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  #2641  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2008, 3:06 PM
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Originally Posted by UChicagoDomer View Post
why is it that charlotte, denver, and dallas (Dallas??!!!) can build miles of new rail and - in Dallas' case - overhaul their entire zoning codes to make them TOD-friendly, while commuters in chicago face gridlock and ugly strip malls no matter where they go or what mode of transportation they use?
The Chicago zoning code rewrite basically made strip malls verboten in all but a single busines/commercial zoning classification (which is generally only in place on hopeless streets like Cicero or industrial wastelands, anyway). As strip-and-drive-through-blighted streets like Western, Ashland, Broadway, Irving Park, Lawrence etc gradually redevelop under the new zoning code, they will become much more 'urban' and ped-friendly in character. In many cases you can already see this transformation in action from the most recent building boom, though I suspect it will be another 1-2 boom cycles (perhaps another 20-25 years) before the transformation is 'substantially' complete. And even new stripmalls built under the new zoning code (you can see some examples on South Pulaski and South Cicero if you so desire) are an improvement, as stores still can't be set too far back from the street (many just have parking behind the retail, and still have front sidewalk entrances).

Our off-street parking requirement is still a transit-hostile joke, however. I won't argue against the notion that Chicago gov't and CDOT have generally been antithetical to transit interests, but for some time (certainly under Daley) it has at least become much more pedestrian- and bike-friendly...which is better than nothing, I suppose. The streetscape program since the mid-90s has done wonders for making some streets more friendly for bicyclists and pedestrians.
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  #2642  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2008, 3:45 PM
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Hello--we live in America, people, and we have to accept that transit is simply not high on the list of our leaders' priorities and probably won't be for quite some time.
$3 a gallon gasoline started changing a lot of minds, and $4 a gallon will change a lot more. The change will probably be sooner rather than later.

When a critical mass of people start using transit regularly because it's cheaper, they'll start screaming for it's improvement, and the politicians will take notice.
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  #2643  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2008, 6:06 PM
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$3 a gallon gasoline started changing a lot of minds, and $4 a gallon will change a lot more. The change will probably be sooner rather than later.

When a critical mass of people start using transit regularly because it's cheaper, they'll start screaming for it's improvement, and the politicians will take notice.
No, they'll scream for more fuel-efficient cars and/or substitute energy sources for their cars. Do you remember huge increases in transit mode share from 1973-1980? If oil gets prohibitively expensive, people won't give up cars, they'll just give up oil-guzzling cars. The biggest driver of transit mode share is land use, and until the country starts running up against significant scarcity in developable land (whether naturally or by government urban growth boundary laws), transit will be a niche market for almost every city. That's not to say that well-funded transit can't obtain a somewhat improved mode share and provide many more rides, but the instructive comparison here is Europe, where transit is very well-subsidized but most European countries still have national transit mode shares in the 10-15% (obviously the major cities are a bit higher). Even in Europe, except for the urbanite population, transit is the exception. And of course, Euros have coped with their different cost structure with substantially more fuel-efficient cars.
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  #2644  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2008, 10:41 PM
UChicagoDomer UChicagoDomer is offline
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Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
The Chicago zoning code rewrite basically made strip malls verboten in all but a single busines/commercial zoning classification (which is generally only in place on hopeless streets like Cicero or industrial wastelands, anyway).
has the re-write really made a noticeable difference?

see, e.g.

North Avenue Retail Strip Malls

Roosevelt & Canal Monstrosity

did the "re-write" make single use verboten, or just suburban style strip malls. From a standpoint of TOD, bicycle use, or pedestrian friendly environments, there really is not a lot of difference (i.e. no one is going to walk to that Whole Foods on Roosevelt & Canal, and it's not a fun walk to the Whole Foods on North Ave.)

As to your second post re: increased transit subsidies, there doesn't appear to be any appetite for that in the federal government...

Replacing Transit with Toll Roads
The Department of Transportation under President Bush has placed an emphasis on market-based measures such as toll roads to alleviate congestion, and this has public transit advocates worried that the Federal government sees no role for transit.

Wash. Post article link
"When Democrats took control of Congress and stripped most earmarks from last year's federal budget, Peters took $850 million that would have been shipped to hundreds of municipalities and poured it into Urban Partnerships, a pilot program awarded to five cities on the condition that they test congestion pricing.
"The focus on toll roads alarmed the transit industry, which argues that public transportation is the best way to fight gridlock in cities. Industry leaders say the DOT has made it increasingly difficult for expensive rail projects to qualify for federal dollars. The number of major new rail and bus projects on track for federal funding dropped from 48 in 2001 to 17 in 2007, even as transit ridership hit a 50-year high last year and demand for new service is soaring."

and our Gov is too stupid to provide the state support necessary to secure the federal funding for N.E. Ill., so there goes that bright idea...
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  #2645  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2008, 2:12 AM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
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Originally Posted by UChicagoDomer View Post
has the re-write really made a noticeable difference?

see, e.g.

North Avenue Retail Strip Malls
^ I believe that crap was built before the zoning rewrite

Quote:
Roosevelt & Canal Monstrosity

did the "re-write" make single use verboten, or just suburban style strip malls. From a standpoint of TOD, bicycle use, or pedestrian friendly environments, there really is not a lot of difference (i.e. no one is going to walk to that Whole Foods on Roosevelt & Canal, and it's not a fun walk to the Whole Foods on North Ave.)
^ Partly agreed, although if you compare the Southgate mall to the Dominick's ancored shopping center on the SW corner of Roosevelt and Canal, you see a great example that compares pre-and post-zoning rewrite development. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the city wanted all of Southgate mall's parking to be in a garage but Whole Foods demanded their own parking lot, thus the city caved and we got the configuration that we currently have.
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  #2646  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2008, 2:57 AM
UChicagoDomer UChicagoDomer is offline
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
^ I believe that crap was built before the zoning rewrite



^ Partly agreed, although if you compare the Southgate mall to the Dominick's ancored shopping center on the SW corner of Roosevelt and Canal, you see a great example that compares pre-and post-zoning rewrite development. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the city wanted all of Southgate mall's parking to be in a garage but Whole Foods demanded their own parking lot, thus the city caved and we got the configuration that we currently have.
but it's all the same. neither the dominicks nor the whole foods makes anyone who will be populating the south loop in the next 5 years, including at the Roosevelt Collection next to the Target, want to walk their ass even .5 miles across train tracks, a river, and a parking lot just to buy some over-priced raw milk cheese. So the development is more (commercially) dense and the whole food's parking lot is smaller. big deal. no one is going to want to risk being plowed over by rush hour traffic just to traverse it. and even if one is on a bike, the bike ordinance won't be enforced.

so the "zoning re-write" seems like nothing more than an aesthetic touch-up to suburban-style retail jobs (visitors to whom i show the whole foods still have the same impression that they have of most other big-box development in chicago [maybe with the exception of Target at Clark]: cheap suburban strip mall) and not a reflection of a long-term policy shift toward pedestrian-oriented mixed use.
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  #2647  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2008, 3:05 AM
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Originally Posted by UChicagoDomer View Post
so the "zoning re-write" seems like nothing more than an aesthetic touch-up to suburban-style retail jobs (visitors to whom i show the whole foods still have the same impression that they have of most other big-box development in chicago [maybe with the exception of Target at Clark]: cheap suburban strip mall) and not a reflection of a long-term policy shift toward pedestrian-oriented mixed use.
^ You've got no argument here. I agree that it's just an aesthetic "touch up", but it's certainly better than nothing at all. Compare Southgate Mall to the bullshit on the SW corner of Roosevelt/Canal; can you tell me that it's not a huge improvement, at least aesthetically?

Will people still drive? Of course. It's amazing how much Chicago parallels New York in this way. Right acress the river from Manhattan, in parts of Queens and in Hoboken, you will see giant big-box stores like a Costco or Toys' R Us, much in the same way that you see parts of Chicago's downtown core being surrounded (in some places) by a big-box no-man's land. Even urban dwellers need their big-box fix, I guess..
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  #2648  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2008, 3:26 AM
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but it's all the same. neither the dominicks nor the whole foods makes anyone who will be populating the south loop in the next 5 years, including at the Roosevelt Collection next to the Target, want to walk their ass even .5 miles across train tracks, a river, and a parking lot just to buy some over-priced raw milk cheese. So the development is more (commercially) dense and the whole food's parking lot is smaller. big deal. no one is going to want to risk being plowed over by rush hour traffic just to traverse it. and even if one is on a bike, the bike ordinance won't be enforced.
I'm not following this. How is any of this the development's fault or the zoning's fault? Should they never build anything distant from a train station because people are too lazy to walk .5 miles? If they're not interested in "over-priced ... cheese" then they can walk 100 feet to the Jewel that wastes tons of prime space right along the elevated with surface parking. Tell me which development you like more?

And, FYI, I have several friends who do walk over that bridge to get to Whole Foods and other stores.

I agree the architecture is heinous aesthetically, but really, I don't see much wrong with the development side. The Canal frontage has lots of outdoor space (albeit configured in a bizarre way above the sidewalk) that seems to anticipate brighter days to come when there would be more activity on the street. I've already witnessed people sitting outside at the cafes on this perch, and really, it's a far better scene than what used to be there. Other good notes: The loading and ugly stuff is conducted below Roosevelt. They worked around the one existing building that has anchored the corner since the 1930s. Elevators are glass-enclosed so that you get a sense of activity. And so forth. Overall, it's a much more ideal planning process than what we usually get. I'm not sure why it irks you so much.

People love to rip on North / Clybourn, but as far as retail districts that cater to autos (and pedestrians) go, I think this is one of the better ones I've seen. I'm not talking about Coral Gables or some kind of ultra-posh stuff, but just the average to above-average market. North / Clybourn manages to maintain some semblance of a nice streetscape. It has diversity and visual interest in most places. The growth pattern feels organic. I find it hard to fault it, and as it continues to densify and redevelop (meaning loss of surface parking and more vertical growth) I like it more. If they implemented free shuttles that moved around in the area from retailer to retailer and circled back to the Red Line station, I think you would see tons of people using transit in this area and walking, and really enjoying themselves. But to expect retail in these neighborhood areas without any parking would be out of touch with reality.
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Last edited by honte; Mar 18, 2008 at 3:38 AM.
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  #2649  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2008, 3:58 AM
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^UCD,
Most of the schlock you criticize (rightfully so) was designed/approved/built before the zoning code re-write, which didn't take full effect 'til 2003/2004. Newer stuff: the Best Buy being built on Roosevelt, the large building on the SE corner of North/Sheffield, the new Whole Foods on Kingsbury (under construction), the new Dominick's at Chicago/Damen, etc. As far as I'm concerned, these new designs, from a form standpoint, do an excellent job of accomodating bike/peds and automobiles.
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  #2650  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2008, 5:35 AM
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The new Whole Foods on Kingsbury seems to have an interesting design. A quick google search took me to a rendering posted on flickr, and I learned that Gensler is architect. The building looks huge. Not too long ago, Kingsbury was really sleepy - now the industrial uses will subside there, and the clubs and retail will coalesce.

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  #2651  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2008, 1:35 PM
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^ WOW! Such an improvement over a gas station, eh?

Anyhow, I guess we've all gotten way off topic here, this being the Transit thread and all..
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  #2652  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2008, 1:58 AM
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and our Gov is too stupid to provide the state support necessary to secure the federal funding for N.E. Ill., so there goes that bright idea...
Our politicians in DC have secured funding for many projects. It's really up to Blagojevich to provide the matching funds to get these projects done.
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  #2653  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2008, 6:11 PM
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Our politicians in DC have secured funding for many projects. It's really up to Blagojevich to provide the matching funds to get these projects done.
sorry. i mis-wrote. i meant "Guv" not "Gov," in reference to Blagojevich, who will leave money on the table and not Durbin et al. who put it there.
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  #2654  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2008, 10:22 AM
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Transportation planning looks to 2040

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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,4158557.story



Transportation planning looks to 2040
Officials seek public input with an eye toward future
By Richard Wronski | Tribune reporter
10:10 PM CDT, March 23, 2008


Planning officials, concerned with exploding population growth, haphazard development and unmet transportation needs, are hoping to formulate a new strategy to guide northeastern Illinois for the next 30 years.

To do it, they are encouraging the public to participate in a campaign called Go to 2040 to describe how they want the region to have evolved by that time.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, created by the Illinois legislature in 2005 to integrate land-use planning and transportation in the seven-county area, is kicking off the public participation effort Monday.

.........Go to 2040 will help northeastern Illinois deal with an estimated 2.8 million new residents and 1.8 million jobs in the next three decades, officials said.

.........The public can provide input on Go to 2040 at www.goto2040.org.
..

Maybe we should all just mass forward this thread in the suggestion box
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  #2655  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2008, 1:46 PM
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^ Zzzz...

Another plan that nobody will heed
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  #2656  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2008, 2:40 PM
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bus tracking system

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http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel...,7708190.story

CTA to expand bus tracking systemBy Jon Hilkevitch | Tribune transportation writer
7:55 AM CDT, March 24, 2008


The CTA on Monday will announce the first expansion of its Bus Tracker system, which will enable riders to locate the whereabouts of all buses on a route and also help the transit agency reduce bus bunching.

Bus Tracker, which relies on Global Positioning System, currently operates only on the No. 20 Madison route.

At a 10 a.m. news conference, CTA officials will announce the phase-in of additional routes. The first routes are expected to be put on line later this spring.................
....
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  #2657  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2008, 3:13 PM
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....
Will they be managing their buses with this system too? I don't care about tracking (it was flawed in San Francisco.....tells you when the bus left the last station...with a tracker...but that doesn't mean they will be at your stop on time.).
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  #2658  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2008, 4:52 PM
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Will they be managing their buses with this system too?
Short answer is yes. It will take some time and practice before the exact procedures are worked out. But the plan is to equip mobile supervisors and line managers with this real-time data. I still think the value of bus tracker is in reducing customer's perceived wait time and boosting the overall perceived value of their trip. In terms of actual by-the-numbers improvements in 'reliability', I think the answer is in enforcing on time departures, constructing the best schedules possible (inter-related, of course), and on-street traffic engineering under the purview of CDOT (signal priority, bus lanes, etc). Once a bus has left the terminal, there's not much in the transit agency's control to fix inconsistent headways outside of holding buses, thereby delaying those customers and decreasing the value of their trip. By the time an unacceptable gap in service has formed and a plan can be worked out to re-space the buses, the buses will be almost done running the route anyway.
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  #2659  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2008, 5:03 PM
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Short answer is yes. It will take some time and practice before the exact procedures are worked out. But the plan is to equip mobile supervisors and line managers with this real-time data. I still think the value of bus tracker is in reducing customer's perceived wait time and boosting the overall perceived value of their trip. In terms of actual by-the-numbers improvements in 'reliability', I think the answer is in enforcing on time departures, constructing the best schedules possible (inter-related, of course), and on-street traffic engineering under the purview of CDOT (signal priority, bus lanes, etc). Once a bus has left the terminal, there's not much in the transit agency's control to fix inconsistent headways outside of holding buses, thereby delaying those customers and decreasing the value of their trip. By the time an unacceptable gap in service has formed and a plan can be worked out to re-space the buses, the buses will be almost done running the route anyway.
Preceived bunching at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning....no good reason for it. Would love to see bunching ended with this device. If it happens because of traffic and daily interruptions then hopefully CTA will be able to turn buses around quicker...make passenger trades and get back on schedule. Heard that the union has been against this for a long time.

If buses are bunched a supervisor will pull stop them and put the people on it and send the empty one aheard or turn it around to get it back on schedule.
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  #2660  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2008, 10:34 PM
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GPS tracking cost?

I posted the below in the Tribune Topix section in regards to the GPS tracking topic. Wanted this forums take on the cost associated with this project.


Does $24 million seem kind of high to anyone else? This kind of technology is found in many high end cell phones, but those cost, what $500 tops? So why the high price tag? How expensive is each unit? Whats the cost of installation per bus and the cost of linking it to the CTA'S website?

A GPS tracker costs (quick Internet search) roughly $500. Lets say installation of each unit is $1000. The CTA website says they have 2000 buses in their fleet. So that means....

2,000 buses x $1,500 per unit and installation = $3 million dollars.... So where is the other $21 million going? It doesn't cost $21 million to link a bunch of GPS trackers to a real time website!

Low Jack, the anti theft device cost $1,200... Its the same freaking technology!!! And from the story it doesn't seem like this will be on all 2000 buses the city runs, it sounds like half. So were paying $24,000 per bus for a GPS tracker...
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