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

aaron38 Dec 14, 2007 3:36 PM

^^I'd vote for recall, and I'd be very surprised if the Boy Wonder runs for re-election. The walk-off is also a really bad idea because everyone has to get to work. If everyone who takes the train drives on Monday, they just might decide to drive on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday as well. They're going to lose riders.

Oh and Ardecila, thanks for the heads-up on the UP-NW expansion plans. Yes, that is a much better use of Metra funds.

OhioGuy Dec 14, 2007 6:06 PM

I actually was sort of hoping the job action would go through on Monday. I know it would cause a lot of *one day* pain for people, but maybe that's what's needed to get through to the stupid f&cking politicians in this state.

OhioGuy Dec 16, 2007 10:49 PM

Not sure what happened on the brown line today, but I was heading northbound and the train came to a stop for what seemed to be about 10 minutes just east of the Southport station. The conductor announced that we were being delayed due to an emergency ahead of us. Then we had to switch to the other tracks and make stops at the southbound platforms at both Paulina & Addison before switching back to the normal northbound tracks just south of Iriving Park. I did notice that no work was being done today to clear the snow away from any of the El stations, yet for some reason 6 or 7 CTA workers were clearing all of the snow off the Paulina northbound platform. I wonder if someone slipped in all of the snow & hurt themselves? I'm not sure why the CTA just allowed for the snow to sit on the station platforms all day long. If someone did slip & hurt themselves, I won't feel too bad if the CTA gets sued. They've allowed the stations to remain dangerously slippery all day long. Hell even I had some troubles getting down the stairs at Wellington earlier this afternoon because of all of the snow. I can't imagine how well a little old lady would handle it.

10023 Dec 18, 2007 3:28 AM

I know it's off topic in this thread but can I just say how much I hate subway lines down the middle of expressways? You lose most of the benefit of mass transit in terms of creating a viable, high density urban neighborhood around the stations. I guess you do what you have to do to get from point A to point B when it's something like a line from downtown to the airport, but it would be great if there was another way.

VivaLFuego Dec 18, 2007 5:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10023 (Post 3233102)
I know it's off topic in this thread but can I just say how much I hate subway lines down the middle of expressways? You lose most of the benefit of mass transit in terms of creating a viable, high density urban neighborhood around the stations. I guess you do what you have to do to get from point A to point B when it's something like a line from downtown to the airport, but it would be great if there was another way.

Seemed like a good idea at the time, but after they built the first one in the mid-1950s (Congress Superhighway), decimating the ridership of the line it replaced in the process through a combination of bulldozing the neighborhood it served and making unpleasantly inaccessible stations, they should have gotten the clue rather than build two more. They also could have improved the next 40 years of existence a little bit by making the concrete retaining wall along the transit right of way on the Dan Ryan branch about 2 feet taller to eliminate the direct path from car/truck engine to the ear of the transit customer, but lets not miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, we've got a highway to rebuild while blowing the budget by double....

the urban politician Dec 18, 2007 3:09 PM

^ Possibly THREE more, if the Red Line extension continues to run in the median of an expressway...

Mr Downtown Dec 18, 2007 5:27 PM

At the time, though, it was really the only practical way to extend the CTA system. New L's would have required very expensive ROW acquisition and would have earned the opposition of bungalow neighborhoods. And there was no way to pay for new subways.

k1052 Dec 18, 2007 8:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3233701)
^ Possibly THREE more, if the Red Line extension continues to run in the median of an expressway...

I think taking the extension down the Bishop Ford or Dan Ryan has been ruled out by the CTA.

DHamp Dec 18, 2007 10:07 PM

^It has according to the latest report. I think they narrowed it down to Halsted, Michigan ave., and along the UP railroad. Of those, I think Halsted is the best. However, running it directly above the street would probably anger residents, running it above one of the alleys on either side would require a lot of ROW acquisition/demolition and I don't know how residents would feel about that either, and subway would likely be prohibitively expensive.

The gray line, would be a better way to provide service to the far south, near south suburbs, as well as the south lakefront, in my opinion. We can only hope against hope (and it's not looking good).

Dr. Taco Dec 18, 2007 10:19 PM

^ I've never seen the gray line proposal before. It looks great IF they include a free transfer to any other el line

ardecila Dec 18, 2007 10:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DHamp (Post 3234497)
^It has according to the latest report. I think they narrowed it down to Halsted, Michigan ave., and along the UP railroad. Of those, I think Halsted is the best. However, running it directly above the street would probably anger residents, running it above one of the alleys on either side would require a lot of ROW acquisition/demolition and I don't know how residents would feel about that either, and subway would likely be prohibitively expensive.

The gray line, would be a better way to provide service to the far south, near south suburbs, as well as the south lakefront, in my opinion. We can only hope against hope (and it's not looking good).

Why not both? I guarantee that the UP alignment will be selected, if only to minimize costs and provide a park and ride facility next to the Bishop Ford. That UP alignment crosses the Metra/CN tracks (which would become the Grey Line) in Pullman. I'd love to see a large TOD district in Pullman that would spearhead the revival of the Far South Side (hopefully with a large affordable housing component).

I've mentioned this before, but I'd also love the East 63rd Branch of the Green Line to be extended to and take over the Metra South Chicago Branch. This would give the residents of the South Works an L line.

DHamp Dec 18, 2007 11:33 PM

I think UP is the most likely alignment as well. I just think of Halsted as being the best corridor if money were no object. Of course, money is a huge object, and given the factors, UP is probably the best option all things considered. I should have mentioned that before but I was typing in a rush.

Michigan Ave., on the other hand, seems to be a terrible corridor to me, I don't know how it made the short list.

I'd love to see both the Grey Line and Red Line extension, and I think both are absolutely necessary.

And to speak more generally, I think Chicago can have a world class transit system fairly cheaply by utilizing space next to or on existing freight and commuter rail ROWs. Chicago is built around these rails and public transit should take advantage. I'd love to see NO further expressway median L expansion.

Mr Downtown Dec 19, 2007 1:14 AM

Freight rail ROWs often have the same problem as expressway median ROWs: no one lives within walking distance. Follow along the Orange Line on an aerial photo. It's virtually all nonresidential uses for a quarter mile on both sides of the line.

It's funny how we feel the need to create engineering solutions to political problems. So we'll talk seriously about some expensive connection between the Green Line and one of the Metra Electric Lines, instead of just running the Metra Electric Line on short headways with regional fare integration.

pip Dec 19, 2007 1:34 AM

Let me see if I understand this correctly.

The State may buy Wrigley Field, how much a billion(?) and in addition spend hundreds of millions on a renovation of the stadium. They have already come up with a source on how to fund this in a few short days.

Hmmmm..........Wrigley Field or the CTA? Which is more important?

VivaLFuego Dec 19, 2007 2:01 AM

The UP ROW would serve the 115th/Michigan business district pretty well. The main goals of any extension should be to provide a park n ride facility and serve the only main employment and activity center in an otherwise sleepy part of town. UP ROW is probably the best of both and the cheapest, that is if they don't just upgrade to a serious BRT line along Michigan from 95th down to Altgeld.

Abner Dec 19, 2007 5:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3234911)
Freight rail ROWs often have the same problem as expressway median ROWs: no one lives within walking distance. Follow along the Orange Line on an aerial photo. It's virtually all nonresidential uses for a quarter mile on both sides of the line.

It's funny how we feel the need to create engineering solutions to political problems. So we'll talk seriously about some expensive connection between the Green Line and one of the Metra Electric Lines, instead of just running the Metra Electric Line on short headways with regional fare integration.

But the Orange Line has the special case of largely running alongside an expressway, an industrial district, AND the river, putting it in an incredibly inhospitable environment for transit--and it is still wildly successful. There are a lot of freight corridors that are much more integrated with their surroundings, such as the tracks along 16th St., the Bloomingdale tracks, and the line along Kenton where the Crosstown Expressway/Mid-City Transitway were proposed. Some of those tracks could make great transit lines.

Running the Metra Electric with CTA-style headways makes so much sense it will never happen.

DHamp Dec 19, 2007 6:28 PM

^In the case of the South Chicago Metra Electric Branch, I wouldn't want to see surface trains running down the middle of 71st street or Exchange Ave. every 5-10 minutes. That would stall road traffic during peak times on major thoroughfares like Stony Island and Jeffrey and create even more dangerous situations at all of the crossings. It'd be best to build a cut-and-cover subway line for CTA that runs the same route but underground. Population density is higher in South Shore than many areas that are serviced by 'L' with CTA-style headways so it's really a shame that residents there have to wait for one train per hour during off-peak times (and I speak from experience).

VivaLFuego Dec 19, 2007 6:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3236036)
But the Orange Line has the special case of largely running alongside an expressway, an industrial district, AND the river, putting it in an incredibly inhospitable environment for transit--and it is still wildly successful.

Yes and no. It is important to remember how much of the ridership on the line is generated at just a few stations, and that each park n ride facility is usually full by about 7 or 730am at the latest. Usually, the second to last stop (Pulaski) is where a standing load is reached; the end 2 stations on the line are responsible for over 50% of ridership (Midway station alone is 1/3). The Orange Line definitely has a strong market to support transit, but it's very far from ideal, since it has such a small walk-in market.

Clearly, to some extent there will be a cost/benefit analysis that measures the trade-off in costs vs. ridership potential for each alignment....construction and real estate costs being what they are, these freight alignments are probably what we have to look forward to for most future transit corridors.

Abner Dec 19, 2007 8:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3236129)
Yes and no. It is important to remember how much of the ridership on the line is generated at just a few stations, and that each park n ride facility is usually full by about 7 or 730am at the latest. Usually, the second to last stop (Pulaski) is where a standing load is reached; the end 2 stations on the line are responsible for over 50% of ridership (Midway station alone is 1/3). The Orange Line definitely has a strong market to support transit, but it's very far from ideal, since it has such a small walk-in market.

Clearly, to some extent there will be a cost/benefit analysis that measures the trade-off in costs vs. ridership potential for each alignment....construction and real estate costs being what they are, these freight alignments are probably what we have to look forward to for most future transit corridors.

That's interesting. I often use the Halsted stop, which is busy most of the day; I'd guess that it's the busiest after Midway and Pulaski (and maybe Roosevelt). The park and ride stations may be full by 7:30, but in my experience the trains are still full well past 9:00. It's obviously not a neighborhood line, but it clearly takes a lot of people off the road over a pretty long distance.

Do you have any guesses as to what freight alignments may possibly be considered for transit at some point besides the Red Line expansion? I'm guessing that mayoral caprice will largely determine whether the city pushes for the Mid-City Transitway or the Crosstown Expressway. The Bloomingdale tracks are likely to become a park. Are there others that might enter consideration over the next decade or two?

VivaLFuego Dec 19, 2007 9:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 3236404)
That's interesting. I often use the Halsted stop, which is busy most of the day; I'd guess that it's the busiest after Midway and Pulaski (and maybe Roosevelt). The park and ride stations may be full by 7:30, but in my experience the trains are still full well past 9:00. It's obviously not a neighborhood line, but it clearly takes a lot of people off the road over a pretty long distance.

Do you have any guesses as to what freight alignments may possibly be considered for transit at some point besides the Red Line expansion? I'm guessing that mayoral caprice will largely determine whether the city pushes for the Mid-City Transitway or the Crosstown Expressway. The Bloomingdale tracks are likely to become a park. Are there others that might enter consideration over the next decade or two?

As percentages (these fluctuate throughout the year, so consider them approximations):
Midway - 33%
Pulaski - 19%
Western - 12%
Kedzie - 11%
35/Archer - 10%
Halsted - 10%
Ashland - 5%

Thus it's pretty clear that it really functions as a connecting feeder service to downtown for trips originating at least several miles from the loop.
Of course that still makes it worthwhile, though it would have been nice if it could have stayed along Archer between Western and Pulaski rather than veering off into never-never land to follow freight ROW.

In terms of future Chicago transit projects along existing railroad ROW, you basically know them already: Carroll Ave. transitway downtown, Mid-City Line, and the Red/Orange/Yellow extensions. I made the comment more in regards to transit projects in this country in general; the majority of new lines that don't seem to be following a frieght ROW are either street-running light rail, very short subways, and in NYC's unique case the Second Avenue Subway, the latter whose ridership projections are off the charts.


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