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  #15641  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2021, 10:43 PM
TR Devlin TR Devlin is offline
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
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).
I see what you mean; it's sad.
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  #15642  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2021, 9:52 PM
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I recall there being a lot of backlash from the public that the 2000s rebuild of 55 was not done with 4 lanes at the time. I also recall the toll lane discussions under Rauner, but of course like almost everything else under his term, it fizzled.

I assume the futureproofing is the grassy median in the middle of 55 through the city (between Harlem and Halsted), which appears to have enough room for an additional lane in each direction. East of Halsted, I assume the shoulder will be getting the axe? Or perhaps the 4 lanes will end after the 90/94 spaghetti bowl. There's not a lot of room under those bridges east of that interchange, like Canal/UP railyard, Wentworth, State, etc. It's probably not absolutely necessary to make it 4 lanes to LSD anyway.

I have noticed that when IDOT rebuilt the 1st Ave. interchange over 55 a few years back, they widened the bridge itself to easily accommodate new lanes, so it appears expansion still something that the state is still planning. If its done, I wonder how far out of city limits the 4 lanes would go for. They can probably easily do it up to 294/Mannheim. After that, you are talking about a lot of interchange rebuilding.
The Rauner plan was tentatively a 4th lane from 355 to 90/94, this was futureproofed in the city already - not just the existence of the median but some of the bridge structures have extra width, and through Bridgeport the bridges have all these little nubs to support noise walls that would be legally required in the event of a widening. All you'd need to do is add some steel girders to widen those bridges and infill the median with concrete.

At some point they discussed a 4th lane between 355 and 294, and then two additional lanes between 294 and 90/94 (making that section 10 lanes total). That would have been a much more expensive plan requiring higher tolls or maybe even a big wad of taxpayer money on top of the toll revenue.
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  #15643  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2021, 1:56 AM
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Wow all the way to 355, that would be quite a project, especially since it doesn't seem too long ago that 55 was only 2 lanes west of Weber Rd.

Interesting tidbit about those nubs! I have noticed them and never knew what they were for. Figured they were architectural motifs.

10 lanes total east of 294 seems like overkill and probably an unnecessary cost, at least at this time. I would be very happy with just a 4th tolled lane in each direction along that length.
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  #15644  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2021, 3:23 PM
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Yeah I wouldn't support 4 added toll lanes inside the 294/Tri-State ring. It would overwhelm the other downtown highways with traffic including the brand-new Jane Addams Interchange, and it would supercharge sprawl in western Will County and Kendall, maybe even Grundy. Squeezing 10 lanes thru Bridgeport might require demolition of all the buildings along Archer. Just completely idiotic move. They need to invest in turning Heritage Corridor into a proper Metra line (3rd track, flyovers at junctions, etc).
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  #15645  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2021, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post

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.
I think that is the key part to the statement, the City has done nothing with that. That same mistake continued even with the Green Line rebuild of the Mid 1990's and Cermak branch rebuild of early 2000 where there is a lack of thought from the City about TOD.

However in order to invest the same way for the Metra Electric to increase service and provide much needed station modernization, the same thought to the surrounding neighborhoods will be needed. The same thing can be said for a Brown Line extension to Jefferson Park that appears more justified of a transit investment. If the city doesn't have the follow-through to look at rapid transit expansion as part of a community and economic redevelopment lens then the same results will occur no matter what and where they invest in the infrastructure.

So who is providing the design charrettes to these neighborhoods to talk about the future of these station areas without the fear of that G word...yeah gentrification?
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  #15646  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2021, 10:56 PM
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Yes, which is why I think the city should prioritize things like BRT that are less expensive and better-suited to the density levels that exist today. With the cost of the Red Line extension we could roll out gold-standard BRT on maybe 10 corridors around the city. Too bad every politician in Chicago is too scared to do anything that might inconvenience drivers.

I will note that things like a Brown Line extension might make sense within the context of the existing rail system - that is, the value of a connection from the North Lakefront to O'Hare is enough that the project makes sense even if the new stations don't have huge ridership. The existence of the connection will increase ridership at many stations throughout the network.
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  #15647  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2021, 3:10 AM
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Yeah I wouldn't support 4 added toll lanes inside the 294/Tri-State ring. It would overwhelm the other downtown highways with traffic including the brand-new Jane Addams Interchange, and it would supercharge sprawl in western Will County and Kendall, maybe even Grundy. Squeezing 10 lanes thru Bridgeport might require demolition of all the buildings along Archer. Just completely idiotic move. They need to invest in turning Heritage Corridor into a proper Metra line (3rd track, flyovers at junctions, etc).
You mean running more than 6 trains a day and actually having weekend service?

HC is the saddest line in the Metra system. It would be great if every Metra line could see the level of service we see on the BNSF. Perhaps one day.

Fully agreed on investing more on rail than expressways. 55 definitely needs 4 lanes, but after that it should be set for several decades at the least. Beefed up rail access should be the next priority along that corridor.
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  #15648  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2021, 3:15 AM
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Yes, which is why I think the city should prioritize things like BRT that are less expensive and better-suited to the density levels that exist today. With the cost of the Red Line extension we could roll out gold-standard BRT on maybe 10 corridors around the city. Too bad every politician in Chicago is too scared to do anything that might inconvenience drivers.

I will note that things like a Brown Line extension might make sense within the context of the existing rail system - that is, the value of a connection from the North Lakefront to O'Hare is enough that the project makes sense even if the new stations don't have huge ridership. The existence of the connection will increase ridership at many stations throughout the network.
Same reason why I really dig the Circle Line. Its not the added trackage or the new stations, its about making all the existing lines become greater than the sum of their parts simply by making connections between them that much easier. As you said, the the Brown Line extension (or Circle Line in my case) stations themselves would not be the biggest driver of growth, rather that growth would by systemwide as the CTA would become more competitive in getting people to where they want to go quicker and with less hassle.

Parking is an absolute pain. To be free of having to worry of finding non-existent street parking or having to fork out a fortune to park in a garage is more than enough reason for many/most people to take transit, as long as it wont take an hour to get to where you want to go. Better connections between existing lines is key.
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  #15649  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2021, 5:50 PM
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The Circle Line is tricky and would need to be routed very carefully to be successful. You might get Chicagoans to do a 2-seat rail trip but they will never do a 3-seat trip. That means the Circle Line itself needs to hit major destinations AND have interchanges with the other lines.

Problem is, the existing activity centers aren't always near the interchange points so the city would have to provide lots of rezoning and planning efforts. If the Circle Line meets the Green Line at Ashland/Lake, that means the city needs to lift the PMD restrictions around that area. Right now the center of gravity in Fulton Market is too far east for that to be convenient.
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  #15650  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2021, 2:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
The Circle Line is tricky and would need to be routed very carefully to be successful. You might get Chicagoans to do a 2-seat rail trip but they will never do a 3-seat trip. That means the Circle Line itself needs to hit major destinations AND have interchanges with the other lines.

Problem is, the existing activity centers aren't always near the interchange points so the city would have to provide lots of rezoning and planning efforts. If the Circle Line meets the Green Line at Ashland/Lake, that means the city needs to lift the PMD restrictions around that area. Right now the center of gravity in Fulton Market is too far east for that to be convenient.
I'm not transit planner, but I feel that BRT can provide most of the benefit of a circle line.

For me, what I'd love to see is a Clinton Street Subway and through-running trains through a West Loop Transportation Center

https://www.chicago-l.org/articles/ClintonSubway.html

https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/...hapter4_2a.pdf

...plus high quality BRT on LSD, Ashland and a couple E-W streets. That's my Chicago transit dream. Though obviously making the Red Line be all it can be should be job #1. We are so lucky that so much of our density lies in one long line along the lake. What we need now is to generally improve walkability and bikability and maximize the productivity and efficiency of the Central Area.
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  #15651  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2021, 5:38 PM
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Originally Posted by OrdoSeclorum View Post
I'm not transit planner, but I feel that BRT can provide most of the benefit of a circle line.

For me, what I'd love to see is a Clinton Street Subway and through-running trains through a West Loop Transportation Center

https://www.chicago-l.org/articles/ClintonSubway.html

https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/...hapter4_2a.pdf

...plus high quality BRT on LSD, Ashland and a couple E-W streets. That's my Chicago transit dream. Though obviously making the Red Line be all it can be should be job #1. We are so lucky that so much of our density lies in one long line along the lake. What we need now is to generally improve walkability and bikability and maximize the productivity and efficiency of the Central Area.
I agree to an extent. I think BRT could easily accomplish what a circle line sets to accomplish at a fraction of the price. I would just want to see it done right, and not be a half-ass BRT situation where they have to deal with traffic situations, etc. Not sure we need BRT on LSD though. For folks wanting to get North-South, the Red Line serves that purpose pretty well. Not against it though. I would love to see a new West Loop transportation center. Ogilville is nice, but it just serves Metra, no other service. I don't really use Union Station, so not sure what can be done there. Having a nice shiny new center in the West loop to help tie in different services would be sick.
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  #15652  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2021, 11:08 PM
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Stupid things like the Red Line Extension happen when a city is more focused on "equity" than creating a useful system. The cta could have worked out a deal with Metra and upgraded the M.E Line to cta standards for about 25% the costs of the redline extension. It also would serve way more stations and people. AND it is on the south side, so the equity issue is hit too.

But why spend 75% less when you can say "we extended the line to the far southside, servicing a few thousand people! We did it! We made a plan and stuck with it even though way better plans could have been supported with these billions of dollars."

This is dumb and I'm mad its most likely going to be built. Sure, if we had some massive transit package, this could be a decent project, but of all projects, why is the RLE getting built?
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  #15653  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2021, 11:48 PM
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And thats not even getting into the fact the UP corridor IS NOT the ideal ridership catchment route for frequent heavy rail rapid transit or the laughably incompetent aerial rollercoaster the engineers have designed (forgoing the obvious short tunnel solution) to connect the Dan Ryan row to the UP corridor. The whole thing is a disaster. And this is what passes as the Cta's most eligable shovel ready project?
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  #15654  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2021, 2:31 AM
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I forgot about the Clinton Street Subway. That would be a great additional as well, by tying in the two big suburban Metra stations directly to the CTA. Additionally, we can then split the blue line into two separate lines, the Forest Park and O'Hare lines that both terminate in the new big underground loop. This will allow the CTA to focus higher frequency train service on the busier O'Hare branch without having to do so on the Forest Park branch, or having the trains turn around at UIC-Halsted or the IMD.
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  #15655  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2021, 7:45 PM
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and through Bridgeport the bridges have all these little nubs to support noise walls that would be legally required in the event of a widening.
Sort of a tangent, but can you point me to the law or regs governing the noise wall requirements?
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  #15656  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2021, 8:02 PM
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Viva, it's been a while...
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  #15657  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2021, 7:36 PM
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I forgot about the Clinton Street Subway. That would be a great additional as well, by tying in the two big suburban Metra stations directly to the CTA. Additionally, we can then split the blue line into two separate lines, the Forest Park and O'Hare lines that both terminate in the new big underground loop. This will allow the CTA to focus higher frequency train service on the busier O'Hare branch without having to do so on the Forest Park branch, or having the trains turn around at UIC-Halsted or the IMD.
Is this an actual project under consideration? I had seen the West Loop Transportation Ctr and Clinton subway with a split Blue Line loop in a Central Area Plan but I don't recall seeing any study of it. For example, I don't know how complete this site is, but it at least lists the previously studied Circle idea

https://www.transitchicago.com/planning/
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  #15658  
Old Posted Dec 12, 2021, 5:02 AM
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I think the last time the city was discussing it was the early 00's. I don't think it's something that is being actively talked about currently.

Here is a Crain's article (on chicago-l.org) dated April 2002 on the matter:

https://www.chicago-l.org/articles/ClintonSubway.html
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  #15659  
Old Posted Dec 12, 2021, 8:10 PM
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Sort of a tangent, but can you point me to the law or regs governing the noise wall requirements?
I'm not sure I fully understand the policy, but in general the sponsoring agency must do an analysis of sensitive land uses (residential, schools, parks, etc) and a noise wall is required when there is a certain concentration of those uses along the route. Expansions or new highways would trigger the requirement but resurfacings, reconstruction etc would not. Apparently communities can opt-out of sound walls somehow, because IDOT has put them to a vote along the Eisenhower through Oak Park and along the Kennedy through Norwood/Oriole Park, as well as various IDOT and Tollway projects in the burbs.

They also put the Stevenson sound walls up to a vote in Bridgeport. A few owners screamed loudly about how they were an eyesore, but when it was actually put to a mail-in vote the walls were favored by 78% of voters. The response rate was only 22% so Ald. Thompson called for a 2nd vote... I can't find any info on how the 2nd vote went, but the Managed Lane project essentially died off anyway so it's a moot point for now.

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And thats not even getting into the fact the UP corridor IS NOT the ideal ridership catchment route for frequent heavy rail rapid transit or the laughably incompetent aerial rollercoaster the engineers have designed (forgoing the obvious short tunnel solution) to connect the Dan Ryan row to the UP corridor. The whole thing is a disaster. And this is what passes as the Cta's most eligable shovel ready project?
Wait, you're complaining because you want CTA to spend even more money putting part of the route underground? The current route is sunken below street level and it needs to transition upward to an elevated alignment for the extension, so why would they go even further down with a short tunnel? Tying into the above discussion, CTA will be required to put noise walls along the entire elevated structure.
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Last edited by ardecila; Dec 12, 2021 at 8:27 PM.
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Old Posted Dec 14, 2021, 1:27 AM
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First section of the Red/Purple Line box girder is in place:







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