Today’s Headlines for Thursday, November 2

  • Driver Killed Cyclist Lisa Schalk, 50, Yesterday Morning on Archer Near Midway Airport (Sun-Times)
  • Mom of Crash Survivor Wants Allegedly Drunk Cop Who Struck Her to Work With TBI Patients (Tribune)
  • New LAB Report Finds That Illinois Is Missing Opportunities to Improve Cycling (Active Trans)
  • Metra Is Considering Building a New Stop Near Fulton/Ashland (Crain’s)
  • WTTW looks at the Navy Pier Flyover Delay, Including Steven’s Alternative Proposal
  • Blue Line Trains Delayed After Loss of Power (Tribune)
  • Woman Gives Birth to Twins at Roosevelt ‘L’ Stop (DNA)

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  • Tooscrapps

    That would be a great Metra stop. One serving the Humboldt Park (say Grand) would be even better!

  • Anne A

    My sympathy to the family and friends of Lisa Schalk.

  • mkyner

    Depending on how a Metra station around Ashland is positioned, I hope they find a way to incorporate the old ‘L’ bridge near Paulina into the structure. Maybe as a walkway for pedestrians to access the station platforms.

    Now if only the 75th Street Corridor Project would include a Metra stop at Ashland for the Southwest Service, we could connect a lot of the suburban lines directly to the Ashland bus routes (or BRT if that ever happens).

  • rohmen

    What benefit would a stop a Metra stop at Fulton/Ashland even provide (outside of a marketing boast for the developer)?

    There’s already a Pink/Green line stop on Ashland less than two blocks away. I know they’re trying to build that area up as a tech. center, but not many are likely to ride Metra to the loop from there, and you’re only serving a relatively small portion of Metra riders on that route with (maybe) a slightly more convenient stop to where they work. Seems like a waste compared to other areas on the system that could use stops.

  • Easier suburban access to a vibrant commercial corridor outside of downtown?

  • Chicagoan

    It appears to be a no brainer as West Loop development, in particular jobs, moves westward toward the United Center.

  • planetshwoop

    Exactly. And that’s probably a good thing rather than packing more people onto the Eisenhower.

    Of course McDonald’s et al can run a shuttle from the main stations, but it’s still not a bad idea.

  • rohmen

    How many commuters on those Metra lines from the suburbs will realistically work within walking distance of this proposed station? I’d say the number is in the 1000s at best, and more likely in the 100s. Not to mention that these businesses will still have to run transit shuttles for the other Metra commuters coming into the loop stations, so you’re not even really reducing that effort by much. You’re simply shaving 20 minutes off a commute for the limited number that happen to use this line and work close enough to walk to work.

    Using the same resources to build an additional Metra station in an actually underserved transit areas (someone below mentioned Humboldt Park, and there are certainly other gap areas on some of these lines) could serve a multitude of more people.

    This is pure in simple infill of an area that already has good access to transit with even more transit to bolster development. When are we as a City going to start making underserved areas more accessible, rather than only continually adding more and more service to areas that aren’t hurting?

  • rohmen

    Well, and that’s my issue with this. The businesses will still have to run the shuttles because only a fraction of Metra lines would actually route through this station. Moreover, the station would be so close to already-established CTA L access that outside of a handful of suburban commuters, you’re not adding any real substantial access for people that didn’t have transit access already.

  • A potential station at that location would serve four different Metra lines to both Union Station and Ogilvie. That would deliver a great swath of the north, northwest, and west suburbs to within walking distance of United Center. If nothing else, it would get SOVs and so-called rideshare vehicles off the road in that vicinity.

    Someone else with more spare time than I have can dig into Metra’s ridership numbers, but I have a feeling that it would be considerably more than a handful of people.

  • rohmen

    The UC connection is appealing to a degree, assuming Metra actually runs the trains in a manner conducive to events that are held there. That said, the whole argument for building a L stop on Damen/Lake is that Ashland/Lake is too far of a walk for people going to UC to consistently use transit. How is the logic going to be any different in terms of Metra access and largely suburban users Metra draws?

    In terms of access for workers in the West Loop, Ashland and Fulton is the pretty far extreme of where any current business development is occurring (there’s a pretty hard line at Ogden right now), and even then it’s already served by an L station with two L lines running through it. For instance, Fulton/Ashland is not walking distance for many people’s metrics to things like google, the McDonald’s HQ, etc. In fact, considering where 1200 Fulton is, it’s ironically not really “walking distance” for the people who will work and live there (it’s over 1/2 mile).

  • Fulton-Ashland as as far from United Center as Roosevelt is from Soldier Field. Large hoards of suburbanites walk that way and back almost every Sunday in the autumn.

  • simple

    rohmen, the point of this potential in-fill station is entirely to serve the work end of trips, not the home end. With the fast growing employment in this corridor, and the tens of thousands of Metra commuters who pass right on through it each day, why should prospective suburban commuters have to go all the way down to Ogilvie and then shuttle back, when they could stop at Ashland/Ogden instead? This is about making these city jobs more transit accessible for suburbanites so they’re less likely to clog our streets with their cars as the jobs in this corridor grow. Take a look for example at Back Bay Station in Boston which helps to support a significant concentration of office development around it. The commuter trains stopping there are complementary not competitive with the nearby subway trains. Decades ago, when transit was in decline, that station was proposed for closure. Today suggesting closing that station would be ridiculous. Or on a more modest scale but perhaps more analogous, consider the Van Buren or Roosevelt stops on the Metra Electric Line. Would you suggest that these stops are “a waste”?

  • I think we’ve hit on two conflicting theories of public transportation. Is the purpose of public transit to increase mobility options for people who already have plenty, with the goal of reducing automobile traffic? Or is the purpose of public transit to provide mobility options where they are lacking?

    In a perfect world it could do both, of course, but in our imperfect world, priorities need to be set and decisions made about where limited resources will make the biggest impact. Developer/politician shenanigans aside, these are still going to be vastly different places depending on what is presumed to be the most important function of public transit.

    Obviously Metra operates on the first view, which is why, for example, people in Hyde Park and Kenwood are so frustrated by the fact that it doesn’t run more like the L. Or why residents of South Loop may be bitter that Metra went through all the trouble of expanding the platform at 18th but still rush most of their trains straight past it. The whole point of that project was to improve access for large but infrequent crowds of people who don’t even live in the area.

    Now that I think some more about it, I wonder if the get-more-cars-off-the-road philosophy is, in the end, equally futile to the build-more-lanes philosophy. In the end, they share the same priority, which is to improve automobile traffic flow.