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Taft Mar 6, 2007 2:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alex1 (Post 2668773)
sorry, the system is crumbling and as long as he's the head of the CTA, adequate funding won't go our way (politicos dislike the man). He's a major problem for everyone who rides CTA at this stage of the game.

I completely agree. But to me, his "relationship management" with springfield and the collar counties has been his only major problem. Though I think he has run the system relatively well, this is enough to warrant a change of the guard, IMO.

I think the fact that so many put the woes of the CTA squarely on his head is mistaken.

Taft

MayorOfChicago Mar 8, 2007 5:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 2667230)
A sign of more cooporation to come between CTA and Metra?

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=24108
March 05, 2007
By Lorene Yue
Metra expands service to aid CTA riders
[/B]

Cooperation....or Metra feeding off the CTA when it's ripe to be plucked.

MayorOfChicago Mar 8, 2007 6:04 PM

Railroad freight center planned for Crete
850-acre development would create jobs, capacity
Industrial developer CenterPoint Properties Trust said it plans to build a railroad freight center in far south suburban Crete, creating hundreds of jobs and additional capacity for the Chicago area's overburdened railroad network.

The 850-acre development would be west of Balmoral Park horse racing track and State Route 394. Oak Brook-based CenterPoint is proposing as much 5 million square feet of warehouse space in addition to tracks and storage space for transferring shipping containers from freight trains to truck trailers.

The $250-million rail yard, which would stretch for more than a mile and a half, would be designed to handle at least a million container lifts on and off trains annually, making it one of the largest intermodal freight centers in the Chicago area.

Initial employment estimates peg 300 to 400 jobs directly to the rail operations and perhaps as many as 1,000 jobs in nearby warehouses, which would constructed and leased over several years. More than 1,000 people work at a CenterPoint-built rail yard and warehouse park in Elwood near Joliet.

Related Article Topics | Related Industry News
"This is going to be a large economic engine for the south suburbs," Crete Mayor Michael Einhorn said Tuesday. "I'm flattered that they chose Crete to partner up with."

CenterPoint spent an estimated $50 million acquiring parcels from several different property owners. The developer has asked Crete officials to annex and rezone the property, which is now unincorporated and zoned for farming. The village board is scheduled to vote March 19.

Mr. Einhorn said he expects the development to be approved and anticipates construction beginning later this year. He predicted that some of the rail infrastructure would be completed in 2008.

CenterPoint, however, is proceeding without a commitment from a major freight railroad to lease the rail yard. The rail right-of-way that runs through the site is controlled by CSX Transportation Inc. and Union Pacific Corp.

A CenterPoint spokesman said talks are under way with the two railroads, but deal has not been reached. Calls to CSX were not immediately returned and a spokesman for Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific declined to comment.

"It's a work in progress," Mr. Einhorn said. "There's going to be a lot of audibles called on this."

Jacksonville, Fla.-based CSX has been eyeing sites for new rail yards in the south suburbs and in Northwest Indiana for more than a year. Industry observers say the Crete site would allow the CSX to increase its freight volume between Chicago and ocean ports in the Southeast, which are seeing an increase in ship traffic as ports elsewhere in the country become congested.

CSX already employs about 1,000 people in Chicago area with major yards in south suburban Riverdale, Bedford Park and at 59th Street in Chicago.

Freight yards and track routes in the Chicago area have been stretched to their limits in recent years as railroads have become the preferred transportation mode for long-distance hauling and carrying imported goods from Asia.

aaron38 Mar 10, 2007 5:53 PM

I was just out running erands in downtown Palatine, when an inbound freight train came through, and then came to a dead stop, cutting Palatine in two, as it was blocking every crossing. It stayed there for half an hour, which sucked cause I was just about to cross the tracks to go home.

I'm just curious, is there a time limit for how long a freight can park like that?
It was surprising, because I don't know of anywhere between here and Arlington heights where cargo is offloaded.

Chicago Shawn Mar 10, 2007 6:10 PM

^The train was likley stopped because the yards are stretched to capicity and this causes traffic jams and backups on all of the radial spokes. The CREATE project was supposed to help this, but they got the shaft from the former Republican led congress. It can take a train 48 hours to move through Chicago and its yards.

ardecila Mar 11, 2007 3:02 AM

Ah, yeah. Did it stop over there by the Buehler Y? The rationale for stopping there is that there is a 3rd track to hold them, and there is an overpass pretty close at Dundee for traffic to cross. It's almost perfect for the train, but very annoying for drivers.

the urban politician Mar 11, 2007 3:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 2679169)
The CREATE project was supposed to help this, but they got the shaft from the former Republican led congress. It can take a train 48 hours to move through Chicago and its yards.

^ Well, CREATE still got $200 million. And it will likely get much more in the future

VivaLFuego Mar 11, 2007 5:40 AM

^Yeah, a few hundred million from various governments plus (hopefully) some significant millions from the freight railroads would take care of flyovers for several of the most important flat junctions and grade crossings. It could still make a huge dent assuming they get in gear and actually start design/construction. I also like the news of the new yard in the vicinity.

aaron38 Mar 11, 2007 2:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 2679902)
Ah, yeah. Did it stop over there by the Buehler Y? The rationale for stopping there is that there is a 3rd track to hold them, and there is an overpass pretty close at Dundee for traffic to cross. It's almost perfect for the train, but very annoying for drivers.

Just east of there. It was on the middle track, the one used by Metra for the express runs that don't make every stop, probably not used on Saturday.
I think most of the train was alongside Arlington Park, and under the I-53 overpass.
For the overall picture, if a train's stuck in trafic, that probably is one of the better places to stop.

alex1 Mar 12, 2007 3:57 PM

just got back from Boston. I've ridden the "T" before but never as much as this past weekend. It's helped me realize that Chicago has the worst operational train system ever. While the coverage is decent in Chicago, the operational side is pathetic. For example, it takes 10-13 minutes to get from Division to Chicago ave. on the Blue Line (~7 blocks).

The system is literally falling apart to the point where it's a joke.

VivaLFuego Mar 12, 2007 10:06 PM

Just a heads-up for those who might be interested, the first community meetings for the Alternatives Analysis for the south extension to the Red Line are being held around the 2nd week in April.

Also coming up in the next few weeks are the first community meetings regarding the far south side service study, which will be similar to the north and south lakeshore and west side service study, with the potential to totally revamp the structure of bus service in the southern part of the city (south of about 75th street, I think). I think some of the goals are to maintain/improve feeder services to the Red line, improve access to South Chicago, the East Side, Hegewisch, etc. and improve the ability to make East-West crosstown trips.

the urban politician Mar 13, 2007 3:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alex1 (Post 2682518)
just got back from Boston. I've ridden the "T" before but never as much as this past weekend. It's helped me realize that Chicago has the worst operational train system ever. While the coverage is decent in Chicago, the operational side is pathetic. For example, it takes 10-13 minutes to get from Division to Chicago ave. on the Blue Line (~7 blocks).

The system is literally falling apart to the point where it's a joke.

^ Wow, things must have gone downhill pretty quickly. I was last in Chicago about a year ago and things were running fairly well. Chicago to Division did NOT take more than just 2 minutes or so (I rode the blue line several times)

alex1 Mar 13, 2007 4:00 PM

yup. 6mph limit. couple that with stops and the trip can take longer then 13 minutes.

i never thought I'd rage at the CTA. I've always been really patient but the current state of things is pathetic.

VivaLFuego Mar 13, 2007 4:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alex1 (Post 2685311)
yup. 6mph limit. couple that with stops and the trip can take longer then 13 minutes.

i never thought I'd rage at the CTA. I've always been really patient but the current state of things is pathetic.

The O'hare branch of the Blue line is in a sorry state. The 'official' stance was that the inspectors (and ergo their managers) weren't doing their job which led to the derailment, and the subsequent discovery that the track was in much worse shape than thought (several were fired over that debacle). This was why a few miles of slow zones were added in one huge swoop last summer/fall. That said, I keep hearing murmurs that there's a plan to replace all the ties in both subways and that this is starting any day now, but haven't actually seen movement on this (I think this was rolled into the contract for the trackwork for Block 37 which has already been awarded). As far as I'm concerned eliminating the slow zones in both Red and Blue subways is vital before starting the 3-tracking project on the north side. And just in general, the O'hare line needs to get fixed out west of Jeff Park....travel times of nearly 55+ minutes between O'hare and downtown are inexcusable and make the flight-status displays getting installed at Clark/Lake kind of pointless. For reference, the scheduled travel time from O'hare to Clark/Lake, with A/B skip-stop service (i.e. around 12-15 years ago) was something like 38 minutes, compared to about 43 minutes making all stops, and now over 51 with all stops + slow zones.

Incidentally, about a year ago the red line was awfully slow and unreliable while the blue was a real treat, and I feel like now the tables have turned, since I actually feel confident taking the red line anywhere at any time again. That suggests there aren't nearly enough track repair workers to keep the whole system continuously maintained.

pip Mar 13, 2007 6:05 PM

^I did see some railway ties imbetween the Brown and Redline tracks I can't remember exactly where but I think it was Armitage. They were stacked on top of each other but there werer not that many to do a large chunk of the line. I feel the Redline is really slow in addition to the Blue Line. Three days a week I travel from Addison and Wilson on the Red Line and those trains crawl at walking pace for much of the trip in addition to stop and go.

Something needs to be done.

Is the situation beyond hope for public transit in Chicago? Starting next year the CTA needs to come up with an annual extra 200 million for pensions in addition to their usual shortfalls. The tracks are in a state of disrepair and so are the trains and busses. The average age of the trains exceeds what the maximum recommended age of a train should be by the Federal Government. The signals date from the 1950's, busses have not had their recommended reconditioning, the railways ties are falling apart. It goes on and on.

I know everyone is pinning their hopes on the Olympics in that the CTA will receive much needed funds. But even if Chicago does get the Olympics can the CTA run until the funding comes up? What if the Chicago does not get the Olympics.

This is a huge concern. I never thought things could fall apart so quickly.

What is going on? I find it hard to believe the Illinois and Chicago just don't care.

So much needs to be done all at once that even if they got billions and billions problems would still mount as repairs, new trains, etc, take years. Yet it looks like the CTA will have less and less money each year as pensions will eat up a huge chunk.

The system is about to collapse.

VivaLFuego Mar 14, 2007 3:04 AM

^pip,
I generally don't ride the Red Line anywhere north of Belmont, most of my travel is either on the Dan Ryan leg (how about a travel time of just over 20 minutes from 95th to downtown? that's a commercial speed of nearly 30mph.....sweet) or downtown (subway) or LP/Lakeview as far as Belmont. In these areas its generally pretty quick (only a few minor slow zones) and reliable (regularly spaced service, i.e. the wait time is predictable). The slow zone picture looks much worse as you get north of about Sheridan.

as nightmarish as the capital picture is, the thing that no one is presently bringing up is: what happens if the Illinois General Assembly doesn't pass something for operating funding? CTA's budget this year has a $110 million deficit. Even if service cuts were enacted July 1 to balance the budget, that would mean that service would have to be cut at the rate of $220 million/year. But of course, then ridership and ergo revenue would plummet as well, requiring even more service cuts to eventually get to a balanced budget. The other option is no service cuts, then sometime around October or November, checks to contractors and workers' paychecks start bouncing and the system simply shuts down. No one is talking about that scenario.....people are talking about the long term but what about the problem that's about to slap us all in the face?

Of course, some service cuts are probably necessary; they're periodically necessary to cut out the money-loser routes and drastically adjust frequencies to Chicago's ever changing travel patterns. But the cuts the city would face this year without emergency operating funding would be unlike anything we've ever seen. It would make the "doomsday" scenario from 2005 look positively benevolent.

Chicago Shawn Mar 14, 2007 11:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2685335)
The O'hare branch of the Blue line is in a sorry state. The 'official' stance was that the inspectors (and ergo their managers) weren't doing their job which led to the derailment, and the subsequent discovery that the track was in much worse shape than thought (several were fired over that debacle). This was why a few miles of slow zones were added in one huge swoop last summer/fall. That said, I keep hearing murmurs that there's a plan to replace all the ties in both subways and that this is starting any day now, but haven't actually seen movement on this (I think this was rolled into the contract for the trackwork for Block 37 which has already been awarded). As far as I'm concerned eliminating the slow zones in both Red and Blue subways is vital before starting the 3-tracking project on the north side. And just in general, the O'hare line needs to get fixed out west of Jeff Park....travel times of nearly 55+ minutes between O'hare and downtown are inexcusable and make the flight-status displays getting installed at Clark/Lake kind of pointless. For reference, the scheduled travel time from O'hare to Clark/Lake, with A/B skip-stop service (i.e. around 12-15 years ago) was something like 38 minutes, compared to about 43 minutes making all stops, and now over 51 with all stops + slow zones.

Incidentally, about a year ago the red line was awfully slow and unreliable while the blue was a real treat, and I feel like now the tables have turned, since I actually feel confident taking the red line anywhere at any time again. That suggests there aren't nearly enough track repair workers to keep the whole system continuously maintained.

Nope, not enough track workers at all. The only stretch of slow zones being worked on the Blue Line is inside the subway tunnels. The CTA should have bugeted for another track crew when asking the state for another bailout, which they did not do. I expressed my displeasure with that decsion in person last year durring the budget hearings. Even if the money for fixing system was given out tommorow, we would all still be looking at at least 1-2 years of further disruptions to fix the system. My patience with the Blue Line is now razor thin, 4 times with the last two weeks my door to door commute has been 120 minutes or longer! Yesterday's equipment failure had me siting on a stationary train for 35 minutes, in addition to my normal commute.

Oh, and can we do away with the pointless security sweeps please. These only work to further delay a now chronically slow train.

nomarandlee Mar 15, 2007 7:17 AM

Flight information coming to downtown CTA station
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

Flight information coming to downtown CTA station

Tribune staff report
Published March 14, 2007, 7:02 PM CDT

The Chicago Transit Authority Board decided on Wednesday to install two flight information displays at the CTA's Clark/Lake station downtown. The displays will list information for departing flights at O'Hare International and Midway Airports.

One display will be installed at the elevated station, and another will be in the subway station. The decision was made through an intergovernmental agreement between the board and the city, which will pay for the purchase, installation and maintenance of the displays.

The board also decided to buy 15 additional fare-card vending machines that are capable of accepting credit cards. The new machines provide audio and visual instructions in English and Spanish.

The machines will be installed in stations by the end of the year, officials said. The newer machines are already installed at several spots, including Union Station and airport stations.



Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

trvlr70 Mar 15, 2007 1:46 PM

^^^^^^^^^^^
This is a nice idea but unfortunately pointless since the Blue Line is so unreliable. Knowing your plane is on time and knowing you've alotted an hour for transit will be cruel punishment when you're stuck on a motionless CTA car for an hour.

Once again, the CTA misses its mark.

VivaLFuego Mar 15, 2007 2:19 PM

The city is paying for the displays....the city generally is in charge of transit improvements in the central area (including loop and subway stations). It just doesn't seem like directing capital money to transit is a priority at city hall (I mean why on earth are there plasma screens at the Lake subway station? Why aren't there better transfer connections, more minor but important renovations like improved lighting, etc?)


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