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Taft Mar 6, 2007 2:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alex1 (Post 2668773)
sorry, the system is crumbling and as long as he's the head of the CTA, adequate funding won't go our way (politicos dislike the man). He's a major problem for everyone who rides CTA at this stage of the game.

I completely agree. But to me, his "relationship management" with springfield and the collar counties has been his only major problem. Though I think he has run the system relatively well, this is enough to warrant a change of the guard, IMO.

I think the fact that so many put the woes of the CTA squarely on his head is mistaken.

Taft

MayorOfChicago Mar 8, 2007 5:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 2667230)
A sign of more cooporation to come between CTA and Metra?

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=24108
March 05, 2007
By Lorene Yue
Metra expands service to aid CTA riders
[/B]

Cooperation....or Metra feeding off the CTA when it's ripe to be plucked.

MayorOfChicago Mar 8, 2007 6:04 PM

Railroad freight center planned for Crete
850-acre development would create jobs, capacity
Industrial developer CenterPoint Properties Trust said it plans to build a railroad freight center in far south suburban Crete, creating hundreds of jobs and additional capacity for the Chicago area's overburdened railroad network.

The 850-acre development would be west of Balmoral Park horse racing track and State Route 394. Oak Brook-based CenterPoint is proposing as much 5 million square feet of warehouse space in addition to tracks and storage space for transferring shipping containers from freight trains to truck trailers.

The $250-million rail yard, which would stretch for more than a mile and a half, would be designed to handle at least a million container lifts on and off trains annually, making it one of the largest intermodal freight centers in the Chicago area.

Initial employment estimates peg 300 to 400 jobs directly to the rail operations and perhaps as many as 1,000 jobs in nearby warehouses, which would constructed and leased over several years. More than 1,000 people work at a CenterPoint-built rail yard and warehouse park in Elwood near Joliet.

Related Article Topics | Related Industry News
"This is going to be a large economic engine for the south suburbs," Crete Mayor Michael Einhorn said Tuesday. "I'm flattered that they chose Crete to partner up with."

CenterPoint spent an estimated $50 million acquiring parcels from several different property owners. The developer has asked Crete officials to annex and rezone the property, which is now unincorporated and zoned for farming. The village board is scheduled to vote March 19.

Mr. Einhorn said he expects the development to be approved and anticipates construction beginning later this year. He predicted that some of the rail infrastructure would be completed in 2008.

CenterPoint, however, is proceeding without a commitment from a major freight railroad to lease the rail yard. The rail right-of-way that runs through the site is controlled by CSX Transportation Inc. and Union Pacific Corp.

A CenterPoint spokesman said talks are under way with the two railroads, but deal has not been reached. Calls to CSX were not immediately returned and a spokesman for Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific declined to comment.

"It's a work in progress," Mr. Einhorn said. "There's going to be a lot of audibles called on this."

Jacksonville, Fla.-based CSX has been eyeing sites for new rail yards in the south suburbs and in Northwest Indiana for more than a year. Industry observers say the Crete site would allow the CSX to increase its freight volume between Chicago and ocean ports in the Southeast, which are seeing an increase in ship traffic as ports elsewhere in the country become congested.

CSX already employs about 1,000 people in Chicago area with major yards in south suburban Riverdale, Bedford Park and at 59th Street in Chicago.

Freight yards and track routes in the Chicago area have been stretched to their limits in recent years as railroads have become the preferred transportation mode for long-distance hauling and carrying imported goods from Asia.

aaron38 Mar 10, 2007 5:53 PM

I was just out running erands in downtown Palatine, when an inbound freight train came through, and then came to a dead stop, cutting Palatine in two, as it was blocking every crossing. It stayed there for half an hour, which sucked cause I was just about to cross the tracks to go home.

I'm just curious, is there a time limit for how long a freight can park like that?
It was surprising, because I don't know of anywhere between here and Arlington heights where cargo is offloaded.

Chicago Shawn Mar 10, 2007 6:10 PM

^The train was likley stopped because the yards are stretched to capicity and this causes traffic jams and backups on all of the radial spokes. The CREATE project was supposed to help this, but they got the shaft from the former Republican led congress. It can take a train 48 hours to move through Chicago and its yards.

ardecila Mar 11, 2007 3:02 AM

Ah, yeah. Did it stop over there by the Buehler Y? The rationale for stopping there is that there is a 3rd track to hold them, and there is an overpass pretty close at Dundee for traffic to cross. It's almost perfect for the train, but very annoying for drivers.

the urban politician Mar 11, 2007 3:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 2679169)
The CREATE project was supposed to help this, but they got the shaft from the former Republican led congress. It can take a train 48 hours to move through Chicago and its yards.

^ Well, CREATE still got $200 million. And it will likely get much more in the future

VivaLFuego Mar 11, 2007 5:40 AM

^Yeah, a few hundred million from various governments plus (hopefully) some significant millions from the freight railroads would take care of flyovers for several of the most important flat junctions and grade crossings. It could still make a huge dent assuming they get in gear and actually start design/construction. I also like the news of the new yard in the vicinity.

aaron38 Mar 11, 2007 2:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 2679902)
Ah, yeah. Did it stop over there by the Buehler Y? The rationale for stopping there is that there is a 3rd track to hold them, and there is an overpass pretty close at Dundee for traffic to cross. It's almost perfect for the train, but very annoying for drivers.

Just east of there. It was on the middle track, the one used by Metra for the express runs that don't make every stop, probably not used on Saturday.
I think most of the train was alongside Arlington Park, and under the I-53 overpass.
For the overall picture, if a train's stuck in trafic, that probably is one of the better places to stop.

alex1 Mar 12, 2007 3:57 PM

just got back from Boston. I've ridden the "T" before but never as much as this past weekend. It's helped me realize that Chicago has the worst operational train system ever. While the coverage is decent in Chicago, the operational side is pathetic. For example, it takes 10-13 minutes to get from Division to Chicago ave. on the Blue Line (~7 blocks).

The system is literally falling apart to the point where it's a joke.

VivaLFuego Mar 12, 2007 10:06 PM

Just a heads-up for those who might be interested, the first community meetings for the Alternatives Analysis for the south extension to the Red Line are being held around the 2nd week in April.

Also coming up in the next few weeks are the first community meetings regarding the far south side service study, which will be similar to the north and south lakeshore and west side service study, with the potential to totally revamp the structure of bus service in the southern part of the city (south of about 75th street, I think). I think some of the goals are to maintain/improve feeder services to the Red line, improve access to South Chicago, the East Side, Hegewisch, etc. and improve the ability to make East-West crosstown trips.

the urban politician Mar 13, 2007 3:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alex1 (Post 2682518)
just got back from Boston. I've ridden the "T" before but never as much as this past weekend. It's helped me realize that Chicago has the worst operational train system ever. While the coverage is decent in Chicago, the operational side is pathetic. For example, it takes 10-13 minutes to get from Division to Chicago ave. on the Blue Line (~7 blocks).

The system is literally falling apart to the point where it's a joke.

^ Wow, things must have gone downhill pretty quickly. I was last in Chicago about a year ago and things were running fairly well. Chicago to Division did NOT take more than just 2 minutes or so (I rode the blue line several times)

alex1 Mar 13, 2007 4:00 PM

yup. 6mph limit. couple that with stops and the trip can take longer then 13 minutes.

i never thought I'd rage at the CTA. I've always been really patient but the current state of things is pathetic.

VivaLFuego Mar 13, 2007 4:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alex1 (Post 2685311)
yup. 6mph limit. couple that with stops and the trip can take longer then 13 minutes.

i never thought I'd rage at the CTA. I've always been really patient but the current state of things is pathetic.

The O'hare branch of the Blue line is in a sorry state. The 'official' stance was that the inspectors (and ergo their managers) weren't doing their job which led to the derailment, and the subsequent discovery that the track was in much worse shape than thought (several were fired over that debacle). This was why a few miles of slow zones were added in one huge swoop last summer/fall. That said, I keep hearing murmurs that there's a plan to replace all the ties in both subways and that this is starting any day now, but haven't actually seen movement on this (I think this was rolled into the contract for the trackwork for Block 37 which has already been awarded). As far as I'm concerned eliminating the slow zones in both Red and Blue subways is vital before starting the 3-tracking project on the north side. And just in general, the O'hare line needs to get fixed out west of Jeff Park....travel times of nearly 55+ minutes between O'hare and downtown are inexcusable and make the flight-status displays getting installed at Clark/Lake kind of pointless. For reference, the scheduled travel time from O'hare to Clark/Lake, with A/B skip-stop service (i.e. around 12-15 years ago) was something like 38 minutes, compared to about 43 minutes making all stops, and now over 51 with all stops + slow zones.

Incidentally, about a year ago the red line was awfully slow and unreliable while the blue was a real treat, and I feel like now the tables have turned, since I actually feel confident taking the red line anywhere at any time again. That suggests there aren't nearly enough track repair workers to keep the whole system continuously maintained.

pip Mar 13, 2007 6:05 PM

^I did see some railway ties imbetween the Brown and Redline tracks I can't remember exactly where but I think it was Armitage. They were stacked on top of each other but there werer not that many to do a large chunk of the line. I feel the Redline is really slow in addition to the Blue Line. Three days a week I travel from Addison and Wilson on the Red Line and those trains crawl at walking pace for much of the trip in addition to stop and go.

Something needs to be done.

Is the situation beyond hope for public transit in Chicago? Starting next year the CTA needs to come up with an annual extra 200 million for pensions in addition to their usual shortfalls. The tracks are in a state of disrepair and so are the trains and busses. The average age of the trains exceeds what the maximum recommended age of a train should be by the Federal Government. The signals date from the 1950's, busses have not had their recommended reconditioning, the railways ties are falling apart. It goes on and on.

I know everyone is pinning their hopes on the Olympics in that the CTA will receive much needed funds. But even if Chicago does get the Olympics can the CTA run until the funding comes up? What if the Chicago does not get the Olympics.

This is a huge concern. I never thought things could fall apart so quickly.

What is going on? I find it hard to believe the Illinois and Chicago just don't care.

So much needs to be done all at once that even if they got billions and billions problems would still mount as repairs, new trains, etc, take years. Yet it looks like the CTA will have less and less money each year as pensions will eat up a huge chunk.

The system is about to collapse.

VivaLFuego Mar 14, 2007 3:04 AM

^pip,
I generally don't ride the Red Line anywhere north of Belmont, most of my travel is either on the Dan Ryan leg (how about a travel time of just over 20 minutes from 95th to downtown? that's a commercial speed of nearly 30mph.....sweet) or downtown (subway) or LP/Lakeview as far as Belmont. In these areas its generally pretty quick (only a few minor slow zones) and reliable (regularly spaced service, i.e. the wait time is predictable). The slow zone picture looks much worse as you get north of about Sheridan.

as nightmarish as the capital picture is, the thing that no one is presently bringing up is: what happens if the Illinois General Assembly doesn't pass something for operating funding? CTA's budget this year has a $110 million deficit. Even if service cuts were enacted July 1 to balance the budget, that would mean that service would have to be cut at the rate of $220 million/year. But of course, then ridership and ergo revenue would plummet as well, requiring even more service cuts to eventually get to a balanced budget. The other option is no service cuts, then sometime around October or November, checks to contractors and workers' paychecks start bouncing and the system simply shuts down. No one is talking about that scenario.....people are talking about the long term but what about the problem that's about to slap us all in the face?

Of course, some service cuts are probably necessary; they're periodically necessary to cut out the money-loser routes and drastically adjust frequencies to Chicago's ever changing travel patterns. But the cuts the city would face this year without emergency operating funding would be unlike anything we've ever seen. It would make the "doomsday" scenario from 2005 look positively benevolent.

Chicago Shawn Mar 14, 2007 11:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2685335)
The O'hare branch of the Blue line is in a sorry state. The 'official' stance was that the inspectors (and ergo their managers) weren't doing their job which led to the derailment, and the subsequent discovery that the track was in much worse shape than thought (several were fired over that debacle). This was why a few miles of slow zones were added in one huge swoop last summer/fall. That said, I keep hearing murmurs that there's a plan to replace all the ties in both subways and that this is starting any day now, but haven't actually seen movement on this (I think this was rolled into the contract for the trackwork for Block 37 which has already been awarded). As far as I'm concerned eliminating the slow zones in both Red and Blue subways is vital before starting the 3-tracking project on the north side. And just in general, the O'hare line needs to get fixed out west of Jeff Park....travel times of nearly 55+ minutes between O'hare and downtown are inexcusable and make the flight-status displays getting installed at Clark/Lake kind of pointless. For reference, the scheduled travel time from O'hare to Clark/Lake, with A/B skip-stop service (i.e. around 12-15 years ago) was something like 38 minutes, compared to about 43 minutes making all stops, and now over 51 with all stops + slow zones.

Incidentally, about a year ago the red line was awfully slow and unreliable while the blue was a real treat, and I feel like now the tables have turned, since I actually feel confident taking the red line anywhere at any time again. That suggests there aren't nearly enough track repair workers to keep the whole system continuously maintained.

Nope, not enough track workers at all. The only stretch of slow zones being worked on the Blue Line is inside the subway tunnels. The CTA should have bugeted for another track crew when asking the state for another bailout, which they did not do. I expressed my displeasure with that decsion in person last year durring the budget hearings. Even if the money for fixing system was given out tommorow, we would all still be looking at at least 1-2 years of further disruptions to fix the system. My patience with the Blue Line is now razor thin, 4 times with the last two weeks my door to door commute has been 120 minutes or longer! Yesterday's equipment failure had me siting on a stationary train for 35 minutes, in addition to my normal commute.

Oh, and can we do away with the pointless security sweeps please. These only work to further delay a now chronically slow train.

nomarandlee Mar 15, 2007 7:17 AM

Flight information coming to downtown CTA station
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

Flight information coming to downtown CTA station

Tribune staff report
Published March 14, 2007, 7:02 PM CDT

The Chicago Transit Authority Board decided on Wednesday to install two flight information displays at the CTA's Clark/Lake station downtown. The displays will list information for departing flights at O'Hare International and Midway Airports.

One display will be installed at the elevated station, and another will be in the subway station. The decision was made through an intergovernmental agreement between the board and the city, which will pay for the purchase, installation and maintenance of the displays.

The board also decided to buy 15 additional fare-card vending machines that are capable of accepting credit cards. The new machines provide audio and visual instructions in English and Spanish.

The machines will be installed in stations by the end of the year, officials said. The newer machines are already installed at several spots, including Union Station and airport stations.



Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

trvlr70 Mar 15, 2007 1:46 PM

^^^^^^^^^^^
This is a nice idea but unfortunately pointless since the Blue Line is so unreliable. Knowing your plane is on time and knowing you've alotted an hour for transit will be cruel punishment when you're stuck on a motionless CTA car for an hour.

Once again, the CTA misses its mark.

VivaLFuego Mar 15, 2007 2:19 PM

The city is paying for the displays....the city generally is in charge of transit improvements in the central area (including loop and subway stations). It just doesn't seem like directing capital money to transit is a priority at city hall (I mean why on earth are there plasma screens at the Lake subway station? Why aren't there better transfer connections, more minor but important renovations like improved lighting, etc?)

nomarandlee Mar 16, 2007 4:59 AM

Another train stop for Evanston?
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

Another train stop for Evanston?

By Dan Gibbard
Tribune staff reporter

Published March 15, 2007, 1:19 PM CDT

For decades the CTA's Yellow Line has rolled through Evanston without stopping until the Howard Street border with Chicago, but Evanston officials are taking steps toward possibly changing that, surveying residents to see if demand would support a new station on the city's south side.

"Opening up access to an existing line just improves mobility for residents, businesses, employees," said John Burke, director of the Evanston Division of Transportation. "It's always weighed against [the extra time it takes to stop], but certainly we think improving access makes sense for south Evanston."

The survey, which was mailed Friday to a sampling of residents, seeks to gather demographic data as well as opinions and preferences. It asks about commuting patterns, where respondents work and whether they would be interested in having a rapid transit stop nearby.

A public meeting will be held sometime in coming months to discuss the findings.

The city believes it could be feasible, Burke said.

"It's an area where there's a fair amount of redevelopment," he said. "It's the area closest to Chicago, so there are some densities there that can support transit."

The survey is part of a larger market analysis that Evanston, Skokie and the Regional Transportation Authority are conducting on the Yellow Line, also known as the Skokie Swift.

It's the first step in a process that can take years but appears to have worked in neighboring Skokie, which has securing funding for a downtown stop on the Yellow Line.

A 2003 study led to funding for the Oakton Street station, said Steve Marciani, the village's planning supervisor, but that's considered "lightning speed" for such a project.

Since opening in 1964, the Swift has run nonstop from Howard Street, where it links with the CTA's Red and Purple Lines, to Dempster Street in Skokie.

In addition to the Oakton stop, which village officials hope to complete in 2008, a study on extending the line to Old Orchard Road is under way.

dgibbard@tribune.com

nomarandlee Mar 16, 2007 10:53 AM

Double fares might not even help CTA
 
http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/3...-cta16.article

Double fares might not even help CTA

March 16, 2007
BY DAVE MCKINNEY Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief

SPRINGFIELD -- Bus and train fares could double and still not keep Chicago area mass transit systems from being awash in red ink, the state's top auditor warned Thursday.

"I'm not advocating this; but even if you double the fares, it's not enough to solve the problem," Auditor General William Holland said.

His nearly two-year study of the financial health of the Regional Transportation Authority, Chicago Transit Authority, Pace and Metra underscored that mass transit faces a funding crisis that likely will require intervention from Springfield. "These problems are real, and they are significant," he said.

His audit urged lawmakers to revamp the way mass transit is funded. The Regional Transportation Authority, which oversees the three transit agencies, relies on sales taxes in Cook and the collar counties -- a formula that has remained unchanged since 1983.

Gov's office touts tax plan
Holland indicated the mass transit agencies have $800 million to $1 billion in operating and capital needs this year. In the last five years, the costs of operating the CTA, Metra and Pace grew by 6.5 percent while revenues increased by only 2.2 percent, the audit showed.

In his budget address last week, Gov. Blagojevich failed to mention the plight of mass transit. But an administration spokesman said mass transit will be taken care of if lawmakers back Blagojevich's bid for a new $6 billion gross receipts tax on businesses.

Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) has said some of the funding crunch will be addressed in a capital program, but no such plan has been proposed yet.

Contributing: Whitney Woodward

dmckinney@suntimes.com

i_am_hydrogen Mar 16, 2007 2:18 PM

Evanston floats idea of new stop on Skokie Swift

http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/...3/28450824.jpg

By Dan Gibbard, Tribune staff reporter. Freelance reporter Andrew Schroedter contributed to this report
Published March 16, 2007


For decades the Chicago Transit Authority's Yellow Line has rolled through Evanston without stopping until the Howard Street border with Chicago, but city officials are taking steps toward possibly changing that, surveying residents to see if demand would support a new station on the south side.

"Opening up access to an existing line just improves mobility for residents, businesses, employees," said John Burke, director of the Evanston Division of Transportation. "It's always weighed against [the extra time it takes to stop], but certainly we think improving access makes sense for south Evanston."

The survey, mailed March 9 to a sampling of residents, seeks demographic data as well as opinions and preferences. It asks about commuting patterns, where respondents work and whether they would be interested in a rapid transit stop nearby.

A public meeting will be held in the coming months to discuss the findings.

The city believes it could be feasible, said Burke, who mentioned Asbury, Dodge and Ridge Avenues as possible station sites. All three had stations on the old North Shore railroad line, a Yellow Line predecessor.

"It's an area where there's a fair amount of redevelopment," he said. "It's the area closest to Chicago, so there are some densities there that can support transit."

The survey is part of a larger market analysis Evanston, Skokie and the Regional Transportation Authority are conducting on the Yellow Line.

It's the first step in a process that can take years but appears to have worked in neighboring Skokie, which has secured funding for a downtown stop on the Yellow Line, also known as the Skokie Swift.

A 2003 study led to funding for the Oakton Street station, which should be completed next year, said Steve Marciani, the village's planning supervisor, but that's considered "lightning speed" for such a project.

Since opening in 1964, the Swift has run non-stop from Howard, where it links with the CTA's Red and Purple Lines, to Dempster Street in Skokie.

In addition to the Oakton stop, a study on extending the line to Old Orchard Road is under way.

In other north suburban transportation news:

Work will begin this spring that will nearly complete the Des Plaines River Trail in Lake County, leaving a gap of one-third of a mile behind a miniature golf course near Lincolnshire.

After a decade of negotiations, the Lake County Forest Preserve District acquired 12 of the 13 parcels needed to finish the path's southern end and link it with Cook County's trail, said Mike Fenelon, director of planning, conservation and development for the district.

The $604,000 project will extend the trail a quarter-mile south from West Riverside Road and a half-mile north from Estonian Lane in Lincolnshire and unincorporated Vernon Township, Fenelon said.

Construction will take most of the summer, Fenelon said. When it's done, hardy riders can probably ride around the gap and get back onto the trail by heading to Milwaukee Avenue and cutting back east to the trail, but there's no sidewalk or marked path for much of the way.

"You can get around it, but it's grass, and in some places it's wider and in some places it's narrower," Fenelon said. "For small children it's probably not advisable, but we know a lot of people will probably do it when we get it in."

The district is still trying to acquire land behind Par-King Skill Golf, 21711 Milwaukee Ave., but hasn't been able to agree on a price, County Board member Ann Maine said. Though some would like the land condemned through eminent domain, "that's just really fraught with a lot of problems," she said.

"We would love to work something out," Maine said. "We'd love to be able to complete the trail."

Northbrook recently purchased three eco-friendly vehicles that will replace outdated ones driven by village staff.

Altogether, Northbrook paid more than $66,000 for two Toyota Prius cars and one Ford Escape. If driven about 16,000 miles per year, the three hybrid vehicles will save the village at least $3,000 in annual fuel costs, officials said.

The hybrids replace three Ford Taurus sedans powered by ethanol-based fuel. The switch to fuel-saving hybrids was recommended by the Village Board to save money and benefit the environment. "This is sort of the next step," Village Manager John Novinson said.

----------

dgibbard@tribune.com

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

VivaLFuego Mar 16, 2007 3:33 PM

What's tough about transit funding is that everyone in the region benefits (accessibility to jobs/employees/customers, great capacity->less congestion, cleaner air, etc.) but non-users don't perceive these benefits and thus don't want to pony up. Fixing it requires a strong politician with the desire, courage and clout to pass a fair revenue package to fund it, and frankly we don't have anyone like that in Springfield right now.

re: Yellow line, with a stop at Oakton, one in Evanston, and the eventual extension to Old Orchard, this will actually be a pretty useful line and I imagine will get pretty decent ridership. Kinda cool that Skokie will basically have it's own rapid transit line, maybe its success will further encourage other suburbs to explore the benefits of transit...

Chicago3rd Mar 16, 2007 3:55 PM

Swift. If they don't add at least 2-3 more stations then they need to shut it down. It is a waste at this time.

alex1 Mar 17, 2007 2:23 AM

^i agree. I never thought I'd be advocating contraction of a transit system, but at this juncture, there's little incentive to keep the yellow line running. Even with 3 more stations, there's other lines that need to be prioritzed until the region gets its act together.

LA21st Mar 18, 2007 3:08 PM

I agree. Not even sure South Evanston will really support the stations. If you need lines to add station, it would be the green in the South Loop/Near South Side imo. 16th St would be perfect for the growing population and people there take transit. Look at the busy Roosevelt stop. I know suburban people dont want to believe it, but most people in downtown dont use their cars. If some do, its rare.

I do think they should put more money into the current system instead of adding new stations like Block 37. This is such a waste.

I always wonder about the spike of transit users if Chicago had DC or NYC quality service. Hell, even LA. Even though it is a smaller system, it is the cleanest subway in this country. I live in downtown now and plan to stay because of the CTA nightmare. Its cheaper to live in Lakeview, LP or Bucktown.
But the quality of life would go down because of the commute times. Expensive studios is the lesser of 2 evils.

ardecila Mar 18, 2007 3:45 PM

A station on the Green Line at Morgan is in the works to serve the West Loop (there is no station between Clinton and Ashland).

There are also serious plans for a station on the Green Line at or near Cermak to better serve McCormick Place, Motor Row, etc.

Both of these projects are dependent on money from the city, not CTA, so this funding crisis should not affect plans for these stations. CTA will only coordinate it and operate it.

The same is true for the new Oakton station (funded by Skokie) and any potential South Evanston station (funded by Evanston).

VivaLFuego Mar 18, 2007 6:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LA21st (Post 2699200)
I agree. Not even sure South Evanston will really support the stations. If you need lines to add station, it would be the green in the South Loop/Near South Side imo. 16th St would be perfect for the growing population and people there take transit. Look at the busy Roosevelt stop. I know suburban people dont want to believe it, but most people in downtown dont use their cars. If some do, its rare.

I do think they should put more money into the current system instead of adding new stations like Block 37. This is such a waste.

I always wonder about the spike of transit users if Chicago had DC or NYC quality service. Hell, even LA. Even though it is a smaller system, it is the cleanest subway in this country. I live in downtown now and plan to stay because of the CTA nightmare. Its cheaper to live in Lakeview, LP or Bucktown.
But the quality of life would go down because of the commute times. Expensive studios is the lesser of 2 evils.

Don't forget LA also contributes twice the public transit subsidy per capita as Chicago....and I'd still take our transit system over theirs for coverage and frequency. The region is just reaping what it sows with its funding level...

I keep going back and forth on the Block 37 tunnels/station. I mean on the one hand, it's $100 million the CTA didn't have to throw around at extra projects; that money could have fixed all of the blue line slow zones and probably done some improvements on the north red line viaducts.

But....

This is the ONLY opportunity for such a tunnel connection and a downtown airport express terminal (whereas funding for track repairs could come through in any given year). There will simply not be another opportunity, either in terms of location or money, to build a downtown station like this. 20 years from now when we all take the service for granted, no one will remember Frank Kruesi and Carole Brown for having the fortitude to go ahead with the project during the only possible window to do it.

But then again, if I were Frank K and Carole B, I'd probably say "well we'd love to do this cool project, but the cheap assholes that put me here are just gonna reap what they sow". Given the time/location constraints on this project are a result of the city, and given that the city is already responsible for most capital projects in the downtown area including the subways and the loop, I think the city should be kicking in the bulk of the funding for this project. To Daley's big discredit, the city kicks in really pathetic amounts of capital funding for the transit system. Given the property tax and TIF bonanza of the last 10 years, every downtown subway station and all the loop stations should be sparkling new and clean.

Attrill Mar 19, 2007 3:47 AM

I agree that it makes sense to join the Red and Blue line tracks for operational reasons, but Frank Kruesi did such a bad job of selling the project. Instead of pitching the idea exactly as was done above he turned it into a half baked airport express that would share the Blue line rails and couldn't really be an express. To make it worse he claimed it would be paid for by private investment that never materialized. The biggest thing that Kruesi offers the CTA today is his head as a negotiating chip with Springfield.

nomarandlee Mar 19, 2007 9:32 PM

Bus line appeals to shoestring travelers
 
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20...6EUFd9uceUU80F

Bus line appeals to shoestring travelers

By DANIEL LOVERING, AP Business Writer
Mon Mar 19, 11:10 AM ET



PITTSBURGH - For Internet-savvy travelers on a budget, Megabus.com claims to offer a service that makes mainstream bus travel seem pricey: rides from Pittsburgh to Chicago for as little as $1.

The Chicago-based company, which began operating in a number of Midwestern cities last year, plans to launch new service April 2 in Pittsburgh; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; Kansas City, Mo., and Louisville, Ky. It already offers service between Chicago and Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Toledo.

"We're really trying to get people out of their car," Dale Moser, president and chief operating officer of Coach USA, the domestic subsidiary of Scotland-based Stagecoach Group PLC, which runs Megabus. "We think that's the real big advantage."

Megabus uses online ticketing and sidewalk stops instead of ticket counters and bus terminals. Passengers do not buy tickets, but instead give drivers reservation numbers they receive when booking online.

The low-cost model was imported from the United Kingdom, where Stagecoach introduced a similar service nearly four years ago.

"The demand for this type of service has been outstanding," Moser said before a news conference on a street corner in downtown Pittsburgh.

"I don't have a terminal, so I don't have bricks-and-mortar," he said. "I don't have the staff that maintains it. Everything's back room — it's all computer sales. I have nobody handling cash. I have nobody handling any kind of transactions at the bus. The bus driver is focused on taking care of the customers and driving safely."

Advance planning gets you the lowest fares. A limited number of seats are priced at $1, and the fares increase incrementally based on the time between the booking and departure dates, a pricing scheme used by discount airlines.

"But I will tell you that the highest-price seat is still cheaper than all the alternatives to get from Pittsburgh to Chicago," Moser said. The most expensive ticket for such a trip, booked 24 hours in advance, would be $43.50, he said.

Its top-end fares, he said, are lower than those of Dallas-based Greyhound Lines Inc., the largest intercity bus service in North America.

On a recent day at the Megabus stop in Chicago, two University of Minnesota students, Sean Klontz, 21, and Emily Garber, 20, were returning to Minneapolis after participating in a Chicago-area bicycle race. Klontz said he paid $30 for the same round trip several months ago, but only $20 for this one, since he booked well in advance.

Garber said it was her first Megabus trip, and it was comparable to Greyhound — only cheaper. Both said the seats were narrow, and there was little leg room, but Garber added, "I'll sacrifice the leg room for more money in my wallet."

Mason Klein, 18, was returning to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, after visiting friends in Chicago. He paid $37.50 from Cincinnati to Chicago, but only $25 for the return, since it was midweek.

"It wasn't bad for the price, though it wasn't too clean," he said. "I used to fly or drive, but I'm not on my parents' buck anymore, so I guess this'll do."

Warren and Amy Daigle of Milwaukee, both in their early 50s, got off their first Megabus for a visit to their son in Chicago. Warren called it "safe, pleasant and inexpensive," saying they only paid $10 round-trip apiece.

Other low-cost bus lines have also tried to lure passengers away from Greyhound, including Vamoose, which runs a $25 express bus between Manhattan and the Washington suburbs of Bethesda, Md., and Arlington, Va., and various buses that run from Chinatowns in one city to Chinatowns in other cities. One such company, Fung Wah, has been flagged by government agencies for safety issues, including speeding, which was cited as a factor in an accident that injured 34 passengers on a Fung Wah bus.

Anna Folmnsbee, a spokeswoman for Greyhound, said her company still offers "the best value in transportation on every seat." She noted that Greyhound has dropped fares in some cities; offers a variety of discounts like half-off companion fares and breaks for students; and that unlike some of the newer carriers, Greyhound tickets are refundable and are not schedule-specific - meaning you can buy a ticket and use it for buses leaving at various times.

Bert Powell, an analyst who follows Greyhound for BMO Capital Markets-Canada, said bus activity seems to have increased since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and that regional competition among bus companies has intensified.

"In select routes, you're going to get guys who cherry-pick," he said. "You're going to have guys with three buses nipping at (Greyhound's) heels."

___

If You Go...

MEGABUS: http://www.megabus.com. Serves Pittsburgh; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; Kansas City, Mo.; Louisville, Ky.; Chicago; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Detroit; Indianapolis; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; St. Louis and Toledo. A limited number of seats are priced at $1 with the most expensive ticket between Pittsburgh and Chicago at $43.50.

___

Associated Press Writer F.N. D'Alessio in Chicago contributed to this report.

brian_b Mar 20, 2007 3:09 AM

On Friday I was down in the Union Station area and saw a Megabus drive past. The destination board above the driver said "New York City" on it! Is this the next step???

nomarandlee Mar 20, 2007 6:01 AM

Public comment sought on extending Red Line
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

Public comment sought on extending Red Line

Tribune staff report
Published March 19, 2007, 8:14 PM CDT

Chicago Transit Authority officials are asking for the public's comments on the extension of the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line during a meeting scheduled for next month.

The proposed extension would take the Red Line from the existing south terminal at 95th Street to a new terminal at 130th Street, a move that would streamline several bus-to-rail connections, CTA officials said.

The first meeting will be held April 10 in the 4th floor auditorium of Chicago State University's New Academic Library, 9501 S. King Drive. The second meeting will be April 11 at the West Pullman branch of the Chicago Public Library, 830 W. 119th St.

Both meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.

nomarandlee Mar 20, 2007 8:47 AM

Dp

Marcu Mar 20, 2007 4:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 2703618)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

Public comment sought on extending Red Line

Tribune staff report
Published March 19, 2007, 8:14 PM CDT

Chicago Transit Authority officials are asking for the public's comments on the extension of the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line during a meeting scheduled for next month.

The proposed extension would take the Red Line from the existing south terminal at 95th Street to a new terminal at 130th Street, a move that would streamline several bus-to-rail connections, CTA officials said.

The first meeting will be held April 10 in the 4th floor auditorium of Chicago State University's New Academic Library, 9501 S. King Drive. The second meeting will be April 11 at the West Pullman branch of the Chicago Public Library, 830 W. 119th St.

Both meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.

Can they please just focus on fixing existing rail lines

Chicago3rd Mar 20, 2007 8:57 PM

Moretoreum on all track expansion until you can fix the tracks you have.

Attrill Mar 20, 2007 10:06 PM

Part of the problem is how screwed up funding is for the CTA. Many of the problems the CTA faces are in its operating budget (i.e. maintenance work) and expanding service is a capital expense that is covered by different funding sources (usually federal grants). There are major problems with CTA management, but most of the expansion projects are paid for with federal grants that cannot be used to fix the existing problems.

For maintenance issues the RTA funding situation needs to be fixed (and the CTA needs new management as well).

ardecila Mar 20, 2007 10:16 PM

Yes, but system expansion increases operating costs, which there is a HUGE shortage of already. However, the state will not just let the state's infrastructure crumble like this. Eventually, they will have to do something. Rod's tax hike might help. I fully expect at least a small percentage of that money to go to transportation, if only to help pacify the business community.

Background information on the Red Line extension: IDOT wants to extend the Red Line in the median of the Bishop Ford. CTA wants to extend it using a Union Pacific track running through Roseland.

The UP track and the Bishop Ford meet near 130th, so they would end up in the same spot. The advantage of the Union Pacific route is that it doesn't duplicate service with Metra Electric quite so much.

honte Mar 21, 2007 1:43 AM

^ No more transit lines in the middle of highways! Put the transit in the neighborhoods.

I think the maintenance mess will obviously be resolved some time in the future. It would be a mistake to turn down an opportunity to expand the system, even in these annoying circumstances. The operations funding could even be fixed by the time the new line is operational.

ardecila Mar 21, 2007 3:03 AM

Oh, it will definitely be fixed by that time. I'm just pointing the fact out that, no matter who pays for expansion (Red Line Extension, Yellow Line Extension, Circle Line, Transitway, whatever) CTA will still have to secure funds for maintenance and operations.

This is just the start of Alternatives Analysis, which takes about 2 years. Then it's time for an Environmental Impact Study once a method is chosen. The EIS helps refine the design. This takes another 2-3 years. Then it will probably take 2-3 years in construction. This leaves us with an optimistic timeframe of 9 years, just in time for the Olympics.

Now, anything can be hurried with money, but there would have to be some sort of impetus. I'll wait until April 19th to see.

spyguy Mar 21, 2007 3:46 AM

http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/n...03-20&id=24297

Group calling for $25 billion for transportation

A number of suburban government officials have joined a coalition of Illinois business and labor groups in calling for the state to invest $25 billion in transportation over the next five years.

The group, the Transportation for Illinois Coalition, is seeking money for state highways, local roads, rail freight and public transit.

“This is a regional crisis that must be addressed,” said Bob Schillerstrom, chairman of the DuPage County Board.

While officials from Lake County, Palos Hills, Batavia and elsewhere lined up at a downtown Chicago news conference Tuesday to press their cases for more transit funds, which they said would foster economic and job growth, none would recommend where that money should come from.

The officials seem content to leave that decision in the hands of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the General Assembly.

“This is the year of the decision,” said Jim Reilly, chairman of the Regional Transit Authority. “The ball is in Springfield’s court.”

Mr. Reilly acknowledged that there was “no consensus” among members of the coalition about sources of funding for the $25-billion proposal.

The RTA is a member of the coalition, which is led by the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois AFL-CIO.

Mr. Schillerstrom said the group is “open to discussion” about sources of revenue, but, “Ultimately, that’s a decision by the governor and Legislature.”

When asked why the group is not making any suggestions to help guide Gov. Blagojevich and the General Assembly, Mr. Schillerstrom said, “I don’t think we want to lose sight of the goal by offering a variety of revenue sources.”

Joe DiJohn, research professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Urban Transportation Center, said the transportation system in Illinois is in a state of “near-crisis.”

“There’s no question that there would be a steep degradation of service without funding,” he said.

Mr. DiJohn suggested increasing fuel taxes to fund transportation.

“It’s generally been understood, in the academic community and among economists, at least,” that if the gasoline tax is increased the additional funds would cover much of the costs to upgrade roads and public transit, he said.

A spokesman for Gov. Blagojevich’s Office of Management and Budget said the governor’s 2008 budget contains $1.8 billion in capital funding for new transportation projects and $2.4 billion to fund pre-existing projects.

Illinois First, the state’s last major transportation infrastructure program, was financed with bonds. An increase in state vehicle license fees and higher liquor taxes were approved to help pay off the bonds.

But don’t expect anyone to press for tax increases to fund transportation projects any time soon, said Joseph Schwieterman, director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University.

“There’s often a backlash when the public learns about proposed taxes before being convinced of the benefits,” he said.

pip Mar 21, 2007 3:52 AM

^
Quote:

Group calling for $25 billion for transportation

A number of suburban government officials have joined a coalition of Illinois business and labor groups in calling for the state to invest $25 billion in transportation over the next five years.

The group, the Transportation for Illinois Coalition, is seeking money for state highways, local roads, rail freight and public transit.
To me that is the important point. If the suburbs, city, business and labor groups are for this then it will happen.

VivaLFuego Mar 21, 2007 2:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by honte (Post 2705589)
^ No more transit lines in the middle of highways! Put the transit in the neighborhoods.

I think the maintenance mess will obviously be resolved some time in the future. It would be a mistake to turn down an opportunity to expand the system, even in these annoying circumstances. The operations funding could even be fixed by the time the new line is operational.

1. The preferred conceptual routing is to follow the UP right of way that is a bit east of Halsted (with the stations likely dug in a trench to avoid grade crossings). This would avoid duplicating Metra service and would serve the commercial district at 115th/Michigan, and further wouldn't be in an expressway median.

2. The maintenance costs are part of the alternatives analysis; if the cost/benefit projections don't work, the project will be dead on arrival. Since the planning process takes so long, it would be stupid NOT to start it. I mean, it's not like we'll have an incompetent governor whos eager to deal with expensive federal issues at the state level while ignoring basic local government needs forever...

Chicago Shawn Mar 21, 2007 2:49 PM

Tie replacement work started in the Blue Line subway last night. The outbound tracks are getting worked on first, which I don't understand since the inbound tracks are in far worse shape. But in any case, I am estatic that work is being done to fix this obsurdly long slow zone.

Taft Mar 21, 2007 5:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 2705077)
Yes, but system expansion increases operating costs, which there is a HUGE shortage of already.


As I understand it, if the CTA were to stop bidding for federal money for non-operational projects, they run the risk of losing out on future capital monies. It is something of a catch 22.

And for the record, I think that freezing capital expansion is a horrible idea. It is obvious to just about everyone that the system is horribly underfunded. The discrepancy between capital and operational funding has only highlighted this in recent years. Hopefully this will act as a catalyst to better funding in the future. To an extent, it is a matter of forcing the hand of those with the purse strings. Transportation needs operational funding, but it also needs expansion. The sooner the powers that be can be convinced of this, the better.

Taft

Marcu Mar 21, 2007 5:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 2706760)
Tie replacement work started in the Blue Line subway last night. The outbound tracks are getting worked on first, which I don't understand since the inbound tracks are in far worse shape. But in any case, I am estatic that work is being done to fix this obsurdly long slow zone.

That's great news. How does this tie in to the article posted a few days back saying CTA will need 100mil and at least 3 years or something like that? Was that for something else?

VivaLFuego Mar 21, 2007 6:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 2707140)
That's great news. How does this tie in to the article posted a few days back saying CTA will need 100mil and at least 3 years or something like that? Was that for something else?

I was wondering that too, the wording in that article was a bit vague. My previous understanding was that the contract for replacing the ties in the blue subway had already been awarded (i.e. the capital funds were already found and obligated), and that replacing all the ties from Jeff Park to O'hare was a $50-60 million project.

That 50-60 figure may be for construction only; perhaps if you take design + construction for tie renewal on the entire O'hare branch it would come out to about $100 million.

j korzeniowski Mar 21, 2007 6:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lukecuj (Post 2707218)
Transit pitch can't sway governor
Officials seek more funds for region


But Blagojevich said he has more pressing concerns.

"As far as I'm concerned, the big priorities are passing our tax-fairness plan and getting everyone access to affordable health care, and fairly and properly fund our schools to give our kids a chance to learn," Blagojevich said during an appearance on the South Side.

jesus, rod, what the hell? i am all for universal health care, but in order to pull off these business taxes, you have to have businesses there in the first place. ensuring that these businesses can have employees there on time and working would, i imagine, keep area businesses happy.

maybe i am being simplistic, but blagojevich's thinking seems cart-before-the-horse on this. hopefully someone can shake some sense into him. (a guy from albany park who probably used the brown line more than once or twice.)

sentinel Mar 21, 2007 6:35 PM

One word: RECALL!!!!!
They did it in California and the Terminator has been relatively successful, and I'm sure we can find a better leader for the state than that steaming pile of s**t (and I'm a Democrat!!!)

spyguy Mar 21, 2007 8:31 PM

^Not to worry. I'm sure he'll be in jail in a matter of time.


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