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Circle Line / Gray Line

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How Is The Circle Line Plans Going For The CTA? Also When Will The ''New'' Circle Line Open? I Know Construction Has Not Even Began On The Grey Line, But Is There A Exact Date In The Future?

*Will Any Of These Projects Go Through With The CTA's Budget.

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I believe the circle line is a downtown stop where passengers can transfer to the Brown, Green, Yellow, Purple, Red, and Blue Lines. But what is this Grey Line you speak of? I heard of it occassionally before, but I haven't got a clear understanding about it. Is it another "L" Line? If so, what are the destination(s) for this line?

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Presently, the Gray line is only a proposal to convert Metra Electric operations within the City of Chicago to a CTA rapid transit line. This would, in effect, give shorter headways and allow for quicker commutes to the loop. It’s a proposal now, but someday it might become a reality. There is a Gray Line website you can visit.

The Circle line would be a loop within the loop. When fully complete, the line would connect all lines (save the yellow). Starting at Ashland on the Orange Line, it would run north and connect with the current Douglas tracks. Heading over the recently redone Paullina Connector, the line would travel underground after Lake and turn east at North/ Clyburn. Using the Red Line, trains would travel though the State St. Subway and return to the Orange Line using the seldom used subway connection. Finally, trains would continue on the Orange Line until Ashland, making a complete loop.

So far the Paullina Connector has been restored, completing one part of the work to come. The project is going to take years and be completed over a number of phases. I don’t know what’s going on presently, with the budget crisis I doubt it’s much of a top priority.

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On the Circle Line front, the Tribune had a very incomplete article about the Stage 3 AA hearing.

Using that as an impetus to go to the CTA site's presentation materials,it appears to me, after a cursory reading, that all that's left is the bridge between Ashland/Archer on the Orange Line, and 18th on the Pink Line. The part north of the Green Line (Lake and Paulina to North and Clybourn) is characterized as Long Term Vision, but not part of the Locally Preferred Alternative.

Also, they say they studied the Cicero Corridor in this screen, but then rejected it. So, so much for the Mid-City.

A United Center station is not indicated on any of the maps.

I don't know if this is close to the final say, but it seems like this study only gets us to Phase 2 of the prior plan (phase 1 being fixing the Paulina connector and putting the Pink Line on it). With indications in the Tribune article about complaints about condemnation and the like, this could be like the Skokie hearings and hit the snag at the next step.

Of course, I may have misread this. If anyone else has another interpretation, let us know.

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My thoughts:

Circle Line: This is a complete waste of money as proposed. What I would prefer to see is a Crosstown type of route between either Skokie or Jefferson Pk and Ford City (or 79th/ Ryan via Fford city) via the formerly proposed Crosstown Expy routing). Oh for some North south routing that would not have to connect in downtown. This routing could still connect with the Yellow, Blue, Green, Pink, and Orange Lines, and if extended from Ford City eastward via the railyard and 74th to the Dan Ryan, then south to 79th), then all rail lines except the Brown would be connected. If the Brown Line were extended to Jefferson Pk) that problem could be solved also.

As it is now, the Orange, Pink Lines offer short walks to LaSalle, Union, Oglivie, Millenium and Van Buren Stations.

Gray/Gold Line: I have been somewhat of an advocate of this before this proposal came along, but I contended that Metra should "cede" over the S. Chicago branch to the CTA, and CTA should rebuild this line between 93rd and Stony Island, then "connect" it to the Green Line.

To suggest that CTA operate a commuter service (which would directly compete with Metra) on Metra infrastructure would be crazy, considering the increased headway proposal would adversely affect Metra suburban operations. Let us not forget there are capacity issues at Randolph street as it is.

When you factor the Blue Island branch portion of this and with only 2 tracks at 115th, (at Kensington, Metra does haave a significant amount of ridership as well as Hyde Park), can you see Metra cooperating with CTA? You already see how Metra treats the South Shore.

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Circle Line. I would tend to agree--especially if the Ashland subway part is not built in our lifetimes. However, it seems like the consultants delayed Step 3 of the AA for 3 years to take up, and then kill, the crosstown idea. Mayor Daley won't be happy with that.

Gray Line: Mike Paye's idea was that the CTA would not compete with ME service, but basically take over the finances of the South Chicago and Blue Island branches, and hire Metra as a contract operator to run the Gray Line for the CTA's benefit, using Metra's FRA compliant equipment. CTA fares and transfers would be honored on those two branches. The ME would be limited to the University Park mainline (100 and 700 series trains).

When first proposed, this got the highest rating from CATS, and I wrote Mike that I agreed with the basic idea behind the concept, although there were a few details to be worked out, such as fare collection at common stations, such as 53rd and 57th (this was before Metra rebuilt the two stations). However, the real problem is financial--CTA has no financial incentive to be paying Metra for a provision of service contract.

Ultimately, this became more undoable when CTA instituted the South LSD restructuring (I told Mike that if CTA is to have any incentive, it would have to be persuaded to terminate the 14 and 26 buses at 71st, but it seems that riders have voted by demanding that they go to the Loop), Mike filed a racial discrimination complaint with the FTA, which apparently went nowhere, and as I mentioned in your other thread, Daley lost any incentive to cooperate with Metra when the Olympics went out the window.

In fact, one could argue that the only reason there is still in-city Metra service, and certainly why the in-city stations were rebuilt, was a certain congressman, now know as Senate Candidate #5. We haven't heard much from him since he got that designation.

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From what I gather on the Circle line. The south leg will be built with 4 new stations 1. a Chinatown connector stop (roughly where the orange crosses the red at 18th) 2. a madison/United center stop 3. A blue line/Congress station stop and 4. a Blue Island stop. Also they claim that they will be done with the south segment by 2016 which sounds kind of soon to me. Like Busjack says there will no doubt be opposition to the eminate domaining of property south of the Pink line curve south of 18th. But I think I also read somewhere the alderman over there is on board with the project. The north leg is still somewhat confusing to me. I can't seem to figure out if they want to build it along Ogden or Ashland. Ogden would seem cheaper to construct with the new segment terminating at possibly the Division/Clybourn curve on the red. But I think it would be a mistake having the least ridership. The Cicero corridor would have been nice but it needs to be developed seperately in addition to this project. I think that the fact that it doesn't run through the loop puts it on the back burner. Too bad someone couldn't devise a way for it to connect to possibly the green line at Ashland/63rd return to the loop travel on a brown line extension to Montrose or Jeff Pk blue and back down the cicero corridor. They could call it the super loop. The Grey line project to me would make more sense as a light rail project with extensions along LSD to destinations like Navy Pier, North Avenue Beach, Michigan avenue, or Lincoln Park Zoo.

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The Madison/United Center stop was not shown on the map. Specuation: Are they expecting that TIF money will come to the rescue first?

While the construction is limited to the Archer-18th connector, service wouldn't be. Most indications (based on the 2003 map and description at Chicago-L.org) are that the Purple Line would be rerouted to the State Street subway, and then up the incline, over to the Orange Line, and then around to Paulina.

Basically, they didn't decide between Ashland and Ogden routings. Delaying that knocks out one of the justifications that it would cut travel time from Lakeview to the west or southwest sides, such as to the Medical District. While necessary for a circle, I don't think that the function was to pick up much pedestrian traffic on Ashland, so long as it served the intersecting Metra and Blue Line stations.

The 2010 five year capital plan has $2 million in funding for 2010 for Circle Line, more consultant studies and right of way, but on page 45 (46 of the pdf), after all the blah-blah-blah, indicates that the Circle Line is recommended for funding, apparently disregarding that the 3 other New Starts got through AA first. I wonder what this is implying, especially to the South Siders asking for the Red Line extension.

Anyway, since these things seem at least 5 years down the road, while apparently the crisis du jour is today, I wonder how much stock can be put into that planning, except to keep consultants off the unemployment roll.

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My mistake, Roosevelt/Pink was the 4th stop. Madison is not shown past the screen 3 of that particular AA. I don't quite get why they would want to have a station at 18th/red line. Running through the subway gives many transfer alternatives. Also the New Chinatown Red line stop will be built at roughly the same place a block away from this station. Unless you build a block long transfer bridge it doesn't make sense. It is weird talking about expansion when you are cutting most of the bus enhancements of the last decade. Maybe someone will ride to the rescue again.

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"For about the last 8 years, I have said with regard to the Gray Line:

  • CTA has no incentive to pay Metra. This episode gave it one, but CTA was content with the bogus 5 day pass".

  • >> Of course CTA did, to utilize the MED to any further extent would make it clear that it COULD be used a an 'L' Line instead of the present "Amtrak" service that Metra operates.
  • >> Metra really doesn't have any incentive to serve the city, other than Hyde Park, and probably the only reason why the city stations are there between 59th and Kensington and the South Chicago branch still exists is certain loud mouthed politicians, one who is getting his sentencing (or a mental examination by) July 1.

>> You are right "Metra" (Whose BoD's are appointed by Suburban Government Entities) has no real incentive, since they are out to D E S T R O Y that money-losing wasteful (in the present "Amtrak" format that THEY run it in) service. And the "loud mouthed politicians" are out to serve T H E M S E L V E S -- they give no more of a F*** about their constituents than Kenilworth. IL does (as we've seen).

THIS STUDY shows how proximity to Public Transit can improve and create Economic improvement EVERYWHERE. EXCEPT on the South Side of Chicago -- where an Electric Rapid Transit line that would cost MULTI-BILLIONS to construct today, should be CRIMINALLY U N D E R U T I L I Z E D as an excuse for IT'S ABANDONMENT: http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/NewRealEstateMantra.pdf

And, as I indicated above, the RTA becoming a eunuch and the service boards insisting on their own statutory power to set fares. You get some interagency fares between CTA and Pace, but they both run buses and do not collect distance based fares.

>> This is why LOTS of INTELLIGENT Officials are beginning to look at merging some of these agencies, instead of the ridiculous "Protect-Your-Own-Feifdom" situation we have now.

From another Board: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=101657 -- a "Regional Embarrassment"

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THIS STUDY shows how proximity to Public Transit can improve and create Economic improvement EVERYWHERE. EXCEPT on the South Side of Chicago -- where an Electric Rapid Transit line that would cost MULTI-BILLIONS to construct today, should be CRIMINALLY U N D E R U T I L I Z E D as an excuse for IT'S ABANDONMENT:

But, as I also consistently said, the south side Green Line also proves (after about 16 years) that Rapid Transit doesn't bring economic development either. I doubt that suddenly having 25,000 riders a day in and out of Garfield doesn't bring as much as a doughnut truck.

The Garfield and Pulaski stations were supposed to be super stations--the Pulaski one became a social services facility and the Garfield one became nothing, except now a free transfer point.

And if rapid transit were such an economic panacea, Emanuel would have found the private party to develop 115th and Michigan and TIF that extension, but he hasn't. He isn't even going to find much of a private party for the nonexistent Ashland BRT.

>> This is why LOTS of INTELLIGENT Officials are beginning to look at merging some of these agencies, instead of the ridiculous "Protect-Your-Own-Feifdom" situation we have now.

From another Board: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=101657 -- a "Regional Embarrassment"

That's true, and I have said it should be done for about 6 years. The problem is that the agencies in fact have been entrenching themselves, and as the Daily Herald pointed out:

Why not just offer a bill to combine the RTA, CTA, Metra and Pace? I naively asked.

That would be too logical, experts say. In other words, trying to amalgamate the four transit agencies would launch a political war between the city and suburbs for which no one has the stomach.

In short, nobody wants to take on the political operation that is the CTA, even though it should be abolished.

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In short, nobody wants to take on the political operation that is the CTA, even though it should be abolished.

Did you ever read "Don Quixote"? Or hear the song "High Hopes"? ( Silly Me ).

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Did you ever read "Don Quixote"? Or hear the song "High Hopes"? ( Silly Me ).

Well, get about 60 house members and 30 senate members to pledge to do so. However, as messed up as the state legislature is, I'm not betting any money.

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Well, get about 60 house members and 30 senate members to pledge to do so. However, as messed up as the state legislature is, I'm not betting any money.

1 (One) Small brown Ant (Me) vs Several L A R G E Herds of Elephants (Metra, CTA, RTA) -- I wouldn't bet any money either.

BUT my new Lexmark Color Laser printer can turn out up to 35,000 Gray Line fliers per month -- to hand out at 'L', Bus, and in-city MED stations during the shutdown, to influence the Public into seeking more information about the Gray Line idea, and the CMAP Major Capital Project:

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Truthfully there is no market for commuter L service. First, CTA would have to pay Metra for trackage rights, which it won't do. Second, Metra has cut service and shortened trains and platforms due to a drop in ridership,.especially on the S Chicago and Kensington local. Even when Metra matched the CTA fare on the S Chicago branch by making the entire branch a Zone B,, riders chose the 14 and that was BEFORE the 26 was added. Both the S Chicago and Kensington have to stop locally through Hyde Park just to put some more bodies in those seats. Running more service on an EMPTY line will not attract more riders but waste more money and electricity. Riders do not choose ME because the CTA bus and rail system provides convenience and connectivity to the rest of its system, something your Gold Line does not do.

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Truthfully there is no market for commuter L service. First, CTA would have to pay Metra for trackage rights, which it won't do. Second, Metra has cut service and shortened trains and platforms due to a drop in ridership,.especially on the S Chicago and Kensington local. Even when Metra matched the CTA fare on the S Chicago branch by making the entire branch a Zone B,, riders chose the 14 and that was BEFORE the 26 was added. Both the S Chicago and Kensington have to stop locally through Hyde Park just to put some more bodies in those seats. Running more service on an EMPTY line will not attract more riders but waste more money and electricity. Riders do not choose ME because the CTA bus and rail system provides convenience and connectivity to the rest of its system, something your Gold Line does not do.

First art, it is the GRAY Line ( Not the "Gold Line" -- that is somebody else's idea ).

Second, I do not take contributions -- And so I am not pending anybody else's money but mine on my Tilting-at-Windmills.

And the whole idea has been explained 1,000 times by me and others, so your reference to "trackage rights" means you don't understand the concept at all (It would use the presently operating Metra Highliners with CTA decals on their sides - NOT CTA 'L' cars).

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First art, it is the GRAY Line ( Not the "Gold Line" -- that is somebody else's idea ).

Second, I do not take contributions -- And so I am not pending anybody else's money but mine on my Tilting-at-Windmills.

And the whole idea has been explained 1,000 times by me and others, so your reference to "trackage rights" means you don't understand the concept at all (It would use the presently operating Metra Highliners with CTA decals on their sides - NOT CTA 'L' cars).

However, didn't you say that the consultant threw out "existing highliners" because of the too slow loading times at the stations? And, of course it is not "existing highliners," since Metra is taking delivery now of 160 new ones, basically set up for suburban service, like the the diesel ones.

Then there was the strange crusade for fare barriers, and then the possibility that the Red Line project would lead to an opening, but apparently CTA-Metra cooperation was minimal.

I thought this was dead by now. Anyway, you can probably get cheaper copies from whatever Kinko's calls itself these days.

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First art, it is the GRAY Line ( Not the "Gold Line" -- that is somebody else's idea ).

Second, I do not take contributions -- And so I am not pending anybody else's money but mine on my Tilting-at-Windmills.

And the whole idea has been explained 1,000 times by me and others, so your reference to "trackage rights" means you don't understand the concept at all (It would use the presently operating Metra Highliners with CTA decals on their sides - NOT CTA 'L' cars).

And 1000 times we've stated.... CTA has no reason, desire or plans whatsoever to WASTE money on these fare controls, cta decals or whatever to bring the grey line down here when simple tweaks to its LSD routes do the job just as good and have been since the 80's fare crisis (correct me if the date is wrong). If this Gray line was needed so much I'm pretty sure they would've ditched Jump and other projects and went for it instead but its 2013 and STILL no recognition and need for the gray line.... Let it go already.... LSD routes are waaaaay cheaper and like I stated before.... People south of 93rd can't use it, but can use 14,28 and 26.... What seems better now?
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First art, it is the GRAY Line ( Not the "Gold Line" -- that is somebody else's idea ).

Second, I do not take contributions -- And so I am not pending anybody else's money but mine on my Tilting-at-Windmills.

And the whole idea has been explained 1,000 times by me and others, so your reference to "trackage rights" means you don't understand the concept at all (It would use the presently operating Metra Highliners with CTA decals on their sides - NOT CTA 'L' cars).

What part of METRA OWNS THE TRACKS don't YOU undestand?

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What part of METRA OWNS THE TRACKS don't YOU undestand?

Metra TOTALLY OWNS the E N T I R E Electric District (Trains, Tracks, Stations, Power & Signalling -- AND the Kensington & Eastern R.R. that the NICTD operates over from Kensington to the Indiana State Line).

I'VE KNOWN THAT METRA WHOLLY OWNS THE TRACKS SINCE 1996 -- SO WHAT IS YOUR POINT art?????

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Metra TOTALLY OWNS the E N T I R E Electric District (Trains, Tracks, Stations, Power & Signalling -- AND the Kensington & Eastern R.R. that the NICTD operates over from Kensington to the Indiana State Line).

I'VE KNOWN THAT METRA WHOLLY OWNS THE TRACKS SINCE 1996 -- SO WHAT IS YOUR POINT art?????

The point being that CTA would have to pay Metra for the right to operate on its tracks as a foreign rairoad. CT a would be subject to Metra's discretion concerning scheduling and dispatching of trains. CTA will not pay Metra to run a service Metra already operates..

I would love to support your idea, but when you think it all the way through, it is not financiall nor logistically feasible.

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What part of METRA OWNS THE TRACKS don't YOU undestand?

Metra TOTALLY OWNS the E N T I R E Electric District (Trains, Tracks, Stations, Power & Signalling -- AND the Kensington & Eastern R.R. that the NICTD operates over from Kensington to the Indiana State Line).

I'VE KNOWN THAT METRA WHOLLY OWNS THE TRACKS SINCE 1996 -- SO WHAT IS YOUR POINT art?????

art, the confusion isn't who owns the tracks, nor whether CTA would have run its own tin cans on them and thus need trackage rights.

The confusion is whether CTA has any economic incentive to pay Metra to accept its passengers or Metra to accept CTA transfers.

The answer to that is a manifest no--from the interagency fare policy previously discussed, Metra and CTA coming to loggerheads about route 33, and there not being any discount to ride Metra instead of the closed Red Line (which is the only thing that makes it relevant to the Red Line topic).

That's what makes this proposal dead.

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The point being that CTA would have to pay Metra for the right to operate on its tracks as a foreign rairoad. CT a would be subject to Metra's discretion concerning scheduling and dispatching of trains. CTA will not pay Metra to run a service Metra already operates..

I would love to support your idea, but when you think it all the way through, it is not financiall nor logistically feasible.

Metra DOES NOT own or operate the BNSF Suburban services -- it is a "Purchase of Service" agreement by Metra to let Burlington train crews operate Metra Trains (the Same with Union Pacific Suburban services).

Do you think if there were ONE Transit Agency in NE Illiniois (instead of 4 competing Idiot Childish Fiefdoms), that they would look at all the areas Transit Infrastructure as "Mine" and "Theirs", and this IDIOTIC "You can't play with my ball" stuff.

ONE OVERALL TRANSIT AGENCY would see the South Lakefront Electric Rail Line for what it IS -- A Rapid-Transit Physical Plant, and they would utilize it as such.

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