SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/index.php)
-   Transportation (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=25)
-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

ardecila Jul 3, 2013 4:11 AM

It's an outside chance, but Emanuel seems to be putting a lot of eggs in the South Side basket. McCormick Place, hotels, arena, Motor Row, UI Labs/Michael Reese, Obama library, and even some recent stuff like the 35th St harbor. Getting outsiders to those areas is tough without some kind of rail transit. The new Cermak station works for stuff around McCormick but the rest is too far east of the Green Line and the Metra Electric is too infrequent.

The city's got a lot of pressing needs - the Red/Purple Modernization project comes to mind - but something on the South Side would support economic development so it's attractive to Emanuel, unlike other New Starts projects like the Red Line Extension (which would just convert bus riders to train riders).

Things don't really look great for rail expansion generally, though. The Feds refuse to provide more than a tiny trickle of funding and Chicago's at the back of the line. The state is way beyond broke. An LA-esque approach of a regional sales tax hike is tough because our sales taxes are already high and because the various transit agencies despise each other.

oshkeoto Jul 3, 2013 4:53 AM

^ I really want to explore at least in more detail why an LA-style plan wouldn't work here, or whether it could, or what the options could be...

I don't understand why somebody like MPC or CNT haven't already done a study on it, except maybe that City Hall doesn't want it and they don't want to cross City Hall.

ardecila Jul 3, 2013 6:03 AM

Chicago sales taxes already float around 9% in Cook County, while LA's rates were 0.5-1 points lower before Measure R. We're also part of a tri-state region where WI and IN have significantly lower rates, so consumers have the ability to go out-of-state for large purchases.

Then there are the practical problems. In what jurisdiction would the new tax apply, and what projects would be funded? Measure R worked because planners were able to find a list of projects, both transit and highway, that satisfied everybody while still concentrating investment in the areas with the most potential. LACMTA is like the CMAP and RTA rolled into one, and as such they bear planning responsibility for highways as well as transit, covering all of LA County. In Chicago we can only dream of such an enlightened setup... instead we have three service boards that can't even agree on a unified fare, let alone a unified scheme for funding billions in capital projects.

Lastly, we don't even really have a popular initiative system. We can have public referenda but they are non-binding and when they rely on elected officials to make an unpopular move like raising taxes, there's no guarantee of the plan moving forward.

Mr. D awhile back brought up the point that Chicago already has a rail transit framework that covers both city and suburbs pretty evenly. We can argue that additional lines are needed in certain areas but unlike in LA, there isn't the urgency to provide alternatives to congested freeways. Any new transit lines are likely to be development-oriented and it will be difficult to convince regional voters to approve these highly localized projects. This is, BTW, one of the reasons for the growing popularity of streetcars - it's the cheapest way to provide rail transit and sometimes the only way if you can't get regional support.

the urban politician Jul 3, 2013 12:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6185204)
It's an outside chance, but Emanuel seems to be putting a lot of eggs in the South Side basket. McCormick Place, hotels, arena, Motor Row, UI Labs/Michael Reese, Obama library, and even some recent stuff like the 35th St harbor. Getting outsiders to those areas is tough without some kind of rail transit. The new Cermak station works for stuff around McCormick but the rest is too far east of the Green Line and the Metra Electric is too infrequent.

^ Just to clarify, I'm not aware that Rahm has ever declared that he wants UI Labs on the south side, nor putting the Obama Library there (if we get it). In addition, I believe the 35th St Harbor project was initiated (or at least planned) during Daley's tenure.

LouisVanDerWright Jul 3, 2013 1:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baronvonellis (Post 6184710)
Also, since this concept is so new I'm trying to figure out what it should be used for. I mean is it for people that don't have bikes? If you already have a bike what would you use it for?

I think it will largely be used to replace cab rides and inconvenient multi-transfer transit situations. For example, my ride the other day from Wabash and Roosevelt to Jefferson and Adams. There is no good way to make that trip which doesn't involve a cab or transfers. Divvy was faster and cheaper.

Same goes for crosstown trips. If I am trying to go from Fullerton and Milwaukee to Belmont and Southport, there is literally no logical way to do so on transit. So Divvy would be the way to go.

emathias Jul 3, 2013 1:49 PM

It may come to nothing, but I know there is an expanded central area/south lakefront rail expansion plan being shopped around. Funding, as always, remains an issue, but the plan being shopped has a lot of thought behind it by interested and experienced parties.

I can't say anything more than that and, like I said, it may come to nothing, but I know there are a couple years of time invested in it at this point so if it fails it won't be for a lack of effort.

nomarandlee Jul 3, 2013 4:54 PM

^^^ Can you say if it may involve the St. Charles Air Line?

emathias Jul 3, 2013 5:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 6185666)
^^^ Can you say if it may involve the St. Charles Air Line?

I can't say anything else.

the urban politician Jul 3, 2013 5:45 PM

^ Why the secrecy if this is a public transit expansion concept that (assumably) is being considered by public officials and paid for with public money?

My only guess is that this has something to do with Rahm's privately financed infrastructure trust

Beta_Magellan Jul 3, 2013 7:23 PM

:previous: If the DePaul Arena’s any indication, Rahm has no trouble throwing public money at private initiatives, assuming whatever emathias is talking about is some kind of circulator between the “Near South Lakefront” (i. e. McCormick, maybe the old hospital grounds) and downtown, not the Gray Line/Gold Line/Stony island light rail/Cottage Grove BRT/take your pick of any number of proposals for the southeast side.

Although such a event-oriented circulators tend to be oversold (witness Cleveland’s Waterfront light rail extension, which is all-but-abandoned less than two decades after its construction, and the peoplemovers in Detroit and Jacksonville), the presence of the South Loop, which is not all that well served by rail transit, makes me more open to such a concept.

ardecila Jul 3, 2013 8:44 PM

Well, it's rail so we know it's not BRT. "Shopped around" suggests either that this plan is the work of transit advocates looking for official support or that the city is seeking investors, probably through the infra. trust.

Private investors probably can't fund an extension to the 'L', at least not without the bulk of funding coming from taxpayers, so it's probably streetcar or LRT. I can't see the gov't coming up with funding for anything, but the next year will see half a billion in spending on the 'L' alone... The state's willingness to borrow always astounds me.

the urban politician Jul 3, 2013 8:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6185981)
The state's willingness to borrow always astounds scares the shit out of me.

^ Corrected

oshkeoto Jul 3, 2013 9:33 PM

Quote:

Mr. D awhile back brought up the point that Chicago already has a rail transit framework that covers both city and suburbs pretty evenly. We can argue that additional lines are needed in certain areas but unlike in LA, there isn't the urgency to provide alternatives to congested freeways. Any new transit lines are likely to be development-oriented and it will be difficult to convince regional voters to approve these highly localized projects.
I dunno--it's true we probably don't need more heavy rail lines (except, again, on the Southeast side), but I can think of a number of other projects. For starters, if we're talking regionally, what about doubling or tripling off-peak frequency on Metra, both in the suburbs and the city? I bet a ton of suburban mayors and Chicago aldermen could get on board with that. Or, in the city, building out the BRT system along the lines that the MPC talked about--as BRT, or light rail, if that would get people more excited. That could certainly be paired with a BRT/LRT plan for the suburbs, where wide streets are easier to come by, and reliable transit between, say, Oak Park, Forest Park and Cicero, or Evanston and Skokie, or whatever, would probably be helpful.

N830MH Jul 10, 2013 11:07 PM

What about Northbrook, IL? Can they have a extended service to Northbrook, IL? Will they consider it?

ardecila Jul 11, 2013 2:13 AM

I know I shouldn't take the bait, but...

Northbrook has its own Metra station, plus a shuttle-bug bus system at the Lake-Cook station that does a decent job of allowing reverse-commutes to suburban office parks. There's a pretty good network of sidewalks, paths, and parks - it's pretty good for a Chicago suburb.

There were vague plans to extend the Yellow Line from Skokie up to Lake-Cook Road, but I think everybody agrees that's a poor idea. It's not a bad corridor but it'd make a better busway.

Beta_Magellan Jul 11, 2013 7:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by N830MH (Post 6193869)
What about Northbrook, IL? Can they have a extended service to Northbrook, IL? Will they consider it?

Skokie Swift to Lake-Cook Road got to the point of feasibility report in the nineties, but it was actually Northbrook which shot down further planning. They’re not interested for the same reasons Skokie’s not interested in an expansion to Old Orchard.

I’ll second ardecila on this—if anything’s built in that corridor it will likely be an open busway geared at reverse-commuters from the CTA, and even that’s pretty unlikely (perhaps more likely if, rather than operating as a separate line every third Red Line train heads out to Dempster, as Nowhereman suggested a while back). I could maybe see it working as rail running express to the State Street subway after the Red-Purple Modernization Project, but honestly the catchment area isn’t great—even though there are some pockets of employment and density, it’s mostly surrounded a lot of parkland/golf courses/car dealerships and beyond Skokie there doesn’t seem to be much push for densification.

I kind of wish we lived in an alternative universe where the interurban lines were taken over and modernized, free of FRA interference, offering easy cross-platform transfers and full fare integration with the CTA, and with extensions and new branches coordinated with big suburban centers like Lake-Cook and Oakbrook/Yorktown, but I think the window of opportunity for that passed decades ago.

ardecila Jul 12, 2013 8:43 AM

The interurban lines were never the catalyst for development that the railroads were. The walkable downtowns that sprung up along the CA&E are pretty pipsqueak, same for the North Shore and South Shore. The lines would be nice to have, but I'm pretty sure they would have succumbed to low ridership at some point if not in the '50s. Even in the prewar era, many interurban lines folded because most were just poor investments from the start, part of an "interurban bubble" like tech companies in the 90s. The three major lines in Chicagoland were more successful, but still thrived on low ridership levels.

Busy Bee Jul 12, 2013 2:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 6194777)
I kind of wish we lived in an alternative universe where the interurban lines were taken over and modernized, free of FRA interference, offering easy cross-platform transfers and full fare integration with the CTA, and with extensions and new branches coordinated with big suburban centers like Lake-Cook and Oakbrook/Yorktown, but I think the window of opportunity for that passed decades ago.

It's called Europe.

Wright Concept Jul 13, 2013 10:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6185263)
Chicago sales taxes already float around 9% in Cook County, while LA's rates were 0.5-1 points lower before Measure R. We're also part of a tri-state region where WI and IN have significantly lower rates, so consumers have the ability to go out-of-state for large purchases.

Then there are the practical problems. In what jurisdiction would the new tax apply, and what projects would be funded? Measure R worked because planners were able to find a list of projects, both transit and highway, that satisfied everybody while still concentrating investment in the areas with the most potential. LACMTA is like the CMAP and RTA rolled into one, and as such they bear planning responsibility for highways as well as transit, covering all of LA County. In Chicago we can only dream of such an enlightened setup... instead we have three service boards that can't even agree on a unified fare, let alone a unified scheme for funding billions in capital projects.

That right there maybe a limit for Chicago to pass such a thing, because the infighting between the agencies, that will create the political implosion that taxpayers may not support, however Cook County will only need a 50% +1 to pass, where as LA we needed 2/3rds or 66.67%

In addition, Chicago/Cook County needs to be spend money on planning projects through an EIR phase so that such a plan builds support and give more bang for the buck. Minus maybe the Red-Purple Line modernization there are no one signature project that will spur the imagination to draw positive support for. If the suburbanites get nothing out of the deal or if it's majority North side dominated, then politically support is lost.

ardecila Jul 14, 2013 3:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wright Concept (Post 6197019)
Cook County will only need a 50% +1 to pass, where as LA we needed 2/3rds or 66.67%

Illinois doesn't have ballot initiatives. The best we can do are non-binding referenda, which politicians are free to ignore. Most politicians don't want to be seen as tax-and-spend, so they might very well ignore it, or substitute projects that are less useful, or reduce the size of the program.

I agree with you on the EIS. To my mind it makes sense to take all of the major proposals through the EIS phase simultaneously. Shouldn't take more than $20M or so. Get them all to the shovel-ready phase, then Chicago has an even bigger advantage as it seeks money in Springfield and Washington. Just as Bob Moses intended.


All times are GMT. The time now is 9:34 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.