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Chicago3rd Mar 31, 2007 7:52 PM

^^Speaking of the EL Blue line...will enough buildings be going up in the area west of River Bend to qualify for a new station on the Blue line? Red Line at Division and Clybourne? Division and the Brownline?

VivaLFuego Mar 31, 2007 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 2733023)
^^Speaking of the EL Blue line...will enough buildings be going up in the area west of River Bend to qualify for a new station on the Blue line? Red Line at Division and Clybourne? Division and the Brownline?

There have been murmers of a Division/Orleans Brown Line stop, but I don't know if any signicant amount of design work has been done for it. I think the general idea is to wait and see how the Circle Line study ends up in terms of the "preferred alternative" (routing- and mode-choices for a potential new line, or "enhancements" to existing lines, etc.).

Mr Downtown Apr 2, 2007 4:38 PM

Unfortunately, new stations have become monstrously expensive, and no one seems to be concerned. A simple ground-level platform in Skokie, for instance, is slated to cost $14 million! Think about what a ground-level platform consists of--a small concrete pad, a couple of ramps, a small roofed area, and some light standards--and how it could possibly cost more than the most expensive house ever sold in Lake Forest. A quick glance at Bidclerk discloses that $14 million is enough to build an entire friggin Wal-Mart with long-span roof, mechanicals, hundreds of light fixtures and an enormous paved parking lot!

the urban politician Apr 2, 2007 4:57 PM

^ I don't get it---WHY?

VivaLFuego Apr 2, 2007 7:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 2737053)
^ I don't get it---WHY?

Government Regulations -
- Brownfield environmental remediation and other site preparations (excavations, utilty relocations which are a total bear, and sometimes some significant structural/foundation challenges especially on the L structure)
- full ADA compliance (this is a biggy since it means stations takes up much more space due to ramps, wider platforms and costly heavy-duty elevators),
- multi-step procurement process for planning, design, and construction, and subsequent administration costs,
- the fact that its being done amidst an operating railroad which means the project takes much longer

In the old days, the private enterprise was given the right by government to operate a railroad over a certain public right of way (i.e. a street or alley) but also didn't operate under nearly the same level of scrutiny or regulation as today's public transit; so they could get things built and done alot faster and alot cheaper. (of course part of what drove many of the passenger railroads hopelessly bankrupt was that government started placing minimum service level requirements that could not possibly be self-sustaining given ridership demands....but that's a mostly unrelated tangent).

Yes they are certainly very expensive, but I'm not sure comparing it to a Wal-mart is particularly valid since most of the latter are built of a cookie-cutter design out in sprawlsville, in high volume.

Marcu Apr 2, 2007 9:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician
^ I don't get it---WHY?
ADA compliance has turned out to be more expensive than most people have anticipated. In some cases, we are paying hundreds of millions of dollars (and in the case of the brown line prolonged construction and chaos) so that a handful of people would be able to ride the train. It would be substantially cheaper for the city to hire those few people taxis for every trip they need to make and the result would be virtually identical.

Chicago Shawn Apr 2, 2007 10:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 2737675)
ADA compliance has turned out to be more expensive than most people have anticipated. In some cases, we are paying hundreds of millions of dollars (and in the case of the brown line prolonged construction and chaos) so that a handful of people would be able to ride the train. It would be substantially cheaper for the city to hire those few people taxis for every trip they need to make and the result would be virtually identical.

Universal design assists far more people than the disabled. Ramps and elevators also help people with temporary injuries, bicycles and luggage. It makes the system more user freindly overall. Is it still worth the extra cost though, I don't know. Would it be better if a few lesser used stations could be built without the ADA stuff to keep costs down?

Mr Downtown Apr 2, 2007 10:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 2737675)
It would be substantially cheaper for the city to hire those few people taxis for every trip

"Separate but equal" has proven a problematic way to provide public services in the past. Experience with a separate system of transit for the disabled in the 80s is what led to the lawsuit and consent decree under which CTA now operates.

More problematic, in my opinion, is the uncertainty about ADA requirements which leads CTA and its consultants to make unnecessarily expensive changes. For instance, I'm told that CTA interprets ADA to require room for two wheelchairs to pass on both sides of an obstruction in the middle of a platform--instead of the common-sense idea that wheelchairs could pass on either side. Congress chose to write ADA as abstract goals instead of detailed regulations, which means that agencies and developers have to go to absurd lengths hoping to immunize themselves from unpredictable lawsuits.

ArteVandelay Apr 3, 2007 2:43 AM

Why so expensive
 
There are a large number of reasons CTA or other federally funded transit projects are so expensive. As previously mentioned, ADA is a big one. Another killer when working on CTA projects is when you are actually allowed to do work. Building a new station in the middle of a field would be simple and cheap. Now try to do that same work limited to hours of 9AM to 3PM due to rush hour restrictions (yet you must pay your guys for a full 8 hours), surround your work area with often clueless pedestrians, require CTA personnal (flaggers) present whenever near tracks, keep in mind work must stop whenever a train goes by (approx every 7 mins), etc. Contractors add very large premiums to account for these difficulties, or else put themselves and their bid price at very high risk.

Government funded projects also demand very high quality workmanship, which on the surface sounds very good - public money deserves to be spend properly. Reality? Specifications are very difficult to meet (case in point - pouring a sidewalk requires testing of concrete, an expensive procedure totally unnecessary for a sidewalk). Huge amount of documentation to verify quality and safety are required, which in turn mean paying for employees not directly in production (this are costs that would almost never be included on a private job).

Finally, these requirements all add up to fewer contractors bidding the work, meaning higher margins for the ones that due, etc. Sorry to ramble, but there is no simple way to explain why CTA projects cost alot. However, when people say that "X Builiding" in my hometown only cost 5 million, how does this CTA project cost 100 times that, this is why. Hopefully that clears up a little confusions - the money does go somewhere - whether its the best way to do it is a good question.

honte Apr 3, 2007 3:26 AM

^ Well-explained and well-put!

brian_b Apr 3, 2007 12:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 2733023)
^^Speaking of the EL Blue line...will enough buildings be going up in the area west of River Bend to qualify for a new station on the Blue line? Red Line at Division and Clybourne? Division and the Brownline?

The Blue line station at Grand Ave. is easily walkable from those new buildings. I live just south of all that development and don't have an issue walking up there. In fact, I did it recently at 3AM and was afraid I might run into some sketchiness along the way, but didn't see anything to worry about.

Chicago3rd Apr 3, 2007 5:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian_b (Post 2739639)
The Blue line station at Grand Ave. is easily walkable from those new buildings. I live just south of all that development and don't have an issue walking up there. In fact, I did it recently at 3AM and was afraid I might run into some sketchiness along the way, but didn't see anything to worry about.


Between Lake/LaSalle and Grand it is tons of development/density going in. It is about 1 mile between stations. Putting a stop at Fulton/Milwaukee/Clinton would put a stop right in the middle to service all the new condos, 1/4 mile from Oglavie Trainstation and 1/2 mile to Union Station, run buses Canal to Fulton to Jefferson and to Jackson to make rail/CTA connections easier. Also lots of developement is planned for the area between the river and 90/94.

Just a pipe dream.

Marcu Apr 3, 2007 8:02 PM

good news
 
CTA commute 'better than most people feared'
Commutes fairly normal despite L reconstruction

April 3, 2007
BY ART GOLAB AND STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporters
Commuters -- stone-faced, rushing and not wanting to be pestered -- poured out of the CTA's Fullerton L station Monday.

It was a fairly typical evening exodus from downtown to the North Side, despite widespread worries that the next phase of the Brown Line reconstruction might create all kinds of headaches.
"Overall, I'd say it went . . . a lot better than most people feared," CTA chief Frank Kruesi told reporters after Monday's commute.
Delays were in the minutes, not unusual for the peak rush-hour period, Kruesi said.

Kruesi attributed Monday's mostly problem-free morning and evening commutes to riders heeding warnings by taking advantage of alternate routes, including using express buses.

That doesn't mean riders should think it's business as usual on the L.

"Don't be lulled into a false sense that nothing is different or that we're using scare tactics," Kruesi said. "... Recognize that this is a long project. There are going to be some frustrations."

And there were. Some riders complained about evening delays of 15 to 20 minutes. A few commuters yelled, "It was terrible!" as they walked past reporters.


But spring break ends next week
The repairs limited all northbound traffic on the Red, Brown and Purple lines to one track instead of the two tracks the lines normally share. In order to squeeze all those trains onto one track, 24 fewer runs were scheduled for Monday's evening rush.
The morning commute was even more uneventful, mainly because both southbound tracks remained open. In fact, many riders reported faster travel times and less crowded trains.

"I think it was actually a shorter ride for me today," said Ann Wilcock, an Andersonville resident who boards the Red Line at Bryn Mawr. Wilcock even got a seat when she switched to the Brown Line train at Belmont, a rare occurrence. "I was surprised; it was less crowded."

According to Kruesi, the morning rush "went smoothly on both bus and rail," with rail travel times "similar to what we normally see."

While many morning trains were standing room only and a few were too packed to take on additional riders, the a.m. crowds were no bigger than usual, Kruesi said.

However, the Metra commuter rail service got some overflow from the CTA. Spokesman Patrick Waldron estimated about 200 CTA riders switched over to the Union Pacific North Line. Metra's service has stops in Evanston, Rogers Park and Ravenswood, serving the same corridor as the affected CTA lines.

Metra also added six trains and is running the Ravinia Special every evening, not just for concerts.

And if this week's commute seems rough, it was probably less hectic than it could have been.

When students and teachers return next week from the Chicago Public Schools spring break, the CTA expects 20,000 additional daily riders on the L and 125,000 more on the buses.

Chicago3rd Apr 3, 2007 8:06 PM

^^Kruesi is a liar. My three commutes so far have been BETTER than normal. What ever they are doing they need to do it for 2 more years. I am almost impressed!

Mr Downtown Apr 3, 2007 8:21 PM

It's the IDOT technique. Scare the hell out of people about how miserable the Dan Ryan will be during construction, and--surprise--people stay away. Motormen at Howard and Kimball on their best behavior and actually in their cabs when departure time comes. Supervisors at Tower 18 and Clark Junction watching everything carefully the first day.

What's painful for me is seeing Tribune suburbanites write about the CTA as if it's some exotic folk custom engaged in by colorful natives.

MayorOfChicago Apr 3, 2007 9:23 PM

^ Yeah, my 3 commutes so far have been far better and far faster than almost all before.

I haven't taken the L, but people who did said they're pretty much abandoned, and everyone gets a seat. The bus was pretty packed, and the route I'm on use to run them every 10-12 minutes, but now there are huge packs of them everywhere. Yesterday morning there were 4 of them right in a row heading downtown together, on the way home there were 3 of them, and another joined in the rear as I got off the 3rd one in the line at Diversey. Kinda slowed us down though having all the busses together, especially when trying to turn left at lights.

VivaLFuego Apr 4, 2007 12:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 2740471)
^^Kruesi is a liar. My three commutes so far have been BETTER than normal. What ever they are doing they need to do it for 2 more years. I am almost impressed!

Interestingly enough, CTA service is reliably on-time, clean, safe, and friendly as long as no one rides it.

Attrill Apr 4, 2007 1:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago (Post 2740639)
^ Yeah, my 3 commutes so far have been far better and far faster than almost all before.

Wait until school vacation is over and the kids (and their parents) are back. They picked this week since there is a significant reduction in ridership. The CTA is also at the top of it's game for this week, over the next month I'm afraid they'll start slacking and service will deteriorate. What we're seeing this week is what they can do when they stay on top of things.

Marcu Apr 4, 2007 7:29 PM

Daley says CTA needs more state funding


By Brandon Glenn
April 04, 2007

(Crain’s) — Mayor Richard Daley has joined an ever-increasing crowd calling for the General Assembly to step up funding of the Chicago Transit Authority.
At a news conference Wednesday, Mr. Daley said that if Springfield lawmakers don’t heed his requests for more money, the CTA could be forced to cut service, according to a statement from the city.

The plea was a departure from the mayor’s recent protocol; typically, he has avoided making public remarks about the struggling CTA unless prompted by questions. The move could mark the beginning of a public push by Mr. Daley to obtain more cash for the CTA, which has come under fire recently for overcrowding, service delays and broken-down equipment.

A number of business and labor groups and suburban officials have called for increased state funding for transit, with some labeling the situation a “crisis.”

The Regional Transit Authority, which oversees the CTA and the suburban Metra train and Pace bus services, says it needs $12 billion over the next five years to fund capital projects and operations.

Separately, Mr. Daley again urged Springfield lawmakers to extend the 7% annual rate cap on property tax assessments.

“Unless the General Assembly acts within the next few weeks, homeowners are going to receive a rude shock this fall,” he said, according to the city release.

MayorOfChicago Apr 4, 2007 8:50 PM

^

fiiiiiiiiinally


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