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Old Posted Dec 1, 2021, 5:45 PM
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ardecila ardecila is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: the city o'wind
Posts: 15,766
Originally Posted by glowrock View Post
I'm not against major road improvements either, as long as they're targeted in specific areas (ie: Eisenhower in the 4 lane to 3 lane choke point region, that kind of thing.)
On balance I'm in favor of the Eisenhower project because of the CTA rebuild, the regional bike trail, the potential for a much better pedestrian experience around the rebuilt overpasses, and the "rough-in" for a future CTA extension.

However, the danger with this kind of thinking is induced demand. Many of the folks who take Metra or CTA right now because the Eisenhower is so congested will switch back to driving once the highway is widened. And with higher traffic volumes getting pumped through, then other sections of the expressway system become the new bottleneck. And so on and so forth forever. I guarantee the day the Eisenhower project is finished is the day IDOT will start looking at widening the Stevenson and the Kennedy.

Lake Shore Drive could be a good model here if they select the bus lane option - the rebuilt highway would actually be narrower than before (6 lanes instead of 8), but with a vastly increased transit capacity and a ton of additional park space built around the new highway.

Originally Posted by TR Devlin View Post
Two answers to your question as to why Chicago should spend more money on mass transit:

1. Chicago has one of the most efficient mass transit systems in the country.

2. Investments in mass transit support greater urban density, higher economic growth, more employment, higher wage increases and higher property values.
CTA should be commended for operating its system in a cost-effective manner. This is mostly about the history of CTA and the TWU, and the fact that the CTA successfully fought off wasteful work rules. Other transit systems have done this as well, but Chicago is the only place where labor costs are reasonable AND ridership is strong so it makes the cost per passenger-mile very favorable.

I'm not convinced that the kind of transit investments we make in US cities really do support the economy the way you suggest. That's certainly a possible outcome, but US cities go about it all wrong. CTA will spend huge amounts of money to extend the Red Line through Roseland and West Pullman. There is very little planning from the city about how the neighborhood should develop around the new L stations, and CTA is even squandering the best development sites on park-and-ride lots.

We don't have to imagine what this looks like, just ride the Orange Line and look at the area around any of the stations (especially Pulaski or 35th). CTA airdropped stations into neighborhoods that did not grow up around rapid transit, and the city did nothing to foster redevelopment in those areas. The stations are huge and hostile to pedestrians, since they prioritize bus transfers and park/rides only. The surrounding neighborhoods are low density and suburban. Thank god there was at least a major airport at one end. Now the city and CTA is poised to repeat all the same mistakes.
la forme d'une ville change plus vite, hélas! que le coeur d'un mortel...

Last edited by ardecila; Dec 1, 2021 at 6:20 PM.
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