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

VivaLFuego Feb 3, 2008 4:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rail Claimore (Post 3328014)
I will say though, that the $2 cash toll ($1 I-pass) at Spring Creek is ridiculous, but that's what to expect with a fresh new tollway.

Smart to start the toll out high, since they know it'll be 20 years until they can pass another toll increase; if they had kept the toll at 50 cents, the road would have crumbled away like the rest of the system. The joys of having an allegedly semi-autonomous entity operating like a business that doesn't actually have the power of setting its own pricing without going through politicians...

ardecila Feb 4, 2008 8:46 AM

I have a question about the Orange/Yellow line extensions. Both are planned to service major shopping centers (Ford City/Old Orchard, respectively).

The Orange Line only was feasible because it used unused/lightly-used railroad right-of-way. However, the Chicago Belt Railroad (which is parallels at Midway) doesn't go all the way to Ford City, but turns off into the railyards near 68th Street. Would the Orange Line be extended over the railyards and onto its own right-of-way to bring it right into the mall parking lot?

Likewise, the old North Shore Line right-of-way is several blocks away from Old Orchard. I'm not sure I see the point of extending the line another mile if the station won't even be in the mall complex, and mall visitors face a long walk down narrow sidewalks on Golf through a low-density neighborhood. It would be far cheaper to do signalling upgrades and bus lanes on Skokie Boulevard to carry people to the mall, and those actually WOULD go directly to the mall itself; buses could drop people off right at the pedestrian entrances.

Both of these projects seem like really short extensions that are pointless without direct access to their respective malls. The Orange Line shouldn't be too hard to do properly; just build a bridge over the railyard, seize one or two industrial properties, and there's enough to build directly into Ford City.

The Yellow Line extension is more tricky; either you build a short subway under Lawler Avenue to a terminal on the site of Old Orchard's retention pond, or you build an elevated line to a terminal in the same location, thereby eviscerating a neighborhood.

UChicagoDomer Feb 4, 2008 12:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3310411)
I thought the planning for the Circle Line included some vision of an Orange/Green/Circle transfer station at 18th. The track geometry there looks challenging though.

apologies for changing the subject from orange/yellow to green, but are there any plans to construct a new south loop station somewhere south of roosevelt?

Marcu Feb 4, 2008 3:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by j korzeniowski (Post 3327786)
guh ...

no way of taking amtrak??

you're right freeways, and freeway expansions are ridiculous, but as you live in palatine, i am not surprised at your thinking of the new (and pointless) i-355 stretch as "sweet."

i guess this region and country still has a ways to go.

Why would anyone take Amtrak to Champaign (unless there's no access to car) when (1) it ends up being about $20 more expensive even with a fuel efficient car, (2) the time you'll get into and out of Union Station is a complete crap shoot, (3) living in Palatine, he/she would not have saved any time and would've spent an additional 3 hours in a train (maybe 2 trains) with the need to use a car and park overnight. It's just too much of a hassle.

Oh yeah and how was he to get around Champaign? Rely on cabs?

And 355x is sweet. Why the need to inject political commentary into every statement about US infrustructure? This type of radical reaction to a statement about having to drive on a stretch of an interstate just hurts the legitimacy of those in favor of smart planning. Quite frankly, it's a bit immature.

VivaLFuego Feb 4, 2008 4:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3329928)
Oh yeah and how was he to get around Champaign? Rely on cabs?

I actually took Amtrak to Champaign about a year ago. The Illinois Terminal rail station is also the hub of their bus network, which is excellent for a small town (most routes are on a 15-30 minute headway, and the ones subsidized by the University are often even more frequent). Buses very reliably on schedule, serving any destination, with LED NextBus signs at most major stops. The whole thing was a very seamless car-free experience; better than arriving in Chicago, dare I say. Hop off the grade-seperated rail line, go downstairs to the bus terminal to see the route map and glance at the signs indicating next bus arrivals. I had a choice of a couple routes, and a 5 minute wait. Alternatively, if the weather's nice and baggage isn't much of an issue, the station (located in the heart of downtown) is walking distance (within a mile) of much of the U of I campus. It also always has taxis waiting, which charge a flat $5 fare to any destination.

With advance purchase, roundtrip Amtrak is in the $30-40 range, and the travel time is comparable to driving as the trains go 80mph (when on time, which I've heard has generally improved over the last several years.....my train was 4 minutes late arriving in Champaign). Gas cost alone Palatine-Champaign would be about $40, and that's not including wear/tear on the vehicle and the value of passenger travel time (I hate looooooong drives, personally, and would rather kick back and sleep or read).

Just saying....trips to Champaign are exactly the sort of trips that should be encouraged to be taken by rail as a more efficient mode choice than driving or flying.

Your strongest argument is in the initial access time, i.e. getting from Palatine to Union Station. This is typically the single biggest cost component that consistently puts transit trips (outside of taxi or other demand response service) at a disadvantage to private transport, especially for non-work trips that will have little or no parking expense; of course, it is also highly dependent upon land use policies, which can contribute to make auto-dependence a self-fulfilling prophecy.

All of the above is a more economic-minded analysis.....bottom line, for me the train is just fun; in contrast to the mind-numbing drive on I-57, you ride the Illinois Central route through dozens of towns spaced literally every few miles along the rail line; there's actually alot to look at from an urbanist's perspective; the historic downtowns and housing stock, the old railway stations, the freight (typically grain) facilities, etc. 2 hours and 15 minutes, I was glued to the window almost the whole time on the daytime leg of my trip.

j korzeniowski Feb 4, 2008 6:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 3329928)
This type of radical reaction to a statement about having to drive on a stretch of an interstate just hurts the legitimacy of those in favor of smart planning. Quite frankly, it's a bit immature.

Yikes. You always seem to have an equally heated response to people advocating the use of public transportation whenever possible. (This being at least the second time of my being on the receiving end of one of your rants.)

Your points are almost all incorrect or misinformed. Anyone who has been to Champaign knows that the have the "Best Little Transit System in the Country," to paraphrase their slogan, and that it is quite easy to get around C-U sans automobile. (As I did during my time there.) Your quotes on Amtrak ticket pricing are also way off, when one does a little planning prior to purchasing the ticket.

As for the rest, I will acknowledge I ranted myself in my response to aaron38, for which I apologize. Otherwise, I defer to VivaL's post immediately above in more eloquently stating the point I was trying to make.

Cheers.

aaron38 Feb 5, 2008 3:07 AM

Hey no problem J.

Why is Midway shut down? The news didn't mention any equipment breakdowns, simply that the entire airport was closed due to the fog.

Midway doesn't have instrument landing capability?

Marcu Feb 5, 2008 3:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by j korzeniowski (Post 3330170)
Yikes. You always seem to have an equally heated response to people advocating the use of public transportation whenever possible. (This being at least the second time of my being on the receiving end of one of your rants.)

Your points are almost all incorrect or misinformed. Anyone who has been to Champaign knows that the have the "Best Little Transit System in the Country," to paraphrase their slogan, and that it is quite easy to get around C-U sans automobile. (As I did during my time there.) Your quotes on Amtrak ticket pricing are also way off, when one does a little planning prior to purchasing the ticket.

Cheers.

I certainly did not mean to rant. I just get frustrated with what I percieve to be pie in the sky arguments about complete dependency on transit. I just don't see us winning over many people by advocating against 355x (especially since it's no more than a completion of a bipass that should've been part of the original decision to build the highway, just as 294 merges back with 94) or urging travelers to an unfamiliar town to navigate an unknown transit system, especially if traveling with others where costs add up. From personal experience, arguments that advocate for transit to catch up with or overtake auto travel are a lot more successful than arguments that advocate a roll back in time to pre model T days. The car will never completely go away, just as it hasn't in transit-dependent European or Asian cities. Trips like those to Champaign (unpredictable, usually with multiple people, and through sparsely populated areas) are just a lot more convenient to take by car.

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3330017)
I actually took Amtrak to Champaign about a year ago. The Illinois Terminal rail station is also the hub of their bus network, which is excellent for a small town (most routes are on a 15-30 minute headway, and the ones subsidized by the University are often even more frequent). Buses very reliably on schedule, serving any destination, with LED NextBus signs at most major stops. The whole thing was a very seamless car-free experience; better than arriving in Chicago, dare I say. Hop off the grade-seperated rail line, go downstairs to the bus terminal to see the route map and glance at the signs indicating next bus arrivals. I had a choice of a couple routes, and a 5 minute wait. Alternatively, if the weather's nice and baggage isn't much of an issue, the station (located in the heart of downtown) is walking distance (within a mile) of much of the U of I campus. It also always has taxis waiting, which charge a flat $5 fare to any destination.

I've taken Amtrak to and from Champaign a number of times when I went to school there. Usually when I travelled by myself and couldn't find anyone to split gas with. It was usually a huge hassle and I'd get into union station anywhere from an hour to 3 hours late. My car was fairly fuel efficient so even when travelling alone I'd save 5 or 10 dollars on a round trip. Although this was pre-latest Illini Line boost so not sure how it is now. The C-U bus system doesn't run as often on weekends and outside of the campus shuttle bus operates more like a commuter system with 30-60 minute headways.

k1052 Feb 5, 2008 3:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3329701)
I have a question about the Orange/Yellow line extensions. Both are planned to service major shopping centers (Ford City/Old Orchard, respectively).

The Orange Line only was feasible because it used unused/lightly-used railroad right-of-way. However, the Chicago Belt Railroad (which is parallels at Midway) doesn't go all the way to Ford City, but turns off into the railyards near 68th Street. Would the Orange Line be extended over the railyards and onto its own right-of-way to bring it right into the mall parking lot?

Likewise, the old North Shore Line right-of-way is several blocks away from Old Orchard. I'm not sure I see the point of extending the line another mile if the station won't even be in the mall complex, and mall visitors face a long walk down narrow sidewalks on Golf through a low-density neighborhood. It would be far cheaper to do signalling upgrades and bus lanes on Skokie Boulevard to carry people to the mall, and those actually WOULD go directly to the mall itself; buses could drop people off right at the pedestrian entrances.

Both of these projects seem like really short extensions that are pointless without direct access to their respective malls. The Orange Line shouldn't be too hard to do properly; just build a bridge over the railyard, seize one or two industrial properties, and there's enough to build directly into Ford City.

The Yellow Line extension is more tricky; either you build a short subway under Lawler Avenue to a terminal on the site of Old Orchard's retention pond, or you build an elevated line to a terminal in the same location, thereby eviscerating a neighborhood.

I don't see mall access as all that of an attractive goal compared with other places in the system capital funds could be spent.

The Orange Line extension to Ford City would probably have the most merit since the location would provide a goodly amount of park and ride capacity which seems to be one of the Orange Line's strengths already.

The northern suburbs are already well served by Metra. Besides perhaps adding a couple intermediate stations on the Yellow between Skokie and Howard I don't think this line should be altered.

Chicago3rd Feb 5, 2008 6:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 3332266)

The Orange Line extension to Ford City would probably have the most merit since the location would provide a goodly amount of park and ride capacity which seems to be one of the Orange Line's strengths already.

More parking garages and more dense shopping at Ford Center...make it a vital stop for commuters....not just a place to store their card. A few hotels....some condos on the mall property. Create Urban dense to support the station.

emathias Feb 5, 2008 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 3332615)
More parking garages and more dense shopping at Ford Center...make it a vital stop for commuters....not just a place to store their card. A few hotels....some condos on the mall property. Create Urban dense to support the station.

I think a lot of you are either forgetting or simply unaware that Ford City is more than just a mall, it's a rather large employment district, too. Surrounding the mall is a commercial and (I think) industrial area that, while off its period of peak employment, could probably be helped along with better transit access (i.e. the Orange Line extension and/or the MidCity Transitway).

As for the route it would take, I think the original plans for the MidCity Transitway was for it to turn east between 71st and 79th along the rail ROW there until it got to the Red Line. Whatever they decided to do with an Orange Line extension would likely support that eventual addition.

aaron38 Feb 6, 2008 3:52 PM

I can't believe it...
 
So my wife is at a conference at WaterTower this week. She's taking Metra, and on Monday took a cab to WaterTower and back (Ogilvie), which set her back $20.

So Monday night she pulled up the bus schedules and yesterday took the WaterTower Express (the 125). She said it was great, saved $16, and will be riding it the rest of the week.
I've never even taken a CTA bus, mostly because I like to walk, but still.

It's just strange, my wife LOVES her car, and there she is, happy to take the bus.
Go CTA.

pip Feb 6, 2008 6:37 PM

^The CTA's reliability and quality of its service has improved so much recently, at least when and where I take it. I don't own a car so I'm on the CTA everyday.

For example Sunday I went from Lakeview to Hyde Park. Took the Redline to Jackson, got off and hopped on the number 6 express buss. Comin back I got the number 6 bus to Waker/Michigan and took the 146 to Belmont. Painless, quick wait times, and I got there and back in no time. Often after work I take the CTA late night, usually an express bus or the 151 whichever comes first, I never wait that long. It seems no matter where I go service has been very good lately.

This is all unlike late last summer and before. I used to write books just about here online bitchin' about the CTA.

Haworthia Feb 6, 2008 7:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UChicagoDomer (Post 3329770)
apologies for changing the subject from orange/yellow to green, but are there any plans to construct a new south loop station somewhere south of roosevelt?

I've never heard any mention of this, but I think such a stop is needed now that the area has significantly increased in density. I have a friend on 16th and Prairie and it's a bit of a hike. A stop at 16th or 18th (for either the Red or Green line) would be wonderful.

Chicago3rd Feb 6, 2008 7:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3333300)
I think a lot of you are either forgetting or simply unaware that Ford City is more than just a mall, it's a rather large employment district, too. Surrounding the mall is a commercial and (I think) industrial area that, while off its period of peak employment, could probably be helped along with better transit access (i.e. the Orange Line extension and/or the MidCity Transitway).

As a person who is a pedestrian very little of what is shown on the map below is acceptable:
http://WilBSnodgrassiii.smugmug.com/...1605259-XL.jpg
If they make it denser...I am 100% behind the extension. That goes for every extension to be made and every improvement to be made. There must be more density. There is no reason there cannot be more housing, retail, industrial located in this area in a denser fashion.

Running the El down along Cicero from the blue line to the orange line would be more of a priority for me.

VivaLFuego Feb 6, 2008 7:16 PM

^pip and aaron38,
I think that at least on the bus side, a very big reason for the overall improved experience is the better bus fleet. The oldest buses from '91 are continually getting replaced by the 1000-series New Flyers, which are pretty nice, smooth, quick, and above all RELIABLE. Also, the NABI articulated buses developed a bunch of serious systematic defects within a couple years of original delivery in 2003: the suspensions wore out, and something in the particulate filter design caused the buses to stall out and die, alot. Finally over the last year, the issue with the NABIs is getting rectified so their overall reliability is improving. All of these contribute to improving service reliability since fewer bus runs are missed as a result of defective equipment.

And rail, well, slow zones and all that...huge difference, nuf said. I'd still like to see a major anti-graffiti effort on the Orange Line, which is starting to get out of hand with vandalism. And I don't think the Red Line will be clean until it is actually patrolled by the transit police.

in re: South Loop stop, the last I've heard of anything was a general plan to do a Cermak Green Line stop. Despite it's location relatively close to the Red Line, Cermak came in with the highest ridership estimates due to its proximity to McCormick Place and overall better bus connectivity. That was several years ago, so plans could change; the only green line infill station that is in advanced stages is Morgan/Lake on the west side, which is likely to happen within the next few years.

In other highly speculative potential south loop rapid transit improvements, the other ideas that have been floated in recent years are:
1. an Archer entrance for the Cermak-Chinatown Red Line station, possibly as part of the Circle Line project, though I don't get the point of an expensive transfer connection here given Roosevelt already exists;
2. Reopening the Polk Street entrance of the Harrison stop. I think a major factor here is whether or not it would need to be made handicap-accessible; if so, then obviously it won't be happening.

I think connecting McCormick place to the L network is a good idea, and honestly, it's likely that much of South Loop's transit needs could be met if there were something of a BRT implementation for the 3/X3.

Abner Feb 6, 2008 7:58 PM

Speaking of bus problems, I have a question for those who are knowledgeable about them. I often take the 6, 2, and X28. I don't know why sometimes the bus moves at the speed of traffic on Lake Shore Drive and sometimes can't seem to exceed maybe 40 mph, getting passed constantly by faster traffic. I don't think it has anything to do with bus age, because I've been on newer buses that crawled and ancient buses (the ones with the fake wood paneling) that were fine. Is this something that depends on the driver?

By the way, is there any guess about when someone might deign to make the next uttering about the Mid-City Transitway? There was that jawboning last year about using the right-of-way for a Crosstown Expressway and then nobody mentioned it again.

chicagoguy1 Feb 6, 2008 8:15 PM

I my option there needs to be a lakefront El Line, From Hyde Park, up to Mccormick Place, Musuem Campus/ Roosevelt to Streeterville, up to Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Uptown, Edgewater to Loyola.

UChicagoDomer Feb 6, 2008 8:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3335548)


in re: South Loop stop, the last I've heard of anything was a general plan to do a Cermak Green Line stop. Despite it's location relatively close to the Red Line, Cermak came in with the highest ridership estimates due to its proximity to McCormick Place and overall better bus connectivity. That was several years ago, so plans could change; the only green line infill station that is in advanced stages is Morgan/Lake on the west side, which is likely to happen within the next few years.

In other highly speculative potential south loop rapid transit improvements, the other ideas that have been floated in recent years are:
1. an Archer entrance for the Cermak-Chinatown Red Line station, possibly as part of the Circle Line project, though I don't get the point of an expensive transfer connection here given Roosevelt already exists;
2. Reopening the Polk Street entrance of the Harrison stop. I think a major factor here is whether or not it would need to be made handicap-accessible; if so, then obviously it won't be happening.

I think connecting McCormick place to the L network is a good idea, and honestly, it's likely that much of South Loop's transit needs could be met if there were something of a BRT implementation for the 3/X3.


thanks for the response.

k1052 Feb 6, 2008 8:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chicagoguy1 (Post 3335690)
I my option there needs to be a lakefront El Line, From Hyde Park, up to Mccormick Place, Musuem Campus/ Roosevelt to Streeterville, up to Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Uptown, Edgewater to Loyola.

There is nowhere for a train line to run above ground north of Millennium Park so you'd be talking going subway most of the way north. Given the chance to spend billions on a new line I don't think this is near the top of their priorities since it would be redundant to the Red Line and bus routes in many areas.


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