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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

the urban politician May 20, 2013 3:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6134464)
Don't forget the Wilson rebuild or the 95th rebuild. Both are massive, hundred-million-dollar projects.

:rolleyes: How could anybody forget that?

the urban politician May 20, 2013 3:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bronxwood (Post 6134473)
Considering its proximity to the loop and excellent transit access, I'm in shock as to why Chicago fails to see the opportunity. Chicago could easily triple the size of its core and become a much more dynamic, healthier and competitive city.

^ Wow, really? Thanks, nobody in Chicago realized any of this... :uhh:

ardecila May 20, 2013 10:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 6134648)
:rolleyes: How could anybody forget that?

The dude specifically asked if he was forgetting any major CTA rail projects. I pointed out two big ones that he failed to mention.

I mean, all this stuff is displayed pretty prominently on CTA's website and Rahm's been really overzealous about building hype, so I assume the OP is not a Chicagoan.

k1052 May 20, 2013 11:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bronxwood (Post 6134473)
It's a shame this isn't being pursued. I've been observing Chicago from above on google maps, and I've always thought the growth of downtown towards the west was a no-brainer. There's the University of Illinois, Malcolm X College, the united center, etc. and Commuter rail/two CTA lines that service the area for crying out loud! The surface lots, around the united center, scream "Hudson Yards".

The same applies for the areas of the south side nearest to downtown. Much of the building stock in this area is still phenomenal (what's left of it), there's beautiful historic town homes, small apartment buildnigs and highrises. The areas between the University of Chicago and the Loop can and should be connected with proper infill on the empty lots. Considering its proximity to the loop and excellent transit access, I'm in shock as to why Chicago fails to see the opportunity. Chicago could easily triple the size of its core and become a much more dynamic, healthier and competitive city.

It's not a lack of vision rather a lack of demand due to the housing crash and economic downturn. Things have sprung back in the last couple years and the market for small condo developments is heating up quite a bit recently due to a lack of inventory (few new builds and many underwater condo owners renting out since there is good money to be made now). More infill, hopefully more TOD, is definitely on the docket.

Bronxwood May 21, 2013 12:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 6135144)
It's not a lack of vision rather a lack of demand due to the housing crash and economic downturn. Things have sprung back in the last couple years and the market for small condo developments is heating up quite a bit recently due to a lack of inventory (few new builds and many underwater condo owners renting out since there is good money to be made now). More infill, hopefully more TOD, is definitely on the docket.

Thank you for not taking my observations the wrong way. I'm not really aware with Chicago's development so forgive me for my ignorance. Upon closer inspection I do notice some good changes taking shape. Some old public housing projects are being replaced with new town homes/apartment buildings that better integrate with the neighborhood. Already a good step in the right direction! I particularly like some examples seen near Ellis park on the south side. Although some ground floor retail, along the major streets, wouldn't hurt.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=chica...,,0,-4.62&z=16

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=chica...,,0,-4.55&z=16

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=chica...8,,0,-7.1&z=16

Philadelphia currently offers incentives for new housing development and rehabilitation via its 10 year tax abatement program. This program has helped rehabilitate neighborhoods in and around center city, including some pockets of north Philadelphia. Perhaps Chicago can offer something similar to speed up the process if it hasn't already done so.

the urban politician May 21, 2013 12:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6135122)
The dude specifically asked if he was forgetting any major CTA rail projects. I pointed out two big ones that he failed to mention.

^ I think you misinterpreted my rolling eyes.

I was rolling eyes at the cost of rebuilding stations (hence I bolded it), not your statement.

ardecila May 21, 2013 3:51 AM

Of course, the high cost is a big problem. I'm glad the Wilson issue is finally being addressed, though. Given the potential high density of Uptown, the need to remove support columns, and the historic Gerber Building, I think the big investment is somewhat reasonable.

95th seems like it's less justified, mainly because the project appeared out of nowhere as a political sop to South Siders who won't be getting their Red Line extension anytime soon. If this were the end of it, and Rahm was honest about the switch, then maybe we could shelve the extension plan for good (the 95th project will solve all the immediate issues) but instead politicians will keep pushing for the extension in the future and it will distract attention from more worthy projects at the core.

Justin_Chicago May 21, 2013 1:00 PM

My hope for the extension of the subway north under the redline/purpleline modernization plan was destroyed after the announcement of the Wilson Ave reconstruction project

I do not understand why the city would waste $100M+ on a Sherdian redline reconstruction project when the modernization plan proposes straightening the track at that stop. However, I am under the belief that the project will get funded within 5 years. If I am wrong, then the project is justified. I would like to see the suburban Walgreens get purchased under eminent domain. Most of the foot traffic is people walking across the parking lot as a shortcut to the sidewalk on Irving Park.

k1052 May 21, 2013 1:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6135428)
If this were the end of it, and Rahm was honest about the switch, then maybe we could shelve the extension plan for good (the 95th project will solve all the immediate issues) but instead politicians will keep pushing for the extension in the future and it will distract attention from more worthy projects at the core.

They surely understand at this point that the extension is a longshot and are getting two (or three if you count the extensive work done to the Green line recently) major projects that will greatly reduce travel time. So in a couple years when other major initiatives that focus on high ridership corridors (northside), downtown, and more infill stations in gentrifing areas there will be a minimal of political squealing from the south side since they just got theirs.

I would like to see Rahm start leaning on Metra to improve it's city services.

ehilton44 May 21, 2013 2:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin_Chicago (Post 6135667)
My hope for the extension of the subway north under the redline/purpleline modernization plan was destroyed after the announcement of the Wilson Ave reconstruction project

I do not understand why the city would waste $100M+ on a Sherdian redline reconstruction project when the modernization plan proposes straightening the track at that stop. However, I am under the belief that the project will get funded within 5 years. If I am wrong, then the project is justified. I would like to see the suburban Walgreens get purchased under eminent domain. Most of the foot traffic is people walking across the parking lot as a shortcut to the sidewalk on Irving Park.

I feel ya on the subway. That would've been great.

I haven't heard of any plans for Sheridan, it's just basic rehab, right? Even if the reconstruction is only 5 years away, that station needs a lot of work. It'll be worth it.

What route do you imagine the el taking? If it went through the walgreens then it would have to turn down Irving Park and then make a very tight turn back to the current tracks at Seminary. This is actually more of a general question, does anybody know how they currently plan on straightening out the track at Sheridan/Irving Park?

emathias May 21, 2013 2:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6135428)
...
95th seems like it's less justified, mainly because the project appeared out of nowhere as a political sop to South Siders who won't be getting their Red Line extension anytime soon. ...

I would guess that the 95th station reconstruction came up when they realized that the dramatic decrease in travel times on the Red Line would (hopefully) dramatically increase the ridership of the south Red Line. A portion of the ridership decline might be due to population decline, however much of the North Side did not gain population nearly as quickly as ridership rose - the ridership gains were largely driven by changes in mindset and demographics, and not raw population increases. Therefore it's reasonable to project that a dramatic increase in service quality will result in an increase in utilization even with the population loss. Standards for providing a high level of service in 2012 are different from when the Dan Ryan branch was first constructed, so if they're planning on dramatic ridership gains in the next few years, it's not illogical to reconstruct the station that at one time accounted for over 25% of the branch ridership.

If the Dan Ryan branch in general and 95th St station specifically "caught up" to the rest of the system in terms of ridership growth, 95th could end up with three times its current ridership numbers in as little as a decade. I don't know about you, but I think that warrants making sure the infrastructure can handle it.

Some supporting facts:
NOTE: Sources include online ridership reports for 2000-2012 numbers and paper report "Rail System Weekday Entering Traffic Trends, PSP-x01013, published 9/16/01 (supercedes PSP-x99021)", plus some tables from an unnamed report for the 1978-1980 numbers

95th St Station annual ridership:
2000___4.4 million annual riders
2012___3.9 million annual riders (-11.4% ridership decline)

95th St Station weekday ridership:
1980___26,450 daily ridership
1990___23,450 daily ridership
2000___13,508 daily ridership
2012___12,705 daily ridership (-6% decline since 2000; -52% decline since 1980)
NOTE: By comparison, Wilson only had 6,500 riders per weekday in 2012, and only had 3,700 riders per November weekday in 1978. If anything, 95th deserves the rebuild far more than Wilson does going strictly off the numbers.

Dan Ryan Branch annual ridership:
2000___16.5 million riders
2012___16.7 million riders (1.2% ridership increase)
NOTE: Ridership gains from 47th St station and north have offset declines or stagnation for stations south of there.

Red Line totals:
2000___61 million riders
2012___83.5 million riders (36.9% ridership increase)
NOTE: 50.1% increase for the non-Dan Ryan portion of the Red Line

CTA 'L' system totals:
2000___147 million annual riders
2012___231 million annual riders (57% ridership increase)
1978___558,250 weekday riders in November
2000___499,173 weekday riders in November
2012___725,355 weekday riders in November (45.3% increase from 2000; 118% increase from 1978)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin_Chicago (Post 6135667)
My hope for the extension of the subway north under the redline/purpleline modernization plan was destroyed after the announcement of the Wilson Ave reconstruction project
...

It was removed from the alternatives analysis list before they announced funding for the Wilson Rehab. I was disappointed it wasn't considered, too, though. A subway there would have solved a number of problems and been faster to Howard from Belmont than the current Purple Express is, and probably been less expensive to maintain (although more expensive to build).

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 6135668)
They surely understand at this point that the extension is a longshot and are getting two (or three if you count the extensive work done to the Green line recently) major projects that will greatly reduce travel time. So in a couple years when other major initiatives that focus on high ridership corridors (northside), downtown, and more infill stations in gentrifing areas there will be a minimal of political squealing from the south side since they just got theirs.

I would like to see Rahm start leaning on Metra to improve it's city services.

I agree on both points, particularly your last one.

I also wish the RTA would begin considering electrification of at least the UP routes.

the urban politician May 21, 2013 3:41 PM

Thanks for putting together that data, Emathias.

I'm quite impressed by the last figures. CTA L ridership has steadily risen over the past 3 decades, but simply exploded from 2000-2012 despite the city's population loss. One could partly attribute the gains from 1978-2000 to the opening of the Orange Line, but that doesn't explain the massive increases from 2000-2012.

In addition, besides the central area, very little of the city saw much of an increase in density despite the ridiculous condo and rental boom that we saw (and are still seeing) due to the drop in household sizes, etc which has been discussed at length before.

Not only that, but this has occurred despite increased gentrification and car ownership throughout the city.

So what gives? Is this growth all occurring at the expense of bus ridership, or is there some other process (paradigm shift, etc) at work?

Busy Bee May 21, 2013 4:17 PM

It's hinky.

emathias May 21, 2013 4:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 6135798)
...
So what gives? Is this growth all occurring at the expense of bus ridership, or is there some other process (paradigm shift, etc) at work?

It would appear that some of that is at the expense of bus ridership, especially prior to 2000. Since 2000, however, both bus and 'L' ridership have grown, albeit 'L' ridership has grown more quickly. The structural funding issues that started in the late 1970s and persisted until the mid-1990s hit both 'L' and bus service - and thus ridership - very hard.

There is definitely a paradigm shift when it comes to attitudes about public transit, though. The CTA today is far better than it was when I first came to Chicago in 1995. The bus service is somewhat less pervasive, but the 'L' service is overall improved despite the elimination of A-B stops so that travel times are somewhat longer for certain routes. Bus condition is far better - riding a bus now is a much more pleasant experience than it was in 1995. Coupled with the rebuilding of stations on the Green, Pink and Brown Lines, extensive track work on the Blue and Pink Lines, re-opening of some shuttered stations and making all stations full-time (instead of having part-time stations), and extension of the Brown Line to the Loop on weekends and later into the nights has made the service level better, particularly in the neighborhoods that have benefited most from gentrification.

Overall ridership for the CTA is still a long way off the peaks due to the crash of bus ridership, but growing the 'L' ridership purely at the expense of bus ridership seems to have finally stopped so hopefully as we move forward they can both grow together.

From this table ('rail' means 'L'):
1990
420 million bus riders
174 million rail riders
604 million TOTAL

1993 - the nadir of 'L' ridership - during Green Line shutdown for reconstruction
327 million bus riders
136 million rail riders
463 million TOTAL

1997 - the nadir of both bus and overall ridership for the CTA
288 million bus riders
151 million rail riders
439 million TOTAL

2000
302 million bus riders
176 million rail riders
479 million TOTAL

2012
314 million bus riders
231 million rail riders - record number for 'L' ridership, breaking a 1928 record
545 million TOTAL

Other interesting stats - for average weekday ridership:
1960___594,000 daily rail riders
1965___575,000 daily rail riders
1970___566,000 daily rail riders
1975___527,000 daily rail riders
1980___575,000 daily rail riders
1985___588,000 daily rail riders
1990___500,000 daily rail riders
1995___420,000 daily rail riders
2000___465,000 daily rail riders
2005___517,944 daily rail riders
2010___649,440 daily rail riders
2012___703.326 daily rail riders

ehilton44 May 21, 2013 4:52 PM

Wow, what happened between 1990-1995 to bus transit? Looking at it as a line chart over time really puts the decline into context -- most of it (from a pure numbers stand point) happened on the bus side.

From a percentage stand point, rail has really pushed the resurgence in CTA ridership. I wonder if BRT will help bring bus ridership back to its peak.

emathias May 21, 2013 5:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ehilton44 (Post 6135893)
Wow, what happened between 1990-1995 to bus transit? Looking at it as a line chart over time really puts the decline into context -- most of it (from a pure numbers stand point) happened on the bus side.

From a percentage stand point, rail has really pushed the resurgence in CTA ridership. I wonder if BRT will help bring bus ridership back to its peak.

The CTA was bleeding money badly - the rise of the automobile and the population loss in the central city, coupled with big moves of jobs from the Loop to the suburbs and collapse of the steel industry was finally catching up with the CTA's service levels and patterns. A consultant was engaged to recommend solutions, and the solution the CTA went with was to eliminate a number of bus routes and greatly cut back service as well. It also eliminated 24-hour service on all but the Red and Blue 'L' lines, but that was proportionally much less damaging to ridership than elimination in bus lines and bus service levels. Crime was also much more of a concern during those years, which discouraged people from riding public transit and impacts bus ridership more because while 'L' stations can be a bit scary, too, often times bus stops are more exposed with even less security.

Finally, inflation in the early 1980s had caused fares to increase dramatically - one year the CTA actually had to increase fares twice in a single year. It took until the mid-1990s for fares to stabilize. Increasing fares at a steady rate that correlates to inflation doesn't hurt ridership too much, but the dramatic fares changes seen before about 1995 hammered ridership, especially bus ridership because buses serve more of the working class and lower-middle class neighborhoods. This happened not just because of inflation, but also due to increases in fuel costs and the elimination of federal operating subsidies. The low fuel prices of the late 1990s were just one thing that helped give the CTA a bit of breathing room to stabilize their budget.

Rizzo May 21, 2013 5:04 PM

I expect some drops in bus ridership due to large population decline in areas that aren't as well served by rail. However, even CTA stops in some of the areas, especially along the green line have experienced tremendous drops but got a huge offset boost by gentrification in North and NW neighborhoods. Remember the above numbers are totals.

VivaLFuego May 21, 2013 5:33 PM

As implied above, 95th station, and the Dan Ryan branch in general, peaked in ridership around the late 70s/early 80s. Demand on the branch was then much more oriented around peak commuters, with the NB peak-hour AM passenger flow from the Dan Ryan the highest in the system (slightly higher than SB through the State Subway on what is now the Red Line), and the many bus routes feeding into 95th accordingly ran at incredibly high weekday rush period frequencies.

At quick glance, emathias' 2000 system ridership figure appears to be the turnstile count rather than total boardings (inclusive of within-station transfers), whereas the 2012 figure is daily boardings. The comparable 2000 figure would roughly be about 590k rail system boardings per average weekday, which is still indicative of a prolonged period of growth in the 2000s.

The 1978 figure looks way off, though --- the old reports I have show a daily turnstile count of over 550k, which actually was the highest annual average in that era. Since there were fewer enclosed transfer points then, the daily boardings total was probably [roughly speaking] in the 600-625k range... though, that was before construction of the 8-mile O'Hare extension and the 9-mile Orange Line, so it was a smaller system.

The years 1977-1985 were very good for CTA ridership between (1) the oil shocks, (2) the lack of any EPA mileage standards for cars before model year 1978, (3) generally declining/stagnant real earnings among the middle & working classes due to high inflation, (4) the 1973 RTA Act providing for very low transit fares, especially in real terms [see #3], and (5) restrictions on Loop parking supply due to non-attainment of federal air quality standards. As of each of those eased/reversed throughout the 1980s, it was a steady downhill for ridership before bottoming out in the early to mid 90s.

ehilton44 May 21, 2013 6:37 PM

Thanks, emathias for both the commentary and the numbers. I was wondering if there was some "spiraling" where there was a decrease in ridership which lead to a decrease in service which lead to an even larger decrease in ridership, etc.

Justin_Chicago May 21, 2013 7:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ehilton44 (Post 6135704)
What route do you imagine the el taking? If it went through the walgreens then it would have to turn down Irving Park and then make a very tight turn back to the current tracks at Seminary. This is actually more of a general question, does anybody know how they currently plan on straightening out the track at Sheridan/Irving Park?

I am not sure what the current plan is, but I picture a straight diagonal line from the walgreens/pet store to the cemetary. Personally, I think it would make more sense to extend the subway to Sheridan and turn the redline into an elevated track at Wilson. This should dramatically increase land values in Lincoln Park and Lakeview.


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