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  #9081  
Old Posted May 3, 2012, 9:57 PM
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Standpoor Standpoor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
^ I can rant on and on about this one, but whatever.

I'm sure they will break some deal behind a smoke-filled room, as is often the case in Chicago. Either way, this project is crucial.
I understand a lot of the problems with DBE but this case does not have a lot of hallmarks of DBE abuses, or do you know something I don't. The bidder met federal requirements, Metra says they cannot legally rebid the contracts. What can Bobby Rush do except make a scene.
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  #9082  
Old Posted May 3, 2012, 9:59 PM
stevevance stevevance is offline
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I understood who can use the Union State Transfer Center differently.

While it is being built with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) money (and local match money), I don't think the CDOT presenters meant to imply that precludes non-governmental vehicles from using the facility. They said that CTA's needs must be met first. Then CDOT and CTA can have discussions about other companies using the facility.

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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Three options for buses traversing the Loop were discussed at last night's Central BRT presentation. Option 2 is probably the most likely at this point in the study.



The bike lane on Madison would disappear in favor of a couplet on Randolph WB and Washington EB.

The layover/boarding facility at Union Station probably can't be used by Megabus, Coach USA Van Galder, or the private office building shuttles, since it would be built with FTA money. The wishful thinking is that if CTA cross-Loop service is better, many of those private shuttles would go away, but I think that misunderstands their very nature. They're not in place because CTA service is poor or missing, they're put in place to make a particular office building more attractive than the competition. So I fear they're only going to grow in number as a way to attract suburban train riders to office space east of Clark or north of the river.
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  #9083  
Old Posted May 3, 2012, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Standpoor View Post
I understand a lot of the problems with DBE but this case does not have a lot of hallmarks of DBE abuses, or do you know something I don't. The bidder met federal requirements, Metra says they cannot legally rebid the contracts. What can Bobby Rush do except make a scene.
Yeah, this is just more posturing. Metra's made incredible good-faith efforts to bring black businesses onto the project, so if participation is low at this point, its either because such businesses cannot deliver work at a reasonable price or because such businesses simply do not exist on a large scale.

The three Congressmen probably know this, so the opposition is all about kicking sand in Metra's face. Considering the general disdain Metra has for serving inner-city neighborhoods, it's somewhat understandable that South Side politicians would resent a project designed to make Metra trains barrel even faster through their districts without stopping.

When it comes to contracts, though, I think the power of the budget vastly overrides any lingering racism. If DBEs want in on the business, they should aim to be the low bidder.
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  #9084  
Old Posted May 4, 2012, 6:39 PM
Baronvonellis Baronvonellis is offline
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Why is option 3 more expensive than option 2? It just is a different reroute.

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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Three options for buses traversing the Loop were discussed at last night's Central BRT presentation. Option 2 is probably the most likely at this point in the study.


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  #9085  
Old Posted May 5, 2012, 5:15 PM
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As Chicago Forges Ahead With BRT, Congress Holds Up Key Rail Project


May 4, 2012

By Ben Goldman

Read More: http://dc.streetsblog.org/2012/05/04...-rail-project/

Quote:
The transportation news has been flying out of Chicago lately. Last week, in a 41-9 vote, the City Council approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Infrastructure Trust, which will be used to build projects with private financing. Earlier this week, Emanuel and transportation commissioner Gabe Klein just unveiled a plan for a downtown bus rapid transit loop that will serve six different routes. Those bus lanes will open within two years.

- In the meantime, 2012 will see the inauguration of a 300-station bike share system and the city’s first enhanced bus service on Jeffrey Boulevard. When it comes to improving existing transit, however, the mess in Washington is still threatening to delay some much needed improvements to Chicago’s century-old system of elevated trains.

- Under existing federal transit rules and the House proposal, the Red Line replacement wouldn’t be eligible for “new starts” funding because the project is on an existing transit line. The Senate bill, however, “recognizes common sense and says you’re building a new railroad,’’ [Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest] Claypool said. “It just happens to be within the existing right of way that is serving an increasing number of riders each year, despite its deteriorating condition.’’

- Cost estimates for the rebuilding range from $2 billion to $4 billion depending on “options for new stations and other upgrades” according to the Tribune, and that’s only the first phase, covering about nine miles on the city’s north side. A planned 5.3-mile extension on the south side would cost an additional $1.4 billion, and is also on hold pending Congressional action.

- Rebuilding the Red Line had been suggested as a possible use of financing from the new infrastructure trust, but it’s not clear how any borrowing would be paid back. Matt Sledge at the Huffington Post raised the point that Emanuel still hasn’t been specific about what kind of projects the trust will be able to finance — and who will benefit from them.

.....
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  #9086  
Old Posted May 5, 2012, 6:02 PM
untitledreality untitledreality is offline
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
hopefully never. i love the "at scale" geographic map of the el system and it seems nowhere near its limits to me.
I like it too, but the Loop Inset bugs me and the text for near North and near West stations is going to get awfully crowded whenever the Division Brown and Madison Pink come along.
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  #9087  
Old Posted May 5, 2012, 9:33 PM
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^^ Usually the argument for New Starts funding is that capacity is being increased through new stations, longer platforms, fresh track/structure that allows faster service, etc.

On the Red Line, the implementation of true express service will greatly improve capacity and definitely improve travel times. Both the new Sheridan curve and the Clark flyover will also improve capacity.
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  #9088  
Old Posted May 5, 2012, 10:00 PM
clark wellington clark wellington is offline
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Originally Posted by Baronvonellis View Post
Why is option 3 more expensive than option 2? It just is a different reroute.
I'd guess there's a bit more infrastructure involved. Forcing non-bus vehicles to turn at the end of the block, installing bus-only signs, etc. Not sure if that adds up to $4-5MM though...

I'm curious about removing parking spots. Option 2 seems to show no parking on Madison or Washington, where there currently are some metered parking spots (shown in Option 1). I wonder if the cost includes a reimbursement to Chicago Parking Meters.
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  #9089  
Old Posted May 5, 2012, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by clark wellington View Post
I'm curious about removing parking spots. Option 2 seems to show no parking on Madison or Washington, where there currently are some metered parking spots (shown in Option 1). I wonder if the cost includes a reimbursement to Chicago Parking Meters.
The city doesn't have to reimburse if they create an equivalent number of spaces nearby (on side streets, for example).

The rendering is misleading, though. The boarding platforms take up a full lane, but they only occur every two blocks. The intervening blocks will probably have parking in that space.
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  #9090  
Old Posted May 6, 2012, 7:20 AM
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^^^ I'd be surprised that the city has room to find additional parking on "side streets" in the Loop. Especially if they're planning on adding a N/S protected bike lane at some point.

Maybe you're right about the rendering being deceptive, though, and CDOT won't have to do much. My only fear then is bus bunching in the supposed BRT lanes. As was mentioned earlier, staggered stops are likely a key input for faster service.

However, I'm hopeful that this goes through and is extended to Michigan too. That could significantly improve bus flow and simultaneously improve pedestrian safety on the premier shopping street in Chicago.
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  #9091  
Old Posted May 6, 2012, 9:57 PM
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1. Is fare collection going to happen on the boarding islands? If not, how unusual is that for BRT?

2. In Option 2, why does Washington get island boarding, but Madison gets curb-extension boarding? Can the latter be made to eat up less space overall?

3. In Option 3, where do people get on/off a bus that's in the middle lane?

4. Would it make sense to release all restrictions on Loop BRT lanes after, say, 8pm, and return them either to parkers or drivers?

5. A correction to my post a little while ago about the cta maps; the new marina is at 31st Street, not 35th. Blair Kamin has a glowing writeup of it published today.
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  #9092  
Old Posted May 6, 2012, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by denizen467 View Post
1. Is fare collection going to happen on the boarding islands? If not, how unusual is that for BRT?
I doubt CTA will switch to a POP (honor) system, but there might be TVMs on the islands to reduce/eliminate cash fares and get everyone to use a farecard.

Quote:
2. In Option 2, why does Washington get island boarding, but Madison gets curb-extension boarding? Can the latter be made to eat up less space overall?
Not sure... probably has to do with the bike strategy.

Quote:
3. In Option 3, where do people get on/off a bus that's in the middle lane?
Boarding platforms are staggered across the intersection. The car/truck lane exists on opposite sides of the roadway on opposite blocks, which physically prevents through traffic while allowing for platforms on both sides of the busway.
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  #9093  
Old Posted May 7, 2012, 12:07 AM
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I have a question:

If we are basically building some boarding islands, painting (maybe?) some lanes, and (I hope) introducing signal priority, why does this project cost millions and millions of dollars?

Heck, I'm rehabbing a building right now and the concrete floor slab is only a couple thousand bucks.

So many millions?

I'm really not trying to be a smart ass, but I guess I just don't understand the infrastructure involved with this project to justify the price. If anybody could explain I would appreciate it.
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  #9094  
Old Posted May 7, 2012, 1:51 AM
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I was doing some research on another topic tonight and ran across this track diagram for the Loop circa 1913 - It's pretty wild how different the routing on it was. Much of it had trains traveling the same direction on both the inner and outer tracks. I wonder how that affected throughput.
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  #9095  
Old Posted May 7, 2012, 4:46 PM
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This is just a random thought, and realise that historically it has been presented as a proposal before but I just think that the L Loop should be subwayed...wabash and wells streets in my opinion would bothe benefit tremendously if they were not in constant shadow...thoughts?

I was walking in the Loop yesterday and this just popped in my head
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  #9096  
Old Posted May 7, 2012, 7:45 PM
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This is just a random thought, and realise that historically it has been presented as a proposal before but I just think that the L Loop should be subwayed...wabash and wells streets in my opinion would bothe benefit tremendously if they were not in constant shadow...thoughts?

I was walking in the Loop yesterday and this just popped in my head
But, but, but the 'L' is our Eiffel Tower!
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  #9097  
Old Posted May 7, 2012, 9:49 PM
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Any illusions I had about the specialness of the Chicago 'L' went out the window when I saw the Els in New York, which are almost exactly the same.

I'm in favor of keeping the Loop but transitioning more traffic into new and existing subways. If they ever finish the Block 37 subway, they could build an incline at Lake/Desplaines and send the Green Line underground. This would allow for a new underground Clinton station and no movable river bridge.

The proposed Clinton St Subway would eventually take the Red Line, so the State St Subway is open for the new 24-hour Purple Line.

That would leave only Brown, Orange, and Pink on the Loop, and Brown/Orange might be combined someday. With the reduced number of trains, the Loop should function smoothly.
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  #9098  
Old Posted May 8, 2012, 1:26 AM
clark wellington clark wellington is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denizen467 View Post
1. Is fare collection going to happen on the boarding islands? If not, how unusual is that for BRT?
Apparently not, according to GridChicago. I'm pretty disappointed in this, as I understand this to be a major component of speeding up bus travel (as anyone boarding a bus in the Loop during rush hour can attest). Like you, I assumed the islands would serve this purpose - maybe the CTA doesn't think it can properly police the boarding areas?


Quote:
Originally Posted by denizen467 View Post
4. Would it make sense to release all restrictions on Loop BRT lanes after, say, 8pm, and return them either to parkers or drivers?
I've heard that this makes driver education more difficult, since it's not always clear that these are bus-only lanes. Frankly, there should be more than enough room for private vehicles in the Loop after 8pm even with the bus lanes taken away. Parking is the bigger question, and perhaps that's where some of the cost of this project is going.
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  #9099  
Old Posted May 8, 2012, 3:23 AM
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...
I understand this to be a major component of speeding up bus travel (as anyone boarding a bus in the Loop during rush hour can attest).
...
As a frequent rider of the 125 bus, I think the buses identified to use these lanes tend to have people who are frequent riders and use Chicago Cards and board quite quickly. I've never felt like boarding the 125 at Madison and Canal was slow or would have been significantly improved by pre-payment. If anything, pre-payment would be worse for anyone trying to avoid wasting waiting time - you can't really run for a bus if you have to pre-pay.

I think pre-payment makes sense if you're operating the line as if it were a rapid-transit line. But that's not what this is - these are still very much bus lines, they're just getting improved access to the route.
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  #9100  
Old Posted May 8, 2012, 4:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
The city doesn't have to reimburse if they create an equivalent number of spaces nearby (on side streets, for example).

The rendering is misleading, though. The boarding platforms take up a full lane, but they only occur every two blocks. The intervening blocks will probably have parking in that space.
They need to be sure they provide adequate standing space. Arguably the spaces near the corners that terminate the parking lane (but buffer the bike lane) should be for people getting into cabs. They may want to lengthen that a bit. Otherwise all you're really seeing is one through lane or you risk taxis blocking the bike or bus lanes.

And are they really going to throw paint down over asphalt? I just can't see that lasting long. They should reconstruct the streets with brick pavers or something that has permanent color features. Plus they'll outlast concrete and asphalt.
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