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SIGSEGV Feb 17, 2020 12:21 AM

Anybody know what this barge is doing by the Amtrak yard? Is it just working on the the channel retainer walls?

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Cv...=w1027-h770-no

Mr Downtown Feb 17, 2020 4:27 AM

Yes, Amtrak got approval this fall to rebuild the sheet piling along the riverbank. The South Loop neighborhood organizations and Friends of the Chicago River asked the state to require Amtrak to follow the river design guidelines, but that went unheeded and they're just putting new sheet piling 18 inches out from the existing sheet piling.

ardecila Feb 17, 2020 7:17 PM

Does that kind of seawall work normally trigger the River Design Guidelines (pedestrian path, railing, 30' landscape setback, etc)? Usually it takes a change of use to trigger those requirements.

That would be a serious burden on Amtrak to give up a 30' strip, given that they're not redeveloping the whole railyard. Every pieces of that yard is used pretty intensively; the land along the river is the main access road.

w.miles2000 Feb 17, 2020 10:03 PM

What the updates on the cta green line Damen/Lake station do anyone know when are CDOT going to start construction

jtown,man Feb 19, 2020 1:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 2025442)
from today's tribune:


Activists fear Circle Line to push past transit plans

By Virginia Groark
Tribune staff reporter
Published April 27, 2006

The Chicago Transit Authority's proposed Circle Line, an ambitious megaproject that would connect all CTA and Metra rail lines, is inching forward, but some community activists worry that its $1 billion price tag may sideline other long-proposed projects.

CTA President Frank Kruesi has called the Circle Line, which would cover six times the area of the Loop "L" system, the "single most important" transit project in the region. But watchdog groups are concerned that the plan, which was first made public four years ago, could take precedence over projects, such as the extension of the Red Line to 130th Street, in transit-poor communities.

The Chicago Area Transportation Study has recommended the Red Line project since the early 1970s, according to Kermit Wies, deputy for planning at the organization.

"It's a dismally underserved area that needs a transportation shot in the arm, and it keeps getting bypassed by other projects," said Michael Evans, associate director of Developing Communities Project, a community organizing group on the Far South Side.

CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney said that's not the case. The CTA is in the process of hiring consultants to do studies on the Red Line extension and two other projects.

"We're moving ahead on all of them," she said. "They're all important."

Congress authorized the projects in a massive transportation bill that was passed last year. But those CTA proposals, along with three others, still must secure federal funds, a lengthy and fiercely competitive process.

CTA officials say they have not prioritized the five projects. But transit watchdogs point to the progress on the Circle Line alternatives analysis study as an indicator that it's at the top of the list.

The agency will hold three public hearings on the Circle Line next week, a required step in the alternative analysis study that began in 2004. Similar studies have not yet begun on the Red Line extension and two other projects: the extension of the Orange Line to Ford City shopping center and the Yellow Line to Old Orchard shopping center.

"Essentially what's happened is this great brainstorm child of the CTA has leapfrogged ahead of existing unfunded and unaddressed capital priorities to become the new megaproject goal," said Jacqueline Leavy, executive director of the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group, a civic watchdog organization.

But Gaffney said the CTA started the studies on the Circle Line and one other proposal before the others because they are more complicated projects.

"Not everything operates on a parallel track," she said.

If built, the Circle Line would cover a region bordered by Pershing Road on the south, Fullerton Parkway on the north, Western Avenue on the west and Lake Michigan on the east.

A preliminary plan outlined a three-phase project, the first of which was accomplished with the recent rehabilitation of the Paulina Connector, a 3/4-mile stretch of elevated track that runs parallel to, and just west of, Ashland Avenue. Though the connector had been used recently to reposition equipment, it will be used for passenger service in June when the Pink Line goes into service.

In the second phase, a 1.5-mile link of new elevated track would be built to connect the 54/Cermak branch of the Blue Line near Cermak and Ashland with the Orange Line's Ashland/Archer station.

The third phase would be a 3.35-mile link of new track that connects the Paulina Connector with the O'Hare Blue Line at Division and the Red Line at North/Clybourn. The existing elevated stretch of the Brown Line between the Sedgwick and Armitage stations would be rerouted to a new "super station" at North/Clybourn that also would serve the Red and Circle Lines.

CTA officials believe the plan would shorten travel times and improve connections. Riders could transfer to other lines and Metra routes without having to travel all the way into the Loop.

Evans believes the Circle Line will be built because it has political backing. But his group wants to make sure the Red Line project isn't ignored.

So the organization has been holding community meetings and this week traveled to Springfield to meet with legislators.

"The Circle Line's going to get done no matter how people feel about it," he said. "Let's face it. It's a showpiece. Sure it's going to make a difference. It's saying we are the best to the other cities.

"But servicing your people, the ones that are most displaced, that's saying we care about what's happening," he added. "That's the stance they should be taking right now."

This post is like from 2006.

"CTA President Frank Kruesi has called the Circle Line, which would cover six times the area of the Loop "L" system, the "single most important" transit project in the region. But watchdog groups are concerned that the plan, which was first made public four years ago, could take precedence over projects, such as the extension of the Red Line to 130th Street, in transit-poor communities."

Thank God yall didn't build the circle line so we could get the Red Line extension! Wait...14 years later and it's still not happening just yet. 14 years.

sammyg Feb 19, 2020 1:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8835525)
This post is like from 2006.
Thank God yall didn't build the circle line so we could get the Red Line extension! Wait...14 years later and it's still not happening just yet. 14 years.

The Red Line extension only seems to come up every 4 years as something mayors and aldermen can talk about in their re-election campaigns.

ardecila Feb 19, 2020 3:24 PM

Well, yeah. People in that community still cling to the "promise" made by Mayor Daley (Senior) and CTA back in the 1960s - which was to branch the Red Line down 94 and 57, by the way, not to build an el through the middle of the community. Politicians can dangle that out there to earn votes from this corner of the city. The problem is that Roseland and West Pullman have absolutely tanked in population since then. They have dropped 34-36% in Black population since 1980. Riverdale has lost 47% of its Black population. (I can only find the Black population trends, but each of these community areas is more than 90% Black so it's a fair stand-in for overall numbers).

This is not a trivial fact - the Federal process for funding rail expansions is highly competitive (although not immune from political influence). A declining population makes it unlikely that FTA will give a grant when New York, LA, SF, etc are all clamoring for money to build transit into fast-growing areas. It also makes tools like the transit TIF a lot less effective, since even the promise of new rail service is unlikely to boost property values in such troubled neighborhoods.

If we had a budget for rail expansion like Paris or Madrid, absolutely we should extend the Red Line... but given that CTA only does an expansion once every two generations, is this really the ONE project we want to sink our resources into? Nobody seems interested in LA-style proposals to raise taxes and really expand the system comprehensively, so I think we do need to look at the Red Line Extension as a zero-sum and accept the fact that funding the RLE means any other large project won't get funding.

I like Rahm's approach of rebuilding 95th - substituting a flashy, medium-scale project for a huge project seemed like a way to let the Far South Side down easy. But he kept insisting the project wasn't intended to take the place of the Red Line Extension. Now CTA is proposing a Halsted BRT, which could serve the west side of Roseland, West Pullman, etc while Metra Electric serves the east side of those communities. But still, they keep sinking money into the Red Line project.

Handro Feb 20, 2020 9:07 PM

Posting in another thread about buses reminded me of something I've wondered about.

Has the city ever explored creating new public parking lots or even building public parking garages in popular areas in order to move cars from street parking to centralized parking areas? In my understanding of the godforsaken parking meter deal, that could potentially open up arterial bus routes for BRT lanes, right?

Mr Downtown Feb 21, 2020 3:55 AM

Yes, convinced that shoppers were going to Evergreen Plaza and Old Orchard because of the ample parking, the city did exactly that in the late 1950s. The "birdcage garage" at State & Wacker, one at Wacker & Madison, one at State & Congress. In outlying "shopping centers" (the midcentury meaning of the term), they had the School St. lot near Belmont/Ashland/Lincoln and one near Lincoln & Lawrence. I'm just sure there were similar lots at Lawrence & Broadway and Six Corners, and think I remember signs near 63rd & Halsted, Madison & Pulaski, and in South Chicago and Roseland.

In the 1980s, the city decided it shouldn't be competing with private garage operators and sold off the downtown garages for redevelopment. The outlying ones lasted longer, into the 1990s at least. That little strip center at Lawrence & Oakley has a row of parking meters that are some kind of a legacy, I think. I don't know just how they came about, or who collects the coins.

As for undercutting the parking meter deal, there was a dispute about a decade ago about the city having agreed to block any new garages within the Loop as part of the inducement to sell off the Grant Park garage leases. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the parking meter deal forbids any city-owned facilities from being built in competition.

ardecila Feb 21, 2020 4:16 PM

There's a parking garage at Belmont Central, although that is managed by the SSA and not by the city directly, and the parking is unmetered.

There's also a series of public parking lots up and down Cicero Ave that were created when the curbside parking was eliminated to widen the road to four lanes. Most of them are decrepit now.

Handro Feb 21, 2020 8:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 8837701)
Yes, convinced that shoppers were going to Evergreen Plaza and Old Orchard because of the ample parking, the city did exactly that in the late 1950s. The "birdcage garage" at State & Wacker, one at Wacker & Madison, one at State & Congress. In outlying "shopping centers" (the midcentury meaning of the term), they had the School St. lot near Belmont/Ashland/Lincoln and one near Lincoln & Lawrence. I'm just sure there were similar lots at Lawrence & Broadway and Six Corners, and think I remember signs near 63rd & Halsted, Madison & Pulaski, and in South Chicago and Roseland.

In the 1980s, the city decided it shouldn't be competing with private garage operators and sold off the downtown garages for redevelopment. The outlying ones lasted longer, into the 1990s at least. That little strip center at Lawrence & Oakley has a row of parking meters that are some kind of a legacy, I think. I don't know just how they came about, or who collects the coins.

As for undercutting the parking meter deal, there was a dispute about a decade ago about the city having agreed to block any new garages within the Loop as part of the inducement to sell off the Grant Park garage leases. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the parking meter deal forbids any city-owned facilities from being built in competition.

Not undercutting, working within the deal to release valuable lanes for better public transit. The deal says something about not being able to remove street meter spaces without replacing those spaces in an area with reasonable demand. If we could free up lanes along Halsted, for example, imagine having bus only lanes from North Ave - Harrison. That would increase bus reliability/speed by an insane amount.

BorisMolotov Feb 22, 2020 12:45 AM

There's actually one parking garage left in downtown, although it's run by Park1 on St. Clair St. Here's a forgotten Chicago link about them: https://forgottenchicago.com/feature...rking-garages/. It definitely gives off '60s vibes.

jtown,man Feb 22, 2020 2:18 PM

This is probably news to NO ONE but I am new the city and want to at least pretend I have news to break lol

I went on a tour of Union Station last night and the tour guide(the chief architect) mentioned that they were putting doors on the west side(which were never there originally) because of the boom in the west loop area. There's been a lot of talk about the practicality of that area becoming more of an office location, the western door will save people a minute or two, so I guess its something.

jtown,man Feb 22, 2020 2:19 PM

Imagine if we got rid of all parking on major streets and made them bus only. :D

Mr Downtown Feb 22, 2020 5:32 PM

Union Station has always had entrances on the west side: the two on Clinton next to the north and south taxi drive portals. The renovation will turn the old Fred Harvey dining room space in the middle into retail space that will have an additional, and maybe grander-looking entrance from Clinton.

jtown,man Feb 22, 2020 5:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 8839107)
Union Station has always had entrances on the west side: the two on Clinton next to the north and south taxi drive portals. The renovation will turn the old Fred Harvey dining room space in the middle into retail space that will have an additional, and maybe grander-looking entrance from Clinton.

Well, the dude made it sound like there weren't western-facing doors to the grand hall and that they decided to add them in because of the boom going on to the west.

ardecila Feb 22, 2020 7:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Handro (Post 8838472)
Not undercutting, working within the deal to release valuable lanes for better public transit. The deal says something about not being able to remove street meter spaces without replacing those spaces in an area with reasonable demand. If we could free up lanes along Halsted, for example, imagine having bus only lanes from North Ave - Harrison. That would increase bus reliability/speed by an insane amount.

I doubt the city would build a garage (at astronomical cost). Usually it’s easier (and basically free) to just move the meters to the side streets, and the parking ends up being distributed along the corridor instead of concentrated in one spot.

The problem has never really been the parking meter deal; it’s an inconvenience for sure, but the real problem are business owners who don’t want to see any parking removed (whether metered or not) and neighborhood residents who don’t want shoppers, restaurant customers, etc parking on their block.

emathias Feb 23, 2020 8:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sammyg (Post 8835555)
The Red Line extension only seems to come up every 4 years as something mayors and aldermen can talk about in their re-election campaigns.

The fact that the CTA needs a bigger yard for the Red Line in order to increase trains on the North Side seems like the reason it has legs, and yet it's never publicized as such is mystifying. Just build it already so we can use the yard to bolster trains

Mr Downtown Feb 23, 2020 11:22 PM

^Or build a turnback someplace near Chinatown and quit wasting all those platform hours running trains back and forth through areas of the city with suburban densities.

emathias Feb 24, 2020 6:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 8840060)
^Or build a turnback someplace near Chinatown and quit wasting all those platform hours running trains back and forth through areas of the city with suburban densities.

They still need space to hold more trains.


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