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  #10001  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2013, 4:06 PM
Justin_Chicago Justin_Chicago is offline
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I wish Chicago had 4 track subways like NYC for the flexibility to run multiple lines or express service. I always see people mention the Carroll Street Transitway. Is there a "Ghost Subway" map of Chicago, similiar to the following link on NYC? I agree with Beta_Magellan that the Blue Line does not have capacity for a high speed connection to O'Hare.

http://transportationnation.org/2012...nd-dusty-pics/
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  #10002  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2013, 4:21 PM
k1052 k1052 is offline
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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
Among the non-quick-non-cheap-but-partially-already-prepped options, the Blue Line tunnels do have a stub headed west under Lake Street. If there was interest that could be used as a portal to get trains to/from Block 37 to what you're calling "steam road trackage" ROW. The narrowness of the tunnels would limit your options somewhat, but it would only have to get past one station so there could be creative solutions although keeping the trains compatible with all stations would likely be a preferred option of course.
I think this is another workable but over-engineered solution with an equally enormous potential cost. I would really prefer that the CTA not shovel more cash into the money incinerator that is the B37 airport express. The city has far more pressing transit needs. Airport express service can be accomplished FAR more inexpensively done out of Union Station and could be implemented almost immediately rather than 10 years from now. If we're going to spend hundreds of millions on something I think improving Union Station's connections and facilities is a more productive goal.
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  #10003  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2013, 6:23 PM
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Originally Posted by k1052 View Post
I think this is another workable but over-engineered solution with an equally enormous potential cost. I would really prefer that the CTA not shovel more cash into the money incinerator that is the B37 airport express. The city has far more pressing transit needs. Airport express service can be accomplished FAR more inexpensively done out of Union Station and could be implemented almost immediately rather than 10 years from now. If we're going to spend hundreds of millions on something I think improving Union Station's connections and facilities is a more productive goal.
Agreed. Plus integrating a rehabbed Union Station that linked up with a rehabbed Old Post Office/Casino development and eventually a new Clinton Subway and bus terminal could also be done to make that corner of downtown a well integrated transit and tourist epicenter.

Attempting to force Dearborn as the focal point of express service downtown despite the impracticalities of it just reeks to me of civic stubbornness. Why be worried about the center of gravity being pulled from Dearborn by a few blocks? Are civil leaders still going to fret and spit in the wind over N.Michigan Ave. hoteliers and retailers pulling away from S.Michigan and State Streets heyday respectively?

Heck Paddington Station is a good deal more removed from London CBD then Union/Olgivie are and I don't think anyone sees that as a major hindrance.
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  #10004  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2013, 6:29 PM
DCCliff DCCliff is offline
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..."I think improving Union Station's connections and facilities is a more productive goal."

A big fat AMEN to that. I wish more public and private people thought that way - - or could find a commercial incentive to make it true. Mr. D: Dearborn centrism (although I don't agree with it) would be no problem if the stations worked seamlessly with the rest of the CBD. Fat chance.
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  #10005  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2013, 6:48 PM
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Originally Posted by DCCliff View Post
..."I think improving Union Station's connections and facilities is a more productive goal."

A big fat AMEN to that. I wish more public and private people thought that way - - or could find a commercial incentive to make it true. Mr. D: Dearborn centrism (although I don't agree with it) would be no problem if the stations worked seamlessly with the rest of the CBD. Fat chance.
^ The benefit of this makes so much frigging sense that I actually have come to the conclusion that there is a very powerful & clouty force out there actively trying to not allow this to happen.
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  #10006  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2013, 8:32 PM
emathias emathias is offline
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^ The benefit of this makes so much frigging sense that I actually have come to the conclusion that there is a very powerful & clouty force out there actively trying to not allow this to happen.
I believe the force that stands between present state and best state is called "Amtrak" and "billions of dollars in cost." The bigger obstacle of the two being the latter.
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  #10007  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2013, 9:40 PM
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It’s worth noting that any O’Hare-CUS service not designed by a madman would terminate at the north platforms, which don’t have the congestion issues of the south ones. There might be some Metra-Amtrak turf war going on in terms of platform space (and, in Metra’s case, deadheading to a yard or adding reverse service rather than storing a train at the platform), but once you get past that it’s incredibly easy to fit more service into cus’s north platforms.

This is also born out by CMAP’s big list of projects. Although AFAIK the links and big pdf full of potential projects has been taken down, it said that upgrading the Southwest Service to full service levels (i. e. comparable to other Metra lines in terms of frequency) would require rerouting it to LaSalle Street station. A similar upgrade to the North Central Service wouldn’t require anything—essentially there’s enough room there for a third line with Milwaukee District frequencies.
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  #10008  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 12:47 AM
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The problem with letting the office core continue to migrate westward is that it renders irrelevant the existing rapid transit facilities, as well as Millennium Station. It's a huge waste of resources, plus there are social justice issues of making office jobs easier for west and north suburbanites to reach, but harder for city and south suburban residents.

London offices are already widely distributed, plus Paddington has easy Underground connections to the City and Westminster.
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  #10009  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 1:42 AM
emathias emathias is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
The problem with letting the office core continue to migrate westward is that it renders irrelevant the existing rapid transit facilities, as well as Millennium Station. It's a huge waste of resources, plus there are social justice issues of making office jobs easier for west and north suburbanites to reach, but harder for city and south suburban residents.

London offices are already widely distributed, plus Paddington has easy Underground connections to the City and Westminster.
Clinton Street subway would be win-win. As would have the Central Area subway plan from 1968 - still the best plan for downtown, despite the fact everyone seems to have given up on it.
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  #10010  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 2:06 AM
Rizzo Rizzo is offline
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I mentioned this in the General Chi thread but wanted to keep this in the proper forum section. Here's my pipe dream 'people mover' geared towards tourists.

I created this on my lunch break and had drank a bit too much caffeine so humor me on this. I realize it's hardly resolved I can't explain much to it. Just quickly illustrated my thoughts in 40 minutes.

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  #10011  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 2:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
The problem with letting the office core continue to migrate westward is that it renders irrelevant the existing rapid transit facilities, as well as Millennium Station. It's a huge waste of resources, plus there are social justice issues of making office jobs easier for west and north suburbanites to reach, but harder for city and south suburban residents.

London offices are already widely distributed, plus Paddington has easy Underground connections to the City and Westminster.
^ Wouldn't this be easily remedied by some form of transit connection between the east/west Loops? Something akin to the shuttle that connects Grand Central and Times Square in Manhattan comes to mind
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  #10012  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 4:30 AM
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^An expensive solution to a problem that need not arise in the first place.
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  #10013  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 4:53 AM
emathias emathias is offline
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^An expensive solution to a problem that need not arise in the first place.
You seem to think that the Central Area won't continue being built out. Regardless of where the center of mass for offices are, there will be (already is, really) a need to get people quickly and easily from the West Loop to the East Loop, North Michigan and the South Loop. Currently, all those trips are less than ideal, and forcing transit to stick to the middle just means the edges (the growth areas) lose out on good transit service. The solution isn't to try and force growth to only occur in the middle, it's to plan for and accommodate future growth. The 1968 plan correctly predicted Central Area growth in exactly the places it has occurred, it just didn't build the infrastructure to support that. Not building infrastructure is a dangerous way to try and constrain activity to certain areas.
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  #10014  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 5:09 AM
emathias emathias is offline
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Originally Posted by Hayward View Post
I mentioned this in the General Chi thread but wanted to keep this in the proper forum section. Here's my pipe dream 'people mover' geared towards tourists.

I created this on my lunch break and had drank a bit too much caffeine so humor me on this. I realize it's hardly resolved I can't explain much to it. Just quickly illustrated my thoughts in 40 minutes.

...
I would also like to see bus-only lanes built under Michigan between LSD and Grand, and under Chicago between Orleans and Fairbanks. Doing those two things would do wonders for both transit and auto circulation in those areas. Since I'm living in Cambridge at the moment, one interesting difference between the way Boston does their bus system and Chicago does, is that Boston runs buses through certain congested areas underground - Harvard Square for example, doesn't just have a subway stop, it also has a half dozen bus lines that travel under the Square instead of through it on surface streets. That allows the vehicular traffic to be much more reasonable. And of course portions of their Silver Line BRT runs underground, too.

There are really only a few places in Chicago where that's a no-brainer, but I think North Michigan and Chicago Ave is one of them. Other than cost, the only disadvantage doing that I can think of is the Chicago Red Line station would have to be reconfigured because buses would need to go through where the mezzanine is now. If you wanted to really think long-term on how River North and River West are likely to develop, a bus subway from just east of the Blue Line to Fairbanks or even under Fairbanks/Grand all the way to Navy Pier might be the best long-term solution.

Other places that might benefit from underground busways include Monroe in the Loop, LaSalle between Kinzie and Congress, the Belmont and LSD area - maybe as far west as Racine, and possibly some places in Hyde Park and/or South Shore and the Damen/North/Milwaukee intersection and even the Polish Triangle (would tie into the BRT line on Ashland well, too).
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  #10015  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 6:15 AM
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What kind of headways are we looking for out of a airport express line? If it's any greater than 15 or 20 minutes, it cancels out the time savings over taking a cab or taking the Blue Line.

However, a commuter railroad operating with 15-minute headways is new and unfamiliar to Chicago. It also might require more infrastructure than you think, in terms of junctions and overtakes. Many of the junctions along the route are not grade-separated.

It would royally screw up the massive A2 Interlocking at Western Ave, for example. I guess you could avoid this somewhat by sending the airport trains to Ogilvie, where airport-bound pax would find a more spacious, welcoming terminal. Pacific Junction has a tight, slow turn. The curve at Galewood is pretty sharp, too. From Narragansett westward, there are plenty of busy grade crossings where the increase in downtime would produce serious congestion.
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Last edited by ardecila; Feb 21, 2013 at 6:26 AM.
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  #10016  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 7:06 AM
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In more optimistic news:

Central Loop BRT designs have been released! Union Station Transportation Center is surprisingly elegant despite shitty renderings (they must still be in schematic design).

http://www.brtchicago.com/pressrelease2.html

Washington (Madison is same, sans bike lane)



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  #10017  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 7:34 AM
Rizzo Rizzo is offline
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I'm liking the design direction on that station
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  #10018  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 1:41 PM
Justin_Chicago Justin_Chicago is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emathias View Post
You seem to think that the Central Area won't continue being built out. Regardless of where the center of mass for offices are, there will be (already is, really) a need to get people quickly and easily from the West Loop to the East Loop, North Michigan and the South Loop. Currently, all those trips are less than ideal, and forcing transit to stick to the middle just means the edges (the growth areas) lose out on good transit service. The solution isn't to try and force growth to only occur in the middle, it's to plan for and accommodate future growth. The 1968 plan correctly predicted Central Area growth in exactly the places it has occurred, it just didn't build the infrastructure to support that. Not building infrastructure is a dangerous way to try and constrain activity to certain areas.
I agree with both of you. I would like to see future office construction split equally between the CBD (still many parking garages) and the West Loop, but we need to implement a long-term solution for East-West transfers. The CBD BRT is great in the interim, but I am hoping for a new subway line within three decades, especially once Lakeshore East is fully built out.

I was always intrigued with the plan to bury the elevated loop. It would certainly ease connections between all of the lines.

On another note, I am surprised no developer proposed adding a second office tower to Block 37. You have the blue and red line directly underneath the building. A hotel development does not make much sense to me.
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  #10019  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 1:44 PM
the urban politician the urban politician is online now
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
^An expensive solution to a problem that need not arise in the first place.
^ More expensive than actively trying to halt the natural, market-driven migration of new office towers in the direction of transportation access?

I think that's a cop-out. If Chicago had the political will, they could have connected the east-west portions of downtown by a transit line of some sort a LONG, LONG time ago.
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  #10020  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 1:54 PM
the urban politician the urban politician is online now
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
In more optimistic news:

Central Loop BRT designs have been released! Union Station Transportation Center is surprisingly elegant despite shitty renderings (they must still be in schematic design).

http://www.brtchicago.com/pressrelease2.html
^ This is a great project, and speaks exactly to what I was discussing in the post just above this.

I am having a hard time finding renderings/schematics of the portion of this route that connects to N Michigan Ave and Navy Pier? Have they decided which route they will take to and from those destinations?

Also, I actually think that a route like this, once implemented and implemented successfully, has a chance of growing and spreading throughout the central area once people see its advantages.

The only piece of the puzzle that is missing is some sort of fare integration between CTA and Metra. Imagine coming in from Libertyville, IL ( ) by Metra, for example, and without having to pay extra, seamlessly transferring to this BRT line and being dropped off at N. Michigan Avenue for shopping and dining, etc. Then, at the end of the day, doing the reverse and heading back home. That would attract a HUGE number of suburbanites who otherwise wouldn't even think about using transit to go downtown other than their work commute.
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