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Chicagoguy May 6, 2015 9:51 PM

The new Ravenswood Metra Station (west platform) will be open for riders on Monday! This has been a long time coming, and I look forward to watching construction begin on the east side tracks.

Kenmore May 11, 2015 11:59 AM

the demo work with wilson has surely made a visual impact in the light department

nomarandlee May 11, 2015 10:16 PM


CTA hopes new system reduces bus-bunching

May 11, 2015

The CTA is counting on new technology to improve bus service reliability, an elusive goal in which Bus Tracker and street supervisors have achieved only limited success, officials said Monday.

The new bus management system is supposed to help alleviate the problem of buses bunching up on portions of a route.

It taps into the GPS equipment already on CTA buses to track the location of each bus. The centerpiece of the new system is real-time, two-way communication between the CTA control center and every bus driver, replacing a 15-year-old bus communications system that bus drivers have complained doesn't work.

Drivers are now able to more quickly report conditions on the street themselves rather than rely on a CTA supervisor driving around in an SUV to assess the situation, said Michael Haynes, CTA manager of transit systems support...........


ardecila May 12, 2015 2:13 AM

Maybe someone can enlighten me here... Viva, are you still kicking around here? Talk to me like I'm stupid...

How is this new system different from what CTA used before? Don't drivers already communicate with supervisors using a radio? And with Bus Tracker, there is GPS data available on bus location and speed as well.

oshkeoto May 12, 2015 3:26 AM

^ From talking to someone that was there, it sounds like this new technology automates the process of finding bunched buses, provides automatic alerts, and then creates a more streamlined way for dispatchers to communicate with drivers. But yeah, the basics were already there.

Mr Downtown May 12, 2015 1:37 PM

The new technology is Clever System's Real-Time Monitoring and Management of Fleet Vehicles.

M II A II R II K May 12, 2015 5:52 PM

New Type of TIF District Would Increase Funding for Transit Projects


A new bill that passed the Illinois Senate last week would create a new class of tax increment financing district that could only be created around Chicago transit stations and lines to capture the property value that being near transit generates. Most of the revenue generated by these TIFs would be earmarked to pay for construction of rapid transit lines, stations, and other transit-related facilities.


the urban politician May 12, 2015 8:32 PM

^ Interesting. I wonder if such a revenue stream could inadvertently drive the city to promote more TOD?

Beta_Magellan May 19, 2015 10:12 AM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7009488)
CTA now finished their EA for the Lawrence-Bryn Mawr project on the Red Line.

$1.3B for 1.4 miles of track, at the astounding price of $928M per mile. Every other country in the world can build a subway cheaper than this.

Weirdly, they are talking about preserving portions of the old embankment, even as they build a new, wider, taller viaduct above it:

Checking in for the first time in a couple of years (I live in Europe now), and that is a very odd setup. I’m fairly certain the main reason for the high cost, though (even taking the typical Chicago “measure once, build twice” contracting into account) is the need to keep everything going as they’re rebuilding, which adds a lot of complexity to an already-expensive project (one that would probably have had costs comparable to a new line even if they could shut everything down for a few years). This was one of the big reasons I was a fan of the replacement subway—no disruption to existing service as it’s being built. Unfortunately, from what I understand the plan was basically DOA within the CTA due to (justified) fears of inconsistent funding—run out of money on a rehab project and you have a half-rehabbed ‘L’, run out of money on a subway and you have an unused tunnel and the main line continues to decay. Still, I’d have guessed something more like $400-600 million per mile. Honestly, this almost looks like a “we don’t want to do this project and want the plug pulled” number.

EDIT: Oh, the space underneath is for inspections—thanks to perspective it doesn’t look quite so dramatic in renderings, either (from the Environmental Assessment), though there are huge sound walls, too, because no neighborhood has ever survived the intrusion of elevated rail:

It still looks a bit like overbuilt contractor pr0n to me.


There’s also the contributing factor of building more stations than other modern subways in the world, and having the line four-tracked, which is rarely done anywhere anymore since better geometry plus complementary bus service typically handles the job well enough (Evanstonians were pissed by the lack of exress service, but better geomtry and station spacing in the subway would have resulted in a Howard-Belmont travel times, but get rid of the magic word express and Evanston withdraws support regardless), as it would have with the Red Line subway; I’m still pissed that they didn’t emphasize that there would actually be more station entrances with the subway—they should have spoken in terms of consolidating platforms rather than consolidating stations (which pissed off people in Chicago). Going over the embankment is just weird, though—I suspect this has to do more with the logistics of replacing it while keeping trains in service. That has to be diagrammatic, not really to scale, right? I can’t imagine them raising the elevation of the tracks by that much.

That said I’m glad we have a second, northern Bryn Mawr entrance.

In any event I can’t imagine then going this far for the Edgewater stations—if it’s at this cost I think a Glenlake station’s inevitable—and would be surprised if they did anything more than shore up the embankment north of Loyola or Lunt because there’s no way they’re going to that amount of trouble for Jarvis.

WRT comprehensive planning the main reason you don’t see more of it is because there’s not much incentive in federal or state funding for that sort of thinking (it’s all on a project-by-project basis, and focused on concrete, not organization) about such things and talking about reshuffling service tends to be toxic in Chicago. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some reshuffling after-the-fact, though—IIRC the Dan Ryan-Howard-Lake-South Side Elevated reshuffling was looked at for years before finally being implemented in the early nineties, and then only after the big Lake-South Side ‘L’ rebuild, some years after the State-Dan Ryan connector tunnel was finished.

WRT the Purple Line there’s also the issue of it actually working quite well for what it does now—a lot of its traffic is actually Evanston-Lakeview/DePaul/Lincoln Park, not Evanston-Downtown, which makes it convenient extra capacity the Lakeview/DePaul/Lincoln Park-Downtown peak period commute, which is another reason why there’s not much consensus about making it a true express service at this point.

aaron38 May 19, 2015 12:45 PM


Originally Posted by BVictor1 (Post 6993694)
^ You guys talked it up, though this isn't for the city...

That Rt 53 boondoggle is ridiculous and needs to die. Driven solely by central planners with no grassroots support. No one is calling for it, no one out here is going to pay $5 to drive 12 miles at 45mph when other roads do the same for free.

I'm convinced this is being driven by land squatters along the route, just like Hastert's old Prairie Parkway or the Peotone Airport. About as corrupt as Illinois gets.

jpIllInoIs May 19, 2015 2:12 PM


Originally Posted by aaron38 (Post 7031902)
That Rt 53 boondoggle is ridiculous and needs to die. Driven solely by central planners with no grassroots support. No one is calling for it, no one out here is going to pay $5 to drive 12 miles at 45mph when other roads do the same for free.

I'm convinced this is being driven by land squatters along the route, just like Hastert's old Prairie Parkway or the Peotone Airport. About as corrupt as Illinois gets.

Youre wrong on that. The project has near unanimous support with every level of govnt, business and resident group in Lake County.. It's design may have been over compromised by environmentalist with 45 mph speed limitations. But this is not some plow the cornfields expansion. Lake County is the 3rd most populated county in the state and sits halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago,.

The road is more of a regional connector and auxiliary to I-94, Which cannot and should not be widened again. I-53 is being designed with bus rapid transit in mind and bikeways. It would be a true parkway with a low profile and plenty of bike and pedestrian friendly overpasses.
The East-West portion will incorporate roundabouts to encourage slow flow and reduce emissions from stop light backups.

Ultimately the road will be a facilitator to the connectivity of the entire megaregion: Rockford, Milwaukee, Madison & Chicagoland. But immediately it provides access to the job centers of Schaumburg & o'Hare.

Its not popular to build roads or anything in the suburbs on this forum, but the burbs are part of the Chicago economy and not everyone is going to live in highrises.

aaron38 May 19, 2015 2:55 PM

I've seen the Lake county survey data. It's popular with people who live nowhere near the route. It's easy to be for something when all the negatives are dumped on someone else.
Yes govt wants Ponzi scheme growth and sprawl. Yes corporations want more sprawl.

But I and everyone I know will never pay $5 to get to hwy 120 when I can go 55mph on rt 12 for free.

And still no one can explain how a state that owes $100 billion for pensions can spend what will probably amount to $5 billion on sprawl.

Edit: And I'm calling BS on the BRT lanes. Ridership will be about zero. The Rt 53 extension is going through a very rural/exurban part of Lake County. Those BRT lanes will start in a part of Cook County very car friendly and poorly served by Pace. They will end at 120 at what's now a bunch of corn fields and small towns. Taking a BRT from one end to the other does not accomplish a meaningful commute. If the bus can run on regular lanes on existing 53, it can run on regular lanes up north. Realistically, those BRT lanes just allow them to 6 lane the road when the eventual sprawl leaves it choked with cars and traffic just as bad as it is now.
And the bike lanes are nice, but it'd be a lot nicer to have the bike path without the tollway right next to it. That's not a relaxing bike ride.

ChickeNES May 19, 2015 8:45 PM

The CTA Facebook account just posted an update about the Belmont bypass:

Announcement of environmental report release:

Updated page with links to more info:

Looks like some of the impacted properties listed are impacted because of reconstruction of the existing structure, not the bypass itself. Happily, it also looks like they are planning to relocate the Vautravers Building instead of demolishing it. :)

Busy Bee May 20, 2015 6:11 PM

The YouTube animations are required viewing.

Vlajos May 20, 2015 6:51 PM

CTA hasn't posted any ridership figures since January, it's the middle of May.

What the hell is going on?

ardecila May 21, 2015 1:36 AM

Very cool design on the support posts for the flyover. Anyone think this is just a little too flashy though? It calls a lot of attention to itself for a noisy intrusive piece of infrastructure that should just fade into the background except at certain key points.

Sadly we're not talking about a thing of beauty like this new line in Paris...

wierdaaron May 21, 2015 1:46 AM

I thought the flyover got nixed in the last election. Or was that vote just about demoing buildings to do it?

Mr Downtown May 21, 2015 12:37 PM

^Merely an advisory referendum.

aaron38 May 21, 2015 1:12 PM

I got this email today.


Will your employer help us save the Kinzie Street bike lane?

As a past participant in Active Trans' Bike Commuter Challenge, we know you care about creating safe streets for people riding bikes.

Today, we're asking for your help to save the Kinzie Street protected bike lane, one of the key commuter connections in Chicago, which 42nd Ward Brendan Reilly recently proposed to remove.

We're writing to ask if your employer would join other leading business, such as Orbitz, Threadless, and Grisko, in signing a letter to defend the Kinzie Street protected bike lane.

The deadline for signatures is this Friday 5/22 at noon. Can you help us show Chicago employers care about safe streets for biking?
As always, thanks for your support!

Jim Merrell
Active Trans

Active Transportation Alliance

MayorOfChicago May 21, 2015 3:07 PM


Originally Posted by Vlajos (Post 7033644)
CTA hasn't posted any ridership figures since January, it's the middle of May.

What the hell is going on?

I've been waiting for them as well (nerd alert!). They did post February, which saw a decline from last year. Makes sense with the blizzard that kept everyone out of work the Monday after the Super Bowl and just the general freezing weather that month.

This January had a nice pop from last year for the reverse reason.

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