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  #41  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2006, 7:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyguy

The proposed Circle Line would link all of CTA’s rail lines and all of Metra’s lines in a study area bounded by 39th Street on the south, Fullerton Parkway on the north, Western Avenue on the west and Lake Michigan on the east, creating improved transit connections throughout the six-county region and helping to further ease traffic congestion and improve travel times.
Has this plan changed? From the original renderings, it looked like it was Roosevelt on the South, North Ave on the North, and Ashland on the west. Or is this just referring to the area around the stops?
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  #42  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2006, 8:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Segun
Has this plan changed? From the original renderings, it looked like it was Roosevelt on the South, North Ave on the North, and Ashland on the west. Or is this just referring to the area around the stops?
It's part of the "Alternatives Analysis", which basically studies all the areas that would be affected by the plan to identify possible routings and techniques, and find a "locally preferred alternative". Hence the bigger study area.
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  #43  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2006, 9:28 PM
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I hope just as a first look, they think of building a third subway tunnel to work for this Circle Line, one that travels down Michigan Avenue. Only stopping every 1/2 mile. Or at the very least upgrade the State Street tunnel with Automatic Train Operation and rebuilt Concrete ties for the tracks to replace the rotting wood ones that are over 60 years old!

Because running 3 lines down the State Street Tunnel with the Red Line already running every 2-3 minutes at Rush Hour and discussion of the Purple Line along with this Circle Line using the tunnel, means for a crowded tunnel.
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  #44  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2006, 9:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PracticalVisionary
I hope just as a first look, they think of building a third subway tunnel to work for this Circle Line, one that travels down Michigan Avenue. Only stopping every 1/2 mile. Or at the very least upgrade the State Street tunnel with Automatic Train Operation and rebuilt Concrete ties for the tracks to replace the rotting wood ones that are over 60 years old!

Because running 3 lines down the State Street Tunnel with the Red Line already running every 2-3 minutes at Rush Hour and discussion of the Purple Line along with this Circle Line using the tunnel, means for a crowded tunnel.

A Michigan Ave. subway would be duplicating Red Line service I think. I don't believe the Purple Line will need to use the subway. Why not just circle the loop like it does now and connect at North/Cylbourn?
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  #45  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2006, 10:35 PM
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The practical thing to do would be to build the Clinton Street subway to complete an underground Loop, then have that subway extend almost directly northward to meet up with the red line at North and Clybourn, which will be completely rebuilt with the Circle Line subway anyway.

Doing this would solve the overcrowding problems in two ways. Operating the purple line at normal headways outside rush hour to downtown through a new underground tunnel and loop would ease demand on red line trains using the State Street subway. There would still be plenty of capacity left for ridership along the Dan Ryan if they used 4-car trains operating at the same headways. The second way is that this would free up the State Street subway for Circle Line trains in the future.
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  #46  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2006, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Rail Claimore
The practical thing to do would be to build the Clinton Street subway to complete an underground Loop, then have that subway extend almost directly northward to meet up with the red line at North and Clybourn, which will be completely rebuilt with the Circle Line subway anyway.

Doing this would solve the overcrowding problems in two ways. Operating the purple line at normal headways outside rush hour to downtown through a new underground tunnel and loop would ease demand on red line trains using the State Street subway. There would still be plenty of capacity left for ridership along the Dan Ryan if they used 4-car trains operating at the same headways. The second way is that this would free up the State Street subway for Circle Line trains in the future.
I like the idea. Perhaps the brown line could be rerouted to loop underground. Still, access to Navy Pier and McCormick Place is vital to any central area transit improvements. Those two destinations represent countless trips and neither of them are accessible by train. To me, you havev to design transit with certain trips in mind. Connecting the two train stations, navy pier, and McCormick place would cover a LOT of trips.
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  #47  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2006, 1:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail Claimore
The practical thing to do would be to build the Clinton Street subway to complete an underground Loop, then have that subway extend almost directly northward to meet up with the red line at North and Clybourn, which will be completely rebuilt with the Circle Line subway anyway.

Doing this would solve the overcrowding problems in two ways. Operating the purple line at normal headways outside rush hour to downtown through a new underground tunnel and loop would ease demand on red line trains using the State Street subway. There would still be plenty of capacity left for ridership along the Dan Ryan if they used 4-car trains operating at the same headways. The second way is that this would free up the State Street subway for Circle Line trains in the future.
Operating four-car trains down to 95th St during the off-peak times except for overnight service is courting disaster (Red Line-Ryan riders are cranky enough as is...). While I don't necessarily disagree 8-car trains may be a tad longish currently after 10PM on weekdays, on weekends, and even between the rushes, 4 cars during these times is plain too short and will incite complaints. Dan Ryan ridership is higher than that. It would definitely not be feasible when (if?) they *FINALLY* extend the Red Line to SOMEWHERE beyond 95th. I say this with awareness of the possibility Im misreading you. In that case that's on me. But if not, then as a Red Line rider I hafta quickly but respectfully disagree.

Rest of the idea is cool tho. I especially very much support a Clinton subway. Always have. Tho I would go with an alignment that links it with the Blue Line over linking it with the Red Line further north, both discussed in the Central Area Plan. I like the former plan with the purpose of getting people across the river to their Loop jobs or whatever and back quickly. It would also be a convenient way to get deep into downtown if interurban train service ever goes regionally hi-speed and thus gets popular (or at least useful) again.

As much as the coverage of CTA is the envy of so many who don't live here, its still quite flawed and among myriad other things I think its kinda senseless that the L doesn't directly serve the train stations, especially Union Station. The walk to Clinton/Congress from there is just that--a walk. Same with Clinton/Lake from Ogilvie. And it's an outdoor trek; sucks when it's cold. Millennium Station's a bit of a haul from State but at least it has the pedway. LaSalle's really the only one of the four with halfway convenient L access.

Norsider, I agree with you. Places like Navy Pier and McCormick Pl are woefully underserved by public tansit that's NOT the slow buses or those silly tourist trolleys. Heavy rail service for these places just ain't happenin' tho. Not for a very long time at least. Not with the financial and political issues surrounding the projects actually on the table. And as you succinctly noted a few posts back, those who control the purse strings don't always use those funds for the most sane purposes...

Why not just revive the old Circulator plan to serve these places? Wouldn't that be cheaper as an LRT system, or no? It was a great idea when it was first entertained years ago. Too bad the idiot relevant powers-that-be seemed either cool to the idea or actively opposed to it. Least it looks like this Carroll Av talk is the potential beginning of a revival of that, and perhaps it can snowball from there. It would definitely be a hit with tourists and conventioneers (and may even serve a purpose for those of us who actually live here) and keep em outta my way on the L.

Another question: Why route the Purple Line to the subways, anyway? Could it not continue to work in its current routing if these additions to the L system came to fruition? Does it have anything to do with this so-called "Pink Line" ( ) routing on the Loop tracks (to me the CTA is playin' themselves if they want me to believe it was ever seriously to be a short-term "experiment;" I've smelled permanece all along...)? Viva, you're always informed and insightful on these sorta things. Whaddaya say?
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  #48  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2006, 3:52 AM
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Well I've had a change in heart from my recent beliefs.

Do the Circle Line....the current plan is solid, with some changes to their proposed loop routing and some of the station locations.

But most importantly...bring back the distributor subway plan!
Subway runs east-west under Monroe st from the Metra stations to Michigan Ave., branches north and south. South branch goes to mccormick place. North branch goes up under fairbanks, and eventually terminated in a 1-way loop going counter clockwise along fairbanks, Dewitt, Walton, Rush, Chicago, then back south on Fairbanks.

Brilliant in every way, just a tad, um, expensive. But the monroe part could largely be done via cut and cover, except for tunneling under the river, plus the costly transfer points at Dearborn and State.

See:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...or_Subways.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:D...tor_Subway.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:P...tor_Subway.jpg
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  #49  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2006, 4:18 AM
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Great job on the map; I don't recall ever seeing that before tho I've heard much of it, as well as J. Daley's idea of tunnelling the Loop--something I think is absolutely nuts simply to ever consider. The Distributor plan is cool in concept to me as someone who (for reasons even I don't know) prefers heavy rail. But don't you think it's a somewhat relatively short-ish for the cost in the current US dollar? You don't believe a light-rail method of going most of these places would be just as useful for cheaper?

And the "informed and insightful" comment actually pertained to my query on the proposed Evanston Express reroute into State's tunnel. That's something I don't get.
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  #50  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2006, 2:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chitowngza
Great job on the map; I don't recall ever seeing that before tho I've heard much of it, as well as J. Daley's idea of tunnelling the Loop--something I think is absolutely nuts simply to ever consider. The Distributor plan is cool in concept to me as someone who (for reasons even I don't know) prefers heavy rail. But don't you think it's a somewhat relatively short-ish for the cost in the current US dollar? You don't believe a light-rail method of going most of these places would be just as useful for cheaper?

And the "informed and insightful" comment actually pertained to my query on the proposed Evanston Express reroute into State's tunnel. That's something I don't get.
Yeah that distributor was almost the Central Area Circulator, a light rail project of the late 90s that more or less stalled and fizzled when Daley freaked at the size of the Light Rail vehicles (or thats my understanding at least). But the distributor is the best way to connect the West loop Metra stations to the rest of downtown.

I'm pretty sure the State Street subway can theoretically operate with headways as low as about 90 seconds, and the red line at its peak has headways of 3-4 minutes, so theres some capacity left. Rerouting the purple down there would ease the rush hour crush the red line currently has (not to mention act as a more traditional "red line express"), and let the CTA play with the loop routing some, eventually running 2 lines out to Kimball on what is now Brown (possibly through-routing some Orange line trains), which would also give the flexibility of coming in and out of the loop in different directions to extend all day.

I mean, its not a necessary switch (purple->subway), but its doable operationally especially if CTA has something specific in mind with the added loop capacity.
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  #51  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2006, 6:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VivaLFuego
Yeah that distributor was almost the Central Area Circulator, a light rail project of the late 90s that more or less stalled and fizzled when Daley freaked at the size of the Light Rail vehicles (or thats my understanding at least). But the distributor is the best way to connect the West loop Metra stations to the rest of downtown.

I'm pretty sure the State Street subway can theoretically operate with headways as low as about 90 seconds, and the red line at its peak has headways of 3-4 minutes, so theres some capacity left. Rerouting the purple down there would ease the rush hour crush the red line currently has (not to mention act as a more traditional "red line express"), and let the CTA play with the loop routing some, eventually running 2 lines out to Kimball on what is now Brown (possibly through-routing some Orange line trains), which would also give the flexibility of coming in and out of the loop in different directions to extend all day.

I mean, its not a necessary switch (purple->subway), but its doable operationally especially if CTA has something specific in mind with the added loop capacity.
Thanks for breaking it down. Its not like I got some greedy aversion to sharing the State tunnel with Purple Line riders lol. It's not like I'm never in the Loop structure stations or anything, where of course we do share. I just didn't get the rationale of even proposing it if what's being done now seems well enough. And I can see how, as you noted, the State tunnel has the capacity. But I forgot about the talk of thru-routing the Ravenswood and Midway routes; there's something that would be cool if its shown to work better than what's going on now.

I don't recall Daley's attitude toward the LRT vehicles being a factor in killing the Circulator Plan...that's an interesting nugget. What little I remember from it all I can sorta recall the Anti-Chicagoan GOP Coalition of the time in Springfield (Jim Edgar, Pate Phillip, Lee Daniels) being assholes about funding, like they almost always were about things this town wanted/needed. That's too bad.
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  #52  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2006, 3:36 AM
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I posted this on SSC, thought it was kinda cool
http://transit.elevatedconsulting.com/
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  #53  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2006, 7:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chitowngza
Operating four-car trains down to 95th St during the off-peak times except for overnight service is courting disaster (Red Line-Ryan riders are cranky enough as is...). While I don't necessarily disagree 8-car trains may be a tad longish currently after 10PM on weekdays, on weekends, and even between the rushes, 4 cars during these times is plain too short and will incite complaints. Dan Ryan ridership is higher than that. It would definitely not be feasible when (if?) they *FINALLY* extend the Red Line to SOMEWHERE beyond 95th. I say this with awareness of the possibility Im misreading you. In that case that's on me. But if not, then as a Red Line rider I hafta quickly but respectfully disagree.

Rest of the idea is cool tho. I especially very much support a Clinton subway. Always have. Tho I would go with an alignment that links it with the Blue Line over linking it with the Red Line further north, both discussed in the Central Area Plan. I like the former plan with the purpose of getting people across the river to their Loop jobs or whatever and back quickly. It would also be a convenient way to get deep into downtown if interurban train service ever goes regionally hi-speed and thus gets popular (or at least useful) again.

As much as the coverage of CTA is the envy of so many who don't live here, its still quite flawed and among myriad other things I think its kinda senseless that the L doesn't directly serve the train stations, especially Union Station. The walk to Clinton/Congress from there is just that--a walk. Same with Clinton/Lake from Ogilvie. And it's an outdoor trek; sucks when it's cold. Millennium Station's a bit of a haul from State but at least it has the pedway. LaSalle's really the only one of the four with halfway convenient L access.

Norsider, I agree with you. Places like Navy Pier and McCormick Pl are woefully underserved by public tansit that's NOT the slow buses or those silly tourist trolleys. Heavy rail service for these places just ain't happenin' tho. Not for a very long time at least. Not with the financial and political issues surrounding the projects actually on the table. And as you succinctly noted a few posts back, those who control the purse strings don't always use those funds for the most sane purposes...

Why not just revive the old Circulator plan to serve these places? Wouldn't that be cheaper as an LRT system, or no? It was a great idea when it was first entertained years ago. Too bad the idiot relevant powers-that-be seemed either cool to the idea or actively opposed to it. Least it looks like this Carroll Av talk is the potential beginning of a revival of that, and perhaps it can snowball from there. It would definitely be a hit with tourists and conventioneers (and may even serve a purpose for those of us who actually live here) and keep em outta my way on the L.

Another question: Why route the Purple Line to the subways, anyway? Could it not continue to work in its current routing if these additions to the L system came to fruition? Does it have anything to do with this so-called "Pink Line" ( ) routing on the Loop tracks (to me the CTA is playing themselves if they want me to believe it was ever seriously to be a short-term "experiment;" I've smelled permanece all along...)? Viva, you're always informed and insightful on these sorta things. Whaddaya say?
The south side red line idea I brought up is a bad plan anyway now that I realize one thing. Increasing frequency wouldn't make a difference between 4-car or 8-car trains. The red line will have to continue as is. The only underutilized line on the north side then would be the purple line. If the circle line is to operate using the subway, then routing the purple line through there would not be the best option anyway.

A cheaper alternative is to rather than build a new subway from North and Clybourne, have purple line trains use the circle line going the other way from Armitage into a North Avenue Subway (which would be the way the line would be constructed there anyway), then have purple line trains merge with blue line trains at Division Street and head to the new underground loop that way. Besides the Clinton Street Subway, the additional construction costs would be minimal if the circle line were to be built. This would provide needed capacity by increasing operations on the existing north side elevated as well as in the Milwaukee Subway to at least Division Street without affecting red line service at all on either side of the city.

The Pink Line would operate clockwise around the loop anyway along with the orange line. Together, those two lines can match brown line frequencies going counter-clockwise around the loop, evening out loop traffic as it is in terms of clockwise vs counter-clockwise. The purple line would not need to run on the elevated loop. Operating it in an underground loop would give it a larger area of service downtown.
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  #54  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2006, 8:57 PM
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Let's all stop throwing ourselves under the bus by almost pre-emptively defusing any thoughts of major capital expenditure. We're the only ones who care about this at the moment, so instead of saying "it'll never get built," "it's too costly," let's be the ones to convince others that 2 billion for a new subway is NOT too expensive. That it is, in fact, not expensive at all, relatively speaking. That any money spent on wise transit options generates enough commerce to cover the cost. That money for transit is an investment in ourselves and our country. Let's fight FOR transit by talking about what a good idea it is and how this country should make it a budget priority. 2 billion is NOTHING, people. The problem is not the cost, it's convincing enough people that transit is worth it. I don't mean to overstate our influence here on this forum, but telling everyone within earshot that a new subway will never happen cause it's too expensive doesn't exactly help our cause.
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  #55  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2006, 2:38 PM
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from today's tribune:


Activists fear Circle Line to push past transit plans

By Virginia Groark
Tribune staff reporter
Published April 27, 2006

The Chicago Transit Authority's proposed Circle Line, an ambitious megaproject that would connect all CTA and Metra rail lines, is inching forward, but some community activists worry that its $1 billion price tag may sideline other long-proposed projects.

CTA President Frank Kruesi has called the Circle Line, which would cover six times the area of the Loop "L" system, the "single most important" transit project in the region. But watchdog groups are concerned that the plan, which was first made public four years ago, could take precedence over projects, such as the extension of the Red Line to 130th Street, in transit-poor communities.

The Chicago Area Transportation Study has recommended the Red Line project since the early 1970s, according to Kermit Wies, deputy for planning at the organization.

"It's a dismally underserved area that needs a transportation shot in the arm, and it keeps getting bypassed by other projects," said Michael Evans, associate director of Developing Communities Project, a community organizing group on the Far South Side.

CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney said that's not the case. The CTA is in the process of hiring consultants to do studies on the Red Line extension and two other projects.

"We're moving ahead on all of them," she said. "They're all important."

Congress authorized the projects in a massive transportation bill that was passed last year. But those CTA proposals, along with three others, still must secure federal funds, a lengthy and fiercely competitive process.

CTA officials say they have not prioritized the five projects. But transit watchdogs point to the progress on the Circle Line alternatives analysis study as an indicator that it's at the top of the list.

The agency will hold three public hearings on the Circle Line next week, a required step in the alternative analysis study that began in 2004. Similar studies have not yet begun on the Red Line extension and two other projects: the extension of the Orange Line to Ford City shopping center and the Yellow Line to Old Orchard shopping center.

"Essentially what's happened is this great brainstorm child of the CTA has leapfrogged ahead of existing unfunded and unaddressed capital priorities to become the new megaproject goal," said Jacqueline Leavy, executive director of the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group, a civic watchdog organization.

But Gaffney said the CTA started the studies on the Circle Line and one other proposal before the others because they are more complicated projects.

"Not everything operates on a parallel track," she said.

If built, the Circle Line would cover a region bordered by Pershing Road on the south, Fullerton Parkway on the north, Western Avenue on the west and Lake Michigan on the east.

A preliminary plan outlined a three-phase project, the first of which was accomplished with the recent rehabilitation of the Paulina Connector, a 3/4-mile stretch of elevated track that runs parallel to, and just west of, Ashland Avenue. Though the connector had been used recently to reposition equipment, it will be used for passenger service in June when the Pink Line goes into service.

In the second phase, a 1.5-mile link of new elevated track would be built to connect the 54/Cermak branch of the Blue Line near Cermak and Ashland with the Orange Line's Ashland/Archer station.

The third phase would be a 3.35-mile link of new track that connects the Paulina Connector with the O'Hare Blue Line at Division and the Red Line at North/Clybourn. The existing elevated stretch of the Brown Line between the Sedgwick and Armitage stations would be rerouted to a new "super station" at North/Clybourn that also would serve the Red and Circle Lines.

CTA officials believe the plan would shorten travel times and improve connections. Riders could transfer to other lines and Metra routes without having to travel all the way into the Loop.

Evans believes the Circle Line will be built because it has political backing. But his group wants to make sure the Red Line project isn't ignored.

So the organization has been holding community meetings and this week traveled to Springfield to meet with legislators.

"The Circle Line's going to get done no matter how people feel about it," he said. "Let's face it. It's a showpiece. Sure it's going to make a difference. It's saying we are the best to the other cities.

"But servicing your people, the ones that are most displaced, that's saying we care about what's happening," he added. "That's the stance they should be taking right now."
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  #56  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2006, 5:03 PM
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The unpleasant fact is that in the era of modern cities, the low-income areas have lower transit ridership when it comes to hard numbers. So where's the better return on investment?
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  #57  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2006, 5:35 PM
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^ Well, even they know the Circle Line will get built, and are probably smart enough to recognize it as a fine idea and acknowledge the benefits of it to the system as a whole (tho not neccesarily to them if their individual L-riding patterns are like mine). But they also are looking out for themselves as there's no reason to believe the CTA will be looking out for them...

I say if stretching it to 130th is so much an issue for now (which I find too bad it would be), a compromise would be stretching it to terminating as it hits the 115th and Michigan part of the proposal, and taking it from there another time. There won't be any logical concerns about ridership or lack thereof--not a one--because there is plenty of available ridership along that stretch. Plenty.

We've sorta had this discussion before. I don't know what has given you the impression that the Hundreds are like the 40s and 50s along the Green Line, and some vast ghetto or swath of former projects site, and that it is full of people with no reason to go to the Loop especially not to work. But it's unfortunate you feel that way if you do.

The last post Norsider makes is a fine point: It sucks we even have to have discussions like these on what to do with the little $ our governments are willing to spend on transit.

PS: Thank you for posting the article here, Steely. And I appreciate your added input below me, oshkeoto. Very well said.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2006, 5:37 PM
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^ One, return on investment is not the point. Two, even if it were, the 95th station on the Red Line is one of the most heavily-used stations in the entire system--and the Far South Side is so underserved that I don't think we have to worry about building the thing and not having anyone riding it. Look at it this way: there are multiple community organizations in places like Roseland and Pullman who have been clamoring for this extension for decades; how many marches do you see in the West Loop for the Circle Line?
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  #59  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2006, 6:28 PM
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Regarding an extension of the Red Line, I don't think it's a question of whether or not the area "deserves" transit. First of all, there already is pretty decent Metra service up to 115th street so I'm not sure you won't just cannibalize the ridership there, but again, this really isn't the issue. What we need to remember when we talk about the CTA is that we are talking about city circulation, NOT commuter access. Now of course any transit system is going to concentrate on a central area and, largely, bring people to and from there. But what is the point of having the CTA compete against Metra? I would not prioritize an extension to 115th street, but I also wouldn't prioritize an extension to Schaumburg, Old Orchard, or Ford City. Until the CTA can provide convenient and direct access for all the little trips that make a urban area vibrant (think Paris, London, NYC, Tokyo, even an upstart DC), I will be vociferously against all of these things. And it frustrates me that building for these long-ass, Operating-expense-killing trips are all the CTA seems to talk about (other than the Circle Line of course, and Mid-City Transitway to a lesser degree). Let the Metra bring people in from the outer rings. What is the purpose of killing your Operating Expenses if people still(!!!!!!) can't get from the downtown Sheraton to McCormick Place/from Union Station to Navy Pier/from Humboldt Park to Midway/from Ogilvie Station to Soldier Field/from Ukrainian Village to the Metro/from Halsted in Pilsen to ANYWHERE and on and on and on. Duplicating service for suburban transit is wasteful and foolish (yes I mean you, Evanston Express), because to be honest, the Metra can do the long-trip commuting thing much better than the CTA ever could. Instead, let's concentrate on the great potential that the CTA has to be a circulator.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2006, 7:10 PM
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VivaLFuego VivaLFuego is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norsider
Regarding an extension of the Red Line, I don't think it's a question of whether or not the area "deserves" transit. First of all, there already is pretty decent Metra service up to 115th street so I'm not sure you won't just cannibalize the ridership there, but again, this really isn't the issue. What we need to remember when we talk about the CTA is that we are talking about city circulation, NOT commuter access. Now of course any transit system is going to concentrate on a central area and, largely, bring people to and from there. But what is the point of having the CTA compete against Metra? I would not prioritize an extension to 115th street, but I also wouldn't prioritize an extension to Schaumburg, Old Orchard, or Ford City. Until the CTA can provide convenient and direct access for all the little trips that make a urban area vibrant (think Paris, London, NYC, Tokyo, even an upstart DC), I will be vociferously against all of these things. And it frustrates me that building for these long-ass, Operating-expense-killing trips are all the CTA seems to talk about (other than the Circle Line of course, and Mid-City Transitway to a lesser degree). Let the Metra bring people in from the outer rings. What is the purpose of killing your Operating Expenses if people still(!!!!!!) can't get from the downtown Sheraton to McCormick Place/from Union Station to Navy Pier/from Humboldt Park to Midway/from Ogilvie Station to Soldier Field/from Ukrainian Village to the Metro/from Halsted in Pilsen to ANYWHERE and on and on and on. Duplicating service for suburban transit is wasteful and foolish (yes I mean you, Evanston Express), because to be honest, the Metra can do the long-trip commuting thing much better than the CTA ever could. Instead, let's concentrate on the great potential that the CTA has to be a circulator.
I agree. Generally speaking, CTA's operating budget went to shit after the opening of all the expressway-median extensions.
I think ROI is important, because otherwise everyone complains about CTA wasting money, then the taxpayers wont pony up when CTA needs it to stay afloat.

Something to remember with 95th street is that any red line extension would significantly REDUCE ridership at 95th, since the bulk of ridership at that stop would be taken by the new stations on the extension. 95th is primarily a transfer point from bus riders.

I think the red line extension should be built, dotn get me wrong, but I dont think its as important as the Circle Line.
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