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the urban politician Sep 18, 2009 3:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bnk (Post 4461148)
The proposed line would run 14 trains per day between Milwaukee and Kenosha, stopping in several municipalities in between. It would also allow for transfers to the existing rail connection between Kenosha and downtown Chicago, Yunker said.

...

^ This is some exciting stuff.

Of course, I'm not sure who would use this "transfer" at Kenosha to Metra.

Anybody from SE Wisconsin headed to Chicago would almost certainly use Amtrak's Hiawatha train

emathias Sep 18, 2009 3:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4462278)
^ This is some exciting stuff.

Of course, I'm not sure who would use this "transfer" at Kenosha to Metra.

Anybody from SE Wisconsin headed to Chicago would almost certainly use Amtrak's Hiawatha train

Not if they wanted to visit Evanston.

SkokieSwift Sep 18, 2009 3:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4461489)
Island station (i.e. in between the tracks) north of the street. I believe the platforms will be 4 cars long (Skokie Swift currently only ever runs 2 car trains), but obviously the station is designed so that the platforms could be easily extended to 6 or 8 if somehow needed in the future. There is a little signal hut just north of Oakton that I dont think is being moved, so the platform doesn't start until north of that (you can see it from Google Maps aerial).

Thanks for the info. I was concerned it was going to be too far north of Oakton.

The station looks decent, and I'm really excited that downtown Skokie will finally have a stop. Hopefully it will spur more development in the area.

the urban politician Sep 18, 2009 3:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4462355)
Not if they wanted to visit Evanston.

^ I guess, but I doubt that visiting Evanston justifies a KRM to Metra transfer on a commuter line.

It's silly, really, to take a train to Evanston from Wisconsin--most people would drive.

Downtown Chicago is different. Parking in downtown Chicago garages is an exercise in money disposal

VivaLFuego Sep 18, 2009 4:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4462278)
^ This is some exciting stuff.

Of course, I'm not sure who would use this "transfer" at Kenosha to Metra.

Anybody from SE Wisconsin headed to Chicago would almost certainly use Amtrak's Hiawatha train

The transfer would be fairly lightly used, but those who would use it would be people traveling between intermediate stops, e.g. going to Great Lakes Naval Station, Lake Forest, North Chicago/Abbot, Waukegan, etc. not all the way to downtown Chicago. The UP-N is unique among Metra lines for how many trip generators are spread along the route.

The analogous situation would be the Purple Line Express compared to Metra - Evanston residents would generally commute to downtown via Metra, but the Purple Express serves a major role in connecting bi-directional worker/resident flow between Evanston and Lakeview/Lincoln Park as well, for which Metra doesn't suffice (might be surprised at the number of people taking the Purple Express north from Belmont in the mornings and south from Davis/Howard in the evenings).

ardecila Sep 18, 2009 6:31 AM

I hope, once the KRM is built, Metra comes to an agreement with the Wisconsin transit agency (as yet unformed) to run through service with limited stops. If it was priced properly, it wouldn't compete with the Hiawatha, but it would offer a transit option to people heading to Evanston or Great Lakes or Waukegan from Wisconsin without the inconvenience of a transfer in Kenosha.

denizen467 Sep 19, 2009 3:19 AM

(link to blog main page) http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-b...l?page_id=2308


Seedy el stations to get $10M fed fix-up
Posted by Greg H. at 9/18/2009 4:22 PM CDT on Chicago Business

Some of the Chicago Transit Authority's seediest el stations are in for a $10-million fix-up, U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin reports.

In a statement, the Illinois Democrat said the fiscal 2010 transportation funding bill approved by the Senate includes $10 million for projects on Red Line stations from Sheridan north to Jarvis.

Eligible work includes improved lighting, signage and windbreaks; new escalators, benches and public-address systems, and better landscaping and bicycle amenities.

The stations are among the oldest in the CTA system, with some not having received any significant work since before World War II.

The $10 mil. won't go far . . . but it's a start. The CTA had no immediate comment, and it was not clear whether the federal funds will be matched by state and/or local monies, as is usually the case with transit projects.

Mr. Durbin also announced that the CTA is in line for $2 million for very preliminary work on the CTA's proposed Circle Line in the central area of the city.

ardecila Sep 19, 2009 5:23 AM

The problem that makes station renovations so expensive is ADA compliance. Basic maintenance like painting, retiling, and replacing light fixtures is all really cheap stuff. Don't get me wrong, there's a huge value in having ADA compliance in the system, it's just that it's so expensive to retrofit older stations in a dense environment.

I hope the $10M is able to strip those stations of their grime. Some pigeon-proofing might also be a good idea to help keep the stations looking nice.

Busy Bee Sep 19, 2009 1:56 PM

^Don't forget not enough competition in the bidding pool.

ardecila Sep 20, 2009 3:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 4464358)
^Don't forget not enough competition in the bidding pool.

Doing major reconstruction on an active transit line, in an active station, with auto and pedestrian traffic below is never easy. Only a few firms have the necessary expertise to manage the staging of such a job. True, this often leads to errors in judgment - like how the Oakton station is ridiculously overpriced. The only precedents that contractors have to go off of for that bid are previous station construction jobs for the CTA, most of which involved urban lines with little to no on-site storage and frequent trains. Oakton, on the other hand, has plenty of breathing room, since plans include demolition for an adjacent bus turnaround and kiss/ride that will, before paving, offer plenty of on-site storage. If the station comes in under budget, it may go towards gold-plated fixtures or towards padding the contractors' salaries.

Fortunately, the small-ball renovations that this $10m will fund are easy things that can probably be done in one weekend by any joe-schmoe contractor, if the station is closed temporarily. Replacing light fixtures and installing windbreaks? C'mon, I could do that in a weekend. Too bad I'm 900 miles away and not a union member. Most of the cost here is going to materials and not labor - CTA has to install fixtures that withstand weather and vandalism. The only marginally complex bit are escalators, but I'm assuming that refers to replacements at Loyola, Granville, and Bryn Mawr, not new escalators in stations that don't currently have them.

VivaLFuego Sep 20, 2009 4:22 AM

More than likely, for $10 million spread across several stations, the work will be done in-house by CTA facilities maintenance, and their labor hours would get charged to the capital grant rather than the CTA operating budget.

emathias Sep 21, 2009 5:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4455503)
One random note on an upcoming CTA project that has received little publicity: renovation of Cermak-Chinatown on the Red Line. The primary purpose of the project is a reconstruction of the Cermak stationhouse to repair damage from the truck crash a couple years ago and add an elevator to make the station ADA compliant. However, an added bonus is that in order to aid in construction phasing, CTA will construct an auxiliary entrance on the north side of the station at Archer, which will make the station more attractive to: (a) some South Loopers (b) shoppers heading to and from the China Place/Chinatown Square mall, (c) riders transferring from the #62.

Project is mostly funded with Stimulus/ARRA money.

Since no one replied to my timing question about this, I emailed the CTA to see if they would tell me. Here's their response:

Quote:

Thank you for your inquiry.

We are currently in the process of getting our building permits and expect to start construction by the end of the year.

We hope this information is helpful.

Chicago Shawn Sep 21, 2009 7:12 PM

Orange Line Extension Meeting tonight
 
Connecting Midway to Ford City

The Orange Line Extension Project would extend the transit line from the Midway Station at the Midway International Airport to approximately 76th Street near Ford City. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared to evaluate environmental, social, and economic impacts of the construction and operation of the proposed project.

Public and agency input is important. This site will keep you informed about the proposed project, the planning process, and opportunities for public input and participation.
What's New

Scoping Meeting (What's this?)

6 to 8 p.m.
Monday, September 21, 2009

Hancock College Preparatory High School
4034 W. 56th St.
Chicago, IL 60629

----------------------

I don't recall if this has been posted. I will not be able to go tonight, perhaps someone who is free can attend.

VivaLFuego Sep 21, 2009 9:12 PM

Now that the "Alternatives Analysis" is complete, which resulted in a "Locally Preferred Alternative," the "Scoping" stage is the first round of public outreach for the "Environmental Impact Study."

After the multi-phase EIS comes 100% design & engineering (I think EIS includes preliminary/10% D/E so that more concrete cost/timeline estimates are done before bidding out the full design and construction work).

the urban politician Sep 21, 2009 9:21 PM

^ So how much longer do these meetings, studies, and more meetings drag on before shovels hit the dirt?

ardecila Sep 22, 2009 3:26 AM

The meetings now are dealing with specifics; station design elements, noise mitigation, the precise track alignments down to the inch, etc.

The earlier meetings were to identify which plan would best serve the need - although it seems to be merely a formality, since the LPA is always obvious from the beginning of the Alternatives Analysis.

To answer your question, I believe construction on all 3 projects will begin in about 2-3 years, assuming funding comes through in the next transportation bill, and assuming we win the Olympics (CTA's completion date for all 3 lines is 2016, which reeks of Olympic optimism to me...)

emathias Sep 22, 2009 4:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4467792)
The meetings now are dealing with specifics; station design elements, noise mitigation, the precise track alignments down to the inch, etc.

The earlier meetings were to identify which plan would best serve the need - although it seems to be merely a formality, since the LPA is always obvious from the beginning of the Alternatives Analysis.

To answer your question, I believe construction on all 3 projects will begin in about 2-3 years, assuming funding comes through in the next transportation bill, and assuming we win the Olympics (CTA's completion date for all 3 lines is 2016, which reeks of Olympic optimism to me...)

Except that none of the proposals are anywhere near any of the Olympic venues. I really don't understand the CTA's love of building rail lines in lower-density areas that will likely never significantly increase in density, instead of adding support for already-dense and getting denser areas closer to the core. Making better use of Metra capabilities is a much better regional strategy for outlying neighborhoods than extending lines that are already relatively underused. Reinforcing the central area with additional lines will lead to better overall usability and usage more than extending existing lines farther and farther out will.

sammyg Sep 22, 2009 5:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4462278)
^ This is some exciting stuff.

Of course, I'm not sure who would use this "transfer" at Kenosha to Metra.

Anybody from SE Wisconsin headed to Chicago would almost certainly use Amtrak's Hiawatha train

If it connects to 2 different systems, I'm sure Amtrak would consider placing a stop on the Hiawatha to allow commuters from both KRM and Metra to transfer over, much like they do in New Jersey and Connecticut.

Steely Dan Sep 22, 2009 5:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sammyg (Post 4468491)
If it connects to 2 different systems, I'm sure Amtrak would consider placing a stop on the Hiawatha to allow commuters from both KRM and Metra to transfer over, much like they do in New Jersey and Connecticut.

in theory that sounds all well and good, but the ROW that amtrak's hiawatha runs on is about 4 miles west of the ROW that metra's UP north line (and maybe the KRM someday) runs on, ie. they don't meet up at any easy and convenient transfer point, they'd first have to create a new kenosha station on the hiawathe ROW and then they'd have to run some kind of shuttle bus service between the two stations to allow someone to transfer between amtrak and metra/KRM. i would hazard a guess that the demand for such transfers might be too small to support a shuttle bus service.

VivaLFuego Sep 22, 2009 6:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4468434)
I really don't understand the CTA's love of building rail lines in lower-density areas that will likely never significantly increase in density, instead of adding support for already-dense and getting denser areas closer to the core.

I have some semantical nitpicks. In terms of new trackage and operating ROW that CTA built as a result of CTA initiative (i.e. not federal earmarks), recent projects have included:

1) restoring the Paulina Connector
2) Block 37
3) the Dan Ryan connector subway

...all focused on the Central Area, no? And the only New Start that was arguably advanced solely due to CTA pressure (rather than outside political will) is the Circle Line.

Stuff like the Orange line and the expressway median lines were built by the city then turned over to the CTA for operations. Red Extension is Jesse Jr's pet, and Orange Extension is Lipinski's, and Yellow is the one considered most "iffy" because it doesn't have a powerful enough champion to quash any opposition or ignore any cost effectiveness measures.

In fact, CTA owning and advancing major system expansions is a very recent development historically, occurring only in the Kruesi years when his knowledge of and contacts in the Washington transportation bureaucracy meant CTA was the best equipped local agency to own such projects. It may seem minor, but I think differentiating amongst bureaucracies (and how each of those separate bureaucracies are funded and staffed) is important in understanding why things are the way they are.


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