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

VivaLFuego Jun 3, 2008 8:41 PM

The entire situation on Canal street is unacceptable. There should have been a more serious solution to dealing with taxis after Amtrak kicked them out onto the streets; the current melee is unsafe and unfair. Megabus should never have been allowed to berth their buses right in front of the Canal st entrance, which functions both as passenger drop-off and taxi stand for Union Station.

Make Megabus either move to a less congested and safer area, or if they must load at Union Station have them pay a fee to use some of the underutilized space in CTA's bus-only southbound lane on the west side of Canal. I don't know what to do about taxis, other than perhaps get better about enforcing the taxi stands and locating queues at appropriate locations by each exit with enough total space to hold the cabs without them blocking intersections.

None of it is rocket science, and it shouldn't be taking more than a few months of careful study to devise a quick and cheap-to-implement plan to get substantial improvements. Major improvements involving construction can undergo a more substantial planning process.

Eventually...Chicago Jun 3, 2008 9:39 PM

^^^^ Completely agree. Why the heck can't megabus and all those stupid charter busses load/unload on clinton? one friggin block over.

it's too bad the greyhound station is a few blocks away and kind of ghetto. It'd be nice to have a real serious bus terminal.

and like you said... Huge improvements can be made without construction immediately

all it involves is getting one's head out of their ass

Mr Downtown Jun 3, 2008 10:37 PM

Exactly. The streets slope up toward the east end of the lot, creating a golden opportunity to do underground and ADA-compliant connections between the station concourse level and the buses or taxis. I do hope I live long enough to see the station taxi drives used again, as (Thomas) Rodd intended.

As for the intermodal center, the Amtrak staff I talked with were quite enthusiastic. It's not just Megabus, but Van Galder, charter buses, and CTA buses. Anything that feeds the train station is good from their point of view, though it would be interesting to see if they try to charge Megabus a fee for using a new offstreet terminal, the way airports do.

OhioGuy Jun 5, 2008 4:20 AM

I take it the replacement of the rail ties in the southbound subway between Grand and Monroe has been completed? Because today the train I was on moved quickly through that area. I can't remember the last time I was on a train that didn't crawl through that portion of the subway at an excruciatingly slow speed.

Having said that, the northbound was still slow. So I guess only one direction has been improved so far.

Chicago2020 Jun 7, 2008 12:33 AM

does anyone know how much the tollways make a year???

VivaLFuego Jun 7, 2008 6:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago2020 (Post 3598138)
does anyone know how much the tollways make a year???

Check their budget documents available on their website...

LaSalle.St.Station Jun 7, 2008 6:27 AM

i kind of dig the mega bus Kaoss,,,,is that how u spell it? any way, much needrd life to an old train station. Helps the fed endlessness redevelpnt NOT. just like south state ST.

century building..

pip Jun 7, 2008 6:38 AM

edit, wow I screwed up this post trying to quote myself

VivaLFuego Jun 8, 2008 1:58 PM

Crain's is reporting that the city is kicking in additional $20 mil to cover the overruns of the Block 37 "superstation"

New cost estimate is $320 million, and that's not even for completion: just to reach a point where it can be mothballed and finished later.

Someone MAJORLY messed up the cost estimates 3-4 years ago...

Eventually...Chicago Jun 8, 2008 2:20 PM

^^^^^ i do think the cta is doing a better job of keeping the trains clean. I wish they would give the same effort for the stations. When it gets hot and humid the smell of urine is disgusting (at least the stairs up to the roosevelt platform were last night). They should take a fire hose to each station once a week.

Abner Jun 8, 2008 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eventually...Chicago (Post 3600394)
^^^^^ i do think the cta is doing a better job of keeping the trains clean. I wish they would give the same effort for the stations. When it gets hot and humid the smell of urine is disgusting (at least the stairs up to the roosevelt platform were last night). They should take a fire hose to each station once a week.

The 18th St. Pink Line station is a nesting site for pigeons and the smell is absolutely choking in the summertime. The entire place is covered in droppings.

Eventually...Chicago Jun 8, 2008 11:45 PM

i know pigeons make a mess, but my wife and i have an ongoing joke when ever we see a lot of those plastic spikes around that they should make them people sized to keep all the messy people out. It is unbelievable the amount of trash/bodily fluids people discard when they are 3 feet from a garbage can.

They should have a competency test to use the cta. They hand you an empty plastic bottle, if you can successfully place it a garbage can, you're allowed to ride busses and the el. Bonus points for not peeing on the floor.

pip Jun 9, 2008 7:28 AM

[quote = pip]
but those trains are clean and are getting faster and more reliable as time goes on. I remember last summer thinking, wow, this is unreal, soooo slow everywhere and unreliable waits, then the CTA went 3 track from 4 for construction. It got better lol. The busses seem to follow a schedule now. Rarely is there crap anymore. People seem to have more respect for the trains or the CTA is doing a sneaky job. I get on a train today and there is no junk it smells clean, again and again - the Red Line none the less. I don't see the plastic chip bags and their remains on the floor, etc. People must have a better attitude.[/quote]

'Beauty shop' gives extreme makeovers to CTA trains


It's like a salon for rolling stock. Almost all the work is done by hand using scouring pads, high-pressure sprayers and a machine called the Greg-o-Matic, which removes bacteria from seats as it suds the cloth cushions and suctions away the residue like a skin-peel therapy.

The treatments are performed by workers wearing yellow plastic jumpsuits to protect them from the acid and other strong chemicals that exfoliate guck from the pores of rail cars.

Johnson, a stocky man who isn't inclined to place cold cucumber slices on his eyelids to smooth away wrinkles, is the equivalent of the CTA's chief beautician at the Linden rail yard, although he prefers his title as team leader.

"It's a pretty tedious process, not exactly what I expected the job to be," Johnson, 36, said Thursday night while overseeing the rejuvenation of four rail cars.

The beauty shop is open from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 12 cars are done each shift. So far, about 280 of the 360 cars used on the Red Line have been to the night spa.


The "before" and "after" comparison is impressive. The interiors of the cars even smell cleaner, and not only because strong cleansers are used. Beauty salon clinicians service the air-return units on board trains that are part of the heating and air-conditioning systems. The units, underneath some seats, are dubbed "doghouses," and after years of neglect they often smelled like kennels.

"We start each job at the snow-plow blade under the train and work our way up to the roof, inside and out," Johnson said.

The use of elbow grease and a special soap developed for the CTA called Super Bright 5000 restores the youthful appearance to old trains, much the way Botox makes aging frown lines disappear.


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,1139615.story

jpIllInoIs Jun 9, 2008 1:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3600380)
Crain's is reporting that the city is kicking in additional $20 mil to cover the overruns of the Block 37 "superstation"

New cost estimate is $320 million, and that's not even for completion: just to reach a point where it can be mothballed and finished later.

Someone MAJORLY messed up the cost estimates 3-4 years ago...

Viva, (or anyone) please tell me that the B37 station is usable as a red/blue switching station while we wait for the Airport Express. At least it improves efficiency right!

....and please tell me that B37 is compatible with the long range plan for the Clinton Street/Union Station Super Transit Center!

VivaLFuego Jun 9, 2008 4:12 PM

^ The station will be mothballed, though it will include improvement of the upper level transfer tunnel/pedway between the subways, so the Washington Red/Blue transfer will return...but of course we already had that anyway...

emathias Jun 9, 2008 6:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3602210)
^ The station will be mothballed, though it will include improvement of the upper level transfer tunnel/pedway between the subways, so the Washington Red/Blue transfer will return...but of course we already had that anyway...

Do you know if there is track laid? Even if the station can't support onloading/offloading, are there tracks in place that could theoretically do something like connect the O'Hare branch to the Midway branch?

VivaLFuego Jun 9, 2008 11:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3602546)
Do you know if there is track laid? Even if the station can't support onloading/offloading, are there tracks in place that could theoretically do something like connect the O'Hare branch to the Midway branch?

To where would you route Forest Park trains? Would you discontinue the O'hare-Midway through-routing if/when the Airport Express service someday starts? There is a service imbalance, because the required service levels for Forest Park + Midway > O'hare so you can't just make them both branches, and further you'd run into some potential capacity issues in the State Street Subway.

Unfortunately I can really only see this station working for its intended purpose, which happens to require about $1+ billion in fairy dust/additional capital investment to be feasible.

Abner Jun 10, 2008 2:44 AM

What would be the point of a direct O'Hare-Midway route via the Loop anyway? Who would be making such a trip? It would take over an hour and a half to get from one airport to the other. The existing ability to transfer at Clark/Lake is fine. (Connecting the airports via the Mid-City Transitway, though, I could see; then one could possibly make a connection from one airport to the other.)

emathias Jun 10, 2008 3:44 PM

People, people, people.

I ask a question, throw in an example and you all avoid the question and critique the example.

I ask, for what will be the last time, are there tracks? If you don't know either don't reply at all or say you don't know.

Thank you.

VivaLFuego Jun 10, 2008 5:18 PM

^ I guess our point is, does it even matter? :)

The short answer, I don't know. My guess is that by virtue of the station being mothballed, there will not be fully functional trackage through the station, as this would involve not only the tracks but the traction power system and the signalization of both interlockings (State St and Dearborn St); after everything is excavated/demo'd, I don't see why such things couldn't be added at a later date. There would be some value in having at least one track connection complete to support fleet moves, as right now the only place the Blue Line is connected to Skokie Shops is via the Paulina Connector, but I'm not sure if that alone is worth the value of installing the track and the accompanying infrastructure at this point.

If a private operator could get a (contractual) promise that I-90 will never be widened, I wouldn't be surprised if there would be some interest in a public-private partnership that would involve the private sector kicking in at least some portion of capital costs for express trackage and terminal modifications. From what I've heard, there are already presently on the order of 2000-4000 air travelers daily going from downtown to O'hare on the Blue Line, which is a substantial potential market particularly if travel times by car/van to O'hare can only be expected to increase.

Express service to Midway is a trickier proposition: the volume is less (though the transit mode share for airport trips is better), but the Orange Line is already incredibly fast and already competitive with taxi service: it's only 19 minutes from Roosevelt to Midway station (hence the already solid mode share for such travelers). The only thing a Midway Express service could offer over local service is a much better DCA/National-style connection to the terminal (rather than the current circuitous and unpleasant walkway system). But the capital cost for such a terminal rail station, elevated over Cicero Avenue with accompanying modifications to the existing terminal, would far outweigh the potential revenue from the express service, so it seems like a non-starter.

This is why the Airport Express operational concept anchored at B37, as conceived, is well, ill-conceived: it is dependent on express service to both airports, cycling through the station. O'Hare is the only airport for which there exists a plausible potential market (and thus, potential private sector investment interest) for premium-priced express service.

B37 would have still played a role in an O'hare-only Airport Express concept; as an 8-car siding for express trains to pull into after discharging passengers at Clark/Lake, to turn around and head back, picking up passengers at Clark/Lake. Use the Loop Transportation Center (203 LaSalle) for it's intending purpose as a full-featured Airport Express terminal with downtown check-in, baggage check, rental cars, etc, modifying Clark/Lake station for the various required baggage facilities. Given the lower volume, premium fare surcharge would simply be collected on the train, a la Metra, so little to no modification of Clark/Lake fare arrays are required.

The B37 concept would still involve improving the Washington transfer facilities between the Blue and Red Lines; heck, even put a single platform along the B37 siding to allow discharge of passengers for transfer to the Red Line, the one transfer they can't make at Clark/Lake. But you DON'T build a track connection with the Red Line, because you DON'T run express service to Midway and you make do with the Paulina Connector for fleet moves. And these track connections, which involve mining alongside a live railroad amongst a hundred years of buried utility lines, are the major, major cost drivers of this project.

By eliminating the Midway Express pipe dream, you also reduce the specialized vehicle requirement, as well.

But I guess it's a bit late for all that...so what on earth do you do with the station now?


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