Study shows impact of not investing in transit; CTA stroller campaign begins

The CTA, other transit agencies and their millions of riders got another reminder today of the importance of capital investments in infrastructure. A new study released today by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce showed that the failure to invest in transit would seriously derail the area's economy.

“Nearly two-thirds of employees in downtown Chicago arrive by bus or train,” said nationally known transportation analyst Joseph Schwieterman, a study author. “Without a strong transit network, the city will lose the vitality of its downtown area, which is home to more than half a million jobs. Overall, the deterioration of the system will impose more than $500 million – or $175 per household – in costs annually on highway and transit users, primarily as a result of higher travel times and congestion.”

According to a news release, the study’s findings also show that failure to keep the system operating in a state of good repair will:

  •  Cost the region $1.30 to $1.90 for every dollar not invested in adequately maintaining the mass transit system. This includes estimates of costs pertaining to health, land use, and the public image of the region.
  • Lead to longer travel times and reduced transit schedules and reliability. Chicago’s transit system currently has some of the oldest vehicles and infrastructure in the nation.
  • Result in ridership losses of at least 15 to 20 percent.

Making the needed investments will provide an estimated $1.5 billion in annual benefits by giving employers access to a larger and more qualified workforce pool., said study authors. At least $2 billion over a multi-year period would be needed to address the area's transit issues. Read the study.

CTA begins stroller rules campaign

CTA bus drivers last week began handing out fliers reminding parents to be "stroller savvy." The campaign asks parents to be considerate, keeping strollers clear of doorways and aisles. It reminds folks not to use seating for handicapped and seniors is they are present. It also urges use of smaller umbrella strollers.

I think parents generally want to follow these rules, and probably will.

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  • The thing with which I agree is that the state does not have a coherent strategy for capital improvement, but instead each gov. {except Blago who couldn't get one} takes credit for a "capital program" that consists of a borrowing for a short term fix, and then raising license stickers and miscellaneous taxes. Then they raise the license plate sticker another $2 for an ineffective shot of money for the state parks.

    However, when you consider that $50 million of Ryan's Illinois First money went into defective buses that are now being scrapped, and other CTA capital projects that quickly fell into disrepair (like the last Dan Ryan project), you probably have to double the money that the Chamber of Commerce says, but the state is broke. And the ineffective Democrat congressmen don't send any transit money this way. Note that despite what the supporters of the former 2nd District congressman say, the article still says that there isn't a source of funding for the 130th St. Red Line extension.

  • In reply to jack:

    It's not just that's there's no funding for the 130th St. extension, it's insane to even think of extending it when most of the North Side is facing replacement & the Dan Ryan has to be rebuilt for the second time seven years.
    And if they use limestone ballast again, it will need replacing again in the same amount of time due to drainage problems with the roadbed.
    They need to use granite, which isn't dissolved by water, like limestone.

    As for the strollers, they're out of control & nothing but a total ban will work. The stroller people don't give a shit about anyone else.
    I was on a 22 a couple of months ago with three of them & all three were together!
    The only strollers that are allowed should be folded up umbrella ones.
    If the kid can't walk a little bit or you can't carry it, then use a car or a cab, not the bus!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    If you are throwing in the north side, the article says there is no identified source of funding for the RPM, either. That gets down to whether a congresswoman named Janice has brought home the bacon, or whether her constituents care.

    While I tend to agree that there isn't a need for a 130 station, the addition of bus routes in the 115th area when others get cut seems to indicate to me that an extension to 115th is necessary. However, the $240 million overhaul of the 95th bus terminal indicates that CTA doesn't think it will get it. Thus, I agree with Mike only on the point that projects are not prioritized, even within the CTA.

  • In reply to jack:

    If you promise Jan that illegal aliens will get all the jobs working on the RPM project, she'll move hell & high water to get the money.
    If actual US citizens get the jobs, she'll do everything in her power to kill it!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    From the language on most storefront signs in Rogers Park, I don't think that is the problem.

    And, BTW, I haven't heard anything about Quigley getting the money for his district, either.

  • I was at the Meeting this morning at DePaul -- and got to meet Mr. Whitley, and Dr. Schwieterman.

    I will be talking extensively to both in the near future about how Capital Funds should be prioritized only to the most cost efficient Projects, especially with the stated scarcity of available Funds.

    I think Mr. Whitley would be very interested in the idea of direct CTA 'L' service to the Near South attractions -- the Museum Campus, Soldier Field, and McCormick Place.

  • Give it up Mike, it ain't happening!
    What I would have wanted is a rerouting of the Green Line onto the soon to be abandoned St. Charles Airline & then south along the IC to the museum campus, Soldier Field & McCormick Place & then all the way to Kensington. It would have operated on two unused IC tracks the same way the Lake St L runs west of Long Ave. on the C&NW right-of-way.

    That was supposed to be done in 1970 when the Dan Ryan Line was opened, but that idiot Richie Daley paid off the South Side ministers that supported him with the idiotic & incompetent rebuilding of the Jackson Park/Englewood Lines into the Green Line in the 90s. That makes moving it financially impossible.

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