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westing last won the day on June 7 2011

westing had the most liked content!

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  1. Here's a few ideas I've thought would help out greatly Buses carry so much of the CTA's ridership but get no dedicated ROW on Michigan Ave. Instead of fighting with taxis for the curb lane, extend lower Michigan to LSD and make it bus only. Having only a few stations like Water Tower Place, Huron, Grand, and S. Water would speed up operations. I'm thinking something like Seattle's Transit Tunnel. Hybrid buses could go into "hush" mode and run off battery power. Stations would have pre-paid and level boarding. Another idea is to have the Purple line run into the subway to Roosevelt. This would add needed capacity to the Red line during rush periods. Brown Line service would be beefed up with more trains interlined with Midway (assuming the bypass is built). This would probably require the subway to have an enhanced signal system to handle that load. The number of people working in River North is growing. It would make sense to create a terminal north of the river again, this time elevated along Franklin south of Hubbard, providing a connection with the Mart. Something like 5 - 8 trains a rush period could use this station. Currently three to four trains can go by before passengers at Merchandise Mart or Chicago can board Brown and Purple line trains and they're always crush loaded.
  2. Funding is always an issue but not impossible. Local communities serviced by the Metra line could setup special transportation improvement districts to help fund procurement and operation of DMUs. For example, Kansas City is using a special assessment and sales tax to fund their new streetcar. Communities that choose not to be a part of the plan would forgo DMU service. Each DMU at 135' is longer than a 85' Bi-level gallery coach but still shorter than a traditional 6 car train minus the engine. The length would be an issue at shorter stations but hopefully cheaper to fix than the Brown Line was. A simple yard could be built on disused industrial property fronting the tracks while heavy maintenance could occur at existing facilities.
  3. DMUs could certainly make sense during off-peak times if Metra intended to expand service frequencies. Right now for instance the UP-N has roughly 1hr intervals from 9:55am to 4:22pm with a 2hr gap between 10:54am and 12:54pm! Increases in service intervals to every 20 minutes with a train of two or three DMUs would more than accommodate the ridership of one train of bi-levels every hour. According to Nippon Sharyo's fact sheet, a non-cab gallery bi-level can seat 146 passengers. In my example I'll use a Stadler GTW used in Texas which is similar to Toronto's DMUs. The GTWs seat 104. Maximum designed loads with standing passengers are 246 and 200 for a Metra Gallery and GTW respectively. I'm going to try and generously throw out estimates. Assuming all off-peak UP-N gallery trains are at full seated capacity (846 passengers for a 6 car train) you would need over 5 DMUs to make up the difference. With increased service of 20 minutes or better, a set of three DMUs (312 capacity) would more than makeup the passenger load for normal one hour intervals at a total of 936 seated passengers per hour. Thats over 90 additional seated passengers per hour. Stadler also lists the ability to make each articulated DMU unit longer which would help with capacity. Without electrically powered trains, the additional speed in acceleration would be nice and additional doors would speed up boarding. I hope Metra seriously considers the option of expanding service frequencies on busy lines like UP-N.
  4. There is a planned development at Grand that will give the CTA much needed space for an elevator or bus shelter. An article in Chicago Architecture Info has some renderings showing the space. That whole intersection has such narrow sidewalks, being given that space is a boon for the CTA. It would be interesting to see if the scope of Grand is increased to include elevators should extra money appear and this development project actually comes to fruition.
  5. Great photos, thanks for sharing! I visited Portland a few years ago and was really impressed with their system. For such a small city they have incredible infrastructure. In just about 25 years they built four light rail lines (Red, Blue, Green, Yellow), a commuter rail line, and two streetcar lines. In fact they are still building more with the Orange Line set to open in a few years. I enjoyed Pioneer Square, the plaza that spans an entire city block. Three of the four streets that surround it have light rail. It was neat to sit and see so much transit action happening around you. They were running some 30' Flixibles when I was there and I rode on one in the mountains by the Rose Garden. The hair-pin turns and large hills made for a interesting ride, I can only imagine how challenging it is to drive! No system is perfect, I found intervals drop off dramatically outside of rush hour and on weekends. Several lines run in pedestrian hostile corridors by expressways which is disappointing, and large areas of the inner city are only served by bus. If the streetcar is ever expanded that might be remedied but it seems that won't be happening for awhile.
  6. I'm not sure how many suicides this would prevent but Metra could sponsor a suicide prevention hotline. The TTC has implemented one with much success. A subway is a much different environment than commuter rail with more limited access, so I'm not sure if the individuals in need of help would even see ads on Metra. Do Metra stations even have pay phones any more? I'm sure they could find places for ads and encourage people to call on cell phones if this program was ever seriously considered.
  7. So at one point the CTA governed trains to run faster than 55? Do you know at what point they reduced speeds? It would be nice to see trains run faster on lines with long open stretches of track like the soon to be reworked Dan Ryan. I bet there are probably a lot of issues I can't think of that prevent higher speeds from being realized.
  8. Lately there has been a flurry of constructing new in-fill stations, 2 in 2012 (Oakton and Morgan) and one starting this year (Cermak Green). Some of these stations have more likelihood than others of being built. Asbury is a shoe-in, whenever Evanston gets the funding. Madison is often talked about and Division was mentioned in a City of Chicago Near North study. Division would be great to help continue the redevelopment of the surrounding area and to encourage transit usage. Madison would be helpful for access to United Center events but I doubt the station would have enough everyday traffic to justify its construction. Perhaps when more development arises I'd be excited to see a stop there. Wentworth on the Orange was one of the proposed stops of the Circle Line. I think it would be a useful option to have. The surrounding area has redeveloped greatly in the last 20 years. I'm not sure if a transfer to the Red Line would make sense but at least providing closer connections to nearby residents and the new grocery store going up on Clark/16th. My vote goes to a Western or Damen stop on the Green line, preferably Western. The economy paused redevelopment of the area but now a Pete's Market is being built at Western/Madison and new streetscaping is in place along Western. I think the area would really benefit from a new transit stop. It's strange to think the Green Line makes no stops between Ashland and California. I suppose it made sense for years when there was little going on in the area and funds couldn't be justified for a station but times are changing. If BRT is built along Western I'd hope a stop there would be only a matter of time.
  9. It will be interesting to see 3200s in the subway, thats a site you don't see too often. I'm guessing passengers will be able to ride to 35th? Emptying trains at Roosevelt and checking the cars seems like it has the potential to mess up the busier Red line operations.
  10. It is Lake and Sacramento. One clue, the L structure at that point is much different than that east of Rockwell where the supports where positioned at the curb. Homan was very similar but slightly narrower and only had two bay windows versus three for Sacramento. There isn't much to compare to today since nearly everything in that photo has been torn down but the absence of Garfield Park was another good observation.
  11. This one might be pretty challenging. Source
  12. I was on one of those trains Tuesday. They had Red Line car maps and to add to confusion the destination signs on the entire train were defective showing white. It seemed the entire train was made up of poorly maintained cars with untrue wheels, probably just coincidence.
  13. True the last one was very easy, I'm a sucker for those vintage ads. This next one should be a bit more tricky but there are some obvious clues. Source
  14. Ride the "L" it's faster Source
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