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  #5541  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2009, 3:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
Its because its a lame mall in a grand space with no active rail activity. If that isn't a shame, I don't know what is.
^ It's a historic building that has found active reuse. Let's get a sense of perspective, if you want to see a real shame, look no further than this:

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  #5542  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2009, 5:57 PM
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Of course, if the West Loop Transportation Center is ever built, the west alcove of the Great Hall will probably be turned into an escalator bank down to the Clinton concourse, and the Great Hall itself will become a critical artery connecting Metra and conventional Amtrak with the Red Line and high-speed trains.
I really wonder whether the HSR portion of the WLTC makes any sense at all. The diagrams that I have seen depict it as the bottom level of a 5-level cut-and-cover complex under Clinton Street. Clinton is narrow enough so that there would really only be room for two HSR platforms. Or, at best, four - if it's arranged as a two-sided terminal station like Union Station. That just ain't enough.

To make enough space for a real station, it would have to be a great deal deeper than that to allow for a bored / mined cavern-style terminal - on the order of 150 feet underground for something like the East Side Access terminal in Manhattan. Reconfiguring Union Station to allow for more through tracks and probably a fourth approach track from the north seems, to me, like a better solution.
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  #5543  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2009, 6:20 PM
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  #5544  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2009, 6:46 PM
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I really wonder whether the HSR portion of the WLTC makes any sense at all. The diagrams that I have seen depict it as the bottom level of a 5-level cut-and-cover complex under Clinton Street. Clinton is narrow enough so that there would really only be room for two HSR platforms. Or, at best, four - if it's arranged as a two-sided terminal station like Union Station. That just ain't enough.

To make enough space for a real station, it would have to be a great deal deeper than that to allow for a bored / mined cavern-style terminal - on the order of 150 feet underground for something like the East Side Access terminal in Manhattan. Reconfiguring Union Station to allow for more through tracks and probably a fourth approach track from the north seems, to me, like a better solution.
I seriously question the configuration of the West Loop Transportation Center as it stands, especially the need for a pedestrian concourse running the length. Close off Clinton, make Canal two directions, and then the surface of Canal will be the pedestrian component. That will also allow for more and larger skylights to bring sunlight down into the tunnel.

Also, the bus level could probably be scrapped and moved to the surface as well. By placing subway entrances in surrounding buildings, the need for a mezzanine can be avoided. Then you could build only a three-level tunnel with one CTA level and two rail levels.
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  #5545  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2009, 8:09 PM
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,5724954.story


Commuter rail line in NW Indiana plans shutdowns

Associated Press

5:32 PM CDT, August 1, 2009

GARY, Ind.

The South Shore commuter rail line in northwestern Indiana plans to suspend service along parts of its route on five upcoming weekends as well as about two full weeks in October.

The Times of Munster reports electric cable and bridge work on the line that carries passengers to and from Chicago will be done.

The first weekend suspension between South Bend and Gary's Metro Center is planned for the weekend of Aug. 29.

All service between South Bend and Michigan City will be suspended for a two-week period sometime between Oct. 18 and Nov. 6.

------

Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com
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  #5546  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2009, 8:46 PM
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,5724954.storyCommuter rail line in NW Indiana plans shutdowns
All service between South Bend and Michigan City will be suspended for a two-week period sometime between Oct. 18 and Nov. 6.

Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com
Gasp! In the middle of Notre Dame football season! Horrible timing!
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  #5547  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2009, 10:10 PM
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TUP, I don't know when you were last in St. Louis Union Station, but it's just barely wheezing along. A few food places and T-shirt shops, and lots and lots of vacant storefronts. I fear it will go the way of Indianapolis's.

Though obviously it will wait for better times, I don't think there's much question that Chicago Union Station will eventually have some combination of office, condo, and hotel in a new tower that "completes" the original massing scheme for the headhouse. The Great Hall will be restored and serve as a combination of lobby and retail space.

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  #5548  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2009, 10:29 PM
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^I do hope so.


I didn't know about the St. Louis Union station mall getting so bad, that makes it suck even worse. Haha, I went to Six Flags and Union Station for my 8th grade class trip in 1996. The mall seemed pretty hopping, but even then at that age I remember thinking how much of a disgrace it was to have a cheesy mall in a former grand and beautiful train terminal. I bought a copy New Electric Railway Journal from a hobby shop there that day.
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  #5549  
Old Posted Aug 3, 2009, 12:46 AM
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TUP, I don't know when you were last in St. Louis Union Station, but it's just barely wheezing along. A few food places and T-shirt shops, and lots and lots of vacant storefronts. I fear it will go the way of Indianapolis's.
^ That's unfortunate. I was last there about 2002 and it seemed to be doing alright then
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  #5550  
Old Posted Aug 3, 2009, 2:02 AM
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^ That's unfortunate. I was last there about 2002 and it seemed to be doing alright then
Imagine Navy Pier if half the storefronts were empty and you have St. Louis Union Station. At least the hotel is nice, though.

As for the planned highrise: I worry about Lagrange's ability to pull off something appropriate. The staff at that firm seems to be completely oblivious, given their huge blunder at 10 East Delaware. Surprisingly, they have also produced beautifully-executed modern buildings, like Erie on the Park, but I heard that the designer behind it was fired.

I honestly don't know who I would trust to do something properly revivalist. There's been some good work in DC... maybe one of those guys? Robert AM Stern might also do a good job.
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  #5551  
Old Posted Aug 3, 2009, 5:11 PM
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^Well, the Landmarks Commission staff will be reviewing everything carefully.
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  #5552  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2009, 10:44 PM
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,7159799.story

Railroad projects gain steam across Chicago area
New state money injects hope into slow-moving plan
By Richard Wronski | Tribune reporter
August 5, 2009


A motorist often needs two hours to travel from one end of the Chicago area to the other, but it can take two days for a freight train, slowed by a bewildering, century-old maze of tracks and outdated signals and switches.

So transportation officials were heartened when the Illinois legislature recently set aside $320 million for rail improvements, hoping it would help unlock train gridlock in Chicago -- the nation's biggest, busiest and most congested railroad hub.

The infusion of state dollars is expected to leverage additional millions in federal matching funds -- money that would build new crossings and overpasses, which could mean faster commutes for Metra and Amtrak riders as well as for long-suffering drivers now stuck waiting at blocked intersections.

Six of Metra's 11 lines operate on freight-owned tracks, and delays between passenger and freight trains regularly cause commuters to be late for work and dinner. Such encounters long have been part of the urban experience in a metropolitan area where each day as many as 500 freight and 800 passenger trains pass through a labyrinth of tracks and crossings.










..
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  #5553  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2009, 10:02 AM
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http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=35066

Central Ave. bypass project gets green light

Paul Merrion Aug. 07, 2009

...

The Illinois Department of Transportation plans to proceed with $170.4 million in design, engineering, right-of-way land acquisition and other pre-construction work on the bypass, which would create a new north-south route across a large rail yard on the traffic-congested Southwest Side.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be in Chicago on Monday along with Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Chicago, House Speaker Michael Madigan and other state and local officials to announce the project’s go-ahead.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says a spokesman for the congressman, who is pushing for construction money for the bypass in an upcoming federal transportation bill, which is stalled in Congress.

The project is expected to cost a total of $300 million to $600 million when completed, according to an IDOT spokeswoman, depending on final cost estimates. It would connect Central Avenue between 63rd and 87th streets, taking pressure off Cicero and Harlem avenues. No final decision has been made on whether it will be an overpass or an underpass, according to a Lipinski aide.

...
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  #5554  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2009, 5:03 PM
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^^ In the article, it says that there's STILL money remaining from the Crosstown Expressway project in the 1970s. Huh?

This is very surprising if true.
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  #5555  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2009, 10:07 PM
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It's an useful and important link in a part of town with a lot of manufacturing and distribution uses that cause a lot of congestion due to the plethora of railroads.... but good grief, $300-600 million for one overpass connection? That puts this one link as likely more expensive than the Orange Line extension to Ford City.
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  #5556  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2009, 12:52 AM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
^^ In the article, it says that there's STILL money remaining from the Crosstown Expressway project in the 1970s. Huh?
This is very surprising if true.
Probably not sitting in a bank account somewhere; more like an allotment that just hasn't been tapped into yet. Very surprising indeed, but maybe it was useable only for certain types/locations of projects. I dunno, "alleviation of crosstown road congestion" or something?

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Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
It's an useful and important link in a part of town with a lot of manufacturing and distribution uses that cause a lot of congestion due to the plethora of railroads.... but good grief, $300-600 million for one overpass connection? That puts this one link as likely more expensive than the Orange Line extension to Ford City.
That is a huge amount, but it's an at least 1-mile-long overpass, plus road improvements over roughly the remaining 2 miles (total of 63rd to 87th). Plus, it might be an underpass (ka-ching, ka-ching, ventilation and emergency access shafts over 1-mile length, ka-ching). Plus, it's a hairy, complicated site with complicated, continuous, active use, meaning, among other things, long column-free spans if an overpass.

Out of curiosity, excluding the expressways (Edit: er, and Wacker Drive), are there currently any roadway viaducts in the city that are 1 mile long?

Last edited by denizen467; Aug 9, 2009 at 1:17 AM.
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  #5557  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2009, 5:37 AM
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It's not like it'll be a tunnel. There's a pinch point of the railyard at Central, so an "underpass" would be more like a trench with a few rail bridges over it. The cost will reflect whether that trench needs retaining walls or can use sloped sides.

Viva, your comparison to the Orange Line seems appropriate. Likely, much of the cost comes from complex construction staging needed to preserve an active railyard.
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  #5558  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2009, 11:22 PM
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Probably not sitting in a bank account somewhere; more like an allotment that just hasn't been tapped into yet. Very surprising indeed, but maybe it was useable only for certain types/locations of projects. I dunno, "alleviation of crosstown road congestion" or something?



That is a huge amount, but it's an at least 1-mile-long overpass, plus road improvements over roughly the remaining 2 miles (total of 63rd to 87th). Plus, it might be an underpass (ka-ching, ka-ching, ventilation and emergency access shafts over 1-mile length, ka-ching). Plus, it's a hairy, complicated site with complicated, continuous, active use, meaning, among other things, long column-free spans if an overpass.

Out of curiosity, excluding the expressways (Edit: er, and Wacker Drive), are there currently any roadway viaducts in the city that are 1 mile long?
.....the "mile Long Bridge" on I294 (Ok---so maybe it is an expressway) !!
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  #5559  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2009, 7:44 AM
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It's not like it'll be a tunnel. There's a pinch point of the railyard at Central, so an "underpass" would be more like a trench with a few rail bridges over it. The cost will reflect whether that trench needs retaining walls or can use sloped sides.

Viva, your comparison to the Orange Line seems appropriate. Likely, much of the cost comes from complex construction staging needed to preserve an active railyard.
Indeed there is a pinch point and it lines up with Central Avenue - but it turns out even the widest point of the yard isn't all that wide anyway (maybe a quarter mile rather than a whole mile). And the pinch point isn't absolute, because there are still several tracks, and roadways, going east-west far north of and south of the pinch point, as well as curved north-south rails leading into the pinch point. So a quick underpass would not work. But you're nevertheless most likely right that a trench would be chosen over a tunnel, assuming the RR wasn't feeling too protective about retaining every square foot of its yard. (And if it isn't too protective, then they might not object to occasional column footings either, so that an overpass ends up as the mutually preferred solution.)


But looking at the aerial photos drives one new point home: Between 65th and 79th (excluding the yard), it looks like there is a fair amount of land to be acquired in order to convert it to a 6-lane or 8-lane right of way from a sleepy industrial park-like access road -- the stretch continually has buildings, driveways and/or parking lots of businesses, schools/parks, and residences abutting right up to it. It also intersects another RR line at 75th. All of the intersections would need to be completely redone as main artery intersections, including signaling, turn lanes, maybe modifications to the crossing streets, etc. So that's probably where much of the half-$billion cost comes from.

Initially it's confusing because "Central Avenue Bypass" kind of suggests it's just an "overpass" or "underpass" over an obstacle, namely the everpresent railyard -- but once you notice "bypass" refers to an entire new route through a part of the city, the price maybe starts to make sense.
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  #5560  
Old Posted Aug 12, 2009, 12:25 AM
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.....the "mile Long Bridge" on I294 (Ok---so maybe it is an expressway) !!
It's not in the city, but the bridge over the canal and forest preserve on the I-355 extension is longer than the mile long bridge.
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