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Rizzo Jul 21, 2013 1:47 AM

[QUOTE=HowardL;6204092]Honestly, that along with heated sidewalks has been on my mind for 30 years. I just always assumed it was too pie-in-the-sky, Jetsons talk.

If that were seriously proposed and even if it meant an increase in taxes to fund, I would support it. We can't control the cold yet, but if we could start to control impassable/slick-as-crap-death-trap sidewalks, Chicago could change its image as a snowbound place to avoid during winter.

A few Michigan cities bought into this technology in the 90's and it's performed well. I worked at a store fronting a heated street and we never had to shovel or salt. Sometimes the system would be overwhelmed in a snowstorm but that was expected. I'm sure they are more efficient than ever now

HowardL Jul 21, 2013 2:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hayward (Post 6204817)
A few Michigan cities bought into this technology in the 90's and it's performed well. I worked at a store fronting a heated street and we never had to shovel or salt. Sometimes the system would be overwhelmed in a snowstorm but that was expected. I'm sure they are more efficient than ever now

I wonder why this never caught on. It is so intuitive. I don't know but maybe it is crazy expensive to implement.

Mr Downtown Jul 21, 2013 2:42 AM

And nothing says you're serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions like attempting to heat the entire atmosphere of the earth.

ardecila Jul 21, 2013 3:02 AM

As far as I can tell the existing systems mostly use waste heat from power plants, incinerators, and so forth. It's unclear to me what scale of system is being proposed for Chicago. I imagine it would be a good counterpart to the BRT lines, which would concentrate pedestrian traffic and complicate snowplowing.

The article mentions solar arrays on vacant land like the one in West Pullman, so this energy consumption could be offset by adding more clean power sources.

Beta_Magellan Jul 21, 2013 3:19 AM

I’ve heard of sidewalk and street de-icing as an application for ground-source heat pumps, though I can’t think of a place where it’s already been tried.

emathias Jul 21, 2013 4:59 AM

[QUOTE=Hayward;6204817]
Quote:

Originally Posted by HowardL (Post 6204092)
Honestly, that along with heated sidewalks has been on my mind for 30 years. I just always assumed it was too pie-in-the-sky, Jetsons talk.

If that were seriously proposed and even if it meant an increase in taxes to fund, I would support it. We can't control the cold yet, but if we could start to control impassable/slick-as-crap-death-trap sidewalks, Chicago could change its image as a snowbound place to avoid during winter.

A few Michigan cities bought into this technology in the 90's and it's performed well. I worked at a store fronting a heated street and we never had to shovel or salt. Sometimes the system would be overwhelmed in a snowstorm but that was expected. I'm sure they are more efficient than ever now

Lots of buildings in the Loop have heated sidewalks.

Mr Downtown Jul 21, 2013 4:57 PM

Which ones? The Hilton took theirs out in 1985.

emathias Jul 22, 2013 4:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6205122)
Which ones? The Hilton took theirs out in 1985.

"Lots" might have been an exaggeration, but the Sears Tower does (or did - I'm not aware of any removal, though).

denizen467 Jul 23, 2013 3:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6202076)
The line goes through black neighborhoods. You simply can't have a rational discussion about rerouting. There are just too many decades of mistrust, fueled by political opportunists. Look at how difficult it was to convince people that the Red Line's complete replacement was different from the Brown Line station reconstruction.

Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government, nor a way to plan a heavy rail system, and ... oh, forget it. I just hope future histories of the city's politics give as much attention to all the things that failed to materialize as they generally do to all the circuslike things that did occur.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6202076)
CTA, the Sun-Times, and the Tribune all write "L." It has a long unwavering history with the actual operators of the service, and is fiercely defended by all right-thinking people.

Mr Downtown, the key here is whether the letter is enclosed in quotation marks. Yours isn't, but the CTA's and the papers' is. I imagine they have been employing summer interns for all proofreading duties.

denizen467 Jul 23, 2013 3:18 AM

Heard on the radio today: Ald Fioretti is talking about opening the McCormick busway to taxicabs, in exchange for a fee (I think it was $1 per run). Since congestion-period travel times between the Loop and McCormick can get close to a half hour (when it's really bad), a premium 8-minute busway run is thought to be a win for all sides.

Discuss.

Edit: Details in a Sun Times article.

ardecila Jul 23, 2013 5:32 AM

Supposedly there is an ordinance preventing CTA from running buses on this road, but that's really what should happen. Is it really worth $43M of taxpayer money to speed up the cabs that bigwigs are traveling in?

denizen467 Jul 23, 2013 11:16 AM

To be fair, the cabs would make it available to the public, hardly just bigwigs, though less than the transit-riding public. BRT to the Museum Campus (and the newly enlargened outdoor music venue, and Soldier Field) could be a rather good idea though, if there were enough timetable demand to warrant some kind of convenient frequency. BRT to McCormick and DePaul too, though the Cermak Green Line station is intended for that audience.

After seeing the article, I realized this proposal may just be some political opportunism reacting to a local columnist's article (demonstrating again why broadcast journalism is so inferior to print journalism), but maybe there genuinely is potential in using this infrastructure.

Mr Downtown Jul 23, 2013 3:10 PM

One of the things that makes it a reliable timesaver for the buses is not having to worry about lunatic taxi drivers. Seems like a bad idea to me.

As for use by CTA buses, yes, I understand Metra forbade CTA use as a condition of leasing the right-of-way. But it's never been clear to me what CTA route could actually make good use of it. Think about all the complicated turns required to get a northbound 6 from Lake Shore Drive to the entry gate at 25th & King. And downtown, they end up on lower Randolph with no easy way to get to surface-level streets.

Mister Uptempo Jul 23, 2013 5:44 PM

Fix Union Station! - Midwest High Speed Rail Assn.'s New Website
 
On July 22, the Midwest High Speed Rail Association launched a new website, entitled, Fix Union Station!

It makes a number of proposals to improve the facility, some mirroring ideas already in play. Among them are the following-

-Establishing a new entrance along Clinton, in hopes of diverting taxis away from chaotic Canal Street, and providing needed foot traffic through a revitalized headhouse accommodating new retail and dining.

-Taking all non-boarding functions out of the concourse.

-Creation of four through tracks for Amtrak Regional routes.

-Digging high-speed rail tunnels under either Canal or Clinton.

-"Downtown Connector" Light Rail connecting Union Station with all other downtown Metra stations, several CTA "L" stations, Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier, the Museum Campus, and McCormick Place.

-A new concourse at 300 S. Riverside that would tie into the current concourse.

-A direct connection to the St. Charles Air Line and the rebuilding/expansion of the 21st Street bridge to triple tracks.

DCCliff Jul 23, 2013 6:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6207244)
One of the things that makes it a reliable timesaver for the buses is not having to worry about lunatic taxi drivers. Seems like a bad idea to me.

As for use by CTA buses, yes, I understand Metra forbade CTA use as a condition of leasing the right-of-way. But it's never been clear to me what CTA route could actually make good use of it. Think about all the complicated turns required to get a northbound 6 from Lake Shore Drive to the entry gate at 25th & King. And downtown, they end up on lower Randolph with no easy way to get to surface-level streets.

So, instead we have a useless roadway in a rail trench that could be a benefit; but the usual close-minded local interests ensure that it is lightly used. And, Mr D, the cabbie reference smacks of desperation and generalized mean-spiritedness. Why?

emathias Jul 23, 2013 7:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6207244)
One of the things that makes it a reliable timesaver for the buses is not having to worry about lunatic taxi drivers. Seems like a bad idea to me.

As for use by CTA buses, yes, I understand Metra forbade CTA use as a condition of leasing the right-of-way. But it's never been clear to me what CTA route could actually make good use of it. Think about all the complicated turns required to get a northbound 6 from Lake Shore Drive to the entry gate at 25th & King. And downtown, they end up on lower Randolph with no easy way to get to surface-level streets.

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 6206890)
Heard on the radio today: Ald Fioretti is talking about opening the McCormick busway to taxicabs, in exchange for a fee (I think it was $1 per run). Since congestion-period travel times between the Loop and McCormick can get close to a half hour (when it's really bad), a premium 8-minute busway run is thought to be a win for all sides.
...

I do not think it should be opened to taxis. Or if it is, the extra fee should be at LEAST the base rail fee for the CTA, with proceeds going completely to a CTA infrastructure fund.

I also don't see why Metra shut it to the CTA - that smacks of stupid rivalry stuff. A "crosstown" route between the Near South and the Streeterville would be a good use of it. Lower Randolph to Columbus would quickly get buses to Streeterville. Plenty of hotels and offices in Streeterville and plenty of conventions and residences in the Near South.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mister Uptempo (Post 6207423)
-Establishing a new entrance along Clinton, in hopes of diverting taxis away from chaotic Canal Street, and providing needed foot traffic through a revitalized headhouse accommodating new retail and dining.

Yes, please.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mister Uptempo (Post 6207423)
-Taking all non-boarding functions out of the concourse.

Sounds rational.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mister Uptempo (Post 6207423)
-Creation of four through tracks for Amtrak Regional routes.

More than four would be great, but four is a great start.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mister Uptempo (Post 6207423)
-Digging high-speed rail tunnels under either Canal or Clinton.

Yes.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mister Uptempo (Post 6207423)
-"Downtown Connector" Light Rail connecting Union Station with all other downtown Metra stations, several CTA "L" stations, Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier, the Museum Campus, and McCormick Place.

This should be a subway. Period. If they won't pay for a subway, BRT. Surface rail in the Loop would be asinine.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mister Uptempo (Post 6207423)
-A new concourse at 300 S. Riverside that would tie into the current concourse.

Couldn't be worse than it currently is.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mister Uptempo (Post 6207423)
-A direct connection to the St. Charles Air Line and the rebuilding/expansion of the 21st Street bridge to triple tracks.

Ok. Would love to turn the Pink Line into a branch of O'Hare using the St. Charles Air Line, Red Line and Red-Blue connector tunnel, but that's not really part of this discussion

Beta_Magellan Jul 25, 2013 2:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6207595)
More than four would be great, but four is a great start.

I don’t think you really need more than four, particularly if we’re just talking about Amtrak routes. Electrified commuter rail in this country can do 20-24 tph on two tracks (Tokyo and Paris do around 30); I expect Metra’s to be somewhat less , but still high enough that four tracks in more than enough to decongest Union Station (last year’s Union Station plan suggested a four-track, two-platform Canal Street tunnel be served by electrified Metra and intercity services, specifically for better their grade-climbing ability but there would be throughput advantages as well).

It’s weird that they’re singling out Amtrak regional services, though. With the exception of the Hiawatha they’re not all that reliable, so by through-running you either you accept that delays on the Cardinal or Lincoln Service cascade to the Hiawatha (and lose regular customers—like me—who take reasonable OTP on the Hiawatha for granted) or you include a lot of schedule padding by having trains for a while at Union Station, which negates some of the issues dealing with through-running.

Anyway, outside of fantasy-land Chicago’s likely to see either increased fares or reduced service due to a cut in state aid for reduced fares (Tribune link). Money paragraphs:

Quote:

The CTA receives about 84 percent of reduced-fare funding, which is distributed based on the actual cost of providing the roughly half-price fares, officials said. Metra receives about 9 percent and Pace gets about 7 percent of the grants from IDOT.

Even at $34 million, the state reimbursement doesn't come close to covering the whole cost of the reduced fares, transit officials said, nor does it include any expenses the transit agencies incur to provide free rides to eligible low-income senior citizens and disabled riders.

The cost of reduced fares for the three agencies typically exceeds $100 million annually, according to the RTA. The cost of reduced fairs, mandated under federal and state laws, is projected to keep rising as the region's population ages and the number of eligible riders increases, officials said.

[…]

The state funding cut, piled on top of other transit budget challenges, could lead to service cuts or fare increases next year, although transit officials said planning for their 2014 budgets is still in the preliminary stages and it is too early to make predictions or issue warnings to riders.

Read the rest at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,2336165.story

ardecila Jul 25, 2013 3:37 PM

I thought the "visionary" plan called for a ventilated tunnel designed around Metra's current diesel-hauled gallery cars. The lack of high-platform boarding is a fatal flaw in this plan; the dwell times would prevent anything like 24-30 tph. With two platform tracks in each direction the trains can only dwell for four minutes, which is not enough to unload several thousand people. 10-15 tph is probably more realistic, and this allows for 15-20 minute headways on each of the northside/southside branches.

Unfortunately, implementing high-platform boarding is just as difficult or worse than electrification, because so many Metra stations are traversed by local streets that would need to be closed, and there would need to be some kind of pricey overpass/underpass for pedestrian crossings mid-platform. Maybe there's some rolling stock that can be designed with vestibules that transform for high-platform stations to avoid the issue.

Beta_Magellan Jul 25, 2013 4:48 PM

I’m only semi-right—it was a precondition for a Clinton Street tunnel, not necessarily a Canal one (I also mentally mixed it up with Boston’s North-South rail link) I linked to the tunnel appendix, but the electrification mention was actually in the main body of the study. From page 56 of the study (70 on the pdf) and primarily referred to intercity traffic:

Quote:

Trains on the upper level would encounter ruling grades of 2.5%; trains on the lower railroad level would face grades of close to 4% (see profile). About 1.3 miles of the route would be in tunnel. Because of the grades and the tunnel operation, electrified operation is likely to be essential to the future viability of this plan. The near 4% grades in particular would probably require use of electric multiple unit equipment as is used in many international high speed rail trains.
Canal’s wide enough to not require a lower tunnel and only has a ruling grade of 2.5%.

Edit: That’s two monumentally stupid things I’ve posted today. Goodbye all.

Rizzo Jul 25, 2013 5:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6204851)
And nothing says you're serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions like attempting to heat the entire atmosphere of the earth.

Actually, it was much greener. Both systems were operated from co-generation. Also it reduced carbon emissions of running large snow-plow vehicles that would also damage the asphalt.


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