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emathias Apr 12, 2013 6:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6088761)
^Oh, many months longer than was predicted. But last night didn't seem the right time to ask Janet Attarian about it.

As I looked up-close at the laser-cut trellises, I was struck by how much richer and visually rewarding they would have been if there were two layers (the grasses and the vertical pickets) sandwiched together, rather than having everything on one layer like a simplistic silhouette. At 40 mph it makes little difference, but the new streetscape is also supposed to be rewarding to pedestrians.

I would need to see it in person to form a final opinion, but I would say that from the photos it's looks disappointingly underwhelming. I had envisioned something more like you might see in an Asian city, not something that looks like a lightly updated 1950s display.

Mr Downtown Apr 12, 2013 10:12 PM

You don't want garish and distracting. Remember the inspiration/tie-in is Buckingham Fountain, not the Ginza.

emathias Apr 12, 2013 10:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6089162)
You don't want garish and distracting. Remember the inspiration/tie-in is Buckingham Fountain, not the Ginza.

I'm not talking about advertising, but a few lit poles and rectangles isn't much to look at. Incorporating larger light displays would be a much better reflection of the scale and flow of the Buckingham Fountain.

All those lights appear to be maybe 12 feet high - Buckingham Fountain's central basin is 24 feet high and the central fountain shoots up to 150 feet in the air! How can you possibly defend a light show as being "inspired" by that when it's a bunch of static, small features? That's like saying a ladyfinger was "inspired" by a stick of dynamite - they're both explosives, but anyone who's seen dynamite doesn't consider a ladyfinger to even be in the same league. Such appears to be the case here.

And judging by the paltry press coverage of the turn-on, it would appear that most people agree that it's small and uninteresting. I think Burnham would find it embarassing.

orulz Apr 15, 2013 6:24 PM

This is a lame request but can somebody please take a picture of the construction of the Englewood Flyover? Just a drive by from the Dan Ryan is fine (if you can see anything that is.) Of course if Joe Zekas wants to go for another spin on a helicopter and snap some photos I wouldn't complain. :)

ardecila Apr 15, 2013 10:38 PM

If you like squinting, you can look from this traffic camera.

Not much to see, I'm afraid, except some equipment sitting near the tracks.

jpIllInoIs Apr 17, 2013 8:39 PM

CREATE article
 
Interview with CREATE Program Director....

Read more at DC Velocity

Transportation April 17, 2013
thought leaders | The DC Velocity Q & A
Creating a better rail hub: interview with William C. Thompson

As Chicago goes, so goes the country's railroad network. It's Bill Thompson's job to see that the region's historically clogged rail system doesn't go to hell in a hand basket.

By Mark B. Solomon

By the turn of the century, Chicago, the nation's busiest rail hub which today accounts for one-fourth of the nation's rail traffic, had become intolerably sclerotic. Rail lines built in the mid- to late 1800s were inadequate to meet modern-day demands, let alone any future growth. A train that took 48 hours to travel 2,200 miles from Los Angeles to Chicago was, by 2003, taking almost that long just to get through Chicago.....


And CREATE has updated the Project Status Map

CREATE LINK

ardecila Apr 18, 2013 12:53 AM

Mr. Thompson has a good name for somebody trying to get things done in Chicago.

I didn't know about the AEI tags; that's really cool. Chicago is like some vast mixing bowl... if a railcar with my container of widgets enters the terminal area at 5:12am, I can count the seconds until it exits the terminal on another train.

jpIllInoIs Apr 19, 2013 1:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6095406)
Mr. Thompson has a good name for somebody trying to get things done in Chicago.

I didn't know about the AEI tags; that's really cool. Chicago is like some vast mixing bowl... if a railcar with my container of widgets enters the terminal area at 5:12am, I can count the seconds until it exits the terminal on another train.


I'm guessing that Thompson is speed dial buds with Lipinski,...

Lipinski Chosen for Exclusive House Committee Examining Transportation of Freight

Lipinski Home Page

ehilton44 Apr 19, 2013 2:46 PM

Ashland BRT
 
CTA has updated their Ashland BRT page. It shows new conceptual renderings of stations, center running lanes with elimination of a travel lane, and an initial route running from Cortland south to 31st St.

http://www.transitchicago.com/ashlandbrt/

This all looks excellent if it is followed in full and eventually finished to run from Irving Park south to 95th st. I think the stations look fairly similar to Cleveland's Health Line which would be great.

Busy Bee Apr 19, 2013 6:24 PM

I wish they would plan on electric trolleybuses for this BRT. That way the electric infrastructure would already be there if it was upgraded to light rail in the future.

LouisVanDerWright Apr 19, 2013 7:14 PM

^^^ To be honest, I really don't see how light rail is an upgrade to BRT. I'm not trying to be smart, I don't know much about transit, but I've seen people say that over and over again and don't understand. What is the advantage of LRT or BRT?

From what I see light rail is radically more expensive, but has the exact same advantages except maybe a little more capacity and a little more reliability (though who knows with the damage from Chicago's salty winters). I see BRT as having some of it's own advantages besides just cost as well. For one thing it would make it much easier to reroute buses for construction or emergencies and also would, crucially, allow buses to clear the stupid motorists that always block intersections during busy traffic. If there is an accident in the intersection or some motorists blocking it, the LRT would be stuck until the obstacle clears, while the BRT driver can just do what CTA drivers do best and force his way into the other lane(s) and clear the obstacle.

I'm absolutely thrilled that BRT seems to have momentum and think it's exactly what the city needs to finally address the issue of connectivity in the periphery. Hopefully the NIMBY business owners won't be able to water this down and will realize that having a BRT line at their front door will greatly increase foot traffic on their street and actually bring them more business in the long run. I think if we can get one BRT line built we can put it in all over the place because people will see the boon it brings to the neighborhood as it is essentially like having a new El installed right down the middle of the street.


I'd love to see the day where BRT runs the length of Ashland, Western, and Cicero as well as East-West on a few corridors (which are much harder to pick out because E-W roads, for whatever reason, seem to be much more cramped. I'd say probably Belmont, North Ave, and Irving Park on the North side and maybe Cermak, 35th, Garfield/55th, 79th, and 95th on the South Side. I could even see the implementation of BRT as the savior of the West and South sides, opening up large swaths of the city to development by encouraging people to spread out along BRT lines causing more North-South movement in gentrification.

pottebaum Apr 19, 2013 7:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 6098079)
I could even see the implementation of BRT as the savior of the West and South sides, opening up large swaths of the city to development by encouraging people to spread out along BRT lines causing more North-South movement in gentrification.

I think this right here is the benefit light rail has over BRT --> light rail attracts greater investment because its perceived as being more permanent / reliable.

Question: would the Ashland BRT operate only during rush hours, or the same hours as the normal route?

ardecila Apr 19, 2013 7:40 PM

LRT offers greater capacity on each vehicle and a smoother ride. If you're willing to run larger trams less frequently than small buses (while keeping overall capacity the same) then LRT is also cheaper to operate.

There are drawbacks, though. The long platforms would interfere with turn lanes and cross streets, and obviously the LRT can get stuck behind something and gum the whole line up.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pottebaum (Post 6098109)
I think this right here is the benefit light rail has over BRT --> light rail attracts greater investment because its perceived as being more permanent / reliable.

Question: would the Ashland BRT operate only during rush hours, or the same hours as the normal route?

If built, it would operate full-time. You don't pour so much concrete to run a rush-hour only service.

ehilton44 Apr 19, 2013 7:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6098115)
LRT offers greater capacity on each vehicle and a smoother ride. If you're willing to run larger trams less frequently than small buses (while keeping overall capacity the same) then LRT is also cheaper to operate.

There are drawbacks, though. The long platforms would interfere with turn lanes and cross streets, and obviously the LRT can get stuck behind something and gum the whole line up.

Not to mention it would cost about twice as much (according to some reports).

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 6098079)
I'd love to see the day where BRT runs the length of Ashland, Western, and Cicero as well as East-West on a few corridors (which are much harder to pick out because E-W roads, for whatever reason, seem to be much more cramped. I'd say probably Belmont, North Ave, and Irving Park on the North side and maybe Cermak, 35th, Garfield/55th, 79th, and 95th on the South Side. I could even see the implementation of BRT as the savior of the West and South sides, opening up large swaths of the city to development by encouraging people to spread out along BRT lines causing more North-South movement in gentrification.

I'd encourage you to check out Metropolitan Planning Council's report on BRT from 2011: http://www.metroplanning.org/multimedia/publication/524

They recommend routes on Ashland, Western, King/Cottage Grove/Stony Island, and portions of Pulaski, Cicero, and Halsted running N/S. E/W They have Irving Park, Fullerton, Garfield, and 95th.

emathias Apr 19, 2013 8:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 6098079)
^^^ To be honest, I really don't see how light rail is an upgrade to BRT. I'm not trying to be smart, I don't know much about transit, but I've seen people say that over and over again and don't understand. What is the advantage of LRT or BRT?

From what I see light rail is radically more expensive, but has the exact same advantages except maybe a little more capacity
...

Light rail can have significantly more capacity than buses. It's also smoother, quieter, and generally cleaner although you could do trolley buses. It's not necessarily that much more expensive than BRT, the biggest expense for Chicago would probably be the need for a rail yard to hold and service the light rail vehicles. Compared to Chicago's biggest buses, one driver of a 3-car version of Portland-style light rail could haul at least 4 times as many people. That's a big difference. Even if you used Portland-style streetcars, which are smaller and lighter, you'd be capable of hauling twice as many people with one conductor if you used 2 coupled trolleys.

From an expenses standpoint, once you build out BRT like Chicago is proposing, the costs of putting in light rail rails actually isn't that big compared to the other changes. That's why light rail is cheaper than heavier rail - because you don't need as much rail support. If you used 3 light rail cars, you'd have to extend the platforms, but the spacing would be there, and add rails. I'm not sure what adding supported full light rail rails takes, but if you went the trolley route, you could add the rails for about $2 million per mile, which is really not that much to double capacity.

The biggest expense would be procuring and building a maintenance/storage barn for the trolley or light rail cars. I'm not sure what that would cost.

the urban politician Apr 19, 2013 8:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pottebaum (Post 6098109)
I think this right here is the benefit light rail has over BRT --> light rail attracts greater investment because its perceived as being more permanent / reliable.

^ Perhaps, but if the BRT comes with lane markings, traffic signal priority, and dedicated boarding platforms, then that is a significant investment in its own right ($10 million per mile, according to the article) that cannot be easily duplicated by just moving the route elsewhere.

killaviews Apr 19, 2013 9:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ehilton44 (Post 6097655)
CTA has updated their Ashland BRT page. It shows new conceptual renderings of stations, center running lanes with elimination of a travel lane, and an initial route running from Cortland south to 31st St.

http://www.transitchicago.com/ashlandbrt/

This all looks excellent if it is followed in full and eventually finished to run from Irving Park south to 95th st. I think the stations look fairly similar to Cleveland's Health Line which would be great.

This needs to be extended to the end of Ashland, to connect with Andersonville. It doesn't make sense to stop at Irving Park.

ehilton44 Apr 19, 2013 9:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by killaviews (Post 6098230)
This needs to be extended to the end of Ashland, to connect with Andersonville. It doesn't make sense to stop at Irving Park.

I agree, but I believe Ashland narrows a bit north of Irving Park to a point making BRT unfeasible/difficult. I can't find the source right now, but there was a petition put together by a number of Andersonville businesses asking for the extension and the response was generally that.

emathias Apr 20, 2013 4:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ehilton44 (Post 6098281)
I agree, but I believe Ashland narrows a bit north of Irving Park to a point making BRT unfeasible/difficult. I can't find the source right now, but there was a petition put together by a number of Andersonville businesses asking for the extension and the response was generally that.

It would actually be nice if they hooked east to connected to the Red Line via a turn-around designed as part of the Sheridan stop reconstruction. They could even procure that lot at Racine and Grace and the section of Kelly Park between Irving Park and Byron to route buses to/from there. If they wanted to convert to trolley service, that might even be big enough to house trolleys. Definitely if they bought that cemetery they would have enough room for trolleys - I know that cemetery was for sale some years ago.

The more I think about it, the more I like that idea. The stretch of Irving Park between Ashland and the Red Line has very few businesses that rely on parking, so there wouldn't be much complaining if you wanted to eliminate parking. The biggest impact might be that private buses serving Wrigley games wouldn't be able to line up on Irving Park anymore.

Mr Downtown Apr 20, 2013 3:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6098195)
Light rail [is] not necessarily that much more expensive than BRT

Ashland BRT is quoted as $10 m per mile. Recent light rail projects have ranged from $43 m (Hampton Roads) to $204 m for Portland’s Milwaukie Line. In a city where two concrete platforms and a roof cost $20 m (at Oakton), which end of the scale do you think more likely?

As for cheaper to operate, here are the actual operating costs per hour from the 2010 NTDB:
Code:

Phoenix            LR $177/hr  BUS $91/hr
Los Angeles LACMTA  LR $372/hr  BUS $119/hr
Sacramento RT      LR $223/hr  BUS $112/hr
San Diego MTS      LR $136/hr  BUS $103/hr
San Francisco Muni  LR $269/hr  BUS $157/hr
Santa Clara VTA    LR $291/hr  BUS $151/hr
Denver RTD          LR $160/hr  BUS $120/hr
Boston MBTA        LR $214/hr  BUS $134/hr
Baltimore MTA      LR $243/hr  BUS $144/hr
Twin Cities Metro  LR $177/hr  BUS $109/hr
St Louis Metro      LR $228/hr  BUS $97/hr
Charlotte CATS      LR $353/hr  BUS $89/hr
New Jersey Transit  LR $303/hr  BUS $125/hr
Buffalo NFTA        LR $271/hr  BUS $101/hr
Cleveland GCRTA    LR $283/hr  BUS $115/hr
Portland Tri-Met    LR $185/hr  BUS $125/hr
Pittsburgh PA      LR $347/hr  BUS $137/hr
Philadelphia SEPTA  LR $164/hr  BUS $128/hr
Dallas DART        LR $438/hr  BUS $112/hr
Houston Metro      LR $197/hr  BUS $109/hr
Salt Lake City UTA  LR $122/hr  BUS $87/hr
Tacoma ST          LR $278/hr  BUS $146/hr
Seattle Metro      LR $202/hr  BUS $127/hr

As you can see, operating costs per hour are more than double (average 220% of bus costs) but crush capacity is only 50% greater.


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