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Nowhereman1280 Apr 11, 2009 4:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 4189696)
I had a guy in a v12 mercedes turn on me as I was crossing adams yesterday....so I kicked his door as he went by...he was not too happy. I invited him to dance, he declined and sped off. Maybe he will think twice next time before turning AGAINST the light while pedestrians were crossing at a cross walk WITH THE LIGHT......probably not.....he probably thinks all pedestrians are ....morons...and that their crossing at crosswalk is a load of crap....those brazen twits

Haha, I totally do the same thing all the time when people almost hit me or cut me off when I am walking. I've put scratches and dents in more luxury ass-hat transports than I can count! If they wanna try and sue me let them, I'll just say they hit me while I was crossing and the dent is from the impact with my body! A few times the people stop because they are scarred they hit me.

cybele Apr 11, 2009 4:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4189890)
It is championing that particular issue where, trust me, you will find virtually no support around here. Most people here are concerned with livability, pedestrian safety, and improving mass transit--not making automobile flow more effective.

Yes, but it's a two way street. I travel a lot on foot and get aggravated with motorists all the time. However, I've also seen plenty of pedestrians wandering around like they own the place. The reality is that in the U.S. we'll probably be a car dependent society for the next 40 or 50 years at least, so everybody needs to learn to get along. It's not exactly easy operating an automobile on busy city streets if you're texting or talking on the cell phone.

the urban politician Apr 11, 2009 7:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cybele (Post 4189939)
Yes, but it's a two way street. I travel a lot on foot and get aggravated with motorists all the time. However, I've also seen plenty of pedestrians wandering around like they own the place. The reality is that in the U.S. we'll probably be a car dependent society for the next 40 or 50 years at least, so everybody needs to learn to get along. It's not exactly easy operating an automobile on busy city streets if you're texting or talking on the cell phone.

^ All due respect, I could care less what the US is doing.

When you're in Chicago, as a driver you should be a second class citizen--period.

Pedestrians do own the place, and it's good to see that the city is taking action to enforce that mentality. As I said elsewhere, pedestrians don't have a chance in hell in injuring a driver; but a car is a lethal weapon and a driver can easily end someone's life with the simple tap of his foot.

And if you're texting while driving, you certainly shouldn't be behind the wheel.

ardecila Apr 11, 2009 7:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4189859)
^ You had me until you talked about cul-de-sacs.

Cul de sacs are not the right solution. If you add cul-de-sacs, I promise you that the number of angry drivers will double, and traffic violations will do the same. The streetgrid contributes to pedestrian safety in an indirect way.

honte is on your side... he is criticizing the careless way the city has installed cul-de-sacs where people complain of through traffic, and suggesting that more carefully-planned, less reflexive solutions might need to be implemented.

the urban politician Apr 11, 2009 8:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4190101)
honte is on your side... he is criticizing the careless way the city has installed cul-de-sacs where people complain of through traffic, and suggesting that more carefully-planned, less reflexive solutions might need to be implemented.

^ Yikes, thanks for pointing that out. I deleted that last post (kind of pointless on retrospect, though, since you already quoted it!) :haha:

Abner Apr 11, 2009 8:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cybele (Post 4189939)
It's not exactly easy operating an automobile on busy city streets if you're texting or talking on the cell phone.

It is illegal in Chicago to talk on a cell phone or text message while driving.

It's not illegal to talk on a hands-free device, which means the law actually ignores the research that shows that it's the conversation you're having with someone who isn't present, not the use of your hand to hold the phone, that causes cell phone users to be so dangerous behind the wheel.

Abner Apr 11, 2009 8:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 4189842)
I think Chicago needs to institute better flow separation between pedestrians and automobiles. Denver, and I think Boston too, have certain locations downtown where all intersection traffic is halted in all directions if a pedestrian presses the cross button. Otherwise, there is no walk sign, and traffic can proceed more smoothly, without the chaotic dangers of pedestrians crossing at random times. Sometimes with all that is going on downtown, you just don't see pedestrians beginning to cross. As careful as you try to be, accidents are waiting to happen - and some pedestrians are simply rude or unaware of their surroundings.

But this would make it harder to be a pedestrian downtown. Intersections downtown have a constant flow of people walking when they have the signal, and the corners get crowded while people are waiting. If there were even more waiting to get the walk signal, wouldn't walking be even more of a hassle? I also worry that if drivers are ignoring current laws requiring them to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, there's no reason to think they'll suddenly start following the law if this new and foreign system is put in place. A better idea is just to enforce the existing laws, which would eliminate most accidents if drivers actually followed them.

honte Apr 11, 2009 9:25 PM

^ It's not as bad as it sounds. In fact, I find it quite preferable. You save time because you can walk diagonally across the intersection, and the number of pedestrians waiting at the corner is related to how long the waiting periods are. Boston is a far, far more pedestrian-oriented place than Chicago is, and while I am not highly familiar with this in their application, it certainly seems to work as I've observed it.

I think this would take some adjustment, sure. But today I don't see vehicles obeying pedestrian rights of way, and I don't see pedestrians observing walk signals or legitimate crosswalks. This is indicative of the fact that people perceive these systems as not being especially functional. Pedestrians learn to wait quickly when they learn that the turning traffic is not expecting to stop, but also when they see there is incentive to obey the signals because they actually get something from their good actions (increased mobility and safety).

the urban politician Apr 11, 2009 10:06 PM

The Urban Politician's Revised T Zoning Ordinance

Okay, I made a few small adjustments to a topic that I brought up a few months ago. If it's impossible to implement this concept please don't be shy to say so, but I would love to see city wheels cranking to get SOME sort of solution started that makes better use of the city's transit system.

Here goes:

1. T Zoning defined as all sites within 500 feet radius of every heavy rail stop in Chicago, outside of the Central Area

2. All Landmarked structures within 500 ft of a transit stop are permanently exempt from T Zoning. If they happen to be damaged, torn down, burned down, etc they will continue to keep their existing zoning and CANNOT be upzoned to T zoning

3. T zoning is broken down into the following:
a. T1 zoning allows for a much higher density (30 stories, etc etc)--
within 0-300 ft from the station
b. T2 zoning allows for medium density (10 stories, etc)--within 300-500
ft from the station

4. Parking in T Zoning depends on the building type (commercial, residential, hotel) but in general T zoning is defined by maximum parking ratios, not minimum parking ratios as is contained in the current zoning code

5. Residential, hotel, office, or mixed uses are allowable under T zoning

6. T Zoning is absolute and CANNOT be brought down by any action except the following exceptions:
a. Supermajority vote by City Council along with Mayor's signature--in
this process downzoning is perpetually temporary and must be
renewed by this very same process every 5 years or else it
automatically reverts to its prior T zoning

b. Landmarking (by the standard process) of an existing structure that
wasn't landmarked before--this is permanent

7. As a sweetener to Alderman who may be distraught about losing their Aldermanic "prerogative", TIF zones are created around transit stops with the spending of such monies being at the sole discretion of that neighborhood's Alderperson.


This is a rough concept, and I put a wee bit more thought into it, and yes it's kind of a dream. But would it be possible for Chicago to implement something like this if certain leaders put some muscle behind it? Any thoughts? I'd appreciate them..

Mr Downtown Apr 11, 2009 10:20 PM

^Well, it would certainly spur creation of a huge number of new landmark districts.

the urban politician Apr 11, 2009 10:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4190303)
The Urban Politician's Revised T Zoning Ordinance

Okay, I made a few small adjustments to a topic that I brought up a few months ago. If it's impossible to implement this concept please don't be shy to say so, but I would love to see city wheels cranking to get SOME sort of solution started that makes better use of the city's transit system.

Here goes:

1. T Zoning defined as all sites within 500 feet radius of every heavy rail stop in Chicago, outside of the Central Area

2. All Landmarked structures within 500 ft of a transit stop are permanently exempt from T Zoning. If they happen to be damaged, torn down, burned down, etc they will continue to keep their existing zoning and CANNOT be upzoned to T zoning

3. T zoning is broken down into the following:
a. T1 zoning allows for a much higher density (30 stories, etc etc)--
within 0-300 ft from the station
b. T2 zoning allows for medium density (10 stories, etc)--within 300-500
ft from the station

4. Parking in T Zoning depends on the building type (commercial, residential, hotel) but in general T zoning is defined by maximum parking ratios, not minimum parking ratios as is contained in the current zoning code

5. Residential, hotel, office, or mixed uses are allowable under T zoning

6. T Zoning is absolute and CANNOT be brought down by any action except the following exceptions:
a. Supermajority vote by City Council along with Mayor's signature--in
this process downzoning is perpetually temporary and must be
renewed by this very same process every 5 years or else it
automatically reverts to its prior T zoning

b. Landmarking (by the standard process) of an existing structure that
wasn't landmarked before--this is permanent

7. As a sweetener to Alderman who may be distraught about losing their Aldermanic "prerogative", TIF zones are created around transit stops with the spending of such monies being at the sole discretion of that neighborhood's Alderperson.


This is a rough concept, and I put a wee bit more thought into it, and yes it's kind of a dream. But would it be possible for Chicago to implement something like this if certain leaders put some muscle behind it? Any thoughts? I'd appreciate them..

^ I'd also like to add that my above T zoning wouldn't take effect for a couple of years, giving the city time to Landmark as many properties as possible

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4190321)
^Well, it would certainly spur creation of a huge number of new landmark districts.

^ Yeah, that could be a problem if overdone. But Landmarking would have to be done by the standard process (approval by Landmarks Commission, followed by City Council vote)

honte Apr 11, 2009 11:01 PM

That is, if we even have a landmarks ordinance any more.

Mr Downtown Apr 12, 2009 6:31 PM

Actually, I'm not too worried about the landmarks ordinance. I've read the appellate decision, and its own logic doesn't stand up to even the simplest scrutiny. "Void-for-vagueness" is a test normally applied to criminal conduct, with the idea that it's unfair to punish someone for conduct they didn't know was illegal. But of course your property doesn't become a landmark without your knowledge, and any action you might take concerning the exterior appearance, including demolition, require you to get a permit from a city official. If the permit is issued in error, you're shielded from any punishment anyway.

As to the T zoning proposal, I think it's using a rocket-propelled grenade to kill mosquitos. First, in all but about eight wards, anyone proposing a 30-story building would be driven downtown to get the building permit in a limo chartered by the alderman and the neighborhood association. In those where there would be trouble, how realistic do you think it is to tell the residents that they should have no control whatsoever over the character of their neighborhoods? Second, it's rather un-nuanced; does it really make sense to suggest 30-story buildings at Cullerton/Kostner, or 49th/Kedzie? Finally, the idea that highrises equal urbanity, or even density, ignores the example of every city on the planet other than Manhattan, Hong Kong, and Chicago. And even ignores pre-1960 Chicago.

Much more workable, I think, to give a T bonus of 33 percent extra FAR—and exempt 33 percent of the units or office space from any parking requirement. I think a parking maximum is highly problematic. It's an attempt to tell people in a wealthy society what possessions they may own, and that's doomed to failure. Even the towns in Germany that made a big deal about being car-free, thus self-selecting the residents, soon discovered that many of them were keeping cars just outside the boundary. It also tells developers that they shouldn't bother building any units that they hope to sell to people who place any value on their time. How many car-free physicians do you know? If there are urban design problems with auto storage, we should deal with it as a design problem, not a behavior problem.

BVictor1 Apr 12, 2009 7:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4191352)
Actually, I'm not too worried about the landmarks ordinance. I've read the appellate decision, and its own logic doesn't stand up to even the simplest scrutiny. "Void-for-vagueness" is a test normally applied to criminal conduct, with the idea that it's unfair to punish someone for conduct they didn't know was illegal. But of course your property doesn't become a landmark without your knowledge, and any action you might take concerning the exterior appearance, including demolition, require you to get a permit from a city official. If the permit is issued in error, you're shielded from any punishment anyway.

As to the T zoning proposal, I think it's using a rocket-propelled grenade to kill mosquitos. First, in all but about eight wards, anyone proposing a 30-story building would be driven downtown to get the building permit in a limo chartered by the alderman and the neighborhood association. In those where there would be trouble, how realistic do you think it is to tell the residents that they should have no control whatsoever over the character of their neighborhoods? Second, it's rather un-nuanced; does it really make sense to suggest 30-story buildings at Cullerton/Kostner, or 49th/Kedzie? Finally, the idea that highrises equal urbanity, or even density, ignores the example of every city on the planet other than Manhattan, Hong Kong, and Chicago. And even ignores pre-1960 Chicago.

Much more workable, I think, to give a T bonus of 33 percent extra FAR—and exempt 33 percent of the units or office space from any parking requirement. I think a parking maximum is highly problematic. It's an attempt to tell people in a wealthy society what possessions they may own, and that's doomed to failure. Even the towns in Germany that made a big deal about being car-free, thus self-selecting the residents, soon discovered that many of them were keeping cars just outside the boundary. It also tells developers that they shouldn't bother building any units that they hope to sell to people who place any value on their time. How many car-free physicians do you know? If there are urban design problems with auto storage, we should deal with it as a design problem, not a behavior problem.

Residnets shouldn't have control. They should have a voice, an opinion, but not control. That's one reason why we have so much stupid, dumbed down shit as of late in this town.

I don't see a building that tall happening at 49th and Kedzie anyway, seeing as Midway is so close, but thanks for the thought.

As Shawn mentioned in a post several days ago, you can't build the density in Chicago as if it were pre-1960 anymore because of stricter regulations and current market trends. Romanticizing about that era of development isn't going to bring it back.

Chicago Shawn Apr 12, 2009 7:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4191352)
I think a parking maximum is highly problematic. It's an attempt to tell people in a wealthy society what possessions they may own, and that's doomed to failure. Even the towns in Germany that made a big deal about being car-free, thus self-selecting the residents, soon discovered that many of them were keeping cars just outside the boundary. It also tells developers that they shouldn't bother building any units that they hope to sell to people who place any value on their time. How many car-free physicians do you know? If there are urban design problems with auto storage, we should deal with it as a design problem, not a behavior problem.

Oh come on! No one is suggesting that we make the whole neighborhood subject to a maximum parking ratio. Building structures with a reduced parking requirement near transit will provide cheaper units for those of us buyers who do have/ do not want a car, but as a result need to be near transit. These people do exist in greater numbers than just the pro-urban folks on this forum. Even friggen' Seattle is instituting parking maximums along transit routes to encourage reduced car ownership and more affordable market rate housing. There will always be plenty of other housing choices a block or more away where car oriented folks can store their precious baby on site.

ardecila Apr 12, 2009 8:14 PM

The conversations in this thread and the General Developments thread are convergent....

Anyway, why not just abolish the parking minimum around transit stations? A maximum is too constraining and punitive. If there is really a demand in the market for units without parking spaces in significant quantities, then abolishing the minimums will allow developers to satisfy this demand.

Of course, this introduces other problems, as happened with the 4+1 debacle, when developers don't provide ENOUGH spaces for their residents, leading to a critical shortage of on-street parking in the neighborhood and added congestion from people circling and searching for a space.

It's a tricky balance.

the urban politician Apr 12, 2009 8:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4191352)
As to the T zoning proposal, I think it's using a rocket-propelled grenade to kill mosquitos. First, in all but about eight wards, anyone proposing a 30-story building would be driven downtown to get the building permit in a limo chartered by the alderman and the neighborhood association. In those where there would be trouble, how realistic do you think it is to tell the residents that they should have no control whatsoever over the character of their neighborhoods? Second, it's rather un-nuanced; does it really make sense to suggest 30-story buildings at Cullerton/Kostner, or 49th/Kedzie? Finally, the idea that highrises equal urbanity, or even density, ignores the example of every city on the planet other than Manhattan, Hong Kong, and Chicago. And even ignores pre-1960 Chicago.

^ On top of what BVictor and Shawn said, we are talking about ZONING here. What high density zoning would do is protect land, not DICTATE its development. So yes, of course 49th/Kedzie is a ridiculous place to build a 30 story building. That's why a developer can choose to build 2 single family homes there instead. But the beauty of the zoning is, at some future time if by some odd incident that area of town sees a boom, the land under it perpetually keeps its T zoning so that the corrupt powers that be can't prevent the site from being developed into a higher density later on.

Secondly, as Shawn (who explained this to me once on an L train years ago) and many others have laid out, modern self-respecting professionals generally want to have a lot of space for themselves and their cars, so the only way to achieve urban densities is to build vertically.

Quote:

Much more workable, I think, to give a T bonus of 33 percent extra FAR—and exempt 33 percent of the units or office space from any parking requirement. I think a parking maximum is highly problematic. It's an attempt to tell people in a wealthy society what possessions they may own, and that's doomed to failure. Even the towns in Germany that made a big deal about being car-free, thus self-selecting the residents, soon discovered that many of them were keeping cars just outside the boundary. It also tells developers that they shouldn't bother building any units that they hope to sell to people who place any value on their time. How many car-free physicians do you know? If there are urban design problems with auto storage, we should deal with it as a design problem, not a behavior problem.
^ Your idea is fine but it doesn't go far enough. Corrupt Aldermen, at the behest of neighborhood groups, can still SQUASH a development to smithereens regardless of extra FAR's, etc. All they have to do is TELL the developer to put in more parking and reduce the size of the project or they won't approve the zoning change--it's as simple as that, and you and I both know it happens all the time.

The idea is to get the control of zoning in these highly important areas out of their hands. Let me also mention that Aldermanic prerogative would still be in practice in non-T-Zoned areas of town.

Secondly, regarding your argument about parking maximums--do you really think, for example, that a 1 spot per unit cap on parking would be "doomed to fail"? I don't see it. We can get to my reasons why, but I just don't see that being a problem at all.

To summarize: call me silly, but urban America needs to protect the land around its mass transit stops in the same way we protect our parks or our landmarks--these areas of town, heavily subsidized by taxpayer dollars, should be optimized. The T Zoning Ordinance is just a concept, but if any of you work with or know higher-ups in the city, it would be great to get some kind of conversation started that moves towards a much-needed blanket upzoning.

the urban politician Apr 12, 2009 8:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4191501)
The conversations in this thread and the General Developments thread are convergent....

Anyway, why not just abolish the parking minimum around transit stations? A maximum is too constraining and punitive. If there is really a demand in the market for units without parking spaces in significant quantities, then abolishing the minimums will allow developers to satisfy this demand.

Of course, this introduces other problems, as happened with the 4+1 debacle, when developers don't provide ENOUGH spaces for their residents, leading to a critical shortage of on-street parking in the neighborhood and added congestion from people circling and searching for a space.

It's a tricky balance.

^ Fine, but does that really go far enough? Also, regardless of zoning, Aldermen have the ultimate say. And as long as that's the case, nobody can build jack squat.

The T Zoning concept addresses that problem, and even throws Alderpersons a bone to make up for the loss of their zoning "prerogative"

emathias Apr 13, 2009 2:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4190303)
The Urban Politician's Revised T Zoning Ordinance
...
This is a rough concept, and I put a wee bit more thought into it, and yes it's kind of a dream. But would it be possible for Chicago to implement something like this if certain leaders put some muscle behind it? Any thoughts? I'd appreciate them..

Just a thought ... 1 Chicago block is 660 feet. So you're proposing we "T-zone" less than a 1-block radius around rail stations? I welcome any improvement to transit-friendly zoning here, but improving it for less than 1 block seems a tad ... underwhelming.

I think a 1500-foot diamond-shaped district (to accomodate our grid system, diamonds make more sense than circular radii) around any part of an "L" station platform and a 660-foot diamond around any part of a Metra station platform would be more appropriate.

I also think that, based on a points system awarded on a "buses per day" system, areas primarily served by bus should also qualify. There's no reason well-served parts of the north Lakefront shouldn't get T-zoned even though it's nearly a mile from a train station in places.

LucasS6 Apr 13, 2009 7:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4190064)
When you're in Chicago, as a driver you should be a second class citizen--period.

Wow. I should start collecting the gems from you. You say something absurdly crazy at least once a week.

the urban politician Apr 13, 2009 1:54 PM

^ I've said this to you before, and this is forever my response to you:

Takes one to know one ;)

Rilestone75 Apr 13, 2009 3:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 4189696)
I really don't know what your problem is....but anyhow...driving is a massive responsibility....unfortunatley many in our society do not treat it with the gravity that is deserves. Just think for a second, you are hurtling down the street in a minimum of a 2500lb car going 30 mph...more likely a 6 or 7000lb car going 45-50......the onus is on YOU....you are the one driving the deadly weapon.

Our culture has engrained such a sense of entitlement to drivers it is really maddening....

I had a guy in a v12 mercedes turn on me as I was crossing adams yesterday....so I kicked his door as he went by...he was not too happy. I invited him to dance, he declined and sped off. Maybe he will think twice next time before turning AGAINST the light while pedestrians were crossing at a cross walk WITH THE LIGHT......probably not.....he probably thinks all pedestrians are ....morons...and that their crossing at crosswalk is a load of crap....those brazen twits

Lawfin, I agree with your reaction to the v12, I would have kicked the car too, but that guy was clearly breaking the law if he was turning against a light while podestrians are in the intersection. My problem is that (as pointed out in a few previous posts) this is more of a revenue generator.

We are dealing with two sets of rules here too. Drivers have set rules in place, whether they choose to follow them is another issue, but pedestrians have no rules. why? it is much easier to stop/start walking than it is for a 2500, 4500 lbs auto to.

As for the previouse comments by folks about universal inforcement of this, I'm not sure you can. The loop area for instance on any given day has drivers from MI, IN, IL and WI. All with inconsistent rules regarding peds.

ardecila Apr 13, 2009 3:38 PM

Mr. D posted this over at SSC. Apparently Fioretti is actually being cooperative with this thing - it comes from his newsletter. The rendering is kinda vague, but basically it's a streetscaping improvement at the corner of Financial/Congress, coupled with a new entrance to LaSalle St Station, that provides bus waiting bays and shelters and benches for pedestrians. It does not take the place of the parking lot that exists there currently, although it looks like perhaps 3 or 4 rows of spaces will be removed from the northern end.

Also, if I had to guess, that big glowing "Metra" thing will probably be set up with LEDs to coordinate with the Congress Light Show.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown
LaSalle-Congress Intermodal Transfer Center

I am very happy to present this project to 2nd Ward residents and businesspeople. The City of Chicago intends this project to make it easier to get from the La Salle Street Metra station to nearby CTA buses. The new connection will feature two new dedicated CTA bus lanes on Financial Place.

There will also be a small plaza at the location and bus shelters for passengers.

The city will use federal and local funds to pay for the project totaling $6 million. Construction for the project is set to begin in late August.

http://i40.tinypic.com/24griht.jpg


nomarandlee Apr 13, 2009 8:52 PM

Can someone list what Metra lines are planed to eventually be moved over to LaSalle Station? Thanks in advance.

schwerve Apr 13, 2009 9:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 4193292)
Can someone list what Metra lines are planed to eventually be moved over to LaSalle Station? Thanks in advance.

current:
rock island line

future:
soutwest service (upon completion of the CREATE funded flyover at 75th scheduled for 2011 I believe)
southeast service (when completed)

ChicagoChicago Apr 14, 2009 3:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rilestone75 (Post 4192620)
Lawfin, I agree with your reaction to the v12, I would have kicked the car too, but that guy was clearly breaking the law if he was turning against a light while podestrians are in the intersection. My problem is that (as pointed out in a few previous posts) this is more of a revenue generator.

We are dealing with two sets of rules here too. Drivers have set rules in place, whether they choose to follow them is another issue, but pedestrians have no rules. why? it is much easier to stop/start walking than it is for a 2500, 4500 lbs auto to.

As for the previouse comments by folks about universal inforcement of this, I'm not sure you can. The loop area for instance on any given day has drivers from MI, IN, IL and WI. All with inconsistent rules regarding peds.

What is wrong with the city making money off of people that break the law? So what if it's a revenue generator???

OhioGuy Apr 14, 2009 4:00 PM

I hadn't been on the el since last Friday, but this morning at the Addison red line station I noticed several video screens had been installed, displaying both arrival times as well as advertisements. I didn't notice these in place at any of the other stations heading into the loop. I assume it will eventually spread to other stations, but that the CTA opted to do the first installation at Addison to coincide with the start of the baseball season?

It's not without its kinks though. When I arrived, the monitor said the next inbound trains were in 7 minutes & 11 minutes. It then said 6 minutes & 10 minutes. After that it only indicated a train that was 10 minutes away for about the next 5 minutes, up until the platform speakers announced an inbound train toward the loop would be arriving shortly - at which point the monitor updated to show trains scheduled to arrive in 1 minute, 3 minutes, and 6 minutes. So it's not quite reliable yet, particularly in comparison to BART & Metro arrival times.

Still though, it's nice to have the monitors at my local station. :D (though I'm curious how long they'll last before some dumbass decides to vandalize it - the screens are not particularly high above the platform)

pyropius Apr 14, 2009 4:20 PM

:previous:

Aren't the screens at least enclosed in some plexiglass or something?

OhioGuy Apr 14, 2009 4:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pyropius (Post 4194790)
:previous:

Aren't the screens at least enclosed in some plexiglass or something?

I don't know. I was standing at the far end of the platform and the screens were positioned more towards the middle of the platform. So I was too far away to see what sort of protection they had.

Mr Downtown Apr 14, 2009 5:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 4194747)
I assume it will eventually spread to other stations, but that the CTA opted to do the first installation at Addison to coincide with the start of the baseball season?

No, the first installation was at 47th (Red) in November, I think. They've been working over the winter on getting the bugs out. It's being done by a private contractor, not CTA itself.

VivaLFuego Apr 14, 2009 7:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 4189651)
I realize it's incredibly hard to change entrenched ways of driving, but you know, there are lots of places in this country where people actually follow that law. In a lot of Pacific Northwest cities, drivers ALWAYS stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, and usually stop for pedestrians even when they're not in a crosswalk. I've seen the same behavior in small towns throughout the Upper Midwest, but then small town drivers are always more courteous.

That said, in Chicago I tend to drive like a Chicagoan for the same reason you do: driving courteously could put pedestrians in more danger because of psychotic drivers gunning it to get around you. But I still stop for pedestrians whenever it's safe to.

I think these operations should be happening all the time, but at signaled intersections since they can catch plenty of people flagrantly and dangerously breaking the law there. Maybe focus on particular behaviors, like drivers making right turns while pedestrians are trying to cross the street (I swear to god this happens like every time I walk anywhere).

Agreed. There are flagrant and obviously dangerous moving violations that should be targeted first before these random traps where, if you or I chose to actually follow the law, would create a dangerous situation because no else follows the law, doesn't know it exists, nor expects it to be enforced. Of course I'm all for making the streets safer for pedestrians but I think this initiative is crap.

the urban politician Apr 15, 2009 4:03 PM

I was excited about all the transit projects planned in Chicago's new Central Area Action Plan until I ran into this.

Seems like the plans keep changing. How are projects going to get Federal funding and get built when priorities shift every decade?

ardecila Apr 15, 2009 4:12 PM

Those priorities were rejected when it was decided that the Loop didn't need replacing - which, honestly, it didn't and still doesn't. People at the time viewed it as a blight, which is why New York, Boston, and Philly tore down all their elevated tracks in the core areas. Today Chicago's Loop is viewed as a civic landmark and a point of pride.

The parts of that plan that were in fact new lines and not replacements have survived to the present day.
-The Monroe transitway and the Carroll Street transitway are included in that CATP plan, and they are still in the new plan.
-The Clinton St subway is, in fact, an adaptation of the original Franklin St subway plan. It even uses the same Larrabee-Kingsbury alignment north of the river, but it avoids duplicating the Loop's service by serving the West Loop instead of Franklin Street. It then continues south to join the Red Line near Cermak, just like the Franklin subway would have.

schwerve Apr 15, 2009 4:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4196781)
I was excited about all the transit projects planned in Chicago's new Central Area Action Plan until I ran into this.

Seems like the plans keep changing. How are projects going to get Federal funding and get built when priorities shift every decade?

http://www.chicago-l.org/plans/index.html

if you can't get federal funding in 10 years, then you take your plans, repackage them, and try-try again which is essentially what happens.

MayorOfChicago Apr 15, 2009 9:13 PM

I saw those TV's at Addison from the Red Line, but I didn't realy pay attention. I thought they were just showing Ads. I"ll have to take a closer look this evening.

that'd be awesome if they're starting to put those out at the stations. I know from chatting with random coworkers and friends, they were all VERY VERY excited at the prospects of having something tell exactly when the next train is coming.

As my friend Monica said:

" I don't even care when the next fucking train is suppose to get there. 2 minutes, 12 minutes, next Tuesday....I just HATE standing there anxiously wondering if it's right around the bend, or halfway up the line"

Busy Bee Apr 16, 2009 1:15 AM

^One of the last unpredictable things in life, about to bite the dust.

the urban politician Apr 16, 2009 1:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4196797)
Those priorities were rejected when it was decided that the Loop didn't need replacing - which, honestly, it didn't and still doesn't. People at the time viewed it as a blight, which is why New York, Boston, and Philly tore down all their elevated tracks in the core areas. Today Chicago's Loop is viewed as a civic landmark and a point of pride.

The parts of that plan that were in fact new lines and not replacements have survived to the present day.
-The Monroe transitway and the Carroll Street transitway are included in that CATP plan, and they are still in the new plan.
-The Clinton St subway is, in fact, an adaptation of the original Franklin St subway plan. It even uses the same Larrabee-Kingsbury alignment north of the river, but it avoids duplicating the Loop's service by serving the West Loop instead of Franklin Street. It then continues south to join the Red Line near Cermak, just like the Franklin subway would have.

^ Thanks for the clarification, Ardecila.

Nowhereman1280 Apr 16, 2009 1:29 AM

So will we be able to access that info from a "train tracker" type website?

pyropius Apr 16, 2009 2:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 4197936)
^One of the last unpredictable things in life, about to bite the dust.

I detect something wistful in this post.

the urban politician Apr 16, 2009 2:31 PM

Had no idea about this:

Express bus route will use I-55 shoulders
By Jon Hilkevitch | Tribune reporter
April 16, 2009
The Chicago region's first truly express buses will debut early next year, darting past traffic by using the left shoulders of Interstate Highway 55 between the Loop and the southwest suburbs, transit officials said Wednesday.

The idea is to draw commuters out of their cars and into buses traveling unimpeded by congestion on bus-only lanes at the speed of passenger trains.

In addition to much lower costs than building new rail lines, the anticipated benefits include fewer cars on the road tying up traffic, causing pollution and wasting the time of drivers stuck in congestion, the officials said.

The new service, operated by the suburban bus agency Pace, is scheduled to begin no later than spring 2010 and run initially during rush periods. There will be limited stops from the Bolingbrook area in Will County to a terminus as far east as the Dan Ryan Expressway or Lake Shore Drive, according to the Regional Transportation Authority, which plans to hold a meeting announcing the plan on Thursday.

The time savings for commuters are projected at up to one hour per round-trip, according to the RTA.

"That is an hour a day you get back—to spend with family—not to mention that if you get out of your car and ride this new service, you get to read, sleep or just relax," said Leanne Redden, RTA senior deputy executive director of strategic planning and regional programs.

Bus rapid transit, as the program is known, is also being considered on the Northwest Tollway (Interstate Highway 90) and on traffic-clogged arterial streets in Chicago that feed traffic into downtown.

The Chicago Transit Authority had planned to test bus-only lanes on four city corridors beginning this year, but the Daley administration forfeited a $153 million federal grant in January that was supposed to fund the project and pay for new buses and bus rapid transit stations. The lost money was caused by the city missing a deadline to approve a congestion-pricing ordinance aimed at discouraging driving in the central business district during peak hours by raising fees and taxes at parking garages and lots.

The I-55 corridor (Stevenson Expressway) was chosen for the RTA's demonstration project of a premium bus rapid-transit service because no major infrastructure improvements are needed and numerous segments of the highway rank as the most congested in the region, Redden said. An average of 178,000 vehicles use I-55 each weekday.

"This is announcement No. 1 in what we anticipate being a series of demonstration corridors for bus rapid transit," Redden said. "The I-55 service will be a high-end, point-to-point express bus initially, with opportunities later to introduce other attractive railway-like features."

Pace will use its over-the-road style coaches, which are equipped with more comfortable seating than traditional buses. Fares and other details still must be worked out, officials said.

During the 1999-2000 reconstruction of the Stevenson, the left shoulders alongside the expressway's median were built 12 feet wide, the same as the main lanes, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Officials said the express buses would vacate the bus-only lanes and rejoin vehicles in the regular lanes when there is no traffic congestion—a rare occurrence on I-55 during morning and evening rush periods.

The buses would also get out of the way of emergency vehicles needing to use the shoulders, officials said.

I-55 is congested more than 12 hours each day on average, according to data collected by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. It means a trip on the Stevenson that would take about 16 minutes in free-flowing traffic often takes an hour or longer during peak travel times.

The experimental Pace rapid transit buses operating on a dedicated bus lane in each direction of the I-55 shoulder would travel at the posted 55 m.p.h. speed limit for the entire trip of about 30 miles between Will County and Chicago, said Patrick Wilmot, a Pace spokesman.

One option under consideration is to end the route in the city with a connection to the CTA Orange Line at the Ashland station, he said.

About 25 minutes each way are expected to be slashed from the 90 minutes it often takes during peak travel times for a bus rider using the existing Pace bus route No. 855/I-55 Flyer service that runs from Illinois Highway 53 in Romeoville to Chicago on I-55, Redden said.

Future plans call for extending the I-55 express bus route to a planned park-and-ride facility in downtown Plainfield, Wilmot said. The location has also been selected as a stop on Metra's planned STAR Line, which would be the first suburb-to-suburb commuter rail line in the region.

The RTA plans to unveil additional corridors, including on arterial streets in Chicago and the suburbs as well as on area toll roads, later this year as coordination continues with Pace, the CTA, IDOT and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, Redden said.

The goal is to operate bus-only lanes as quickly as possible. "I don't want to wait until everything's perfect to launch bus rapid transit," Redden said. "Day 1 of service is getting the bus moving fast in the I-55 corridor.

"As we build the market we will incorporate premium vehicles into the mix, brand the product [with a special name] and explore expanded opportunities."

Nowhereman1280 Apr 16, 2009 5:16 PM

^^^ Well duh, what an easy improvement on current service that will save thousands people hundreds of hours of their lives a year!

pyropius Apr 16, 2009 5:19 PM

Howard station's lookin' good. Work on the platforms is coming along. Sorry, no pics to post.

Rilestone75 Apr 16, 2009 6:09 PM

^^^ This is a good idea, but I think a lot of work has to be done before they start this type of service. For one, aren't there small "warning" grooves cut into the shoulder that would have to be addressed? Also, unlike rail, these express bus lanes, would still be subject to accidents up ahead, and I-55 has a bunch of them. If the left shoulder is not an option for you to pull your car on to in this case, trying to move your car all the way to the right can be a real danger.

Again, I think this is a good idea, but A LOT of planning/prep needs to take place.:tup:

nomarandlee Apr 16, 2009 6:16 PM

Some have expressed concern that such a burb to downtown service would take away from Metra but I am skeptical of that and think this could be a great new added service. If the service especially concentrates on suburban Metra "dead zones" that aren't near a station. Another benefit is that downtown these buses could make two or three stops say the West Loop, Loop, and Streeterville in order to make it a more point to point destination. I remember as a kid making visits to NYC and taking such buses in from the Meadowlands and they seemed a great service. I think both commuter buses and rail can also exsist in Chicago and compliment each other.

Chicago Shawn Apr 17, 2009 5:16 PM

This has been talked about for a few years now, I had no idea it was this close to implementation. I-55 was selected as the first route because it will not cannibalize any existing Metra service.

Using the Ashland Orange Line station as a stop is brilliant. The bus turnaround entrance lines up directly with the entrance/exit to the Stevenson Expressway. The train would be used as the final distributor for multiple points downtown. I just wonder at how many people would use the additional transfer. The bus could then run north on Ashland and have a stop at the Medical District.

RTA and PACE are also working on a substantial BRT system on the suburban expressways and tollways known as the "J Line", which would link the new western terminal at O'Hare via the Elgin-O'Hare Expy with suburban business parks, Metra Stations and CTA terminals.

wrab Apr 17, 2009 9:14 PM

From the White House website:

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y15...ap_blogjpg.jpg

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/09/04...gh-Speed-Rail/

Seems like the Midwest would be perfect for this, given the distances and the efficiencies involved versus air travel. And Chicago would maintain/increase its status as transportation hub, which is great for business.

Union Station? New facility entirely? The possibilities are, frankly, dazzling.

the urban politician Apr 18, 2009 2:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4201037)
Using the Ashland Orange Line station as a stop is brilliant. The bus turnaround entrance lines up directly with the entrance/exit to the Stevenson Expressway. The train would be used as the final distributor for multiple points downtown. I just wonder at how many people would use the additional transfer. The bus could then run north on Ashland and have a stop at the Medical District.

^ You're the expert, but to me it would seem to make sense for the BRT to go straight downtown and have stops in the Loop and Streeterville.

One, it avoids any need to transfer, and two, it's not all that easy to get to Streeterville using the Orange Line unless one made a second transfer at Roosevelt to the Red Line, rode it to River North, and then walked several blocks over.

Instead, take people straight downtown and let them ride the train west to the Illinois Medical District if that's their final destination.

bnk Apr 18, 2009 3:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wrabbit (Post 4201522)
From the White House website:

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y15...ap_blogjpg.jpg

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/09/04...gh-Speed-Rail/

Seems like the Midwest would be perfect for this, given the distances and the efficiencies involved versus air travel. And Chicago would maintain/increase its status as transportation hub, which is great for business.

Union Station? New facility entirely? The possibilities are, frankly, dazzling.



The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_New_Orleans line could go through Carbondale and be upgraded too I would suspect [1] It is gray in that map. See also [2]


Then there are the Iowa people that want to connect Des Moines [U of Iowa and Drake U.] to Chicago through existing rail.

I myself have mentioned a Rockford/Freeport/Galena/Dubuque/Cedar Rapids line and think that could be done too. But the cost of such a line is beyond my grasp and do not know the demand and the cost benefit ratio of creating such a line. But that line currently exists in the slow format right now.

If done the way I would like it, it would look like a map of the Metra line map that feeds all trains into downtown Chicago. Like a massive spider web.

Hell the rail lines are there all we need to do is upgrade them and triple, quad them , and use even more additional siding as needed within a 50 mile area around Chicago to let these faster passenger trains not be slowed down as they currently are.

In the other Train thread, this topic has been discussed by top politicos in the news reports.





[1]



Legend

Distance Station

0 Chicago Union Station

Chicago Central Station [8]

(route change by March 1972)

25 mi (40 km) Homewood

57 mi (92 km) Kankakee (F)

129 mi (208 km) Champaign-Urbana

174 mi (280 km) Mattoon (F)

201 mi (323 km) Effingham (F)

254 mi (409 km) Centralia (F)

310 mi (499 km) Carbondale [SIU]

Illinois/Kentucky border

407 mi (655 km) Fulton (F)

Kentucky/Tennessee border

442 mi (711 km) Newbern-Dyersburg (F)

520 mi (837 km) Memphis

Tennessee/Mississippi border

(route change in 1995)

Batesville

Grenada

644 mi (1,036 km) Greenwood

Winona

Durant

697 mi (1,122 km) Yazoo City (F)

Canton

741 mi (1,193 km) Jackson

777 mi (1,250 km) Hazlehurst (F)

797 mi (1,283 km) Brookhaven (F)

821 mi (1,321 km) McComb (F)

Mississippi/Louisiana border

873 mi (1,405 km) Hammond

926 mi (1,490 km) New Orleans



Notes:

F – Flag stop














For nostalgic purposes and general information.


[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_New_Orleans_(song)

schwerve Apr 18, 2009 6:29 AM

^you'll see a chicago-rockford-dubuque line as well as a chicago-quad cities-iowa city line within 3-5 years but it won't be funded at the federal level, the states will have to ante up.

jpIllInoIs Apr 18, 2009 3:33 PM

^ The feds will definitely be kicking in some funds for the new Quad City-Chicago Amtrack route. It will not be high speed and the funds may not come under the stimulus bill, (but then again they may) Most of these funds were applied for under the formula old rules.

Some of the imporvements are underway. Like the road/rail grade seperation in Galesburg. The Wyandot connector is the big issue and there is some potential that the BNSF will participate in that cost as it will benefit their frieght ops.. They still need some passing sidings and rail tie replacemnts. Rock Island Depot is an existing facility that may need some modernization. But one of the biggest issues for expanding or creating standard Amtrak routes is rolling stock and engine equipment. The stimulus bill has already determined that some 80-120 mothballed train cars are to be rehabbed as well as a dozen engines. No doubt that some new orders will need to be placed as well. I would look for the QC-Chi Amtrack route to debut in late 2011.


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