SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/index.php)
-   Transportation (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=25)
-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

Abner Apr 1, 2008 1:49 AM

I think people can be excused for not noticing how many cars are on a train. It makes zero difference how many cars are on your train, as long as you can get on.

OhioGuy Apr 1, 2008 3:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago (Post 3453641)
I don't know why people don't figure this out.......I never ever went to the middle of the brown line as it was. It was always full of lazy people who just stood right by the top of the stairs.

I've never understood that either. I always go to the front car or the back car when I ride the red or brown lines too. I want good forward seating so that I can just stare out the window while we roll along and typically it's difficult to get the "good" seats in the middle cars of those trains. As you said, too many people are lazy when it comes to moving up/down the platform once they get up the stairs.

Nowhereman1280 Apr 1, 2008 4:15 AM

The front car is the best, there are fewer people, the bums are less likely to go up there due to the proximity to the operator, and its got the smoothest ride since its in the lead. Though if you can get in the back compartment seats on the last car you have a sweet-ass view out the back.

VivaLFuego Apr 1, 2008 4:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 3454047)
Though if you can get in the back compartment seats on the last car you have a sweet-ass view out the back.

Amen, brother. It's the closest you can come anymore the rail-fan seat that got taken out in the 90s when they got rid of conductors. Oh the childhood memories of riding out to line terminals so I could get the railfan seat for the trip back... :whatthefuck:

Haworthia Apr 2, 2008 3:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 3454047)
The front car is the best, there are fewer people, the bums are less likely to go up there due to the proximity to the operator, and its got the smoothest ride since its in the lead.

My wife saw a guy get his iPod swiped (literally ripped from his hands) while riding in the front car of a Harlem/Lake branch of the Green Line. That was on Monday evening (7pm). I ride in the front car if it's late and I'm by myself, but the operators don't really monitor what is going on. Myself, I've been hit up for money on the first car. Maybe this is just the Green line? But the front car definitely makes for the smoothest ride. Riding in the rear car gives me motion sickness.:yuck:

Nowhereman1280 Apr 2, 2008 6:46 PM

^^^ I actually have yet to see a crime occur whilst in the City of Chicago and I spend a lot of time in somewhat seedy areas like Rogers park.

The first car is also really fun in tunnels because you can look through the front window and see the ups and downs and corners.

Mr Downtown Apr 2, 2008 7:03 PM

And the first car gets served their drinks first . . .

Marcu Apr 2, 2008 9:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 3457438)
^^^ I actually have yet to see a crime occur whilst in the City of Chicago and I spend a lot of time in somewhat seedy areas like Rogers park.

The first car is also really fun in tunnels because you can look through the front window and see the ups and downs and corners.

The cops have been cracking down in Rogers Park around Howard the last year or so. I haven't seen that many cops in any Chicago neighborhood ever before.

Abner Apr 2, 2008 9:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 3457438)
^^^ I actually have yet to see a crime occur whilst in the City of Chicago and I spend a lot of time in somewhat seedy areas like Rogers park.

Huge difference between Rogers Park and Austin. I don't think I know anyone who rides the Green Line regularly during off-peak hours who HASN'T witnessed a crime on it.

Haworthia Apr 2, 2008 10:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3457889)
Huge difference between Rogers Park and Austin. I don't think I know anyone who rides the Green Line regularly during off-peak hours who HASN'T witnessed a crime on it.

Amen to that. I used to spend a lot of time in Rogers Park and up to recently, I attended church in Austin. Rogers Park is a much better neighborhood at the moment.

I really want the CTA to put cameras on all the Green line trains. All the trains in system, actually. I understand the new cars that the CTA is ordering will have them. This is long overdue. There have been a number crimes that have been happening in broad daylight on the Green Line. I know people who have witnessed purse snatching, pick-pocketing, and a straight-up mugging. All during the day, all within the last six months! :(

Nowhereman1280 Apr 3, 2008 1:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3457873)
The cops have been cracking down in Rogers Park around Howard the last year or so. I haven't seen that many cops in any Chicago neighborhood ever before.

How recently? Because there has been a massive surge in crimes against Loyola Students over the past 6 months particularly West North West of campus. Maybe that's why they are cracking down, Loyola carries a lot of weight with the city government. Example: Mundelein tower caught fire last year and 13 fire trucks, 10 cops, and 3 or 4 ambulances showed up and completely blocked off Sheridan Rd. This was a minor fire, worker threw a cig in a garbage can and started a room on fire. It was huge overreaction as well. When Loyola wants the city to do something, the city does it. I don't know why, it just happens that way.

Also, I know the Green Line Austin Area is much more dangerous the the Rogers Park area, I'm just saying that I'm surprised I haven't even seen a minor crime occur yet. I mean I saw 3 murder scenes while I going to school in Milwaukee and I move to Chicago and I haven't even seen a simple purse snatching.

honte Apr 3, 2008 3:00 AM

A good friend of mine (visiting) had a gold Thai chain literally ripped off of her neck on the Lake Street L. I felt so bad, because this is the only such incident I've ever witnessed here.

Abner Apr 3, 2008 3:19 PM

The Lake Street line is really out of control. There was a big wave of assaults on it a couple summers ago--not even robberies, some group of people just started randomly beating people. It doesn't seem like the police are attempting to do anything about it at all.

Marcu Apr 3, 2008 5:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 3458453)
How recently? Because there has been a massive surge in crimes against Loyola Students over the past 6 months particularly West North West of campus. Maybe that's why they are cracking down, Loyola carries a lot of weight with the city government. Example: Mundelein tower caught fire last year and 13 fire trucks, 10 cops, and 3 or 4 ambulances showed up and completely blocked off Sheridan Rd. This was a minor fire, worker threw a cig in a garbage can and started a room on fire. It was huge overreaction as well. When Loyola wants the city to do something, the city does it. I don't know why, it just happens that way.

Also, I know the Green Line Austin Area is much more dangerous the the Rogers Park area, I'm just saying that I'm surprised I haven't even seen a minor crime occur yet. I mean I saw 3 murder scenes while I going to school in Milwaukee and I move to Chicago and I haven't even seen a simple purse snatching.

That sounds troubling. Especially considering the gains that part of Rogers Park (along the Edgewater border) has made over the past several years. Let's hope it's not part of a bigger trend.

I was mostly referring to the part of the hood that's along the Evanston border off the Howard EL, which is quite a ways away from Loyola (I think 4 red line stops) and is for all practical purposes a different neighborhood. Not aware of any surge in crime there beyond the every day drug related activity that goes on. Think it may just be part of the CPD's new "flood a neighborhood and take it from the gangs one block at a time" program modeled after NY.

Abner Apr 4, 2008 4:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3459959)
That sounds troubling. Especially considering the gains that part of Rogers Park (along the Edgewater border) has made over the past several years. Let's hope it's not part of a bigger trend.

Unfortunately, given the countercyclical nature of crime, it is pretty likely that there will indeed be an upward trend. But that would be a topic for another thread.

Haworthia Apr 4, 2008 4:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3461434)
Unfortunately, given the countercyclical nature of crime, it is pretty likely that there will indeed be an upward trend. But that would be a topic for another thread.

As long as we focus on crime on the CTA or around the stations, we're on topic. This is a huge issue that damages transit ridership and urban living. People need to feel safe taking public transit. With the economy going south, I think we'll see crime going up in the near term.

alexjon Apr 4, 2008 4:45 PM

I've heard that when the economy turns south, people tend to become either visibly depressed (and therefore easier to surprise or take advantage of) or emboldened by desperation, and it feeds a cycle of abuse among people, especially in highly social situations like transit riding.

But only having visited Chicago a few times, I am not entirely certain of the mindset of the people there-- does that sound like the common theme in upticks in crime? When there are high-tension moments, like economic downturn or extreme weather, does crime jump there?

Soaring_Higher Apr 4, 2008 5:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alexjon (Post 3462182)
I've heard that when the economy turns south, people tend to become either visibly depressed (and therefore easier to surprise or take advantage of) or emboldened by desperation, and it feeds a cycle of abuse among people, especially in highly social situations like transit riding.

But only having visited Chicago a few times, I am not entirely certain of the mindset of the people there-- does that sound like the common theme in upticks in crime? When there are high-tension moments, like economic downturn or extreme weather, does crime jump there?

yeah, when Bush won the election in '04 half the city went nuts. :yuck: I almost was thrown off a platform on the Brown line!

Also when the stock market was real down a few weeks ago a guy on the train said he was going to beat people up and steal their money simply because gas prices were so high, and his stock portfolio was getting hammered! It was crazy I tell you, crazy...

OK, on a more serious note... I am sure crime does go up when the economy is in the tanker, but I can't say I've ever personally noticed it in my short time on earth thus far.

Actually nicer weather creates more crime, because people are out more, and get themselves into trouble. From what I have heard, crime does go down the colder it becomes, but increases the hotter it gets. Now we are getting off topic!

VivaLFuego Apr 4, 2008 5:26 PM

^Street crime is much more of a problem in the summer months.

Security is a big issue for transit, and one of the biggest reasons that CTA ridership was decimated through the 80s and early 90s. Just as coverage over the past year has focused on how transit is slow/inefficient/incompetent, the nonstop barrage of media coverage in that era was about how crime-infested the system was. And all the actual crime happening on the Green Line, or the various gangfights on south side buses, sure doesn't help now either.

Having a copper (Huberman) running things is, intuitively, a good thing since he'll have experience and understanding of security issues. But like most things in transit, actual enforcement comes down to funding and priorities, which are much more political (Daley, City Council, Springfield) than technical (Huberman) in nature.

Marcu Apr 4, 2008 10:28 PM

^ It's very difficult to actually notice an uptick in crime since the likelyhood of becoming a victim or witnessing a criminal occurence is still very very unlikely. People tend to vastly overestimate very tiny risks (eg being killed in gang crossfire, terrorist attack) and underestimate great risks (heart disease, smoking). So even one news report of a violent crime occuring on the el can significantly lower ridership.

Rail Claimore Apr 4, 2008 10:53 PM

:previous: Another reason to quit watching TV.

the urban politician Apr 8, 2008 3:43 AM

Coming to the lineup: Metra stop at The Cell

April 7, 2008
BY GUY TRIDGELL Staff writer
White Sox fans clamoring for a Metra stop at The Cell, your wait is almost over.

Metra soon will begin seeking contractors to build a new station to serve U.S. Cellular Field and the Illinois Institute of Technology. Construction will start this summer. The station will open during the 2009 baseball season.
http://www.southtownstar.com/news/88...trasox.article[/

jpIllInoIs Apr 8, 2008 3:30 PM

So Shore RR update
 
http://www.nictd-wlc.com/

Northern Indiana Commuter Transit has updated it's website to include plans and maps of the Rail Expansion paln for Valpo and Lowell, IN.

i_am_hydrogen Apr 8, 2008 4:25 PM

Google, CTA teaming up to aid trip planning
Online site offers step-by-step travel instructions, plus photos


By Jon Hilkevitch | Tribune reporter
11:17 AM CDT, April 8, 2008

CTA customers can now use Google to plan their rides on trains and buses under an agreement announced Tuesday.

The new technology partnership between the transit authority and the Internet search-engine giant incorporates a trip-planning function with photographs of locations provided by Google's mapping service. The site is available at www.maps.google.com/chicago.

Riders can enter the start and end points of their trip, and the computer software will produce several itineraries to choose from. The agency hopes the service, which is being provided at no cost to the CTA will generate new ridership, President Ron Huberman said at a news conference Tuesday in the agency's headquarters at 567 W. Lake St.

"We hope people will see this as an alternative to find a faster way to work," Huberman said. The announcement was made in a CTA meeting room that was transformed into a sound stage, complete with loud, pulsating music, pyramids of large colored cubes in Google's color schemes, futuristic ergodynamic chairs and a large buffet table.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/techno...,3820867.story

aaron38 Apr 8, 2008 5:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by i_am_hydrogen (Post 3470340)
Riders can enter the start and end points of their trip, and the computer software will produce several itineraries to choose from.

I'll have to check that out. Half the reason I never take the bus in the city is that the routes are so cryptic and tangled, it's not a very easy system to jump into. It's easier to just walk a few more blocks to an El station.

I did notice though that on the higher zoom levels of the google maps, that they now show all the bus stops. Being able to map a trip with the transfers worked out is great.

VivaLFuego Apr 8, 2008 7:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 3470205)
http://www.nictd-wlc.com/

Northern Indiana Commuter Transit has updated it's website to include plans and maps of the Rail Expansion paln for Valpo and Lowell, IN.

This project is a textbook example of the silliness of having (state-created) agency-planning as opposed to regional planning, with Metra also working on a New Start for the "Southeast Service". Clearly, both SES and the Lowell NICTD branch aren't both justified; it's one or the other. But both studies are advancing in a vacuum assuming that the other doesn't exist.

Personally, I'd rather see the SES killed and both NICTD projects move forward, since the SES would cannibalize the grade-seperated electric treasure that is the ME.

emathias Apr 8, 2008 11:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aaron38 (Post 3470545)
I'll have to check that out. Half the reason I never take the bus in the city is that the routes are so cryptic and tangled, it's not a very easy system to jump into. It's easier to just walk a few more blocks to an El station.

I did notice though that on the higher zoom levels of the google maps, that they now show all the bus stops. Being able to map a trip with the transfers worked out is great.

I'm glad Google and the CTA are talking to each other, but "head-in-their-ass" Metra and PACE still aren't so regionally it's not as useful as it could be.

The RTA TripPlanner works pretty well, and has been around quite a while.

But, personally, I still prefer HopStop. If you put in the address for Wrigley Field and the address for Yankee Stadium, it tells you that in 16 hours and 9 minutes subways and Amtrak can carry you between the two - I don't know how useful that is, but it's damn cool anyway. :-)

Mr Downtown Apr 9, 2008 8:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aaron38 (Post 3470545)
Half the reason I never take the bus in the city is that the routes are so cryptic and tangled

I'm curious what you find hard to understand about Chicago buses. Setting aside the lakefront express buses, nearly all of them just run back and forth on the street for which they're named. Compared to most cities, with complex radial routes that wander through outlying neighborhoods, Chicago's bus network seems extremely easy to understand. In fact, it might be the simplest bus network (with more than five routes) in the world.

jpIllInoIs Apr 9, 2008 9:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3470713)
This project is a textbook example of the silliness of having (state-created) agency-planning as opposed to regional planning, with Metra also working on a New Start for the "Southeast Service". Clearly, both SES and the Lowell NICTD branch aren't both justified; it's one or the other. But both studies are advancing in a vacuum assuming that the other doesn't exist.

Personally, I'd rather see the SES killed and both NICTD projects move forward, since the SES would cannibalize the grade-seperated electric treasure that is the ME.

I was thinking the same thing. The service areas are tight and definitely overlap.

I would rather see Metra put their resources to the Wadworth Line- which would paralell I-94 and have stops at Rondout, Western Waukegan, Gurnee, and Wadsworth. It would serve Abbott Labs, Baxter, Cardinal Health, Hospira, U-Line, Great Lakes Naval Base, Gurnee Mills, Great America, Key Lime Cove and the new Lakehurst devolpment which is to be TOD and retail. This would serve as an excellent reverse commute route to the Lake County Employment Corridor and would serve some huge tourist destinations. Gurnee Mills is the 2nd most popular tourist destination in the State and that was before this months opening of Key Lime Cove. :yes:

VivaLFuego Apr 9, 2008 9:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3473731)
I'm curious what you find hard to understand about Chicago buses. Setting aside the lakefront express buses, nearly all of them just run back and forth on the street for which they're named. Compared to most cities, with complex radial routes that wander through outlying neighborhoods, Chicago's bus network seems extremely easy to understand. In fact, it might be the simplest bus network (with more than five routes) in the world.

Agreed, and it's simplicity (namely, you basically always know you can get from any point, to nearly any point in the city, with a total of 2 bus trips/1 transfer) is one of the reasons it's such a highly utilized system. It's not far behind Los Angeles for total bus ridership, though with Chicago's smaller population and much higher fares it means our utilization is significantly better. If only CTA got the same proportional operational subsidy as LACMTA (80% vs. 48%) ....

VivaLFuego Apr 9, 2008 10:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 3473799)
I would rather see Metra put their resources to the Wadworth Line- which would paralell I-94 and have stops at Rondout, Western Waukegan, Gurnee, and Wadsworth. It would serve Abbott Labs, Baxter, Cardinal Health, Hospira, U-Line, Great Lakes Naval Base, Gurnee Mills, Great America, Key Lime Cove and the new Lakehurst devolpment which is to be TOD and retail. This would serve as an excellent reverse commute route to the Lake County Employment Corridor and would serve some huge tourist destinations. Gurnee Mills is the 2nd most popular tourist destination in the State and that was before this months opening of Key Lime Cove. :yes:

This would be a great project, and I understand that some Lake County politicians are starting to promote it. Lake County has severe transportation capacity issues since the IL-53 expansion never got built, but the northern/western portions of the county continue to develop almost as though it had...here's hoping it starts getting put into the state/regional TIPs and enters the New Starts process, or maybe Metra could bond out its $100 million/year operating surplus to pay for a substantial portion of construction, along with a local temporary sales tax. Seeing as Amtrak already uses these tracks and operates on them at 90mph, I don't imagine this being a particularly expensive project...mostly station facilities, signalling, probably some sidings/special trackwork to help reduce freight conflicts, and some additional railcars. But in terms of ROW acquisition etc, this is almost a slam dunk, and as you allude to it would have to be one of the top riders-per-mile and rides-per-dollar commuter rail projects in the entire country.

jpIllInoIs Apr 10, 2008 4:14 AM

^ Yep, Amtrak does already run on these tracks. And if Amtrak added a stop at the Lakehurst/Waukegan or Gurnee station they would create an intermodal powerhouse. Intercity trains-Regional trains-Pace buses and dedicated shuttle busses. Milwaukee and Chicago Travellers would be able to reach all of the tourist destinations at Grand/I-94 as well as Great Lakes Naval Base. Commuters would have mass transit options to dozens of Corporate world HQ's. and for a very small investment compared to starting up a brand new line (SES)

the urban politician Apr 10, 2008 1:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3473922)
This would be a great project, and I understand that some Lake County politicians are starting to promote it. Lake County has severe transportation capacity issues since the IL-53 expansion never got built, but the northern/western portions of the county continue to develop almost as though it had...here's hoping it starts getting put into the state/regional TIPs and enters the New Starts process, or maybe Metra could bond out its $100 million/year operating surplus to pay for a substantial portion of construction, along with a local temporary sales tax. Seeing as Amtrak already uses these tracks and operates on them at 90mph, I don't imagine this being a particularly expensive project...mostly station facilities, signalling, probably some sidings/special trackwork to help reduce freight conflicts, and some additional railcars. But in terms of ROW acquisition etc, this is almost a slam dunk, and as you allude to it would have to be one of the top riders-per-mile and rides-per-dollar commuter rail projects in the entire country.

^ Are these attractions/jobs at all near the railroad line? In other words, would one be able to walk to any of them if they got off at these stops?

Taft Apr 10, 2008 4:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3475259)
^ Are these attractions/jobs at all near the railroad line? In other words, would one be able to walk to any of them if they got off at these stops?

Unless I'm missing something on this map, I don't think so:

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=4...,0.079308&z=14

The various attractions along the line would probably have to run shuttles to and from the Metra.

Taft

VivaLFuego Apr 10, 2008 6:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3475259)
^ Are these attractions/jobs at all near the railroad line? In other words, would one be able to walk to any of them if they got off at these stops?

Abbott Labs AND Baxter's McGaw Park campus both directly abut the railroad, so it would indeed serve reverse commuters well (these are major regional employers). The Lakehurt Mall redevelopment site is also very near the railroad, but I'm not familiar with the redevelopment plans (last I heard was "Walmart Supercenter").

Great America, Gurnee Mills, and the big Water Park are all about a mile west of the line, so a shuttle would be required to serve these; but it's well set up for a looping shuttle services.

Major trip generators all around, certainly moreso than say, the North Central Line or Southeast Line. After the STAR line (I-90 portion) and Blue Line extension to Oakbrook/Yorktown, it's the next best proposal being talked about in terms of serving transit-deficient employment areas. It also has the advantage of being relatively cheap.

Abner Apr 11, 2008 3:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3475815)
After the STAR line (I-90 portion) and Blue Line extension to Oakbrook/Yorktown

Can you (or anyone else) say anything about the Blue Line extension idea? A lot of people in Oak Park are banking on that proposal to become reality to prevent a widening of the Eisenhower. As far as I'm concerned almost anything is preferable to interstate expansion, but I wonder how high ridership would be in that corridor and whether there would be issues with running a route that long.

VivaLFuego Apr 11, 2008 4:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3477227)
Can you (or anyone else) say anything about the Blue Line extension idea? A lot of people in Oak Park are banking on that proposal to become reality to prevent a widening of the Eisenhower. As far as I'm concerned almost anything is preferable to interstate expansion, but I wonder how high ridership would be in that corridor and whether there would be issues with running a route that long.

It'll be an RTA project, and it's some ways away, but there seem to be alot of people pulling for it, particularly Oak Park, just about every planning agency, and a few DuPage groups.

That said, ALOT of people will be pulling for Ike-widening, including many DuPage interests, and some of those people, particularly in the construction/paving industry, have quite a bit of political clout. You better believe in these "tough economic times" there will be pressure for some major construction projects to "create jobs", and the standard way of doing that is roads and bridges, not rail lines. That, and many west suburbanites' constitutional right to unobstructed driving is being stamped on by the oppressive jackboot of the 6-lane Ike.

It will end up being an entirely political decision, like these things always are, and I suspect it will be pretty hard fought. It'll be intense because the condemnations would be happening in exactly the place (Oak Park) that seems to be solidly against such widening. So if the local reps are opposed, will the other interests still overide them? This is the type of thing where a strong and competent governor, with matching strong and competent house/senate leadership, would ensure a particular outcome. But given current Springfield politics, this might well be a major shitstorm.

Sometimes things break the right way (when the Crosstown money got spent on the O'hare extension and Orange Line, for example), and sometimes they don't (see I-10 in Houston, where they nixed a proposed commuter rail to add even more lanes in a widening project. 20 lanes wide: believe it.).

In terms of alignment and operations, I think it's a feasible project. Downtown to Oak Brook is about the same length as downtown to O'hare. The Congress Line is already very fast, making the trip to FP in about 25 minutes; now imagine the whole thing, all the way to Oak Brook, built to a 70mph standard, with half the trains terminating at Forest Park, half continuing to the terminal, and (key point) some sort of distance surcharge for trips that far west. This would be a two-way commute route, providing a fast reverse commute route for the unfortunate Chicagoans who have to survive the drive to Oak Brook every day, and there are a lot of them. It would also be additional parallel inbound-commute capacity to the jam-packed BNSF line and respectably-busy UP-W line; slightly longer travel time, given more stops, but also direct service into the heart of the Loop. It also would provide a laughably long direct connection between Oak Brook and O'hare Airport, but I wonder if many people would actually make that trip without a bathroom break. Obviously I haven't seen any ridership projections, but I think it could work quite well at least as far as Oak Brook (not sure about all the way out to Yorktown).

Rail Claimore Apr 11, 2008 9:16 PM

Oh the Ike will get widened to 4 lanes in the Avenues section. There's no way to do it otherwise when you consider the investment they made undoing the Hillside Strangler and pushing the jam further east. They had Ike-widening in mind when that project was planned.

That being said, if a blue line extension could be made a part of the deal (which I'm all for), both sides might get what they want, and everyone but Oak Park NIMBYs and BANANAs would be happy. But the only way to do both without taking in significant ROW would be to use the current blue-line ROW for expressway widening, then putting the blue-line in a subway or elevating it.

VivaLFuego Apr 11, 2008 10:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rail Claimore (Post 3478981)
But the only way to do both without taking in significant ROW would be to use the current blue-line ROW for expressway widening, then putting the blue-line in a subway or elevating it.

Yeah. I wonder what the feasibility/cost of this would be. Would clearly be the desired outcome from Oak Park's standpoint, but I'm having trouble contemplating a staging sequence. Ideally (cost-wise) you could cut-and-cover the "subway" and build the roadway on top of it, but that would even further reduce capacity for several years during construction. The line won't be so highly utilized as to justify deep-boring tunnels. At-grade with crossings is out of the question. I suppose you would add an incline/portal to subway at Central, bore your way to Des Plaines avenue, and hope the pols come up with enough pork barrel money to pay for it. Then you can widen the expressway and rebuild all bridges and ramps after the old Blue Line is removed.

Around the avenues, I suspect the Ike could be widened just by eating up the grass embankment and adding retaining walls (rebuilding all the ramps too, of course).

But for some reason, I have a bad feeling the end result will just be a widened Ike with piddly transit improvements (e.g. some Pace quasi-BRT around Oak Brook).

Rail Claimore Apr 11, 2008 11:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3479106)
Yeah. I wonder what the feasibility/cost of this would be. Would clearly be the desired outcome from Oak Park's standpoint, but I'm having trouble contemplating a staging sequence. Ideally (cost-wise) you could cut-and-cover the "subway" and build the roadway on top of it, but that would even further reduce capacity for several years during construction. The line won't be so highly utilized as to justify deep-boring tunnels. At-grade with crossings is out of the question. I suppose you would add an incline/portal to subway at Central, bore your way to Des Plaines avenue, and hope the pols come up with enough pork barrel money to pay for it. Then you can widen the expressway and rebuild all bridges and ramps after the old Blue Line is removed.

Around the avenues, I suspect the Ike could be widened just by eating up the grass embankment and adding retaining walls (rebuilding all the ramps too, of course).

But for some reason, I have a bad feeling the end result will just be a widened Ike with piddly transit improvements (e.g. some Pace quasi-BRT around Oak Brook).

From Austin to Forest Park isn't the tightest squeeze for that section anyway, but it's the section that voices the most opposition. From what I could see, the rail ROW there is still 4-tracks wide, so you could probably add an additional lane in that section with just some good engineering work. West of First-Avenue is the bigger problem. Even with 3-lanes each direction, the left shoulders are far from adequate. There would most likely be a rail or BRT extension involved with any type of capacity increase project on that section, simply because you'd have to take large parcels of land anyway. One row of houses on one side of the expressway would be enough for the additional lanes and tracks, so there'd be little reason not to extend transit services beyond Forest Park.

The question is one of balance. Widening to 4 lanes each way through Oak Park would reduce a good bit of the congestion associated with merging, meaning reduced emissions from vehicles for residents in the area. I don't see much induced demand in the equation considering it already goes through and connects areas that have long been developed.

I'd personally love to see the ramps for either Austin or Harlem Avenues removed completely, but residents probably want their access. Those interchanges handle an insane amount of traffic given their capacity. The part through Oak Park could also be capped pretty easily given the embankments. I suspect we'll see that thrown in to sweeten the deal for Oak Park and to silence the nimbys, meaning this is going to be an incredibly costly project.

VivaLFuego Apr 12, 2008 1:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rail Claimore (Post 3479186)
The question is one of balance. Widening to 4 lanes each way through Oak Park would reduce a good bit of the congestion associated with merging, meaning reduced emissions from vehicles for residents in the area. I don't see much induced demand in the equation considering it already goes through and connects areas that have long been developed.

It's a good point, and ultimately would be deferred to CMAP (ne CATS) and the consultants who study the corridor. There may not be induced trip demand, but a potential 'concern' would be induced auto demand (e.g. shift away from transit) resulting from the reduced travel time of auto improving it's competitiveness with transit. i.e. it might induce a mode shift away from transit, and end up with the same socially-acceptable level of congestion, just with fewer transit riders. There would probably be all sorts of effects going, leading to some very interesting cost-benefit questions, e.g. quantifying the value of travel time, accessibility, air quality, etc., that will ultimately to our horror be completely meaningless in the context of it being a completely political decision anyway :)

Quote:

The part through Oak Park could also be capped pretty easily given the embankments. I suspect we'll see that thrown in to sweeten the deal for Oak Park and to silence the nimbys, meaning this is going to be an incredibly costly project.
I wouldn't mind this entire corridor being our region's next mega-project, getting underway as the O'hare Expansion is wrapping up, but I do wish the Central Area would get some attention in re: the Circle Interchange bottleneck and improving access to/from the commuter rail stations. That whole vital issue hasn't seemed to be on anyone's radar lately, perhaps because it's such an enormous and terrifying gorilla (like the Howard/North Main/Red Line viaducts and stations) that people just like to pretend the need doesn't exist.

schwerve Apr 12, 2008 1:37 AM

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=28967

Quote:

New CTA signs to monitor train arrivals

CTA President Ron Huberman says more than 1,300 extra-large digital screens are going up in rail stations and at subway entrances to give riders real-time information about how many minutes away the next train is.
...
Huberman says the first screens should be up in about four months.

Abner Apr 12, 2008 4:17 AM

Viva, thanks for that assessment.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rail Claimore (Post 3478981)
That being said, if a blue line extension could be made a part of the deal (which I'm all for), both sides might get what they want, and everyone but Oak Park NIMBYs and BANANAs would be happy.

How does opposing interstate widening through a very densely developed section of one's town qualify one as a BANANA? The letters and editorials I've read in the Oak Park newspaper mostly oppose Ike widening because it will likely result in lots of demolition of good housing stock and because in the long run it will just induce demand until the expressway reaches its old level of congestion, except 33% wider. (I don't buy that this won't induce demand just because this section runs through already developed areas--for one, because people are mobile.)

On a related note, I would argue that Oak Park is not even remotely as NIMBY-controlled as most other suburbs (or even many Chicago neighborhoods). The local paper--which owns Chicago Journal, among others--is remarkably pro-development, and I think most people there would be happy to see more development if it reduces the fiscal burden residents have been facing the last few years.

ardecila Apr 12, 2008 5:16 AM

Regarding all the hand-wringing about ROW widths and takings - I still don't understand why nobody is considering a re-use of the CA&E right of way through Maywood, Bellwood, and Hillside for the Blue Line extension.

Following the I-88/Eisenhower corridor is not necessary between Forest Park and Oakbrook, since there aren't any office parks there. Basically, build the Blue Line westward along the CA&E until the Tri-State, where it turns south and runs down to I-88. That leaves plenty of room for highway widening without takings.

Between Harlem and Des Plaines might be a challenge, though.

nomarandlee Apr 12, 2008 6:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3473922)
Seeing as Amtrak already uses these tracks and operates on them at 90mph, I don't imagine this being a particularly expensive project...mostly station facilities, signalling, probably some sidings/special trackwork to help reduce freight conflicts, and some additional railcars. But in terms of ROW acquisition etc, this is almost a slam dunk, and as you allude to it would have to be one of the top riders-per-mile and rides-per-dollar commuter rail projects in the entire country.

That would add frequancy (and congestion) to the rest of the MD-NL going south starting in Lake Forest right? You think there would be any complications either logistically or politically (NIMBY's waiting at rail road gates) with adding more Metra trains along the current line?

I like the idea of the extension as it would also mean increased frequancy I think for the southern portion of the MD-NL. I just fear that I think most of the Lake country towns still have some room for subdivisions that they will push to build as opposed to making TOD's out of new stops. It would be nice if the RTA had the power and clout to require TOD"s for new service.

Nowhereman1280 Apr 12, 2008 8:12 PM

I think they should tear out 2 lanes on all the freeways to build a complete El system around the area, its faster than rush hour traffic now anyhow...

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 3479407)

Good news! I've been looking forward to seeing these kind of basic, noticeable improvements on the El for a long time!

jamesinclair Apr 13, 2008 1:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 3479407)

Thank God that one city in the US is doing this.

In Boston, the head said the technology was available, and could be displayed on the screens already in stations, but that the riders didnt need the information.

WTF

Mr Downtown Apr 13, 2008 3:42 AM

Here's how it looks.

CTA Bus Tracker State/Roosevelt 62 NB

VivaLFuego Apr 13, 2008 4:03 AM

^ The BusTracker map is quite groovy.

There are still apparently some kinks to work out. I had occasion to use bus tracker on Western Ave... the software tracked the bus perfectly in terms of predicting arrival time, but when it showed up, it was a different bus number and was a route X49 rather than a 49 as displayed on my phone.

Still, progress...

pottebaum Apr 13, 2008 4:07 AM

Can it be accessed from non-smart phones?


All times are GMT. The time now is 4:50 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.