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nicopico Aug 28, 2007 12:36 AM

So I got an email from the Illinois League of Conservation Voters about a rally to support transit tomorrow in at the Thompson Center? Anyone else heard of this? anyone going?

VivaLFuego Aug 28, 2007 3:12 AM

^whyuhwhy,
Traffic is bound to be a nightmare on Saturdays: it's the big shopping and recreation day. That means everyones origins and destinations are scattered every which way; it's nearly impossible to plan an efficient transportation for such a situation. At least during the weekday peaks, there are obvious traffic patterns, even including the reverse commutes. The job centers are still highly concentrated in the Loop, I-88 and I-90 corridors, and the north Tri-State/Lake-Cook area. Tons of cars and transit head to these locations in the morning, and leave at night. In the weekend, it's just a giant jumbled mess.

The obvious answer when trip density reaches a certain level is transit. One freeway lane can carry between 1500-2000 cars per hour. Let's charitably say it's 1.5 people per car (I suspect its a bit less these days). So, 3000 people per hour per lane. One rapid transit line can carry 20,000-30,000 people per hour each direction. The capacity of real rapid bus at olde tyme service frequencies like in the good old days (e.g. 2-5 minutes) is comparable to a freeway lane, 1500+ passengers per hour, e.g. you could theoretically give arterial roads freeway capacity with real rapid bus or streetcar.

Part of the problem is that the Chicago area has basically committed to preserving the rail network that was laid out 100+ years ago, despite the fact that it doesn't really serve and interconnect the key destinations and traffic generators in the region. This puts newer systems like the WMATA in DC, planned after the drastic development changes of the 50s-80s, in a much better position to capture auto trips than the Chicago rail system (CTA and Metra). Where's the rail in the I-90, I-88, and N-S Dupage corridors? Where's the rail along the north lakeshore south of Montrose? Where's the rapid transit connection to the commuter and intercity stations? Why are there 2 rapid transit lines a half mile apart running through low density areas on the south side? Why are there 3 parallel west side rapid transit lines within 2.5 miles of eachother serving the west side when traffic demand justifies one (combined ridership is still less than the Howard branch alone, and is comparable to the Dan Ryan branch)? Why is there no park n ride facility on the Dan Ryan branch to give inbound drivers from I-57, I-90, or I-94 a transit option? etc. etc. The point of this rant is that in many/most cases, auto and transit don't compete with eachother, and that fact puts transit at a huge disadvantage right off the bat considering the dearth of transit-oriented development in the region.

The obvious answer to start fixing the problem would be a regional effort to match land uses to the existing transit infrastructure, but such an effort is almost nonexistent outside of a few progressive suburbs like Arlington Heights, Palatine, and Des Plaines.

Marcu Aug 28, 2007 3:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 3034857)
Big dig stuff only needs to be done if you want to go underneath downtowns.

No reason to widen and plow through blocks of housing when you can build up. Double decking highways is popular in California and it's just a matter of time before we'll need to do something similar for the Kennedy junction. The Kennedy already splits up the neighborhoods and it already single decked/raised for most of its run, so there really is no aesthetic reason to not double deck out there. The other solution is to get rid of the express lanes altogether, or double deck the express portion. I've seen this in Houston I believe.

Either way by 2016 that junction will be a parking lot 24/7 if something is not done. Chicago has just too many visitors and sits at too much of a crossroads for something not to be done long term.

I agree it is easier said than done but there needs to be someone to step up who has some clout and at least admit that there is a problem and that they are at least looking into a solution for it. Unfortunately, and I hope you don't take offense to this, I've noticed all too many Chicagoans have the same attitude as you, and that is that nothing can be done and since there is no solution we should just sit back and allow it to get worse. And it has gotten *much* worse just in the last 5-10 years.

Double decking is an interesting idea and I never really thought of it. I'd be all for it. Especially if it's paid in tolls. As you pointed out, the Kennedy is already there dividing the city so we might as well make good use of it. Certan asthetic measures can also be taken. Unfortunetly though, even if construction started today we may have a workable product by say 2014 and have construction hell in the years leading up.

I think an excellent, doable idea is the west side truck route. Semis make up a huge part of the edens/kennedy traffic. They are responsible for a large part of the damage to the roads. As they sit idle through the local lanes on the Kennedy, they emit a disproportionate amount of nauxious fumes over neighboohds and waste gas. A toll-based truck route through the low density mostly industrial west side where semis can steadily travel at 35-55 mph would provide some much needed relief. It can also be accomplished in a relatively short period of time. Through tolls, the route can be entirely funded by users and may even some day turn a profit for the city that can be pumped into the CTA (see skyway privatization). Semi drivers can't use mass transit anyway so it won't siphon users off.

honte Aug 28, 2007 3:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3035566)
Why are there 2 rapid transit lines a half mile apart running through low density areas on the south side? Why are there 3 parallel west side rapid transit lines within 2.5 miles of eachother serving the west side when traffic demand justifies one (combined ridership is still less than the Howard branch alone, and is comparable to the Dan Ryan branch)?

Well, since they're there now, the city should be doing everything in its power to encourage very high-density, smart (i.e. sensitive and non-destructive) in-fill development along these routes, to bring them closer to their potential. I do support the "subsidy" of these routes rather than reducing the system's size and potential. With decent connections such as the Circle Line, the West Side might actually be navigable on a neighborhood level without automobile or bus.

Handled correctly, this could be the engine that kicks the West Side's rebirth into full gear.

Rail Claimore Aug 28, 2007 9:27 AM

I'm assuming IDOT will be taking care of the "Avenues" problem next time the Ike is due for rebuilding. But the bigger problem is that you have 3 lanes of traffic dumping into an existing expressway with 4 lanes in each direction reduced to 3. I think the Ike extension was completely unnecessary and only built to serve the then (and still now) wealthy suburbs of northeastern DuPage County. That road is redundant and needs to go, especially with the planned O'Hare Ring Road.

The Stevenson needs to be widened to 8 lanes all the way to Joliet. They have the room to do it, and IDOT chose not to back in the 90's, ridiculous.

The Edens Junction can be fixed by doing away with the express lanes and adding two lanes in each direction, bringing the total on each side to 6, and they have room to do it, considering the amount of shoulder room express lanes require. Each of those is like already adding a 5th lane to each side, then the 6th comes in by way of shoulder work.

As for transit, I don't think you can equate Chicago's L to newer systems such as the Washington Metro or MARTA. The L has to work with what it has because building new rail lines in such an exisiting developed area is almost counterproductive. It's better in the long term to preserve current ROWs.

VivaLFuego Aug 28, 2007 2:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 3035605)
Well, since they're there now, the city should be doing everything in its power to encourage very high-density, smart (i.e. sensitive and non-destructive) in-fill development along these routes, to bring them closer to their potential. I do support the "subsidy" of these routes rather than reducing the system's size and potential. With decent connections such as the Circle Line, the West Side might actually be navigable on a neighborhood level without automobile or bus.

Handled correctly, this could be the engine that kicks the West Side's rebirth into full gear.

.....fully agreed, at least in theory. Part of the problem transit has on the west and south sides is that in these areas, transit riders are largely captive; those that can afford to drive, do so, because frankly these aren't great places to be out and about on the streets. Nothing is forever, and ideally these neighborhoods are redeveloped and the perception of safety is dramatically improved. If these happen, then of course having such great transit service will be an incredible asset. Another problem is that right now, the size of the RTA subsidy, CTA's statutory 52% operating recovery ratio, both combined with a large underutulized system means that service quality and frequencies suffers systemwide. I would agree with you in subidizing these low-performing rapid transit routes for the long-term good if that meant that they were actually subsidized at a rate that wouldn't lower the quality and quantity of transit in the areas that not only support it, but require it.

VivaLFuego Aug 28, 2007 2:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rail Claimore (Post 3035944)
The Stevenson needs to be widened to 8 lanes all the way to Joliet. They have the room to do it, and IDOT chose not to back in the 90's, ridiculous.

I thought I remember reading recently that IDOT is going ahead with widening I-55 from I-355 to Joliet?

jasongbarnes Aug 28, 2007 4:48 PM

yes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3036196)
I thought I remember reading recently that IDOT is going ahead with widening I-55 from I-355 to Joliet?

Yes they are. Last time I went through there it looked like they were going all the way to I80, which would make sense.

j korzeniowski Aug 28, 2007 5:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nicopico (Post 3035259)
So I got an email from the Illinois League of Conservation Voters about a rally to support transit tomorrow in at the Thompson Center? Anyone else heard of this? anyone going?

yes, there was to be a rally today for public transportation funding at the thompson center. (good thing i slept in because of jet lag, as i was thinking of heading to daley plaza for the rally.) i do not know how many showed up, but i think the most people can do now is have all of your friends and family contact the governor's office and their legislator's/senator's office in support of senate bill 572.

DHamp Aug 29, 2007 3:59 AM

Since this project is getting absolutely NO attention, I took a few pics of the construction of the new South Loop Metra station.

8/28/2007
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...x/DSC01829.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...x/DSC01830.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...x/DSC01831.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...x/DSC01837.jpg

ardecila Aug 29, 2007 4:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DHamp (Post 3037630)
Since this project is getting absolutely NO attention, I took a few pics of the construction of the new South Loop Metra station.

I paid attention! The last time I was down there (last Tues) there were no visible signs of progress.

nomarandlee Aug 29, 2007 6:43 AM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...i_tab01_layout

Quote:

Daley, other leaders rally for transit funding bill

Chicago and suburban political leaders, including House Speaker Michael Madigan and Mayor Richard Daley, urged the public today to press lawmakers and Gov. Rod Blagojevich to support a bill raising $450 million for mass transit.

If the legislature doesn't heed a Sept. 15 deadline for approval of the measure, riders will awake the next day to fewer CTA and Pace buses and will pay higher fares, officials warned.

..............The House Mass Transit Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on the measure in the Thompson Center. Committee Chairwoman Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston) said she expected that the committee would pass the measure, and that it would be voted on by the legislature on Sept. 4.

Hamos and other supporters said they were confident they would have votes to override a veto from Blagojevich, who has said he would not approve any increase in the sales tax.

jpIllInoIs Aug 29, 2007 8:24 PM

Metra axpansion to Peotone
 
Metra officials expect to expand commuter line to Peotone
08/29/2007, 10:41 am
Comment on this story

By Mary Baskerville

If two future transportation projects materialize, they will have a great impact on Peotone, so the village wants to be involved with the planning at an early stage.

Speaking in informal session Monday night, Mayor Steve Cross said Metra officials expect to extend the Metra Electric commuter line from University Park to a spot near North Peotone Road.

The plan is to extend the new rail on existing Canadian National right-of-way.

Both a station and a maintenance yard are planned, Cross said. Metra needs the facility to maintain the new coaches that will be equipped with bathrooms, he said.

The project is estimated to cost $100 million and is expected to take five to seven years to complete, Cross said.

Metra indicated it will seek funding from the Illinois General Assembly, Cross said.

If the village wants to enhance the station, it would need to cover the costs of the upgrade, Gray said. The facility is expected to have less than 100 employees.


Read more...

http://daily-journal.com/archives/dj....php?id=401928

ardecila Aug 29, 2007 9:10 PM

Hopefully Hamos HAS got the votes together to pass the bill. The representatives from downstate shouldn't give a hoot, since it doesn't affect them, and vote in favor.

Also, regarding the Peotone extension..... it finally comes out. It won't be long before the airport boosters are back, claiming that the airport would have transit access. It's total BS, and the airport isn't convenient to 99% of Chicagoland.

the urban politician Aug 29, 2007 11:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3038764)
The representatives from downstate shouldn't give a hoot

^ All 5 of them? :haha:

Quote:

Also, regarding the Peotone extension..... it finally comes out. It won't be long before the airport boosters are back, claiming that the airport would have transit access. It's total BS, and the airport isn't convenient to 99% of Chicagoland.
^ With a Metra station, YOU BET it's convenient, at least to downtown Chicago.

And to me, that seals the deal. My whole argument against Peotone and FOR Gary was the fact that Gary could easily procure a transit connection to Chicago, while Peotone is basically a giant, unconnected cornfield.

VivaLFuego Aug 30, 2007 12:38 AM

^Yeah, if the Metra Electric were given a speed upgrade, express trains could make it downtown in perhaps 45-50 minutes, which would be just fine.

^SB572 isn't a slamdunk, there is substantial opposition from the conservative western collar counties (DuPage, Kane) who think they will just be subsidizing CTA because heavens! CTA will get a whopping 48% of the sales tax revenue!

...despite providing 80% of regional transit trips.

harryc Aug 30, 2007 1:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3031101)
I live car free and take the L on average 4 times a day (2 legs for each trip to work), about 1000 times per year, and rarely have problems, my commute varies from 25-35 minutes which I think is reasonable given I have a transfer. I probably have a "disaster commute" (e.g. more than 45 minutes) about once every 2-3 months, which compares favorably with when I drove every day for a previous job location.
...snip...

I take the bike | El everyday and have a disaster commute maybe every other year - and that is still better than an average day in traffic.
The key to loving the CTA is to stay off of the buses.

During the recent storms the green line ran like nothing was happening.

Attrill Aug 30, 2007 1:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by harryc (Post 3039254)
I take the bike | El everyday and have a disaster commute maybe every other year - and that is still better than an average day in traffic.
The key to loving the CTA is to stay off of the buses.

During the recent storms the green line ran like nothing was happening.

For my work commute I bike or take the CTA to Metra 3 days a week (Clyborne to Ravenswood) and drive twice a week. I was driving last Thursday, and while I understand the frustration of anyone who was taking an affected CTA line, the roads were just as bad if not worse. The CTA was up and running fine within a couple hours while traffic lights were still out on Western for a couple days, Logan Blvd. wasn't fully cleared until Saturday, and the California underpass at the Kennedy was flooded. I took Metra to work the next day and saw traffic jams on Ravenswood from traffic lights that were out.

the urban politician Aug 30, 2007 2:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by harryc (Post 3039254)
The key to loving the CTA is to stay off of the buses.

^ The key to loving any American transit system is to stay off the buses. I never use buses in New York's MTA. Buses themselves are of no use to me. If it doesn't have its own ROW, you'll never see me on it.

VivaLFuego Aug 30, 2007 3:00 AM

It depends on the route, of course. Bus routes work fine when they are quite frequent (e.g. 2-3 minute peak headway, 5-8 minute off-peak headway), as most of them were back in the day. But bit by bit the service cuts have eroded frequency, and when you're running a route on 12-15 minute headways with an imperfect schedule, unpredictable traffic, and a shortage of either equipment or manpower, you've got a recipe for unreliable service and the bus 'network' starts to collapse because using it to make connections becomes so frustrating.

People who use routes like the 22, 151, 20, 66, 79, 87, 49, e.g. the ones that still generally run on the headways a bus is supposed to, probably have a better experience at least in terms of their wait time. Some peak routes run with the right sort of frequency (the 156, 14, 134, and 135) but their overcrowding means the experience is still pretty negative since several buses will pass you up.


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