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  #13661  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2017, 4:14 PM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
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Originally Posted by WrightCONCEPT View Post
Just curious, what factors do you see as reason(s) why this type of TOD zoning has not occurred or developed for the Green Line on the South and even Western Legs on Lake Street from Cicero to maybe California?
Concerns about crime, rent, economic stability largely make it very difficult to finance new construction unless you can get significant Government assistance.

The city has racked up tens of millions of dollars from this new program allowing density bonuses to developers downtown. I think those monies are supposed to go towards supporting commercial real estate and businesses (rightfully so). But I wonder if a mixed use building, particularly one owned by a member of the community as opposed to some north side investors, would qualify? If so you can unlock a lot of money to make the development of 3-5 story apartment buildings with ground level storefronts financially feasible. People often forget that a rental property is as much of a business as any other.
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  #13662  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2017, 5:02 PM
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Question, are there any plans to fully electrify Metro in the near future? I visited a few weeks ago and used the UP-North line a few times and it seemed like it could greatly benefit from it.
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  #13663  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2017, 9:42 PM
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^ You mean the 19th century noise and belching smoke? There are various small and large improvements anticipated across Metra and the city's subway/elevated system in the near and mid term future, but unfortunately that isn't one of them, other than maybe on one of the southeast lines. There are a lot of headwinds against electrification, with local winter weather being one of them.
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  #13664  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2017, 10:34 PM
chicagopcclcar1 chicagopcclcar1 is offline
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
I don't know what CTA is legally obligated to do regarding the stored construction materials. Certainly it would save a LOT of money to re-use them,
Note that I've stayed out of the discussion, but will answer your question about the steel lying on the ground at Calumet Ave. The city asked the federal authorities for permission to use unspent monies from the Dorchester project to tear down the "L" between Cottage Grove and Dorchester. I know the response because I worked as a volunteer in the campaign to save the "L". Mr. Gordon Linton, secretary of transportation, said he never could authorize spending transportation monies to tear down a transportation facility. Turning to the question of monies all ready spent, Mr. Linton said the federal authority would forgive the debt if the new steel was salvaged and saved and was used in future projects. The only use that I know of is, some of the Dorchester steel was used in building a new "L" structure over W. Roosevelt Blvd on the then Douglas Park line.

I'll relent.....when asked about the meaningless petition.....I said...HELL NO!!! If they were truly wanting to get "L" service they should have placed the library in Washington Park where there's PLENTY OF ROOM. The community there, Washington Park, needs the help. But that would make the whole deal bad because there ISN'T A SOLUTION for the PROBLEMS OF minority areas. Its been like that since 1865! And that's "telling it like it is."

Most of you have not been to Woodlawn in how many years??? You don't have a good picture of what Woodlawn is today. I go through there in a daily basis. The only vacant area are the business area along 63rd St. The residential are 75 percent occupied. But as a photographer, my interest is in the "L"....not the surrounding real estate, most of it is owned by U of C.

The July CTA Board Meeting, posted on the CTA Website. You look for it. In the public commentary, the community representative took the board to task for giving the U o C permission to use the Garfield Station....the 1893 one, despite for decades the community asked for the chance to use that building. YES...U of C has land holdings west of Washington Park.

A poster in another forum brought up THE FAMED Rev. Brazier and I responded that I was in on the fight to save 63rd.....I asked him to stop spreading The rumor that Brazier brought the "L" down...."U of C led the fight", I responded. "The others were just mouthpieces."

He responded, "I believe you on the details. The point still remains--the line was shut down, and the people who wanted it gone are just as "powerful" as they ever were. Whoever "they" are, they will prevent the raising of capital, and barring that the spending of any capital raised."

David Harrison
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  #13665  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2017, 10:35 PM
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The winter weather is just another excuse from an "ye-olde-railroading" agency that just has no interest in electrification. They inherited the IC just like the diesel lines and had it not been electric operation Metra would be all diesel right now. The overblown weather concern is just a ruse anyway as it's not as if Chicago is the only ice-prone cold climate with OCS in the world. Not only that there is more than one method of dealing with it from a lead pantograph "scraper" to dropping the voltage which raises the amp resistance if I understand it correctly which heats up the wire and melts ice that can develop.
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  #13666  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 1:23 AM
ChargerCarl ChargerCarl is offline
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yeah the winter weather excuse is bullshit

Anyways, I found the UP-N line really convenient for my needs, and given the density and popularity of the neighborhoods it serves it seems like a prime candidate for upgrades that enable more subway like frequent service.

Seems a shame its not being considered.
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  #13667  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 2:51 AM
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Electrification isn't needed for one train an hour. Stringing wires (at enormous cost) doesn't bring in more taxes, rewrite union contracts, purchase more cars, or run more trains. It's not the first improvement you'd make, it's about the 38th, something you'd do if you had unlimited money or free electric power. The only reason the IC was ever electrified was to lessen the smoke along the lakefront from the locomotives. Five years later, the diesel-electric locomotive was invented, making wires over the tracks pretty pointless.

The first thing to speed up Metra would be to halve headways. That's not huge for everyday commuters who always catch the same run, but for casual users in the region it effective cuts their trip time by half or two-thirds. Shorter signal blocks, cab signals or PTC, third tracks for express trains, high platforms, eliminating grade crossings, higher-speed turnouts, custom gearing ratios, multiple-unit powered cars, step-on crews . . . there's a lot of things any expert would look to do before electrification even came up.
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  #13668  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 3:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Electrification isn't needed for one train an hour. Stringing wires (at enormous cost) doesn't bring in more taxes, rewrite union contracts, purchase more cars, or run more trains. ...
What it would do is allow UP-N and Metra Electric to be tied together and run both at rapid-transit frequencies. I agree, there are plenty of other things that need money first. But being able to tie UP-N and Metra Electric together as a rapid-transit line via a subway under River North would be amazing.

In 1905 or so (I posted a URL to a PDF about it on here a long time ago), some civic group proposed electrifying and then through-routing all the commuter-rail lines via subways under the Loop. Obviously that never happened, but it would have been quite useful today.
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  #13669  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 4:57 PM
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Though published by the City Club, the 1914 through-routing scheme was the work of Bion J. Arnold, a famous transit expert of the day. Over the years, I've posted it several times:



Here's the full report.

But, of course, now we're talking about a half-billion-dollar tunnel—not necessarily electrification. Dual-mode diesel-electric locomotives could run through a tunnel just fine, without needing to string wires over 60 miles of UP-N tracks.

When the Metra Electric overhead needs to be replaced (it's now 92 years old), we'll have a tough decision to make as to whether it's even worth keeping.
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  #13670  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 5:43 PM
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Electrification isn't needed for one train an hour. Stringing wires (at enormous cost) doesn't bring in more taxes, rewrite union contracts, purchase more cars, or run more trains.
My suggestion is that all of those things would be part of a system wide revamp, similar to what Caltrain is doing in the Bay Area.

Electrification, level boarding, frequent service, lower staffing per train, etc

They're all interconnected.
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  #13671  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 7:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ChargerCarl View Post
My suggestion is that all of those things would be part of a system wide revamp, similar to what Caltrain is doing in the Bay Area.

Electrification, level boarding, frequent service, lower staffing per train, etc

They're all interconnected.
Caltrain is one line. Metra is a much, much bigger system.

And Caltrain is nowhere near electrification. It may happen, but is a long ways off.

Yeah, electrification is vastly better, but it would cost megabillions to convert Metra to catenary or third rail.
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  #13672  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 7:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Though published by the City Club, the 1914 through-routing scheme was the work of Bion J. Arnold, a famous transit expert of the day. Over the years, I've posted it several times:



Here's the full report.

But, of course, now we're talking about a half-billion-dollar tunnel—not necessarily electrification. Dual-mode diesel-electric locomotives could run through a tunnel just fine, without needing to string wires over 60 miles of UP-N tracks.

When the Metra Electric overhead needs to be replaced (it's now 92 years old), we'll have a tough decision to make as to whether it's even worth keeping.
The lack of through running is really unfortunate.
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  #13673  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 7:53 PM
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I was wondering if cap and trade carbon credits could be useful for the Metra if those ever came into being in Illinois.

I've seen $13-$20/ton quoted for various markets.

In Germany, diesel passenger train traffic averages 48g/km per passenger, on average. It's probably higher for commuter rail than longer-distance rail but I'll just be conservative and round up to 50 grams.

Say the average Metra rider would us it to go 25 km. There are roughly 72 million non-Electric Metra riders per year. That's about 1.8 billion passenger miles and at 50 grams per passenger mile we'd end up with about 90,000 metric tonnes of CO2. So Metra's train-related credits might be worth between about $1.2 and $1.8 million per year. Not exactly enough to finance conversion to 100% electric, lol!
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  #13674  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2017, 2:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Well, the petition calls for said structures to be harmonized with the design of the Obama Center. Not sure what that means, given that the library looks like a Mayan pyramid, but there you have it.

I don't know what CTA is legally obligated to do regarding the stored construction materials. Certainly it would save a LOT of money to re-use them, even if the end result looks a lot like the original structure that was so hated by Brazier. The foundations are still in the ground, too. Given the realities of city and state funding, I'm not sure CTA can afford not to take every cost savings they can get. On the other hand, I'm not sure what condition those materials are in after sitting through 25 years of Chicago weather...

I've been impressed that CTA partnered with Theaster Gates for the 95th St station, and he is re-imagining the old 55th stationhouse in conjunction with U of C, so there is an attempt to listen and include black voices in the discussion under the Emanuel administration. One of Rahm's favorite things is to impress South Siders with flashy transportation projects.



I doubt it. Green Line north of 63rd is elevated, but runs on a private alignment. It's exactly like all the L structures on the North Side, which don't put a crimp on development. The reasons for disinvestment have nothing to do with the design of transit structures. Woodlawn is already becoming desirable because of its proximity to U of C and spillover from Hyde Park. The L won't push Woodlawn or any other neighborhood over the hump, but it can be an impetus to develop more densely as it unlocks TOD zoning. The redevelopment doesn't have to be all single-family homes.
Does a new project like re-extending the Green Line to Stony Island have to go through CMAP; unless it is being wholly funded locally (the City), with no outside Government help.

To seek State and/or Federal Funding it must be submitted to, and accepted by -- CMAPs' Regional Transportation Plan as a Major Capital Project (there is a lot more involved than a Petition)
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  #13675  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2017, 5:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Though published by the City Club, the 1914 through-routing scheme was the work of Bion J. Arnold, a famous transit expert of the day. Over the years, I've posted it several times:
...

Here's the full report.
...
It's an interesting read. Some of their motivations at the time were similar to ours today, others were different.

Interesting stats: In 1913 165 people died in streetcar accidents!

Page 11 has an illustration of exactly linking UP-N and ME – it illustrates a 40-minute Evanston to Hyde Park trip. Page 17 notes that the proliferation of the automobile is at least partly due to poor “steam service” (what it calls commuter rail service). Page 46 has an impressive cutaway view of New York’s Grand Central Terminal. Page 50 describes subway systems as necessitated by the reluctance of London and Paris to build proper through-routes for their steam railroads. It says of the London Underground, “With its disorder, waning popularity and financial failure, it is a conspicuous example of a colossal and unsatisfactory makeshift in modern urban development.” It contrasts that with Berlin’s push for through-routes. Page 70 has a nice map of Chicago Steam Railroads at the time. Page 89 lays out that the plan to through-route the “Steam Railroads” is a proposal as a better solution than subways – something to do *instead of* building subways.

This little "poem" was early in the report:

Speed is room.
If you ride on the street cars you must live near your work.
If you ride on the “Elevated” lines you can range farther.
If you ride on the steam lines you may choose your home from an area three times greater than if you ride on the “Elevated” lines and seven times greater than if you ride on the street cars.”
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  #13676  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2017, 3:13 AM
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It was an interesting plan, but with no direct connections between the northern/southern and western railroads, it would still not amount to a regional transit system like the RER. To do that, you'd either need to link them differently and create transfer stations, or bring everything to Union Station and build a six-track station there with wide platforms like Paris' Chatelet-Les Halles.

Maybe with those alignments you could create a transfer station in the River West area with connections to all suburban lines, but then it would poorly connect with the surface (streetcar, now bus) and elevated lines.
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  #13677  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2017, 2:49 PM
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^Actually, with as few trains as we run in this region, we could route all the suburban lines through a single Clark (or LaSalle) Street tunnel, just as Philadelphia or Munich did.
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  #13678  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2017, 3:43 PM
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^Actually, with as few trains as we run in this region, we could route all the suburban lines through a single Clark (or LaSalle) Street tunnel, just as Philadelphia or Munich did.
Chicago would absolutely benefit with a setup like Philly's Market East/Jefferson or Suburban Station.
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  #13679  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2017, 9:56 PM
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Chicago would absolutely benefit with a setup like Philly's Market East/Jefferson or Suburban Station.
Does anyone have an estimate of the COST of any of these things (especially since both the City and the State are role-playing "Titanic" in full IMAX)!!
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  #13680  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2017, 10:16 PM
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^Actually, with as few trains as we run in this region, we could route all the suburban lines through a single Clark (or LaSalle) Street tunnel, just as Philadelphia or Munich did.
Yeah, we can create throughroutes along Canal without too much trouble, so one under Clark might be workable. Or we could through-route on the east side where Metra Electric goes. Ideally that would go up through streeterville and then west under Chicago or NOrth, but really if you wanted to keep things cheap you could totally just go along Carroll Street and then have one tunnel under the river and connect to one (or even two) of the many Metra lines that join and cross right there in the Fulton area. That would still be expensive, but less than tunneling under the Loop. If that happened, then pushing for an EW subway through the heart of the Loop to link those two lines (a la the 1968 plan) would be more justifiable.

I would think that using Canal and the ME alignment to create two through-route corridors could be done for maybe $2 billion. Maybe less, even. And then if you made some of the lines run at least every 20 minutes from 6am to 11pm every day, added a few infill stations in the City, you'd practically double the amount of metro-style "rapid transit" available in Chicago. It'd become much more like the RER in Paris. $2 billion is a lot of money, but to effectively double your system it seems like a bargain.

Something like this grotesque stab:
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