train station by far. So THE Tunnel is desperately needed.

East Side Access also relieves overcrowding at Penn Station, and makes commuting more attractive for suburbanites by taking them closer to their place of employment. The Second Avenue Subway relieves the Lexington Ave Line, which has the most ridiculous congestion of any rail line in the US.

Although I would love to see the Central Area Action Plan come to fruition, I'm just not seeing the same level of desperate need that NYC has for transit improvements. None of the transit facilities in Chicago approach the kind of overcrowding that New York faces. The projects that we've proposed are all just icing on the cake. The only project that might have a shot at the "desperately needed" label is the Red Line extension, which IIRC relieves some kind of ridiculous congestion that exists at 95th St, and of course the rehabilitation projects on existing lines. (I think the North Main is the only line that still needs rebuilding).

In New York, of course, the 7 extension is icing just as much as our Clinton St subway would be.

whyhuhwhy May 1, 2009 7:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 4226986)
You shouldn't try to change the meaning of the words you use.

UNPRECENDENTED:
having no precedent
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unprecedented

PRECENDENT:
prior in time, order, arrangement, or significance
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/precedent

Given that there is no "largest global war in human history" going on right now, there is no precedent to the amount of peace time spending we are doing at the moment. I have a feeling you knew what I meant though?

Anyways, like I said, I'm excited for projects, but they better be HELLA good and their better be a LOT of them for all this money.

Chicago Shawn May 1, 2009 7:54 PM

I am going to agree with Ardecila, Chicago does not display the critical need for the types of major infrastructure improvements that NYC is now receiving. Keep in mind that NYC's residential population plus day time workforce population is about equal to the population of Cook, Lake, Kane, DuPage, Will and Kendall Counties COMBINED, located in a land area of just over 300 square miles.

I am not saying we don't need the improvements that we have been discussing, but we really do not have the same caliber of demand that NYC does for us to be at the same comparable level for infrastructure projects. This of course is why I am always harping on here for us to increase density near transit wherever possible. Doing so not only creates more demand for better service, but it also increase farebox revenue and decreases the amount of reliance on a operational subsidy.



Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 4227339)
Given that there is no "largest global war in human history" going on right now, there is no precedent to the amount of peace time spending we are doing at the moment. I have a feeling you knew what I meant though?

Anyways, like I said, I'm excited for projects, but they better be HELLA good and their better be a LOT of them for all this money.


Peace Time spending? You are aware of the two front war going on right now in Iraq and Afghanistan, right? That alone is sucking up a few billion each month.

Chicago3rd May 1, 2009 8:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 4227087)
Umm unless I am misunderstanding these numbers, they appear to be incorrect at least according to CIA factbook

https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/us.html

My response was to the word “Unprecedented” being used. Is the spending now “Unprecedented”? I get tired of the hysterical libertarians.

Chicago3rd May 1, 2009 8:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 4227339)
Given that there is no "largest global war in human history" going on right now, there is no precedent to the amount of peace time spending we are doing at the moment. I have a feeling you knew what I meant though?

Anyways, like I said, I'm excited for projects, but they better be HELLA good and their better be a LOT of them for all this money.

Agree with your last part. What does Illinois have in line to make sure we get the biggest bang for our buck? Nothing...sad to say.

Dr. Taco May 1, 2009 8:17 PM

^ haha, true. I've never seen those numbers

VivaLFuego May 1, 2009 8:53 PM

snip

Attrill May 1, 2009 9:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4225299)
If you read the rest of the story, there's more to this than we yet know.

Katie Ridgway, a spokeswoman for Quinn, responded Wednesday by saying that "there is nothing on hold, and it's the governor's intention that transit projects will get started this construction season." She would not comment further on the issue.


My best guess would be that Gov. Quinn thought there was something fishy about the bond counsel or placement, not the projects themselves.

There was a report on NPR this morning that said the money is being held until the RTA submits official paperwork to the state. Quinn said he has no problems with the money going to the RTA but they need to commit to the spending in writing before the money will be released. He is confident it can be resolved quickly.

At this point it looks like disorganization on the RTA's part (and poor communication among Quinn's staff).

bnk May 2, 2009 12:57 AM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,7667825.story


Rail funding: Chicago and other 'old rail cities' get a shrinking slice of federal commuter rail funding

Cities need $50 billion to upgrade aging transit lines, report says


By Jon Hilkevitch

Tribune reporter

May 1, 2009


Chicago and other cities with long-established rail systems are getting a shrinking share of federal funding for commuter trains, resulting in a $50 billion shortfall to modernize deteriorating transit lines, according to a report to Congress released Thursday.

The Federal Transit Administration study found that more than one-third of the commuter rail stations, trains and other facilities are in marginal or poor condition on the seven largest rail transit systems -- Chicago, Boston, New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington.

It means the systems often rely on equipment being used beyond its recommended life cycle and may be defective and dangerous. Parts of the Chicago Transit Authority's 224-mile rail system are more than 100 years old.

Excluding those seven aging transit systems, less than 20 percent of the transit infrastructure in other urban areas is rated marginal or poor, the study said.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he will offer legislation aimed at helping bring older transit systems to a state of good repair. It would require a $50 billion investment followed by $5.9 billion a year for maintenance, according to the federal transit study, which was requested by 11 senators.

The FTA called for forming a temporary funding program to quickly reduce the backlog of rail projects. It also said the formula used to disburse rail-modernization grants should be changed to better meet the capital investment needs of established transit systems, which have lost funds to newer projects.

electricron May 2, 2009 11:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bnk (Post 4227952)
The FTA called for forming a temporary funding program to quickly reduce the backlog of rail projects. It also said the formula used to disburse rail-modernization grants should be changed to better meet the capital investment needs of established transit systems, which have lost funds to newer projects.

I'm not surprised cities with established transit systems want a larger slice of Federal revenues, but I disagree, the Feds should be spending more for new transit systems in cities without any.

On a national scale, there are far more voters in cities without any rail transit or with growing rail systems than in cities with established rail systems.

the urban politician May 2, 2009 5:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4227433)
I am going to agree with Ardecila, Chicago does not display the critical need for the types of major infrastructure improvements that NYC is now receiving. Keep in mind that NYC's residential population plus day time workforce population is about equal to the population of Cook, Lake, Kane, DuPage, Will and Kendall Counties COMBINED, located in a land area of just over 300 square miles.

I am not saying we don't need the improvements that we have been discussing, but we really do not have the same caliber of demand that NYC does for us to be at the same comparable level for infrastructure projects. This of course is why I am always harping on here for us to increase density near transit wherever possible. Doing so not only creates more demand for better service, but it also increase farebox revenue and decreases the amount of reliance on a operational subsidy.

^ A few points:

1) I agree that NYC has a much more immediate demand for such expansions than Chicago does

2) The whole point of my post was one of issues with public perception. If you look at that link that I posted, every single project described serves the purpose of getting people into or around Manhattan. Plenty people in the NY Metropolitan area work outside of Manhattan, yet you don't see people fighting to build lines equivalent to Metra's Star Line that would connect to suburban office parks in Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

Yet in Chicago, plans like the CAAP draws fire from people, even those who visit this forum, for being too downtown-centric. This is a dangerous precedent, ie how is it not common sense for the Chicago region to focus resources on improving downtown access and circulation, at least in regards to transit investments? Why is anybody even questioning this, and since they are I'll venture to say that Chicago's central area has a PR problem on its hands that needs to be fixed.

Some of you will argue that Chicago has a lot more jobs in its suburbs than NYC does. Fine, but building a transit system to serve the sprawling mess that this suburban market consists of is basically unfeasible, and financially a joke. Mass transit only works to serve centralized job nodes, and Chicago's downtown is the only place where such an investment should occur. The city and region need to do a better job of selling this point.

VivaLFuego May 2, 2009 7:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 4228399)
I'm not surprised cities with established transit systems want a larger slice of Federal revenues, but I disagree, the Feds should be spending more for new transit systems in cities without any.

On a national scale, there are far more voters in cities without any rail transit or with growing rail systems than in cities with established rail systems.

Yet the money would be far more effectively spent in terms of quality-of-life enhancements (reduced travel times, enhanced accessibility) if transit money were directed to places where transit is a competitive mode choice, and elsewhere just subsidized peoples' driving costs. Building ever more light rail lines in Dallas isn't a particularly great use of federal funds, dollar for dollar, as compared to modernizing rail transit in cities that were actually developed around transit networks.

Chicago Shawn May 2, 2009 9:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4228662)
^ A few points:

1) I agree that NYC has a much more immediate demand for such expansions than Chicago does

2) The whole point of my post was one of issues with public perception. If you look at that link that I posted, every single project described serves the purpose of getting people into or around Manhattan. Plenty people in the NY Metropolitan area work outside of Manhattan, yet you don't see people fighting to build lines equivalent to Metra's Star Line that would connect to suburban office parks in Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

Yet in Chicago, plans like the CAAP draws fire from people, even those who visit this forum, for being too downtown-centric. This is a dangerous precedent, ie how is it not common sense for the Chicago region to focus resources on improving downtown access and circulation, at least in regards to transit investments? Why is anybody even questioning this, and since they are I'll venture to say that Chicago's central area has a PR problem on its hands that needs to be fixed.

Some of you will argue that Chicago has a lot more jobs in its suburbs than NYC does. Fine, but building a transit system to serve the sprawling mess that this suburban market consists of is basically unfeasible, and financially a joke. Mass transit only works to serve centralized job nodes, and Chicago's downtown is the only place where such an investment should occur. The city and region need to do a better job of selling this point.

100% in agreement. My point is just that we have to work a little harder to show why such improvements are needed and the regional benefits that will occur because of them. Chicago's best chance at moving these plans forward are the Olympics, but even then I am doubtful in how much could be completed in that time frame. Right now we just do not have the demand to justify the cost of some of these plans. Its one thing to plan for the future, and that is what I always will argue for, but when we have NIMBYs screaming for maximum height, maximum density and minimum parking requirements, and crafting "neighborhood plans" outlining such, well that sort of hurts our prospects of future demand which would justify such expensive infrastructure investments.

ardecila May 3, 2009 4:27 AM

I don't know if anybody went to the Yellow Line Extension Open House, but it occurred on April 30th. Since I'm down here in New Orleans, I couldn't exactly go myself, but CTA has been quite diligent about posting the presentation on their website quickly.

The analysis process narrowed it down to heavy rail, using the UPRR Alignment on an elevated structure with a fork to the east at 94, terminating in a station at the interchange of 94/Old Orchard Road. This station is not integrated with the mall, but it's not inconceivable that the mall could expand with a "Yellow Line concourse" lined with shops that links the station into the mall.

The project will also include a reconstructed Dempster Station, elevated over Dempster. Oddly, the expansion will be single-track. This lowers construction costs and fits better into a limited right-of-way, and CTA is, I assume, not expecting train frequencies to require two tracks.

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/2...owlineplan.jpg

http://img396.imageshack.us/img396/8...inesection.jpg

http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/7...erendering.jpg
Rendering of potential Old Orchard Station - this is not the actual design, just a placeholder


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