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emathias Apr 20, 2013 3:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6098902)
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?

The Milwaukie line includes a major bridge, is that factored into your numbers?

Even Hampton Roads has considerable variability along the route as far as where it runs and has a number of transitions that add to the cost. By comparison, a straight shot down a straight street has a decent possibility of keeping costs low. The only big question in my mind would be whether existing bridges could handle the weight of light rail vehicles without extensive modifications. I don't know if you've been to Oakton (I have), but it is considerably more extensive than you make it sound and certainly more extensive than a light rail or brt station.

You also don't show any numbers for trolleys, which are lower capacity but also even lighter than light rail, so can run on rails that are just set in a 10-inch concrete slab over normal road foundations.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6098902)
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.

1 light rail vehicle has 50% more than 1 bus, but a light rail train could consist of 3 vehicles and fit within Chicago blocks. IF (and it's a big if) the route became popular enough to justify that sort of capacity, running 3-car light rail trains at 5-minute intervals would probably yield better service and better integration with cross-traffic than trying to run a bus every minute along that route, regardless of cost. Also, for that corridor, bus costs are y=x(n*d) where n is the cost of bus maintenance and fuel and d is the cots of the driver, while light rail costs are y=x(d+(n*{1,2,3})), where d is the cost of the operator and n is the cost of maintenance and energy for 1 light rail vehicle, so the cost per hour grows somewhat more slowly as you expand a light rail train and the crush capacity *per scheduled arrival* can end up being 450% higher comparing a light rail train to a bus.

ehilton44 Apr 20, 2013 6:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6098931)
Also, for that corridor, bus costs are y=x(n*d) where n is the cost of bus maintenance and fuel and d is the cots of the driver, while light rail costs are y=x(d+(n*{1,2,3})), where d is the cost of the operator and n is the cost of maintenance and energy for 1 light rail vehicle, so the cost per hour grows somewhat more slowly as you expand a light rail train and the crush capacity *per scheduled arrival* can end up being 450% higher comparing a light rail train to a bus.

I'm very confused by your cost equations, could you provide units and a source? Are 'n' and 'd' in $/mile or $/hour? Why would you multiply the cost of the driver by the cost of maintenance for a bus but not a light rail vehicle? Addition definitely makes sense in this case, assuming 'x' is whatever the divisor is for 'n' and 'd'. Wouldn't you pay the driver in $/hour and the maintenance of the vehicles be $/mile?

Basically the argument comes down to a capacity vs. cost trade off. If you will look at the MPC source I provided earlier, they estimated that the avg cost/mile for BRT is $13.32 million while for LRT it is $35 million. If capacity needs are great enough 5-10 years in the future, the line can be upgraded for a fraction of the cost. Why not prove it works then upgrade? The buses they will buy have 100 person capacity (non crush) which is already a pretty big upgrade over the current 40 foot buses (source: http://chi.streetsblog.org/2013/04/1...rt-on-ashland/).

Let's see them do BRT right, at a cost of $10 million/mile (their current estimate). Then, when investment appears (as it did in Cleveland on an inferior line), the discussion about upgrading it to LRT can happen.

Personally I'd rather see a network of BRT before investing in LRT. Ashland and Western N/S lines, and then a 2 E/W lines on the North and South sides of the city.

ardecila Apr 20, 2013 6:50 PM

The maintenance argument is a big one. We already have an infrastructure to service, store, and maintain buses. LRT would require a whole new servicing facility and training for new employees.

LRT, I think, will make sense down the road. But as Mr. D mentioned, why spend more money than we need to when transit dollars are scarce and construction costs are at an all-time high? As you mentioned, installing streetcars later is simply a matter of coming in and installing a track slab and traction power system (unless there are manholes in the way). It can be done incrementally while the buses are operating. Meanwhile, the exclusive lanes and high platforms will already exist. By the time we reach that point, we may get to a Toronto-level of congestion where the transit line needs to go underground at certain intersections.

It's too early to tell, but I hope CTA officials carefully consider the details of how rail-BRT transfers work. There will be three of them in the initial phase, maybe more if they decide to build connectors at Polk, 18th, or Congress. Certainly at Ashland/Lake I think it makes sense to build a direct stairway from the stationhouses to Ashland's median (which would, coincidentally, restore the original design). At Division a median stair would be awesome, but it might be cheaper to simply move the platforms to the curbs. At 31st I assume the bus will simply end in the existing turnaround facility, but a more permanent solution on Ashland will be needed eventually.

Mr Downtown Apr 21, 2013 1:57 AM

In most corridors, I think the higher capacity of LRV works against it as a mode choice, because you're forcing people to wait longer for the privilege of riding a rail vehicle. They'd generally prefer a bus every five minutes to an LRV every 15.

If you have the ridership where bus capacity becomes a problem, it's time to get off the street entirely, into a subway.

the urban politician Apr 21, 2013 12:35 PM

It gets tiring to hear some people complain that this should have been Light Rail, to be honest. It's kind of time to get over that fantasy. The numbers are all out there, it's way too expensive, and as others have argued, would at best have a mild benefit over the much cheaper BRT. In addition, as others have said, BRT can always be upgraded to LRT in the future.

In my opinion the focus right now should be how the BRT should be implemented, as opposed to whether it should be BRT or LRT.

The bigger mistake, in my mind, would be to do a BRT-light system. If it's perceived as just a glorified bus, it won't achieve its goal and people will be pissed that they lost a driving lane. They need proper lane markings, proper branding, well functioning TSP, good enforcement of the bus-only lanes, well designed transfers to heavy rail stations, elevated boarding platforms that are fairly well designed, and prepaid boarding.

The fact that they are already waivering on prepaid boarding has me concerned--do they just not see the big picture here? You need to make this thing smooth and convenient for people, and FAST, if you're going to get people out of their cars for these types of crosstown trips.

untitledreality Apr 21, 2013 5:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 6099669)
It gets tiring to hear some people complain that this should have been Light Rail, to be honest. It's kind of time to get over that fantasy. The numbers are all out there, it's way too expensive, and as others have argued, would at best have a mild benefit over the much cheaper BRT. In addition, as others have said, BRT can always be upgraded to LRT in the future.

In my opinion the focus right now should be how the BRT should be implemented, as opposed to whether it should be BRT or LRT.

The bigger mistake, in my mind, would be to do a BRT-light system. If it's perceived as just a glorified bus, it won't achieve its goal and people will be pissed that they lost a driving lane. They need proper lane markings, proper branding, well functioning TSP, good enforcement of the bus-only lanes, well designed transfers to heavy rail stations, elevated boarding platforms that are fairly well designed, and prepaid boarding.

The fact that they are already waivering on prepaid boarding has me concerned--do they just not see the big picture here? You need to make this thing smooth and convenient for people, and FAST, if you're going to get people out of their cars for these types of crosstown trips.

THANK YOU.

Its not going to be light rail, its not going to be electrified buses, its not going to be a trolley system and it will not be a subway. So lets just get on with it and discuss how this can be a proper, highly functional and integrated BRT system for the city of Chicago.

ehilton44 Apr 21, 2013 6:34 PM

In the interview with StreetsBlog Chicago, Kevin O'Malley (CTA's general manager of strategic planning and policy) stated that this will be the fist Gold Standard BRT system in the US. You can take a look at the scorecard here: http://www.itdp.org/microsites/the-b...013/scorecard/ . They will have to maximize those points from the "BRT Basics" if they really want to get the Gold Standard, so I have some measure of faith that those will be met.

They need 85 points for Gold Standard. Points that I think will be lost are: secure bike parking (just not enough space), Bicycle Lanes (the bike lanes will be on Damen as opposed to Ashland probably), Docking Bays/Sub Stops, and Passing Lanes at Stations. That is already 9 points lost so they are going to only be able to lose another 6. It'll be close.

ardecila Apr 21, 2013 9:55 PM

I dunno, it seems like they might be pretty flexible in how the points are applied. Bike lanes on Damen would get them 2 points, since it runs parallel to the corridor. It doesn't say how far away "parallel" means. CDOT might also do a bike boulevard on Paulina.

CTA Gray Line Apr 26, 2013 3:57 AM

Metra urges CTA riders to try its trains when Red Line closes May 19
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...ves-20130426,\
0,5631621.story

By Richard Wronski, Chicago Tribune reporter

9:02 p.m. CDT, April 25, 2013

Attention CTA riders: Metra has its eyes on you when the Red Line shuts down the
South Side branch May 19 for major reconstruction.

The commuter rail agency is cooperating with the CTA to accommodate customers
left scrambling during the five months when the 10-mile Red Line stretch from
Cermak-Chinatown to 95th Street will be rebuilt at a cost of $425 million.

Metra said Thursday it would modify its schedule and ticketing to help the South
Side branch's 80,000 weekday Red Line riders during the shutdown. But — no
surprise here — Metra also wants to hang on to some of those customers.

"There's a great opportunity … to get (CTA) riders to stay with us," Metra
marketing chief Robert Carlton told board members at a recent meeting.

In addition to the CTA's previously announced plans for alternative service for
Red Line riders, Metra's Electric and Rock Island lines would be good options,
officials said.

The Metra Electric line runs east of the Red Line and serves Van Buren and
Millennium stations.

The Metra Electric line stations that can be used by Red Line riders include
63rd Street, 75th Street (Grand Crossing), 79th Street (Chatham), 87th Street
(Woodruff) and 95th Street (Chicago State University) in Chicago, plus the
Harvey station, Metra said.

Metra said the Chicago stations will become regular stops for two inbound and
two outbound rush-hour trains that normally stop only at customer request.

The Rock Island line runs to the west of the Red Line and serves LaSalle Street
Station.

Rock Island stations that can accommodate Red Line riders include 35th Street
(Sox park), Gresham, 95th Street (on Beverly and main line branches) and Blue
Island/Vermont Street, Metra said.

Most of those stations correspond with a Red Line stop and are located along
east-west bus routes that also serve those "L" stops.

The CTA, Metra and Pace also will offer a new fare package to accommodate Red
Line customers. It will include a special CTA/Pace five-day pass and a Metra
10-ride ticket.

The CTA does not normally offer a five-day pass, and it will be priced at a
discount, the agency said.

The five-day pass/10-ride ticket package will cost $52 for Metra Zone B riders;
$64 for Zone C; and $74 for Zone D.

Further information can be found at transitchicago.com/redsouth and
metrarail.com, officials said.

rwronski@...

Twitter @richwronski

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC


THE BATTLE BEGINS.......

Mike Payne

emathias Apr 26, 2013 9:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line (Post 6105616)
...
Metra said Thursday it would modify its schedule and ticketing to help the South
Side branch's 80,000 weekday Red Line riders during the shutdown. But — no
surprise here — Metra also wants to hang on to some of those customers.

"There's a great opportunity … to get (CTA) riders to stay with us," Metra
marketing chief Robert Carlton told board members at a recent meeting.
...

This sort of language is a regional embarrassment.

It shouldn't be a competition, it should be a holistic regional solution. Geez.

DCCliff Apr 27, 2013 1:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 6106583)
This sort of language is a regional embarrassment.

It shouldn't be a competition, it should be a holistic regional solution. Geez.

TOTALLY agree! RTA is a hopeless, backward mess.

CTA Gray Line Apr 28, 2013 1:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DCCliff (Post 6106847)
TOTALLY agree! RTA is a hopeless, backward mess.

From another Board: http://forum.chicagobus.org/topic/28...roject/page-21

Justin_Chicago Apr 28, 2013 9:21 PM

If 53rd street continues to develop, I would think the green line will eventually expand and Hyde Park will finally get their CTA line. University of Chicago is working hard making Hyde Park more of a destination by pulling in popular restaurants like Longman & Eagle and Yusho to open up places in the neighborhood.

What is Chicago planning? Not nearly enough

Is good planning in Chicago as dead as Daniel Burnham?

That's the question effectively posed in a provocative new book by two veteran Chicago observers at Roosevelt University, D. Bradford Hunt and Jon DeVries. They cover a lot of territory. Mostly, they are right.

Their hypothesis in “Planning Chicago” is that a city that in many ways invented American urban planning and gained mightily from that experience has lost its mojo, dragged down by high debt levels, politics and a tax-increment financing beast that has become the proverbial tail wagging the Chicago dog.

“Financing sources have driven choices and decisions,” the two conclude in the book. “When financing drives planning, rather than the other way around, decisions are made on a deal-by-deal basis that serves the needs of political actors more than the general public.”

As Chicago Plan Commission Chairman Reuben Hedlund is quoted as saying, referring to the Richard M. Daley years: “Comprehensive plans (have) given way to incremental efforts, one planned development at a time.”

Mr. DeVries in particular is concerned about the city's failure to improve public transit much in recent decades. The director of Roosevelt's Bennett Institute of Real Estate, he knows a fair amount about that subject, having worked on and off for decades as a city consultant.

The downtown circulator system designed to move commuters from West Loop railroad stations to Michigan Avenue and other points east died in the '90s, Mr. DeVries points out; a West Loop transportation center intended to allow further expansion of downtown's office district is moribund; and hopes of extending the Chicago Transit Authority's Red Line south have been delayed in favor of far more limited initiatives like the budding Bus Rapid Transit network.

CTA President Forrest Claypool responds that the CTA is boosting its capacity by spending big bucks on equipment and repairing slow zones. Still, he concedes, “I'm not defending transportation planning by any stretch; it's been poor.”

Read more: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/artic...#ixzz2RnTKcERD

Mr Downtown Apr 29, 2013 1:12 AM

I've been reading this book over the weekend, and I think very highly of it. It pulls no punches about the sad state of Chicago planning, and cogently tells the stories behind Central Station, Block 37, Millennium Park etc.

ardecila Apr 29, 2013 4:10 PM

Haven't read the book, but I'm obviously familiar with the issues. That said, is it really worthwhile to be planning castles in the sky, new transit lines, huge visionary parks, South Works proposals, etc? I want planners to deal with the immense challenge of reforming land use. Rewriting the zoning code would be a good start, and it would seriously help to place roadblocks in the way of downzoning. How about writing TOD plans for some of our existing rail stations? Not in the weak-sauce New Urbanist way that Arlington Heights and Elmhurst have pursued but a far more active role, with city-led redevelopment and private-sector involvement

I dunno, maybe not. I'll be the first to admit that plenty of great planning ideas are out there with serious transformative potential, and have been ignored because of a lack of even moderate funding and/or political turf wars.

The problem seems to be A) a lack of will to push for new solutions and B) a lot of under-utilized infrastructure that weakens the case for further investment.

Mr Downtown Apr 29, 2013 7:04 PM

But we just rewrote the zoning code in 2004. What we've never done is remapped the city in accordance with a comprehensive plan.

ardecila May 1, 2013 11:00 PM

I guess I meant regionally, but obviously land use in the city needs reform as well.

Increased frequency on Metra lines and upzoning in suburban downtown areas can create a whole new swath of transit-oriented Chicagoland with almost no capital investment by transit agencies.

As I said above, the biggest stumbling blocks are not a lack of funding or a lack of will behind megaprojects but inter-agency disputes and a basic misunderstanding of transit-oriented regional planning. I hate to beat a dead horse here, but why are we planning to spend several billion to extend the Red Line when Metra Electric already has the infrastructure and frequent stop spacing to act as a frequent urban transit line? We forumers all know the answer by now, I think, but those are the problems we need to deal with; not some Burnham-esque lack of soul-stirring planning magic.

denizen467 May 4, 2013 10:38 PM

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/artic...-wilson-l-stop

Greg Hinz on Politics
CTA seeks bidder to rebuild Wilson el station
May 03, 2013

The Chicago Transit Authority today formally sought bidders for what will be one of the largest projects in its history and the most expensive station job ever - the estimated $203 million reconstruction of the Red Line's Wilson Avenue station.

Bids for general contractors are due by mid-June, with the CTA board scheduled to vote in August and work to begin this fall. The CTA wants 25 percent of subcontracting to go to minority- and women-owned firms. Construction is scheduled to take about three years, but the station will be open in the meantime.

One reason the job is estimated to cost so much is that it will allow the elimination of some of the support columns that adjoin the station and make the stretch of Broadway around the station dark and, frankly, dangerous looking.

Another is that the station will rebuilt in such a way as to allow transfers between the Red and Purple lines and to allow the circa 1923 terra cotta facade and clock tower to be restored.

...

Kenmore May 6, 2013 1:59 PM

With Lawrence so close, I kind of wish they just shut down Wilson for a period during construction to trim down that lengthy 3 year construction period.

emathias May 6, 2013 5:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenmore (Post 6117422)
With Lawrence so close, I kind of wish they just shut down Wilson for a period during construction to trim down that lengthy 3 year construction period.

There's a lot of track work involved. My guess is that most of the length of time is because they continue to run trains through the station, not because the trains are stopping in the station.


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