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  #10021  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 2:18 PM
k1052 k1052 is offline
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
What kind of headways are we looking for out of a airport express line? If it's any greater than 15 or 20 minutes, it cancels out the time savings over taking a cab or taking the Blue Line.

However, a commuter railroad operating with 15-minute headways is new and unfamiliar to Chicago. It also might require more infrastructure than you think, in terms of junctions and overtakes. Many of the junctions along the route are not grade-separated.

It would royally screw up the massive A2 Interlocking at Western Ave, for example. I guess you could avoid this somewhat by sending the airport trains to Ogilvie, where airport-bound pax would find a more spacious, welcoming terminal. Pacific Junction has a tight, slow turn. The curve at Galewood is pretty sharp, too. From Narragansett westward, there are plenty of busy grade crossings where the increase in downtime would produce serious congestion.
A few DMU cars moving at speed will take a lot less time to clear crossings than a regular Metra consist, particularly if they aren't stopping at any stations along the way. Some additional track work at A2 might be required but this is still the least expensive option that I can see. Of course I'd love it to be entirely grade separated but without spending a fortune it isn't possible.

I'd rather actually fix the concourse issues at Union which impact everyone rather than simply divert new traffic away from the station because it sucks in it's current state.
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  #10022  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 2:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Justin_Chicago View Post
On another note, I am surprised no developer proposed adding a second office tower to Block 37. You have the blue and red line directly underneath the building. A hotel development does not make much sense to me.
Office development has shifted West and Northwest (into River North), this has been the case for quite some time. The east loop just isn't that as attractive office market anymore and is turning over to other uses. Hotels are also currently in high demand so the money is talking. Tourists,residents, and students also use the CTA so from my pov we're growing the ridership with more off peak passengers.
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  #10023  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 6:17 PM
Justin_Chicago Justin_Chicago is offline
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Originally Posted by k1052 View Post
Office development has shifted West and Northwest (into River North), this has been the case for quite some time. The east loop just isn't that as attractive office market anymore and is turning over to other uses. Hotels are also currently in high demand so the money is talking. Tourists,residents, and students also use the CTA so from my pov we're growing the ridership with more off peak passengers.
I am beginning to notice that as I track office locations with job announcements. I lived my last 8 years with two simple rules, always live within walking distance of the Red or Blue line. But now the Green Line will turn into the most effective transit line for employment options in the CBD if you want to avoid a bus transfer or long walks.
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  #10024  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 6:44 PM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
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Originally Posted by Justin_Chicago View Post
I am beginning to notice that as I track office locations with job announcements. I lived my last 8 years with two simple rules, always live within walking distance of the Red or Blue line. But now the Green Line will turn into the most effective transit line for employment options in the CBD if you want to avoid a bus transfer or long walks.
^ I wonder how that will affect the real estate markets of the West Loop and Bronzeville?
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  #10025  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 9:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
What kind of headways are we looking for out of a airport express line? If it's any greater than 15 or 20 minutes, it cancels out the time savings over taking a cab or taking the Blue Line. .
I'm not sure if I'm buying that logic. I agree that every 15/20 minutes is ideal but even if it were every half hour during periods I think an express line could compete.

During much of the day the ride to Ohare from downtown is upwards of over an hour often in mind numbering traffic. Then you have 40 minutes (if it isn't riddled by slow zones at the time) on the Blue Line with numerous stopping and minimal comfort.

Just having a relatively comfy train ride that doesn't make you feel like you are stopping every 3 minutes or doing rolling stops like your cab on the Kennedy I think would be a big sell.
Quote:
It would royally screw up the massive A2 Interlocking at Western Ave, for example. I guess you could avoid this somewhat by sending the airport trains to Ogilvie, where airport-bound pax would find a more spacious, welcoming terminal.
Is Olgivie really less congested then the north terminal of Union?


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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
^An expensive solution to a problem that need not arise in the first place.
More expensive then trying to retrofit the blue line to also carry express trains with minimal disturbance?


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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
The problem with letting the office core continue to migrate westward is that it renders irrelevant the existing rapid transit facilities, as well as Millennium Station. It's a huge waste of resources, plus there are social justice issues of making office jobs easier for west and north suburbanites to reach, but harder for city and south suburban residents.

London offices are already widely distributed, plus Paddington has easy Underground connections to the City and Westminster.
Are you saying that London doesn't attend to social justice or rasing all boats as much as Chicago should aim to? I don't know but I would rather take London's economic and poverty issues over Chicago's.

Not every CBD need be Midtown Manhattan to properly and efficiently utilize infrastructure and provide reasonably transportation to all the regions residents. In fact Midtown already could be considered less concentrated (and will continue to be if future developments go through) then the Loop is.

Acting as if building just west of the Chicago River is akin to moving jobs and wealth to the far off suburbs is a bit silly. The West Loop will still be be MUCH more well located from a transit standpoint then Streeterville, Illinois Center, or much of River North is for many regional residents. If East-West bus connections are realized and a Clinton Blue Line built it will easily be the best connected transit quadrant of downtown outside of the Loop if it isn't already.

What is a bigger waste of resources to me would be to spend x10 the money to retrofit the Blue Line or build whole new train spurs when the infrastructure is largely ready right now for minimal cost and time. Money and savings that could be used for other direct social programs and improvements just by mindfully using the most practical and financially sound alternatives utilizing current infrastructure instead of going for the more costly (and contract heavy) options.

Last edited by nomarandlee; Feb 22, 2013 at 12:14 AM.
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  #10026  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 9:34 PM
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I have a question about the central loop BRT project:

It appears that only Washington & Madison, as well as Clinton and Canal, will have bus-only lanes. But if this route runs north and all the way to Navy Pier, is there a reason there aren't any designated bus only lanes on that portion of the route as well? It just doesn't seem to make sense.
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  #10027  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 10:22 PM
Justin_Chicago Justin_Chicago is offline
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
^ I wonder how that will affect the real estate markets of the West Loop and Bronzeville?
Funny you ask that. Bronzeville brownstones have jumped on my radar due to the transit access and the 31st Street Harbor, but I am hoping high rise construction eventually occurs on the old Michael Reese Hospital site.
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  #10028  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 10:23 PM
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They're less important. Crossing the Loop is the slowest part of the journey. Going beneath Illinois Center is quick, and the streets in Streeterville are pretty fast.

I think we need lanes on Canal, but CDOT is reluctant to do that before the Canal St Viaduct is rebuilt.
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  #10029  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2013, 4:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomarandlee View Post
Are you saying that London doesn't attend to social justice or raising all boats as much as Chicago should aim to?
I was responding to two completely different posts when talking about London and talking about social justice.

But imagine if London's office jobs had migrated west to surround Paddington and Victoria, making them hard to reach from the East End or South of the Thames.

Every office building that moves west of Franklin is helping make the Metra Electric and even the Red Line less relevant. That's something we ought to be resisting, not encouraging with new airport expresses.
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  #10030  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2013, 7:38 AM
DCCliff DCCliff is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
I was responding to two completely different posts when talking about London and talking about social justice.

But imagine if London's office jobs had migrated west to surround Paddington and Victoria, making them hard to reach from the East End or South of the Thames.

Every office building that moves west of Franklin is helping make the Metra Electric and even the Red Line less relevant. That's something we ought to be resisting, not encouraging with new airport expresses.
I simply cannot agree. But I'm too tired right now to argue
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  #10031  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2013, 9:42 AM
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Yes, but regardless of whether we choose to reinforce West Loop momentum or encourage East Loop growth, we still get stuck with a transportation problem that demands an expensive solution. West Loop growth requires a new L line, whereas East Loop growth requires much stronger links to Metra.

You're the one who's pointed out that suburb-dwelling executives prefer the West Loop to minimize the walking time from Metra. Are you advocating for some kind of parity between East/West Loop? More restrictive zoning?
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  #10032  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2013, 1:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Yes, but regardless of whether we choose to reinforce West Loop momentum or encourage East Loop growth, we still get stuck with a transportation problem that demands an expensive solution. West Loop growth requires a new L line, whereas East Loop growth requires much stronger links to Metra.

You're the one who's pointed out that suburb-dwelling executives prefer the West Loop to minimize the walking time from Metra. Are you advocating for some kind of parity between East/West Loop? More restrictive zoning?
This E-W BRT is actually a good step in the right direction for exactly this issue. Office landlords in Streeterville, N Michigan Ave, and Illinois Center should actually band together to help subsidize this line, if you ask me. In addition, they should put pressure on CTA/Metra to work out an agreement where people arriving to Union & Ogilvie can transfer seamlessly and for free onto this line. At least for me, that would be a worthwhile endeavor
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  #10033  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2013, 3:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Are you advocating for some kind of parity between East/West Loop? More restrictive zoning?
No, just explaining why it's in the city's interest for an Airport Express terminal to be at Block 37 rather than Union Station.

Fare integration would be another very important step, allowing commuters arriving at Millennium or at Ogilvie and Union to easily get to the other side of the Loop. That's one reason the Electric Division is woefully underused—though Metra's insistence on scheduling and running it like a 19th century steam railroad rather than a regional transit line is another.
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  #10034  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2013, 3:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
No, just explaining why it's in the city's interest for an Airport Express terminal to be at Block 37 rather than Union Station.

Fare integration would be another very important step, allowing commuters arriving at Millennium or at Ogilvie and Union to easily get to the other side of the Loop. That's one reason the Electric Division is woefully underused—though Metra's insistence on scheduling and running it like a 19th century steam railroad rather than a regional transit line is another.
An E-W loop connection would be far more useful to all concerned than shoehorning airport express service onto the Blue Line at fantastic costs. This is something we've needed for many years.
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  #10035  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2013, 6:16 PM
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^Perhaps we're thinking of different project costs. Four passing tracks on the Blue Line (open air portions) are probably a couple hundred million. A new downtown subway will cost at least $2 billion.
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  #10036  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2013, 6:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
^Perhaps we're thinking of different project costs. Four passing tracks on the Blue Line (open air portions) are probably a couple hundred million. A new downtown subway will cost at least $2 billion.
The airport express station was never finished, it's just a bare shell. Estimates to finish it were $100M minimum a few years ago. So conservatively we're looking at a total $600M total expenditure to provide a service that could be accomplished out of Union Station for $50M and be integrated with Metra/Amtrak connections.

I think the argument that this would pull more jobs into the west side of the loop and across the river thus shouldn't be done is largely moot, since this has already happened on it's own. Addressing the need of faster connections from the east loop (including the MED/SS) and now River North/North Michigan Ave/Streeterville to thew west loop train stations should be high on the list of priorities.
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  #10037  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2013, 8:49 PM
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Originally Posted by k1052 View Post
The airport express station was never finished, it's just a bare shell. Estimates to finish it were $100M minimum a few years ago. So conservatively we're looking at a total $600M total expenditure to provide a service that could be accomplished out of Union Station for $50M and be integrated with Metra/Amtrak connections.

I think the argument that this would pull more jobs into the west side of the loop and across the river thus shouldn't be done is largely moot, since this has already happened on it's own. Addressing the need of faster connections from the east loop (including the MED/SS) and now River North/North Michigan Ave/Streeterville to thew west loop train stations should be high on the list of priorities.
This is what I'd like to see. It would greatly expand the utility of the Central Area and the useful areas for both locating businesses and living.
UP-N, UP-NW and BNSF electrified (at least)
Service on those lines boosted to a minimum of every 30 minutes from 6am to 12am, 7 days, with perhaps bolstered frequency to every 10 minutes within the central city.
Subterranean busways under Monroe St, Chicago Ave and North Michigan.
Yellow = new tunnels (from Streeterville north, the tunnels should be deep - below utlities)
Orange = Massive rework to make majority through-routed (Penn Station as a model)
Green = New stations

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  #10038  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2013, 9:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k1052 View Post
The airport express station was never finished, it's just a bare shell. Estimates to finish it were $100M minimum a few years ago. So conservatively we're looking at a total $600M total expenditure to provide a service that could be accomplished out of Union Station for $50M and be integrated with Metra/Amtrak connections.

I think the argument that this would pull more jobs into the west side of the loop and across the river thus shouldn't be done is largely moot, since this has already happened on it's own. Addressing the need of faster connections from the east loop (including the MED/SS) and now River North/North Michigan Ave/Streeterville to thew west loop train stations should be high on the list of priorities.
Any reasonable frequency would add a lot of congestion to that route not to mention however much money CN would demand to allow so many trains over their tracks. They don't even allow weekend NCS trains. I know CN traffic has gone down a lot since the EJE acquisition but they're not going to let huge quantities of trains over their track without a large payment.

On a completely separate note, I took Amtrak to Michigan yesterday and was surprised to see how much construction has occurred at englewood junction. There were some drilling and a few caissons, it wasn't much but more than I had expected.
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  #10039  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2013, 11:43 PM
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I still think a Metra-based Airport Express would be cheaper than a Blue Line Airport Express, but the Blue Line option gets you right to the terminals. Metra gets you to the remote parking lot.

Part of the long hesitation is due to the Western Terminal problem. A Western Terminal could have easy, direct access to the rail network. The underground people-mover planned for the terminal would give Express rail passengers access to the east terminals.
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  #10040  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2013, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
I still think a Metra-based Airport Express would be cheaper than a Blue Line Airport Express, but the Blue Line option gets you right to the terminals. Metra gets you to the remote parking lot.

Part of the long hesitation is due to the Western Terminal problem. A Western Terminal could have easy, direct access to the rail network. The underground people-mover planned for the terminal would give Express rail passengers access to the east terminals.
With the upgrades to the ATS I'm not sure how that shakes out time wise with walking to the Blue Line station from most of the concourses...it can be a hike depending what airline you're flying and you'd have to use the ATS anyway if T5.

How realistic is it to wait on the Western Terminal? The airlines don't want it and even with the American-US Air merger I don't think there is enough leverage to get it, probably only the remaining airfield upgrades.
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