Today’s Headlines for Friday, February 2

  • Emanuel Says It’s Full Steam Ahead for the Dubious O’Hare Express Plan (Tribune)
  • MPC Calls Mayor’s Plan for a Damen Green Line Stop Near United Center a “Game Changer” (Tribune)
  • Passenger Killed, Driver Flees After Striking Pole on 4200 Block of West Diversey (CBS)
  • Lawmaker Proposes Renaming Tri-State Tollway After Barack Obama (DNA)
  • Lane and Ramp Closures on Lake Shore Drive This Weekend (DNA)
  • Pace’s Schaumburg Express Bus Is a Sweet Ride (Active Trans)
  • Jeff Parkers Argue Mixed-Income Housing Near Transit Center Would Bring “Miscreants” (DNA)
  • Loop Alliance Announces Wabash Advisory Group, Downtown Futures Series, Activate Events

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  • Batboy

    Green line stop at Damen near Ohare? What?
    You mean United Center?

  • what_eva

    from the express article, a quote from Rahmbo:
    “I want to build direct rail service.”


    He also mentions the high speed rail services in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Toronto, that quote is missing from the Trib article, but is in the DNA article. A few notes on those.

    Tokyo – Narita airport is 48 miles from central Tokyo, quite a bit more than the 18 from O’Hare to the Loop. That kind of distance needs an express train

    Hong Kong – Chek Lap Kok is a relatively new airport (though coming up on 20 years old) built on an artificial island far from people. It’s a similar distance from the city center as O’Hare (~20 miles), but most of that trip isn’t through dense areas. There is local service on the same line, but even that doesn’t have many stops.

    London – Both Heathrow and Gatwick have multiple services including express. Heathrow has local tube service and two other services. Connect which has a few local stops and Express which doesn’t. Both run on different rail lines, similar to if we used the NCS Metra tracks here. The problem with Connect and Express is that their current terminus is Paddington, which is the NW corner of Central London, requiring a transfer to tube for a large number of people. Crossrail will help on this for the Connect level service in a few years. A lot of business is in the docklands/Canary Wharf area to the east, tourists want to be around Westminster or Piccadilly or other more central areas. Gatwick’s express service is laughable, it only saves 5-10 minutes off the local Southern service on the same line for a huge increase in price.

    Of larger note is that Tokyo, Hong Kong and London are world financial centers with all the overpaid expense accounts those entail that can pay for an express service. Chicago is not one of those cities. I’ve left Toronto for last because Toronto is more similar to Chicago and their express service has been a flop. It’s not getting nearly enough use.

    All that said, I think a faster service using the NCS line would be useful and could command a small premium, say $10-15, not $25+. Add a spur into the airport to replace the current stop. Even with the ATS extension, it will still take a while to get to the terminals (and will the city even put the ATS stop close to the Metra station? or will you have to walk a bunch into the new rental car garage?).

  • Jeremy

    When i get home, i am going to write my alderman about what a horrible idea that express train is. I suggest others do the same.

  • Kevin M

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. Perhaps I missed this, but what do you mean by “ATS”?

  • what_eva

    Sorry, overacronyming ;)

    ATS – Airport Transit System. It’s the people mover that goes between the terminals at O’Hare and out to remote parking lot E. The city is currently building a consolidated rental car garage across Mannheim from lot E (former site of lot F). As part of that project, the ATS is being extended to the new facility. The O’Hare Transfer station on the Metra NCS line is right by this. Currently from the Metra station you have to ride a shuttle bus over to lot E, then the ATS to your terminal. It adds a significant amount of time once you’ve arrived at the Metra station to actually get to your terminal, especially if going to Terminal 1/United, as it’s the last stop on the ATS.

    This rendering makes it look like one would have to walk through the garage to get between the Metra station and the ATS.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Yep, I had the O’Hare Express on the brain. Fixed, thanks. A Green Line stop by the airport — that *would* be a game-changer!

  • Kevin M

    Thanks. I sure hope the actual build does not distance the ATS station that far from the NCS Metra station. Why not run the ATS to a station right next to the NCS Metra station? What difference would it make to the parking people if it is on one side of the garage or the other.

  • Fred

    I’d imagine a guaranteed 20-25min train would replace a lot of 60min $50 cab rides. Not just from out of town business people, but people like myself who would consider it during rush hour. I assume train in this service would be more like a coach bus than a CTA bus with guaranteed wide seats and a laptop shelf. Given the option between a $2 50min public cramped train, $20 comfortable 25min train, and a 60min $50 cab ride, the middle train option doesn’t seem too crazy.

  • Jeremy

    Ticket prices in articles I have read are proposed at $30-35. What are you going to do once you get to the downtown station? Will you have to get a taxi to get home? Add at least $15 to the train ticket.

    You say 20-25 minutes for the train ride. That is if you board the train 10 seconds before it leaves O’Hare. The trains will only depart every 15-20 minutes, so add another 7-10 minutes for the average wait after you board.