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Chicago Shawn Apr 9, 2007 8:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 2753970)
That will come as a surprise to the Metra workers on the Rock Island, Milwaukee, Heritage, and Electric Divisions.

Only UP, BNSF, North Central, and SouthWest are purchase-of-service or trackage rights. The other lines are owned and maintained by Northeast Illinois Rail Corporation, which does business as Metra.

Opps, my bad, thanks for clearing that up. So is this rail corporation soley in use as a seperate divison for track maintanece? Do they gain revenue from allowing frieght opperations to occur over the Milwaukee and old IC lines?

Marcu Apr 9, 2007 8:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 2753822)
Please tell us which ones are unnecessary. I'd also be interested in the criteria you use (riders/day, peak riders/hour, half-mile service standard, farebox recovery ratio) to make this determination.

I'm not in a position to pick out lines since, as most people in the city, I only use a fraction of the system. I would imagine overlap would be a big factor. I personally can't stand being on a 3rd mostly empty bus in line waiting to make a stop on Sheridan Road.

I guess I just have a problem with the complete unwhillingness to cut any service anywhere. Hypothetically, even as something as basic as increasing wait time from every 6 minutes to every 8 minutes, even if it is shown to segnificantly cut costs, seems to face uncompromising opposition.

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2754162)
It's also worth noting that Metra owns, operates and maintains other major capital assets like rolling stock, yards, and shops.


Since when has an oversight organization with zero responsibility ever funded something they mandate? Remember the federal government with paratransit?

It's more like, representatives of those poor areas are key votes in Springfield in terms of anything pro-transit getting passed, so if they say service stays (think: Green Line, Cermak branch, etc.), then service stays.

Marcu, I think your problem (I'm being somewhat fecetious) is that you're trying to come up with rational, fact-based solutions, when rationality and facts on the ground are only a minor input into the huge political equation that actually leads to anything happening in the public transit world.

I guess you're right. I should try to be more realistic. Just can't help envisioning a HK-style system here in Chicago

As for the oversight organization point, there are quite a few of oversight organizations like this on the federal level. Almost everything under Homeland Security. The entire state court system has madates in terms of docket management, etc.

Quote:

By this logic, CTA is largely a public-private partnership, since many of these administration functions are contracted out...I think you're copping out of my question. Has there ever been a large scale privatization of a major transportation operation in this country, and if so, what was it and is it relavent, and if not, why not?
You're right. It is. So a move to have private maintenance or private operations wouldn't be a radical move that some are portraying. Just a slight shift along the line of a public-private partnership.

Marcu Apr 9, 2007 8:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 2753890)
Metra has the luxury of not owning any of its infrastructure. It runs well because that is really all they have to worry about, keeping the trains on time.

Isn't that the point? Have smaller entities with particular areas of expertise?

VivaLFuego Apr 10, 2007 12:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcu (Post 2754346)
I guess you're right. I should try to be more realistic. Just can't help envisioning a HK-style system here in Chicago

Never say never...If our mayor, along with guardian angels in Springfield and Washington, actually believed in taking public transit and smart growth development seriously, all sorts of amazing things could happen. It's not like we as a society don't have the money or know-how to do it right.

We'll all just keep doing what we can in the meantime.

On the topic of service cuts, the situation is such that when they do come, it has to be drastic, by nature, as in 1991, 1997, etc. Politically, you can't get away with cutting a route here and there, slashing hours of service for certain routes, etc. Such cats can only be enacted under the "cover" of massive (i.e. 10+% systemwide) cuts that are "necessary" to balance the budget. After the big cuts in 1997, CTA actually ran an operating surplus for a few years.

And as a result of politics, it's natural that now and then, the CTA system gets pretty bloated...routes that shouldnt exist, routes that get way more service than they warrant (since an old widow complained to an alderman about an awful wait this one time on an old streetcar route that no else rides anymore like the Sedgwick/Ogden which is now the #38, and, well....can't say no to old widows. As a demographic, they single-handedly kept the green line in existence in the mid-90s while also ensuring that the east 63rd street branch would be demolished. If you were around here then, you really missed out on the circuses that took place at those community meetings).

Ahem, long story short, every once and a while, "doomsday" service cuts are necessary just to keep things from getting out of hand.

Mr Downtown Apr 10, 2007 4:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 2754281)
So is this rail corporation soley in use as a seperate divison for track maintanece? Do they gain revenue from allowing frieght opperations to occur over the Milwaukee and old IC lines?

I don't know the precise corporate details, but I think NIRC is an ordinary operating railroad that just happens to be owned by the Regional Transportation Authority. It was created to purchase the commuter operation parts of the Milwaukee Road and Rock Island, and later purchased the ICG's commuter lines (renamed Heritage and Electric, as ICG didn't want to sell the name along with the tracks). In the 80s NIRC started using the marketing name "Metra."

I'm not sure that there are still any freight moves over NIRC tracks, though there may well be customers remaining on the Milwaukee West line that get freight cars dropped off and picked up, presumably by another railroad with trackage rights. I believe Metra Electric's commuter lines were able to be completely separated from CN's remaining freight operations, which run on parallel lakefront tracks. When elevated, the IC's line along the south lakefront had 10 tracks! Only six remain, I think, two for CN's freight operations and four for Metra Electric.

Mr Downtown Apr 10, 2007 1:32 PM

^^^A few corrections (it didn't seem proper to just edit the original post 12 hours later) after discussing the matter with one of my railfan friends. He provided incredible detail; here's a quick summary:

The Heritage line is not owned by NIRC/Metra; it's still owned by CN. BNSF uses it in some sort of pooled trackage arrangement with its parallel mainline.

There's still a substantial amount of freight traffic movement over Metra's former Milwaukee Road lines. CP, purchaser of much of the old Milwaukee Road, has a big yard at Bensenville and moves a lot of freight trains in and out. The lines are dispatched by CP. The Wisconsin Southern operates MILW-N west of Fox Lake and has trackage rights on other portions.

Several other railroads have theoretical trackage rights over pieces of NIRC's lines, including the Rock Island and the C&WI, but usage is pretty rare. Also, I shouldn't forget the National Rail Passenger Corporation, which does business under the name Amtrak. As owner of Union Station and operator of the approach towers, NRPC controls a lot of Metra train movements as well as operating passenger trains over several Metra lines.

VivaLFuego Apr 10, 2007 1:47 PM

http://www.suntimes.com/news/othervi...-REF09.article

A snippet from Mayor Daley's op-ed in the Sun-times:

Quote:

...the General Assembly has to meet the state's responsibility to the CTA. It's a vital part of the state's transportation infrastructure, but it has received no capital funding from the state for over two years and insufficient operating subsidies funding from the state for 23 years. The gap between needs and resources grows wider every year.

The legislature needs to reform the 1983 RTA Act to fund public transportation in a way that addresses present-day realities. If it doesn't, the CTA may have to raise fares and cut service, forcing more people into cars and clogging our streets and highways.

The CTA also is asking the state to give it flexibility to manage itself more like a business. The state should modify its rules for pensions, health care and private contracting, so the CTA can reduce its costs even further and devote more resources to those who matter most: its paying customers.

nomarandlee Apr 11, 2007 4:05 AM

Red Line extension routes recommended
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

Red Line extension routes recommended

By Jon Hilkevitch and Emma Fitzsimmons

Tribune staff reporters
Published April 10, 2007, 10:13 PM CDT

The Chicago Transit Authority recommended three possible routes Tuesday night for extending the Red Line from its current end point at 95th Street to a new rail terminal at 130th Street serving Far South Side residents and suburban park-and-ride commuters.

Traffic congestion has worsened the problem over the years, leading to near-gridlock on the Dan Ryan Expressway and other area highways, and overcrowded conditions during rush hours on Metra and South Shore trains as well as at the CTA's 95th Street Red Line station in the median of the Dan Ryan (Interstate Highway 90/94).

The CTA says it now takes South Side residents 20 percent longer to get where they are going than it does for commuters traveling in the rest of the city.

Nine different corridors to extend the Red Line to 130th Street are still under consideration, CTA officials and consultants told an audience of about 75 people who attended a meeting Tuesday night at Chicago State University to hear a review of the alternatives-analysis study and offer their feedback.

But the CTA recommended narrowing the nine options to three routes for further study:

Jogging the tracks west to near Halsted Street and south along Halsted, crossing the Blue Island branch of the Metra Electric before reaching 130th Street.

Using the existing Union Pacific Railroad right of way that runs south between Halsted and Michigan Avenue until about 112th Street, then bends southeast, crossing the Metra Electric main line tracks and terminating near the South Shore Line and the Bishop Ford Freeway (Interstate Highway 94).

•Extending the Red Line alongside South Michigan Avenue.

The six other corridors that were looked at include using rights of way along Interstate Highway 57 or the Bishop Ford; or extending the Red Line tracks alongside either Wentworth Avenue, State Street, King Drive or Cottage Grove Avenue/Metra Electric.

At the meeting Tuesday, Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th), whose ward includes the 95th Street Station, said that having a reliable and environmentally friendly train service was paramount.

"We want to make sure it works for the community it serves," she said.

A neighborhood group that has advocated for the extension of the Red Line favors the Union Pacific corridor route because it runs through the center of the Roseland community and would provide the highest ridership, said Lou Turner, a consultant for Developing Communities Project.

"On the Far South Side, one in four households does not have a car," Turner said. "This area is heavily transportation-disadvantaged."

No recommendations were made regarding whether the extension would be at street level, on elevated tracks, in a trench or underground, officials said.
In addition, the transit agency suggested using either traditional CTA heavy-rail cars for the project or a bus rapid-transit system, which would offer faster travel and fewer stops than regular bus service.

One rail expert said the CTA should still consider commuter rail as the best option for the Red Line extension, because CTA-style rapid-transit lines cannot operate on the same tracks used by commuter and freight railroads.

"Why not build it so that the same infrastructure can be used flexibly to provide transit services to both city and suburban passengers?" asked Adam Kerman, who heads the Transit Riders Authority. "With a wide enough right of way, tracks for freight, express passenger and local passenger services can share one alignment."

The CTA's paring down of possible corridors does not mean that the Red Line extension would be built soon. The CTA is seeking federal funding for a number of massive rail projects, including a plan to build the proposed Circle Line connecting all CTA and Metra rail lines.

"We are working to move all our projects along so we are in the best position to get funding," said CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney.

Metra is also competing for scarce federal dollars, pushing its 55-mile suburb-to-suburb STAR Line project, and also studying the viability of a new Southeast Service Line between downtown Chicago and south suburban Crete.

CTA president Frank Kruesi has called the Circle Line the "single most important" transit project in the Chicago region. A second public meeting on the Red Line extension project will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the West Pullman Chicago Public Library, 830 W. 119th St.

nomarandlee Apr 11, 2007 6:09 AM

Suburbs: Transportation attention favors Chicago
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

Suburbs: Transportation attention favors Chicago

By Richard Wronski
Tribune staff reporter
Published April 10, 2007, 8:35 PM CDT

With two-thirds of the Chicago area's residents living in suburban Cook and the collar counties, there must be greater emphasis on providing new transportation services to those areas, members of the newly formed Suburban Transportation Commission agreed Tuesday.

The region's transportation needs have for too long been Chicago-centered, and funding discussions have been dominated by the needs of the CTA, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said.

"Suburb-to-suburb commuting has increased by 56 percent, while traditional suburb-to-city commuting increased only 9 percent," Kirk said. "Our transportation plans should set a priority on the needs of the new suburban majority where our economy is growing fastest."

Kirk and U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) teamed up to form the bipartisan commission intended to focus attention on suburban transportation, service inequities and funding needs.

Kirk took aim at the CTA's pension funding shortfall.

"No one is arguing against helping the CTA, but not at the expense of suburban commuters," he said.

Officials from McHenry and Lake Counties urged the panel to push for increased suburban representation on the Regional Transportation Authority board, which oversees CTA, Metra and Pace and approves their budgets. The officials also said Metra and Pace should have seats on the RTA board just as the CTA has.

But RTA Chairman Jim Reilly urged that efforts remain focused on building a regional consensus for increased transportation funding.

"It should not be city-versus-suburbs or city-versus-collar counties. This will only serve to divide us," Reilly said.

The region must act together to encourage the General Assembly this spring to approve the RTA's five-year plan for $10 billion in capital improvements and $400 million a year for operating funds, Reilly said, or service cuts and higher fares will loom.

Also testifying with Reilly before the commission in Libertyville were Metra Executive Director Phil Pagano and Pace board member Dick Welton. The commuter rail and suburban bus agencies outlined how service to the collar counties, particularly Lake and McHenry, has improved over the past 20 years.

Pagano pointed to development of the proposed STAR Line, the 55-mile rail route that would link suburbs and four Metra lines in a semicircle from O'Hare International Airport to Hoffman Estates to Joliet.

Not testifying at the meeting but in attendance was CTA President Frank Kruesi, who said he was "surprised and disappointed" by Kirk's opening comments regarding the CTA.

Kruesi said he was heartened to hear "less of that rhetoric" and more about bipartisanship and consensus-building from others as the session continued.

rwronski@tribune.com

Abner Apr 11, 2007 7:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 2754930)
And as a result of politics, it's natural that now and then, the CTA system gets pretty bloated...routes that shouldnt exist, routes that get way more service than they warrant (since an old widow complained to an alderman about an awful wait this one time on an old streetcar route that no else rides anymore like the Sedgwick/Ogden which is now the #38, and, well....can't say no to old widows. As a demographic, they single-handedly kept the green line in existence in the mid-90s while also ensuring that the east 63rd street branch would be demolished. If you were around here then, you really missed out on the circuses that took place at those community meetings).

Ahem, long story short, every once and a while, "doomsday" service cuts are necessary just to keep things from getting out of hand.

Although I hope you would also recognize that there are real benefits to keeping lines that aren't used very heavily. For one thing, knowing that the transportation system is relatively comprehensive is important in convincing people to rely on it. A lot of the Chicagoans who don't own cars do so by choice. When you cut lower-performing routes and lines from the system, you are likely to induce more car ownership even among people who don't use those lines as part of their daily commute. I would guess that effect is more extreme when you reduce hours and frequency, but I'm no transit expert. And of course, one could argue that just because the decision to keep lines open can be a political one does not necessarily make it a bad one--I would say the Green Line performs an important service because it offers transportation options to a lot of people who don't have any other options, and eliminating it would only make those neighborhoods poorer. But as a former Oak Parker and a Green Line rider, I have some self-interest in saying that.

spyguy Apr 14, 2007 6:02 PM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

All-transit fare card is on way
It would cover Metra, CTA, Pace

By Richard Wronski

Tribune staff reporter
Published April 15, 2007

Commuters in the Chicago area may soon have the means to make transferring between trains and buses much easier: a single fare card that works on Metra, CTA and Pace.

After a long history of resisting the idea, the agencies are putting the finishing touches on a plan to offer a joint transit pass, officials confirmed.

The card would likely be a hybrid of Metra's monthly pass and the fare card now used by the CTA.

Creation of the new integrated transit pass, which officials plan to announce in the coming weeks, is expected to be popular with riders who have long complained about the inconvenience of the current system.

State legislators and transit watchdog groups for years have criticized CTA and Metra officials for accentuating the differences in their operations rather than focusing on giving riders seamless transit connections and a simplified fare structure.

The release last month of a top-to-bottom state audit of the Chicago area's transit system was key to prodding the agencies into getting serious about finding ways to better coordinate their operations.

The audit concluded that the current Regional Transportation Authority system is flawed and requires restructuring, along with reforms in how mass transit is funded.

An integrated fare system for the CTA, Metra and Pace was among the changes the audit recommended.

RTA Executive Director Steve Schlickman called the move by the CTA and Metra "encouraging."

"I think they are responding at least partially to the auditor general's report," he said.

Jim LaBelle, a transportation expert with the civic group Chicago Metropolis 2020, called the plan important and long overdue.

"Absolutely. It's not the only solution, but it's an important part of moving toward an integrated system in helping people move around the region."

Metra Executive Director Phil Pagano and CTA President Frank Kruesi and their staffs have been meeting in recent weeks to work out details.

"We have been working closely with Metra to make it easier for customers to use one fare card on all systems," Kruesi said Friday.

Pagano said officials hope to have a working proposal completed within the next 30 days so it could be presented to CTA, Metra and Pace directors. He acknowledged that having better fare coordination among transit agencies has long been a concern of the public.

"If we can work this through, I think it's a good first step" toward providing fare coordination, Pagano said. "Fare coordination and [system] integration are important for our riders."

Pagano would not discuss specifics, saying that many remained to be worked out. "The devil's in the details," he said.

CTA officials declined to elaborate on the plan. "We have been working closely with Metra to make it easier for customers to use one fare card on all systems," Kruesi said.

But Schlickman said the pass will probably be a "flash" card akin to the CTA's Chicago Card.

Schlickman's deputy, Leanne Redden, said the CTA and Metra are working "on a combined monthly pass. It has been on the table for a while, as a potential interim step" toward an eventual universal card, she said. "They are dealing with the monthly-pass users first."

Redden said the popularity of the free trolleys that operate in downtown Chicago points to the need to simplify Chicago's public transit system.

"It's easier for the tourist or the weekend visitor to jump on the trolley rather than trying to figure out which of four CTA buses will take them to where they are going," Redden said.

"We already have attracted many daily commuters to transit. The more difficult part will be to develop the policy and program to draw in people who are not currently transit customers. A straightforward, truly integrated fare system is part of the solution," she said.

Redden said the RTA is working toward conducting a pilot project involving fare-collection technology similar to a test under way in New York City. There, customers use a special MasterCard for transit and at retail outlets ranging from Starbucks to McDonald's, she said.

One of the major obstacles to fare integration in Chicago has been dealing with the different types of service. CTA and Pace riders simply pay per trip, while Metra riders pay on a per-distance basis.

Worldwide, there are very few truly integrated transit fare systems, Redden said. Even the Paris transit system, often identified as the standard, does not have integrated fares with the commuter rail lines serving the suburbs outside Paris, she said.

Redden said the initial CTA-Metra integrated pass represents "a relatively low-cost way of combining fare media. The big question is, will this encourage Metra riders to use the CTA more?"

The CTA Chicago Card is being used in the experiment because travel patterns can be tracked. All trips are recorded by the computer chip embedded in each card. Riders now use the plastic Chicago Card for bus and train trips like a debit card, replenishing it with cash at fare machines. Also available is the Chicago Card Plus, which is replenished from a customer's credit card account.

The CTA and Pace fare systems already are integrated; CTA fare cards are accepted on Pace buses. But coordination between the bus systems and Metra has proved problematic. Most riders simply pay two separate fares.

Metra riders who buy monthly passes also can buy a Link-Up Sticker for $36, giving unlimited connecting travel on CTA and Pace buses. But CTA usage is restricted to the peak 6-to-9:30 a.m. and 3:30-to-7 p.m. travel hours.

Metra monthly pass holders can also buy a $30 sticker for unlimited travel on all Pace suburban buses.

Link-Up users number only 5,000 to about 9,000 a month, officials said.

The number of transit riders who would use both a Metra monthly pass and a CTA Chicago Card is relatively small, officials said.

"Our point to the CTA and Metra is we won't know how many people would use the new combined pass until we try it," Schlickman said.

VivaLFuego Apr 14, 2007 10:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 2758660)
Although I hope you would also recognize that there are real benefits to keeping lines that aren't used very heavily. For one thing, knowing that the transportation system is relatively comprehensive is important in convincing people to rely on it. A lot of the Chicagoans who don't own cars do so by choice. When you cut lower-performing routes and lines from the system, you are likely to induce more car ownership even among people who don't use those lines as part of their daily commute. I would guess that effect is more extreme when you reduce hours and frequency, but I'm no transit expert. And of course, one could argue that just because the decision to keep lines open can be a political one does not necessarily make it a bad one--I would say the Green Line performs an important service because it offers transportation options to a lot of people who don't have any other options, and eliminating it would only make those neighborhoods poorer. But as a former Oak Parker and a Green Line rider, I have some self-interest in saying that.

As a transit nut, I'm glad the green line still exists, and I wish other abandoned and destroyed lines (Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Jackson Park, etc) still existed. But I really hate how politicians expect CTA to keep all those lines opens without accepting that doing so drastically increases CTA's need for a significant public subsidy, which same politicians have no interest in providing.

ardecila Apr 15, 2007 5:01 AM

Speaking of the Kenwood line... Has there been any moves to reinstate it, or build a linear park like the Bloomingdale Trail or the High Line in NYC? Who owns it?

I know portions of the viaduct are missing (at Jazz on the Boulevard) and the lakefront access is now blocked by Lake Park Crescent, so this isn't such a no-brainer as it seems.

Lake Park Crescent, however, has interestingly placed parkland between the end of the viaduct and the IC tracks. A short subway could be built beneath the park to connect with the IC if transit service were ever to be reinstated. I would continue the Pink Line around the loop like the Green Line and then divert it after Indiana onto the Kenwood viaduct.

VivaLFuego Apr 15, 2007 3:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 2768869)
Speaking of the Kenwood line... Has there been any moves to reinstate it, or build a linear park like the Bloomingdale Trail or the High Line in NYC? Who owns it?

I know portions of the viaduct are missing (at Jazz on the Boulevard) and the lakefront access is now blocked by Lake Park Crescent, so this isn't such a no-brainer as it seems.

Lake Park Crescent, however, has interestingly placed parkland between the end of the viaduct and the IC tracks. A short subway could be built beneath the park to connect with the IC if transit service were ever to be reinstated. I would continue the Pink Line around the loop like the Green Line and then divert it after Indiana onto the Kenwood viaduct.

Put bluntly....not going to happen anytime soon, it's not on anybody's radar. Plus, that area is still very low density (in contrast to 60 years ago, when it was about the highest density area in the city)....not really supportive of rapid transit. But of course, after CTA spent $400 million rehabbing a line that nobody rode, you can never again use ridership projection as an acceptable excuse (politically speaking) to not spend oodles money on any given transit project. And hence, maintenance on the lines people do ride (North Main, State and Dearborn Subways, etc.) get deferred....

Regarding serving that area, I think the best step would be infill local stations on the Metra Electric (perhaps at 35th and 43rd). My reasoning being, those residents will want a quick commute option to downtown but will likely drive for just about any other trip. But again, we're talking probably $15-30 million a pop for each, and money like that is nowhere on the horizon. However, if transit became a priority at city hall....

Further, historically riders have never significantly used transfers between the L system and commuter rail. With any luck, the aforementioned fare integration will increased demand for intermodal transfers, and put services like that back on the radar. There used to be a transfer between the South Elevated and IC at 63rd and Dorchester, and nobody used it....there used to be a transfer between the Lake Elevated and the CNW terminal at Clinton/Canal.....and no one used it. Not sure why; it may well have been the complete lack of fare integration.

Busy Bee Apr 15, 2007 3:17 PM

What? Gray Line? What? aahhmm.

ardecila Apr 16, 2007 5:15 AM

But.. densification IS occurring, and it would be unwise for the city to sell off the remaining portions of the viaduct. That's why a linear park would work well here - it would placehold for future transit use, and it would make an eyesore, liable for demolition, into a neighborhood asset.

As for the new IC stations.. why doesn't Metra increase train frequency on the Blue Island and South Chicago branches, and have them act like rapid transit for the city's stations, making all stops. Then streamline the Main Branch so it acts like an express to the suburbs, and decrease train frequency on it. This would accomplish most of the aims of the Grey Line proposal, without adding to CTA's woes.

VivaLFuego Apr 16, 2007 2:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 2770779)
But.. densification IS occurring, and it would be unwise for the city to sell off the remaining portions of the viaduct. That's why a linear park would work well here - it would placehold for future transit use, and it would make an eyesore, liable for demolition, into a neighborhood asset.

There's already new construction blocking much of the old right-of-way, and similarly, much of the embankment has been removed. Further, what's left of the embankment is probably unusable. I'm not saying bringing back the branch is impossible, but it would essentially be an all-new line, with all the eminent domain and acquision politics involved. There would have to be alot of muscle behind it.

Quote:

As for the new IC stations.. why doesn't Metra increase train frequency on the Blue Island and South Chicago branches, and have them act like rapid transit for the city's stations, making all stops. Then streamline the Main Branch so it acts like an express to the suburbs, and decrease train frequency on it. This would accomplish most of the aims of the Grey Line proposal, without adding to CTA's woes.
Well, Metra's current frequencies are somewhat appropriate given the ridership level, if anything the frequencies are a bit high relative to the other Metra lines (but granted, frequency vs. ridership is often a self-fulfilling prophecy). What complicates the issue also is that Metra receives zero operating funding from sales taxes collected within the city of chicago, but still operates its highest frequency line (the Metra Electric) largely within the city. The counterpoint is that Metra receives a disproportionately high share of suburban tax revenue, relative to CTA. But you see how getting Metra to spend money in the city is a sticky issue with the current funding formula. It's yet another reason there needs to be a stronger RTA to direct regional strategic planning of transit service, rather than almost-entirely-independent service boards.

The other issues with turning the ME into a more rapid-transit like service are the downtown terminal constraints, and the manner of segregation of fare controls and such...unless they would simply hire many many more conductors at a starting salary of $56,000/year...

Chicago3rd Apr 16, 2007 6:30 PM

Can someone post us a population density map for the areas they want to extend the red line through on the southside?

schwerve Apr 17, 2007 5:18 AM

while I'm sure it got overshadowed by the olympics I can't believe nobody's making a bigger deal about the all-transit card. When I saw that article I was floored. Fare integration has been such an obstacle in terms of agency cooperation and system use that its hampered the development of the entire public trans. system. If they've actually tackled this problem its a HUGE step in the right direction.

VivaLFuego Apr 17, 2007 3:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schwerve (Post 2772998)
while I'm sure it got overshadowed by the olympics I can't believe nobody's making a bigger deal about the all-transit card. When I saw that article I was floored. Fare integration has been such an obstacle in terms of agency cooperation and system use that its hampered the development of the entire public trans. system. If they've actually tackled this problem its a HUGE step in the right direction.

We've heard it many times before, let's see what actually transpires.


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