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Tcmetro Dec 17, 2023 9:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 10104477)
There is already a mid-block pedestrian plaza spanning between Jackson and Van Buren, so I assume you could enter the Metra concourse from either the east or the west.

The (10 years old) Union Station Master Plan showed the concourse at the base of a new highrise. Office development is not great right now, but it will probably get better in a few years. If Metra/Amtrak want to move faster, they can put in caissons and build the concourse as part of a standalone podium stub for a future tower.

Ah, that makes sense. Looking at the drawing I completely forgot about that building and plaza. Seems like it will be a few years out at the minimum. Would make sense to do in tandem with the Canal St viaduct reconstruction.

Mr Downtown Dec 18, 2023 4:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VKChaz (Post 10104479)
Does anyone know if there was resolution on a bus terminal plan?

No resolution, yet, but I anticipate that the city will purchase the existing station.

SolarWind Dec 29, 2023 11:31 PM

Damen Green Line Station - Lake Street and Damen Avenue
 
December 26, 2023






r18tdi Jan 9, 2024 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 10097900)
Though not nearly the nugget that was hoped for, it is good to note the long-planned retrofits coming to Union Station that could help increase capacity.


..

There's an online Union Station improvement survery, if anyone wanted to participate: https://chicagounionstation.com/info...ake-the-survey

nomarandlee Feb 11, 2024 9:14 PM

Driverless train systems. Could it happen here?
 
I have admittedly been rummaging through some RMTransit YouTube videos, which are big proponents of automated light-metros. The argument for more of it in more places has a lot of potential appeal in terms of operational savings and quicker headways. Think Vancouver Skytrain, Docklands Light Railway,

I wonder if the same idea for either new or converted service holds any appeal to some here? It seems that all too far, the current headways of the CTA are truly at unacceptable levels, most hours. The operations budgets will only become more unbalanced far into the foreseeable future. Sure, in all likelihood, it would lessen capacity in trainsets, but perhaps that could be compensated by more frequent service?

Does anyone familiar with the subject or have back-of-napkin estimates of cost savings of automated lines or the (in)practicability of converting some of the L lines to automated lines in the future? Politically and administratively, I am sure the hurdles of such a switch would be seismic, but beyond those.....

nomarandlee Feb 11, 2024 10:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 10141562)
You assume the politicians in the Chicago want a more efficient transit system more than they want to provide more jobs on the public bankroll. How wrong you are. :runaway:

"Politically and administratively, I am sure the hurdles of such a switch would be seismic, but beyond those....."

Oh no, trust me, I get that completely, which is primarily what I was also alluding to when I mentioned political considerations, and it made me reluctant to even bring up the topic. Even if logistically and financially feasible, the reasons you say are likely 80% of the reason it would never happen.

SIGSEGV Feb 11, 2024 11:01 PM

I mean all operators can be converted to conductors (and new conductors presumably are easier to train than operators). I think you generally want a human on board even if they're not operating the train.

Busy Bee Feb 11, 2024 11:25 PM

Correct. ATO does not mean no human transit personnel on board. BART still has an operator in the cab in case of emergency or necessary manual intervention. In my opinion a fully automated train with no human transit agency presence is uncomfortably sci-fi, creepy and potentially dystopian and would likely scare off more riders - especially true in this county where actual crime and the perception of crime is a not insignificant issue in attracting and keeping ridership. Airport people movers seem to be the best application.

Nouvellecosse Feb 11, 2024 11:36 PM

A security guard would be a lot better than a driver since the driver can't really get up and intervene if something is happening throughout the train. All they could do is call the police unless they stopped the train which may cause unnecessary delays

Jasoncw Feb 12, 2024 6:22 AM

Automated metros have been standard for at least 20 years, and there are a good number of examples stretching back to the 80s. Even most legacy metros around the world have been automated to some degree, and many have gotten to the point where they're fully automated.

I know that the signalling work they've done on the blue line is working towards future automation.

You can't just automate a part of a line, everything needs to be done. In Chicago that's hard because so many lines share track and operations and maintenance facilities. But those lines also have so many other problems too, so idk what the solution is. But any line that you can get 100% isolated from the rest of the system, you can resignal and automated.

Chicago also without a doubt has places where building new elevated metro lines would cost less money over a period of time, compared to running the current bus service. But that would tie up money that's currently needed for everything else.

Mr Downtown Feb 12, 2024 11:06 PM

Alas, Chicago doesn't build new transit projects where they would serve riders.

We build them to satisfy hazy notions of equity, or "because it's been promised for years."

https://i.imgur.com/n9R9H6l.jpg

Klippenstein Feb 13, 2024 12:33 AM

^I'd love to see that map with Metra lines included

ardecila Feb 13, 2024 3:00 AM

Love RLE or hate it, there will surely be another big expansion afterwards. And it probably won't be a 40-year gap like the 1993-2030 period since the Orange Line opened.

After all, it's not like CTA was doing nothing during that time - they were busy rebuilding huge parts of the system that hadn't been touched since the 1890s. But by the mid-late 2030s this work should be complete AND we will have the Red Line Extension up and running.

It's not clear what project will come next in the queue, but it will likely be focused on a dense, growing part of the city. Hopefully it is a program of expansion along with new revenues, like LA's Measure R, and not just a single project.

Randomguy34 Feb 13, 2024 3:52 PM

^ I'll take this as a sign of good things to come ;)

Bonsai Tree Feb 14, 2024 4:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 10142264)
Alas, Chicago doesn't build new transit projects where they would serve riders.

We build them to satisfy hazy notions of equity, or "because it's been promised for years."

I feel like this statement doesn't capture much nuance on the project. The RLE isn't so much a project meant to capture additional passengers, but rather a rail yard extension disguised as an equity project. One of the project's original goals, and I'm taking this directly from a 2009 preferred alternatives report

Quote:

The 98th Street shop facility is now 40 years old, having been constructed in 1969 as part of the Dan Ryan Line construction project. The 98th Street shop is cumbersome for CTA operations due to its constrained location within an expressway median and access to the facility for materials delivery is difficult because of its grade separation from local streets. The CTA has long recognized the 98th Street shop as being an inadequate facility to support the current and future maintenance needs of the south end of the Red Line and have included the need for an expanded or new 98th Street shop in past capital programs although funding for replacement has not yet been identified.
[URL=https://www.transitchicago.com/assets/1/6/Red_Line_Extension_Locally_Preferred_Alternative_Report.pdf[/URL]

The whole goal of the Red Ahead project is to add capacity- from the current 8 car trains to 10 car trains. The 98th Street Shop cannot accommodate 10 car trains. It will need to be moved. Mind you, that expanding capacity was a key part of getting federal funding for the RPM project. So no, this is not a project built solely on "hazy notions of equity".

Of course there is an argument (and a fair one) that this yard expansion project became unnecessarily bloated in the name of equity. This IS a necessary project- but the exact routing and messaging around the project is political.

But there is certainly more nuance to it than you say

Mr Downtown Feb 14, 2024 2:46 PM

Sounds like back-justification to me. There's a lot of places within 1000 feet of Red Line South where $500m would purchase a big, big chunk of vacant land. One that would be much more convenient for the operators to report to. And one that would allow them to run three trains north for every two they run south of there. Maybe even do it where the Green Line branches could also be served, as originally anticipated for the South Expressway Rapid Transit Line.

Busy Bee Feb 14, 2024 3:23 PM

Have to jump on the bandwagon here with the notion that the yard need was used as an excuse for the entire extension project. I wholly believe if they had wanted to, with some minor geometry changes to the highway and some creative engineering the expanded yard could have been accommodated within the median of the Bishop Ford, probably with through tracks that could have in theory facilitated a median extension which could have provided Far South Side rapid transit access as well as interfacing with ME with a new interchange station at a likely fraction of the cost.

Mentioned it before but I'm just not in the camp that says median running is SO BAD that it should never be done even if it can provide access to rapid transit at a much lower cost and those saved funds be used to improve and expand transit in the rest of the system... *cough Brown-Blue connector cough*. It's an obvious trade off and much of the "bad experience" of median rail stations have to do with poor station design that does little to isolate the station from all the negatives associated with being in the middle of a highway and integration with the surrounding neighborhood. With better design you could nearly seal the station from those elements including visually and provide sealed conditioned walkways etc to anchoring adjacent TOD developments so the whole thing was nearly seamless like entering a modern subway station. IMO there has been a tremendous lack of imagination on the Cta's part with this entire initiative.

moorhosj1 Feb 14, 2024 4:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 10143489)
Sounds like back-justification to me. There's a lot of places within 1000 feet of Red Line South where $500m would purchase a big, big chunk of vacant land. One that would be much more convenient for the operators to report to. And one that would allow them to run three trains north for every two they run south of there. Maybe even do it where the Green Line branches could also be served, as originally anticipated for the South Expressway Rapid Transit Line.

Sounds like you are now back-justifying your original comment. Nobody said those other places weren't potential options or that there couldn't have been more creativity from CTA.

The point was that your line about this ONLY being an extension for "equity" and to fulfill and old promise is false. As you admit yourself, they need a new rail-yard. Gluing it to the extension to help get Federal dollars isn't elegant, but it got us the first "L" service expansion in decades.

Bonsai Tree Feb 14, 2024 5:27 PM

That said, I do question the original capacity-increasing justification for the Red Ahead project. Is the benefit of 10 car trains really that much more important now after the pandemic? Are the originally forecasted increases in service-level even possible given the huge driver shortage and antiquated methods that CTA uses to hire drivers? The capacity increase portion of the project won't even be complete until the Howard Yard is reconstructed in the next phase of RPM - which could be the mid to late 2030s. The entire project from beginning planning to finish will have taken 30 years. That is no way to plan a project. We won't ever be able to get anything finished and justify the original goals of a project when it takes 30 years to complete. Absurd.

I also am not as optimistic about the prospects of a major expansion after Red Ahead is finished. There are huge sections of the system still in dire need of reconstruction and no funding sources currently available. It seems like the CTA can only complete one major project at a time now. The first phase of RPM is currently under construction. Once it's finished in 2025-26, CTA plans on starting the RLE. Once they finished the RLE, they plan on starting the next phase of RPM. There is no plan to do both simultaneously. Late 2030s is optimistic for any expansion-which would need to start planning this decade (probably in 3–4 years) for it to start on time.

The core of the problem is local funding (not federal funding). We cannot rely on the federal government to fund projects in an extreme partisan environment. The cities with the largest transit expansions (LA, Seattle, SF, etc) have completed projects quicker because they actually have robust local funding. The transit TIF (how we are funding most of Red Ahead) is a terrible way to fund a project (and arguably of questionable legality).

PART is a partial savior for regional transit- and if it fails we will be stuck in the same cycle for the next few decades.

nomarandlee Feb 14, 2024 6:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by moorhosj1 (Post 10143591)
Sounds like you are now back-justifying your original comment. Nobody said those other places weren't potential options or that there couldn't have been more creativity from CTA.

The point was that your line about this ONLY being an extension for "equity" and to fulfill and old promise is false. As you admit yourself, they need a new rail-yard. Gluing it to the extension to help get Federal dollars isn't elegant, but it got us the first "L" service expansion in decades.

It sounds like a bad attempt at gotcha in accusing Downtown of using the word "ONLY," which was never used. Saying that there were other options and that the CTA could have used more creativity is really all that needed to be said. That is the crux of the argument, and the rest is just smoke.

Neither you nor Bonsai Tree can refute that equity initiatives and political considerations were primary drivers of the Red Line extension, in contrast to operational necessity, efficiency, and potential passenger capture (which are the major considerations that should matter in PT).

Let us be real here; let us not talk about the virtues of a new rail yard as being the primary justifying motivator, given that no new rail yard should necessitate a 5 billion and 5.6-mile investment. Downplaying the conflation of the two objectives (rail yard with the extension) efforts by dressing it up as "less than elegant" is the kind of speech by officials and transit advocates that makes the public utterly cynical about future projects and funding.

Yet we will feign dismay as the public continues to sour on the CTA/Metra when it is clear that officials are making transparent niche social and political considerations instead of caring about best practices and efficiencies.

Meanwhile, our transit headway will continue to be putrid, optics of crime and grime are rife, and projects that could truly enhance the experience for potentially 100k's riders get put out to the back of the line for decades (at best).

moorhosj1 Feb 14, 2024 7:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bonsai Tree (Post 10143684)
The transit TIF (how we are funding most of Red Ahead) is a terrible way to fund a project (and arguably of questionable legality).

Can you explain why it's a bad way to fund these projects? It got two large projects funded. It also looks like it could be closed early because it has generated more money than expected OR they could use that existing money for another expansion project.

moorhosj1 Feb 14, 2024 7:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 10143731)
Saying that there were other options and that the CTA could have used more creativity is really all that needed to be said. That is the crux of the argument, and the rest is just smoke.

In my experience this is said about any large, government-funded project. So I don't find it to be groundbreaking analysis.

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 10143731)
Neither you nor Bonsai Tree can refute that equity initiatives and political considerations were primary drivers of the Red Line extension, in contrast to operational necessity, efficiency, and potential passenger capture (which are the major considerations that should matter in PT).

Let us be real here; let us not talk about the virtues of a new rail yard as being the primary justifying motivator, given that no new rail yard should necessitate a 5 billion and 5.6-mile investment. Downplaying the conflation of the two objectives (rail yard with the extension) efforts by dressing it up as "less than elegant" is the kind of speech by officials and transit advocates that makes the public utterly cynical about future projects and funding.

I don't know why Rahm elevated this project in 2016, but those may have been his priorities. Either way, when the Federal spigot opened, that was the project we had ready to go. If we are being "real", the reality is that you could have both projects together or neither of them. Those were the options as soon as Rahm went all in on the extension. He made this the next project on the list by commissioning full engineering and determining a route.

You cannot refute that a new railyard is needed and the way to get funding was by having an increased capacity project ready to go. I readily admit it isn't ideal that we have to plan around things like Federal projects and limited local funding, but we need to live in reality.

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 10143731)
Yet we will feign dismay as the public continues to sour on the CTA/Metra when it is clear that officials are making transparent niche social and political considerations instead of caring about best practices and efficiencies.

Meanwhile, our transit headway will continue to be putrid, optics of crime and grime are rife, and projects that could truly enhance the experience for potentially 100k's riders get put out to the back of the line for decades (at best).

These are the exact things CTA has been investing in for the past 15 years. Your New Blue, RPM, Forest Park Rebuild, lots of new/rebuilt stations (Damen, IIT, 95th station, Quincy, Wilson, etc.). More recently the Accessibility and Refresh & Renew projects are focused on access and cleanliness (i.e. experience).

Mr Downtown Feb 15, 2024 3:21 AM

The reason the RLE grinds my gears so much is that it's one of the most spectacularly bad transit projects ever conceived. At $3.4b, the cost per new rider will approach $100 ($8 was the traditional threshold for worthwhile projects). And I talked recently with one of the project engineers who hinted the cost, even at the beginning, will actually be $5b or more.

Boardings at 95th are 26% of what they were in 1993 (even in pre-pandemic 2019 they were only 56% of 1993). Intriguingly, 69th, 79th, and 87th are down only 8 to 25%. That doesn't suggest there'll be an overwhelming demand for RLE if the current terminus sees so few transfers from the feeder bus lines that currently serve Roseland and Riverdale. Altgeld Gardens has its own express bus line to 95th (the Pace 353); it sees about a dozen boardings a day at Altgeld.

Meanwhile, we're going to add thousands of hours each year running empty trains back and forth to the sewage treatment plant. So Red Line operating costs will increase, and not just a little.

Bottom line of all this grumbling? When RLE opens, attracting, um, dozens of riders each day, people will question—with good reason—why they should put scarce money into rail transit, especially in Chicago.

moorhosj1 Feb 15, 2024 6:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 10144179)
Boardings at 95th are 26% of what they were in 1993 (even in pre-pandemic 2019 they were only 56% of 1993). Intriguingly, 69th, 79th, and 87th are down only 8 to 25%.

And the black population in Chicago (heavily concentrated on the Southside) has decline at least 33% in this time. Maybe this is one of the things that can help to stem that tide? Maybe not, but it's obvious that ridership will go down when population plummets. Building amenities is one way to increase population.

If we would have made smaller investments in the Southside over the past 40 years, maybe there would be more residents and ridership would be higher? But, we didn't and are now left trying to dig ourselves out of a massive population hole.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 10144179)
Bottom line of all this grumbling? When RLE opens, attracting, um, dozens of riders each day, people will question—with good reason—why they should put scarce money into rail transit, especially in Chicago.

Clearly, as people are already doing that before a shovel has even hit the ground.

Busy Bee Feb 15, 2024 7:23 PM

I will just simply state the opinion that building a Howard-Dan Ryan extension 20, 30, 40 years ago would have lacked the same preventative affect on south side - and Chicago proper - black population decline as the same extension will have now. Black city to south suburb migration trends in Chicago and more importantly Black northern to southern state migration would still apply. The idea that a rapid transit extension would have stemmed these trends are as silly as the notion that it will stem them now.

twister244 Feb 15, 2024 8:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by moorhosj1 (Post 10144523)
And the black population in Chicago (heavily concentrated on the Southside) has decline at least 33% in this time. Maybe this is one of the things that can help to stem that tide?

A lack of CTA access is not why Southside population is down 33%.........

ChiMIchael Feb 15, 2024 9:03 PM

But we could add more people on the Far South Side if numbers are the issue. It's easier said then done but it proves the city can actually solve problems.

Mr Downtown Feb 15, 2024 9:10 PM

But why pour so much money into the Far South Side instead of revitalizing the areas around existing, laughably underused, Green and Pink Line stations? If you think you have found the secret to making such areas attractive to the kind of folks who have downtown jobs these days, then start there. No one ever complains about not being able to squeeze onto a Loop-bound train at King Drive, or Central Park.

ardecila Feb 16, 2024 1:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bonsai Tree (Post 10143684)
I also am not as optimistic about the prospects of a major expansion after Red Ahead is finished. There are huge sections of the system still in dire need of reconstruction and no funding sources currently available. It seems like the CTA can only complete one major project at a time now. The first phase of RPM is currently under construction. Once it's finished in 2025-26, CTA plans on starting the RLE. Once they finished the RLE, they plan on starting the next phase of RPM. There is no plan to do both simultaneously. Late 2030s is optimistic for any expansion-which would need to start planning this decade (probably in 3–4 years) for it to start on time.

The core of the problem is local funding (not federal funding). We cannot rely on the federal government to fund projects in an extreme partisan environment. The cities with the largest transit expansions (LA, Seattle, SF, etc) have completed projects quicker because they actually have robust local funding. The transit TIF (how we are funding most of Red Ahead) is a terrible way to fund a project (and arguably of questionable legality).

PART is a partial savior for regional transit- and if it fails we will be stuck in the same cycle for the next few decades.

This isn’t really true. The list of assets that need rebuilt is definitely not endless. It’s pretty discrete - the biggest needs are RPM, Congress Line, and accessibility work under ASAP. Obviously each is a huge project in its own right but all three are underway simultaneously. Considering how much of the system was already renewed from 1990-2010, it definitely seems doable to finish the 3 projects listed above AND RLE within the next 15-20 years.

ChiMIchael Feb 16, 2024 1:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 10144701)
But why pour so much money into the Far South Side instead of revitalizing the areas around existing, laughably underused, Green and Pink Line stations? If you think you have found the secret to making such areas attractive to the kind of folks who have downtown jobs these days, then start there. No one ever complains about not being able to squeeze onto a Loop-bound train at King Drive, or Central Park.

I think everything should be pour into, regardless of transit presence. We (residents) need to champion a forward looking leader with a sense of abundance and imagination, but I don't think we really want that.

moorhosj1 Feb 16, 2024 2:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 10144701)
But why pour so much money into the Far South Side instead of revitalizing the areas around existing, laughably underused, Green and Pink Line stations?

I don't really think it is the CTAs job to manage the land around it's existing stations. It should be done, but I would rather the CTA focus on building, running, and maintaining transportation infrastructure, not branching into a whole new business model.

The city can and should do these things, but they aren't necessarily related to the CTA and it's funding. 43 Green is a great example of building around existing stations. It was funded by Invest South/West money and should be duplicated wherever it can. Like you said, there are tons of open lots for housing around the Green line from the 16th all the way to 35th.

moorhosj1 Feb 16, 2024 2:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twister244 (Post 10144635)
A lack of CTA access is not why Southside population is down 33%.........

I said maybe it is one of the things we could do to stop the loss. That is a long way from saying that not having it was the reason for the past population loss. No need to build a strawman.

Steely Dan Feb 16, 2024 2:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by moorhosj1 (Post 10144947)
43 Green is a great example of building around existing stations. It was funded by Invest South/West money and should be duplicated wherever it can.

I got to see 43 Green with my own eyes for the first time the other day.

And holy fucking night and day difference, Batman!

Yes, MORE of that around every radically underused and underdeveloped green line stop.

Let's be an actual city again.

On all sides.

ardecila Feb 16, 2024 3:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by moorhosj1 (Post 10144947)
43 Green is a great example of building around existing stations. It was funded by Invest South/West money and should be duplicated wherever it can. Like you said, there are tons of open lots for housing around the Green line from the 16th all the way to 35th.

Minor nitpick, 43 Green is a great project but it was funded thru the traditional LIHTC method, not Invest South/West.

The city has adopted a policy with the LIHTC process to favor TOD proposals, so hopefully nonprofits will start seeking out more sites next to L and Metra stops. The West Haven tower going up at Damen/Lake is one of those recipients but there are many others.

Unfortunately land on the north/northwest side is expensive and TOD sites there are in demand by market-rate developers, so I think affordable housing in those parts of town may still be pretty scattered and far from rail.

VivaLFuego Feb 16, 2024 4:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 10144179)
The reason the RLE grinds my gears so much is that it's one of the most spectacularly bad transit projects ever conceived. At $3.4b, the cost per new rider will approach $100 ($8 was the traditional threshold for worthwhile projects). And I talked recently with one of the project engineers who hinted the cost, even at the beginning, will actually be $5b or more.

Boardings at 95th are 26% of what they were in 1993 (even in pre-pandemic 2019 they were only 56% of 1993). Intriguingly, 69th, 79th, and 87th are down only 8 to 25%. That doesn't suggest there'll be an overwhelming demand for RLE if the current terminus sees so few transfers from the feeder bus lines that currently serve Roseland and Riverdale. Altgeld Gardens has its own express bus line to 95th (the Pace 353); it sees about a dozen boardings a day at Altgeld.

Meanwhile, we're going to add thousands of hours each year running empty trains back and forth to the sewage treatment plant. So Red Line operating costs will increase, and not just a little.

Bottom line of all this grumbling? When RLE opens, attracting, um, dozens of riders each day, people will question—with good reason—why they should put scarce money into rail transit, especially in Chicago.

To paraphrase a one-time planner who was involved circa 2014... it would be more cost effective to move Altgeld Gardens brick-by-brick and buy every resident a car and years worth of fuel and insurance.

I'd need to look in my various archives for the original source docs, but in the 1970s CTA managed to run 2.5-3 minute headways on the Dan Ryan branch and roughly 2 minute peak headways on the 34 Michigan route feeding it from Roseland and West Pullman. I mention this as a reference to what level of capacity, service, and total trip times are feasible in the absence of additional infrastructure.

As someone who actually lives in the far south area, the most useful improvement would have been either a single or double branching down the medians - to the originally-planned major park-n-ride terminal at 103rd/Stony Island, and then perhaps to a large multi-modal parking and Rock Island connection at 107th and I-57 on the land that has since had some houses built.

Useful, because it would maximize the catchment area for the Dan Ryan branch which currently has a shocking lack of parking facilities to intercept inbound drivers as they approach the peak flow/congested parts of the expressway network (thereby offering a time-competitive trip option to save downtown parking costs), and would have managed to add at least one intermodal connection point to the network.

And as Mr Downtown showed in the map, by and large the far south area is pretty low density, so rapid transit will need to have a large catchment area to collect and distribute sufficient ridership. And anyone experienced in that area with peak commuting and expressway capacity/flow patterns would know that the optimal intercept points would be somewhere between 79th and 111th street, and ideally between 87th and 103rd. Any closer in, and people will just drive the rest of the way downtown as they make it through the worst congestion; any further out, they won't be saving enough time to switch modes.

The other useful alternative - though somewhat less - would have been an elevated line down Halsted to 119th where there is also substational land for a potential yard/shop and an intermodal connection - and alternative which was screened out early, for reasons I don't understand. That could have been paired with an attempt to resurrect the 70s-era concepts for a large park-n-ride near 87th or 79th.

Busy Bee Feb 16, 2024 5:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 10145295)
To paraphrase a one-time planner who was involved circa 2014... it would be more cost effective to move Altgeld Gardens brick-by-brick and buy every resident a car and years worth of fuel and insurance.

I'd need to look in my various archives for the original source docs, but in the 1970s CTA managed to run 2.5-3 minute headways on the Dan Ryan branch and roughly 2 minute peak headways on the 34 Michigan route feeding it from Roseland and West Pullman. I mention this as a reference to what level of capacity, service, and total trip times are feasible in the absence of additional infrastructure.

As someone who actually lives in the far south area, the most useful improvement would have been either a single or double branching down the medians - to the originally-planned major park-n-ride terminal at 103rd/Stony Island, and then perhaps to a large multi-modal parking and Rock Island connection at 107th and I-57 on the land that has since had some houses built.

Useful, because it would maximize the catchment area for the Dan Ryan branch which currently has a shocking lack of parking facilities to intercept inbound drivers as they approach the peak flow/congested parts of the expressway network (thereby offering a time-competitive trip option to save downtown parking costs), and would have managed to add at least one intermodal connection point to the network.


And as Mr Downtown showed in the map, by and large the far south area is pretty low density, so rapid transit will need to have a large catchment area to collect and distribute sufficient ridership. And anyone experienced in that area with peak commuting and expressway capacity/flow patterns would know that the optimal intercept points would be somewhere between 79th and 111th street, and ideally between 87th and 103rd. Any closer in, and people will just drive the rest of the way downtown as they make it through the worst congestion; any further out, they won't be saving enough time to switch modes.

The other useful alternative - though somewhat less - would have been an elevated line down Halsted to 119th where there is also substational land for a potential yard/shop and an intermodal connection - and alternative which was screened out early, for reasons I don't understand. That could have been paired with an attempt to resurrect the 70s-era concepts for a large park-n-ride near 87th or 79th.


Thank you for your perspective, especially the bold part as I'm a long time believer in the same.


Is it too late to stop this thing? Seriously.

nomarandlee Feb 17, 2024 4:22 AM

Awesome background info VivaLFuego. Thank you.

SolarWind Feb 18, 2024 4:08 PM

Damen Green Line Station - Lake Street and Damen Avenue
 
February 16, 2024








Busy Bee Feb 18, 2024 6:22 PM

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Randomguy34 Feb 21, 2024 3:10 PM

Metra is going to order Stadler FLIRT BEMU, and will be charged using overhead wires! They will be delivered late 2027/early 2028 and will be piloted on the RID Beverly Branch, allowing for more frequent service. Metra is finally entering the 21st Century, we might finally have proper regional rail!

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/GG3nFaVX...pg&name=medium

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/GG3nFaVX...pg&name=medium
https://twitter.com/bsmcfadden/statu...17114399793232

Busy Bee Feb 21, 2024 3:44 PM

A very encouraging step forward. With time they will hopefully see the wisdom of full electrification for the RID.

JMBasquiat Feb 21, 2024 4:52 PM

2027/2028 is such a long lead time.

But they look good and hopefully Metra will also expand these to other lines as well.

Busy Bee Feb 21, 2024 4:55 PM

^Correct. I think it's good to give them a run on the Bev Branch of the RID but ultimately the RID should be electrified and this kind of BEMU tech used on other mainlines that are unlikely to see overhead electrification.

JMBasquiat Feb 21, 2024 4:57 PM

Yeah, absolutely. I don't think we're likely to see electrification on the UP and BNSF-owned tracks and they're the busiest lines in the system anyway.

Busy Bee Feb 21, 2024 5:01 PM

^Yep. And I think Stadler or other vendors will likely make a bi-level BEMU in the near future that will be essentially an equivalent to the current Metra bi-level fleet, sans locomotive. I know Caltrain ordered a few for Gilroy but I think that's more of a battery storage modified regular Stadler KISS than a specific bi-level BEMU.

Bonsai Tree Feb 21, 2024 6:53 PM

I could see these augmenting off-peak service on other lines in the future. If Metra really wants to increase frequency, these could be the perfect fit. I think bi-level BEMUs are probably a ways away since they are still retrofitting EMDs and have the outstanding order from Alstom for new cars. Alstom is being slow af though with that order and is an utter shitshow right now so who knows.

I am curious what their plan is with the MED. The current fleet cannot last forever, and they'll have to transition to new sets soon. I'm hopeful that this order means they'll go with Stadler for the MED (hopefully KISS).

Mr Downtown Feb 21, 2024 7:04 PM

Seems like DMUs would be the better choice, not having all that battery weight to pull around. But maybe there's free federal money for battery-powered stuff.

Busy Bee Feb 21, 2024 7:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bonsai Tree (Post 10148603)

I am curious what their plan is with the MED. The current fleet cannot last forever, and they'll have to transition to new sets soon. I'm hopeful that this order means they'll go with Stadler for the MED (hopefully KISS).


The IC Highliners ran for about 40 years so I don't think it's going to be any time soon, unless they sold them to some third world country where they'd fit right in aesthetically.

Klippenstein Feb 21, 2024 8:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 10148632)
The IC Highliners ran for about 40 years so I don't think it's going to be any time soon, unless they sold them to some third world country where they'd fit right in aesthetically.

This does seem like good news for a potential MED to Union Station connection. It'd have to be able to transition from wires to battery to make that switch no?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 10148618)
Seems like DMUs would be the better choice, not having all that battery weight to pull around. But maybe there's free federal money for battery-powered stuff.

I read somewhere that batteries are only 10% of the weight, but I haven't been able to find the specs. I wonder how long it takes them to recharge.

Busy Bee Feb 21, 2024 9:26 PM

Depending on the technical specifics and design of a charging system, a BEMU wouldn't necessarily have to be so loaded down with battery array weight that it looses it's efficiency edge with power consumption. Battery capacity could be engineered "just enough" so it has enough energy to make it to the next station which would feature a fast charge pantograph (or max ability to skip up to a couple stations and still run under own power) on lines highly unlikely (unless the energy zeitgeist gods change the Class I railroads minds) to receive OCS overhead electrification like UP and BNSF. Enabling express runs utilizing BEMU trainsets though seems like it would still require a distance of OCS so batteries could charge in motion. Speed of quick charge would be of upmost importance as dwell time increases would and should be a non-starter.

I would just like to acknowledge that this entire conversation about BEMU tech on one of the countries busiest commuter rail systems is an extremely American conversation. Most contemporary nations would just invest in full electrification - and would have done so decades ago.


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