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Abner Apr 3, 2009 2:10 PM

We have subways crossing the river too, obviously. Those weren't involved in the 1992 flood, that was the old freight tunnels.

orulz Apr 3, 2009 2:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4174155)
I believe a total of four through tracks could be squeezed in on the east end of Union Station without altering any foundations. The original caissons were placed to make another runthrough track possible, and this alteration was contemplated during WWII. Earlier discussion of subject.

I agree with your assessment that four run-through tracks are probably possible at Union Station without having to tear up the whole thing. It may nevertheless be fortuitous to demolish the whole block to get even more run through tracks, but that aside, even given that fewer HSR trains will approach from the north than from the south, will the three tracks leading into Union Station from the north will be enough? Could a fourth track be added? Would that be enough?There are five tracks from the south and probably plenty of room to add more, but the north remains an issue. I want to say that this was already discussed on this thread, but I can't find the specific post.

In any case, putting HSR in the bottom level of the WLTC under Clinton seems to be pointless if they can only fit 2 tracks. It might be adequate for the next 10 or 20 years, but building a multi-billion dollar infrastructure project with the expectation that it will serve your needs for 10 or 20 years is unwise.

the urban politician Apr 3, 2009 2:19 PM

The Circle Line

+

Quote:

RTA outlines plan for unified fare system

Regional Transportation Authority officials on Thursday outlined a timetable for modernizing fare collection and ticketing on buses and trains, including the possible introduction of a credit card-based, unified fare system as early as next year.

The timetable is part of an overall set of goals to create a "seamless" regional transit system that would coordinate service, fare collection and technology between the CTA, Metra and Pace, officials said.

For years, transportation experts and passengers have complained of a lack of coordination between the three agencies. The goals are in line with legislation approved last year giving the RTA a stronger role in getting the agencies on the same track.

Meanwhile, RTA officials Thursday also got their clearest picture yet of how the glum economic situation is affecting mass transit. A sharp falloff in sales tax revenues is putting the transit agencies in a dire financial crunch, making the threat of fare hikes and service cuts more imminent.

-- Richard Wronski
http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2...ss-system.html
=

:tup: :yes:

the urban politician Apr 3, 2009 2:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4174997)
Has it been determined exactly how the tubes would get from Larrabee to Clinton? Underneath the existing surface rail r-o-w? Underneath the river (hmmm, a risky idea maybe; see 1992)? In particular, on which side of the Kinzie Station tower?

^ That's passion for transit for ya... :rolleyes:

"Gee, George, uhhh... ain't that a river? What are we gonna do 'bout that? What are we gonna do about the train, George?"

http://videodetective.com/photos/135/005685_18.jpg

Mr Downtown Apr 3, 2009 3:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4174997)
Has it been determined exactly how the tubes would get from Larrabee to Clinton?

I don't know that there are engineering drawings yet.

http://i40.tinypic.com/2aeowed.jpg

Seems odd that there's no transfer to Blue or Green at Milwaukee/Lake

jew4life4948 Apr 3, 2009 3:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4175285)
The Circle Line

+



=

:tup: :yes:


I wonder how that will impact the U-Pass program, which currently only works on CTA.

10023 Apr 3, 2009 4:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4175402)

It's like the uber-Loop

the urban politician Apr 3, 2009 4:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4175402)
http://i40.tinypic.com/2aeowed.jpg

Seems odd that there's no transfer to Blue or Green at Milwaukee/Lake

^ Agreed, I'm hoping that this is just a very very rough draft and that future plans would incorporate that

Taft Apr 3, 2009 4:37 PM

The paulina stop on the brown line is reopening:

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2...rown-line.html

arenn Apr 4, 2009 1:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taft (Post 4175601)
The paulina stop on the brown line is reopening:

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2...rown-line.html

I used it today - thank goodness - that project should not have taken a year.

emathias Apr 4, 2009 2:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4175402)
I don't know that there are engineering drawings yet.

http://i40.tinypic.com/2aeowed.jpg

Seems odd that there's no transfer to Blue or Green at Milwaukee/Lake

I thought so, too, but I would guess that it might be a really difficult project to shoehorn two new stations (a blue one and a Clinton subway one) in there.

I do think there should be a number of stations there where it parallels the Loop, kinda like the current Red Line, not just one superstation between the two Metra stations.

the urban politician Apr 4, 2009 4:53 AM

Something's better than nothing..
 
Lawmakers approve scaled-back statewide construction plan
Posted by Ray Long at 11:40 a.m.; last updated at 9:50 p.m. to note full Senate passage

SPRINGFIELD---The state would borrow to spend $3 billion on roads, bridges and public transit and put idle construction workers back on the job under a stimulus plan the General Assembly appproved today.

The idea was to win approval for a smaller statewide construction plan quickly and then attempt to push through the $25 billion borrowing plan Gov. Pat Quinn wants later.

The goal is to get the $3 billion worth of projects into the pipeline and put people to work by early summer, said sponsoring state Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago).

"This is only a beginning," said Michael Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. "This can't be a beginning and an end."

As many as 40 percent of union construction workers are unemployed during the economic tailspin, he said.

Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) cautioned that this vote was the easy part of getting a major construction program going this spring but the final bigger package will require tax increases to pay for it.

Lawmakers would pay for the program by taking $200 million from the state's road fund to borrow $2 billion for roads and bridges and set aside $100 million in general state funds to borrow $1 billion in mass transit construction. The diversion of revenue comes as Quinn wants a 50 percent increase in the income tax rate to balance a state budget he says is $11.5 billion out of whack this year and next.

Democrats and Republicans voted without dissent in the full Senate and immediately burst into applause, signaling their happiness and what they cautiously dubbed a fresh era of cooperation. The House followed suit tonight.

Still, the progress is a breakthrough after six years of stalemate on a construction plan under Rod Blagojevich, the deposed ex-governor.

Trotter said the construction bill represented a "new day."

The money for roads, bridges and mass transit is part of an overall package to tap billions of dollars more in federal stimulus funds to help prop up state programs throughout the state and a new allocation of funds that would soon reopen state historic sites that Blagojevich closed. About $330,000 in general revenue would reopen the state historic sites. The rest of the package will be paid for with billions of dollars in federal stimulus funds.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) praised the legislation because the decisions on what projects would be funded were based on engineering analysis rather than political clout, what she said was another departure from the Blagojevich days.

"We're actually going to put people to work, start putting shovels in the ground," Radogno said.

Quinn issued a statement tonight applauding lawmakers for quick approval.

denizen467 Apr 4, 2009 5:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4174997)
Has it been determined exactly how the tubes would get from Larrabee to Clinton? Underneath the existing surface rail r-o-w? Underneath the river (hmmm, a risky idea maybe; see 1992)? In particular, on which side of the Kinzie Station tower?

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 4175147)
^ NYC has over 20 subway lines crossing under 3 separate rivers and Jamaica Bay.

You need to look at the geography here to understand my question. The "underneath"-the-river option means FOLLOWING the river, underneath it, for several hundred yards. I suspect NYC doesn't have anything like that. Here, there is quite a bit of private property, not to mention caissons, that must be avoided.

The map provided by Mr Downtown looks somewhat preliminary, since the line goes directly under the new SCB apartment tower at Grand. I think instead it would have to go under the new park at Erie, cross the river, avoid the footings of the Ohio ramp bridge, and then skirt around the west corner of the Kinzie Station tower.

Otherwise they would have to burrow under the Kinzie Station townhomes (legally not workable?) or indeed just follow underneath the river (like I said, maybe asking for trouble).

lawfin Apr 4, 2009 6:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4176931)
Lawmakers approve scaled-back statewide construction plan
Posted by Ray Long at 11:40 a.m.; last updated at 9:50 p.m. to note full Senate passage

SPRINGFIELD---The state would borrow to spend $3 billion on roads, bridges and public transit and put idle construction workers back on the job under a stimulus plan the General Assembly appproved today.

The idea was to win approval for a smaller statewide construction plan quickly and then attempt to push through the $25 billion borrowing plan Gov. Pat Quinn wants later.

The goal is to get the $3 billion worth of projects into the pipeline and put people to work by early summer, said sponsoring state Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago).

"This is only a beginning," said Michael Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. "This can't be a beginning and an end."

As many as 40 percent of union construction workers are unemployed during the economic tailspin, he said.

Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) cautioned that this vote was the easy part of getting a major construction program going this spring but the final bigger package will require tax increases to pay for it.

Lawmakers would pay for the program by taking $200 million from the state's road fund to borrow $2 billion for roads and bridges and set aside $100 million in general state funds to borrow $1 billion in mass transit construction. The diversion of revenue comes as Quinn wants a 50 percent increase in the income tax rate to balance a state budget he says is $11.5 billion out of whack this year and next.

Democrats and Republicans voted without dissent in the full Senate and immediately burst into applause, signaling their happiness and what they cautiously dubbed a fresh era of cooperation. The House followed suit tonight.

Still, the progress is a breakthrough after six years of stalemate on a construction plan under Rod Blagojevich, the deposed ex-governor.

Trotter said the construction bill represented a "new day."

The money for roads, bridges and mass transit is part of an overall package to tap billions of dollars more in federal stimulus funds to help prop up state programs throughout the state and a new allocation of funds that would soon reopen state historic sites that Blagojevich closed. About $330,000 in general revenue would reopen the state historic sites. The rest of the package will be paid for with billions of dollars in federal stimulus funds.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) praised the legislation because the decisions on what projects would be funded were based on engineering analysis rather than political clout, what she said was another departure from the Blagojevich days.

"We're actually going to put people to work, start putting shovels in the ground," Radogno said.

Quinn issued a statement tonight applauding lawmakers for quick approval.

I'm pretty liberal but Cullerton is a liberal douche

the urban politician Apr 4, 2009 3:15 PM

Can anyone speculate a reason why Daley hasn't pushed for the 'Downtown Circulator' concept again?

If his idea was struck down by a Republican Governor and a Republican-dominated general assembly then why not try again given the completely different political environment we are in at every level?

Mr Downtown Apr 4, 2009 3:39 PM

^Well, there's the small matter that it was an incredibly dumb idea.

It started around 1980 with the germ of a reasonable idea: that the Carroll Street railroad tracks provided a route for Union/Ogilvie to Streeterville transit. But as studies progressed, it turned out that a busway network would actually provide faster service for riders, that there were huge routing problems in Streeterville, and that Carroll Street couldn't be used after all. So the project turned into a mere job subsidy program for transportation planners and engineers (the true purpose of many Daley proposals) that finally collapsed of its own obesity. "Downstate Republicans" were just a convenient scapegoat allowing Daley to save face.

the urban politician Apr 4, 2009 3:46 PM

^ I'm not following how a busway would be faster than a trolley?

Isn't it just a matter of choosing between using tracks versus road? How is one going to be superior to the other?

Mr Downtown Apr 4, 2009 4:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4176999)
The "underneath"-the-river option means FOLLOWING the river, underneath it, for several hundred yards. I suspect NYC doesn't have anything like that.

The PATH tunnels to Hoboken are 5,650 feet long. The Clark St. tunnel from Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn is 3,100 feet underwater. BART's Transbay Tunnel is 3.6 miles, in an active seismic zone. There are lengthy underwater subway tunnels in Hong Kong, Shanghai, London, Hamburg, etc. There's a 31-mile tunnel under the English Channel, and one in Japan that's 33.5 miles long. The Clinton-Larrabee subway looks like it might be under the river for about 400 feet.

The North Branch of the Chicago River is not some deep fissure; it's just a few feet deep. Tunneling in Chicago is pretty easy, thanks to a layer of easily worked blue clay at -40. You just carve it away with power knives and put iron or concrete rings in to line the tunnel. Since there would be stations near the ends, though, in this location it might be undesirable to go even that deep. You'd probably just sink prefab tunnel sections into a dredged trench, as was done for the State Street Subway.

Mr Downtown Apr 4, 2009 4:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4177360)
^ I'm not following how a busway would be faster than a trolley?

The DEIS/Alternatives Analysis doesn't elaborate much on the model used, though it's clear that it was cooked as much as possible to favor the recommended LRT (not trolley) option. I think the main reason is that the buses would be smaller, arriving more frequently, thus reducing average waiting time. Articulated LRVs also present problems of making turns and clearing intersections because they're longer vehicles. Plus, it's questionable whether we'd allow light rail vehicles to operate "on sight," so they'd be slowed down to some extent by the signaling that buses don't require.

ardecila Apr 4, 2009 4:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4176999)
You need to look at the geography here to understand my question. The "underneath"-the-river option means FOLLOWING the river, underneath it, for several hundred yards. I suspect NYC doesn't have anything like that. Here, there is quite a bit of private property, not to mention caissons, that must be avoided.

The map provided by Mr Downtown looks somewhat preliminary, since the line goes directly under the new SCB apartment tower at Grand. I think instead it would have to go under the new park at Erie, cross the river, avoid the footings of the Ohio ramp bridge, and then skirt around the west corner of the Kinzie Station tower.

Otherwise they would have to burrow under the Kinzie Station townhomes (legally not workable?) or indeed just follow underneath the river (like I said, maybe asking for trouble).

It is possible for subways to burrow underneath private property, you just have to be deep enough. It's rare in America, but only because we don't have that many subways to begin with. Check out London, though - they have done it many times. There's also a couple examples on the Metro in DC.

I'd imagine that neither the East Bank Club nor the Kinzie Station townhomes has a deep foundation that would obstruct subway construction, so the line could be run beneath either of these properties.

Mr Downtown Apr 4, 2009 5:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4177474)
It is possible for subways to burrow underneath private property, you just have to be deep enough.

Or be there first. The Howard-Dan Ryan subway tunnel is only a few feet beneath some of the townhouses in Dearborn Park II.

As for Larrabee-Clinton, why wouldn't you just do this, avoiding everything:

http://i43.tinypic.com/23j1t8g.jpg

denizen467 Apr 4, 2009 6:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4177426)
The PATH tunnels to Hoboken are 5,650 feet long. The Clark St. tunnel from Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn is 3,100 feet underwater. BART's Transbay Tunnel is 3.6 miles, in an active seismic zone. There are lengthy underwater subway tunnels in Hong Kong, Shanghai, London, Hamburg, etc. There's a 31-mile tunnel under the English Channel, and one in Japan that's 33.5 miles long. The Clinton-Larrabee subway looks like it might be under the river for about 400 feet.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4177474)
It is possible for subways to burrow underneath private property, you just have to be deep enough. It's rare in America, but only because we don't have that many subways to begin with. Check out London, though - they have done it many times. There's also a couple examples on the Metro in DC.

I'd imagine that neither the East Bank Club nor the Kinzie Station townhomes has a deep foundation that would obstruct subway construction, so the line could be run beneath either of these properties.

Yes, okay, I know it's all possible. I'm aware of those and have ridden through some of those ultra-long overseas underwater tunnels. My point originated from the sense that here, in recent decades, we have tended to lack the financial and political might to build ambitious things like that (e.g. tunnel boring machines being many times more expensive than cut-and-cover and thus viewed as an unreasonable alternative in the fiscal process; I wasn't envisioning prefab tunnel being dropped into a dredged trench longitudinally in a narrow river channel). But certainly this is a new era. The shadow of Boston's Big Dig disaster is fading; they even settled the crappy-ceiling-panel-wrongful-death lawsuit last month. These days we have an appreciation for public transit, new stimulus funds, and Daley is making no little plans. So maybe we won't shirk away from building what really ought to be built.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4177534)
As for Larrabee-Clinton, why wouldn't you just do this, avoiding everything:
http://i43.tinypic.com/23j1t8g.jpg

Yes, that's the route I suggested above.

Now, do you TBM under the elevated C&NW, which has narrowly-spaced supports? Or do we get C&NW to finally do a little viaduct rebuilding?

ardecila Apr 4, 2009 8:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4177534)
Or be there first. The Howard-Dan Ryan subway tunnel is only a few feet beneath some of the townhouses in Dearborn Park II.

As for Larrabee-Clinton, why wouldn't you just do this, avoiding everything:

http://i43.tinypic.com/23j1t8g.jpg

The diagram in the plan seems to suggest that there will be a station at Grand/Kingsbury. If this is the case, then the subway would need to cross the river south of Grand, where the river banks are densely developed with Kingsbury Plaza, East Bank Club, and Kinzie Park.

denizen467 Apr 4, 2009 11:30 PM

^ If that remained a part of the plan it might have to follow Kingsbury all the way to Kinzie and then hook quickly west.

Otherwise, Erie Park would be an easy place to construct a station, though it would be inconvenient for major bus route transfers.

orulz Apr 5, 2009 12:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4177534)
Or be there first. The Howard-Dan Ryan subway tunnel is only a few feet beneath some of the townhouses in Dearborn Park II.

As for Larrabee-Clinton, why wouldn't you just do this, avoiding everything:

http://i43.tinypic.com/23j1t8g.jpg

Problem with that is that the new station at Grand is only three blocks away from the Grand station on the blue line. Kingsbury and Grand really would be a better location.

The East Bank Club is only 3 stories tall. That means it's not too heavy, and there's also no way that it has substantial or deep caissons (if it has caissons at all?). So, they could probably dig under that with out having to go too deep (don't need too much overburden to distribute the load) and without too much underpinning either.

Mr Downtown Apr 5, 2009 3:24 AM

Because there's no utility relocation or repaving required, the part in the river channel would probably be the cheapest and easiest part of a Larrabee-Clinton subway. You can just shop-fabricate the tubes and sink them in the riverbed.

Here are the ones sunk in 1911 for the reconstructed LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel.

http://i41.tinypic.com/15g43yd.jpg

Daily News Collection DN-008999

the urban politician Apr 5, 2009 3:51 AM

^ Your knowledge never ceases to end, Mr. D.

I just wish you'd drop that shadow study nonsense... ;)

the urban politician Apr 5, 2009 5:12 AM

Road repair money: Mayor Richard Daley and Gov. Pat Quinn outline spending plan for city streets
Quinn and Daley tout new state spending bill

By Susan Kuczka and Richard Wronski | Tribune Reporters
April 5, 2009
One of Chicago's worst pothole-scarred streets was selected as the backdrop Saturday for Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Richard Daley to outline nearly $200 million in city road repairs and other improvements included in a new statewide construction package.

"We don't want to be the shock absorber capital of the United States," Quinn said at a news conference in front of an auto repair shop on the 5400 block of North Avenue.

Minutes before Daley arrived, a crew patched a huge pothole that threatened to damage eastbound cars.

"This money alone will fund 100 miles of [street and bridge] repairs and traffic signs," Daley said at the event also attended by Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and several other lawmakers and aldermen.

The construction package approved by the Illinois General Assembly last week follows the recent passage of a federal economic stimulus plan. The state bill restored $40 million for Chicago's streets—money that Daley said the city could leverage to receive another $150 million in federal funds.

"Just think, it's changed around that quickly," Daley said, noting Chicago had not received any federal funding for state roads since at least 2006.

Besides the road money, Chicago area mass transit is slated to receive $900 million from the state.

The CTA is set to receive $495.9 million, with $173 million earmarked for new hybrid buses and $87 million for a mid-life overhaul of existing buses. Another $113 million is going for Red Line track replacement, $48 million for Red Line substations, $25.5 million for Brown Line substations; $22.5 million on rail station renovations and $27.5 million on bus garage renovations, officials said.

Metra wants to use its $290.7 million to buy 160 new cars for the Metra Electric line, a project with an estimated tab of $585 million, according to agency officials.

Pace wants to use its $68.4 million to buy new buses, vans, paratransit vehicles and equipment, and to overhaul engines on buses in its fleet, officials said. There's also $45 million set aside for paratransit, officials said.

orulz Apr 5, 2009 6:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4178316)
Because there's no utility relocation or repaving required, the part in the river channel would probably be the cheapest and easiest part of a Larrabee-Clinton subway. You can just shop-fabricate the tubes and sink them in the riverbed.

Here are the ones sunk in 1911 for the reconstructed LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel.

Daily News Collection DN-008999

Not entirely sure about that. For the above ground portion, Union labor isn't cheap - but union divers and underwater welders are far, far more expensive. I'd also be pretty surprised if there weren't sewers, water mains, and even electrical wires running under the river in at least a few locations (but perhaps not where this subway line would encounter them)

Regarding the streetcar tunnels - somebody needs to figure how and what they should be reused for. All three of them are still intact, right? The idea of pedway connections have been mentioned here before, but it seems like the city would rather build a pedway to the west loop during the construction of the Monroe Transitway, than use the tunnels that already exist.

ardecila Apr 5, 2009 9:31 PM

That's an interesting question regarding the tunnels. I actually researched them a few months ago. As far as I can tell, they should be sealed from the freight tunnel network and unaffected by the 1992 flood. At LaSalle, however, the south tunnel approach was severed by the construction of the Blue Line underneath Lake Street.

Pedway connections would be the cheapest and most obvious use for these tunnels. If maybe 100 feet of basement space was opened up in the Loop Transportation Center, then the LaSalle tunnel could be connected to the network. It would exit at the intersection of Hubbard/LaSalle in River North.

The other two tunnels are far from the existing pedway network. Perhaps the Van Buren tunnel could be put back into service as an extended entrance for Union Station. With an extension, it could become an all-weather connection between Union and LaSalle Stations.

A major problem with these ideas is that security would be difficult in these tunnels. The curve that they make underneath the river is probably not ADA-compliant, and it reduces forward visibility, creating an opportunity for muggers. The tunnels could also potentially be easy terrorism targets. If proper surveillance is installed and the tunnels close at, say, 9pm, then these problems should be workable.

For the Monroe transitway, however, it seems like an entirely new tunnel would need to be constructed underneath the river, requiring the underpinning of the Monroe bridge footings. :koko: The LaSalle tunnel was built before there was a LaSalle bridge, so that wasn't a problem.

Mr Downtown Apr 5, 2009 11:23 PM

About 20 years ago there was discussion of opening up the Van Buren tunnel as a link between Union Station and Sears Tower/311 South Wacker. I vaguely remember a city RFP and tour being conducted, but don't know anything further.

I wonder if a private operator could install something like the Senate Subway to shuttle commuters back and forth, and pay it off with a $1 one-way fare.

denizen467 Apr 6, 2009 3:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4179201)
The other two tunnels are ...

So the tunnels are under LaSalle, Van Buren, and - where does the third one run?

ardecila Apr 6, 2009 6:24 AM

The three tunnels are:

LaSalle - from Washington to Hubbard
Washington - from Franklin to Clinton
Van Buren - from Franklin to Clinton

The Van Buren tunnel is actually mid-block between Van Buren and Jackson.

the urban politician Apr 6, 2009 2:24 PM

I can't find the article now, but somebody at either the Tribune or Sun Times this morning is criticizing the Central Area Action Plan's recommendation to build a West Loop Transportation Center, Monroe busway, and subway lines.

Instead he recommends scrapping all of that, spending the money on rehabbing the CTA, and building a downtown circulating bus loop using Clinton Ave, Carroll ave, and other existing unused ROW.

Thoughts?

k1052 Apr 6, 2009 2:25 PM

If they ever build the West Loop Transportation Center it might be desirable to use the Van Buren and Washington St. tunnels as pedways that will route people directly into it.

jpIllInoIs Apr 6, 2009 2:36 PM

Here is the Tribs diss on WLTC
 
A $6 billion hole in the ground
By John McCarron
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/o...,3311569.story

As soon as the Olympic inspection team leaves town, can we talk about the West Loop Transportation Center?

I'm talking about the $6 billion hole in the ground the city wants to dig at the corner of Clinton and Madison Streets. It would be a bad idea at half the price, but at $6 billion this proposal ranks up there—or down there—with building an airport in Lake Michigan or another interstate beltway in the far west suburbs.

The airport-in-the-lake idea thankfully got spiked decades ago. And "Prairie Parkway" through Kane and Kendall Counties is dying of neglect now that its champion, Dennis Hastert, has retired from Congress.

But the West Loop Transportation Center? It keeps coming back like a bad penny. Or in this case, like some James Bond fantasy cooked up by 007 wannabes in the Chicago Department of Transportation. Too much "Thunderball," fellas?

k1052 Apr 6, 2009 2:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4180077)
I can't find the article now, but somebody at either the Tribune or Sun Times this morning is criticizing the Central Area Action Plan's recommendation to build a West Loop Transportation Center, Monroe busway, and subway lines.

Instead he recommends scrapping all of that, spending the money on rehabbing the CTA, and building a downtown circulating bus loop using Clinton Ave, Carroll ave, and other existing unused ROW.

Thoughts?

Because the Canal/Jackson/Clinton area really needs more surface traffic with all the cabs, intercity buses, trolleys, hoards of pedestrians, local/express CTA bus service, and cars that constantly buzz around it now. Further surface transport (especially a dedicated busway with signal priority) for this area is out of the question and one of the main things the WLTC should address.

We should be only be building infrastructure that promotes further grade separation in the city core, not less.

jpIllInoIs Apr 6, 2009 2:47 PM

Ya know he might have a point on the overall plan. Do we need 4 levels. We discussed earlier that CUS could have as many as 4 thru tracks at ground level. I would love to see the Clinton Subway and also street level busways. Clinton could easily become a bus only street. And following up on the Pedway tunnel access discussion, why not just install moving sidewalks like the ones at O'Hare? Moving Sidewalks connecting Olgilve and CUS, and also in the Van Buren and Washington tunnels to connect with the East side of the river.

VivaLFuego Apr 6, 2009 3:00 PM

His cost/benefit analysis is flawed. From the perspective of the city, scrounging up local/state money to match federal money that will only be available for certain projects, one analyzes the benefit:cost ratio for the marginal dollars you're putting on the table. It's not like CDOT et al could just decide to spend a $6 billion cocktail from various funding sources on whatever else it chooses.

That said, the WLTC as proposed is indeed overkill. Wouldn't be the first overkill project proposed or built of course, but several of the problems it seeks to address could be alleviated with much less costly projects. Regardless, it's probably a good idea to keep it on the drawing boards for comp plans for the time being, to ensure necessary steps like preserving the ROW are taken to keep it as a viable option down the road, even if not on a 2016-2020 timeline.

the urban politician Apr 6, 2009 3:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 4180116)
I would love to see the Clinton Subway and also street level busways. Clinton could easily become a bus only street.

^ I mentioned this before when somebody else proposed that. Having Clinton as a Bus-only street doesn't solve the problem of grade separation. You still have to deal with traffic lights, and even if you institute TSP you'll be disrupting auto/taxi/bus traffic on intersecting streets.

Wouldn't the proposed subterranean route be more useful?

Mr Downtown Apr 6, 2009 3:35 PM

I also was puzzled by his concept that people trying to get from Union Station to, say, Dearborn Center, would find it useful to creep south on Clinton to 16th, east to the Metra Electric tracks, then back north to disembark in Grant Park and walk four blocks west. It's like saying that we didn't need to build the Eisenhower because people in Elmhurst could always take the Tri-State around to Lansing and then come downtown on the Calumet Expwy and Lake Shore Drive.

Nowhereman1280 Apr 6, 2009 4:30 PM

^^^ Yeah seriously what is this guy smoking? Chicago needs the infrastructure as presented in that plan. If we ever want to return to the glory days when people came to Chicago and "saw the future", then we need to seriously reconsider where we spend money and how. I say no more half-assing it with light infrastructure, if you are going to build a transit system the build the hell out of it, don't just close a few streets to traffic so buses can shuffle along, build four levels of tunnels so trains can shoot through them unimpeded at high speeds.

If Chicago wants to be dominant in a post auto-age world, then we have to have a better transit system than everyone else. I don't know what this whack job is thinking when he proposes putting more vehicles on already crowded streets, but its not going to work. $6 billion is a steal for the benefit that would be provided. That's like saying Millennium Park was not worth the money just because we didn't make any money directly off of it. Well the value of these things is not seen in direct profits, its seen in the tens of billions of dollars of development they spur for years to come. Its seen in tens of billions of dollars worth of new taxes that will be generated over the next 100 or more years.

If Chicago can get the Clinton subway, WLTC, and decking over the Kennedy built, then a boom even greater than that seen around Millennium Park will Occur and it will effectively double the size of the Loop. Can you imagine what Chicago could do with a whole more loop's worth of tax revenue a year?

VivaLFuego Apr 6, 2009 5:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 4180282)
^^^ Yeah seriously what is this guy smoking? Chicago needs the infrastructure as presented in that plan. If we ever want to return to the glory days when people came to Chicago and "saw the future", then we need to seriously reconsider where we spend money and how. I say no more half-assing it with light infrastructure, if you are going to build a transit system the build the hell out of it, don't just close a few streets to traffic so buses can shuffle along, build four levels of tunnels so trains can shoot through them unimpeded at high speeds.

If Chicago wants to be dominant in a post auto-age world, then we have to have a better transit system than everyone else. I don't know what this whack job is thinking when he proposes putting more vehicles on already crowded streets, but its not going to work. $6 billion is a steal for the benefit that would be provided. That's like saying Millennium Park was not worth the money just because we didn't make any money directly off of it. Well the value of these things is not seen in direct profits, its seen in the tens of billions of dollars of development they spur for years to come. Its seen in tens of billions of dollars worth of new taxes that will be generated over the next 100 or more years.

If Chicago can get the Clinton subway, WLTC, and decking over the Kennedy built, then a boom even greater than that seen around Millennium Park will Occur and it will effectively double the size of the Loop. Can you imagine what Chicago could do with a whole more loop's worth of tax revenue a year?

I think that you both (1) overstate/overestimate the impact transportation infrastructure will have on accelerating absorption of leasable square footage in a particular location that happens to already be fairly highly accessible by most measures and (2) don't take adequate account of the fact that operating all this new infrastructure will require further operational subsidy in perpetuity, putting aside up front capital construction costs and periodic maintenance.

To elaborate on #1, it's not like the West Loop is bursting at the seams in terms of built density and needs added infrastructure to allow for growth in employment and residential. If a firm or resident wants to locate in West Loop, they already can - and if West Loop lacks the transit accessibility that they demand, there are other areas that have such accessibility that still have room for growth. This might not always be the case, so planning for a major core expansion to the west, and the transit infrastructure that entails, is prudent for the long term: preserve the ROWs, design any near-term facilities to allow for easy expansion/modification, etc. But the whole shebang on a 2016-2020 time horizon? Seriously? Where do you forsee the market demand (and ergo, support for operational subsidy) coming from?

By all means the city should dream big and look at a wide range of projects serving many different needs and at many different price points, but the attitude of building big things for the hell of is unlikely to end well for anyone involved except the contractors building the thing.

schwerve Apr 6, 2009 6:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4180436)
I think that you both (1) overstate/overestimate the impact transportation infrastructure will have on accelerating absorption of leasable square footage in a particular location that happens to already be fairly highly accessible by most measures and (2) don't take adequate account of the fact that operating all this new infrastructure will require further operational subsidy in perpetuity, putting aside up front capital construction costs and periodic maintenance.

To elaborate on #1, it's not like the West Loop is bursting at the seams in terms of built density and needs added infrastructure to allow for growth in employment and residential. If a firm or resident wants to locate in West Loop, they already can - and if West Loop lacks the transit accessibility that they demand, there are other areas that have such accessibility that still have room for growth. This might not always be the case, so planning for a major core expansion to the west, and the transit infrastructure that entails, is prudent for the long term: preserve the ROWs, design any near-term facilities to allow for easy expansion/modification, etc. But the whole shebang on a 2016-2020 time horizon? Seriously? Where do you forsee the market demand (and ergo, support for operational subsidy) coming from?

By all means the city should dream big and look at a wide range of projects serving many different needs and at many different price points, but the attitude of building big things for the hell of is unlikely to end well for anyone involved except the contractors building the thing.

I generally agree with this statement however I don't think the transportation in the west loop should necessarily be looked at facilitating access to the west loop. The power of the WLTC in my mind is its ability to function as a multi-modal core which doesn't currently exist. The transportation center is necessarily not because the west loop doesn't have transportation access, but because it DOES have transportation access, specifically its the regional and sub-regional terminus (amtrak and metra respectively). its the point of system integration between all three major transit system in the region.

nomarandlee Apr 6, 2009 7:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 4180103)
Because the Canal/Jackson/Clinton area really needs more surface traffic with all the cabs, intercity buses, trolleys, hoards of pedestrians, local/express CTA bus service, and cars that constantly buzz around it now. Further surface transport (especially a dedicated busway with signal priority) for this area is out of the question and one of the main things the WLTC should address.

We should be only be building infrastructure that promotes further grade separation in the city core, not less.

I don't know if I buy into this argument of we need to keep all existing downtown roads forever free and clear for full auto optimization. We are going to spend six billion to ensure we maximize auto traffic flow? Why should the optimization of car traffic in downtown be a priority? I think we need more congestion not less. The city could use a few more roads devoted to PT and bikers/pedestrians even in downtown. It kind of works as a congestion charge that could help effect behavior without the bitter blowback of the citizenry of run away government taxation/fees similar to the parking meter fiasco.

k1052 Apr 6, 2009 7:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 4180545)
I don't know if I buy into this argument of we need to keep all existing downtown roads forever free and clear for full auto optimization. We are going to spend six billion to ensure we maximize auto traffic flow? Why should the optimization of car traffic in downtown be a priority? I think we need more congestion not less. The city could use a few more roads devoted to PT and bikers/pedestrians even in downtown. It kind of works as a congestion charge that could help effect behavior without the bitter blowback of the citizenry of run away government taxation/fees similar to the parking meter fiasco.

No, we'll spend 6 billion to improve the flow of everything I listed plus add real integration between CTA/METRA and have a facility ready to accommodate true high speed rail when it comes our way.

I also agreed with reusing the Van Buren and Washington tunnels to funnel pedestrians more safely from Franklin directly into the West Loop stations.

VivaLFuego Apr 6, 2009 8:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 4180514)
I generally agree with this statement however I don't think the transportation in the west loop should necessarily be looked at facilitating access to the west loop. The power of the WLTC in my mind is its ability to function as a multi-modal core which doesn't currently exist. The transportation center is necessarily not because the west loop doesn't have transportation access, but because it DOES have transportation access, specifically its the regional and sub-regional terminus (amtrak and metra respectively). its the point of system integration between all three major transit system in the region.

Very true - but I talk about West Loop's accessibility/desirability from a real estate perspective because utimately, the only way a rail transit expansion project is cost effective is if it opens an untapped floodgate of transit riders, with transit ridership being driven primarily by people commuting to and from work. This is why the Circle Line concept is generally so abysmal - and in contrast, why something like New York's East Side Access or Second Ave subway are more competitive, as the latter 2 open such a floodgate in what are currently capacity-constrained corridors and terminal locations. To be sure, some significant level of intermodal connectivity improvements are needed in West Loop (the Union Station parking deck is a prime site to deal with some of this, and I think some serious BRT circulator/distrbutor services are also the right direction), but I have my doubts that the $6 Billion "whole shebang" proposal is the best way to go about this considering the implications for future operations and maintenance cost.

I mean, yeah it'd be nice if someone could ride from Lakeview straight to Union Station for an intercity rail trip or a Metra ride to the burbs, but how many additional daily transit commuters would exist because of such a new connection? Probably some - but enough to justify $6 billion in construction and ongoing operations/maintenance? Remember, even at airport rail stations, transit ridership is primarily driven by work commuters, not travelers. Occasional trips (in which I include basically anything that isn't a work/school commute) simply don't justify investment in costly new rail rapid transit.

schwerve Apr 6, 2009 8:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4180637)
Very true - but I talk about West Loop's accessibility/desirability from a real estate perspective because utimately, the only way a rail transit expansion project is cost effective is if it opens an untapped floodgate of transit riders, with transit ridership being driven primarily by people commuting to and from work. This is why the Circle Line concept is generally so abysmal - and in contrast, why something like New York's East Side Access or Second Ave subway are more competitive, as the latter 2 open such a floodgate in what are currently capacity-constrained corridors and terminal locations. To be sure, some significant level of intermodal connectivity improvements are needed in West Loop (the Union Station parking deck is a prime site to deal with some of this, and I think some serious BRT circulator/distrbutor services are also the right direction), but I have my doubts that the $6 Billion "whole shebang" proposal is the best way to go about this considering the implications for future operations and maintenance cost.

I mean, yeah it'd be nice if someone could ride from Lakeview straight to Union Station for an intercity rail trip or a Metra ride to the burbs, but how many additional daily transit commuters would exist because of such a new connection? Probably some - but enough to justify $6 billion in construction and ongoing operations/maintenance? Remember, even at airport rail stations, transit ridership is primarily driven by work commuters, not travelers. Occasional trips (in which I include basically anything that isn't a work/school commute) simply don't justify investment in costly new rail rapid transit.

again, I'm not in disagreement with anything here, but I question whether the wltc would need to generate a significant amount of new commuters to be viable rather than merely capture rides from existing commuters. there are more than enough commuters whom don't use the cta at that location in of itself could to justify some infrastructure the question is whether it could adequately capture enough of those riders. that's why I would say the east-west transitway is more important to that transit center than the clinton subway as it would directly provide the kind of commuter transfer which would perfectly capture the existing market. I can't say that it would be enough to justify the full 6 billion but the scheme does make logical sense, much more so than the circle line.

bnk Apr 6, 2009 8:23 PM

Can someone provide a link to this Clinton subway plan-map and transportation center? I have tried websearch without luck . Thanks.

VivaLFuego Apr 6, 2009 9:05 PM

And now for something completely different. Came across these railfan photos of the new bi-levels that NICTD is taking delivery on:

http://www.nictd1000.rrpicturearchiv...aspx?id=111547

Pretty similar to the cars Metra got for the Electric line.


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