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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

Justin_Chicago Feb 20, 2013 4:06 PM

I wish Chicago had 4 track subways like NYC for the flexibility to run multiple lines or express service. I always see people mention the Carroll Street Transitway. Is there a "Ghost Subway" map of Chicago, similiar to the following link on NYC? I agree with Beta_Magellan that the Blue Line does not have capacity for a high speed connection to O'Hare.

http://transportationnation.org/2012...nd-dusty-pics/

k1052 Feb 20, 2013 4:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6021882)
Among the non-quick-non-cheap-but-partially-already-prepped options, the Blue Line tunnels do have a stub headed west under Lake Street. If there was interest that could be used as a portal to get trains to/from Block 37 to what you're calling "steam road trackage" ROW. The narrowness of the tunnels would limit your options somewhat, but it would only have to get past one station so there could be creative solutions although keeping the trains compatible with all stations would likely be a preferred option of course.

I think this is another workable but over-engineered solution with an equally enormous potential cost. I would really prefer that the CTA not shovel more cash into the money incinerator that is the B37 airport express. The city has far more pressing transit needs. Airport express service can be accomplished FAR more inexpensively done out of Union Station and could be implemented almost immediately rather than 10 years from now. If we're going to spend hundreds of millions on something I think improving Union Station's connections and facilities is a more productive goal.

nomarandlee Feb 20, 2013 6:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 6021913)
I think this is another workable but over-engineered solution with an equally enormous potential cost. I would really prefer that the CTA not shovel more cash into the money incinerator that is the B37 airport express. The city has far more pressing transit needs. Airport express service can be accomplished FAR more inexpensively done out of Union Station and could be implemented almost immediately rather than 10 years from now. If we're going to spend hundreds of millions on something I think improving Union Station's connections and facilities is a more productive goal.

Agreed. Plus integrating a rehabbed Union Station that linked up with a rehabbed Old Post Office/Casino development and eventually a new Clinton Subway and bus terminal could also be done to make that corner of downtown a well integrated transit and tourist epicenter.

Attempting to force Dearborn as the focal point of express service downtown despite the impracticalities of it just reeks to me of civic stubbornness. Why be worried about the center of gravity being pulled from Dearborn by a few blocks? Are civil leaders still going to fret and spit in the wind over N.Michigan Ave. hoteliers and retailers pulling away from S.Michigan and State Streets heyday respectively?

Heck Paddington Station is a good deal more removed from London CBD then Union/Olgivie are and I don't think anyone sees that as a major hindrance.

DCCliff Feb 20, 2013 6:29 PM

..."I think improving Union Station's connections and facilities is a more productive goal."

A big fat AMEN to that. I wish more public and private people thought that way - - or could find a commercial incentive to make it true. Mr. D: Dearborn centrism (although I don't agree with it) would be no problem if the stations worked seamlessly with the rest of the CBD. Fat chance.

the urban politician Feb 20, 2013 6:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DCCliff (Post 6022094)
..."I think improving Union Station's connections and facilities is a more productive goal."

A big fat AMEN to that. I wish more public and private people thought that way - - or could find a commercial incentive to make it true. Mr. D: Dearborn centrism (although I don't agree with it) would be no problem if the stations worked seamlessly with the rest of the CBD. Fat chance.

^ The benefit of this makes so much frigging sense that I actually have come to the conclusion that there is a very powerful & clouty force out there actively trying to not allow this to happen.

emathias Feb 20, 2013 8:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 6022118)
^ The benefit of this makes so much frigging sense that I actually have come to the conclusion that there is a very powerful & clouty force out there actively trying to not allow this to happen.

I believe the force that stands between present state and best state is called "Amtrak" and "billions of dollars in cost." The bigger obstacle of the two being the latter.

Beta_Magellan Feb 20, 2013 9:40 PM

It’s worth noting that any O’Hare-CUS service not designed by a madman would terminate at the north platforms, which don’t have the congestion issues of the south ones. There might be some Metra-Amtrak turf war going on in terms of platform space (and, in Metra’s case, deadheading to a yard or adding reverse service rather than storing a train at the platform), but once you get past that it’s incredibly easy to fit more service into cus’s north platforms.

This is also born out by CMAP’s big list of projects. Although AFAIK the links and big pdf full of potential projects has been taken down, it said that upgrading the Southwest Service to full service levels (i. e. comparable to other Metra lines in terms of frequency) would require rerouting it to LaSalle Street station. A similar upgrade to the North Central Service wouldn’t require anything—essentially there’s enough room there for a third line with Milwaukee District frequencies.

Mr Downtown Feb 21, 2013 12:47 AM

The problem with letting the office core continue to migrate westward is that it renders irrelevant the existing rapid transit facilities, as well as Millennium Station. It's a huge waste of resources, plus there are social justice issues of making office jobs easier for west and north suburbanites to reach, but harder for city and south suburban residents.

London offices are already widely distributed, plus Paddington has easy Underground connections to the City and Westminster.

emathias Feb 21, 2013 1:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6022627)
The problem with letting the office core continue to migrate westward is that it renders irrelevant the existing rapid transit facilities, as well as Millennium Station. It's a huge waste of resources, plus there are social justice issues of making office jobs easier for west and north suburbanites to reach, but harder for city and south suburban residents.

London offices are already widely distributed, plus Paddington has easy Underground connections to the City and Westminster.

Clinton Street subway would be win-win. As would have the Central Area subway plan from 1968 - still the best plan for downtown, despite the fact everyone seems to have given up on it.

Rizzo Feb 21, 2013 2:06 AM

I mentioned this in the General Chi thread but wanted to keep this in the proper forum section. Here's my pipe dream 'people mover' geared towards tourists.

I created this on my lunch break and had drank a bit too much caffeine so humor me on this. I realize it's hardly resolved I can't explain much to it. Just quickly illustrated my thoughts in 40 minutes.

http://www.umich.edu/~ifmuth/goldlinemap.jpg

the urban politician Feb 21, 2013 2:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6022627)
The problem with letting the office core continue to migrate westward is that it renders irrelevant the existing rapid transit facilities, as well as Millennium Station. It's a huge waste of resources, plus there are social justice issues of making office jobs easier for west and north suburbanites to reach, but harder for city and south suburban residents.

London offices are already widely distributed, plus Paddington has easy Underground connections to the City and Westminster.

^ Wouldn't this be easily remedied by some form of transit connection between the east/west Loops? Something akin to the shuttle that connects Grand Central and Times Square in Manhattan comes to mind

Mr Downtown Feb 21, 2013 4:30 AM

^An expensive solution to a problem that need not arise in the first place.

emathias Feb 21, 2013 4:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6022847)
^An expensive solution to a problem that need not arise in the first place.

You seem to think that the Central Area won't continue being built out. Regardless of where the center of mass for offices are, there will be (already is, really) a need to get people quickly and easily from the West Loop to the East Loop, North Michigan and the South Loop. Currently, all those trips are less than ideal, and forcing transit to stick to the middle just means the edges (the growth areas) lose out on good transit service. The solution isn't to try and force growth to only occur in the middle, it's to plan for and accommodate future growth. The 1968 plan correctly predicted Central Area growth in exactly the places it has occurred, it just didn't build the infrastructure to support that. Not building infrastructure is a dangerous way to try and constrain activity to certain areas.

emathias Feb 21, 2013 5:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hayward (Post 6022708)
I mentioned this in the General Chi thread but wanted to keep this in the proper forum section. Here's my pipe dream 'people mover' geared towards tourists.

I created this on my lunch break and had drank a bit too much caffeine so humor me on this. I realize it's hardly resolved I can't explain much to it. Just quickly illustrated my thoughts in 40 minutes.

...

I would also like to see bus-only lanes built under Michigan between LSD and Grand, and under Chicago between Orleans and Fairbanks. Doing those two things would do wonders for both transit and auto circulation in those areas. Since I'm living in Cambridge at the moment, one interesting difference between the way Boston does their bus system and Chicago does, is that Boston runs buses through certain congested areas underground - Harvard Square for example, doesn't just have a subway stop, it also has a half dozen bus lines that travel under the Square instead of through it on surface streets. That allows the vehicular traffic to be much more reasonable. And of course portions of their Silver Line BRT runs underground, too.

There are really only a few places in Chicago where that's a no-brainer, but I think North Michigan and Chicago Ave is one of them. Other than cost, the only disadvantage doing that I can think of is the Chicago Red Line station would have to be reconfigured because buses would need to go through where the mezzanine is now. If you wanted to really think long-term on how River North and River West are likely to develop, a bus subway from just east of the Blue Line to Fairbanks or even under Fairbanks/Grand all the way to Navy Pier might be the best long-term solution.

Other places that might benefit from underground busways include Monroe in the Loop, LaSalle between Kinzie and Congress, the Belmont and LSD area - maybe as far west as Racine, and possibly some places in Hyde Park and/or South Shore and the Damen/North/Milwaukee intersection and even the Polish Triangle (would tie into the BRT line on Ashland well, too).

ardecila Feb 21, 2013 6:15 AM

What kind of headways are we looking for out of a airport express line? If it's any greater than 15 or 20 minutes, it cancels out the time savings over taking a cab or taking the Blue Line.

However, a commuter railroad operating with 15-minute headways is new and unfamiliar to Chicago. It also might require more infrastructure than you think, in terms of junctions and overtakes. Many of the junctions along the route are not grade-separated.

It would royally screw up the massive A2 Interlocking at Western Ave, for example. I guess you could avoid this somewhat by sending the airport trains to Ogilvie, where airport-bound pax would find a more spacious, welcoming terminal. Pacific Junction has a tight, slow turn. The curve at Galewood is pretty sharp, too. From Narragansett westward, there are plenty of busy grade crossings where the increase in downtime would produce serious congestion.

ardecila Feb 21, 2013 7:06 AM

In more optimistic news:

Central Loop BRT designs have been released! Union Station Transportation Center is surprisingly elegant despite shitty renderings (they must still be in schematic design).

http://www.brtchicago.com/pressrelease2.html

Washington (Madison is same, sans bike lane)

http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/1816/brtwashington.jpg

http://img203.imageshack.us/img203/8...ransportat.jpg

Rizzo Feb 21, 2013 7:34 AM

I'm liking the design direction on that station

Justin_Chicago Feb 21, 2013 1:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6022866)
You seem to think that the Central Area won't continue being built out. Regardless of where the center of mass for offices are, there will be (already is, really) a need to get people quickly and easily from the West Loop to the East Loop, North Michigan and the South Loop. Currently, all those trips are less than ideal, and forcing transit to stick to the middle just means the edges (the growth areas) lose out on good transit service. The solution isn't to try and force growth to only occur in the middle, it's to plan for and accommodate future growth. The 1968 plan correctly predicted Central Area growth in exactly the places it has occurred, it just didn't build the infrastructure to support that. Not building infrastructure is a dangerous way to try and constrain activity to certain areas.

I agree with both of you. I would like to see future office construction split equally between the CBD (still many parking garages) and the West Loop, but we need to implement a long-term solution for East-West transfers. The CBD BRT is great in the interim, but I am hoping for a new subway line within three decades, especially once Lakeshore East is fully built out.

I was always intrigued with the plan to bury the elevated loop. It would certainly ease connections between all of the lines.

On another note, I am surprised no developer proposed adding a second office tower to Block 37. You have the blue and red line directly underneath the building. A hotel development does not make much sense to me.

the urban politician Feb 21, 2013 1:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6022847)
^An expensive solution to a problem that need not arise in the first place.

^ More expensive than actively trying to halt the natural, market-driven migration of new office towers in the direction of transportation access?

I think that's a cop-out. If Chicago had the political will, they could have connected the east-west portions of downtown by a transit line of some sort a LONG, LONG time ago.

the urban politician Feb 21, 2013 1:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6022983)
In more optimistic news:

Central Loop BRT designs have been released! Union Station Transportation Center is surprisingly elegant despite shitty renderings (they must still be in schematic design).

http://www.brtchicago.com/pressrelease2.html

^ This is a great project, and speaks exactly to what I was discussing in the post just above this.

I am having a hard time finding renderings/schematics of the portion of this route that connects to N Michigan Ave and Navy Pier? Have they decided which route they will take to and from those destinations?

Also, I actually think that a route like this, once implemented and implemented successfully, has a chance of growing and spreading throughout the central area once people see its advantages.

The only piece of the puzzle that is missing is some sort of fare integration between CTA and Metra. Imagine coming in from Libertyville, IL ( ;) ) by Metra, for example, and without having to pay extra, seamlessly transferring to this BRT line and being dropped off at N. Michigan Avenue for shopping and dining, etc. Then, at the end of the day, doing the reverse and heading back home. That would attract a HUGE number of suburbanites who otherwise wouldn't even think about using transit to go downtown other than their work commute.

k1052 Feb 21, 2013 2:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6022948)
What kind of headways are we looking for out of a airport express line? If it's any greater than 15 or 20 minutes, it cancels out the time savings over taking a cab or taking the Blue Line.

However, a commuter railroad operating with 15-minute headways is new and unfamiliar to Chicago. It also might require more infrastructure than you think, in terms of junctions and overtakes. Many of the junctions along the route are not grade-separated.

It would royally screw up the massive A2 Interlocking at Western Ave, for example. I guess you could avoid this somewhat by sending the airport trains to Ogilvie, where airport-bound pax would find a more spacious, welcoming terminal. Pacific Junction has a tight, slow turn. The curve at Galewood is pretty sharp, too. From Narragansett westward, there are plenty of busy grade crossings where the increase in downtime would produce serious congestion.

A few DMU cars moving at speed will take a lot less time to clear crossings than a regular Metra consist, particularly if they aren't stopping at any stations along the way. Some additional track work at A2 might be required but this is still the least expensive option that I can see. Of course I'd love it to be entirely grade separated but without spending a fortune it isn't possible.

I'd rather actually fix the concourse issues at Union which impact everyone rather than simply divert new traffic away from the station because it sucks in it's current state.

k1052 Feb 21, 2013 2:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin_Chicago (Post 6023113)
On another note, I am surprised no developer proposed adding a second office tower to Block 37. You have the blue and red line directly underneath the building. A hotel development does not make much sense to me.

Office development has shifted West and Northwest (into River North), this has been the case for quite some time. The east loop just isn't that as attractive office market anymore and is turning over to other uses. Hotels are also currently in high demand so the money is talking. Tourists,residents, and students also use the CTA so from my pov we're growing the ridership with more off peak passengers.

Justin_Chicago Feb 21, 2013 6:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 6023159)
Office development has shifted West and Northwest (into River North), this has been the case for quite some time. The east loop just isn't that as attractive office market anymore and is turning over to other uses. Hotels are also currently in high demand so the money is talking. Tourists,residents, and students also use the CTA so from my pov we're growing the ridership with more off peak passengers.

I am beginning to notice that as I track office locations with job announcements. I lived my last 8 years with two simple rules, always live within walking distance of the Red or Blue line. But now the Green Line will turn into the most effective transit line for employment options in the CBD if you want to avoid a bus transfer or long walks.

the urban politician Feb 21, 2013 6:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin_Chicago (Post 6023450)
I am beginning to notice that as I track office locations with job announcements. I lived my last 8 years with two simple rules, always live within walking distance of the Red or Blue line. But now the Green Line will turn into the most effective transit line for employment options in the CBD if you want to avoid a bus transfer or long walks.

^ I wonder how that will affect the real estate markets of the West Loop and Bronzeville?

nomarandlee Feb 21, 2013 9:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6022948)
What kind of headways are we looking for out of a airport express line? If it's any greater than 15 or 20 minutes, it cancels out the time savings over taking a cab or taking the Blue Line. .

I'm not sure if I'm buying that logic. I agree that every 15/20 minutes is ideal but even if it were every half hour during periods I think an express line could compete.

During much of the day the ride to Ohare from downtown is upwards of over an hour often in mind numbering traffic. Then you have 40 minutes (if it isn't riddled by slow zones at the time) on the Blue Line with numerous stopping and minimal comfort.

Just having a relatively comfy train ride that doesn't make you feel like you are stopping every 3 minutes or doing rolling stops like your cab on the Kennedy I think would be a big sell.
Quote:

It would royally screw up the massive A2 Interlocking at Western Ave, for example. I guess you could avoid this somewhat by sending the airport trains to Ogilvie, where airport-bound pax would find a more spacious, welcoming terminal.
Is Olgivie really less congested then the north terminal of Union?


Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6022847)
^An expensive solution to a problem that need not arise in the first place.

More expensive then trying to retrofit the blue line to also carry express trains with minimal disturbance?


Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6022627)
The problem with letting the office core continue to migrate westward is that it renders irrelevant the existing rapid transit facilities, as well as Millennium Station. It's a huge waste of resources, plus there are social justice issues of making office jobs easier for west and north suburbanites to reach, but harder for city and south suburban residents.

London offices are already widely distributed, plus Paddington has easy Underground connections to the City and Westminster.

Are you saying that London doesn't attend to social justice or rasing all boats as much as Chicago should aim to? I don't know but I would rather take London's economic and poverty issues over Chicago's.

Not every CBD need be Midtown Manhattan to properly and efficiently utilize infrastructure and provide reasonably transportation to all the regions residents. In fact Midtown already could be considered less concentrated (and will continue to be if future developments go through) then the Loop is.

Acting as if building just west of the Chicago River is akin to moving jobs and wealth to the far off suburbs is a bit silly. The West Loop will still be be MUCH more well located from a transit standpoint then Streeterville, Illinois Center, or much of River North is for many regional residents. If East-West bus connections are realized and a Clinton Blue Line built it will easily be the best connected transit quadrant of downtown outside of the Loop if it isn't already.

What is a bigger waste of resources to me would be to spend x10 the money to retrofit the Blue Line or build whole new train spurs when the infrastructure is largely ready right now for minimal cost and time. Money and savings that could be used for other direct social programs and improvements just by mindfully using the most practical and financially sound alternatives utilizing current infrastructure instead of going for the more costly (and contract heavy) options.

the urban politician Feb 21, 2013 9:34 PM

I have a question about the central loop BRT project:

It appears that only Washington & Madison, as well as Clinton and Canal, will have bus-only lanes. But if this route runs north and all the way to Navy Pier, is there a reason there aren't any designated bus only lanes on that portion of the route as well? It just doesn't seem to make sense.

Justin_Chicago Feb 21, 2013 10:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 6023470)
^ I wonder how that will affect the real estate markets of the West Loop and Bronzeville?

Funny you ask that. Bronzeville brownstones have jumped on my radar due to the transit access and the 31st Street Harbor, but I am hoping high rise construction eventually occurs on the old Michael Reese Hospital site.

ardecila Feb 21, 2013 10:23 PM

They're less important. Crossing the Loop is the slowest part of the journey. Going beneath Illinois Center is quick, and the streets in Streeterville are pretty fast.

I think we need lanes on Canal, but CDOT is reluctant to do that before the Canal St Viaduct is rebuilt.

Mr Downtown Feb 22, 2013 4:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 6023677)
Are you saying that London doesn't attend to social justice or raising all boats as much as Chicago should aim to?

I was responding to two completely different posts when talking about London and talking about social justice.

But imagine if London's office jobs had migrated west to surround Paddington and Victoria, making them hard to reach from the East End or South of the Thames.

Every office building that moves west of Franklin is helping make the Metra Electric and even the Red Line less relevant. That's something we ought to be resisting, not encouraging with new airport expresses.

DCCliff Feb 22, 2013 7:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6024225)
I was responding to two completely different posts when talking about London and talking about social justice.

But imagine if London's office jobs had migrated west to surround Paddington and Victoria, making them hard to reach from the East End or South of the Thames.

Every office building that moves west of Franklin is helping make the Metra Electric and even the Red Line less relevant. That's something we ought to be resisting, not encouraging with new airport expresses.

I simply cannot agree. But I'm too tired right now to argue

ardecila Feb 22, 2013 9:42 AM

Yes, but regardless of whether we choose to reinforce West Loop momentum or encourage East Loop growth, we still get stuck with a transportation problem that demands an expensive solution. West Loop growth requires a new L line, whereas East Loop growth requires much stronger links to Metra.

You're the one who's pointed out that suburb-dwelling executives prefer the West Loop to minimize the walking time from Metra. Are you advocating for some kind of parity between East/West Loop? More restrictive zoning?

the urban politician Feb 22, 2013 1:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6024374)
Yes, but regardless of whether we choose to reinforce West Loop momentum or encourage East Loop growth, we still get stuck with a transportation problem that demands an expensive solution. West Loop growth requires a new L line, whereas East Loop growth requires much stronger links to Metra.

You're the one who's pointed out that suburb-dwelling executives prefer the West Loop to minimize the walking time from Metra. Are you advocating for some kind of parity between East/West Loop? More restrictive zoning?

This E-W BRT is actually a good step in the right direction for exactly this issue. Office landlords in Streeterville, N Michigan Ave, and Illinois Center should actually band together to help subsidize this line, if you ask me. In addition, they should put pressure on CTA/Metra to work out an agreement where people arriving to Union & Ogilvie can transfer seamlessly and for free onto this line. At least for me, that would be a worthwhile endeavor

Mr Downtown Feb 22, 2013 3:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6024374)
Are you advocating for some kind of parity between East/West Loop? More restrictive zoning?

No, just explaining why it's in the city's interest for an Airport Express terminal to be at Block 37 rather than Union Station.

Fare integration would be another very important step, allowing commuters arriving at Millennium or at Ogilvie and Union to easily get to the other side of the Loop. That's one reason the Electric Division is woefully underused—though Metra's insistence on scheduling and running it like a 19th century steam railroad rather than a regional transit line is another.

k1052 Feb 22, 2013 3:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6024557)
No, just explaining why it's in the city's interest for an Airport Express terminal to be at Block 37 rather than Union Station.

Fare integration would be another very important step, allowing commuters arriving at Millennium or at Ogilvie and Union to easily get to the other side of the Loop. That's one reason the Electric Division is woefully underused—though Metra's insistence on scheduling and running it like a 19th century steam railroad rather than a regional transit line is another.

An E-W loop connection would be far more useful to all concerned than shoehorning airport express service onto the Blue Line at fantastic costs. This is something we've needed for many years.

Mr Downtown Feb 22, 2013 6:16 PM

^Perhaps we're thinking of different project costs. Four passing tracks on the Blue Line (open air portions) are probably a couple hundred million. A new downtown subway will cost at least $2 billion.

k1052 Feb 22, 2013 6:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6024850)
^Perhaps we're thinking of different project costs. Four passing tracks on the Blue Line (open air portions) are probably a couple hundred million. A new downtown subway will cost at least $2 billion.

The airport express station was never finished, it's just a bare shell. Estimates to finish it were $100M minimum a few years ago. So conservatively we're looking at a total $600M total expenditure to provide a service that could be accomplished out of Union Station for $50M and be integrated with Metra/Amtrak connections.

I think the argument that this would pull more jobs into the west side of the loop and across the river thus shouldn't be done is largely moot, since this has already happened on it's own. Addressing the need of faster connections from the east loop (including the MED/SS) and now River North/North Michigan Ave/Streeterville to thew west loop train stations should be high on the list of priorities.

emathias Feb 22, 2013 8:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 6024888)
The airport express station was never finished, it's just a bare shell. Estimates to finish it were $100M minimum a few years ago. So conservatively we're looking at a total $600M total expenditure to provide a service that could be accomplished out of Union Station for $50M and be integrated with Metra/Amtrak connections.

I think the argument that this would pull more jobs into the west side of the loop and across the river thus shouldn't be done is largely moot, since this has already happened on it's own. Addressing the need of faster connections from the east loop (including the MED/SS) and now River North/North Michigan Ave/Streeterville to thew west loop train stations should be high on the list of priorities.

This is what I'd like to see. It would greatly expand the utility of the Central Area and the useful areas for both locating businesses and living.
UP-N, UP-NW and BNSF electrified (at least)
Service on those lines boosted to a minimum of every 30 minutes from 6am to 12am, 7 days, with perhaps bolstered frequency to every 10 minutes within the central city.
Subterranean busways under Monroe St, Chicago Ave and North Michigan.
Yellow = new tunnels (from Streeterville north, the tunnels should be deep - below utlities)
Orange = Massive rework to make majority through-routed (Penn Station as a model)
Green = New stations

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8384/8...790cf619_o.jpg

Standpoor Feb 22, 2013 9:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 6024888)
The airport express station was never finished, it's just a bare shell. Estimates to finish it were $100M minimum a few years ago. So conservatively we're looking at a total $600M total expenditure to provide a service that could be accomplished out of Union Station for $50M and be integrated with Metra/Amtrak connections.

I think the argument that this would pull more jobs into the west side of the loop and across the river thus shouldn't be done is largely moot, since this has already happened on it's own. Addressing the need of faster connections from the east loop (including the MED/SS) and now River North/North Michigan Ave/Streeterville to thew west loop train stations should be high on the list of priorities.

Any reasonable frequency would add a lot of congestion to that route not to mention however much money CN would demand to allow so many trains over their tracks. They don't even allow weekend NCS trains. I know CN traffic has gone down a lot since the EJE acquisition but they're not going to let huge quantities of trains over their track without a large payment.

On a completely separate note, I took Amtrak to Michigan yesterday and was surprised to see how much construction has occurred at englewood junction. There were some drilling and a few caissons, it wasn't much but more than I had expected.

ardecila Feb 22, 2013 11:43 PM

I still think a Metra-based Airport Express would be cheaper than a Blue Line Airport Express, but the Blue Line option gets you right to the terminals. Metra gets you to the remote parking lot.

Part of the long hesitation is due to the Western Terminal problem. A Western Terminal could have easy, direct access to the rail network. The underground people-mover planned for the terminal would give Express rail passengers access to the east terminals.

k1052 Feb 23, 2013 12:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6025361)
I still think a Metra-based Airport Express would be cheaper than a Blue Line Airport Express, but the Blue Line option gets you right to the terminals. Metra gets you to the remote parking lot.

Part of the long hesitation is due to the Western Terminal problem. A Western Terminal could have easy, direct access to the rail network. The underground people-mover planned for the terminal would give Express rail passengers access to the east terminals.

With the upgrades to the ATS I'm not sure how that shakes out time wise with walking to the Blue Line station from most of the concourses...it can be a hike depending what airline you're flying and you'd have to use the ATS anyway if T5.

How realistic is it to wait on the Western Terminal? The airlines don't want it and even with the American-US Air merger I don't think there is enough leverage to get it, probably only the remaining airfield upgrades.

nomarandlee Feb 23, 2013 7:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 6025397)
With the upgrades to the ATS I'm not sure how that shakes out time wise with walking to the Blue Line station from most of the concourses...it can be a hike depending what airline you're flying and you'd have to use the ATS anyway if T5.

How realistic is it to wait on the Western Terminal? The airlines don't want it and even with the American-US Air merger I don't think there is enough leverage to get it, probably only the remaining airfield upgrades.

Good points on both counts.....An express running to a West terminal I think would be somewhat illogical given the current East side will seemingly still always be the primary entry point and sizably larger source of gates well into the future.

Making a very quick and efficient pedestrian link to the ATS trains with any express trains is probably the best way to move people quickly to the many points of the airport they may be going to.

Mr Downtown Feb 23, 2013 3:50 PM

The Dept. of Aviation is opening bids next month for a big new groundside transportation center that will consolidate regional bus and rental car operations next to the Metra North Central stop. From the bid document:

The project consists of two main buildings to be located at the current corner of Zemke Boulevard and Mannheim Road. This facility will serve several functions, including but not limited to, the consolidated operations for all on-airport rental car companies, public parking, airport connection to regional and commercial buses and vehicles and interface with commuter train service. The development of the facility also includes the extension of the Airport's People Mover ("Airport Transit System" or "ATS") and the relocation of the System's terminus station to be integrated with the Joint-Use Consolidated Rental Car/Parking Facility ancillary to the extension of the ATS is an expansion of the Maintenance and Storage Facility.


Given the capacity restrictions on the CP, I've long thought it might make more sense to have a spur come north from Bensenville Yard on the Milw-W, which you can now see just across Irving Park from the southernmost runway. But the FAA might require a spur coming north under the runways to the terminal to be entirely buried rather than just in open cut.

Beta_Magellan Feb 23, 2013 7:09 PM

I think those capacity restrictions might eventually clear up if more freight goes over the former EJ&E. Also, issues in expanding NCS service might not apply to a dedicated O’Hare train. In addition to the assumption that it would be able to easily get funding (as opposed to the larger and potentially more difficult task of improving signaling, track, buying new rolling stock, and paying for more frequency along the NCS), on Google Earth it looks as if there’s ample track capacity for something like an extra hourly train between O’Hare and CUS—the line’s triple or quad-tracked for much of the stretch between O’Hare and the Milwaukee District—only two of those tracks completely bypass facilities in Schiller Park, but with better signaling plus some new and upgraded crossover work it doesn’t seem like a stretch to add another passenger train per hour.

ardecila Feb 24, 2013 12:43 AM

Right, but I don't think an hourly service is good enough when we already have a 6-8 minute Blue Line service at peak. If we're treating this like a checklist thing that runs on commuter tracks with minimal investment, then ok, whatever. We can say we have one. If we're interested in actually attracting ridership, I'm kind of in a go big or go home mindset. We've already got direct rail service from downtown to both major airports, as well as an array of taxi, shuttle, and bus options. Unless the airport express offers some game-changing speed and frequency, I think it should go on the backburner. We've got other regional transit projects that are more worthy.

Mr Downtown Feb 24, 2013 1:46 AM

^And by the time you spend 18 minutes trundling to the far north end of the ATS and transferring, you've lost the time savings provided by nonstop running on Metra tracks.

Alon Feb 24, 2013 1:51 AM

Is airport service, even at relatively low cost, an important transit priority for Chicago? The same money could be spent on extending the Red Line south, or on electrifying the busiest Metra lines, or maybe even on constructing connecting tunnels to let Metra run through, or on constructing a bunch of urban Metra stations...

ardecila Feb 24, 2013 4:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alon (Post 6026552)
Is airport service, even at relatively low cost, an important transit priority for Chicago? The same money could be spent on extending the Red Line south, or on electrifying the busiest Metra lines, or maybe even on constructing connecting tunnels to let Metra run through, or on constructing a bunch of urban Metra stations...

The liberal in me says the Red Line extension is needed for social justice, but the pragmatist says it's a waste - Roseland and West Pullman are gonna go through some serious black flight before construction even starts. Violence like these neighborhoods are experiencing is already driving people out every day.

I think Rahm understands this - which is why he's rebuilding 95th instead - even if he's part of the problem by not devoting enough resources to policing and crime prevention.

But yeah, the other things on your list are pretty worthy. I also think the city's current BRT plans are ideal - they offer the right proportion of cost to benefit, and they're historically appropriate in a city that grew up around a grid of streetcar lines. If we can get even $1 billion, that would build a whole network of BRT on CTA's most promising routes. Plenty of social justice in this proposal, too:

http://dc.streetsblog.org/wp-content...12/MPC_BRT.jpg

Beta_Magellan Feb 24, 2013 7:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alon (Post 6026552)
Is airport service, even at relatively low cost, an important transit priority for Chicago?

No. The fact that this is a matter of continuing discussion among notables while proposals for fixing basic things (congestion at the A-2 crossing between the Milwaukee District/NCS and UP-West line comes to mind) languish tells you everything you need to know about American transit planning.

untitledreality Feb 24, 2013 8:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alon (Post 6026552)
Is airport service, even at relatively low cost, an important transit priority for Chicago?

No.

If they could keep the OHare branch in tip top shape and prevent delays, I dont think the amount of time to ride the Blue from downtown to OHare is unreasonable.

ardecila Feb 24, 2013 11:11 PM

We could outfit Blue Line cars with luggage racks. :shrug:


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