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Busy Bee May 26, 2012 3:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 5712668)
http://chicagomaroon.com/2012/05/25/...n-a-new-metra/

A man, a mission, a new Metra

One former Chatham resident has drafted a proposal for solving the South Side's transit woes, which most—but not all—have discounted.

by Celia Bever - May 25, 2012 6:13 am CDT

photo: sydney combs/the chicago maroon


The proposed CTA Grey Line "L" Route would run along the Metra tracks closest to the lake. Michael Payne moved to the western suburbs from his South Side home nearly five years ago, but he still remembers the drudgery of commuting into the Loop for his job as an office repairman—and the hour-long bus rides that he had to take to the closest Red Line stop before moving even an inch northward.


These memories, coupled with a lifelong interest in trains, prompted Payne to
work for 16 years on a proposal to improve public transit to the South Side: the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Gray Line L Route Project.

Though neither Metra nor CTA are currently considering his plans, Payne, 63, has opened the way for other projects and has caught the eye of advocates for transit reform.

His stint at a railroad company in the 1970s allowed him to plan, perfect, and
lobby for the Gray Line, which would convert the two inner tracks of the Metra Electric District into L lines. Trains with new decals would run every 10
minutes instead of every hour, as they sometimes do now, and turnstiles and fare boxes would be installed at stations. Metra personnel would continue to staff the trains.


Payne estimates that the project would cost $200 million, create 8,000 to 10,000 permanent jobs, and encompass 40 stops over 25 miles. In contrast, he said, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed Red Line extension would cost about $1.4 billion for three stops along five miles.

The Gray Line was ranked first in a 2003 study of city public transit projects
by the Chicagoland Transportation and Air Quality Commission.

However, CTA found that Payne's plan inadequately addresses South Side
transportation needs that are better served by the Red Line extension, which
would run up to Howard Street, while the Gray Line would stop at Millennium
Park, according to CTA spokesperson Catherine Hosinski.
Payne responded that passengers could transfer from the Gray Line to other CTA trains to go farther north.

Hosinski also said that the Gray Line would not be able to run as frequently as
Payne desired because the Metra tracks cannot be shared between trains as
efficiently as CTA tracks.

Payne claims that the real problem is tensions between Metra and CTA.
"It's completely, 100 percent political," he said.


The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is leaning toward the less
ambitious Gold Line, whose designers were inspired by Payne's work. "The Gray Line wasn't the option the community was most interested in," said Brenda McGruder, the coordinating planner at CDOT.


The Gold Line, spearheaded by Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation
(SOUL), would convert only the Metra's South Chicago branch, which runs along Lake Park Avenue. SOUL originally supported the more expansive Gray Line, but opted for a plan that seemed more feasible at the time. "We thought that was the most practical thing to do," SOUL board member Linda Thisted said.

SOUL, along with Fourth Ward Alderman Will Burns, has successfully lobbied for the introduction of a universal fare card for CTA and Metra systems that will take effect in 2015.

Payne, who also anticipated fares as one of the largest hurdles in improving
transportation, is grateful for SOUL's work. "I never could have come up with
that," he said.


While struggling to find support for the Gray Line, Payne was let go from his
repairman job in 2006, leaving him homeless, spending many nights sleeping on
the L for six months.

After finding his current job at a B.P. station outside the city, he moved and
bought a car.

"I'm a gas station attendant. I have no political power whatsoever."
Yet Payne remains optimistic. Social security checks and a discount from a
former employer have allowed Payne to print fliers that he plans to pass out at community meetings and on L stops.

Though the Gray Line would no longer benefit him personally, he has no
intentions of giving up now. "It's been a part of my life for too long," he
said.

I'm nearly speechless. If you aren't not the exemplar of impassioned dedication I don't know who is. I commend you for all the work you've put toward this issue and hope you never give up the good work.

lawfin May 26, 2012 3:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 5713541)
I'm nearly speechless. If you aren't not the exemplar of impassioned dedication I don't know who is. I commend you for all the work you've put toward this issue and hope you never give up the good work.

Yes Mr Payne that is really quite a story. I for one like your gray line plan quite a bit. Much more than the redline extension. Which to me is a racial politics boondoggle. Your plan would much better serve dense transit oriented parts of the city

bnk May 26, 2012 4:35 AM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,3797671.story


Panel recommends mass transit for rebuilt Addams tollway
Special 'managed' lanes urged for cars, express buses


By Richard Wronski, Chicago Tribune reporter

May 25, 2012

The Illinois Tollway should include congestion-priced, "managed" lanes and mass-transit options such as express buses as part of its plan to rebuild the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, an advisory council recommended Thursday.

The group also urged the Illinois Department of Transportation to consider continuing those special lanes and transit options on the Kennedy Expressway all the way to downtown Chicago.

The recommendations were reached after nine months of ...

As part of its $12.1 billion, 15-year reconstruction program, the tollway plans to rebuild and widen the Addams from the Kennedy Expressway to Interstate 39 in Rockford.

The Addams work is estimated to cost $2.2 billion and is scheduled for 2013 to 2016. The Addams will be eight lanes from the Kennedy to Randall Road in Elgin and six lanes from Randall to I-39.

...

Later, the inside shoulder could be converted into an express bus lane. Longer term, the council suggests using the inside median for an unspecified rail option.

...

The proposals offered Thursday didn't spell out the rail option, but one possibility could be extending the CTA's Blue Line beyond its current end point at O'Hare International Airport.

The council also recommended that local governments along I-90 should plan for station areas, park-and-ride lots and other amenities to support transit options.

Tollway officials said they would work with transit and transportation agencies to evaluate the recommendations.

BorisMolotov May 26, 2012 4:43 AM

Didn't they just redo most of this?

bnk May 26, 2012 4:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BorisMolotov (Post 5713609)
Didn't they just redo most of this?

Yes, I quess by the next spring start the new lanes would be roughly the same age and easier to add onto esp if they knew the expansion was coming they would have already made the roadway ready for this next phase.

lawfin May 26, 2012 5:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bnk (Post 5713606)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,3797671.story


Panel recommends mass transit for rebuilt Addams tollway
Special 'managed' lanes urged for cars, express buses


By Richard Wronski, Chicago Tribune reporter

May 25, 2012

The Illinois Tollway should include congestion-priced, "managed" lanes and mass-transit options such as express buses as part of its plan to rebuild the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, an advisory council recommended Thursday.


Tollway officials said they would work with transit and transportation agencies to evaluate the recommendations.

maybe I am an idiot but I really don't see how mass transit options are viable at the density levels in that area of sprawlburbia. I just don't see it as being successful; can anyone explain to me how this can be pulled of succesfully given the geospatial realities and the cultural idiosycrarcies of people who live out there.

CTA Gray Line May 26, 2012 7:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 5713541)
I'm nearly speechless. If you aren't not the exemplar of impassioned dedication I don't know who is. I commend you for all the work you've put toward this issue and hope you never give up the good work.

Thank You so much Bee, it is such a spiritual boost to hear words like yours; and I never plan to stop (until the trains start running) - even though some tell me "my ship has sunk".

You can BET there will be more happening in the future, and I will keep you updated.

These are the Fliers the article spoke of: http://grayline.20m.com/cgi-bin/i/im...lier_front.jpg http://grayline.20m.com/cgi-bin/i/im...flier_rear.jpg

Mike Payne

CTA Gray Line May 26, 2012 7:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 5713551)
Yes Mr Payne that is really quite a story. I for one like your gray line plan quite a bit. Much more than the redline extension. Which to me is a racial politics boondoggle. Your plan would much better serve dense transit oriented parts of the city

Thank You also lawfin, and you hit it RIGHT ON THE HEAD with that "racial politics boondoggle" riff; if you don't mind I will use that in discussions often.

Mike Payne

ardecila May 26, 2012 8:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by untitledreality (Post 5713329)
Come on, you can't propose mating a 64,600 ride/day line with a 5,400 ride/day line to form a 150+ mile RER route. Im no transportation expert, but I would think you would want the mating to be as equal as possible. The MD-W with added inner city infill stations to boost ridership would seem like a more logical mate for the BNSF.

Well, the RER lines extend pretty far out into Parisian exurbia... but Ile-de-France is compact compared to Chicagoland. Aurora is a natural terminus for the BNSF, Illinois' 2nd-biggest city with a large and very urban core.

I think I'd pair BNSF (to Aurora) up with UP-North (to Waukegan), since both lines have the highest ridership. The other two lines in my scheme would be North Central (to O'Hare) blended with Metra Electric (to University Park), and UP-NW (to Palatine) blended with the South Shore (to Gary). Service to stations further out would be provided by traditional trains that end at downtown terminals, a less-frequent but geographically-larger version of the current Metra system.

I proposed a tunnel for BNSF east of Kedzie, running beneath Ogden and Polk to better serve the IMD and UIC, which would be huge ridership generators if they were directly on a rail line. The IMD station would also be a 1/2 mile walk to the United Center. There's also a tunnel under Fairbanks/Lake Shore Drive/Division that links Millennium with Clybourn. Make no small plans...

the urban politician May 26, 2012 3:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 5713636)
maybe I am an idiot but I really don't see how mass transit options are viable at the density levels in that area of sprawlburbia. I just don't see it as being successful; can anyone explain to me how this can be pulled of succesfully given the geospatial realities and the cultural idiosycrarcies of people who live out there.

^ Probably through park n ride lots.

At least for now, I imagine that is the best way to funnel auto-dependent sprawl-burbia residents into the dense urban core while still preserving road space on the choked expressways.

Ultimately, I'm glad the tollway is beginning to give more light of day to alternatives such as rail row, express bus lanes, and other creative ideas.

Baronvonellis May 26, 2012 4:53 PM

When are they going to widen the Edens to 8 lanes? All the jobs are located along the edens in the northshore instead of the metra lines so your forced to drive. The reverse commute to the burbs is 4 times worse than the commute to the city from the burbs. I can't believe the edens is only 6 lanes or I-90 is only 6 for that matter.

Nexis4Jersey May 27, 2012 2:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by untitledreality (Post 5713329)
Come on, you can't propose mating a 64,600 ride/day line with a 5,400 ride/day line to form a 150+ mile RER route. Im no transportation expert, but I would think you would want the mating to be as equal as possible. The MD-W with added inner city infill stations to boost ridership would seem like a more logical mate for the BNSF.

I got a little crazy there , but marrying a heavily used line with another Heavily used line could cause some overcrowding and stress issues....

ardecila May 27, 2012 7:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baronvonellis (Post 5713829)
When are they going to widen the Edens to 8 lanes? All the jobs are located along the edens in the northshore instead of the metra lines so your forced to drive. The reverse commute to the burbs is 4 times worse than the commute to the city from the burbs. I can't believe the edens is only 6 lanes or I-90 is only 6 for that matter.

The Urbanophile proposed auxiliary lanes on the Edens... the congestion occurs not because the volume of traffic is too great for the road, but because certain entrances contribute massive volumes of traffic (Dempster, Touhy, Old Orchard) and the merging process requires everyone to slow down. Auxiliary lanes would give the entering traffic a much greater time to merge in (and they might allow the stupid ramp meters to be removed).

I doubt the Kennedy will ever be widened. IDOT has routinely been rebuilding the overpasses, which have reached the end of their lifespan. The new ones are exactly the same width as the old ones, with no provisions for a fourth lane. The massive structures at the Junction and Jefferson Park are also immovable obstacles... really the only way to widen the Kennedy is to move the Blue Line somewhere else.

ardecila May 27, 2012 7:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey (Post 5714199)
I got a little crazy there , but marrying a heavily used line with another Heavily used line could cause some overcrowding and stress issues....

Huh? Your service frequency and train length is determined by ridership levels. If you don't have similar ridership levels on both ends of a "crosstown" line, then you're either wasting a ton of money by providing too much service on the weaker end, or you split the difference and then you don't provide enough service to the busier end.

Nexis4Jersey May 27, 2012 9:40 AM

I'll redo the list...

M II A II R II K May 28, 2012 1:51 AM

City Hall releases blueprint for upgrading Union Station


May 23, 2012

By FRAN SPIELMAN

Read More: http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhal...n-station.html

Quote:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration released a master plan for Union Station on Wednesday that identifies ways to increase capacity and improve the passenger experience at the nation’s third-busiest railroad terminal.

- Now, City Hall is lowering its sights to more realistic short-term projects with identified funding while still maintaining a list of medium- and long-term plans that could be done if the money is ever found. Short-term projects include: improved station entrances; expanded Amtrak waiting rooms; enhanced bus lanes on Clinton and Canal Streets and construction of an off-street CTA bus terminal on a surface parking lot south of Jackson Boulevard between Canal and Clinton.

- The plan says projects that might be delivered in five to 10 years include: reallocating space currently occupied by baggage platforms to make way for wider commuter platforms; converting “unused mail platforms” to accommodate “inter-city passenger trains”; reorganizing existing station facilities to “improve capacity and flow” and rebuilding the Canal Street viaduct above parts of the station in a way that “improves street access” to the station concourse below.

.....

CTA Gray Line May 28, 2012 2:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 5713551)
Yes Mr Payne that is really quite a story. I for one like your gray line plan quite a bit. Much more than the redline extension. Which to me is a racial politics boondoggle. Your plan would much better serve dense transit oriented parts of the city

I really appreciate your comments, but on the other end of the spectrum.

If you ask very nicely, some others on this board will tell you what a COMPLETE IDIOT I am, how this Project has NO CHANCE IN HELL, and how "my ship has already sunk".

untitledreality May 28, 2012 2:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5713691)
I think I'd pair BNSF (to Aurora) up with UP-North (to Waukegan), since both lines have the highest ridership.

I realize we are all talking in fantasy, but what are the logistics of combining separately owned routes, especially ones that currently originate from different stations? Are there agreements in place stating which ownership can operate out of which station?

I would agree that this would be the preferred combo, but said MD-W since both are owned by Metra and both operate out of Union Station.

untitledreality May 28, 2012 2:26 PM

Delete

ardecila May 28, 2012 4:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by untitledreality (Post 5715101)
I realize we are all talking in fantasy, but what are the logistics of combining separately owned routes, especially ones that currently originate from different stations? Are there agreements in place stating which ownership can operate out of which station?

I would agree that this would be the preferred combo, but said MD-W since both are owned by Metra and both operate out of Union Station.

Right. There's currently no way to merge those two lines. But doing any through-routing at all is gonna require some sort of new tunnel, so my plan includes a tunnel spur to the rail line near Grand and the river. From there, there's already a grade-separated line leading directly to UP-N.

Operationally, it would require some interesting stuff. UP operates the Metra service under contract, but in other parts of the country UP has been loathe to operate any commuter service. I'm guessing UP would agree to surrender operations on UP-N and UP-NW so long as UP-W remains under their control; the West line is the busy cash-cow freight route, while the other two see relatively little freight traffic, only nights and weekends if at all.

With UP out of the way, I suppose BNSF could operate the combined line through a trackage-rights agreement. Presumably BNSF would want control of any commuter service on their line, which is also a major cash-cow freight route.


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