SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/index.php)
-   Transportation (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=25)
-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

Busy Bee Mar 27, 2007 6:52 PM

What I find most distressing about Chicago's former electric transport infrastructure, while shameful, isn't so much that they gave up on the trolley(we all know about the conspiracy, the "progress" brainwashing and the effect the fascination with the autotopia future had on American cities nationwide at that time), but what became of the actual power infrastructure later on.

Many on these boards may not be aware that many former streetcar routes didn't become diesel bus routes right away, many were converted to electric trolleybus, using the overhead catenary for many years—some well into the 1970's! Why in the world would the CTA completely destroy not just their streetcar system, but their entire pollution-free electric infrastructure?

Some die hard trolley enthusiasts may not want to here it, but in an ideal situation, streetcar reinstatement on some of those routes shown just isn't practical due to logistics, congestion and traffic patterns. Nor is it financially feasible. I would love to see trolley's return where to existing scale of the street can handle them... we could name many thoroughfares here. But on other streets, Clark or Broadway for example, electric trolleybuses could provide clean and quiet service that could still navigate congested streets, would not need a dedicated ROW and WOULD NOT BELCH NAUSEATING, POLLUTING EXHAUST and would not diminish urban quality of life.

http://www.trolleybuses.net/chi/jpg/...9730114_jt.jpg

http://www.sfu.ca/person/dearmond/set/van2101-7.jpg

mikeelm Mar 27, 2007 8:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sentinel (Post 2718975)
^^^It's one thing for this to appear in the Tribune or the Sun-Times, but it's now an embarrassement at the national level, for everyone to see on the front page of the online NYTimes. This really makes me ashamed to be an Illinoisian, the fact that Springfield has the final say on how the RTA operates, where their money comes from and contributing the most to decadence of the CTA - it's a complete embarrassement and I hope that Blago is detroyed because of this.

Why are you going to feel ashamed being an Illinoisian because of that?

How do you know that they may have problems of theor own?

sentinel Mar 27, 2007 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mikeelm (Post 2722614)
Why are you going to feel ashamed being an Illinoisian because of that?

How do you know that they may have problems of theor own?

Sorry, I don't understand the question...I was trying to say that as an Illinois resident/native, it shames me that the state government would potentially overlook the massive financial problems that plague the RTA, which is the way it is simply because of a dated and inadequate funding formula for how public transportation in NE Illinois is sponsored.

Mr Downtown Mar 28, 2007 2:49 AM

Quote:

Do you guys know how many people per day [Chicago streetcars] carried? And did they use buses back then as well, or was surface transport entirely streetcars?
Chicago Surface Lines carried about 900 million passengers in 1929, dropped by a third during the Depression, then peaked at 917 million in 1946. Beginning in 1927, CSL created bus extensions to its routes. The last streetcar line extension was in 1937. Chicago’s last carline (Broadway-State) was converted to buses in 1958.

For those imagining that they could simply glide across Chicago if we still had streetcars, it’s important not to confuse streetcars running in mixed traffic with the current wave of light-rail systems that have separate rights-of-way. Street running proved disastrous—all around the world—as auto ownership grew, and Toronto is the only North American city left with any significant amount of street running. Anyone who has crept across town on a Queen streetcar, and then stepped out the back door into a traffic lane, hoping the driver behind wasn’t on his cell phone, can testify to the drawbacks of actual streetcars. Only a couple of Chicago streets could realistically have reserved transit lanes: Ogden west of Ashland and Stony Island south of 71st.

Quote:

Standard Oil . . . bought many streetcars en masse in the 40's-50's throughout many cities in the country and let them rust away
The "NCL conspiracy" is a silly urban legend that refuses to die. It’s well refuted in Transportation Quarterly, Summer 1997 (on the web here)

Among other things:
  • In the famous court case, GM/NCL was ACQUITTED of conspiring to take over various U.S. transit systems in order to create a captive market, not convicted.
  • The number of US cities with street railways was nearly 700 in the 1920s, and was seven in 1975. NCL was only involved in about 45 cities, most of them very small (Joliet, Aurora, and Elgin are the closest examples).
  • This "conspiracy" began 20 years before NCL was formed, lasted 20 years after it was dissolved, and even reached municipally owned systems. Meanwhile, streetcars also disappeared from every city in South America, and from virtually every city in Japan, Australia, China, Korea, India, Africa, Spain, France, Italy, Great Britain, Canada, and Mexico.

Quote:

Why in the world would the CTA completely destroy not just their streetcar system, but their entire pollution-free electric infrastructure?
I think it was motivated primarily by the cost of maintaining the overhead and power distribution systems, and the increasing costs of the vehicles. Trolleybuses are (now) roughly two to three times the cost of diesel buses.

As diesel buses became more reliable and inexpensive, trolleybuses with their unsightly and costly overhead wiring and inflexible routing were eliminated in all but a few cities, usually those with steep hills (not a problem in Chicago). San Francisco has expanded its system since 1980, electrifying at least two lines--but then they have the free Hetch Hetchy power to use and hills to climb and high density. Seattle, also with cheap hydroelectricity, has expanded or at least solidified its system. Same with Vancouver. But Toronto has given up on trolleybuses, they’re “suspended” in Hamilton, and the systems in Toledo, Boston, and Edmonton are not very robust.

Marcu Mar 28, 2007 2:55 AM

Quote:

Why in the world would the CTA completely destroy not just their streetcar system, but their entire pollution-free electric infrastructure?
Electric infrastracture is anything but pollution free. It just moves the pollution from the exhaust to the power plant whch is actually less efficient since over 90% is lost as it makes its way to the vehicle.

honte Mar 28, 2007 3:25 AM

^ Not meaning any nastiness, but would that Ogden Avenue line serve any real purpose? I don't want to disrespect Lawndale (which I generally am quite fond of), but there is such an abundance of good transit in that area now, and the density just isn't there... It's one of the last transit proposals for this region that I'd like to see.

Mister Uptempo Mar 28, 2007 3:41 AM

Just an Idea
 
Someone already mentioned it, but I think it bears repeating, What about the possibility of establishing a Bus Rapid Transit line on some of the key thoroughfares, especially those that could link several L lines together.

New York City is in the process of establishing a new BRT line in each of the five boroughs. I believe it is supposed to commence operation in Fall, 2007. The URL for the project is as follows:

http://www.mta.info/mta/planning/brt/index.html

It will provide a dedicated bus lane, priority signaling, and limited stops for the five BRT lines.

My thought is that the CTA/RTA could experiment by establishing two north/south and two east/west routes. It would work similar to the proposed Circle Line, but much further away from the downtown area.

A Western Ave. route could link the Orange, Cermak Blue, Forest Park Blue, O'Hare Blue, and Brown Lines.

A Cicero Ave. route could link the Orange, Cermak Blue/Pink, Forest Park Blue, Green, O'Hare Blue, and the Metra UPNW.

An Irving Park route could link the Red, Brown, O'Hare Blue, and the Metra UPNW.

A Garfield route could link the Metra Electric, Green, Red, and Orange Lines.

All four of these routes already have Express routes during the rush hour, but the advantage of an Express is negated if it needs to slog through the same traffic as everyone else.

As far as pollution is concerned, I agree with Marcu that the pollution is merely moved elsewhere. Plus the cost of re-establishing the infrastructure for the overhead lines may prove to be too costly. But there are alternatives.

The city took delivery of 10 Diesel-Electric hybrids last year, and are slated for another ten more this year. A paltry sum, to be sure. But it is a start. These New Flyer DE40LF buses are not non-polluting, but they are a vast improvement over a standard diesel, both in terms of fuel used and emissions exhausted.

When other alternative, even cleaner bus technologies are perfected and made available at competitive prices, the diesel/electric hybrids could be replaced in much the same manner that the CTA replaces buses now.

Another thing that buses do provide over a rail-based system is flexibility. If the transit needs of the city change for whatever reason, a BRT lane could be easily changed back over for automotive use, with a minimum cost. A new BRT route could be established fairly quickly, provided a thoroughfare was able to provide the requisite dedicated BRT lane.

I know it isn't an ideal solution, and a bus doesn't have the same cache as streetcar or trolley, but I do believe it provides the best solution, given the city's infrastructure and financial handicaps.

orulz Mar 28, 2007 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 2723650)
This "conspiracy" began 20 years before NCL was formed, lasted 20 years after it was dissolved, and even reached municipally owned systems. Meanwhile, streetcars also disappeared from every city in South America, and from virtually every city in Japan, Australia, China, Korea, India, Africa, Spain, France, Italy, Great Britain, Canada, and Mexico.

Not sure about in Europe and elsewhere, but in Japan, streetcars were removed as subway lines were built to replace them. Pretty much every city that does not have a comprehensive network of subways, still has street railways.

Hiroshima, Fukui, Nagasaki, Matsuyama, Kagoshima, and Okayama come to mind right off the bat, but these are only the cities that I've actually visited and there are probably many more...

My point is, in other countries, streetcar lines were removed as more robust transit was implemented. In the US, they were removed and replaced with personal automobiles and wider highways.

J. Will Mar 28, 2007 2:56 PM

Quote:

Anyone who has crept across town on a Queen streetcar, and then stepped out the back door into a traffic lane, hoping the driver behind wasn’t on his cell phone, can testify to the drawbacks of actual streetcars.
I live in downtown and would actually disagree with that statement. I take the streetcars almost every day (it's how I get to work and back), and while they're obviously worse than dedicated rail lines, they are still far better than buses, IMO.

Mr Downtown Mar 28, 2007 3:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orulz (Post 2724399)
in other countries, streetcar lines were removed as more robust transit was implemented. In the US, they were removed and replaced with personal automobiles and wider highways.

In North America, ordinary streetcars were replaced with buses. In sepia-toned nostalgic hindsight, we imagine sleek rapid streetcars being ignorantly or maliciously replaced by jerky, stinky buses. But at the time, the reality was that rattletrap 40-year-old streetcars stuck in traffic and loading passengers out in the middle of the street (anyone remember "safety islands"?) were being replaced by sleek new buses that rode smoothly and quietly and picked passengers up right at the curb. Ridership shot up (for a while) on lines where buses were substituted and the operating cost was nearly halved for the transit companies.

sentinel Mar 28, 2007 3:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 2723650)
The "NCL conspiracy" is a silly urban legend that refuses to die. It’s well refuted in Transportation Quarterly, Summer 1997 (on the web here)

It's not a "conspiracy", and it's not a "silly argument", it's well-documented that GM was behind the inception and funding of the National City Lines in 1936 along with Standard Oil. Regardless of the numerous pro/con arguments over the course of the past 6-7 decades and attempts to discredit those who insisted that it was an act of sabotage on the part of GM et al., the fact remains that something did happen that did precipate the congressional hearings in 1974 and I'd thank you to not attack me regarding my post, all I was saying that there is a definite correlation between what was done in the 30's-50's with the untimely death of the street car and the more recent forced euthanasia of the GM electric car:

http://www.lovearth.net/gmdeliberatelydestroyed.htm

and watch "Who Killed the Electric Car?" before you make a judgement.

Mr Downtown Mar 28, 2007 6:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sentinel (Post 2724648)
It's well-documented that GM was behind the inception and funding of the National City Lines in 1936 along with Standard Oil.

No one questions that GM invested in National City Lines and that NCL, worried about getting buses during wartime conditions, agreed to buy them from GM rather than Fageol, Mack or Ford. What's silly is the assertion that this had any bearing on the decision by a thousand cities around the world to use buses rather than streetcars for local transport.

Over the last 15 years, I've read all the reported court cases on NCL, the entire 1974 congressional antitrust committee report and volumes of testimony, all GM's rebuttals, Snell's "American Ground Transport" report, all the National City Lines annual reports from 1935-65, and all the scholarly articles (Barrett, Brodsly, Slater, Bianco, Adler, etc.) ever written about the conspiracy theory. I'll be happy to share the citations and bibliography with anyone who asks.

I stand by my statement that it's a "silly urban legend," and it gains no more truth by being repeated in a movie than by being repeated on a chat board.

sentinel Mar 28, 2007 8:58 PM

^^ Actually now that you mention it, I would be interested in any information/links or biblio info. you have about the situation, as my curiousity about that whole history has been sparked now, if you could please send me something that would be great (you can send me a private message on here when you have a chance. Thanks!)

Skyward Mar 29, 2007 5:36 AM

The North and NW Side lines are poorly designed. All Red, Purple, Yellow and Brown traffic feeds into the bottleneck between Clark Junction and the subway portal. The O'Hare branch is long, intersects no other lines and can't be rerouted onto the Loop. Heavy work is always going to be a problem.

Quote:

“The notion that we’re supposed to prepare for a doubling of our commute time for the next two and a half years is so laughable to me I haven’t been able to get my arms around it,” said Peter Skosey, a transit expert with the Metropolitan Planning Council, a nonprofit advocacy group. “I’m going to make sure my bike tires are inflated.”
For a "transit expert" he sure does a short memory. Every line rebuild has been a multi-year project. Remember they shut down the Green Line for two years and told its predominantly black ridership they were lucky it wasn't being torn down?? How about trains crawling over the Douglas at 5 mph?? Apparently now the CTA is supposed to levitate the trains over the work zones. White privilege and entitlement ooze out in some of the stupidest ways.

VivaLFuego Mar 29, 2007 8:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skyward (Post 2727040)
The North and NW Side lines are poorly designed. All Red, Purple, Yellow and Brown traffic feeds into the bottleneck between Clark Junction and the subway portal. The O'Hare branch is long, intersects no other lines and can't be rerouted onto the Loop. Heavy work is always going to be a problem.

Of course, each segment was planned and designed at a different time, so it's all an interesting patchwork. The steel Ls were from the 1890s and 1900s, The north side main line and Evanston branch were from the 1920s, the subways were from the 40s (as part of an eventual citywide plan that would have had dozens more miles of interconnected subway routes replacing the Ls), the Kennedy extension was the 60s-70s, and the O'hare extension was the 80s.

Speaking of the connectedness of the blue line, incidentally there are 2 short stub tunnels as part of an unused flying junction under the Lake/Canal/Milwaukee intersection, that were to eventually connect the subways to the Lake street L.

nomarandlee Mar 29, 2007 8:22 PM

Not news, but pertinent nonetheless since a number of times people have guesstimated the approximate personal cost of driving.....


http://www.chicagotribune.com/classi...6745696.column

Commuting costs continue to multiply


Published March 29, 2007


Don't need a few cups of caffeine this morning.

Simply consider the message delivered by the AAA to open the eyes wide.

If you commute by car, the AAA says, you spend about $62 for every 100 miles you travel.

Just one sobering thought in the AAA's just-released "Your Driving Costs" study, which calculates the annual cost to own and operate a car based on its size.

The 2007 results reveal that you have to dip into pocket or purse for 50.5 to 81.5 cents for every mile you travel based on 10,000 miles of driving annually.

That's $5,050 to $8,150 a year, no small sum.

The AAA bases its figures on costs for gas, oil, tires and maintenance, along with insurance, financing, depreciation, license, registration and taxes.

It says that those who drive a small car, such as a Chevy Cobalt, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra or Toyota Corolla, will spend that 50.5 cents a mile, or $5,050 a year, to own and operate that car in 2007. That's unchanged from 2006.

Those who opt for a midsize sedan such as a Chevy Impala, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima or Toyota Camry, will spend 61.8 cents a mile, or $6,180 a year. That's down less than a penny a mile from $62.4 cents, or $6,240, it cost a year ago.

Drivers of full-size sedans -- Buick Lucerne, Chrysler 300 Ford Five Hundred, Nissan Maxima or Toyota Avalon -- will spend 74.2 cents a mile, or $7,420 a year, up from 72.9 cents, or $7,290, in 2006.

Mini-van owners -- think Chevy Uplander, Dodge Caravan, Ford Freestar, Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna -- get off easier. They will spend 69.2 cents a mile, or $6,920 a year, down from 71.3 cents a mile, or $7,130 a year in 2006.

But not those with SUVs such as a Chevy TrailBlazer, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee or Nissan Pathfinder. It will cost them 81.5 cents a mile, or $8,150 a year, up from 79 cents, or $7,900, in 2006.

"As a rule, costs went down a bit because gas prices went down a bit, though those in big cars and especially SUVs didn't realize a savings because their gas mileage isn't very good," said Mike Calkins, manager of approved auto repair and author of the report.

Gas costs were based on a $2.25 a gallon national average in the fourth quarter of last year. In the Chicago area, it's running about $2.64 now, according to the AAA.

"We felt $3 a gallon last summer was an aberration and don't expect to see it reach that level again this year," Calkins said.

As if spending from $5,050 to $8,150 isn't tough enough to take, the figures don't include parking or tolls.

OhioGuy Mar 30, 2007 5:11 AM

Well the big switch to three track operation on the north side line between Fulerton & Belmont is about to begin. Starting Monday it will be headaches for the next 2.5 years for northside residents. Guess I better make sure I use the El a lot this weekend before it turns into a mess.

Marcu Mar 30, 2007 5:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 2729763)
Well the big switch to three track operation on the north side line between Fulerton & Belmont is about to begin. Starting Monday it will be headaches for the next 2.5 years for northside residents. Guess I better make sure I use the El a lot this weekend before it turns into a mess.

Outside of rush hour, it shouldn't delay your commute that much. Maybe an extra 5 minutes. It's rush hour where all the problems are anticipated.

ArteVandelay Mar 31, 2007 2:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2728360)

Speaking of the connectedness of the blue line, incidentally there are 2 short stub tunnels as part of an unused flying junction under the Lake/Canal/Milwaukee intersection, that were to eventually connect the subways to the Lake street L.

It always bothered me that the only stub tunnels in the whole Dearborn subway were directly underneath an already existing El. I realize this was probably to replace/link up with the Lake Street El, but still, you'd like to think they might have aimed for future expansion in a new direction. Instead we end up with 100' tunnels to nowhere for likely decades to come.

VivaLFuego Mar 31, 2007 6:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ArteVandelay (Post 2731924)
It always bothered me that the only stub tunnels in the whole Dearborn subway were directly underneath an already existing El. I realize this was probably to replace/link up with the Lake Street El, but still, you'd like to think they might have aimed for future expansion in a new direction. Instead we end up with 100' tunnels to nowhere for likely decades to come.

At the time they were designed/built, the subways were to be part of a citywide plan that would eventually replace just about all of those noisy, ugly old L structures ( ;) ) Nobody thought the Ls would still be around by now (and of course, many of them didn't make it)


All times are GMT. The time now is 7:25 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.