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  #101  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2018, 9:12 PM
PKDickman PKDickman is offline
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^Draw it up and I'll present it at my next sit down with Sterling Bay.

The bottom line is that every trip that we cannot provide a transit alternative for, will probably be replaced by a vehicle.
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  #102  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2018, 10:42 PM
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The power of Chicago’s transit system has always been in the grid... for various reasons we never had a North/South route at 1200W.

There are a few missing links in the street grid, but with a few revamped intersections plus the new bridges Sterling Bay is already planning, you could launch such a service running from the Fullerton Red Line down to the Racine Blue Line. This would not only offer connections to other rail and bus lines, but it would actually hit neighborhoods like West Loop, River West and Lincoln Park where commuters are likely to come from.
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  #103  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2018, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
The power of Chicago’s transit system has always been in the grid... for various reasons we never had a North/South route at 1200W. There are a few missing links in the street grid, but with a few revamped intersections plus the new bridges Sterling Bay is already planning, you could launch such a service running from the Fullerton Red Line down to the Racine Blue Line. This would not only offer connections to other rail and bus lines, but it would actually hit neighborhoods like West Loop, River West and Lincoln Park where commuters are likely to come from.
We might have, via the proposed bridge at Southport/Throop, but they're hoping to vacate Southport south of where it joins Kingsbury, and run Dominick down to Cortland and to the bridge as their primary through route.
Makes sense from a lot layout stand point, but it snafus using Southport all the way from Fullerton.
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  #104  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2018, 8:27 PM
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We might have, via the proposed bridge at Southport/Throop, but they're hoping to vacate Southport south of where it joins Kingsbury, and run Dominick down to Cortland and to the bridge as their primary through route.
Makes sense from a lot layout stand point, but it snafus using Southport all the way from Fullerton.
Seems dumb to make your expensive new bridge dead-end into a quiet side street (Webster). Connecting to Southport going north would distribute traffic far more efficiently.

There's a problem on the south end, too... Throop dead-ends at North Avenue, which is already overloaded. Southbound traffic can continue past North and access Elston, but only via an awkward dogleg at LeMoyne.

If the section of Throop south of North was converted to two-way, and a short new segment built to link Throop to Elston (ideally preserving the nice old Chicago Firebrick Co.) Sterling Bay would get a ton more value out of their new bridge. A continuous, bus-friendly route all the way from River West up into Lincoln Park and Lakeview hitting the bulk of their land holdings. Hell, you could even make a few key segments bus-only, to discourage through-traffic and keep the route uncongested.
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  #105  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2018, 11:31 PM
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Seems dumb to make your expensive new bridge dead-end into a quiet side street (Webster). Connecting to Southport going north would distribute traffic far more efficiently.
They just sprung that on us last week. My opinion of Southport is the same as yours. I am still trying to wrap my head around using Dominick.

I went up there the other day just to look at the bridges and see whats up.
Webster and Cortland should be able to handle twice the traffic they do now. The problem is with throughput. Hopefully the Intelligent transportation system can make sense of the tangled knot of intersections.

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There's a problem on the south end, too... Throop dead-ends at North Avenue, which is already overloaded. Southbound traffic can continue past North and access Elston, but only via an awkward dogleg at LeMoyne.
The grid is completely fongoed up there. The city has been hinting at two new bridges we are guessing the Throop and maybe Armitage. They are the only reasonable locations, and they both involve doglegs to get out. They are both probably a long way off.

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If the section of Throop south of North was converted to two-way, and a short new segment built to link Throop to Elston (ideally preserving the nice old Chicago Firebrick Co.) Sterling Bay would get a ton more value out of their new bridge. A continuous, bus-friendly route all the way from River West up into Lincoln Park and Lakeview hitting the bulk of their land holdings. Hell, you could even make a few key segments bus-only, to discourage through-traffic and keep the route uncongested.
They want that bridge to connect to their stadium/arena. And it's not their bridge, I can guarantee that the taxpayers will be footing the bill.
At this stage, I'd be happy if someone offered to put back the #41 bus, but nobody wants to commit to anything.
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  #106  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2018, 5:41 AM
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There is a general plan to relocate the station south of Cortland.
At the very least, that would require Metra to move the switching yard they have there and spread the tracks wide enough to allow platforms and back together before they cross Ashland.

This illustration, would also require them to do this on a new viacuct, so the 606 can pass at street level.

This is a project that would dwarf the Belmont flyover and presupposes that Metra has a couple of billion dollars lying around and that they would prefer to spend it on something that can have no effect capacity, reliability or ridership,

This is only slightly more likely than the park.
It looks like you could keep the tracks where they are, and build an underpass for the 606. The development you see ("Lincoln Yard Station") is on the Sipi Metals site, and I assume this would be terraced down gently (example) to meet the 606 at the sunken level of the underpass.

Definitely would not require a "few billion dollars", the underpass could likely be built for around $12-15M, which is a fraction of the cost of the new pedestrian bridges CDOT is building over south Lake Shore Drive.
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  #107  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2018, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
It looks like you could keep the tracks where they are, and build an underpass for the 606. The development you see ("Lincoln Yard Station") is on the Sipi Metals site, and I assume this would be terraced down gently (example) to meet the 606 at the sunken level of the underpass.

Definitely would not require a "few billion dollars", the underpass could likely be built for around $12-15M, which is a fraction of the cost of the new pedestrian bridges CDOT is building over south Lake Shore Drive.
How do you expect to get on the trains, when there is no room for a platform.
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  #108  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2018, 4:00 PM
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How do you expect to get on the trains, when there is no room for a platform.
Why is a new viaduct and billions of dollars needed?

Spreading out some ground-level tracks to make room for a platform and excavating an underpass shouldn't cost billions, even if a few switches have to be rebuilt. Especially since there is about 75 feet between the Kennedy viaduct and the westernmost track, which leaves plenty of room for efficient phasing without minimal service disruption.

While we're at it, modernizing Metra would also be the best way to bring high capacity transit access to this area. This would mean electrifying the UPN and running a train every 10 minutes all day, and adding infill stations (including one between here and Ogilvie.) That would be a worthwhile use of a billion dollars.
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  #109  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2018, 5:04 PM
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Why is a new viaduct and billions of dollars needed?

Spreading out some ground-level tracks to make room for a platform and excavating an underpass shouldn't cost billions, even if a few switches have to be rebuilt. Especially since there is about 75 feet between the Kennedy viaduct and the westernmost track, which leaves plenty of room for efficient phasing without minimal service disruption.
The tracks aren't at ground level and the space to the Xway is a cliff.

To spread the tracks enough for the three platforms needed you will need 150 feet of flare at each end, minimum. Probably needs 300 ft considering passenger comfort. So 600ft plus 500ft of platform. 1100 ft times 5 active tracks (ignoring the siding and the possibility of adding express on the UPN), that's a mile of track.
Since the switch yard is in that spot, another mile will need to be relaid.

The embankment will also need to be widened and relaid.

The platforms can't start til 300ft from the Cortland/Ashland viaduct and passengers will need access them. They can go over the trains (four elevators) or under them in a new viaduct (three elevators) which would have the added advantage of cutting the 606 extension cost in half.

Am I up to a billion yet?

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While we're at it, modernizing Metra would also be the best way to bring high capacity transit access to this area. This would mean electrifying the UPN and running a train every 10 minutes all day, and adding infill stations (including one between here and Ogilvie.) That would be a worthwhile use of a billion dollars.
That's a noble goal, but somebody's got to pay for it.
The Feds aren't manning up, and I don't see Sterling Bay doing this out of pocket.
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  #110  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2018, 5:29 PM
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I used to ride the UPNW and commuted from Clybourn every day for two years.

The segment between Clybourn and Ogilvie is only four tracks (one track pair for each line), and virtually every train on UP-W and UP-NW stops at Clybourn. There seems to be no reason you couldn't downsize Clybourn to four platform tracks from the current five.

Make the platforms a little higher to speed up the boarding/alighting process, and build full-length platforms to handle even the longest express trains so that people don't waste time shuffling between cars.

After that, it's just a mathematical exercise squeezing four platform tracks, two 15' island platforms, and one freight spur track into the available 100' right-of-way. If UP relocates their access road and tower, it frees up another 30' overall, which can be used to double the platform width to the global standard of 30' - plenty for ramps, elevators, shelters, etc.

There's nothing from an engineering perspective that seems difficult or unusual about Sterling Bay's plan. I know for a fact that SOM has people who specialize in rail stations for Europe and Asia that consulted on this project, so this isn't just a bunch of wishful architects. The only problems, if there are any, would come from the constellation of stakeholders who may refuse to cooperate, or make unreasonable demands. Union Pacific, Chicago Terminal Railroad, Metra, IDOT and CDOT. Certainly it would grease the wheels if Sterling Bay came forward with the funds to build... that's an offer Metra couldn't refuse.

Another interesting fact is that Sterling Bay's early renderings showed a pedestrian overpass for the 606 that would zig-zag north to link with the existing Clybourn platforms north of Cortland. Now, the newer renderings appear to show a 606 underpass that continues along the Bloomingdale Ave axis, and a whole new station in that location, presumably replacing the existing. I have to imagine they would not be changing their scheme unless some or all of the railroad stakeholders were on board. Certainly relocating the station south offers a bunch of advantages... the existing station can operate with only minor disruption during construction, and the new station would have straight platforms instead of the curving ones Metra has right now. Not to mention the advantage of a direct connection with a major pedestrian/cyclist path that bypasses the traffic hellhole that exists at ground level.
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Last edited by ardecila; Mar 19, 2018 at 5:48 PM.
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  #111  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2018, 5:46 PM
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While we're at it, modernizing Metra would also be the best way to bring high capacity transit access to this area. This would mean electrifying the UPN and running a train every 10 minutes all day, and adding infill stations (including one between here and Ogilvie.) That would be a worthwhile use of a billion dollars.
metra dosent even own or operate the tracks, Union Pacific does. they make their money on freight. never gonna happen.
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  #112  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2018, 6:58 PM
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I used to ride the UPNW and commuted from Clybourn every day for two years.

The segment between Clybourn and Ogilvie is only four tracks (one track pair for each line), and virtually every train on UP-W and UP-NW stops at Clybourn. There seems to be no reason you couldn't downsize Clybourn to four platform tracks from the current five.

Make the platforms a little higher to speed up the boarding/alighting process, and build full-length platforms to handle even the longest express trains so that people don't waste time shuffling between cars.

After that, it's just a mathematical exercise squeezing four platform tracks, two 15' island platforms, and one freight spur track into the available 100' right-of-way. If UP relocates their access road and tower, it frees up another 30' overall, which can be used to double the platform width to the global standard of 30' - plenty for ramps, elevators, shelters, etc.

Go take another look. There is a fifth track that serves express runs on the UPNW. It gives us a third platform. Even if the entire third platform was off the ROW, what part of my list was wrong. They still have to move all the tracks and the switches, still have to widen the embankment and they still have to build a new viaduct.

And how does this benefit Metra? That station is heavily used as it sits. In fact it generates more rides than the entire Heritage Corridor. They might shave a minute in boarding time, but that don't mean shit on an hour and a half run.

Certainly it is possible, If Sterling Bay wants to pay for it, fine. But so far, they haven't committed one red cent.
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  #113  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2018, 8:41 PM
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Go take another look. There is a fifth track that serves express runs on the UPNW. It gives us a third platform. Even if the entire third platform was off the ROW, what part of my list was wrong. They still have to move all the tracks and the switches, still have to widen the embankment and they still have to build a new viaduct.

And how does this benefit Metra? That station is heavily used as it sits. In fact it generates more rides than the entire Heritage Corridor. They might shave a minute in boarding time, but that don't mean shit on an hour and a half run.

Certainly it is possible, If Sterling Bay wants to pay for it, fine. But so far, they haven't committed one red cent.
That's my point. The third track on UPNW doesn't actually begin until an interlocking just south of the Clybourn platforms. Further south than that, UPNW operates on only two tracks. I don't see a reason why the interlocking can't be moved north of Clybourn, so that UPNW only has two platform tracks. This would reduce the footprint of a "new Clybourn" station and eliminate confusion as well, since it's not always clear which platform an inbound train will berth.

Ultimately the viaducts at Armitage and Ashland/Cortland need to be replaced, so some kind of large capital project is needed here anyway. The Armitage ones are fairly standard and the replacements will be similar to the other new viaducts on UPN and UPNW, but the Ashland/Cortland structure will be a big project. Not in the billions, but (when combined with a new station) probably in the $100M-$200M range.

It's in Metra's interest to play ball because a stronger linkage to the 606 will only bolster ridership... there's no parking lot here, anyone getting on the train is transferring from buses, Ubers, or walking/biking. Plus, the curved platforms at the existing Clybourn station pose something of a safety risk, and the existing station is totally non-compliant with ADA.
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  #114  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2018, 9:32 PM
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That's my point. The third track on UPNW doesn't actually begin until an interlocking just south of the Clybourn platforms. Further south than that, UPNW operates on only two tracks. I don't see a reason why the interlocking can't be moved north of Clybourn, so that UPNW only has two platform tracks. This would reduce the footprint of a "new Clybourn" station and eliminate confusion as well, since it's not always clear which platform an inbound train will berth.

Ultimately the viaducts at Armitage and Ashland/Cortland need to be replaced, so some kind of large capital project is needed here anyway. The Armitage ones are fairly standard and the replacements will be similar to the other new viaducts on UPN and UPNW, but the Ashland/Cortland structure will be a big project. Not in the billions, but (when combined with a new station) probably in the $100M-$200M range.

It's in Metra's interest to play ball because a stronger linkage to the 606 will only bolster ridership... there's no parking lot here, anyone getting on the train is transferring from buses, Ubers, or walking/biking. Plus, the curved platforms at the existing Clybourn station pose something of a safety risk, and the existing station is totally non-compliant with ADA.
The bridges do need to be replaced - but regardless of this, the Metra tracks are not on an embankment, or at least not much of one. They are mostly less than 5 feet above surrounding land, and at absolute most they are 8 feet above. The streets are depressed to go under the tracks. So would they have to push some dirt around to do this? Sure. But not a $billion worth of it.

Elevators? CTA built the Morgan Street station which had two of them for $38 million. Again, not a $billion. Chicago is not New York City, and has actually proven that it can get a reasonable bang for its buck in transit construction.

In short, I suspect your estimates are off by just under an order of magnitude.

Something interesting I discovered while looking into this on the city's GIS is that there evidently used to be a pedestrian subway under the tracks at Wabansia. Have any of you ever heard of this, and are there any remnants left, or was it torn out when they built the Kennedy?
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  #115  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2018, 10:46 PM
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The bridges do need to be replaced - but regardless of this, the Metra tracks are not on an embankment, or at least not much of one. They are mostly less than 5 feet above surrounding land, and at absolute most they are 8 feet above. The streets are depressed to go under the tracks. So would they have to push some dirt around to do this? Sure. But not a $billion worth of it.
The metra embankment is every bit as tall as the 606. They ran at the same grade, probably 15ft up.

So, now you want to relay another mile of track, and rebuild three bridges, one of which is 300ft long and 130ft wide?
That'll keep the cost down.

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Elevators? CTA built the Morgan Street station which had two of them for $38 million. Again, not a $billion. Chicago is not New York City, and has actually proven that it can get a reasonable bang for its buck in transit construction.
We hung Morgan over the tracks on a frame work that had already been built for more track than exists, we paid $75 million for Washington/Wabash

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Something interesting I discovered while looking into this on the city's GIS is that there evidently used to be a pedestrian subway under the tracks at Wabansia. Have any of you ever heard of this, and are there any remnants left, or was it torn out when they built the Kennedy?
Those were vacated in the 40s for the Xway, and would've been filled in by the 70s when they brought that siding back to street grade behind Sipi,
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  #116  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2018, 12:07 AM
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Wabansia Avenue east of Bosworth and subway closed Sept. 1961.
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  #117  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2018, 2:33 AM
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According to the Cook County GIS, both the 606 and the C&NW Right-of-way are level at 600' feet above sea level. (Wouldn't it be cool if it was 606'?) The land surrounding the C&NW seems to vary between 590' and 599', mostly in the 593-596' range - except for the places where North and Cortland cross under, which seem to be lower than the prevailing elevations through this area, at about 585'.

Just laying down the roadbed and ballast alone would probably add 3 or 4 feet. So is there some earth moving? Yes - but you're not building up a 15' embankment. And even if it were, that's still just pushing dirt around.

I don't know anything about the costs of things like reconfiguring the interlocking, I suppose that could really bust the budget. But relocating Clybourn station to the south was also considered as a part of the Circle Line project, so it seems like this is something that lots of people think would make sense.
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  #118  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2018, 2:50 AM
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On a related note, Chicago Terminal Railroad has dropped their opposition to the abandonment of tracks on Goose Island (remember the fiasco with the parked tank cars in the street?)

The federal Surface Transportation Board has begun the process to start that abandonment, and CDOT has filed a petition for trail use that also mentions a potential streetcar operating in the same corridor.
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  #119  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2018, 4:48 AM
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According to the Cook County GIS, both the 606 and the C&NW Right-of-way are level at 600' feet above sea level. (Wouldn't it be cool if it was 606'?) The land surrounding the C&NW seems to vary between 590' and 599', mostly in the 593-596' range - except for the places where North and Cortland cross under, which seem to be lower than the prevailing elevations through this area, at about 585'.

Just laying down the roadbed and ballast alone would probably add 3 or 4 feet. So is there some earth moving? Yes - but you're not building up a 15' embankment. And even if it were, that's still just pushing dirt around.
Dude,
It's 15 feet tall.
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  #120  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2018, 4:39 PM
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I work for a real estate investment company, one of our research and acquisitions guys was talking in a meeting about a private tour he got from Sterling of the Lincoln Yards site last week. He said their plans are amazing, they want to build an entire little city up there, tons of highrises, a huge new multi-purpose Metra station with lots of amenities and tied in directly to the 606. They paid out a decent chunk to five different firms and said to draw up amazing plans and they would work exclusively with them and give them creative control over the entire process. Skidmore won out and is working it.

They also seemed to have had a lot of communication regarding the Amazon proposals out there. Unspoken word is that Amazon is eyeing DC for their headquarters, but what they're really looking at now is a large H2 somewhere (but not the huge all-in they're publicly soliciting), potentially DC, but they also want a follow up/offshoot site somewhere else too. They want to spread the sites, the third site will be much smaller than H2, but still a very major proposal, and that's where Sterling is really cozying up to them and pushing that "H3" type site to be in Chicago.

Of course that's all just rumor as far as I'm concerned, but interesting....

A big piece of the proposal is some very solid transit into and out of the area.
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