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Mr Downtown May 21, 2008 3:11 AM

The Gray Line is just an idea suggested by an ordinary citizen. It has no agency support.

Chicagoguy May 21, 2008 3:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3564958)
The Gray Line is just an idea suggested by an ordinary citizen. It has no agency support.

Really? I thought I read about it on the CTA website a few months ago!

Abner May 21, 2008 4:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3564116)
They will have LCD screens to display advertising and information (don't worry, the ads won't have sound), as well as digital route map displays like in the New York railcars.

I have to admit this makes me really nervous. I'm the kind of person who goes out of their way to avoid blaring video screens, whether there's sound or not. Combined with longitudinal seating that will eliminate the possibility of looking out the window and basically force people to look towards the interior of the car, I wonder if this will not make people more "captive" to video ads than they ought to be. Pace is nightmarish enough...

Chicagoguy May 21, 2008 4:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3565170)
I have to admit this makes me really nervous. I'm the kind of person who goes out of their way to avoid blaring video screens, whether there's sound or not. Combined with longitudinal seating that will eliminate the possibility of looking out the window and basically force people to look towards the interior of the car, I wonder if this will not make people more "captive" to video ads than they ought to be. Pace is nightmarish enough...

I know you might not like the fact of seeing all of the screens with ads but you also have to think...those ads are helping pay for our new train cars which we are in desperate need of. And as for the seats all facing inward, it is just opening it up for more standing room which will be great and allow more people to fit in the cars, hopefully making the CTA much more desirable to more people!

ardecila May 21, 2008 5:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3564958)
The Gray Line is just an idea suggested by an ordinary citizen. It has no agency support.

Nor will it have agency support as long as CTA and Metra continue to bicker stupidly. To have a world-class transit system, all we really need to do is work on inter-agency cooperation. This includes things like fare integration between CTA, Metra, and Pace.

Also, as much as Metra hates it, they will eventually have to start seriously providing service to inner-city areas. Metra's rail lines run to many places that aren't well-served by CTA rail, and it would be terribly wasteful to duplicate service. Metra Electric serves the South Lakefront, South Shore, an area that will begin to really increase in population over the next 30 years and will need vastly better transit access. The Milwaukee District lines serve neighborhoods on the Northwest Side that aren't even remotely close to the Blue or Green Lines. SouthWest Service runs through areas of the South Side, while the Rock Island serves Beverly/Morgan Park and other areas.

Eventually, either Metra's management will change their thinking about serving the City of Chicago, or they will be forced to by some frustrated planners and politicians. Then perhaps they will begin to add frequent stops in the city and start running trains on a 10-15min schedule to city stops only, with suburban trains running express to the city limits. This should preserve some separation between city and suburban riders and ease concerns about crime and safety.

Mr Downtown May 21, 2008 12:59 PM

Quote:

I read about it on the CTA website
Don't confuse Chicago-L.org with the CTA's website.

Quote:

either Metra's management will change their thinking about serving the City of Chicago, or they will be forced to
The current funding setup makes city service an understandable afterthought for Metra. That's why the Gray Line proposal simply calls for CTA to do a purchase-of-service with the Metra Electric. That's probably a lot easier than revisiting the regional funding formulae.

VivaLFuego May 21, 2008 2:46 PM

^ Right. Metra gets 0 tax revenue from sales within city limits. Purchase-of-service is the best way to go, but CTA's budget is precarious enough as it is. Perhaps the most plausible solution would be to 1) increase the size of RTA's annual discretionary funds so as not to hurt CTA's portion, then 2) have RTA pay for the in-city service. The problem there is that RTA is now bought-and-paid-for by suburbanites, so fat chance of them agreeing to subsidize in-city service without getting a major slice of bacon for themselves.

Chicago3rd May 21, 2008 3:39 PM

^^But I heard per mile those of us who live in the city and use Metra pay more. Do we pay enough to offset not getting sales tax from the city? A few months back there was an article that said those of us who live in the city and ride Metra actually help to keep those at the far end of the lines fares cheaper.

There should be a 1/2 hr train between Chicago and Evanston most of the day.

Dr. Taco May 21, 2008 3:40 PM

They're painting the wabash el structure to match the wabash bridge and adding accent lighting. old news? I just found out about via this document

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y6/jstush04/wabash.jpg

Chicagoguy May 21, 2008 3:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jstush04 (Post 3565847)
They're painting the wabash el structure to match the wabash bridge and adding accent lighting. old news? I just found out about via this document

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y6/jstush04/wabash.jpg

I actually didnt really know much about it already so thanks for the post. I think this is good, its going to make it look much better. What kind of accent lighting are they adding?

Haworthia May 21, 2008 4:05 PM

For those curious about the work being done on Wabash, you can find some info here:
http://www.chicagoloopalliance.com/b...ture/index.htm

There are some pdf files that describe the work in thorough detail.

Chicagoguy May 21, 2008 4:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haworthia (Post 3565882)
For those curious about the work being done on Wabash, you can find some info here:
http://www.chicagoloopalliance.com/b...ture/index.htm

There are some pdf files that describe the work in thorough detail.

Wow I love the final result. Just painting the L structure does a world of difference. And I love all of the new planters

OhioGuy May 21, 2008 4:49 PM

Yes, it will definitely be nice when Wabash is finally finished. I'm on that street generally 4 - 5 days each week and it's sort of an eyesore. Unfortunately the L will still sound like a heap of scrap metal moving across the tracks, but at least everything will look much nicer.

Chicagoguy May 21, 2008 5:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 3565945)
Yes, it will definitely be nice when Wabash is finally finished. I'm on that street generally 4 - 5 days each week and it's sort of an eyesore. Unfortunately the L will still sound like a heap of scrap metal moving across the tracks, but at least everything will look much nicer.

Well hopefully in the next 2 years when they start getting the new train cars and finish the restoring and fixing the tracks, the noise level will hopefully go down alot as well. I go to school there so I am there all the time as well!

VivaLFuego May 21, 2008 5:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 3565846)
^^But I heard per mile those of us who live in the city and use Metra pay more. Do we pay enough to offset not getting sales tax from the city? A few months back there was an article that said those of us who live in the city and ride Metra actually help to keep those at the far end of the lines fares cheaper.

There should be a 1/2 hr train between Chicago and Evanston most of the day.

People boarding Metra in the collar counties (e.g. outside Cook) were and are very heavily subsidized on a per-trip, but on a per-passenger-mile basis things get more complicated. Generally, Metra's subsidy per trip is much, much higher than CTA and Pace, and moreso now with the bonanza of new sales tax revenue they're getting. Part of the deal was that they would somewhat increase off-peak and weekend service on every line where it's possible, but because of fuel costs now they're only improving service on the MD-N and UP-N lines.

The UP-N, MD-N, UP-NW, UP-W, BNSF, RI, and ME all have the ridership and TOD to justify more off-peak and weekend service...here's hoping if/when fuel prices come back to earth that Metra and it's oversight don't forget about that part of the bargain...

Mr Downtown May 21, 2008 7:17 PM

How will the noise level of the Wabash L be decreased by new railcars and new signals? These new cars will weigh the same and have the same type of trucks.

honte May 21, 2008 7:24 PM

Didn't the original Wabash streetscape plan have a lot of modern elements? I was surprised by the tacky new retro signs with the little jewels on top.

Anyway, nice project regardless.

Mr Downtown May 21, 2008 9:05 PM

Yeah, I guess a visit to the mayor's office toned things down quite a bit.

Eventually...Chicago May 21, 2008 9:11 PM

yeah i thought i remember there being a proposal for some sort of funky lighting effect underneath the tracks.

It would have been cool, but i'm happy with how wabash is turning out. State, wabash and michigan (in the loop) are turning into solid residential/retail strips.

VivaLFuego May 21, 2008 9:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3566218)
How will the noise level of the Wabash L be decreased by new railcars and new signals? These new cars will weigh the same and have the same type of trucks.

New railcars can be much quieter. The 2200 and 2600 series have notoriously LOUD trucks, and the 2600s further have a defect that makes the wheels go out of balance quickly contributing to loudness.

Also, wooden ties and metal tie plates are noisier than the recycled plastic ties they'll be replaced with over the next 2 years.

Oh, it'll still be quite loud, but a little less skull-rattling.

Chicagoguy May 22, 2008 12:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3566493)
New railcars can be much quieter. The 2200 and 2600 series have notoriously LOUD trucks, and the 2600s further have a defect that makes the wheels go out of balance quickly contributing to loudness.

Also, wooden ties and metal tie plates are noisier than the recycled plastic ties they'll be replaced with over the next 2 years.

Oh, it'll still be quite loud, but a little less skull-rattling.

Thats exactly what I was trying to get at? I wasnt meaning it was going to instantly be silent, just a little bit quieter than it is now! And eventually I am sure we will completely switch to a light rail system or something of the sort...at least that is what has been proposed in like 50 years from now....which I am sure will change a lot before then!

Nowhereman1280 May 22, 2008 12:59 AM

^^^ No, you were right, the new trains will be completely silent since they are Maglev and will levitate above the tracks, can't wait for the new cars to arrive!

OhioGuy May 22, 2008 1:04 AM

^^^ Oh what a dream something like that would be. :)

VivaLFuego May 22, 2008 4:21 AM

Anyone remember that Absolut ad from a few months ago? :) I can't find it anywhere online...

Ch.G, Ch.G May 23, 2008 4:11 AM

Hey everyone: I created a thread calling to action all you mass transit proponents. It concerns a bill introduced in the House that would impact Amtrak and rail funding across the country.

The thread is here.

Abner May 23, 2008 2:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3566065)
The UP-N, MD-N, UP-NW, UP-W, BNSF, RI, and ME all have the ridership and TOD to justify more off-peak and weekend service...here's hoping if/when fuel prices come back to earth that Metra and it's oversight don't forget about that part of the bargain...

I'm not very well-versed in track ownership and infrastructure. Which tracks are owned by Metra, and which of the tracks they don't own could be used by Metra more intensively? Are barriers to (something approaching) rapid transit service on certain lines within the city entirely based on politics and funding or are there logistical issues (track ownership, downtown station capacity, trainset availability) as well?

VivaLFuego May 23, 2008 5:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3570452)
I'm not very well-versed in track ownership and infrastructure. Which tracks are owned by Metra, and which of the tracks they don't own could be used by Metra more intensively? Are barriers to (something approaching) rapid transit service on certain lines within the city entirely based on politics and funding or are there logistical issues (track ownership, downtown station capacity, trainset availability) as well?

The short answer is that each of the problems you mention apply in different combinations to each line :) In some cases, the freight railroad owns the ROW while Metra owns the trackage, in some cases Metra owns it all, in some cases Metra owns none (e.g. the UP lines where Metra even contracts the provision of service).

If memory of all these various constraints serves me well, the Metra Electric (South Chicago branch, and as far as Kensington on the mainline, at least) and Rock Island would probably be the easiest on which to increase frequencies from a legal standpoint. From a technical standpoint, for any line there would be vehicle requirement and terminal signalling issues as well, not to mention of course fare controls. A possibility with a political champion. I think NCS, SWS, HC, MD-N have the worst problem with freight traffic conflicts along 1- and 2-track sections.

jpIllInoIs May 23, 2008 9:06 PM

Usage reported up on 3 Amtrak lines
 
Tribune staff report
10:57 PM CDT, May 22, 2008
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,1838708.story

Ridership in Illinois continues to grow...this is one thing blago did right.

jpIllInoIs May 23, 2008 9:10 PM

Springfield rail upgrades affect Amtrak routes
 
Wow UPRR will replace "thousands" of railroad ties with new concrete ties

But check the schedule for train cancellations.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,5780036.story

aaron38 May 23, 2008 9:52 PM

I witnessed a fun scene today that should warm the heart of any transit fan. 4 luxury car drivers were all fighting over one parking spot in a River North lot. The lot attendant was trying to sort it out as I went past.
Now you can jack up prices and anyone driving a Mercedes can still afford to park. But they can't pull a parking spot out of thin air.

Oh, and Metra was packed this morning. Standing room only after Arlington Heights.

VivaLFuego May 23, 2008 11:54 PM

Transit ridership growth is phenomenal since April. Most services are up 10-15% year over year. Gas prices are triggering some serious shift in the mode split.

emathias May 25, 2008 3:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 3571317)
Tribune staff report
10:57 PM CDT, May 22, 2008
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,1838708.story

Ridership in Illinois continues to grow...this is one thing blago did right.

Now if only they'd find a way to make high-speed service between Chicago and St. Louis. Right now the trip is about 5 hours by car. It they could make it 3 hours by rail, they'd start to make a large dent in mode share between the two.

It's really too bad we don't have more high-speed corridors. 3 hours to St. Louis or Detroit, 4 hours to Minneapolis, an hour to Milwaukee, two to Indianapolis. Of course it'd kill the airlines ...

ardecila May 25, 2008 4:58 PM

^^ The latest Passenger Rail bill in Congress appropriates something like $6 billion to be used in speeding up service on existing lines. 4 projects were required to be funded, and one of those projects was building a completely new, dedicated passenger rail line from Porter, Indiana to Chicago, bypassing tracks that are congested with freight, and involving several grade separations (including one at Englewood). Old, unused bridges and things can be used.

The bill failed to leave committee, but it will very likely come back in some form, once it has more pork for other states.

aic4ever May 25, 2008 5:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3573383)
Now if only they'd find a way to make high-speed service between Chicago and St. Louis. Right now the trip is about 5 hours by car. It they could make it 3 hours by rail, they'd start to make a large dent in mode share between the two.

It's really too bad we don't have more high-speed corridors. 3 hours to St. Louis or Detroit, 4 hours to Minneapolis, an hour to Milwaukee, two to Indianapolis. Of course it'd kill the airlines ...

If I'm not mistaken, Amtrak runs the Haiawatha line to Milwaukee that takes about an hour and a half for something like $30 or $35 round trip, though a bit likely more than that now since I haven't ridden it for about five years. There are a couple stops in between so I would say if they ever ran a nonstop it could make it in an hour pretty easily.

Markitect May 25, 2008 7:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aic4ever (Post 3573833)
If I'm not mistaken, Amtrak runs the Hiawatha line to Milwaukee that takes about an hour and a half for something like $30 or $35 round trip, though a bit likely more than that now since I haven't ridden it for about five years. There are a couple stops in between so I would say if they ever ran a nonstop it could make it in an hour pretty easily.

The Hiawatha is $42 for a Chicago/Milwaukee round trip, for infrequent riders buying a pair of single tickets, one for each way. But for more frequent riders, there are a couple of different multi-ticket packages that work out to be much less money.

As for eliminating intermediate stops between Milwaukee and Chicago to make the train schedule faster--that's not necessary, since they are indeed used by suburban riders (Glenview, Sturtevant/Racine/Mitchell Field) and airport patrons (Mitchell Field). Considering several million dollars have been invested building completely brand new Amtrak stations on the Wisconsin side of the border in just the past 3-4 years alone, it is highly unlikely that those few brief stops at those stations would be discontinued.

Instead, efforts should be focused on making improvements to the track work (tracks rated for higher speeds, grade crossing improvements) and signaling systems (in-cab signaling for engineers) that would allow the Federal railroad regulators to lift the current 79 mph speed limit that's imposed on the corridor right now. Trains could be bumped up to a top speed limit of 110 mph (creating a 70-minute trip, a 20 minute improvement over current operations) with a little bit of effort...the hang-up right now is that no money has been appropriated to do it yet. Of course, if even more money was used to make even more advanced improvements (complete grade crossing separation...new, possibly electrified equipment...would allow speeds greater than 110 mph), travel times could be reduced even more without eliminating stops.

Luckily, the freight railroads which owns the tracks on which the Hiawatha runs have always been hospitable to Amtrak trains--there usually are no conflicts between freight and passenger trains that cause long delays, problems which constantly plague other Amtrak routes around the country. That's why the Hi has one of the best on-time performance ratings in the whole Amtrak system.

VivaLFuego May 26, 2008 12:50 AM

^ Hiawatha already runs 90mph over some portions, fyi

Markitect May 26, 2008 2:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3574271)
^ Hiawatha already runs 90mph over some portions, fyi

Where does this occur and how is that possible without the cab signaling that is required by the Feds?

I've never heard of Hiawathas being allowed to exceed 79 mph in that corridor...except back in the old Milwaukee Road days when they regularly eclipsed 100 mph with steam locos and first-generation diesels, but that was before such speed regulations and cab signaling requirements were imposed.

VivaLFuego May 26, 2008 5:00 PM

^ Brain fart on my part...I was thinking the Detroit service for some reason.

Is cab signalling required for anything above 79mph, or above 90mph? I thought the latter, but could be wrong.

aaron38 May 26, 2008 5:15 PM

Rt. 53 plan is dead … or is it?
State road builders say extending Route 53 north is officially on the shelf after decades of failed attempts to get the massive project built.
"Right now we … don't have any money for it," says Tom Murtha, transportation planner at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
Still, this often tried -- and failed -- project to cut Northwest suburban congestion appears to have life as the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority looks at reviving the plan, and some say it just needs more clout to really get off the ground.
http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=197598

Any delay on this is good news, as I think this is a bad project. Also, with gas skyrocketing, they need to wait and re-evaluate the traffic, because I don't think it's going to grow like they think it is.
And another interstate and new big box stripmalls entirely dependent on the car is just stupid.
We're trying to get the suburban cores redeveloped around the Metra stations, and the last thing we need is a new interstate pulling development north into empty tracts of Lake County.

Markitect May 26, 2008 6:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3575274)
^ Brain fart on my part...I was thinking the Detroit service for some reason.

Yeah, I think Amtrak's Wolverine (Chicago-Detroit) and Blue Water (Chicago-Port Huron) are permitted to run 95mph (possibly a bit faster now, I can't quite recall if they've been allowed to go higher) or so on certain sections of tracks in western Michigan. They've been testing an Incremental Train Control System there.

Also, hasn't there been some testing going on along segments of the Chicago-St. Louis route using the North American Joint Positive Train Control system that would permit trains to run above 79mph?

Quote:

Is cab signalling required for anything above 79mph, or above 90mph? I thought the latter, but could be wrong.
I recall always reading/hearing that 79mph was the limit set by the FRA.

Chicagoguy May 26, 2008 8:25 PM

3rd Airport
 
There has been alot of talk on the new big 3rd airport here in Chicago? Does anyone know of the expansion project that is being done at Gary/Chicago International? I think this will be great to have a 3rd large airport in the city. It is in a great area for another airport and since this one already has longer runways than Midway and it is on a bigger plot of land than Midway, I think this will be great. I believe they start their first air service in June. I saw plans of what they are planning to do to the airport and it is really awesome. Their plans are to incorporate trains, planes, and buses on one large terminal. They plan to have an express train to O Hare to help with connecting flights and have an amtrak stop, as well as some form of a CTA stop there as well. Here are the pictures of the future plans for Gary/Chicago International. Does anyone else know of any other information about it?

http://www.oharedirect.org/images/section.jpg
http://www.oharedirect.org/images/level1.jpg

ardecila May 26, 2008 9:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aaron38 (Post 3575298)
Rt. 53 plan is dead … or is it?
State road builders say extending Route 53 north is officially on the shelf after decades of failed attempts to get the massive project built.
"Right now we … don't have any money for it," says Tom Murtha, transportation planner at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
Still, this often tried -- and failed -- project to cut Northwest suburban congestion appears to have life as the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority looks at reviving the plan, and some say it just needs more clout to really get off the ground.
http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=197598

Any delay on this is good news, as I think this is a bad project. Also, with gas skyrocketing, they need to wait and re-evaluate the traffic, because I don't think it's going to grow like they think it is.
And another interstate and new big box stripmalls entirely dependent on the car is just stupid.
We're trying to get the suburban cores redeveloped around the Metra stations, and the last thing we need is a new interstate pulling development north into empty tracts of Lake County.

I've recently begun to take a more balanced view of transit expansion vs. new roads, at least in certain situations (i.e. I'm against the Prairie Parkway, which runs through completely undeveloped areas, ick).

However, I'm glad the 53 extension isn't dead. IDOT already owns somewhere between 1/2 to 2/3 of the land required. If you look on Google Earth, you can see a wide swath of empty land running through established subdivisions, which was set aside years ago. If IDOT decided to widen existing roads, then all of that land purchase would be in vain. They would have to start all over, purchasing developed land from property owners along those roads, and re-paving, creating a problematic traffic mess as they repave all those roads.

The traffic congestion in Lake County and auto-dependence is ALREADY bad enough to warrant a new highway. Also, shifting large amounts of traffic onto a grade-separated highway will reduce tremendously the pollution caused by thousands of idling cars, and reduce congestion on the Tri-State. Finally, I don't know what "undeveloped areas" you're talking about... the only significant areas of undeveloped land are just west of Libertyville, and a good portion of that is owned by the Lake County Forest Preserve District as "open space", or owned for landfill expansion.

One more thing: expanding transit service into Lake County is gonna have to involve bus use. Building whole new rail lines is near impossible, and the only existing rail line (the EJ&E) doesn't run near anything. On the other hand, a highway would allow a future suburban BRT network to be set up, which would serve the suburbs way better than rail.

VivaLFuego May 27, 2008 3:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Markitect (Post 3575403)
Also, hasn't there been some testing going on along segments of the Chicago-St. Louis route using the North American Joint Positive Train Control system that would permit trains to run above 79mph?

IIRC, the Illinois FIRST program had some money in it for such testing, but I don't remember reading anything other than press releases touting the project; never heard of any actual construction, let alone implementation/testing. I know that was supposed to be a high-priority corridor for Midwest High-Speed Rail, to improve or otherwise eliminate grade crossings and install cab signaling for 110mph operation most of the length to STL.

VivaLFuego May 27, 2008 3:12 AM

snip

Eventually...Chicago May 27, 2008 3:44 AM

My objection to the rt. 53 extension (besides the usual, lets spend more money on public transit) is that it runs right through some heavily wooded areas. Long grove in their stupidity is not particularly protecting some of their greatest assets (there is a menards going in at hicks and lake cook). If there were to be an extension there would be a ton of developers looking to rape the hell out of the land.

Also, i think this would draw more development northwest towards places like lake zurich and hawthorn woods which are (despite the mcmansions that are there) very nice natural areas.

The lake cook termination has done a pretty good job of keeping development compact. It still is mostly (all) sprawl along lake cook going east or west, but at least it isn't going north from that point.

I think this is the problem with highway extensions. If it were just a transportation thing and no land use would follow, only traffic reduction, i would consider it. As it happened with the 355 extension, build the highway and some piece of shit developer is going to buy 100 acres right next to it to clear and pave.

Marcu May 27, 2008 5:19 AM

^The region should finish this much needed bypass and then halt new major highway construct for at least 50 years (including prairie pkwy) while focusing on transit, proper planning, etc. The extension, however, is badly needed just to support current population levels and is a natural conclusion of the second bypass around Chicagoland (tristate being the first). It would serve as the northern equivilent of 355 extension and top off a fairly comprehensive regional highway system.

ardecila May 27, 2008 6:02 AM

I wondered about the Menard's construction, too... but I believe the IDOT alignment is to the rear of the property, and will not be built upon. I noticed the other day some little signs on the (2-lane) Route 53 near Long Grove Road that mark the IDOT R.O.W, very subtly.

As for conservation - as I alluded to before, Lake County has an extremely aggressive Forest Preserve District, which has bought pretty much every bit of prairie and forest in the county that isn't being actively farmed, and lots of farmland too. I like the idea of conservation in general, which is one of the FEW things I actually like about living in Lake County, but I don't see too much value in conserving open space if that space isn't opened up to public use.

At any rate, the extent of wetland habitats that will be impacted by this highway has been a little exaggerated... There is only one Forest Preserve property that will need to be built upon (Heron Creek). All the others can be easily avoided, or are little insignificant "green space" preserved in existing subdivisions.

http://img86.imageshack.us/img86/3227/53extea4.jpg

the urban politician May 27, 2008 2:14 PM

Wow, it's amazing how easily a new highway can be built, but building a new transit line is so painstakingly slow and faces so many obstacles. So unfortunate..

jpIllInoIs May 27, 2008 2:43 PM

This project is not built, and not close to being funded. If they agreed today to build it , A highway might appear by 2012. And there has been no agreement. Secondly, this has not been easy unless you consider a 40 year planning process easy. This was conceived in the 1960's and the state began buying land and continues to do so. Hawthorne Woods and Long Grove have been the main opponents, and recently Mundelien, because they built a subdivision that will be traversed by the road.

In the 1980's a majority of the Lake County board was also opposed to the construction for fear of over development, but guess what? the housing came anyway and now Lake Co has 774,000 people and only one highway on the East end of the county. The housing came but the corporate and logistic facilities did not come because of lakc of access. So the county has many grwing towns without a commercial tax bas. Thus Lake Co board has turned over the players and is now a proponent. There has been the addition of the NorthCentral Metra line which has helped with travel to OHare and Chicago.

I dont think this issue will get a positive take from this forum, but this actually is good infrastructure for the entire region. It is an unfinished link in the overall transit plan of the Tristate area. And it should be built as a tollway so users pay most of the costs.

VivaLFuego May 27, 2008 3:45 PM

^Concur. I think if both:
1) this is a tollway, and thus self-funding
and 2) it is accompanied by a sensible and binding corridor land use plan (e.g. density nodes at interchanges, provision for various transit/ped facilities, etc.)

then it could be a positive development. Otherwise, it's just another sprawlway, albeit a big step up from the Prairie Parkway travesty.


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