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k1052 Mar 28, 2022 10:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9581597)
As for O'Hare Blue Line, no thanks. The airport is a natural terminal and any effort to get to the west side of the airport and out to Schaumburg or whatever would cost a zillion dollars and be much better served by modernized regional rail.

Yes, thanks. The track layout and crossover locations in the station throat cripples service. Just push it to the west side of the airfield where there will (eventually) be a new landslide access.

Randomguy34 Mar 28, 2022 10:58 PM

Metra's proposed STAR line with its 15-min headways would have provided the same service as a Blue Line extension, except with better transfers to other lines

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XJv7tE3Qz...a-connects.jpg
https://www.frrandp.com/2021/01/metr...star-line.html

ardecila Mar 29, 2022 1:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9581597)
Bruh yes. An Eisenhower Blue Line extension makes total sense, as was briefly discussed several months ago. Bellwood and Maywood are just as dense as any city proper bungalow belt 'hood and this extension would be used. Should have been done decades ago. I actually think extension even further to the 88/290/294 interchange @ Hillside would be justifiable. An enormous park and ride with direct highway access could be built there which would encourage even more ridership. Tangentually related is that that same triangle would make an interesting site for a major sports/entertainment facility.

There's not much demand for suburban CTA park and rides. The garage at Cumberland is pretty empty most of the time. If you're that far out trying to commute downtown, Metra is gonna offer much faster service while CTA will stop every half-mile on a long, slow, bumpy ride. The L isn't BART or the DC Metro which were built for long distances and high average speeds. Cost isn't even a consideration anymore - if Metra keeps offering a $6 Day Pass, it's only $1.50 more than a CTA round trip.

Any new CTA extensions should focus on catalyzing development and TOD, or at least on a feeder network of CTA and Pace buses. Unfortunately even the Red Line extension will include significant park-and-ride lots and garages at all 4 Roseland stations, going in the exact spot where the city should be building affordable housing.

I don't really support extending the Forest Park Branch for this reason (chasing park-n-ride users is idiotic) but if they're gonna do it, it makes sense to piggyback on the expressway reconstruction. The expressway project was going to create the median space for future rail regardless, but it's always more expensive to come back a few years or decades later to build rail rather than just building everything at once.

thegoatman Mar 29, 2022 1:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9581844)
There's not much demand for suburban CTA park and rides. The garage at Cumberland is pretty empty most of the time. If you're that far out trying to commute downtown, Metra is gonna offer much faster service while CTA will stop every half-mile on a long, slow, bumpy ride. The L isn't BART or the DC Metro which were built for long distances and high average speeds. Cost isn't even a consideration anymore - if Metra keeps offering a $6 Day Pass, it's only $1.50 more than a CTA round trip.

Any new CTA extensions should focus on catalyzing development and TOD, or at least on a feeder network of CTA and Pace buses. Unfortunately even the Red Line extension will include significant park-and-ride lots and garages at all 4 Roseland stations, going in the exact spot where the city should be building affordable housing.

I don't really support extending the Forest Park Branch for this reason (chasing park-n-ride users is idiotic) but if they're gonna do it, it makes sense to piggyback on the expressway reconstruction. The expressway project was going to create the median space for future rail regardless, but it's always more expensive to come back a few years or decades later to build rail rather than just building everything at once.

This. Agree 100%. Please lets focus on creating connections and upzoning. Everything within a mile of an L station should be filled with mixed use projects. No strip malls, parking lots, or drive thrus. The Pulaski Orange line stop is depressing, literally just strip malls and parking lots. Upzone that whole area and stop chasing after nonexistant suburban ridership who rather ride the metra or drive.

Imagine restoring L access back to the south lakefront? I think the reason there's no nightlife in Hyde Park when the neighborhood is ripe for a Wicker Park-esque scene is because there's no L access! Metra doesn't count it stops running early.

Busy Bee Mar 29, 2022 9:03 PM

I think a very common assumption amongst the armchair urban planners/transit planners like the ones on this forum, and the one typing this right now, is that there are expert professionals and authorities that have these same aspirations and they have sketches and back-of-napkin plans lying all over offices in city halls and agency headquarters. The older I get the less convinced I become of this notion.

ardecila Mar 29, 2022 11:53 PM

There are plenty of people in transit agencies, city DOTs, and MPOs who know basic urban planning principles very well. On the rare occasions that these people are empowered, great things can happen.

The problem is that elected officials call all the shots and they're more likely to listen to, well, pretty much everyone except nerdy planner types. Instead, special interest folks like Roger Romanelli get in the ear of electeds, and it's their priorities that drive the investment decisions.

I bring up Romanelli because he just started this wacko astroturf "Westside Coalition" to try and get $2B in Federal infra money to rebuild the Lake St L, all for the benefit of a few industrial businesses that want easier semi-truck deliveries. To disguise their intentions, they came up with a list of low-value or mid-value transit projects that clearly won't get built. Extending the Blue Line to Mannheim isn't on their list, but it's kinda sus that it shows up in a news article right now after fading away for years. Note: Romanelli lives in Hillside near the proposed Mannheim CTA terminus.
http://www.fixthewestside.com/

Busy Bee Mar 30, 2022 12:16 AM

Hmmmm....

the urban politician Mar 30, 2022 1:36 AM

The only ones that I think are worth it in that article are the renovation of Union Station and a Metra depot at Fulton Market

VivaLFuego Mar 31, 2022 4:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9581844)
Unfortunately even the Red Line extension will include significant park-and-ride lots and garages at all 4 Roseland stations, going in the exact spot where the city should be building affordable housing.

The lack of decent park-n-ride options on the far south side (especially the Dan Ryan branch) is a problem. Going back decades, the original plans were some combination of large park-n-ride lots over the expressway at 87th and/or the large terminal at 103rd/Stony Island - neither ever built.

If you're coming home after about 6 or 7pm, the Metra express schedules become non-existent and even the (slow) locals are infrequent. There's no attractive, safe, time-efficient way to park-n-ride and use the south red line right now other than the lots at Chinatown, which may not be cost-efficient compared to just driving the rest of the way to your destination.

That isn't to say that RLE exactly as proposed is the best solution to this particular problem, but I can attest that the lack of secure park-n- ride coming from the south is a major impediment to more widespread Red Line use. The Green Line lots at Garfield and 63rd are not time efficient after you've already ground through traffic on the Dan Ryan or local arterials, and there aren't reliable options near the stations further south.

Most of the park n rides had decent utilization before the pandemic - not sure about currently, though.

Busy Bee Mar 31, 2022 5:15 PM

Park and rides get a bad rep for all the obvious reasons: aesthetics, discouraging connecting transit usage, discouraging true urban TOD... but they have there place.

ardecila Mar 31, 2022 5:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 9585089)
The lack of decent park-n-ride options on the far south side (especially the Dan Ryan branch) is a problem. Going back decades, the original plans were some combination of large park-n-ride lots over the expressway at 87th and/or the large terminal at 103rd/Stony Island - neither ever built.

If you're coming home after about 6 or 7pm, the Metra express schedules become non-existent and even the (slow) locals are infrequent. There's no attractive, safe, time-efficient way to park-n-ride and use the south red line right now other than the lots at Chinatown, which may not be cost-efficient compared to just driving the rest of the way to your destination.

That isn't to say that RLE exactly as proposed is the best solution to this particular problem, but I can attest that the lack of secure park-n- ride coming from the south is a major impediment to more widespread Red Line use. The Green Line lots at Garfield and 63rd are not time efficient after you've already ground through traffic on the Dan Ryan or local arterials, and there aren't reliable options near the stations further south.

Most of the park n rides had decent utilization before the pandemic - not sure about currently, though.

I'm not categorically opposed to park-and-rides but why provide them at every station? That just creates a moat that discourages walk-up ridership. If they have to do park-and-rides, I'd rather see them focus on a single large garage at 130th, where the land is all held by governmental entities anyway (MWRD, CHA, CPS/Carver) and TOD is unlikely.

The Orange Line is a good preview of what these Red Line park-and-rides will look like. It's especially disappointing because the Orange Line actually did lead to a lot of infill development, but some of the best sites are taken up by parking lots that are half-full at best.

Busy Bee Mar 31, 2022 5:27 PM

I don't think anyone is saying park and ride lots should be at every station.

ardecila Mar 31, 2022 8:11 PM

Well, no one except CTA, which is planning park-and-rides at all 4 new Red Line stops. And Metra, which is building a park-and-ride at the new 79th/Avalon Park stop.

Randomguy34 Mar 31, 2022 10:35 PM

^ 79th/Auburn Park. In other news, Lightfoot announced 50k residents will get $150 gas cards and 100k residents are getting $50 transit passes. Lightfoot's transit efforts have been so weak that state representatives have better transit proposals.

Mayor plans 150,000 gas and transit vouchers, cool on including CTA in South Cook Metra pilot
Quote:

In a March 29 opinion piece for Crain's, state Rep. Kam Buckner (D-26th) said that the gas tax holiday is a short-term fix, calling them and gas giveaways "smart politically, but not very effective from a long-term public policy standpoint."

He pointed to the quarter of Chicago households that do not have a car and said public transit ought to be more safe, affordable and convenient, which he noted would make the air cleaner and reduce congestion, noting the disproportionate rates of asthma that affect Black and Latino children.

In a yet-unreleased Illinois House resolution, he said he and other representatives will call on the CTA to reduce fares on key corridors, suggesting that the operator install pop-up bus priority lanes and re-time stop lights for the buses to increase their speed.

Buckner said the resolution would also call for the CTA to participate in the Fair Transit South Cook pilot program, which the county government began last year and has brought fares on the Metra Electric and Rock Island lines within Chicago down to about the same rate as 'L' fares.

By not participating, commuters cannot pay a 25-cent transfer to get onto a CTA bus or the 'L' from Millennium Station in the Loop, as they can between two different CTA services. A trip split between CTA and Metra becomes more expensive, and the pilot program's utility to South Siders is limited only to going to and/or from downtown or the south suburbs, because one cannot transfer to the CTA (or, for that matter, the non-discounted Metra lines) and go to the North or West sides.

Several CTA buses link Hyde Park and other South Side neighborhoods to downtown, but Buckner also chided the CTA for not syncing bus schedules with the commuter rail operator.
https://www.hpherald.com/news/politi...897eb19c0.html

twister244 Apr 9, 2022 5:43 PM

The scooters are coming!!!!!

https://www.timeout.com/chicago/news...his-may-040722

I decided to post this here since it's kinda transit related (moving people around). I absolutely loved these things when I was in Denver. I know so many folks hated them, but they are such a great option when you want to go places without having to deal with locking up a bike, or hauling your own scooter around.

Randomguy34 Apr 20, 2022 1:01 AM

Metra is now at 31% of pre-COVID ridership, with MED at 41%: https://metra.com/sites/default/file...nds%20Memo.pdf

thegoatman Apr 20, 2022 4:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9602623)
Metra is now at 31% of pre-COVID ridership, with MED at 41%: https://metra.com/sites/default/file...nds%20Memo.pdf

Hope to see 50% as more companies go hybrid. Pritzker just announced all mask mandates have been dropped.

SIGSEGV Apr 20, 2022 4:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9602623)
Metra is now at 31% of pre-COVID ridership, with MED at 41%: https://metra.com/sites/default/file...nds%20Memo.pdf

MED seems to get busier almost every day...

OhioGuy Apr 21, 2022 11:31 PM

The GTA/GO Transit rail service doing things right while Chicagoland/Metra languishes?

Busy Bee Apr 22, 2022 3:24 PM

I wish we could be as happy as him.

nomarandlee Apr 22, 2022 4:36 PM

I can only hope that seeing another wild successful regional system in NA will embarrass some folks here and in ten years there will be a push to imitate their success because we all know bold initiatives are not going to fall out of thin air.

Those new travel times mentioned for GoTransit, if true, are more remarkable than I would have suspected.

ardecila Apr 22, 2022 6:29 PM

Different commuter railroads in the US have figured out different pieces of the puzzle already. Caltrain and Denver RTD have electrification, Caltrain has modern trainsets. MBTA has urban "subway-lite" rail service on the Fairmount Line. SEPTA has had thru-running since the 1970s. Even FrontRunner in UT has a consistent, clockface schedule rather than a rush-hour based schedule.

The problem with legacy RRs like Metra is that lots of people enjoy the current paradigm, and those tend to be some of the wealthiest and most influential people in their respective metro areas. I think Metra and NY's MTA have a lot less flexibility to try out new stuff because so many people rely on the current service. I was hoping Covid would shatter the old assumptions, and it still might. If the Loop never goes above 60% of its old daytime occupancy, then Metra's gonna be running a lot of lightly-used rush hour trains.

Busy Bee Apr 22, 2022 6:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9605667)
I think Metra and NY's MTA have a lot less flexibility to try out new stuff because so many people rely on the current service.

I think Metra and MTA don't "try out new stuff" because they have a culture of not trying out new stuff. I don't think it has much to do with current riders.

ardecila Apr 22, 2022 6:43 PM

The same riders that screamed bloody murder and called their congressmen when Metra tried to do a "construction timetable" on the UP-N a few years ago?

God forbid their 7:24 express train move to 7:18...

nomarandlee Apr 23, 2022 6:05 PM

re: Madison Street busway
 
Bus RPT idea for Madison Street......

I am sure such proposals as below for enhanced bus service have been studied before, but when I started to read about the CTA taking ideas for "Better streets for buses" this idea popped into my head.......

The primary premise for this is to cut down on transfers. Transfers that add unpredictably add 2-15minutes every workday to commuters irk riders perhaps like no other issue. My proposal would likely eliminate many of these transfers, especially for downtown workers. 

My main proposal is for all the North/South bus routes east of Halstead (Ashland, Western, Pulaski, Cicero, etc) to turn east (and west on return trips, obviously) towards downtown on a dedicated, state-of-the-art bus service lane. These Madison bus lanes would funnel all buses, most with limited stops, towards/from downtown. Once past the Kennedy, they could then split off into various routes towards downtown, River North, Streeterville, Illinois Center, South Loop etc). This would allow many riders not to transfer to either the Forest Park/Blue or Harlem/Green or bring them closer to their final destination within the loop/downtown. 

At the limited stops on Madison, those who are continuing on north or south (as opposed to downtown) can transfer at one of the enhanced transfer stops along Madison Street. By using a Madison Street bus corridor, for those who want to transfer to all buses going further north/south or to get to their final downtown destinations it may be potentially be more convenient by funneling all routes into one corridor where one can transfer to all other numerous N/S or downtown routes. 

Some crosstown trips will suffer increased times or multiple transfers that are not single-seat trips presently, which is true. However, many other crosstown trips already involve a transfer (or two) and lengthy travel times that may see times or transfers lessened depending on new routing. This system potentially allows many more riders single-seat travel to the downtown area starting from over a much more extensive area of the city. Or perhaps the current N/S routes could use this Madison Street Bus service during rush hours. Or there could be alternating buses that continue traditional N/S crosstown routes with those that use the Madison corridor or some ratio thereof. Madison street itself, under this scenario, would be a greatly enhanced connecting corridor and facility for various transfers.

I foresee relatively minimal downside and significant upside with this system. The most immediate objections would be the issue of perceived political, social, and accessibility divisions between the north/south sides. This proposal could be perceived as such even though for many, if not most riders, most north/south trips may be expedited by having one-seat bus trips to various downtown locations....... 

So curious, I know of the Monroe street bus way, but does anyone know if there has ever been serious consideration to have a N-S routes that funnel various routes east to downtown (instead of crosstown) like what I am describing?

twister244 Apr 24, 2022 3:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 9606420)
Bus RPT idea for Madison Street......

I am sure such proposals as below for enhanced bus service have been studied before, but when I started to read about the CTA taking ideas for "Better streets for buses" this idea popped into my head.......

The primary premise for this is to cut down on transfers. Transfers that add unpredictably add 2-15minutes every workday to commuters irk riders perhaps like no other issue. My proposal would likely eliminate many of these transfers, especially for downtown workers. 

My main proposal is for all the North/South bus routes east of Halstead (Ashland, Western, Pulaski, Cicero, etc) to turn east (and west on return trips, obviously) towards downtown on a dedicated, state-of-the-art bus service lane. These Madison bus lanes would funnel all buses, most with limited stops, towards/from downtown. Once past the Kennedy, they could then split off into various routes towards downtown, River North, Streeterville, Illinois Center, South Loop etc). This would allow many riders not to transfer to either the Forest Park/Blue or Harlem/Green or bring them closer to their final destination within the loop/downtown. 

At the limited stops on Madison, those who are continuing on north or south (as opposed to downtown) can transfer at one of the enhanced transfer stops along Madison Street. By using a Madison Street bus corridor, for those who want to transfer to all buses going further north/south or to get to their final downtown destinations it may be potentially be more convenient by funneling all routes into one corridor where one can transfer to all other numerous N/S or downtown routes. 

Some crosstown trips will suffer increased times or multiple transfers that are not single-seat trips presently, which is true. However, many other crosstown trips already involve a transfer (or two) and lengthy travel times that may see times or transfers lessened depending on new routing. This system potentially allows many more riders single-seat travel to the downtown area starting from over a much more extensive area of the city. Or perhaps the current N/S routes could use this Madison Street Bus service during rush hours. Or there could be alternating buses that continue traditional N/S crosstown routes with those that use the Madison corridor or some ratio thereof. Madison street itself, under this scenario, would be a greatly enhanced connecting corridor and facility for various transfers.

I foresee relatively minimal downside and significant upside with this system. The most immediate objections would be the issue of perceived political, social, and accessibility divisions between the north/south sides. This proposal could be perceived as such even though for many, if not most riders, most north/south trips may be expedited by having one-seat bus trips to various downtown locations....... 

So curious, I know of the Monroe street bus way, but does anyone know if there has ever been serious consideration to have a N-S routes that funnel various routes east to downtown (instead of crosstown) like what I am describing?

I'm all for BRT in the city. But first.... CTA needs to make their busses more reliable. I've started taking the 74 more often since it's right in front of my place, and I hate driving anywhere in the city with traffic returning to normal. Yesterday, there were two scheduled routes that just never showed up, so I ended up Ubering to Boystown.

Gotta fix low hanging fruit first by making the system reliable enough that people will actually use.

Mr Downtown Apr 24, 2022 5:27 PM

^If you have any suggestions for how to get those buses to show up without having enough bus drivers, I'm sure CTA would be very interested.

Mr Downtown Apr 24, 2022 6:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 9606420)
does anyone know if there has ever been serious consideration to have a N-S routes that funnel various routes east to downtown (instead of crosstown) like what I am describing?

No; the concept in Chicago has always been a crosstown ride to a radial ride. Crosstown horsecars were coupled to radial cable cars to be pulled downtown. Crosstown streetcar routes connected with radial streetcar lines (Lincoln, Milwaukee, Madison, Archer) at "transfer corners" that became the early 20th century's shopping centers. In the CTA era, with fare integration, you took a crosstown bus to a radial L line.

Interestingly, the bus lines we do have that work the way you suggest are sometimes attacked as wasteful or inefficient. Those are our north and south lakefront express routes, which provide one-seat rides for many patrons from lakefront apartments to Loop jobs. Yet young transit enthusiasts who favor immediate legibility over daily convenience are always suggesting ending these routes and instead making the riders come downtown on Metra Electric or the Red Line.

Klippenstein Apr 24, 2022 8:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 9607116)
Interestingly, the bus lines we do have that work the way you suggest are sometimes attacked as wasteful or inefficient. Those are our north and south lakefront express routes, which provide one-seat rides for many patrons from lakefront apartments to Loop jobs. Yet young transit enthusiasts who favor immediate legibility over daily convenience are always suggesting ending these routes and instead making the riders come downtown on Metra Electric or the Red Line.

I would gladly take the Metra every day instead of the 26 bus if Metra had the same frequency especially since they reduced the cost. We seriously need better cooperation between CTA and Metra to make service better (with less redundancy). I still can't get over Lightfoot rejecting the fare integration between CTA and Metra. If people used it... it would be because it would be a better commute for them. But Lightfoot is worried about diverting revenue as if making public transit more convenient isn't going to boost ridership.

twister244 Apr 26, 2022 1:57 AM

Really interesting.... but frustrating article discussing ongoing issues - https://chi.streetsblog.org/2022/04/...lue-line-runs/

The author makes a really good point though.... If there are all of these subsidies to offset the Covid losses, where is that money going? I mean..... It's not like a Chicago agency would ever do anything improper with money. Just sayin......

ardecila Apr 26, 2022 2:27 PM

A lot of the problems are due to staffing. Some bus drivers and train operators just don't show up for work, so CTA has to cancel runs.

When veteran employees retire or quit, CTA is having a hard time finding new hires when there are other jobs that pay comparable wages without the hassles of unruly/violent passengers, or the need to pay union dues. Work rules privilege the most senior employees, so new hires are forced to "prove their mettle" by doing the hardest assignments at the worst times of day (late night/early morning etc) for years before they can get better assignments. Those assignments aren't just at bad hours, they also come with the worst/most violent gangbanger passengers, mentally ill, homeless, etc. Basically, the incentives that normally lead people to choose government jobs are now all shot to hell.

And to top that off, CTA employees are forbidden from relaxing with legal cannabis even in their off hours - maybe not a big deal for boomers, but younger prospects may find that to be a dealbreaker.

CTA can/should fix some of these issues, but much of it is in the union contract which takes years to adjust. The cannabis ban comes from the Federal government, which will cut off funding if CTA decides to stop drug testing. Etc etc. There are no quick fixes.

Randomguy34 May 16, 2022 7:28 PM

The CTA hasn't posted their ridership numbers in a while, but I found them buried in their budget documents. Ridership is now ~54% pre-pandemic levels, with 20.5 million riders. Bus ridership is recovering better than budgeted, but rail ridership is much less than the CTA expected

Mar 2022: https://www.transitchicago.com/asset...lts_Report.pdf
Mar 2019: https://www.transitchicago.com/asset...ip_2019-03.pdf

twister244 May 16, 2022 10:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9626458)
The CTA hasn't posted their ridership numbers in a while, but I found them buried in their budget documents. Ridership is now ~54% pre-pandemic levels, with 20.5 million riders. Bus ridership is recovering better than budgeted, but rail ridership is much less than the CTA expected

Mar 2022: https://www.transitchicago.com/asset...lts_Report.pdf
Mar 2019: https://www.transitchicago.com/asset...ip_2019-03.pdf

That makes sense. As has been discussed, the buses are pretty tame compared to the crazies that I continue to witness on the trains.

homebucket May 16, 2022 10:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twister244 (Post 9626597)
That makes sense. As has been discussed, the buses are pretty tame compared to the crazies that I continue to witness on the trains.

I would think it has more to do with busses generally being more for lower income, "essential" workers that don't have the ability to work from home and trains, especially the commuter rail, being for higher income folks that usually have more work from home options.

twister244 May 17, 2022 5:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by homebucket (Post 9626657)
I would think it has more to do with busses generally being more for lower income, "essential" workers that don't have the ability to work from home and trains, especially the commuter rail, being for higher income folks that usually have more work from home options.

That could also very well be the case, and a good observation. I've noticed the trains are slowly more busy with time. I also wonder if the increasingly record gas prices are having an impact. Either way, great to see numbers creeping up.

Randomguy34 May 17, 2022 9:02 PM

Metra's April numbers are up, and they've exceeded expectations by 19%: https://metra.com/sites/default/file...emo%20v3.1.pdf

Randomguy34 May 18, 2022 6:37 PM

I've been following Star:Line Chicago's tweets about the Metra board meeting, and decided to watch for myself. Metra's board has been surprised that weekend service is doing well and adding service on off-peaks has led to increased ridership (shocking). Apparently Metra Electric's Saturday ridership is 123% of pre-pandemic. Sunday and off-peak service is about 100%! Of course, Metra's solution to this is adding more peak service to MED....

Star:Line Chicago: https://twitter.com/StarLineChicago/...74744800772096

k1052 May 18, 2022 10:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9628256)
I've been following Star:Line Chicago's tweets about the Metra board meeting, and decided to watch for myself. Metra's board has been surprised that weekend service is doing well and adding service on off-peaks has led to increased ridership (shocking). Apparently Metra Electric's Saturday ridership is 123% of pre-pandemic. Sunday and off-peak service is about 100%! Of course, Metra's solution to this is adding more peak service to MED....

Star:Line Chicago: https://twitter.com/StarLineChicago/...74744800772096

If I ran a transit agency I would simply run more transit when my surveys and stats told me that people wanted to ride. Hmm weekend ridership way up...must be something wrong with the riders.

Steely Dan May 18, 2022 10:38 PM

https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/...45/713/888.jpg

ardecila May 20, 2022 7:24 PM

IDOT & CTA are seeking $400M grant from the new Infrastructure bill.

https://www.chicagobusiness.com/greg...linei-290-work

Apparently the project includes a big chunk of change for rebuilding sewers in the western suburbs (read: Maywood/Bellwood/Broadview). Not very sexy, but I assume that work would be included in the broader Eisenhower project so this gets it out of the way. The Federal grant program targets disadvantaged communities, so it looks like IDOT is trying to pass off part of their highway expansion as a social justice investment.

Sunken highways usually require big-time sewers so they don't turn into rivers every time it rains. The current I-75 project in Detroit included a special "deep tunnel" just to keep the highway dry, so I assume the Eisenhower will get something similar given the $400M pricetag for this piece.

The other part of the project ($160M) would rebuild the Austin and Cicero stations on the Blue Line and rebuild some portion of the crumbling tracks. Not sure if the stations will be rebuilt from the ground up, or just heavily renovated like the Medical District station a few years ago.

All in all, not getting very much out of a whopping $660M total investment IMO.

Busy Bee May 20, 2022 7:45 PM

That's because the investment is too small.

Randomguy34 May 29, 2022 11:28 PM

Gas is almost $6, several friends have said they're now taking the bus & train and only driving when they have to

OhioGuy May 30, 2022 5:04 AM

This video news piece from the ABC affiliate in South Bend is 2 months old but I just came across it. Possible changes to the South Shore Line in South Bend are discussed.

Video Link

Mister Uptempo Jun 1, 2022 10:14 PM

Metra to sell $100 flat-rate monthly pass
 
Quote:

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Metra is making Chicago area residents an offer that is too good to refuse – a $100 flat-rate “Super Saver” monthly pass valid for unlimited travel throughout the Chicago area. The new pass will be offered for a three-month pilot period starting in July.

--------SNIP-----------

Full fare “Super Saver” passes will cost $100, while a reduced fare pass for eligible seniors, K-12 students and children will cost $70. All riders on the Metra Electric and Rock Island lines also will pay the reduced fare rate, thanks to the Fair Transit South Cook Pilot, with the same stipulation that those passes are valid only on those two lines. The July passes will go on sale starting June 20.

Buying the new pass during the pilot program will be the same process as buying the regular Monthly Pass via the Ventra app and from ticket agents, with only a different price. The passes will look the same as the regular Monthly Pass and still display a zone pair (indicating the fare zones of the riders’ origin and destination stations), but conductors will know that all Monthly Passes are good for unlimited travel across all fare zones.

Metra will continue to sell the $6 Day Pass, valid for unlimited travel within one to three fare zones in a single day, and the $10 Day Pass, valid for unlimited travel systemwide in a single day.
SOURCE - https://metra.com/newsroom/metra-sel...e-monthly-pass

Kenmore Jun 3, 2022 11:55 AM

now that it's coming together it's becoming clear how much of an impact the redline north rebuild is gonna have on uptown/edgewater, looks fantastic

thegoatman Jun 3, 2022 4:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenmore (Post 9640260)
now that it's coming together it's becoming clear how much of an impact the redline north rebuild is gonna have on uptown/edgewater, looks fantastic

Could you elaborate

Randomguy34 Jun 5, 2022 4:19 PM

The weekend Metra Electric trains have been packed to the point passengers have to sometimes stand for the ride. But according to Metra, people don't ride the trains outside of rush hour. So I was probably hallucinating my train ride :rolleyes:

twister244 Jun 5, 2022 4:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 9641527)
The weekend Metra Electric trains have been packed to the point passengers have to sometimes stand for the ride. But according to Metra, people don't ride the trains outside of rush hour. So I was probably hallucinating my train ride :rolleyes:

I think there's some truth to what you are observing. I ditched my car a couple months ago, so when I go out to my cousins (conveniently located near the Fox River Grover Metra station), I just hop on the Clybourn stop and shoot out. I've noticed a solid number of people on the trains, which is great to see. I suspect the $6 gas has something to do with it......

Riding the Metra again does make me super happy that there are plans to incorporate a new Clybourn stop into the Lincoln Yards project. It's so easy for me to hop on a Divvy in front of my building, shoot down Milwaukee, onto the 606 and to Clybourn. It's a fun ride actually.

Steely Dan Jun 5, 2022 6:50 PM

I did a metra pub crawl through the NW burbs on the UP-NW yesterday with a group of friends. Started in Norwood park, then hit Edison Park, Park Ridge, Des Planes, Mount Prospect, and ended in Arlington Heights then back to the city. So we were on 6 different trains throughout the afternoon and evening, and all trains were very heavily patronized, not standing room only, but the vast majority of seatswere occupied on all cars we were on, so folks are definitely using those weekend metra trains to get around the metro area. $6 gas is no joke when those all day metra passes are only 7 bucks.

Randomguy34 Jun 6, 2022 11:40 AM

HOLY SHIT CROSSRAIL CHICAGO MIGHT GET FUNDED!!! METRA MIGHT FINALLY BE COMPETENT!!


A unified push to revamp Union Station: Today's Juice

Quote:

Specifically, in an unprecedented but unheralded (until now) action, Amtrak and the states of Illinois and Michigan, joined by Metra, Chicago and Cook County, are working together to seek a huge grant as part of President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, envisioning what eventually would be $850 million in work in and around the historic train depot.
....
Some of the work is in the station, including engineering for a complete rebuild of the station’s beyond-outmoded engineering system, $30 million or so for internal redesign to make the station flow better, and both engineering and construction to open a badly needed new platform by rebuilding the long abandoned mail-train platform. With sidings, according to Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari, it will be able to handle four trains at once, something that those who have had to wait for a clear track to finish their trip will appreciate.

The bigger part of the first phase is outside the station. It will focus on building new track and realigning and making better use of the St. Charles Air Line bridge in the South Loop. Doing so will allow Metra to run trains south using Metra Electric and Rock Island tracks rather than relying on often congested Canadian National freight tracks.

That should allow both Metra and Amtrak trains to travel faster.

The work also will allow direct service from O’Hare International Airport to McCormick Place via Union Station—a key move that high-speed rail advocates consider a crucial piece of their plans for fast passenger trains nationwide.
https://www.chicagobusiness.com/juic...g-crains-juice


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