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Mr Downtown Apr 27, 2017 1:44 PM

That close to the lake, there's no such thing as a "relatively cheap cut and cover subway."

ardecila Apr 27, 2017 5:34 PM

Just making an observation that the blighted state of the corridor poses a unique opportunity to get a subway for a lower cost.

Alternatively, the aerial structure could be rebuilt, but 125' north of 63rd in line with the alley. Not many takings would be required for this except (unfortunately) a pretty new school.

chicagopcclcar1 Apr 27, 2017 6:45 PM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7786570)
Why, exactly, is it a bad idea to extend a rapid transit line to a major tourist attraction and a connection with commuter rail?

Hell, do it as a (relatively cheap) cut and cover subway. With 63rd St still so vacant, the impact of this construction would be pretty minimal.

Why dream about rebuilding something that the city, U of C, CTA, tore down 20 years ago. Plus, why when plans already approved on the drawing board are threatened.

(CBS) — The head of the Regional Transportation Authority warned Wednesday that the CTA’s proposed Red Line extension faces a roadblock, should the Trump administration’s budget proposals become law.

The American Public Transportation Association said $38 billion worth of projects in 23 states would be affected by the proposed cuts, including the extension to 130th Street, which is one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s priorities.

What makes it worse is the unique position Chicago is in because the state of Illinois lacks an infrastructure plan.

During a conference call from Washington, D.C., with Phoenix (Ariz.) Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith, RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard said the lack of state matching funds puts him into a lose-lose position.

“As much as I like my friends here from Arizona,” Dillard says, “they’re ready to gobble up any federal money that is there if we’re not prepared from day one to move forward in Illinois.”


Busy Bee Apr 27, 2017 11:14 PM

I wish instead of pouring all that money into the Green elevated rehab in the mid-90's, they had trenched the entire south side line (Englewood branch notwithstanding) at least from the IIT station or starting just south of the Stevenson and dug it to Jackson Park. All the new open air, partially subterranian stations with street level mezzanines would have been so awesome. It would be interesting to see a cost comparison between the tedious structural rehab and station rebuilds vs. starting over in a trenched ROW.

Mr Downtown Apr 28, 2017 1:45 PM

^You probably don't remember that the Green Line rebuild was so stretched for money that almost none of the structure was actually replaced. They couldn't even install new platform signs, or do a lot of other small things that should have been done.

WrightCONCEPT Apr 30, 2017 5:20 PM


Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 7787558)
I wish instead of pouring all that money into the Green elevated rehab in the mid-90's, they had trenched the entire south side line (Englewood branch notwithstanding) at least from the IIT station or starting just south of the Stevenson and dug it to Jackson Park. All the new open air, partially subterranian stations with street level mezzanines would have been so awesome. It would be interesting to see a cost comparison between the tedious structural rehab and station rebuilds vs. starting over in a trenched ROW.

I wish that in the Mid 90s they used the old South Kenwood branch as a new tie into the IC ROW via stations at Hyde Park, Museum Sci/Ind, U of Chicago, 63rd to run down to the South Chicago Branch of Metro to then have two branches albeit one more higher speed and serve an area the L has no reach. Slightly different that the Gray Line idea as this would better serve CTA's operational purposes.

Mister Uptempo May 10, 2017 2:42 AM

Great Lakes Basin files plans to build new railroad, proposes new highway

Originally Posted by BVictor1 (Post 7378917)

Feds, public to hear plan to reduce rail congestion around Chicago

Becky YerakContact Reporter
Chicago Tribune

A proposed 278-mile rail line billed as relief for freight and traffic congestion in the Chicago area is getting a hearing next month from a federal regulator, even as one potential customer said it's not interested.

The Surface Transportation Board, an arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation, has scheduled public meetings in April to get input on the three-state proposal, partly due to its potential for "significant environmental impacts."

Its developer, Great Lakes Basin Transportation, hasn't publicly divulged its funding sources, but said it envisions the privately financed freight rail project to run in relatively sparsely populated areas from near La Porte, Ind., to Milton, Wis., and to connect with existing major railroads.

Great Lakes Basin Transportation filed plans with the Surface Transportation Board on May 1 to build its bypass railroad. GLBT also released a proposal that covers not only the railroad, but also plans to construct a new toll road that mirrors the new rail line, as well as intentions to partner in a potential South Suburban Airport in Peotone. If the airport is built, GLBT would also build a massive new rail yard along the new rail line in Manteno, just south of the new airport.

From Progressive Railroading...


Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc. on Monday filed its application with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to build and operate a freight railroad that would operate in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

The proposal to build a 275-rail line is designed to provide needed rail capacity around the Chicago to meet existing and future demand for rail service, GLBT officials believe.

"The [Great Lakes Basin Railroad] is the largest single freight railroad project proposed for the Chicago region in over a century," said Frank Patton, GLBT founder and chairman, in a press release. "We look forward to working with the STB and other interested parties to move this project forward."

In addition to filing its STB application, GLBT announced this week its proposed "Build Program" to provide new rail, road and air transport capacity for the Midwest.

"The demand for freight and passenger transportation has outgrown the infrastructure in place," Patton said. "The privately financed Build Program will provide a new transportation belt to meet the growing and rapidly changing transportation demands of the 21st century."

In addition to the construction and operation of Great Lakes Basin Railroad, GLBT's program calls for construction of the Burnham Expressway, a privately funded toll road that would connect the Indiana Toll Road with Interstates 80/94, 65, 57, 55 and 80.

The highway would be designed to expedite regional and through road traffic around Chicago. It also would be designed to accommodate autonomous vehicles, GLBT officials said.

Additionally, the program calls for GLBT to participate in the next round of development opportunities for the South Suburban Airport, which are managed by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Link to GLBT
Link to STB's Environmental Impact Study Page
Link to STB's page regarding GLBT

denizen467 May 10, 2017 5:33 AM

^ This idea was first publicized a couple years ago, wasn't it. But on the map, "Daniel Burnham Expressway" is an oxymoron (to anyone who knows anything about him), and how is "Build" a noun? Also, someone not familiar with land transport in this country is calling the interstate highway system the "USA Freeway System", including the tollways. Is this a high school project or are its backers based in Guangzhou or somewhere? Hope they have fun getting lots of investor green cards while trying to build the "inaugural" and "ultimate" airport (in an era of waning hub relevance) in the middle of nowhere.

Mr Downtown May 11, 2017 10:40 PM


Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 7800502)
"Daniel Burnham Expressway" is an oxymoron (to anyone who knows anything about him)

I don't know why people always project their modern philosophies onto Burnham. Two passages from The Plan of Chicago:
The rapidly increasing use of the automobile promises to carry on the good work begun by the bicycle in the days of its popularity in promoting good roads and reviving the roadside inn as a place of rest and refreshment....the pleasures of suburban life are brought within the reach of multitudes of people who formerly were condemned to pass their entire time in the city.
At the earliest possible date measures should be taken for beginning what may be termed the outer encircling highway [from Kenosha through McHenry, Marengo, De Kalb, Morris, Wilmington, Kankakee,] north through Valparaiso to Lake Michigan at Michigan City. . . .It is obvious that such a highway . . . would become a strong influence in the development of the social and material prosperity of each of the cities involved.

ardecila May 12, 2017 3:48 AM

^ Yeah, but of course planners like Burnham totally underestimated the extent to which the auto would prompt wholesale and massive changes in American cities.

Burnham may have held high hopes about the automobile (from the vantage point of 1909) but he certainly didn't want the ultimate outcome of America's auto love affair - the center of the city becoming a hollowed-out, undesirable ghost of its 19th-century self, with sprawl running rampant.

Also, it seems odd to honor a man who had such detailed, grand and urbane ideas about the City of Chicago with... a highway that will run hundreds of miles through cornfields.

denizen467 May 12, 2017 5:13 AM


Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 7802742)
I don't know why people always project their modern philosophies onto Burnham. Two passages from The Plan of Chicago:

That's kind of what I thought the proponents of this plan were doing. Well I would not have guessed that in 1909 Burnham would have had any interest in, or even the opportunity to travel to and examine, the transportation needs of so many exurbs flung far across the compass rose. If you were going to picture Burnham planning infrastructure beyond the city you'd picture a couple commissions within certain suburbs convenient to the city by train but not a swath of unrelated burgs spanning 100 miles (distance Kenosha to 3K) of fields. Impressive.

But getting back to this expressway name: I do maintain that it's bizarre to honor a historical figure for an act of modest caliber that in some sense represents the opposite of the highly consequential oeuvres he's most celebrated for (organizing the civic and commercial and cultural spaces of the modern city, Chicago to D.C. and beyond, in addition to his individual buildings). If Mick Jagger had written a decent symphonic soundtrack to some documentary in the 1960s we would still never, say, name a classical music school after him today.

jpIllInoIs May 13, 2017 2:18 PM

^ While I enjoy the philosophical dialogue above, make no mistake, this is a major threat to the core region. Expanding the boundaries of sprawl to 10-12 counties and with it drawing the logistics related jobs much further than the current inter-modal facilities in North Park, Cicero, Midway and a half dozen other locations in or very near the city boundaries.
Of course the surrounding-connecting highways and interstates will need expanding as well.

Most troubling is that this organization withdrew their EPA application a mere 2 months ago and apparently feel that under the current Politboro and neutered EPA they can go right to STB. And this buzz phrase of 'private funding' is complete bs as the plan relies on a massive amount of land grab via eminent domain. when they held their dog and pony show public meetings in the nether-lands thy were met with scorn and uproar by locals residents from beloit to belvidere to laporte. and several of the Class1 rr have made public statements that they will not participate, BNSF, UP have issued written statements and CN has its own bypass with the purchase and upgrade of the EJE.
Yet this somehow proceeds - regardless of the feedback from citizens, municipalities and the intended users...apparently without EPA review. best to keep an eye an this one and follow the money..lets see who IS for this? could it be 3 republican governors?

jpIllInoIs May 13, 2017 2:29 PM

.double post

ardecila May 15, 2017 1:13 AM

^I'm not as offended by this as you seem to be. More like cautiously optimistic.

It's true that, for 150 years, the city's lifeblood has been in transferring cargo and passengers from one mode to another. This proposal would allow freight rail to bypass the city entirely. I don't view it as a sprawl generator so much as a piece of infrastructure that could simply render much of Chicago's behemoth freight rail system irrelevant.

That may have spillover effects in terms of job displacement, but maybe we should view this as creative destruction rather than catastrophe. A Chicago with less freight traffic is a Chicago with room to expand commuter rail and public transportation, and perhaps a Chicago that doesn't require the multi-billion dollar CREATE project.

It's likely that any new railyards and logistical facilities built alongside this rail line will be highly automated, so they'll probably generate fewer jobs and less sprawl than you might think. Also, the path of this line will be far enough outside the bleeding edge of Chicago that any new growth will probably accrue to existing towns like Rockford, Rochelle and Kankakee... many of them places that are crying out for growth.

jpIllInoIs May 20, 2017 2:34 PM

Metra $7.3m rehab of Healy Station underway
Metra, Arroyo break ground on Healy Station renovation
(May 8, 2017) -

Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno joined State Rep. Luis Arroyo, Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, Ald. Milly Santiago (31st) and other officials today to break ground on a $7.3 million renovation of the Healy Station on the Milwaukee North Line.

“We’re happy to be able to invest in this community and create a modern, appealing and comfortable station that will better serve existing customers and attract new ones,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. “I would like to thank Representative Arroyo for being a tireless and passionate advocate for the renovation of this facility.”

“One of my top priorities is to bring job opportunities to our community and improve access to public transportation,” Arroyo said. “This renovation project will not only expand economic opportunity in our neighborhood but it will also provide a safe and revamped train station that will better serve riders and improve access to other services like the CTA.”

“This renovation project for the Healy Metra Station is a clear example that when we work together with other elected officials in different branches of government, positive results can be accomplished on common issues that we share with the people that we represent,” Santiago said. “I want to thank State Representative Luis Arroyo for his leadership in making this renovation project a reality. This will ensure that our riders will not only be better served but will also feel safer at all times.”

The project includes the removal of the existing platforms, shelters, structural steel, ramps, stairs and railings and the construction of new platforms, shelters with on-demand heat, canopies, retaining walls, ramps (including a ramp to the outbound platform), stairs, LED lighting, gutters and storm sewer system. It also includes painting and waterproofing the adjoining rail bridge over Fullerton Avenue. The station will be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The work, which is being funding by Metra’s share of proceeds from the state bond program, is expected to take about one year to complete. The station will remain open during construction. The contract for the work was awarded to John Burns Construction Company of Orland Park, the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.

The Healy Station, at 4014 W. Fullerton, is used by about 325 passengers each weekday. It is served by 24 inbound and 24 outbound trains each weekday.

the urban politician May 20, 2017 2:52 PM

^ Amazing just how underutilized transit is in the US. There should be about 10-20 times the number of riders at that station.

ardecila May 20, 2017 3:37 PM

Maybe the station would have higher ridership if the trains came more often than hourly. That's an average wait time of 30 minutes, plus 20 minutes on the train to downtown. With Metra's paltry frequencies, taking CTA is almost always faster, and probably gets you closer to your final destination.

The only time urban Metra stations get significant ridership is after the CTA options have become uncomfortably crowded (as at Ravenswood).

PKDickman May 20, 2017 4:08 PM


Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 7810747)
^ Amazing just how underutilized transit is in the US. There should be about 10-20 times the number of riders at that station.

Jeez, have you ever been there? I am surprised that the boardings are that high.

The station is an artifact from when Lyon Healy was out there. Back then it was an employment destination, but all those factories have been turned into self storage, discount houses and decorator supply stores. Not exactly powerhouses of employment or draws for transit oriented customers.

As an origin stop, the area is sparsely populated and it is a mile from the blue line station that has almost as many trains per rush hour than the MD-N has all day.

Randomguy34 May 24, 2017 10:27 PM

Good and bad news depending on which station you're close to

Metra Trains Would Stop In Hyde Park Every 20 Minutes Under New Plan

By Sam Cholke | May 24, 2017 3:00pm | Updated May 24, 2017 3:14pm
HYDE PARK — Metra on Wednesday proposed increasing trains to every 20 minutes for Hyde Park stops on the Electric Line throughout much of the day.

The proposal would bring train service closer to the wait times of CTA buses and trains, which south lakefront residents have wanted for at least 10 years.

Metra will do a round of community meetings in late June to get feedback on the compromises that will need to be made to increase train service for Hyde Park.

Among those trade offs would be the elimination of nine train runs on the Blue Island Branch and nine on the South Chicago Branch of the line....

spyguy Jun 11, 2017 5:50 PM CTA Wilson station under construction by Steven Vance, on Flickr

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