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  #15461  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2021, 4:08 PM
OhioGuy OhioGuy is online now
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
oh, that's interesting. ~$750M/mile isn't as expensive as i would have thought.

my assumptions must be jaded from all of the negative press the costs for NYC's 2nd ave subway got.

if brown line to jeff park were to ever happen, how new many stations would likely need to be built? i'm guessing pulaski and elston at an absolute minimum. a half-mile station at central park would likely also be useful given the high population density of that stretch of albany park. what about that neighborhood squeezed in between the kennedy and the edens, would you put one in there? it wouldn't really be able to tie into anything going north south, unless metra ever built a lawrence stop on the MD-N, which seems unlikely given how close the current mayfair and forest glen stops are.
Since the line would need to go underground by the time it reaches Kimball, I'm thinking a subway station there under Lawrence, with an eastern entrance at Kimball and a western entrance at Central Park, with the platform between Drake to Bernard, might be reasonable? Length would be relatively close to that of the Logan Square blue line station, with its entrances just off the square on the NW side and the other entrance further northwest at Spaulding. I definitely agree with stations at Pulaski and Elston. As for the other between the Edens and Kennedy, maybe it would be worth it if dense development could happen on the industrial land adjacent to the Metra tracks, otherwise it's probably fine to just continue on to Jefferson Park without spending more money on an additional station.
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  #15462  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2021, 4:18 PM
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Originally Posted by OhioGuy View Post
Since the line would need to go underground by the time it reaches Kimball, I'm thinking a subway station there under Lawrence, with an eastern entrance at Kimball and a western entrance at Central Park, with the platform between Drake to Bernard, might be reasonable?
ohh, that's a really good idea. a new kimbal subway stop underneath lawrence with a dual west entrance at central park does make a ton of sense, 2 birds with one stone.
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  #15463  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2021, 4:28 PM
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Sort of like this perhaps?
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  #15464  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2021, 4:32 PM
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^ yep, that makes total sense to me.

also, does anyone know if they could add enough capacity out at the rosemont yard to store all brown line trains? could the CTA theoretically sell off the kimball yard to get some cash back?
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  #15465  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2021, 5:10 PM
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I would think keeping the Kimball Yard, even if made subterranean and totally reconfigured, would make since if only to provide the opportunity for short turns and extra trains during rush periods. And if made subterranean, the air rights could be sold off for one hell of a TOD. I wrote about the Brown Line extension possibilities along with the trenching concepts for the grade crossing sections to the east some time ago in this thread, it's probably been a couple years.
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  #15466  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2021, 5:20 PM
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Really old post from this thread, and basically nobody seems to agree with me, but I think that extending the Brown Line to Montrose instead of Jefferson Park would be the better choice. From there it could go through onto the Mid-City Transitway right-of-way towards Six Corners and beyond. Plenty of opportunity for

With an infill station, you gain a connection to the MDN and UPNW, and get convenient run-through service from Brown to the Mid-City line, without the complexity of figuring out some way to tie the brown in with the blue in the median of the kennedy.

At any rate, if a brown line extension ever moves forward, it should certainly be one of the alternatives evaluated. Not that I would expect them to do anything with it other than sandbag it.

Lots of ways to implement this, but here's just one.

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Originally Posted by orulz View Post
Everybody seems to take for granted that the Brown line should connect to the Blue at Jefferson Park and then extend out to O'Hare, but I think this is a waste because:

(1) Running the brown line out to O'Hare doubles service on the least crowded portion of the O'Hare blue line branch, and conversely would restrict headways closer to downtown.
(2) Making enough room in the median for a portal and flying junction with the Brown Line would involve massive, extensive, and expensive freeway work and probably significant reconfiguration of the Jefferson Park Station. $$$

Better, in my opinion, would be to curve the line south at Cicero, along the Beltway Railroad ROW, and connect at Montrose instead. This gains the following:
(1) It's pretty close (1/2 mile) from Six Corners, which IMO gives it more potential for TOD than Jefferson Park
(2) It would cost less because there would be less tunneling and no expensive blue line junction to build
(3) You could connect with both the MD-N Metra line and the UP-NW Metra line (After building platforms) instead of just the UP-NW
(4) It could be extended further south along the unused Beltway Railroad ROW as the Mid City Transitway
(5) It provides a better route via transfer towards downtown for riders on the outer brown line

The downsides are:
(1) No direct brown line service to O'Hare, but is this really that important? It would be an easy ride with a transfer, and still a massive improvement over the present condition.
(2) The distance to O'Hare for brown line riders would be slightly longer
(3) This would foreclose on a potential new blue/brown track connection, but the existing blue/pink connection near the medical district should be sufficient for non-revenue moves to/from the blue line; if it ever becomes insufficient, they could always run a track through the tunnel under Block 37.

As far as implementation is concerned:

The UP-NW line would have to be elevated over the MD-N and this new Brown Line. If double stack and catenary are considered, you would have to raise UP-NW by about 30'. This could be done with a 1% grade within 3000' on the north side and about 3500' to the south. I would leave a 1200' level section on a long viaduct over Cicero, MD-N, and Montrose. The platforms would be on this viaduct. The grade to reach the new elevation would be on retained fill stretching from just south of Lawrence to just west of Keeler/Irving Park. The Kostner overpass would have to be rebuilt. If double stack is not a consideration on MD-N, you could probably go about 5' lower but Kostner would still need to be rebuilt. This would be similar in scope and cost to the Englewood Flyover project, which, while not cheap at $130m, would be chump change compared to the cost of buidling a longer tunnel and all the freeway work required for the blue/brown junction. Not to mention the benefits of a new rail/rail grade separation on two busy passenger lines.

The brown line could curve south near Cicero and emerge in a portal on the unused Beltway Railroad ROW north of Wilson. It could cross Wilson and the Kennedy on the existing railroad bridges, curve southeast on the existing UP-NW embankment, under the new UP-NW viaduct, where a station would be located directly beneath the platforms of the UP-NW. Then it would curve south along the Beltway Railroad ROW. Potentially the first phase could even include a station at Irving Park. To allow for future extension to the Mid-City Transitway corridor, it would have to climb high enough to cross over the MD-N line. Grades are not a concern for a rapid transit line; 4% grades could extend 750' on either side.

The MD-N line would retain its existing elevation, embankment, and bridges; The Mayfair platforms could probably be moved further to the north to make transfer distances shorter but this wouldn't necessarily have to occur with the initial construction.

A tunnel under the Brown and UP-NW at an elevation of about 614' would be low enough to cross under the brown/UP-NW which are about 626' and high enough to cross over southbound lanes of the Edens/Kennedy junction which are about 595' there, and connecting to the northern end of the Blue Line platform in the median. Possibly the bridge could continue across the northbound lanes to the corner of Sunnyside/Knox, giving the neighborhood a less circuitous connection to the station, if the neighborhood would allow it. (If I had one of those houses, I sure would - I would love the convenience, and if I was concerned about privacy or crime, I would just put up a fence).

I think the gas station at the NE corner of Cicero/Montrose as well as the MBS building between the tracks on the north side of Montrose would be a good spot for a headhouse/TOD complex.

Check here for a map/diagram, for the more visually oriented.

At any rate, I hope connecting at Jefferson Park isn't a foregone conclusion. This would seem to be a feasible alternative and the EIS alternatives analysis phase requires evaluating all feasible alternatives.
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  #15467  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2021, 6:24 PM
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ardecila ardecila is offline
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
^ yep, that makes total sense to me.

also, does anyone know if they could add enough capacity out at the rosemont yard to store all brown line trains? could the CTA theoretically sell off the kimball yard to get some cash back?
New yard on the big city-owned parcel west of Cicero, wedged between the MD-N line and the Weber Spur. Might need to dig out under the MD-N embankment to get a decent yard space, but the other side of the tracks is city-owned too, the parking area behind Mayfair Pumping Station.

CTA could sell off Kimball Yard (I'm sure they would), but I don't know how valuable it is. Albany Park isn't River North... and any development there would have a high construction cost since they'd have to build over a tunnel portal. Air rights are almost always worth less than a proper terra-firma site, because of the increased cost to develop. But it would be cool to get a big Vermont/Wilshire style midrise development there.

As for connecting at Jefferson Park, I think the move is to build a separate underground station and crossover for the Brown Line with a pedestrian tunnel to the existing platform, and a track connection further north around Foster. That way you can terminate Brown Line trains there during rush hours without fouling up the Blue Line, and off-peak both lines can run to O'Hare. Might need a 4th terminal track at O'Hare too.
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  #15468  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2021, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Might need a 4th terminal track at O'Hare too.
Given the time horizon we're talking about here I vote to extend trackage to the west side of the airfield for the new air terminal that will eventually be built there. The current CTA terminal has a number of issues like no tail tracks which limit speeds and the flat junctions causing crossing movements which during rush results in delays. Push west and build a new double island rail terminal with long tails that can be used for layups and a flyunder in the new station's throat.
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  #15469  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2021, 4:11 PM
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Adventures in public transit (I'm out of practice).

My son and I went to da Bears yesterday for his first game at Soldier Field, and he wanted to take the trains since he's never ridden the El. I had it all planned out but it was still a mess.

Metra ride was fine until Ogilvie. My plan was to walk to Clinton to take the Green Line, so we sat at the back of the train to be farthest north, and drop down the stairs to Randolph or Washington. But as we (and plenty of other people) found out, the doors at the bottom are all locked on Sunday because of "the French Market". Excuse me? How is that allowed?
So we had to walk all the way down to Madison and then back up to Clinton. Makes no sense at all, and caused a lot of unnecessary congestion in Ogilvie.

Next, Ventra cards. The website said families can share cards. I loaded two one-day passes, but cards can't double swipe (18 minute delay). So an 8 year old needs his own Ventra card? Ridiculous. I'll just buy single ride passes from now on. Ventra is overly complicated.

Then while waiting on the platform at Clinton, the PA announced that "Green/Orange trains are stopped at Roosevelt due to police activity". It wasn't clear how far Green trains would proceed or if we would get stuck. So we and some other Bears fans on the train got off at State/Lake and dropped down into the Red Line. My son loved that part because he'd never been in a subway before. When we got to Roosevelt, there wasn't any police activity, so I don't know what was going on.

After the game the Red Line station was packed. (Kid wanted to ride the subway again, so there went my Green Line plan) We couldn't squeeze onto a train and had to wait for the next one. But the next train was delayed so we waited 20 minutes. Must have been a glitch, next year we will wait longer and let the crowd thin out. Because there were more trains right behind ours.

Finally, I was expecting the Red Line to stop at State/Lake, so when we got to just "Lake" I didn't get off. So we got a free ride to Grand and had to go back. My son got more subway time so he loved it, I felt like a dumb tourist.

And then when we were walking south from Clinton it started pouring, so having those stairs open would have been real nice as we ran to Madison.

Overall it was a good experience, glitches happen. But the Metra stairs to Randolph/Washington being closed is inexcusable. Especially on game days if public transit is supposed to be preferred over driving.

Edit: I called Metra to ask about the stairs, and I was told that since Metra doesn't own the building they don't control whether those doors are locked or not. I feel this needs attention. Does anyone know who I should talk to at Citi Group, or whoever currently owns the building?

Last edited by aaron38; Oct 5, 2021 at 1:18 AM.
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  #15470  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2021, 6:49 PM
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^The "Suburban Concourse" has been closed on Sundays for decades. I'm not sure why, but there are restrooms and benches down there, so may just be a security personnel issue. Typically the stairs down from the platforms are chained off late nights and Sundays, as it's obviously dangerous to have people descending into what they think is an exit only to find it locked. I suspect at least one door in each set has a panic bar, though it may be alarmed.

The entrance from Washington near Canal is open whenever the building is open, so you could have avoided a block of rain that way.
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  #15471  
Old Posted Oct 7, 2021, 12:14 AM
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In honor of today's fallen caisson rig on the Red Purple Modernization project, here are some updates from last weekend:

The gantry for the precast viaduct is coming together. The viaduct segments should start going up before the end of the month, assuming no major delays after the accident.



Step 1 of building the new columns: cutting away the old retaining wall


Step 2: coring the retaining wall and sinking a caisson:


Step 3: forming up the column:


Step 4: completed column (this one was a test column in Walsh's yard)
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  #15472  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2021, 4:10 PM
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I was just in Paris for a week for the first time and I was so blown away by the Metro system and how amazing it is. It is so efficient, fast, and easy to use in terms of getting around and transferring to the other lines. I am so mad that CTA is nothing like it. It's a shame. I cannot wait to go back to Paris again and use the Metro.
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  #15473  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2021, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by lakeshoredrive View Post
I was just in Paris for a week for the first time and I was so blown away by the Metro system and how amazing it is. It is so efficient, fast, and easy to use in terms of getting around and transferring to the other lines. I am so mad that CTA is nothing like it. It's a shame. I cannot wait to go back to Paris again and use the Metro.
When I was in Paris I found the stations to be very poorly laid-out. There were long passages with poor signage, just to get to a very short platform. I prefer the Chicago stations - simple, one platform, and well-signed.
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  #15474  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2021, 8:32 PM
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Originally Posted by lakeshoredrive View Post
I was just in Paris for a week for the first time and I was so blown away by the Metro system and how amazing it is. It is so efficient, fast, and easy to use in terms of getting around and transferring to the other lines. I am so mad that CTA is nothing like it. It's a shame. I cannot wait to go back to Paris again and use the Metro.
The Metro in Paris is great. The one in Madrid is also very good. Chicago simply doesn't have the density to justify a similar system. For our size, I think Chicago does quite well. We have a population density of about 12,000/ppsm and even if we only really include the "best", most dense part of 1 million person Chicago, we get to maybe 20,000 ppsm, a bit more than San Francisco. Inner Paris has a bit over two million people at a density past 50,000 ppsm. Unfortunately, it's just math at the end of the day. We do have a few small areas of incredible density, but not enough and not organized in a very useful way.
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  #15475  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2021, 8:50 PM
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I think LSD was referring more to aesthetics and ease of use, or a general sense the system feels "modern" and in an excellent state of repair than any wonky ppsm density data vis a vis other cities vs Chicago. I don't think it would be news to anyone that the Cta could be a much better system with about 20 billion in investment.
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  #15476  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2021, 8:52 PM
Chi-Sky21 Chi-Sky21 is offline
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The subways in St Petersburg and Moscow are beautiful, I felt like I was in a museum. Darn those communists!
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  #15477  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2021, 1:11 AM
TR Devlin TR Devlin is offline
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The Metro in Paris is great. The one in Madrid is also very good. Chicago simply doesn't have the density to justify a similar system. For our size, I think Chicago does quite well. We have a population density ...
You compare Chicago's population density to other cities' and come to the conclusion that Chicago does quite well. Anyone who's on the Kennedy or the Eisenhower during rush hour would say this is absurd. Or who takes the Red or the Blue line.

Here's two statistics that give a different picture of how Chicago compares to other cities. These are the top seven cities in the U.S. in each category:

Jobs in central business district (thousands)
1. NY City 1,927
2. Chicago 572
3. Wash DC 431
4. Frisco 372
5. Boston 264
6. Philly 223
7. Seattle 212

percent of CBD workers using mass transit
1. NY City 78.4%
2. Frisco 56.1%
3. Boston 55.8%
4. Philly 49.8%
5. Wash DC 49.2%
6. Chicago 46.4%
7. Seattle 40.1%

The numbers are at least five years old but I'd guess that Chicago's percent of transit use is decreasing and Seattle's use is increasing. So I wouldn't be surprised to see Chicago drop to #7.

Source for my numbers: http://demographia.com/db-cbd2000.pdf
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Last edited by TR Devlin; Oct 16, 2021 at 2:01 AM.
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  #15478  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2021, 7:06 PM
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I took the Blue line from downtown to O'Hare yesterday just before rush hour. Can anyone explain to me why the O'Hare branch still has 1,700 miles of slow zones? The time between downtown and O'Hare has grown from what I remember it being - it took a full hour. There was no train traffic in front of us (i waited 12 minutes for the train - also annoying) and there were no delays at stations. We just crawled at a few mph for a significant amount of time.

Pretty bad experience. The only redeeming quality was seeing road traffic not going any quicker.
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  #15479  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2021, 7:11 PM
DCCliff DCCliff is online now
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I took the Blue line from downtown to O'Hare yesterday just before rush hour. . . . . . . . .
Pretty bad experience. The only redeeming quality was seeing road traffic not going any quicker.
I rarely post here anymore. But as one who spent a lot of career time in big urban rail/bus transit, this struck a note. I'm a Chicago native living in NYC. On a recent Chicago visit I rode the Red, Blue, Green, Brown & Purple lines. Every single one was slow -- with multiple slow zones, inexplicably low speeds for significant distances -- and generally frustrating. There was no obvious pattern of causes as to time of day, weather, etc. It was all just a mockery of the term "rapid transit." This has been my experience more often that not over the last few years (frequent visitor). CTA's relatively low ridership can't just be chalked up tp lower density. What the hell is the matter??? I used to actually look forward to getting around town by train. No more!
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  #15480  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2021, 7:20 PM
Chisouthside Chisouthside is offline
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Last time I took the blue line from clark and lake to ohare it took me about 40 minutes. Was a couple of months ago. I ride the blue line almost everyday and havent really noticed slowdowns. The issue for me though is train frequency hasnt returned to pre covid levels.
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