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mattb112885 Aug 29, 2013 8:59 PM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6248629)
Of course. That being said, there are things to learn. I think Caltrain provides a much higher-quality and frequent service than Metra, for example.

On the other hand, I don't know of any domestic agencies where commuter rail and local transit have free transfers or cross-ticketing.

In Los Angeles Metrolink (commuter rail) passengers can transfer to Metro (local transit) and many other local transit authorities for free. Source:

ardecila Aug 29, 2013 9:33 PM

Cool, didn't know that. Now I'm wishing for Alex Clifford back, lol. The Chicago system should allow the reverse, as well; CTA pass holders or ticket holders should be able to use Metra like a CTA line within the A/B fare zones and get the same transfer privileges.

emathias Aug 29, 2013 9:53 PM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6249038)
Cool, didn't know that. Now I'm wishing for Alex Clifford back, lol. The Chicago system should allow the reverse, as well; CTA pass holders or ticket holders should be able to use Metra like a CTA line within the A/B fare zones and get the same transfer privileges.

Got my vote.

CTA Gray Line Aug 30, 2013 4:28 AM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6249038)
Cool, didn't know that. Now I'm wishing for Alex Clifford back, lol. The Chicago system should allow the reverse, as well; CTA pass holders or ticket holders should be able to use Metra like a CTA line within the A/B fare zones and get the same transfer privileges.

Congratulations -- You've just described CTA Gray Line services on the Metra Electric District!

ardecila Aug 30, 2013 5:06 AM

I want all Metra services to work this way. In the case of Metra Electric, increased frequencies and improved stations may become necessary as the south lakefront densifies, similar to the Gray Line idea. But Metra riders who board at Ravenswood or Oak Park should get discounted transfers to CTA bus or rail; right now anybody who doesn't work near the Metra terminals will take the much slower CTA service all the way, just to get closer to their destination.

BVictor1 Aug 30, 2013 1:49 PM

August 29, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Breaks Ground for Cermak Avenue Green Line Station

New Station Near McCormick Place Part of $92 Million in CTA Station Developments that will Foster Economic Growth Throughout the Near South Side.

Mr Downtown Aug 30, 2013 3:17 PM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6249038)
CTA pass holders or ticket holders should be able to use Metra like a CTA line within the A/B fare zones

I agree in principle, but there are practical and political considerations. You'd have Oak Parkers and Evanstonians flocking to Metra rather than CTA, and taking all the seats (at least outbound) from the far suburbanites who mostly pay for Metra.

ardecila Aug 30, 2013 4:53 PM

How? The seats would be occupied by the time Metra trains arrive in Oak Park or Evanston inbound. Outbound, some Evanston/Oak Park residents would choose to stand, while some would sit and exchange their seats at those outlying stations.

Ultimately, Metra would need to add frequency on the innermost segments of busy lines, hopefully with a few infill stations.

I agree that there are political considerations but we're now facing a near-total turnover of the Metra board and major turnover in its administration. Many of the new people will not have the assumptions of their predecessors, at least not at first. I'm convinced a transfer agreement between agencies would make suburbanites consume just as much CTA service as their city counterparts consuming Metra service.

Mr Downtown Aug 30, 2013 6:04 PM

It's not the Metra board, it's the basic RTA agreement about where funding comes from and what it can be spent on. And generations of mistrust between city and suburbs.

Rizzo Aug 30, 2013 11:05 PM


Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6248489)
Email the CTA and (politely) ask them to stop doing it. It may not immediately spur them to action, but the absolutely do track customer feedback and it will influence their decisions on what to work on over the long run. If they get enough complaints, they will act more quickly.

Did this morning and they got back with me ASAP. The new signs will only show train times that will replace the old LED ones. They are hardwired with that message. But will be replaced in 2014. Yay!

CTA Gray Line Sep 3, 2013 7:27 AM

RTA proposes merging transit agencies’ planning departments

As Gov. Pat Quinn’s new transit task force meets for the first time Tuesday amid rising questions about Metra and calls for a transit shakeup, the Regional Transit Authority is proposing to merge the planning departments of the area’s transit agencies into a single planning body.

“These planners often operate in silos that result in inefficiencies, including lack of communication and competition for funds, all of which diminish the shared goal of optimal regional accessibility,” RTA chairman John Gates wrote in a memo dated Sept. 3. The memo, obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, was to his own board and to the heads of the city and surrounding counties. He estimated that the combined 100 planners of the RTA, Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, Pace and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning cost the region up to $20 million.

Gates cited planning snafus such as “overpriced joint” fares when the CTA began reconstructing the Red Line without considering Pace riders who use the 95th Street station or parallel Metra service in asking the General Assembly to legislate the consolidation under the RTA, CMAP or one of the other agencies.

Gates was not available Monday, but RTA executive director Joe Costello said lawmakers should “give us a mandate to work together like this. That’s not to say we couldn’t get in a room and decide to do it. That hasn’t happened, frankly.”

An RTA spokeswoman said remaining details had yet to be hammered out, such as how much money could be saved and the logistics of merging departments of agencies in separate headquarters. Pace, for example, is in Arlington Heights, about 20 miles outside Chicago’s Loop and the other agencies.

CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase asked to see the memo, then declined to comment. Metra spokesman Michael Gillis also declined to comment.

Quinn’s 15-member Northeastern Public Transit Task Force will convene at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Room N502 of the Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle Street. Comments from the public will be accepted.

Quinn has charged the group, which includes former corruption-busting U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, with evaluating whether the Regional Transit Authority and the three agencies it oversees — the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace — should be “reorganized, streamlined or restructured” to “ensure greater efficiency, accountability, coordination and transparency.”

The task force was created in the wake of what Quinn called “another scandal” at Metra. The suburban rail agency has faced a rising tide of criticism since its board gave ex-CEO Alex Clifford a 26-month, up to $871,000 farewell handshake in exchange for leaving eight months early and keeping mum about it — except before investigative agencies.

RTA Chairman John Gates Jr. has said the Metra controversy proves the RTA needs more oversight powers, while Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Bill Daley wants to eliminate the RTA “as we know it’’ for dropping the ball in overseeing Metra. Meanwhile, State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) favors replacing the entire Metra board and installing an “emergency manager.’’

ardecila Sep 8, 2013 11:01 PM

Went past some of the UP-North work on the north side today... The bridge girders at Irving Park are getting painted in canary yellow. I've never seen that on steelwork before... Usually it's green, grey, red, blue, or brown.

The yellow creates a nice bright feeling underneath. Hopefully it doesn't show the dirt (or pigeon crap) too much.

Nouvellecosse Sep 9, 2013 12:58 AM

That seems to be really common in Pittsburgh, but outside of that it's practically unheard of.

ardecila Sep 9, 2013 2:27 AM

Ah, yeah, I faintly remember that. Maybe the engineers were some Yinzers.

Rizzo Sep 9, 2013 4:49 AM

I was thinking Pittsburgh also. But I noticed the SPUI overpasses in Michigan were receiving yellow. Always seems to show up where there's a ton of steel on a bridge. Also, bridges should have an angled plate welded on the lower flange to keep the birds away. The CTA had done this.

CTA Gray Line Sep 9, 2013 2:29 PM

Emanuel expected to name former alderman to Metra board,6104096.story

By Jennifer Delgado, Chicago Tribune reporter
7:03 a.m. CDT, September 9, 2013

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday will appoint an outspoken former alderman to represent Chicago on Metra's board of directors as the commuter rail agency tries to bounce back from a summer mired in controversy.

Martin Oberman would replace Larry Huggins, a longtime board member who stepped down in August amid allegations of patronage and interference with contracts. Huggins has denied the accusations.

During his time as 43rd Ward alderman from 1975-87, Oberman openly sparred with powerful mayors and became known as the council's dean of independents. He advocated for ethical reform and sued to get basic budget information from the city.

The appointment comes at a crucial time for Metra, the agency that in June ousted CEO Alex Clifford and gave him a severance package of as much as $871,000 after he threatened to file a whistle-blower lawsuit over alleged political back-scratching and questionable contracts at the nation's second-largest commuter service.

In the wake of a public backlash, five board members resigned, leaving the board without the supermajority needed to appoint a new chairman. Critics also have called on some of the remaining members to step down.

"Marty Oberman has been a leader for reform and accountability in government and a vigilant protector of taxpayer interests throughout his lifetime of service to Chicago and Illinois," said Emanuel in a statement. "The Metra board needs a new chapter and a fresh start."

Oberman, 68, said it only took him a few hours to think over Emanuel's request to join the Metra board. The civil litigation lawyer said he was surprised but has always had a strong desire to be in public service.

If his appointment is approved by the City Council, Oberman said, some of his first tasks will be to minimize the harm that has been done by the recent scandals and learn more about the transit operation and its budget.

An avid cyclist who bikes from his home in Lincoln Park to his job in the Loop, Oberman occasionally rides Metra. And while he doesn't have an extensive background in transportation, his strengths are oversight and holding people accountable for their actions, he said.

"I think that the reason (the mayor) asked me to take this position is because he wants an independent voice on the Metra board who will work on reform," said Oberman. "I don't expect to be taking orders from anyone."

The nomination is a smart one for the mayor, said Dick Simpson, a former alderman and now a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Oberman has always been opposed to patronage and is someone who is not beholden to a political boss, Simpson said.

In making the appointment, Emanuel is trying to craft a reformist image and counter the appearance of someone who doesn't listen to the public, like in the recent Chicago Public Schools closings, Simpson added.

"He could have appointed other people who were more machine-type politicians," he said. "In this appointment, he chose among the best of the good-government representatives."

Metra board member Jack Schaffer said his reaction to the news is positive. He remembers Oberman as an "independent thinker" who went up against the Richard J. Daley administration in the 1970s.

"Frankly, if he's reform-minded and doesn't believe in what sometimes is referred to as the 'Chicago way,' I would view his presence on the board as a plus," said Schaffer, who represents McHenry County.

Oberman's appointment will help the board move toward full strength and make two key decisions — electing a new board chairman and selecting a permanent CEO. Schaffer added that he doesn't discount Oberman for not having an extensive transit background.

"I would hope that these people are going to be appointed and they're going to come in and do the best job they can," Schaffer said. "And the appointing authorities will leave them alone and let them do their job."

Oberman joined the City Council in 1975 and became the leader of the independent bloc along with then-Ald. David Orr, who is now Cook County clerk.

Before stepping down in 1987, Oberman worked under four mayoral administrations, three of which he openly criticized.

But in the mid-1980s, he often voted with then-Mayor Harold Washington, whom he said did a "spectacular job of reforming the city." Oberman also unsuccessfully ran for Illinois attorney general twice, in 1986 and 1994. On a third occasion, in 1982, he campaigned for the office but never filed his candidacy.

Along with serving as first general counsel for the Illinois Racing Board, Oberman has chaired the city's Committee on Public Records and Information and recently sat on Emanuel's Midway Airport Advisory Panel. He also helped file a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Emanuel's campaign during the controversy over whether Emanuel met Chicago's residency requirements to run for mayor.

Last year, he wrote an opinion piece in the Tribune supporting what he said was transparency in Emanuel's administration. Despite that piece, Oberman said he's not in Emanuel's camp but feels the mayor has done a good job cleaning up City Hall.

Oberman said he plans to decline the $15,000 stipend that comes with the Metra position. He also said he spent the weekend studying the Metra budget and is ready for the assignment.

Metra riders "should feel comfortable knowing I'll be working for them," he said.

Twitter @jendelgado1

jpIllInoIs Sep 9, 2013 6:42 PM

Brown Line Slow Zone upgrade
Will they be able to make use of the 4 track segment between Chicago and Armitage?

CTA begins rehabbing Ravenswood Connector

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) yesterday launched major construction work on the $71.2 million Ravenswood Connector rehabilitation project.

Workers are repairing and replacing components on the steel structure between the Armitage and Merchandise Mart elevated stations. Once that work is completed next year, crews will begin replacing ties and track components.

The project will enable CTA to eliminate more than 70 percent of Brown Line slow zones, and improve safety and reliability on a key segment of the Brown and Purple lines between Armitage Avenue and the Loop, according to a press release.

ardecila Sep 9, 2013 7:45 PM

Probably not. However, if/when CTA builds a Brown Line station at Division, they'll probably shift trains to the outside tracks with a center platform.

emathias Sep 9, 2013 8:10 PM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6260366)
Probably not. However, if/when CTA builds a Brown Line station at Division, they'll probably shift trains to the outside tracks with a center platform.

Maybe, maybe not. Would there be a precedent for doing that to a section of track that wasn't already spread apart? Cermak is getting a center platform because the tracks are already spread, and Morgan got side platforms when the tracks were centered, albeit mostly because there is Lake Street underneath. But, for example, when they rebuilt the Western stop on the Brown Line some years back (long before the station expansion project), they didn't choose to make it centered even though it was done in the ADA era and thus needed elevators on both sides. I think the CTA likely would make side platforms there. Maybe more expensive, but straight tracks are less wear on the trains and tracks.

jpIllInoIs Sep 12, 2013 4:03 PM

Edgewater Metra station
SunTimes article
Construction of Edgewater Metra station could begin in spring
BY TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporter September 2, 2013 4:39PM
Updated: September 3, 2013 2:12AM

As Metra tries to move forward from a scandal-filled year, many in Edgewater are focusing on something they’ve been waiting on for years: a new Metra station.

The North Side neighborhood will see ground broken on a new station at Peterson and Ridge as soon as spring, Metra officials said.

There are images in the link...

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