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OhioGuy Jan 25, 2011 11:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by headcase (Post 5139282)
I can't remember the rational, but that has been abandoned for transit usage, and is slated to become a greenspace : LInk

SSDD

Seems like a waste of a perfectly good right-of-way, especially since a large park exists just a few blocks south (Humboldt Park)... not to mention Palmer Square to the north and the Humboldt Blvd green space between. If I was a resident in that area, I'd be more interested in having rapid transit than another park

Mr Downtown Jan 26, 2011 4:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 5139041)
Between a concrete structure & an embankment, I'm not sure which would produce the least sound.

Definitely the embankment. I talked with one of the engineers about this at tonight's meeting.

paytonc Jan 26, 2011 6:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5135429)
Some of the station consolidation did make sense, though, especially on the Evanston Branch and with Granville-Glenlake. Can they not do this in the basic rehab option because the ADA won’t allow for new narrowish stations?

There’s also the argument that you don’t need to get rid of stations.

Due to ADA, there's almost no middle ground between a new coat of paint at a station and a complete rebuild of the entire station. Getting rid of some of those two-block-apart stations would reduce operating time and cost -- not just by reducing the number of station agents, but also by speeding up run times and therefore improving CTA's notably low line productivity.

Quote:

Originally Posted by a chicago bearcat (Post 5137052)
At least 2.5 miles of this line would be part of a tunnel to provide through running high speed access to downtown.

Why would you need a high-speed tunnel heading north from downtown? Would that tunnel be built to HSR turning radius standards? Would it be four tunnel bores? (Not saving that much money vs. two bores.) Cut-and-cover? Even Milwaukee, much less Minnesota, is best served by heading northwest, then north, rather than using the UP/lakefront alignment.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 5139290)
Seems like a waste of a perfectly good right-of-way, especially since a large park exists just a few blocks south (Humboldt Park)...

The point is that it's a linear park, thus offering good east-west connections and an uninterrupted 2.5-mile path, in a neighborhood that is actually starved for greenspace (particularly for active uses) given its density. (Second lowest amount of park space per capita among the community areas, I think.) It's hardly an ideal corridor for transit, either -- surrounded by single-family pretty much the entire way, except for some loft conversions. The same money would be better spent on rapid bus service along a parallel street.

It was briefly considered as an alignment during the alternatives analysis for the Circle Line and rejected.

I mean, there's a reason why the Humboldt Park branch of the "L" was abandoned so early in the game, and before that why passenger service on the Bloomingdale hasn't existed in a century -- it doesn't make that much sense. (And even that was in a much better position, behind the mixed-use North Ave corridor.)

ardecila Jan 26, 2011 6:33 AM

Yeah, I agree... the MD-N should be enough for high-speed rail to the north (with additional tracks and some grade separation) and the IC should be enough for HSR to the south/east. The only place you need a tunnel is to connect the two, in the downtown area. We're fairly lucky in that regard, unlike European cities where the surface rail lines are all maxed-out with commuter trains and slow intercity trains.

CTA Gray Line Jan 27, 2011 5:38 AM

Court strikes down state's $31 billion capital program
 
Are local matching Transit Capital Funds (like the Red Line Ext.) involved in
this mess??

______________________________________________________________________

http://www.suntimes.com/3506114-417/story.html

Court strikes down state's $31 billion capital program

BY DAVE MCKINNEY Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief

dmckinney@... Jan 26, 2011 10:02PM


SPRINGFIELD — In a stunning blow to Gov. Quinn's administration, an Illinois
appeals court Wednesday tossed out the $31 billion construction program passed
in 2009 that has been a centerpiece of his job-creation efforts.

In so doing, the three-member appeals panel also invalidated video poker,
partial state lottery privatization, higher liquor and sales taxes and other
revenues that add up to $1.1 billion, money that was designed to support massive
borrowing for the bricks-and-mortar program.

Quinn vowed an immediate appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Reversing a lower court's decision, the appeals court ruled unanimously that the
General Assembly's passage of the tax and fee hikes that underwrote the
construction program violated the single-subject clause of the state
Constitution. That clause says a bill can only deal with one specific issue, not
a multitude of them.

The law in question "began as a five-page bill addressing the narrow subject of
amending the Illinois estate and generation-skipping transfer tax. As enacted on
July 13, 2009, [it] grew to 280 pages covering a variety of subjects," wrote
Justice Patrick J. Quinn, who is not related to the governor.

Within that sprawling package were the legalization of video poker, a partial
privatization of the lottery, a boost in sales tax on candy, soft drinks and
grooming products, an increase in taxes on wine, beer and hard liquor, and a
hike in vehicle registration fees. It also contained a requirement that the
University of Illinois conduct a study on the effect on families that purchase
lottery tickets.

"In the present case, not all of the provisions of [the law] have a natural and
logical connection to the single subject of revenue to the state. For example,
we discern no natural and logical connection between the subject of revenue and
the amendment to the University of Illinois Act to require the university to
conduct a study on the effect on Illinois families of members of the family
purchasing Illinois lottery tickets," Justice Quinn wrote.

The lawsuit upon which the court ruled was brought by Chicago Blackhawks owner
Rocky Wirtz and his family's liquor distributorship, Wirtz Beverage Illinois
LLC. Wirtz also is an investor in the Sun-Times Media Group.

"This lawsuit was always about how the Legislature passed this bill and the
discriminatory tax on wine and spirits. The decision affirms that, and we are
gratified by it," Wirtz spokeswoman Julia M. Sznewajs said.

Officials in Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office said lawyers would file a
motion to stall the ruling on Thursday.

"The administration intends to appeal the Appellate Court's decision and to seek
an immediate stay from the Illinois Supreme Court," the governor's office said
in a prepared statement.

"The Illinois Jobs Now! capital program is an important part of Gov. Quinn's
plan to put Illinois back to work. Capital bill projects are putting thousands
of people to work in every corner of the state, while supporting local
businesses, improving our infrastructure and increasing energy efficiency," the
statement said.

"While the administration's request for a stay is pending with the Illinois
Supreme Court, capital projects already in progress will continue as scheduled.
We would expect the Supreme Court to rule on the request for a stay in the very
near future," the statement said.

So far, the state has borrowed $2.2 billion in construction funds that are
linked to the threatened tax and fee hikes. The state has collected $425 million
from the increases. If Wednesday's ruling stands and the original money
generators don't get re-enacted, bond holders would have to be paid with dollars
from the state's deficit-riddled General Revenue Fund that now covers state
government's day-to-day operations, said Kelly Kraft, a spokeswoman for Quinn's
budget office.

If Wednesday's decision is not overturned, Gov. Quinn will face an unexpectedly
difficult and financially uncertain spring legislative session that many
observers had expected to be relatively tame. Now, after passage of the
politically unpopular income-tax hike, he could be faced with scaling back the
construction plan or persuading re-enactment of the stricken tax and fee
increases, borrowing and video poker that has been rejected by dozens of
communities.

"For those who supported this most recent tax increase and then went home and
heard from their constituents, what will your reaction be to another vote on fee
and tax increases, which were part of the original capital proposal?" said Sen.
Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), who said it is not a certainty that Republicans in a
new Legislature will agree to the same framework as before on a construction
package. "We're in a different time."

The prospect of having to go back to the Legislature and win backing again for
billions of dollars in construction borrowing is further complicated by Gov.
Quinn's push for a separate $8.75 billion borrowing package he had intended to
seek this spring to whittle down the state's backlog of unpaid bills.

"You'd like to think at a certain point we'd collectively achieve borrowing
fatigue. I know I'm there personally," Murphy said. "This is just a sticky
wicket."

ardecila Jan 27, 2011 7:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 5141273)
Are local matching Transit Capital Funds (like the Red Line Ext.) involved in
this mess??

Yes - $2.7 billion in total for Chicago public transit capital funds (CTA/Metra/Pace).

Illinois Jobs Now Projects - Chicago


The state already announced the first round of money, and CTA quickly decided how they would spend it. But it's my understanding that the state still holds this money and CTA will not receive it.

CTA Gray Line Jan 27, 2011 9:00 AM

CTA Block 37 SuperStation
 
Does anyone know what the final Capital Cost of the thus completed part of the Block 37 CTA Airport Express Superstation was??

CTA Gray Line Jan 27, 2011 10:10 AM

Ardecila, somehow I only just now noticed your signature; good call - that is EXACTLY what I am trying to do. I added my own too, Thanks.

emathias Jan 27, 2011 1:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paytonc (Post 5139770)
...
The point is that it's a linear park, thus offering good east-west connections and an uninterrupted 2.5-mile path, in a neighborhood that is actually starved for greenspace (particularly for active uses) given its density.
...

Not to be obnoxious, but isn't park space per capita sort of a silly measure of park space? It's especially silly since it penalizes density and would encourage the creation of park space just for the sake of park space in dense areas that have adequate park space but a lot of people?

Wouldn't a better measure be average distance to a park? That would reflect the accessibility, which is far more important than the raw amount of space per person within an arbitrary boundary.

Via Chicago Jan 27, 2011 4:48 PM

Ridership keeps going up, stations keep closing. Thats Chicago logic for you.

http://www.suntimes.com/3510964-417/...-stations.html

Quote:

CTA considers closing 5 stops

CTA’s top brass want to hear what riders have to say about plans to close up to three North Side stations and two others in Evanston along Red and Purple Lines.

Track repair and station renovations also are part of possible changes on a “dilapidated” 9.5-mile stretch of track from Belmont to the Linden terminal in Evanston, built between 1900 and 1920. The plans call for making 15 of 21 stations along that route handicap accessible. The project could top $4.2 billion.

But some officials, like Evanston Ald. Coleen Burrus, fear closure of stations at Foster and South Boulevard would be a blow to Evanston commuters. Station closures also are being considered at Thorndale, Lawrence and Jarvis stops in Chicago.

CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis said the plans are “more of a consolidation.”

“It would be closing some entrances and opening them up somewhere else — in some cases just a block away,’’ she added. “It’s not exactly eliminating.”

A public meeting is scheduled for 6 tonight at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center in Evanston.

Beta_Magellan Jan 27, 2011 5:24 PM

It's right in the article you quote--stations would be consolidated and there would actually be a net increase in the number of station entrances, up to 19 in the underground alternative and 21 in the elevated alternatives.

Via Chicago Jan 27, 2011 5:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5141758)
It's right in the article you quote--stations would be consolidated and there would actually be a net increase in the number of station entrances, up to 19 in the underground alternative and 21 in the elevated alternatives.

I don't follow. How exactly are station closures a net positive? What does "addition of entrances" even mean? For one example. removal of South Blvd. leaves an 8 block gap, which is more on par with Metra distances.

Lawrence is a major bus interchange. It also directly serves venues like the Riviera, Aragon, Green Mill, and other bars/restaurants in that area. Just wait until all the kids have to stumble from concerts and bars at 2AM up to the Wilson stop....I'm sure that will go over swell.

Beta_Magellan Jan 27, 2011 5:32 PM

And God, the Illinois's appellate courts are annoying, too. First Rahm's candidacy, now the capital program's shut down because some booze magnate's unhappy. Right when we the legislature makes an attempt make the state functional, the court tries to keep its ungovernable reputation intact.:hell:

VivaLFuego Jan 27, 2011 5:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5141493)
Not to be obnoxious, but isn't park space per capita sort of a silly measure of park space? It's especially silly since it penalizes density and would encourage the creation of park space just for the sake of park space in dense areas that have adequate park space but a lot of people?

This basically describes Hyde Park, which is an overparked neighborhood that tore down nearly half its housing stock in the 1950s and 1960s to create more open space. No question that --some-- of the projects were beneficial, and the periodic smaller corner playlots are a very nice amenitiy which describe your second point, but the neighborhood went way overboard with Nichols Park (which wasn't meant to extend north of 54th but has due to rampant NIMBYism and the shadowphobia of the older generations).

emathias Jan 27, 2011 6:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Via Chicago (Post 5141716)
Ridership keeps going up, stations keep closing. Thats Chicago logic for you.

http://www.suntimes.com/3510964-417/...-stations.html

I understand some of why they are looking at that, but I think they should be very careful when looking at station closures, or at the very least pressure the city (or cities) into promising to encourage high density zoning and use near whatever stations remain. It would be especially disappointing to reduce stops in Evanston considering they've been making real efforts at encouraging TOD near their stations. They could do more, but they've certainly not been ignoring the resource.

I would say that if they choose the subway option and eliminated the express service, they REALLY should get Metra to add a stop at Howard Street (and maybe add one anyway and making Howard an office park, which wouldn't be a terrible idea given you have although Evanston wouldn't be excited about competition for their downtown).

Anyway, I actually wouldn't care too much about Lawrence closing, because I think between Argyle and Wilson the area is still well-served. Especially if they did some sort of cool lighting installation on Broadway under the tracks to make it less scary and tie the parts north and south of the tracks better together.

Whichever option is used, it would be really nice if the City used the rebuilt as impetus to strongly encourage very dense infill along the entire Sheridan/Broadway corridor. It's already dense, but there are still a lot of opportunities to make it even more dense. It's too bad they didn't do more to encourage that with the Pink Line and Green Line rebuilds. Imagine where CTA ridership could be if the City just put a bit more effort into directing dense development near existing stations.

Beta_Magellan Jan 27, 2011 6:37 PM

Good (nerve-calming) listening on both the capital bill and the Red-Purple Modernization Project from WBEZ:

http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments...appellate-cour

pyropius Jan 27, 2011 10:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5141830)
It would be especially disappointing to reduce stops in Evanston considering they've been making real efforts at encouraging TOD near their stations. They could do more, but they've certainly not been ignoring the resource.

I would say that if they choose the subway option and eliminated the express service, they REALLY should get Metra to add a stop at Howard Street (and maybe add one anyway and making Howard an office park, which wouldn't be a terrible idea given you have although Evanston wouldn't be excited about competition for their downtown).

...

Whichever option is used, it would be really nice if the City used the rebuilt as impetus to strongly encourage very dense infill along the entire Sheridan/Broadway corridor. It's already dense, but there are still a lot of opportunities to make it even more dense. It's too bad they didn't do more to encourage that with the Pink Line and Green Line rebuilds. Imagine where CTA ridership could be if the City just put a bit more effort into directing dense development near existing stations.

I seem to remember that before the downturn there were more midrise proposals in Evanston west of the El tracks between Davis and Foster streets. If these ever went through and NU ever built out the parking lot next to the grad student dorm tower next to the El tracks, there might be enough demand to justify the continued existence of the Foster station.

But hopes to support Foster and South Blvd stations based on attracting future higher-density development seem a little far-fetched to me, given Evanston's approach to zoning and development.

I just hope that a red line rebuild spurs the redevelopment of the parking lot wasteland along Broadway.

paytonc Jan 27, 2011 11:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5141493)
Not to be obnoxious, but isn't park space per capita sort of a silly measure of park space? [...] Wouldn't a better measure be average distance to a park? That would reflect the accessibility, which is far more important than the raw amount of space per person within an arbitrary boundary.

It's a standard measure of park space access, dating back years. Not perfect, and yes, you're correct that "people not living within walking distance of a park" is probably better -- and probably should be used now that it's easier to compute things like that.

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 5141817)
This basically describes Hyde Park, which is an overparked neighborhood that tore down nearly half its housing stock in the 1950s and 1960s to create more open space.

Not comparable to reclaiming as open space and transportation (yes! bicycles and shoes are transportation!) an already abandoned rail line, which hasn't been used for transit in generations.


Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 5139062)
^^^^Count me as one of those who thinks closing Lawrence is dumb, dumb, dumb, DUMB

I agree with your sig....extending brown line to Jeff Park ...to me would make more sense than extending yellow line or redline

has it ever been seriously considered

1. I think it's dumb that the Red Line stops every two blocks. Granville and Thorndale have platforms just 800' apart, particularly when trains themselves are 400' long. Is this "rapid" transit or a local bus? Does everyone absolutely have to be one block from a station?

2. Yes, many times; see the history of plans at Chicago-L.org. I don't think it makes any more sense than extending other lines, particularly if attracting new riders is a goal. Pullman/Roseland and Old Orchard are bigger draws than Mayfair, and north-siders headed to the O'Hare Blue Line can take any number of westbound buses in about as much time as the Brown Line would take to get there.

Beta_Magellan Jan 28, 2011 2:38 AM

The Brown Line extension was also given a cursory look during the Circle Line alternatives analysis (pdf), after people complained that the initial study area was too small—it was basically a way to get the Mid-City Transitway back on the table, but they ended up including a Brown Line extension as part of it. The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization was pretty upset about this, accusing the CTA of using the the Brown Line extension to inflate the cost of the project to make it bad compared to the Circle Line, but I think that’s unfair. A heavy rail MCT would be very expensive—that the railways are being much more demanding about rapid transit separation now, and I’ve even heard that the Orange Line would be impossible to build today—and I’m skeptical of claims that it would carry more people than the Brown Line, given that the Cicero X bus only had something like 7500 daily boardings—sure heavy rail would attract more people, but not eight times as many people.

Anyway, personally I think Lawrence Avenue west Kimball is probably one of the few places in the city that’s dense enough to support all new rapid transit, but a Lawrence Avenue subway would still be pretty expensive, due to the need to tunnel (you could do it elevated in one of the alleys behind Lawrence Avenue, but there’d be so much demolition that you’d probably lose the community’s goodwill). I don’t think it’s really a pressing need, either—there’s no capacity issues like at 95th or Midway, and the Yellow Line extension, extraneous as it may seem, is projected to essentially double ridership there (and I bet the Circle Line’s slowly sliding into oblivion). So, I think the CTA’s rail expansions priorities are about right in the moment, but over the longer term it might be nice to see.

ardecila Jan 28, 2011 3:25 AM

I think the station closures make sense, but only if CTA can handle their closures well and mitigate the problems caused in each affected neighborhood.

Foster - Noyes should be closed instead, it's the less busy station. Plus, Foster acts as a secondary station for DT Evanston.

South Blvd - OK, but the second exit from Main should be at Washington and not Madison.

Jarvis - OK, but CTA needs to help the businesses relocate.

Thorndale - OK, but the Hollywood exit needs to be on the north side of Hollywood. Either that, or Hollywood needs to be drastically traffic-calmed.

Lawrence - Nothing wrong here. Move the 81 so it stops at a new off-street bus terminal at Wilson. The kids attending concerts can walk up to the Ainslie entrance of Argyle faster than they can walk to Wilson anyway.


Also... re-orient Berwyn to face Foster and rename it so idiot tourists don't confuse it with the suburb of Berwyn. Obviously they need to keep a secondary entrance on Berwyn, but I have no idea why the station was built to face a sidestreet when the 1/2-mile street is one block away.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5142587)
A heavy rail MCT would be very expensive—that the railways are being much more demanding about rapid transit separation now, and I’ve even heard that the Orange Line would be impossible to build today—and I’m skeptical of claims that it would carry more people than the Brown Line, given that the Cicero X bus only had something like 7500 daily boardings—sure heavy rail would attract more people, but not eight times as many people.

The Belt Railway north of Chicago Ave. is abandoned. UP owns it but doesn't use it for anything. UP is pretty recalcitrant with transit providers, but I'm sure they'd part with it for the right price, and then there'd be no worry of separation from freight.

South of Chicago, you'd need to move the alignment over to Cicero (elevated or subway) to make effective transfers with the Green and Blue Lines.


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