Today’s Headlines for Wednesday, August 12

  • Emanuel Says He’s Got a Plan for Providing Affordable Housing Near the 606 (RedEye)
  • Active Trans: Transit Future Could Fund a Rail Line Between O’Hare and Midway
  • City Commission Rejects Plan For Jeff Park Development Just Outside TOD Zone (DNA)
  • Donor Offers $1 Million Challenge Grant to Help Fund Big Marsh Bike Park (Chainlink)
  • Rock Island Line Riders Will Face 10 Weeks of Delays Due to Track Repairs (Tribune)
  • New East Lakeview Whole Foods Approved, Despite Traffic Concerns From Neighbors (DNA)
  • Although State Lifted Ban on Happy Hours, Naperville Is Keeping It for Now (Herald)
  • Studio Gang-Designed Boathouse Is Coming to Bridgeport (Curbed)
  • The Geographic Borders of Chicago Neighborhoods Are a Matter of Opinion (DNA)
  • Got Stiff Knees From Bike Commuting? Try Yoga for Cyclists (Tribune)

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  • The Whole Foods article mentions something about new traffic signals with “100-second cycles”… are you guys looking into the transportation impacts of the final proposal any further?

  • Michael Greene

    “East Lakeview Whole Foods” => “West Lakeview Whole Foods”

  • I’m starting to be very concerned about how Transit Future is spuring advocacy for specific lines in the plan. I love when they have the message:
    “Transit is sorely underfunded. Please fund transit so that we can have a transformative network that looks something like this.”
    Unfortunately, crayon transit planning is a powerful political force, and we may end up stuck with some of the details of the network they’ve layed out that do not make sense.

    For instance, both the Airport Connector and the southern segment of the Lime line are shown following the Belt Line corridor, one of the most heavily used Freight corridors in the country. There’s little right of way to spare in these corridors, construction would be expensive and disruptive, and they don’t quite go to the dense areas where you’d like them to go.
    I’d like to see some more discussion about the process used to implement Transit Future once some of the funding is in place, and to focus the discussion on service goals instead of where to place the concrete. There’s a lot of opportunities for transit improvement that the current approach is likely to overlook.

  • BlueFairlane

    You make a good point, but it’s a difficult balance. You have to offer something to give people something to visualize, or else there will be no political force at all and nothing will ever happen. It’s risky to get too specific, but it’s equally risky to stay too vague.

  • Jared Kachelmeyer

    It looks like the proposed line doesn’t actually go between terminals. The door to door time is likely to be a bit higher.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    What’s equally weird is to say “Transit Future Could Fund”… It’s the taxpayers that are funding the transit improvements, not some unelected mysterious board. Just like Active Trans does not like to use the word “accident” for “crash”, be honest and say it’s the taxpayers.

  • How about frequent bus rapid transit on dedicated or semi-dedicated lanes on expressways. Has anyone done that kind of workup? There is clearly a lot of opportunity in the Chicago area for good BRT. We already have pretty good train systems in place. Now lets complement them with really good and a lot less expensive BRT filler networks.

  • Dreaming

    Transit Future is a collection of proposals that have already been rejected or are pie-in-the-sky. Their collective cost is well north of $10 billion. Their impact is questionable as they don’t provide new connections to many new and growing employment centers. The plan says nothing about fixing the major problems w existing CTA and Metra tracks and stations. This plan is yet another ill thought out proposal by Ron Burke.

  • I’d prefer statements like:

    Transit Future could fund a network of fast high-capacity transit routes that could get you from any station or bus stop in Cook County to 40% of the county’s area/jobs in 45 minutes, and 90% within 90 minutes all day.

    Showing individual lines can be part of the conversation to show that this is doable, but I’d rather have a study or commission determine exactly which lines should be built to achieve the actual goal of the program.

    Transit Future does use language that makes it clear that it has connectivity goals in mind, but by talking about lines instead of service goals, politicians can hijack the process and claim victory by cutting corners, failing to run frequent service, or dropping critical but expensive parts of the infrastructure. It causes gross inefficiencies like funding a Red Line extension instead of running transit on the Metra electric.

  • This is almost the point of view that I’m coming from, but I don’t feel so harsh about the campaign. Some form of comprehensive transit network expansion is required and it’s going to be expensive. Rather than pie-in-the-sky, I’d say the Transit Future lines are crayonista at the moment, but they do evoke the idea of a coherent network that is achievable.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    I would prefer not having so many “advocacy groups” with their fingers in the pie, proposing spending tax dollars without any overall regional plan in place. I just hear the giant sucking sound coming out of my pocket. You end up funding people’s pet projects, many times shorting the real needs of the metropolitan area. Hey, if someone has to get from Midway to O’hare, that may be fine. But wouldn’t it be better to find ways for people from the city to get to suburban job centers? Travelers passing thru Chicago don’t go down as a high priority to me.

  • Kevin M

    The Airport connector connects several Metra lines–thereby offering a lot of suburban residents public transit access to Chicago’s two major airports (and, the same goes for the reverse–offering visitors a lot of public transit access to many suburbs). I think this project has a lot of merit, and could possibly serve a very large population.

  • david vartanoff

    What Transit Future calls the Gold Line, needs only political will and funding to return to 1950s train frequencies. Go here for details. Instead of the Red Line extension which TF supports service can be implemented for much less money in conjunction with the Gray Line by running shuttles on the South Shore from Kensington to Hegewisch.
    Ther most important issue is getting Metra to honor CTA fares within Cook County.

  • I think you hit the nail on the head when you talk about funding a Red Line extension instead of running service on the Metra Electric. The Red Line extension EIS (environmental impact statement) is, from what I hear, going to be published this fall. I will be surprised if it discusses planned or potential service levels.