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Steely Dan Nov 28, 2021 2:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 9462617)
this is why our country is failing.

The real reason our country is failing is that we don't invest in it.

If we weren't forced to exist within such a crappy nation as ours, where transit investment is DFL among developed nations, then we wouldn't even be having these stupid-ass squabbles about how every single last precious transit dollar has to be spent to the absolute highest and best use in every single instance because they are doled out so goddamn miserly.

In a better nation, it would be "both/and", not "either/or", as it always is here.



AMERICA....... fuck no!

ardecila Nov 28, 2021 2:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by marothisu (Post 9462688)
Lol..... the 95th Street Red Line stop had 2.8+ million paid station entries in 2019 and over 3 million in 2018. That was more than the Addison Red Line stop had, next to Wrigley Field, in the same years and also more than Clark/Division. Idk - someone want to explain how the 95th street station has more paid station in a year than the stop right next to Wrigley Field and some downtown?

Simple - nobody walks on at 95th from the surrounding neighborhood, they transfer from 14 different bus routes that cover the whole South Side and a good chunk of the suburbs going all the way out to Palos Hills or Chicago Heights. In recognition of this fact, CTA just spent nearly $300 million to rebuild the 95th station and make the bus transfers easier and more seamless. This was a good investment. Extending the Red Line south for 4 more stations at $2B total? Not so much.

As others have noted, there are much better ways to spend $2B on the South Side. Revamping Metra Electric could be done for less than half this cost, and it already runs through the neighborhoods in question. Allowing CTA bus transfers to the Metra line could be done tomorrow, for almost no cost. For people that have to get to the Red Line, CTA could speed up the buses with various improvements along the route and better shelters. Etc etc.

marothisu Nov 28, 2021 2:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9462715)
Simple - nobody walks on at 95th from the surrounding neighborhood, they transfer from 14 different bus routes that cover the whole South Side and a good chunk of the suburbs going all the way out to Palos Hills. If Addison had 14 bus routes that converged there, covering a similar territory, it would be the busiest station on CTA's network by far.

Okay. So you have 79th and 87th, the 2 stops north of that, that have 1-2 million boardings a piece too. How to explain that. The fact is that transit ridership in these areas is actually fairly high.

The investment is obviously a lot of money, and I think it would be good to spend the money more evenly in other ways. However, I think from an economy standpoint and some of the people who actually support a good number of jobs downtown and also potential future development and migration patterns, I think there's a lot of potential there to help bring some vitality back to some of these areas that have lost it over the last 10, 20, 30, etc years.

Quote:

As others have noted, there are much better ways to spend $2B on the South Side. Revamping Metra Electric could be done for less than half this cost, and it already runs through the neighborhoods in question. Allowing CTA bus transfers to the Metra line could be done tomorrow, for almost no cost.
Well I never stated my opinion before. I was merely saying that this thought that "nobody lives down there" is actually not true. Actually I think there's something like 35,000 people or more that were counted in the 2020 census that live in census tracts directly adjacent to the rail line.

I think that revamping Metra Electric into more of a rapid transit line would actually be a better use of money for sure vs. the Red Line extension. Some of the neighborhoods it goes through already are actually growing too (i.e. Douglas, Oakland, Grand Boulevard, Woodlawn, etc). It also goes right near the future home of the Obama Library too. So yes my vote is for that way more than the Red Line. I was just addressing this thought that these stations aren't used and "nobody lives down there." There are still enough people who live there, as well as some of the surrounding suburbs who would use this quite a bit. But yes, ME revamp is better.

ardecila Nov 28, 2021 2:28 AM

79th is the busiest bus route in the city and covers a wide territory including some denser neighborhoods (Grand Crossing, East Chatham, Auburn Gresham etc). 87th is less busy but still covers a huge area. You can see this in aerial photos, any building larger than a 3-flat tends to have white/silver roofs that are clear to see.

Most South Side neighborhoods have a strong Black majority and similar demographic trends, but they are starting from very different density levels. I do recognize that even neighborhoods full of bungalows can be quite dense (Hermosa, Belmont Cragin, etc) if the families that live in them are large or multigenerational, but that isn't common in Black neighborhoods the way it is in Latino or Asian communities.

BruceP Nov 28, 2021 6:16 AM

Could the CTA spend a few of the Infrastructure bucks on maintaining the recently rebuilt Red Line stations? Example: the Clark/Division station, rebuilt barely 9 years ago. Crud is building up on the platform floors at the stairs and escalator and support girders. Grimy water(?) stains on the walls throughout the station. Paint is peeling off the outside canopy. The inside of the elevator on LaSalle is just plain dirty.

LouisVanDerWright Nov 28, 2021 6:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 9462711)
The real reason our country is failing is that we don't invest in it.

If we weren't forced to exist within such a crappy nation as ours, where transit investment is DFL among developed nations, then we wouldn't even be having these stupid-ass squabbles about how every single last precious transit dollar has to be spent to the absolute highest and best use in every single instance because they are doled out so goddamn miserly.

In a better nation, it would be "both/and", not "either/or", as it always is here.



AMERICA....... fuck no!

Nope, building heavy rail to an area already served by Metra electric that is one of the lowest density parts of the city is a waste of money plain and simple. The correct way to invest would be to improve existing infrastructure that could be realtively easily improved.

This area is not low density because there is no transit, it's low density because it's far as fuck from downtown. If your logic that transit access causes higher density were correct, then the Kostner Pink Line wouldn't have the lowest daily boarding's in the city and be surrounded by massively disinvested brownfields. It's one of the most recently rebuilt lines in the city, why is it running four car trains? Where is all the TOD you suggest would just sprout up overnight?

I wish it were that simple, but it's not. This is $2 billion being flushed down the drain for virtue signaling reasons. It's being built because "it's equitable", not because it's logical:

https://chicagocrusader.com/chicago/...ine-extension/

Very unfortunate, but this is the world we live in now. It would be far more equitable to put the Jackson Park Branch back up or improve service to South Shore with some kind of Grey line situation, you know, places people actually live on the South Side.

BruceP Nov 28, 2021 7:09 AM

[QUOTE=marothisu;9462688]Lol..... the 95th Street Red Line stop had 2.8+ million paid station entries in 2019 and over 3 million in 2018. That was more than the Addison Red Line stop had, next to Wrigley Field, in the same years and also more than Clark/Division. Idk - someone want to explain how the 95th street station has more paid station in a year than the stop right next to Wrigley Field and some downtown?

You're misreading the data. The 95th stop is the end of the line, so it draws riders from everywhere south, east, and west. (That's NOT the case for Addison or Clark/Division.) Extending the line a few miles south will only capture a very small percentage of those 2.8-3.0 million riders and I doubt that there would be any meaningful increase in total ridership.

Steely Dan Nov 28, 2021 2:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 9462784)
Nope, building heavy rail to an area already served by Metra electric that is one of the lowest density parts of the city is a waste of money plain and simple. The correct way to invest would be to improve existing infrastructure that could be realtively easily improved.

And once again, the reason we don't have a holistic and more logical approach to transit planning in our region is because transit funding & investment is so damn poor. Instead of working together for the greater good of the region, CTA and Metra actively compete against each other for those meager transit dollars, doing everything they can to circle their wagons around themselves.

Yes, it's dumb, but so is our nation, so......

moorhosj1 Nov 28, 2021 3:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 9462784)
Very unfortunate, but this is the world we live in now. It would be far more equitable to put the Jackson Park Branch back up or improve service to South Shore with some kind of Grey line situation, you know, places people actually live on the South Side.

If those projects had already done planning, environmental impact studies, community meetings, preliminary station design, and more you might have a point. The Red Line extension has been planned and studied for years. Many studies and meetings.

Meanwhile, we spent $2.1 billion on the Purple and Red Line on the north side, remade the Blue Line track and stations to O’Hare, added multiple stations on the Green Line, created the Metra Electric pilot project to test more frequent service, and more. This project has been waiting for a while and the background work has been put in over many years.

the urban politician Nov 28, 2021 3:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 9462784)
Nope, building heavy rail to an area already served by Metra electric that is one of the lowest density parts of the city is a waste of money plain and simple. The correct way to invest would be to improve existing infrastructure that could be realtively easily improved.

This area is not low density because there is no transit, it's low density because it's far as fuck from downtown. If your logic that transit access causes higher density were correct, then the Kostner Pink Line wouldn't have the lowest daily boarding's in the city and be surrounded by massively disinvested brownfields. It's one of the most recently rebuilt lines in the city, why is it running four car trains? Where is all the TOD you suggest would just sprout up overnight?

I wish it were that simple, but it's not. This is $2 billion being flushed down the drain for virtue signaling reasons. It's being built because "it's equitable", not because it's logical:

https://chicagocrusader.com/chicago/...ine-extension/

Very unfortunate, but this is the world we live in now. It would be far more equitable to put the Jackson Park Branch back up or improve service to South Shore with some kind of Grey line situation, you know, places people actually live on the South Side.

Yep

Plus look at the vacant fields around so many of our Green Line stations

And the fact that a black Bishop decided that an entire branch of the Green Line just wasn’t worth keeping and had it demolished. Somehow getting to all those “high paying” jobs downtown didn’t end up being too important there.

Building transit stations only works as an economic tool in specific situations. It’s mentally lazy to assume that it will always lead to good returns in all situations.

Sorry peeps, but other than an infill station or two in some up and coming boom areas, the CTA rail system has NO BUSINESS expanding. What’s needed is better connectivity, density, and practicality of use

the urban politician Nov 28, 2021 3:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 9462711)
The real reason our country is failing is that we don't invest in it.!

Yes we do. We just invest it in things that a LOT of taxpayers actually use (roads), as opposed to things that most people don’t use (trains)

And due to this perpetual overreaction to Covid, that is now a permanent state of affairs.

How often do you personally ride the L? You live in Chicago.

That’s an expensive as hell system to maintain, and only makes sense when a massive number of people ride it a LOT. CTA trains are half empty. Meanwhile roads everywhere are congested

Busy Bee Nov 28, 2021 3:47 PM

Just to diversify this Red Line discussion with a new Alan Fisher video preaching to the choir about Metra bullshit:

Video Link

twister244 Nov 28, 2021 4:49 PM

As much as I want every square inch of the southside to be better served by transit infrastructure as the next person, I tend to agree with the criticisms here against the red line extension.

There's just so many other projects that better serve to connect neighborhoods in the city that would benefit from over $2 billion. It has nothing to do with the type of people, but is the "bang for the buck" worth it here?

moorhosj1 Nov 28, 2021 5:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 9462889)
Yes we do. We just invest it in things that a LOT of taxpayers actually use (roads), as opposed to things that most people don’t use (trains)

And due to this perpetual overreaction to Covid, that is now a permanent state of affairs.

How often do you personally ride the L? You live in Chicago.

That’s an expensive as hell system to maintain, and only makes sense when a massive number of people ride it a LOT. CTA trains are half empty. Meanwhile roads everywhere are congested

It seems the places who invest the most in roads are also the most congested. If more roads was the silver bullet, Atlanta, LA, and Houston would be traffic-free.

Steely Dan Nov 28, 2021 5:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twister244 (Post 9462918)
As much as I want every square inch of the southside to be better served by transit infrastructure as the next person, I tend to agree with the criticisms here against the red line extension.

There's just so many other projects that better serve to connect neighborhoods in the city that would benefit from over $2 billion. It has nothing to do with the type of people, but is the "bang for the buck" worth it here?

There's no question the RLE is not the absolute highest and best use of scarce transit funds. and if Metra and the CTA weren't so fucking provincial and exclusively self-interested, there are certainly more cost effective solutions to bring better/more frequent rail transit service to the numerous citizens of far Southside (more than 200,000 Chicagoans live south of 95th, that's hardly "no one").

My point is that if we didn't live in such a shitty nation for transit investment, we wouldn't even be in this predicament in the first place.

The root of the problem is that America is stupid. RLE is but a mere symptom.

ardecila Nov 28, 2021 7:21 PM

^ What comes first, though? Why should we trust those same transit agencies with even more tax dollars, when they can't even work together to better use the resources they already have?

I have no faith that pumping a bunch of cash into the existing system will lead to better outcomes. Maybe we get a few flashy new projects that benefit small areas of the city, but the overall transit system in Chicagoland will still be status quo.

For what it's worth, Preckwinkle's pilot program to lower Metra Electric fares was awesome and a breath of fresh air. I had zero faith in Preckwinkle as a leader when she ran for mayor, but she deserves a lot of credit for pushing this pilot. Lightfoot, on the other hand, deserves plenty of scorn for letting her personal feud with Preckwinkle stand in the way of what's best for South Siders (and south suburban residents).

Quote:

Originally Posted by moorhosj1 (Post 9462881)
If those projects had already done planning, environmental impact studies, community meetings, preliminary station design, and more you might have a point. The Red Line extension has been planned and studied for years. Many studies and meetings.

Meanwhile, we spent $2.1 billion on the Purple and Red Line on the north side, remade the Blue Line track and stations to O’Hare, added multiple stations on the Green Line, created the Metra Electric pilot project to test more frequent service, and more. This project has been waiting for a while and the background work has been put in over many years.

The great thing about Metra Electric is that it already exists. Metra could start running frequent trains tomorrow and start accepting CTA bus transfers. No environmental work or community meetings needed. It would just require them to readjust their priorities. Yes, long term they need to rebuild stations for accessibility and add some infill stations, but we're not talking about a megaproject here. It's an incremental upgrade that starts with service changes only.

Steely Dan Nov 28, 2021 8:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9462994)
Why should we trust those same transit agencies with even more tax dollars, when they can't even work together to better use the resources they already have?

We shouldn't.

My point is that the whole system of chronically underfunding transit for decade after decade after decade, and the famine survival mode mentality of local transit systems it has created, has led us to the stupid place where we now find ourselves.

A less stupid 1st world nation would have already addressed far Southside rapid transit eons ago.

twister244 Nov 28, 2021 11:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 9463020)
We shouldn't.

My point is that the whole system of chronically underfunding transit for decade after decade after decade, and the famine survival mode mentality of local transit systems it has created, has led us to the stupid place where we now find ourselves.

A less stupid 1st world nation would have already addressed far Southside rapid transit eons ago.

Agreed. The first step is for someone to step in and force Metra's hand in prioritizing the needs of its riders and the metro area. Maybe use some of that sweet infrastructure stimulus to buy out some railway rights to justify more frequent schedules.

This is where we need a corrupt Daley III to come in and Meigs the situation. Kidding of course.... or am I?

SIGSEGV Nov 29, 2021 12:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 9462889)
Yes we do. We just invest it in things that a LOT of taxpayers actually use (roads), as opposed to things that most people don’t use (trains)

And due to this perpetual overreaction to Covid, that is now a permanent state of affairs.

How often do you personally ride the L? You live in Chicago.

That’s an expensive as hell system to maintain, and only makes sense when a massive number of people ride it a LOT. CTA trains are half empty. Meanwhile roads everywhere are congested

0) This is a transit thread, read the room.

1) Trains and buses are often crowded. They're not always, but neither are roads. I look outside my window and see no congestion right now... way more people walking than driving and I wouldn't be surprised if there are more people transported by the bus lane than by private vehicles. It's true that CTA ridership is at 50% of 2019 levels, but it's still pretty crowded... (it was just overwhelmingly crowded at peak times before).

2) Where are you planning on putting the roads exactly?

3) Cars destroy the environment (even electric cars), the fewer people own cars the better, and for those who do own cars, we should do everything we can to discourage driving. We should be taxing vehicles at least 50 cents / mile-ton driven (revenue neutral, offset by reductions in other taxes).

kolchak Nov 29, 2021 12:59 AM

Bryn Mawr L station work -

https://i.postimg.cc/1tNgKzK7/20211128-152751.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/WbVDMTqS/20211128-152938.jpg

left of center Nov 29, 2021 1:34 AM

I'm all for the Red Line Extension (really, any expansion in rail access is a win in my book), but I do think there are other projects that may (or may not, this is my opinion after all!) be more deserving of scarce transit funding. The circle line would be my top priority if I had any pull with the RTA. We have pretty extensive rail infrastructure in this city, but its very much hub and spoke; if I want to transfer onto other lines, I either need to go downtown or take a bus. The Circle Line adds maybe a few miles of additional rail, but makes connections so much more seamless that it adds value to every single existing CTA line simply by making every line more accessible to one another. The potential Metra tie-ins is icing on the cake.

https://www.chicago-l.org/articles/i...circleline.jpg
Source: chicago-l.org

That said, I think Metra and the CTA (and to a lesser extent, Pace) need to stop competing and start working together. Combined, they have a much louder voice than they do now fighting amongst themselves. The RTA needs to simply be given total control of finances and leadership, and each of the existing agencies simply become an arm of a much bigger transit authority. The chances of that happening however are pretty low.

SIGSEGV Nov 29, 2021 2:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by left of center (Post 9463164)
That said, I think Metra and the CTA (and to a lesser extent, Pace) need to stop competing and start working together. Combined, they have a much louder voice than they do now fighting amongst themselves. The RTA needs to simply be given total control of finances and leadership, and each of the existing agencies simply become an arm of a much bigger transit authority. The chances of that happening however are pretty low.

Yes, they should be merged into a single transit authority, like the MBTA. It's stupid to have the ME actively competing with the 2/6/26/28/J14, for example, when they should be cooperating.

glowrock Nov 29, 2021 2:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 9462889)
Yes we do. We just invest it in things that a LOT of taxpayers actually use (roads), as opposed to things that most people don’t use (trains)

And due to this perpetual overreaction to Covid, that is now a permanent state of affairs.

How often do you personally ride the L? You live in Chicago.

That’s an expensive as hell system to maintain, and only makes sense when a massive number of people ride it a LOT. CTA trains are half empty. Meanwhile roads everywhere are congested

So we now assume that the current lack of congestion on the trains is going to last forever because everyone's scared to ride the trains? Are you insane? Seriously, are you nuts? Ridership will come back, and frankly already has in many areas. Sure, ridership is down right now, has been since COVID started, but that will certainly change. I'm not against major road improvements either, as long as they're targeted in specific areas (ie: Eisenhower in the 4 lane to 3 lane choke point region, that kind of thing.)

I ride the buses a LOT. I ride the train less as I'm not going to the downtown core too often at the moment, but that will change. I'm glad to know the buses are being replaced with new stock as well.

Anyhow, I'm honestly done with this thread. Everyone seems to have their hearts set on a number of improvements that are either completely unfunded, haven't even begun their environmental/planning studies or are just pipe dreams, all while shitting all over improvements that ARE being made.

Aaron (Glowrock)

glowrock Nov 29, 2021 2:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9462994)
^ What comes first, though? Why should we trust those same transit agencies with even more tax dollars, when they can't even work together to better use the resources they already have?

I have no faith that pumping a bunch of cash into the existing system will lead to better outcomes. Maybe we get a few flashy new projects that benefit small areas of the city, but the overall transit system in Chicagoland will still be status quo.

For what it's worth, Preckwinkle's pilot program to lower Metra Electric fares was awesome and a breath of fresh air. I had zero faith in Preckwinkle as a leader when she ran for mayor, but she deserves a lot of credit for pushing this pilot. Lightfoot, on the other hand, deserves plenty of scorn for letting her personal feud with Preckwinkle stand in the way of what's best for South Siders (and south suburban residents).



The great thing about Metra Electric is that it already exists. Metra could start running frequent trains tomorrow and start accepting CTA bus transfers. No environmental work or community meetings needed. It would just require them to readjust their priorities. Yes, long term they need to rebuild stations for accessibility and add some infill stations, but we're not talking about a megaproject here. It's an incremental upgrade that starts with service changes only.

I'm absolutely in agreement that Metra and CTA need to stop butting heads and actually work together on the best way to move forward, which is most definitely fare integration! Metra Electric and SSL both can be much more frequent very quickly, perhaps with some signaling and electrical upgrades if necessary.

Lightfoot and Preckwinkle DO need to work together. Simple as that.

To whoever commented about L.A.'s massive investment in roads, I wonder if they have seen the massive transit investment they've made in the last 20 years? L.A.'s transit system is already quite large and is becoming ever-larger, it's actually quite remarkable! But that took several votes by the electorate to make it happen. Several sales tax increases solely for transit improvements/expansions. I doubt Chicagoans have the appetite for this, unfortunately.

Aaron (Glowrock)

jpIllInoIs Nov 29, 2021 3:18 PM

I'm in favor of replacing the Gas Tax with a Mileage Tax which would be more fair in applying the true expense of our road network to the users. Isn't that the height of libertarian thought? Obviously shippers and heavy commercial users have a different rate than smaller vehicles based on GVW.

It would have an interesting side effect of testing vehicle owners on their self reporting of mileage use for business to the IRS. Right now their is a HUGE incentive to report a high number for business mileage. 60 cents a mile. So 100K miles nets $60,000 tax deduction for business use of vehicle/s, This includes Fuel used (basically a rebate on gas consumption), maintenance and vehicle depreciation.

Business and individuals that claim the mileage deduction are getting reimbursed on their fuel tax! A mileage tax would appropriate a fair tax on the largest users of the road network and would be self reported to the same degree that the vehicle mileage use is used. Line 17: what is your vehicle mileage for business? Ok here is your deduction for depreciation and here is your road use tax.

Alternately it could easily be verified through the now ubiquitous application of vehicle GPS systems.

the urban politician Nov 29, 2021 3:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by glowrock (Post 9463313)
So we now assume that the current lack of congestion on the trains is going to last forever because everyone's scared to ride the trains? Are you insane? Seriously, are you nuts? Ridership will come back, and frankly already has in many areas. Sure, ridership is down right now, has been since COVID started, but that will certainly change. I'm not against major road improvements either, as long as they're targeted in specific areas (ie: Eisenhower in the 4 lane to 3 lane choke point region, that kind of thing.)

I ride the buses a LOT. I ride the train less as I'm not going to the downtown core too often at the moment, but that will change. I'm glad to know the buses are being replaced with new stock as well.

Anyhow, I'm honestly done with this thread. Everyone seems to have their hearts set on a number of improvements that are either completely unfunded, haven't even begun their environmental/planning studies or are just pipe dreams, all while shitting all over improvements that ARE being made.

Aaron (Glowrock)

Not sure why you always have to get so worked up all of the time, but yes of course I am serious. Facts matter.

Ridership is WAY down, nobody in leadership is willing to confront the realities of accepting COVID as endemic (if they did, maybe more people would wake up and be willing to ride the trains more), and WFH is essentially a semi-permanent state of affairs, if not permanent altogether.

Improvements in the internet is an infrastructure investment, a HUGE one, that is making rail transit somewhat obsolete. Technology tends to do that. People will still ride trains, but far fewer people will be doing it than pre-COVID. I don't think daily CTA rail ridership will ever again reach where it was prior to 2020.

left of center Nov 29, 2021 7:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 9463360)
Not sure why you always have to get so worked up all of the time, but yes of course I am serious. Facts matter.

Ridership is WAY down, nobody in leadership is willing to confront the realities of accepting COVID as endemic (if they did, maybe more people would wake up and be willing to ride the trains more), and WFH is essentially a semi-permanent state of affairs, if not permanent altogether.

Improvements in the internet is an infrastructure investment, a HUGE one, that is making rail transit somewhat obsolete. Technology tends to do that. People will still ride trains, but far fewer people will be doing it than pre-COVID. I don't think daily CTA rail ridership will ever again reach where it was prior to 2020.


The flu is also endemic. The thing is, no one freaks out about it because it has been around all our lives. Covid (which is also a flu) is new and people are afraid of the unknown. In 5 years, they will be much less afraid. In 10 years it will be a total afterthought unless you are immunocompromised or elderly and need to take safety precautions (as such people do now for the regular flu variants). In 30 years you will have adults that have never known a world without Covid, and will not be deterred in taking trains, buses or planes because of it. Transit will come back, and my guess is it may even reach 2019 levels before 2025.

WFH will remain, but people will still want/need to move about the city. Lets not forget that the vast majority of jobs cannot be done at home. Transit will always be needed, because if everyone in Chicago started driving cars it would turn every thoroughfare into a jammed parking lot. There literally isn't enough room to park all the cars if every adult in the city decided to own one.

Defunding transit would be incredibly short sited, especially since we need to build now for higher commuter volumes in the future. New capacity does not come online right away. It would be as silly as stopping the O'Hare Modernization Project in 2009 because airline customer volume collapsed in the wake of the Great Recession.

TR Devlin Nov 29, 2021 8:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9462994)
^ Why should we trust those same transit agencies with even more tax dollars, when they can't even work together to better use the resources they already have?

I have no faith that pumping a bunch of cash into the existing system will lead to better outcomes. Maybe we get a few flashy new projects that benefit small areas of the city, but the overall transit system in Chicagoland will still be status quo.

Two answers to your question as to why Chicago should spend more money on mass transit:

1. Chicago has one of the most efficient mass transit systems in the country.
Here are measures of operating expense per passenger mile for the top six bus systems and top six rail systems in the country. Systems with the lowest operating expense per passenger mile are the most efficient. Chicago is first in rail operating efficiency and third in bus. These numbers come from a report prepared by The Civic Federation dated Nov 1, 2018.

BUS		
LA $0.84
Philly $1.07
Chicago $1.26
Boston $1.38
DC $1.48
NYC $1.79

RAIL
Chicago $0.41
Philly $0.44
Atlanta $0.47
NYC $0.50
Boston $0.58
DC $0.68

One thing that jumps out is the fact that bus operating expenses are about three times higher than rail operating expenses; a major reason to invest more in rail.


2. Investments in mass transit support greater urban density, higher economic growth, more employment, higher wage increases and higher property values.
The attached blog explains and quantifies these benefits: "Why Does Everyone Want Public Transit To Pay For Itself?"
Furthermore, the mass transit investments that produce the greatest benefits are rail investments, particularly rail investments in large cities with existing transit networks.

left of center Nov 29, 2021 8:25 PM

Why Chicago officials like their chances to win major grants in $1 trillion infrastructure bill
Source: https://www.chicagotribune.com/polit...ueq-story.html

Quote:

The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed into law earlier this month promises to send billions of dollars to Illinois, with much of that money flowing to Chicago-area roads, bridges, transit agencies and airports through transportation funding formulas.

But if some of Chicago’s most ambitious public works projects are going to get built, the city will have to win additional competitive grants that are funded in the legislation. That includes money for replacing toxic lead water lines, converting the city’s bus fleet from diesel to electric, making “L” stations accessible to those with disabilities and extending the Red Line south to 130th Street.

...

Illinois is expected to receive at least $17 billion from the infrastructure bill, a number that is likely to balloon once the grants get doled out. Senior Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin lauded the historic size of the legislation, noting that Congress used to pass smaller federal infrastructure bills on a more regular basis.

...

Durbin and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker both have said Illinois is better positioned than most states to spend the money quickly — especially on roads and bridges.

That’s because the influx in federal funding will accelerate portions of Pritzker’s “Rebuild Illinois,” an ongoing six-year, $45 billion program to repair and upgrade roads, bridges, university buildings, state facilities and other infrastructure. That, in turn, will free up state money previously set aside for the state’s program to fund other projects in Illinois’ lengthy backlog of infrastructure projects.

The federal infrastructure legislation sets aside $89 billion in federal transit formula funding, the largest federal investment in transit in U.S. history. Illinois’ cut of that money is $4 billion.

...


The CTA president also said he will seek grant funding to overhaul the west end of the Blue Line from the Loop to Forest Park, a project that also would allow the agency to add more trains on the line and increase capacity on the northern stretch to O’Hare, where train cars are often crammed.

But the project topping Carter’s list is the one that is furthest along in the planning stages: the long-discussed 5.3-mile extension of the Red Line south from its current terminus at 95th Street to 130th Street, adding four new stations.

...

During his July visit, Buttigieg also toured a CSX rail yard in southwest suburban Bedford Park to draw attention to the CREATE rail program, which began in 2003 to ease freight train congestion, reduce commuter train travel times and improve rail crossing safety by eliminating freight grade crossings. One in four U.S. freight trains pass through Chicago, about 500 per day, in addition to some 800 passenger and commuter trains.

...

Local officials are expected to aggressively push to fund one CREATE initiative in particular, the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project that spans Chicago’s Ashburn, Englewood, Auburn Gresham and West Chatham neighborhoods.

Two other CREATE projects pushed by U.S. Rep. Marie Newman and others involve separating the grades between the Belt Railway of Chicago at Archer Avenue and near the intersection of 63rd Street and Harlem Avenue.

To fund CREATE projects in the Chicago region and a rail improvement project in Springfield, state officials will seek to apply for the $16 billion in competitive rail grants allowed under the infrastructure bill, part of $66 billion in the legislation for modernizing, expanding and improving passenger and freight rail.

The infrastructure bill also sets aside $5 billion in grants for new low emission buses, and Carter said the CTA would aggressively pursue that money as part of an effort to make its entire 1,800 bus fleet fully electric by the year 2030. To date, the city has eight of the $900,000 electric buses, with another 20 on order and a contract to buy another 30 or 40, Carter said.

...

The infrastructure bill also includes $55 billion for water infrastructure improvements, with $1.7 billion expected for Illinois. The grants for lead pipe replacement would be tied to an additional $15 billion pool of money.
I really dig that a lot of this money is going to CREATE projects with rail/street grade separation projects and beefing up freight rail bottlenecks, like along 75th St where 6 freight lines turn into 2 for a mile segment, causing frequent backups for both freight and passenger trains. Allowing freight to move through the city at a faster pace will entice the big rail operators to invest more in the metro area instead of trying to bypass us via alternate freight hubs such as Kansas City, etc.

WrightCONCEPT Nov 29, 2021 9:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 9462940)
There's no question the RLE is not the absolute highest and best use of scarce transit funds. and if Metra and the CTA weren't so fucking provincial and exclusively self-interested, there are certainly more cost effective solutions to bring better/more frequent rail transit service to the numerous citizens of far Southside (more than 200,000 Chicagoans live south of 95th, that's hardly "no one").

I am of the opinion that is rare on this thread that given the amount of upgrades that are needed to most of the stations along the Metra Electric to just provide that service I look at the Red Line extension as a needed investment that will benefit the bus and rail network that will help eventually provide the needed modernization upgrades to the Metra Electric branches.

It's easy to say, just run more trains and that will bump up ridership however one thing that is missing from these conversations is a real audit of the state of the Metra Electric stations. Most of these local stations (except for the McCormick Place, Hyde Park, Kensington and South Chicago line branch stations) need some desperate repair and modernization for visibility and accessibility that will cost a hell of a lot more than $2.5B on top of which the Metra Electric is isolated from the rest of the L' network which I believe needs a hard look at as an apples to apples comparison. This is probably why there's been talks about studies but then no studies actually get done.

In my most recent trip to Chicago to visit family I rode on the Jeffrey Jump and other South Shore Express bus services and what they provide better than Metra is not just increased frequency but direct access to the jobs on the West Loop and connections with the rest of the L network. The bus lanes on Washington and Madison that has helped improve speed and frequency of connections that has been a game changer on how passengers use it through the Loop.

If CTA/Metra/RTA needs to be less parochial then a vision of Metra Modernization needs to be in the forefront with a bold project such as converting the Metra Electric, Metro North Central and other services into a faster RER style vision from South Chicago/Pullman via Museum Campus, South Loop, Union Station/West Loop to NW Side and O'Hare. Or do one better rethink Circle Line as part of this Metra Electric modernization.

I have seen some ideas on this here but I really feel that this is missing from the conversation. Its thought of piecemeal rather than presenting the larger regional vision that this is why the RLE is looked as a path of least resistance because there is already an existing network that will benefit from the infrastructure.

the urban politician Nov 29, 2021 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by left of center (Post 9463658)
WFH will remain, but people will still want/need to move about the city. Lets not forget that the vast majority of jobs cannot be done at home. Transit will always be needed, because if everyone in Chicago started driving cars it would turn every thoroughfare into a jammed parking lot. There literally isn't enough room to park all the cars if every adult in the city decided to own one.

Defunding transit would be incredibly short sited, especially since we need to build now for higher commuter volumes in the future. New capacity does not come online right away. It would be as silly as stopping the O'Hare Modernization Project in 2009 because airline customer volume collapsed in the wake of the Great Recession.

^ I don't favor cutting funds to transit, I just don't believe that expanding the rail system makes any sense. Like I said, an infill station or two could be justified, but otherwise no way. Not enough ridership, not practical enough, not well connected enough. Addressing land use and connectivity are FAR more important than adding a few extra miles of track down into a far flung area of the city at the cost of billions.

gandalf612 Nov 30, 2021 2:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 9463360)
Not sure why you always have to get so worked up all of the time, but yes of course I am serious. Facts matter.

Ridership is WAY down, nobody in leadership is willing to confront the realities of accepting COVID as endemic (if they did, maybe more people would wake up and be willing to ride the trains more), and WFH is essentially a semi-permanent state of affairs, if not permanent altogether.

Improvements in the internet is an infrastructure investment, a HUGE one, that is making rail transit somewhat obsolete. Technology tends to do that. People will still ride trains, but far fewer people will be doing it than pre-COVID. I don't think daily CTA rail ridership will ever again reach where it was prior to 2020.

WFH is most certainly not as permanent as you seem to think. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of my professional friends has been forced to phase back into working full time in the office in the last month. Some only have to come in 3 days a week until the new year when it will become 5, but many are already having to do so. Plenty of the largest employers have announced that they are going to require workers to come back into the office. Omicron fear might slow that down a bot, but almost certainly not permanently.

ardecila Dec 1, 2021 5:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by glowrock (Post 9463313)
I'm not against major road improvements either, as long as they're targeted in specific areas (ie: Eisenhower in the 4 lane to 3 lane choke point region, that kind of thing.)

On balance I'm in favor of the Eisenhower project because of the CTA rebuild, the regional bike trail, the potential for a much better pedestrian experience around the rebuilt overpasses, and the "rough-in" for a future CTA extension.

However, the danger with this kind of thinking is induced demand. Many of the folks who take Metra or CTA right now because the Eisenhower is so congested will switch back to driving once the highway is widened. And with higher traffic volumes getting pumped through, then other sections of the expressway system become the new bottleneck. And so on and so forth forever. I guarantee the day the Eisenhower project is finished is the day IDOT will start looking at widening the Stevenson and the Kennedy.

Lake Shore Drive could be a good model here if they select the bus lane option - the rebuilt highway would actually be narrower than before (6 lanes instead of 8), but with a vastly increased transit capacity and a ton of additional park space built around the new highway.

Quote:

Originally Posted by TR Devlin (Post 9463673)
Two answers to your question as to why Chicago should spend more money on mass transit:

1. Chicago has one of the most efficient mass transit systems in the country.

2. Investments in mass transit support greater urban density, higher economic growth, more employment, higher wage increases and higher property values.

CTA should be commended for operating its system in a cost-effective manner. This is mostly about the history of CTA and the TWU, and the fact that the CTA successfully fought off wasteful work rules. Other transit systems have done this as well, but Chicago is the only place where labor costs are reasonable AND ridership is strong so it makes the cost per passenger-mile very favorable.

I'm not convinced that the kind of transit investments we make in US cities really do support the economy the way you suggest. That's certainly a possible outcome, but US cities go about it all wrong. CTA will spend huge amounts of money to extend the Red Line through Roseland and West Pullman. There is very little planning from the city about how the neighborhood should develop around the new L stations, and CTA is even squandering the best development sites on park-and-ride lots.

We don't have to imagine what this looks like, just ride the Orange Line and look at the area around any of the stations (especially Pulaski or 35th). CTA airdropped stations into neighborhoods that did not grow up around rapid transit, and the city did nothing to foster redevelopment in those areas. The stations are huge and hostile to pedestrians, since they prioritize bus transfers and park/rides only. The surrounding neighborhoods are low density and suburban. Thank god there was at least a major airport at one end. Now the city and CTA is poised to repeat all the same mistakes.

Chicago29 Dec 2, 2021 6:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9465222)
On balance I'm in favor of the Eisenhower project because of the CTA rebuild, the regional bike trail, the potential for a much better pedestrian experience around the rebuilt overpasses, and the "rough-in" for a future CTA extension.

However, the danger with this kind of thinking is induced demand. Many of the folks who take Metra or CTA right now because the Eisenhower is so congested will switch back to driving once the highway is widened. And with higher traffic volumes getting pumped through, then other sections of the expressway system become the new bottleneck. And so on and so forth forever. I guarantee the day the Eisenhower project is finished is the day IDOT will start looking at widening the Stevenson and the Kennedy.

Lake Shore Drive could be a good model here if they select the bus lane option - the rebuilt highway would actually be narrower than before (6 lanes instead of 8), but with a vastly increased transit capacity and a ton of additional park space built around the new highway.

What are the details with regional bike trail in the Eisenhower project?

I'm with you and probably most on here against full lane expansion to the major highways because of induced demand. However from what I understand with this project, this would only be adding a lane from the section of highway that has just 3 lanes, thereby changing what goes from 4-3-4 from 88/294 to Congress to 4 throughout. The backups at the 290/88/294 merger will likely always be troublesome, even with the other IDOT project building new ramps. But many of the bottlenecks arise from the 4 to 3 lane reduction further down at Harlem, and the left side entrance/exits at Harlem as well as Austin. Traffic is still going to be at max capacity during peak hours, but the flow would be improved without such a drastic queueing effect from thousands of late merging drivers per hour. I don't think *moderate* improvements of Eisenhower traffic will drastically encourage more driving. But I think it could have other economic benefits. Improved CTA speed and reliability of the Forest Park branch would do more to increase ridership more than lane expansion would decrease CTA ridership, if that makes sense.

I'm for the project just in the sense that it should benefit transit users along the Forest Park branch. If pedestrians and buses can more safely access Blue Line stops that's a win, especially when the neighborhoods that depend on the CTA here tend to be lower income. At the same time, I would hope greenlighting this project as a #1 priority would not completely ignore other transit projects of need. But I'm tracking the Red Line extension as the only other big dollar project.

And speaking of Harlem and Austin, does anyone know if the proposed interchange project there would be part of this larger Eisenhower project?- https://www.chicagotribune.com/subur...714-story.html

https://www.chicagotribune.com/resiz...SEMX3QLLGE.jpg

Tom In Chicago Dec 2, 2021 7:35 PM

^This would be a relief if completed. . . the lane constrictions are the majority of the problems on the Ike (both inbound and outbound). . . on my commute from the Loop to Oakbrook Terrace in the mornings I usually exit the Ike at Central and take Roosevelt Road the rest of the way while my evening commute back in I take Roosevelt to Austin. . . it's 20 miles and takes a solid hour. . .

. . .

ardecila Dec 2, 2021 7:47 PM

So the new lane through the bottleneck section will be a managed lane - some or all users will pay a toll to use the new lane during rush hours and other busy periods. They will also convert one existing lane between Austin and Racine to a managed lane, so virtually the whole Eisenhower from Mannheim to the Loop will have 3 free lanes at all times plus the managed lane. I don't think they've decided on the operating rules for the managed lane yet, but it will be some combination of tolling and carpool/HOV restrictions. This will also limit how much extra traffic results from the expansion project, so that's a good thing.

Yes, the project will include the funky new interchanges at Harlem/Austin shown in that rendering.

The regional trail will be continuous from Desplaines to Austin where it will connect to existing paths in Columbus Park. It will run along the north side of the expressway trench, you can see it in that rendering. It will be mostly a street-level trail, but at the sidewalk level so better than an on-street bike lane. Kinda similar to the path that the city built on Roosevelt at Wabash. The trail might fly under the interchanges at Harlem and Austin, but I've seen it shown with an crosswalk across Harlem and Austin in some documents.

Not shown in that rendering are a series of sound walls that were requested by the community. Federal regulations now require sound walls along new or expanded highways in denser areas unless the community declines. Hopefully they are nicer than the god-awful sound walls that IDOT put in through Norwood/Oriole Park.

Chi-Sky21 Dec 2, 2021 9:41 PM

^ is this the official plan? This managed lane stuff is CRAP.

left of center Dec 2, 2021 10:40 PM

I remember seeing renderings for the proposed new interchanges for Harlem and Austin. I am sure they will redo those exchanges with the lane widening of 290, since the state and IDOT have long sought to remove the left hand exits there. They are dangerous and very tight spaces, which makes it hell with all the trucks trying to get on and off at those ramps. Too many times I've seen semis get stuck at those intersections and block traffic in all directions.

As for the managed lanes, I think it may be a good idea. Either HOV or tolled single use (why not both?) would work. It would generate revenue for IDOT, and should be fairly easy to implement. If they used I-Pass transponders, with cameras/sensors along the entire route, a car can switch into the lane, switch out at any time, and simply be billed for the miles/distance it traveled in that lane. I think all highways that get widened in the future should have this model, for a few reasons:

1. We've been talking about induced demand in this thread. This will help curb that. Adding a lane or two to a highway wont mean everyone will switch to driving as opposed to taking the CTA/Metra if it means they will have to pay for it as well.

2. Since people will always prefer the free lanes, this means you will always have a lane that is less congested than the others, allowing easier access for emergency vehicles.


This would be a good idea for the Kennedy as well, due to all the O'Hare business traveler traffic. I-90 desperately needs to be expanded to 4 lanes as it is, and creating it as a managed lane will allow the cost of construction and future maintenance to pay for itself.

ardecila Dec 3, 2021 3:57 PM

The managed lane on the Eisenhower will very much NOT pay for itself according to projections. One lane doesn't bring in much revenue unless you raise the prices to astronomical levels (which just invite political blowback). I think it's still a good policy regardless.

The tolls won't make a dent in the full Eisenhower project which is a total rebuild of everything through a densely built-up area. However, a similar project on I-55 might pay for itself because IDOT already future-proofed for a 4th lane back in the early 2000s. There were discussions under Rauner to bring in a private operator to build/operate those I-55 lanes but that conversation died off awhile back.

left of center Dec 3, 2021 8:37 PM

I recall there being a lot of backlash from the public that the 2000s rebuild of 55 was not done with 4 lanes at the time. I also recall the toll lane discussions under Rauner, but of course like almost everything else under his term, it fizzled.

I assume the futureproofing is the grassy median in the middle of 55 through the city (between Harlem and Halsted), which appears to have enough room for an additional lane in each direction. East of Halsted, I assume the shoulder will be getting the axe? Or perhaps the 4 lanes will end after the 90/94 spaghetti bowl. There's not a lot of room under those bridges east of that interchange, like Canal/UP railyard, Wentworth, State, etc. It's probably not absolutely necessary to make it 4 lanes to LSD anyway.

I have noticed that when IDOT rebuilt the 1st Ave. interchange over 55 a few years back, they widened the bridge itself to easily accommodate new lanes, so it appears expansion still something that the state is still planning. If its done, I wonder how far out of city limits the 4 lanes would go for. They can probably easily do it up to 294/Mannheim. After that, you are talking about a lot of interchange rebuilding.

TR Devlin Dec 3, 2021 10:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9465222)
There is very little planning from the city about how the neighborhood should develop around the new L stations, and CTA is even squandering the best development sites on park-and-ride lots.

We don't have to imagine what this looks like, just ride the Orange Line and look at the area around any of the stations (especially Pulaski or 35th).

I see what you mean; it's sad.

ardecila Dec 5, 2021 9:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by left of center (Post 9467812)
I recall there being a lot of backlash from the public that the 2000s rebuild of 55 was not done with 4 lanes at the time. I also recall the toll lane discussions under Rauner, but of course like almost everything else under his term, it fizzled.

I assume the futureproofing is the grassy median in the middle of 55 through the city (between Harlem and Halsted), which appears to have enough room for an additional lane in each direction. East of Halsted, I assume the shoulder will be getting the axe? Or perhaps the 4 lanes will end after the 90/94 spaghetti bowl. There's not a lot of room under those bridges east of that interchange, like Canal/UP railyard, Wentworth, State, etc. It's probably not absolutely necessary to make it 4 lanes to LSD anyway.

I have noticed that when IDOT rebuilt the 1st Ave. interchange over 55 a few years back, they widened the bridge itself to easily accommodate new lanes, so it appears expansion still something that the state is still planning. If its done, I wonder how far out of city limits the 4 lanes would go for. They can probably easily do it up to 294/Mannheim. After that, you are talking about a lot of interchange rebuilding.

The Rauner plan was tentatively a 4th lane from 355 to 90/94, this was futureproofed in the city already - not just the existence of the median but some of the bridge structures have extra width, and through Bridgeport the bridges have all these little nubs to support noise walls that would be legally required in the event of a widening. All you'd need to do is add some steel girders to widen those bridges and infill the median with concrete.

At some point they discussed a 4th lane between 355 and 294, and then two additional lanes between 294 and 90/94 (making that section 10 lanes total). That would have been a much more expensive plan requiring higher tolls or maybe even a big wad of taxpayer money on top of the toll revenue.

left of center Dec 6, 2021 1:56 AM

Wow all the way to 355, that would be quite a project, especially since it doesn't seem too long ago that 55 was only 2 lanes west of Weber Rd.

Interesting tidbit about those nubs! I have noticed them and never knew what they were for. Figured they were architectural motifs.

10 lanes total east of 294 seems like overkill and probably an unnecessary cost, at least at this time. I would be very happy with just a 4th tolled lane in each direction along that length.

ardecila Dec 6, 2021 3:23 PM

Yeah I wouldn't support 4 added toll lanes inside the 294/Tri-State ring. It would overwhelm the other downtown highways with traffic including the brand-new Jane Addams Interchange, and it would supercharge sprawl in western Will County and Kendall, maybe even Grundy. Squeezing 10 lanes thru Bridgeport might require demolition of all the buildings along Archer. Just completely idiotic move. They need to invest in turning Heritage Corridor into a proper Metra line (3rd track, flyovers at junctions, etc).

WrightCONCEPT Dec 6, 2021 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9465222)

I'm not convinced that the kind of transit investments we make in US cities really do support the economy the way you suggest. That's certainly a possible outcome, but US cities go about it all wrong. CTA will spend huge amounts of money to extend the Red Line through Roseland and West Pullman. There is very little planning from the city about how the neighborhood should develop around the new L stations, and CTA is even squandering the best development sites on park-and-ride lots.

We don't have to imagine what this looks like, just ride the Orange Line and look at the area around any of the stations (especially Pulaski or 35th). CTA airdropped stations into neighborhoods that did not grow up around rapid transit, and the city did nothing to foster redevelopment in those areas. The stations are huge and hostile to pedestrians, since they prioritize bus transfers and park/rides only. The surrounding neighborhoods are low density and suburban. Thank god there was at least a major airport at one end. Now the city and CTA is poised to repeat all the same mistakes.

I think that is the key part to the statement, the City has done nothing with that. That same mistake continued even with the Green Line rebuild of the Mid 1990's and Cermak branch rebuild of early 2000 where there is a lack of thought from the City about TOD.

However in order to invest the same way for the Metra Electric to increase service and provide much needed station modernization, the same thought to the surrounding neighborhoods will be needed. The same thing can be said for a Brown Line extension to Jefferson Park that appears more justified of a transit investment. If the city doesn't have the follow-through to look at rapid transit expansion as part of a community and economic redevelopment lens then the same results will occur no matter what and where they invest in the infrastructure.

So who is providing the design charrettes to these neighborhoods to talk about the future of these station areas without the fear of that G word...yeah gentrification?

ardecila Dec 6, 2021 10:56 PM

Yes, which is why I think the city should prioritize things like BRT that are less expensive and better-suited to the density levels that exist today. With the cost of the Red Line extension we could roll out gold-standard BRT on maybe 10 corridors around the city. Too bad every politician in Chicago is too scared to do anything that might inconvenience drivers.

I will note that things like a Brown Line extension might make sense within the context of the existing rail system - that is, the value of a connection from the North Lakefront to O'Hare is enough that the project makes sense even if the new stations don't have huge ridership. The existence of the connection will increase ridership at many stations throughout the network.

left of center Dec 7, 2021 3:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9469235)
Yeah I wouldn't support 4 added toll lanes inside the 294/Tri-State ring. It would overwhelm the other downtown highways with traffic including the brand-new Jane Addams Interchange, and it would supercharge sprawl in western Will County and Kendall, maybe even Grundy. Squeezing 10 lanes thru Bridgeport might require demolition of all the buildings along Archer. Just completely idiotic move. They need to invest in turning Heritage Corridor into a proper Metra line (3rd track, flyovers at junctions, etc).

You mean running more than 6 trains a day and actually having weekend service? :haha:

HC is the saddest line in the Metra system. It would be great if every Metra line could see the level of service we see on the BNSF. Perhaps one day.

Fully agreed on investing more on rail than expressways. 55 definitely needs 4 lanes, but after that it should be set for several decades at the least. Beefed up rail access should be the next priority along that corridor.

left of center Dec 7, 2021 3:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9469712)
Yes, which is why I think the city should prioritize things like BRT that are less expensive and better-suited to the density levels that exist today. With the cost of the Red Line extension we could roll out gold-standard BRT on maybe 10 corridors around the city. Too bad every politician in Chicago is too scared to do anything that might inconvenience drivers.

I will note that things like a Brown Line extension might make sense within the context of the existing rail system - that is, the value of a connection from the North Lakefront to O'Hare is enough that the project makes sense even if the new stations don't have huge ridership. The existence of the connection will increase ridership at many stations throughout the network.

Same reason why I really dig the Circle Line. Its not the added trackage or the new stations, its about making all the existing lines become greater than the sum of their parts simply by making connections between them that much easier. As you said, the the Brown Line extension (or Circle Line in my case) stations themselves would not be the biggest driver of growth, rather that growth would by systemwide as the CTA would become more competitive in getting people to where they want to go quicker and with less hassle.

Parking is an absolute pain. To be free of having to worry of finding non-existent street parking or having to fork out a fortune to park in a garage is more than enough reason for many/most people to take transit, as long as it wont take an hour to get to where you want to go. Better connections between existing lines is key.

ardecila Dec 7, 2021 5:50 PM

The Circle Line is tricky and would need to be routed very carefully to be successful. You might get Chicagoans to do a 2-seat rail trip but they will never do a 3-seat trip. That means the Circle Line itself needs to hit major destinations AND have interchanges with the other lines.

Problem is, the existing activity centers aren't always near the interchange points so the city would have to provide lots of rezoning and planning efforts. If the Circle Line meets the Green Line at Ashland/Lake, that means the city needs to lift the PMD restrictions around that area. Right now the center of gravity in Fulton Market is too far east for that to be convenient.

OrdoSeclorum Dec 8, 2021 2:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9470299)
The Circle Line is tricky and would need to be routed very carefully to be successful. You might get Chicagoans to do a 2-seat rail trip but they will never do a 3-seat trip. That means the Circle Line itself needs to hit major destinations AND have interchanges with the other lines.

Problem is, the existing activity centers aren't always near the interchange points so the city would have to provide lots of rezoning and planning efforts. If the Circle Line meets the Green Line at Ashland/Lake, that means the city needs to lift the PMD restrictions around that area. Right now the center of gravity in Fulton Market is too far east for that to be convenient.

I'm not transit planner, but I feel that BRT can provide most of the benefit of a circle line.

For me, what I'd love to see is a Clinton Street Subway and through-running trains through a West Loop Transportation Center

https://www.chicago-l.org/articles/ClintonSubway.html

https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/...hapter4_2a.pdf

...plus high quality BRT on LSD, Ashland and a couple E-W streets. That's my Chicago transit dream. Though obviously making the Red Line be all it can be should be job #1. We are so lucky that so much of our density lies in one long line along the lake. What we need now is to generally improve walkability and bikability and maximize the productivity and efficiency of the Central Area.


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