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paytonc Aug 11, 2014 4:17 PM

Here's what the 1989 proposal looked like:

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/196/4...124_z.jpg?zz=1
First phase of circulator map by Metropolitan Planning Council

It was heavily tilted towards getting suburbanites from the commuter train stations to the then-booming Near North Side. Remember that in 1989-1990, the towers at 676, 700, and 900 North Michigan all opened one right after another; Navy Pier's renovation under MPEA's authority had just begun; and NBC Tower was the first tower in what was then an empty post-industrial expanse between Trib Tower and Navy Pier.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pilton (Post 6687065)
Both the Circulator and the Carroll Street Transitway died because of a lack of funding.

Not quite: this 1997 article by Joravsky offers a fairly quick accounting of how the Circulator died. The city came up with the local share of funding by launching a new downtown property tax district, which apparently is still on the books and can be restarted at will. What stopped it was concerted opposition at the state and federal levels, which stopped the chance to match the funds.

The state doesn't have money, sure, but the feds now have a dedicated Urban Circulator pot of money. The route, as described by Hinz, would bring rail transit to the Canal/Roosevelt area that many people on this forum complain about -- and thus could also tap into five TIF districts.

All that said, the Riverbank route still seems like a solution looking for a problem. There's nothing it does that express buses, using the CLBRT route or Lower Wacker, could not do just as well (or better).

Chi-Sky21 Aug 11, 2014 4:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pilton (Post 6687137)
I am a fan of the TIF money being spent on a project in the specific TIF district and any surplus funds beyond the project also being spent within the confines of the specific TIF district. I have no preference on what purpose the excess funds should be spent on.

Those taxpayers who pay money in the TIF district should benefit from the expenditure of the TIF money they paid in taxes. They should benefit more than the taxpayers who live outside the TIF district and did not contribute the tax funds which are being spent.

Correct me if I am wrong but TIFs aren't a special tax added to anyone's bill. It is just money from your tax bill after certain areas of the bill are capped. So nobody is paying more in 1 are or another. If your area is capped and the tax base goes up then yes your area is contributing more to the TIF but is not paying more because of the TIF. TIFs are a joke in my opinion and are just a slush fund for the politicians, had those taxes not been capped and the funds gone to where they were supposed to, schools, police and other things would not have the shortages they do now.

UPChicago Aug 11, 2014 4:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pilton (Post 6687137)
I am a fan of the TIF money being spent on a project in the specific TIF district and any surplus funds beyond the project also being spent within the confines of the specific TIF district. I have no preference on what purpose the excess funds should be spent on.

Those taxpayers who pay money in the TIF district should benefit from the expenditure of the TIF money they paid in taxes. They should benefit more than the taxpayers who live outside the TIF district and did not contribute the tax funds which are being spent.

IMO, the fact that the TIF increment is siphoned off to the City of Chicago rather than distributed to the County, Forest Preserve, Chicago Park, CBOE, City Colleges and MWRD is a different issue than where the funds should be spent. As long as the expenditure is in the TIF district, it's a matter of politics what purpose the funds generated by the TIF should be spent on.

I admit there are differing opinions on this. But, you asked me for my opinion and you now you have it.

The way to right the ship is to spend no more money on current operations than will be coming in from current collections. As capital improvements become necessary, they should be funded by bonds sold after referendum approval (with a few exceptions for true emergencies) with a level repayment rate. In other words, bonds should not be backloaded. Backloading bonds is a convenient way to kick the can down the road for a later administration to deal with. And, the big payment in the last year or two causes the later administration to play the same game selling new bonds, backloading the bond repayments and, thus, causing headaches for an even later administration. Even if the taxpayers realized who caused by the problems, with backloaded bonds those politicians will not be around to hear the complaints.

Ok, put that way I agree with you about using TIF as a way to prevent a siphoning of tax dollars to other taxing bodies outside the city. Personally, I think it would be best for the city as a whole, if there were a way to prevent tax dollars from being siphoned but still be able to use the tax dollars in areas of the city that actually need it. I seriously doubt Hines needed a tax payer funded subsidy. Maybe there needs to be more flexibility in using the funds.

UPChicago Aug 11, 2014 4:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chi-Sky21 (Post 6687151)
Correct me if I am wrong but TIFs aren't a special tax added to anyone's bill. It is just money from your tax bill after certain areas of the bill are capped. So nobody is paying more in 1 are or another. If your area is capped and the tax base goes up then yes your area is contributing more to the TIF but is not paying more because of the TIF. TIFs are a joke in my opinion and are just a slush fund for the politicians, had those taxes not been capped and the funds gone to where they were supposed to, schools, police and other things would not have the shortages they do now.

You are right TIF is basically as, I understand it, a loan against future tax revenue, its suppose to be meant for blighted areas.

stevevance Aug 11, 2014 4:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UPChicago (Post 6687172)
You are right TIF is basically as, I understand it, a loan against future tax revenue, its suppose to be meant for blighted areas.

TIFs, as used in Chicago, are not loans but cash accounts. Developers can obtain TIF-funded grants from the city, and the city can expend TIF money to build train stations and pay the federally-required local match for Divvy bike-share stations.

All TIF districts in Chicago had a combined balance of $1.7 billion as of January 1, 2014. You can read all about it in Civic Lab's 2013 TIF analysis.

wierdaaron Aug 11, 2014 5:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paytonc (Post 6687144)
Here's what the 1989 proposal looked like:

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/196/4...124_z.jpg?zz=1
First phase of circulator map by Metropolitan Planning Council

It was heavily tilted towards getting suburbanites from the commuter train stations to the then-booming Near North Side. Remember that in 1989-1990, the towers at 676, 700, and 900 North Michigan all opened one right after another; Navy Pier's renovation under MPEA's authority had just begun; and NBC Tower was the first tower in what was then an empty post-industrial expanse between Trib Tower and Navy Pier.

I guess that goes to show the danger of designing a transit system for the needs of people "now". It's a little bit like playing neighborhood Darwinism.

I've been torn between a simple system that would move people between the 2 train stations, museum campus, grant park, and navy pier; and something even less specific... just a system of longitudinal and latitudinal lines that would make it faster to move across town in one direction. That was kind of the dream of BRT but we can't stop dialing back our implementation of that.

Chi-Sky21 Aug 11, 2014 5:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stevevance (Post 6687180)
All TIF districts in Chicago had a combined balance of $1.7 billion as of January 1, 2014.

You can fix a lot of our budget "shortfalls" with 1.7 billion.

Let me take this back to transit since this is the transit thread. I do like how many public tran projects , especially new stations have been built because of TIF funding. Not so big on developers dipping into it though.

ardecila Aug 11, 2014 9:54 PM

I posted this version a few weeks ago.

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3356/...a5665b93_b.jpg

emathias Aug 11, 2014 10:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6687507)
I posted this version a few weeks ago.
...

This one is ok. For contemporary needs, it'd be nice to have it take Canal all the way to Cermak and then go east to McCormick. Maybe eventually south to Pershing. That would accomplish a lot:

1) Two routes to McCormick from the West Loop.
2) Connect the West Loop to the Chinatown area, enabling more tech incubator/startup type space in the old industrial buildings between 18th and Cermak along Canal and the river - those buildings at Cermak and Lumber would really benefit and it could totally turn into something like Kendall Square in Cambridge, especially if you put an Orange Line station at Cermak.
3) Additional transit for far East Pilsen.
4) Big boost for those parking lot areas along Canal south of Roosevelt.

Pilton Aug 11, 2014 11:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paytonc (Post 6687144)
Here's what the 1989 proposal looked like:

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/196/4...124_z.jpg?zz=1
First phase of circulator map by Metropolitan Planning Council

It was heavily tilted towards getting suburbanites from the commuter train stations to the then-booming Near North Side. Remember that in 1989-1990, the towers at 676, 700, and 900 North Michigan all opened one right after another; Navy Pier's renovation under MPEA's authority had just begun; and NBC Tower was the first tower in what was then an empty post-industrial expanse between Trib Tower and Navy Pier.



Not quite: this 1997 article by Joravsky offers a fairly quick accounting of how the Circulator died. The city came up with the local share of funding by launching a new downtown property tax district, which apparently is still on the books and can be restarted at will. What stopped it was concerted opposition at the state and federal levels, which stopped the chance to match the funds.

The state doesn't have money, sure, but the feds now have a dedicated Urban Circulator pot of money. The route, as described by Hinz, would bring rail transit to the Canal/Roosevelt area that many people on this forum complain about -- and thus could also tap into five TIF districts.

All that said, the Riverbank route still seems like a solution looking for a problem. There's nothing it does that express buses, using the CLBRT route or Lower Wacker, could not do just as well (or better).

Sounds like a lack of funding killed the Circulator to me - whatever the reason for the funding drying up.

Mr Downtown Aug 12, 2014 3:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paytonc (Post 6687144)
There's nothing it does that express buses . . . could not do just as well (or better).

Interestingly, that was also true at the time. The rather curious combined alternatives analysis and draft EIS calculated that the average travel time for all trips within the central area, weighted according to the formula (1 x in-vehicle time + 2 x (walk access + wait time) was

Peak period Bus/TSM 27.6 min Full light rail system 27.7 min
Midday Bus/TSM 31.2 min Full light rail system 31.7 min

emathias Aug 12, 2014 1:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pilton (Post 6687619)
Sounds like a lack of funding killed the Circulator to me - whatever the reason for the funding drying up.

Didn't the money for that end up going to the Orange Line?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6687845)
Interestingly, that was also true at the time. The rather curious combined alternatives analysis and draft EIS calculated that the average travel time for all trips within the central area, weighted according to the formula (1 x in-vehicle time + 2 x (walk access + wait time) was

Peak period Bus/TSM 27.6 min Full light rail system 27.7 min
Midday Bus/TSM 31.2 min Full light rail system 31.7 min

Isn't the main advantage of light rail higher capacity? What was the projected capacity of both?

Mr Downtown Aug 12, 2014 1:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6688122)
Didn't the money for that end up going to the Orange Line?

No, Orange Line was already operating by 1993. Some of that money had come from the cancelled Crosstown Expressway.

Quote:

Isn't the main advantage of light rail higher capacity? What was the projected capacity of both?
Capacity was assumed to be the same in the calculations. You need more buses at certain times of day, but they can operate closer together. The downside of the oft-mentioned "bigger vehicle carrying more passengers" advantage for light rail is that the passengers end up waiting longer for the vehicle to arrive. Better to have 10 buses every hour than 3 LRVs. Even with fewer vehicles to staff, the total cost per rider was put at $0.58 for a bus/TSM system; $2.05 for a full light-rail system.

ardecila Aug 12, 2014 6:38 PM

I guess CDOT has stealthily started a "Streeterville-River North Transit Study". This may be related to the Central Area Committee's push to restart the Central Area Connector. There's an open house tomorrow from 4-7pm at Loyola Water Tower.

CTA Gray Line Aug 12, 2014 8:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6688559)
I guess CDOT has stealthily started a "Streeterville-River North Transit Study". This may be related to the Central Area Committee's push to restart the Central Area Connector. There's an open house tomorrow from 4-7pm at Loyola Water Tower.

If anyone is going to this Meeting, they should suggest some equipment types to the CDOT -- maybe something like these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZ981kav6TU They seem to be very flexible type vehicles, as they have doors on both sides,
and they can p/u power from overhead, or surface contact! This is what they should be using on Ashland Ave, instead of BRT.

Trains Downtown, and on Ashland could be the start of a new city-wide system.

chicagopcclcar1 Aug 13, 2014 2:08 PM

Red Line Extension Would Have Served Jackie Robinson Park
 
Chicago's The Little Leauge Entry Williasport, PA World Series This Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, Would Come From Jackie Robinson Park Which Would Be 10 Blocks Away From Planned Red Line Extension Stations At 103 St. or 111 St.

Mr Downtown Aug 13, 2014 2:20 PM

Even if we could ignore the enormous capital cost, and the higher operating costs of light rail, it would be even more problematic to install along Ashland. Anyone familiar with the experience in Houston would be reluctant to allow any left turns across the tracks. And any collisions with turning or crossing vehicles don't just cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, they also shut down the line for an hour or more. Buses can just go around a disabled bus.

Quote:

Red Line Extension Would Have Served Jackie Robinson Park
Relevance to anything? They're playing the games in Pennsylvania.

LouisVanDerWright Aug 13, 2014 2:46 PM

The real ideal situation would be to just man up and build a cut and cover subway under Ashland from at least Irving Park (could jog East to tie into a new Sheridan Red Line stop) down to at least the Orange Line. LRT is not going to work in Chicago because things simply get too gridlocked here. Regardless of crashes, idiots will just stop on the track and block it just like they currently do in every major intersection in the city. BRT can at least maneuver around such blockages and a subway obviously doesn't have to deal with that problem in any capacity.

ardecila Aug 14, 2014 5:52 PM

Quote:

Renovated Harrison Street station shows off CTA's new model
WED, 08/13/2014 - 3:57PM
ROSALIND ROSSI


About $10 million in upgrades to the CTA Red Line’s Harrison station were formally unveiled Tuesday, including the debut of energy efficient station lighting and “train tracker” arrival information that’s visible from the street.

In addition, Chicago Transit Authority and suburban Pace officials revealed they hope to provide traffic signal priority to buses on nine routes. That includes the CTA’s No. 9 Ashland and No. 49 Western Avenue buses, plus 11 Pace routes, topped by the No. 270 Milwaukee Avenue that runs from the Jefferson Park Transportation Center to the Golf Mill Mall in Niles.

The CTA hopes to give buses priority at traffic signals on Ashland, affecting the No. 9 Ashland bus from 95th to Cermak, and on Western, affecting the No. 49 Western bus from Howard to 79th, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said. If a proposed “bus rapid transit” line is approved for Ashland Avenue, the feature would extend even farther, on dedicated bus lanes proposed from Irving Park to 95th St.

The feature can extend a green light when an approaching CTA bus is running at least two minutes late, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said. Eventually, the CTA would like to add the feature to other routes.
Not BRT, but a step forward. I always thought CTA made a mistake cutting the X9 and X49 express buses... hopefully this will restore some of the speed.

Granted, transit signal priority has been a goal for CTA and Pace for years but nothing has ever happened... I'll believe it when I see it.

Mr Downtown Aug 14, 2014 10:28 PM

Well, apparently there's a dispute between RTA and CTA about the signal priority money. CTA wants to use some of the money to update old Chicago traffic signals so they can be prioritized; RTA says that's beyond the scope of the federal grant.

CTA efforts to reverse declining bus ridership are not being helped by the Regional Transportation Authority, which is holding back money related to the installation of special traffic signals that give buses green-light priority over other vehicles, CTA president Forrest Claypool said Wednesday.

In 2012, the RTA received a $36 million federal grant and $4 million in local money to implement traffic signal prioritization in Chicago and the suburbs to increase CTA and Pace bus speeds and help bus routes operate more efficiently.

So far, the CTA has received only about $2 million from the RTA, even though the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning released all the federal money to the RTA for distribution two years ago, Claypool said.

This year, the CTA received $1.6 million for final engineering on South Ashland, from 95th Street to Cermak Road; and on Western, from Howard to 79th streets, the CTA said. Those areas already have modern traffic signals that are able to communicate with the controller boxes for traffic signal prioritization as well as with modems on buses.

But the majority of traffic signals on Chicago’s street grid operate using older technology that is not compatible with traffic signal prioritization.

CTA officials have asked the RTA to allow some of the $40 million to be used to update traffic signals in order to speed up the rollout of traffic signal prioritization and free buses from the congestion knot that frequently occurs at busy intersections, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said.

RTA officials said the federal grant can be used only for equipment directly involving traffic signal prioritization, not the replacement of old traffic signals.


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...813-story.html


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