One reader's thoughts on CTA Red-Purple Line improvements

Well over 100 CTA riders attended Wednesday’s scoping session in Rogers
Park, many of them attending to protest one alternative that would close Jarvis
station on the Red Line.

There was a lot to comprehend and consider. The CTA did a great job of
displaying the alternatives and answering rider questions one-on-one. If
you haven’t gone yet, I recommend attending the final session from 6 pm
til 8:30 at Fleetwood-Jourdain Center in Evanston, 1655 Foster St.

I plan take a little time to sift through the alternatives, write posts
on each one, and explain which alternative I favor. So look for all that
next week.

In the meantime, I asked longtime Tattler reader Chris to share his thoughts on the alternatives.

Guest post by Chris:

The first two options really aren’t good options at all with the firstst just being there for comparison. Basic Rehab with transfer stations
(page 14 of pdf) is a decent plan if money is tight since it adds the transfer stations,
upgrades the track and eliminates some curves for faster service.
However I don’t think it is forward thinking enough.

Modernization 4-track (page 15 of pdf) is my favorite option, but is also the most

RPModernization Project.JPG

Modernization 4-track adds transfer stations, upgrades track, consolidates
stations, adds eight-car capacity to Purple Line, widened platforms, and
eliminates curves. I have concerns about which buildings would be
needed for right of way and the elimination of so many stops however. It
could dramatically change some neighborhoods.

Modernization 3-track(page 16 of pdf) is almost the same cost as the 4-track
plan, but essentially the only difference is the loss of the reverse
commute Purple Line. Because it would result in less options for
travelers at nearly the same cost, I don’t like it.

Modernization 2-track
(page 17 of pdf) is an interesting alternative. Prior to the
meeting I thought this was a horrible idea. Afterwards I like the idea
slightly more, but it would mean the end of the Purple Line as we know
it. Also, the estimated cost seems to be impossibly low to me. I just
don’t see drilling that far while costing less than the 4-track option.
Given the potential for higher cost and the loss of purple line I don’t
support it.

I really like the potential of eliminating so many curves, some
stations, adding transfer stations and trying to increase to eight cars
on the Purple Line. These things could really improve service for
riders. I’m concerned about the potential for demolition changing the
look of neighborhoods. Also, I don’t believe in eliminating the Lawrence
stop due to the amount of concerts, restaurants, and nightlife directly
off that stop. I think eliminating Argyle or putting a platform between
Argyle and Lawrence would be a better idea with entrances at each

These are my thoughts on the project and I will be eager to see what happens next.

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  • This seems like a fair summary.

    However, given stuff like the Capital Bill problems, and Options 2-3 in the $2 bil - $3 bil range, and options 4-6 at $4, with, as you note 5 and 6 cutting capacity supposedly because with fewer stops it will run faster, the higher the option number, the less likely anyone is going to fund it.

    I finally got the point of Mike Payne's comment, and it is relevant here. Some combination of CTA, TIF and Mills Co. $300,000,000 was sunk into a Block 37 hole that can't be used, and the consultant's then estimated cost of a complete real O'Hare express was then $1.5 bil., which, it was also then stated, that there was no identified funding. Now Daley thinks the Chinese will build a high speed rail line there.

    Given the cost of these proposals, don't expect much progress on anything higher than 3.

  • I'm going to add my two cents into the mix. When I first heard about the subway option over a year ago, I thought it was impossible but then I started figuring out the run times and at the end of the day, it would be noticeably faster. So much so that you really wouldn't need an express service. The distance from Belmont to Howard is 52 blocks (don't forget to account for the northwest routing from Sheffield to essentially Hermitage), or 6.5 miles. The blue line can cover the same distance in about 16 minutes (without slow zones during rush hour). Currently, the Red Line is scheduled to take about 22 minutes between Howard and Belmont. And honestly, if you think about the modernization, can you imagine the private property acquisition to widen the tracks just for reconstruction, let alone ADA upgrades? Building a subway under Broadway would have less impact except at the subway stations where construction would have huge implications.

    Then again, a friend once told me that if you put the Red Line in a subway up north and eliminate the neighborhood stations (re: Argyle, Thorndale, etc), the businesses would go under because the foot traffic would all but disappear. I don't know if I fully agree with that because there are lots of corridors in the city that have foot traffic without a rail line (think 26th St, 79th St, etc).

    Preferably, I'd go the 2 or 4 track modernization plan. But if we're going to do anything, lets actually future-proof the line so we don't have any issues in the next 20-40 years. This would actually be a great time to automate the Red Line to increase capacity.

  • Good observations CJ. The subway plan does have a lot going for it, including being $200 million cheaper than 4-track modernization. The subway entrances would be just a half-block or so to the west of the current L entrances, so I think businesses would survive.

    Also, there would be 29 entrances on the subway (with auxiliary entrances), compared to 23 now.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    The additional entrances would help mitigate for the decrease in total stations. I just don't get Glenlake as a station. It's not even a quarter-mile street. But I guess its between Granville and Thorndale.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Anyone that thinks a subway will be cheaper than an elevated rail system is living in a dream world.
    No subway in this country has ever come in for its estimated cost, there are far too many variables ahead.
    No one knows what the underground conditions are. Broadway was for the most part a swamp or a beach & is all sand underneath. Concrete costs have skyrocketed in the last ten years due to huge Chinese demand for it.
    People are forgetting that two parts of the 4 track modernization have to be done anyway if the line continues in use:
    1. Wilson must be totally rebuilt into a modern 2 platform, 4 track station, which means removing the inclined track 1 & turning Wilson into a clone of Belmont.
    2. The Sheridan S curve must go due to the impossibility of making that station ADA compliant within its current length. It just manages to squeeze in an 8 car train now.
    Those two costs should not be figured into any cost comparisons with a subway.
    Plus, there's only 2 tracks in a subway, not 4. You get double the tracks for essentially the same money.
    And since this is Chicago, there's the huge corruption tax to be added in.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Really because the cost of modernizing a rail line that has buildings built up to the tracks is going to be cheap, right? I'd prefer a three track subway but four tracks elevated is pointless if the line isn't faster and the red line won't be much faster if you just eliminate a few curves but still have the same amount of stations. It's not just about building the line but its about 1) maintaining and 2) operating and the subway will be cheaper.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Good summary, Chris.

    I felt exactly the same way coming into the meeting - the subway option seemed like it would be way too expensive and eliminate capacity, so I initially wrote it off. However, after seeing the proposal, I was actually very impressed that (a) the subway option was cost-competitive with the other modernization options and (b) trains travelling on a subway would make the Belmont-Howard trip almost as fast as the express trains in the 4-track option. A CTA rep also noted that maintenance of a subway is much cheaper than an elevated line, since it's not exposed to the elements - that might actually make the subway cheaper over its 80-year life.

    That said, I'm still not sure I believe the cost estimates for the subway, since it seems low relative to the above-ground options. Also, I'd love to explore the possibility of a 3 or 4-track subway option. This is THE key corridor on the CTA rail system, and it would seem prudent to prepare for the increased capacity needs of the future. I'm not sure how big a typical TBM is, but given that most of the costs are fixed, I wonder if it would be possible to look into a larger tunnel.

    As for money, I agree with jack/Scooter that none of these proposals will be easy to get done, especially given the city's/state's/federal gov't's financial situations. However, I'd say there are two reasons for optimism. First, this corridor HAS to be modernized, simply because of the amount of people who use it. Shutting it down would severely damage Chicago's economic efficiency, make the city much less attractive, and would overwhelm roads with additional drivers. In that sense, not modernizing might be much more expensive that the $4bn price tag in the long run. Second, a number of cities have begun looking at innovative ways to fund key infrastructure needs such as these, and Chicago should explore some of these options as well. As an example, look at LA's 30/10 Plan.

    I'm hopeful we can get something done.

  • In reply to aaronjbrown:

    The travel time savings for an express in a subway at this point is negligible. I want a three track more for the ability to route trains around issues (which the CTA has ongoing issues with because of the lack of crucial crossovers)and the ability to short turn trains.

    And as for funding. This HAS to be done. The lifespan on the embankment is ending faster than I want to admit to. It's borderline scary. What needs to happen politically is that those in power need to understand that investment in the older cities transit systems is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than the pet transit projects in cities such as Phoenix, Dallas, etc where the average boardings per service hour at their highest is somewhere around the Green Line South Side branches. But that'll never happen. We're just going to have to strong arm our way into getting funding.

  • In reply to aaronjbrown:

    With regard to a 3 or 4 track subway, the question then becomes how wide the public way is under Broadway. You aren't talking a 4 lane street, like Ashland or Western.

    Besides Scooter pointing out that that area was built on a swamp, and relocation of buried utilities, one has to figure the cost of having Broadway torn up for subsurface construction; either closed like State when the Chicago station construction was in progress, or a plank road over the excavation, like they did in Los Angeles. Did anyone show a "Chunnel boring machine" to avoid the problems with open cut construction?

  • In reply to jack:

    From my discussions with CTA officials at the meeting, the subway would be bored. As you point out, there would still need to be a tube for the tunnel (since this isn't bedrock), but I was told that modern boring machines make this easy (I need more information on this point).

    The stations would be cut/cover, similar to what's being done at Grand/State. While that would impact some businesses, that's the trade off you'd have to weigh.

    To ibright, I agree that the express tracks wouldn't make things much faster, but they would allow for more capacity in the system. Particularly if you think that at some point down the road we may look to expand the CTA rail system (e.g., replacing the Belmont-Willow corridor with a subway), it seems reasonable to at least cost this out.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I disagree Scooter.

    I was told at the scoping meeting last night the big cost difference between 4-track modernization and subway is the land acquisition to expand platforms.

    And it's absurd to say the costs of No. 1 and 2 in your comment "shouldn't be figured into any cost comparisons with a subway." If there's a subway, you don't have to fix curves and rebuild stations.

    The travel time on the subway would be greater because of fewer stops, so who needs the expense of twice the amount of track?

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    There would be enormous land acquisition costs for a subway.
    The current way stations are built is with one corner of the intersection taken over for the entrance/exit. There are also the costs of all those businesses that will go under when it becomes impossible to get to them during construction. It happened on Milwaukee Ave. in the 1970s & it will happen here. That means a loss of jobs & taxes. As for the property along the current North Side Red Line, most of it is junk & not worth saving! The only major land acquisition will be at Sheridan & Irving to straighten out the S turn. The CTA already owns most of the property at Wilson.
    As for the embankment, I would experiment in one small section with driving sheet piling behind the concrete & see what happens. If that works, do the entire length. The embankment will last another 100 years.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    "As for the property along the current North Side Red Line, most of it is junk & not worth saving! The only major land acquisition..."

    Scooter, you seems to be forgetting land acquisition at either side of the platform at every station to widen the platform to add elevators.

    Again, the CTA person last night told me it was acquisition and the 4-track rehab that makes the price for 4-track modernization higher than the subway.

    But oh, I forgot you don't believe anything the CTA says.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    The thing you are also forgetting, that Scooter is implying, is that subway stations are no longer holes in the sidewalk, as was the case with the State and Dearborn subways prior to State transit mall.

    Besides the need to acquire property for ADA access (room for at least one elevator to the mezzanine and one to the platform), it is also usually necessary to have bus drop off areas and the like. For instance, Daley has said that the city has already reserved vacant land at 115th and Michigan for a Red Line multimodal terminal. Were any of those standard amenities covered in the consultant's plan?

    With regard to not even Carole Brown buying the consultant's report on Block 37, how is it criticism that "oh, I forgot you don't believe anything the CTA says." This, here, is merely a consultant's report, and apparently not such a reliable one at that.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm not buying the idea that subway stations have to be huge buildings. In that part of town, subway stations should be four stairwells and one elevator. Nothing more, nothing less. Why would we need bus drop offs? You're adding costs for no reason.

  • In reply to ibright05:

    Well, something has to handle the current bus traffic at Berwyn, for example. You also have a transfer point with the Peterson bus somewhere about Bryn Mawr, and some provision for bus transfers at Lawrence or Wilson (admittedly there is vacant CTA property at the latter).

    I suppose that one could argue that going around traffic triangles, like the 84 bus does at the ramp from Bryn Mawr to LSD to change direction may be sufficient, but given that the modern trend is to have a sheltered area where passengers can transfer, as well as the operator to stop the bus and go to the washroom, I can't conceive not providing those facilities...that is, unless this turns out like the Brown Line, where the consultants underestimated the costs and have to cheapen the project. Oh, that damned CTA record of performance keeps coming up.

  • In reply to jack:

    Berwyn is a bad example because the proposed station is at Berwyn and the buses would continue to layover as they do now. I don't understand your point.

    People transfer between buses and train just fine at the BL subway stations at Chicago, Grand and Division stations without bus bays, the idea to add them just makes it harder to build it. We don't need anything fancy, we need easy transfers. We may have to remove the parking lanes for about 30 feet for the stairs/ elevator but that's much better than tearing down buildings.

  • In reply to ibright05:

    I doubt that there is the amount of transfer traffic at the stations you list compared to the ones I did, especially given that Grand had so little business that it was closed from 1992-1999.

    Anyway, if you are advocating spending $4 billion to build something to 1940s standards, good luck with that.

  • In reply to jack:

    That's your argument? It sucks. You need to look at the number of people who board the train in total against the number who are transferring from buses. I know from research that many blue line stations have 30% or higher transfer rates. Looking at just the number of people who board a station is just judging by its cover. Chicago Blue line is the second busiest stop for the 66- Chicago after the Red Line. Division is a huge transfer for the 9-Ashland and 70- Division.

    If your argument is based on guessing then you gotta step your game up.

  • In reply to ibright05:

    They're not large buildings, but large, mostly open areas. Look at Belmont/Kimball for what they'll build for a subway station. As jack writes, it's a large bus dropoff area.
    They don't build them with a simple stairway set into the sidewalk at each corner anymore.
    And every subway project in the world has gone way, way over the planned budget for the simple reason they have no idea of what's underground. Any bets that a Broadway subway would unearth an unknown Native American burial ground? And a year's delay in construction while they fight over whether to move the bones, with all the attendant cost increases!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Yea, I live right by the Belmont Blue line station (and use it frequently) and I think its a waste. I would much rather have a station like they're describing for the new stations, ala NYC stations. You're right about the fact that we don't know whats underneath Broadway but that's not a reason to say no to a subway. LA said there's methane under MacArthur Park but still built the subway right through it (after a delay). But again you're complaining about upfront costs when the long term are savings are worth it.

  • In reply to ibright05:

    And you know the designs change over the years, right? I.e. the Eisenhower station designs are nothing like the Dan Ryan designs and they were built roughly 10 years apart from each other. Let alone the Jeff Pk extension with the O'hare extension, and they're on the same branch. Designs evolve over time so to use Belmont from literally 40 years ago as proof is unfounded.

  • In reply to ibright05:

    But then you use stations built 60 years ago.

  • In reply to jack:

    Nothing beats efficiency. Especially when its cheaper but doesnt degrade quality.

  • In reply to ibright05:

    Looks like you have done enough arguing both sides that I will move on.

  • In reply to ibright05:

    Another interesting twist. WGN TV says that there is a hearing in Evanston to discuss closing Red and Purple Line stations. Apparently that report was based on the Huffington Post, which cites the Sun-Times.

    In fact, the hearing cited is one of them on this. Is now someone trying to get a turnout based on false pretenses--scaring the riders that their stations are subject to imminent closure?

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, guess what? We AGREE! I do think some folks are trying to scare people about station closings to get them to come to meetings. But I can guarantee you it's not the CTA, because I asked them about that last night. They said these are just five ideas and they need people to weigh in on them. If people think their stop should not be closed, then by all means say so, but tell them why.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Trib Local has a little more perspective on this, and, as I would have figured, Evanston agitators are involved. At least Trib. Local says that this involves "potential options for repairing stations and track systems on about 9.5 miles of the Purple and Red lines."

    Joe Moore's hysteria noted by chris is even more inexplicable. If nothing else, the burden should be on justifying keeping Jarvis open, especially since the main entrance to Howard was moved two blocks south.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, just for the record, the main entrance to Howard was NOT moved two blocks south. It was moved maybe three-quarters of a block south.

  • In reply to jack:


    I believe that is what they are doing. Alderman Joe Moore sent out an email blast stating that the CTA plans to close Jarvis, like there was no rational reason for doing so. No mention of the larger project at hand.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Actually, Scooter, you may not be very far off, at least for a few stations. All of Lincoln Park and some areas north and south were once the main Chicago graveyard. As the city was built up, the city decided to move the graves westward, with a lot of them going to Graceland. But, as is classic Chicago, it didn't get done right and there are literally thousands of bodies still in the ground in that area. It's not uncommon for people digging foundations or anything like that to suddenly have to halt work because remains have been found. I can only imagine what a large-scale dig would unearth.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I was very impressed with the way the meeting was organized and conducted. Rather than have CTA representatives talking to an audience, with the potential for trolls and agitators to hijack any talk-back opportunities, the setup was for attenders to go freely around the room, study the details posted on boards and summarized in a handout, and talk one-on-one with various CTA people who answered questions and asked for our opinions. They also made a point of collecting written comments.

    Here are a few of mine, though I might chime in again when Kevin makes his series of posts.

    1) In general, I'm inclined to say "make no little plans"--this will affect these neighborhoods for a century or more, and we should do it right. Not saying money isn't an issue, but that can be sorted out for the right plan--a plan that makes sense rather than serve someone's pet agenda will have consensus public support. I like the 4-track modernization over the corner-cutting 3-track version. For the additional percentage, you will never regret not doing it that way to begin with.

    2) The elevated line is part of the fabric of these neighborhoods going back over a hundred years. I would rather see a modernized version of the L than have it torn out in favor of a subway. I don't see right of way expansion as destructive to the surrounding areas--I see it as a chance to revitalize and upgrade the retail districts. We are not talking about taking down highrises or starting from zero, which are the two main conditions that suggest a subway. I'm in favor of getting rid of the embankment structure (since it would have to be torn out and rebuilt anyway) and replacing it with an aerial structure--the space underneath could become a neighborhood amenity.

    3) This is a debatable point, but I don't see what's to be gained by creating additional Purple-Red transfer stations. Purple has already had too many extra stops added, so it is barely an express. Use the money in some other way. Purple should remain a real express line. That's another reason I don't favor the subway--that scenario forces the elimination of the purple, and I would not think the gain in red line speed makes up for it in travel time from, say, Howard to downtown.

    4) Not one of my written comments, but an explanation--I was told that the decision of stations to eliminate was based on study of traffic statistics, and station removal is mitigated in some cases with auxiliary entrances to remaining stations.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    The unnecessary Purple stops are Wellington, Diversey, Armitage & Sedgwick. They were added during the reconstruction project to increase capacity while the number of Brown Line trains were cut back. Now that is finished, the Brown Line trains are 8 cars in rush hour, the Purple Line shouldn't be making those stops anymore.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    If those temporary stops went away, it makes more sense to add transfer stations at more northerly stops like Wilson and Loyola. This would benefit me personally, as I could catch a purple express downtown without transferring. But I could live without it if they did something necessary with the money and if the Red ended up running at all faster than it does now.

  • There was insufficient capacity on the Brown Line trains as those stations were limited to 6 cars. That was a main reason for reconstruction. That limitation is now gone. The Purple shouldn't stop there any longer.

  • Everyone seems to have forgotten something: If the embankment is removed & replaced with an aerial structure, just how many years will it be without any L service of any kind on the Far North Side?
    Metra can't handle the current loads!Metra has no plans to increase capacity.
    I doubt that Metra will buy the 100 coaches that LA Metrolink is getting rid of later this year. Metrolink is replacing all of its coaches with a much sturdier design due to the 2008 Chatsworth wreck & the numerous car/train collisions that occur due to the stupid LA drivers not understanding that trains are bigger than their cars & aren't going to stop for them!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    The CTA would continue Red Line service during construction, just as they did on the Brown line.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    That's impossible!
    You can't replace the embankment with an aerial structure on the same right of way.
    Because you can't remove half of the ROW at a time.
    It would be years of removal & reconstruction.

    Unless of course they're planning massive land acquisition along side the current ROW, which means they're lying about the costs. Which then leaves the current ROW as...What?

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Oh right, sorry. Of course that is impossible because all CTA employees are LYING sacks of shit. I forgot that basic Scooter fact.

    And of course, Scooter doesn't have to go to these information sessions to get the information himself because Scooter knows everything there is to know about how to rebuild a new Red Line. He knows way more than all CTA employees and consultants combined.

    I stand corrected. So Sorry, oh master brain Scooter.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Oh man is this entertaining. First the subway is a bad idea so we have to build an L structure. BUT WAIT! We can't do that either so now we're stuck with the same dilapidated structure. Don't you just love logic?

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I know construction & you can't remove one side of the embankment without massive efforts to stabilize the other half. That means either sheet piling down the middle for miles or try to freeze it. But freezing doesn't always work & the freezing equipment can fail, causing the embankment to collapse.
    And if you drive sheet piling down the middle to stabilize the temporarily surviving half, then you might as well drive sheet piling behind the current concrete embankment walls.
    Way cheaper & just as effective.
    Note that the Union Pacific isn't replacing its embankment along Kinzie St., even though it carries far greater loads & that the CTA operates the west end of the Lake St. line on that same embankment, which is older than the CTA's embankment.

    If these geniuses at the CTA & their overpaid consultants have a plan to do so without shutting down the entire Red Line for years, then do tell. This should be entertaining!
    I'm betting that this is the same bullshit that cause Sox Park to be torn down. It wasn't structurally deficient, they just wanted skyboxes!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Scooter, there's not much more to say. You obviously know everything about how to build subways and elevated trains. So I do hope you give the CTA your resume.

    Then on the other hand you want me to tell you they plan to rebuild the Red Line without shutting it down.

    First off, you surely must know they could never shut it down because it would cripple the city. Then you tell me to find out how they would do it.

    You had four opportunities to learn about this project but you decided you know everything and didn't need to go.

    So be it.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    You refuse to either ask or answer the question, because you know it's not possible to do so.
    Go to your buddy Gaffney & ask her this: Exactly how will the CTA continue to provide rail service on the North Red Line under options 4 or 5?
    The right of way is approximately 60 feet wide.
    You can't cut that in half & do massive demolition & then construction while operating a railroad.
    Nowhere in any of the documents released by the CTA is there a mention of this! Just a lot of pretty drawings & photos of deteriorating viaducts.
    As I wrote last night, the Union Pacific has said nothing about its even older embankment structure on the West Side, which carries far greater loads than the CTA ever did!
    The only reason to replace the embankment with an aerial structure is to provide a 15 foot minimum clearance at street level for trucks.
    One of the proposals showed the current walled embankment changed to a 2 track sloped embankment. There's no way safe operation of trains could be maintained 24/7 during such an operation.
    And the cost estimate for the subway is a joke!
    NYC is currently building an 8.5 mile Second Ave. subway with an estimated cost of $17 billion or $2 billion a mile.
    While costs are lower here due to the lack of tunneling through solid rock, it will still cost at least $1 billion a mile for a subway or $4 billion for the tunnel alone.

    You & others need to stop drinking the CTA's Kool-Aid!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Bravo Scooter for comparing apples to oranges. Why would you ever use NYC as an example for anything? New York is at least 2x as expensive as Chicago for ANYTHING. Land values are so much higher that I shudder to even think about how much they're spending on acquisition.

    And they're building a completely brand new subway (minus a few shells from the 70s) from scratch. They're building an 8.5 mile subway that has to operate under 10 existing subway lines, building transfer tunnels to connect, tunnel under much more infrastructure, and have to worry about not punching a hole in the river in the Financial District, which was also built on fill. They have to build 17 new stations whereas the cta is building seven subway stations. So no, the CTA project won't be nearly as high not even 1/2 as bad. Even if it comes in at $6 or $7 billion, its still worth it, provided it has the ability to assume greater loads in the future. So sorry, that example ain't going to cut it.

    And as for your issue with the NSML, I see your point as I have already mentioned but they're going to have to figure it out because that structure will not last forever. Even if its a bit longer than we expect, it will have to come down. So somehow they will figure out a way.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    CJ, how dare you question Scooter. Did you forget what he said last night: "I know construction..."

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    And once again, I don't see any answer to the very basic question as to how rail service will continue if one of the aerial structure plans is chosen!
    But then, all of them have "Funding required" for everything that's 2012 & beyond.

    What's really going to happen is that the basic maintenance plans will be used & nothing else.
    This was just more pinstripe patronage so some consultants could get millions in fees for absolutely nothing done!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Need I remind you that the document is called SCOPING? It means that they're investigating all options. Nothing is written in stone. I've never heard someone get to wrapped up in ideas.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Okay I was unable to attend any of the sessions, but I've been poking around the page over the last few days. What seems to be missing is a cohesive idea of what solution we want, what will serve the transit community for years and decades to come. We've been whipped by a lifetime (I'm 45) of unachievement by the CTA, endless operating deficits, service cutbacks and mismanagement. But we have an opportunity to radically remake transit on the N-S cooridor. So the point is to plan on the best option and work to find the funding scenarios to make it happen. The adjacent TIF finance model is intriguing, since going to Springfield will only result in folks in Ottawa and Peoria cutting us off at the knees. So lets work on building a modern, speedy subway. The right of way is already owned. Stations could be centered up on that right of way as were most of the original stations like Fullerton, Bryn Mawr, Granville etc. Technology has changed dramatically since the State St. Subway was dug, and even then those folks managed to built the tunnels under the river off-site and sink them perfectly in place connecting the two sides, so digging a hole 60 feet beneath the existing ROH is not impossible. Anyone who has been to NYC knows they have some of the most incredible transit intersections around. So what I'm saying without regard to specfic hurdles or obtacles, is we must, we absolutely must hold the CTA to the best and boldest model and involve all of us to work with CTA on finding the funding sourcing. A four track subway is as cheap writ large as a 3 track tunnel and would serve any future growth the best. But the common thread of the CTA planners, to close stations to save $$$ or incredibly add more stops to Express Service to make up for slow regular service is untenable. Restore the Evanston to its' orginal intent, service from Howard to Downtown with limited stops. A Loyola and Chicago stop would serve the Loyola students. DePaul Students and I was one, can easily live with lengthened Brown line service and Subway service half the distance to the Loop. That's my two cents, anyway.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    "but they're going to have to figure it out"

    But they don't say how they're going to operate the current rail service, even as only 2 tracks while they concurrently demolish the embankment & replace it with an aerial structure. They don't tell how because it's not possible to do so!
    And you'll note that I took NYC prices into account & cut the cost here by half of theirs! While NYC is using a tunnel boring machine to create the tunnel, that can't be done here because here a tunnel will go through sand.
    Nowhere have I written that the embankment will last forever, all I'm saying is that the CTA is using totally fraudulent cost estimates & not telling the truth about the current condition of the walled embankment. The bridges are in poor condition, but there was a recent newspaper article about the strain gauges the Northwestern University engineers have placed on some of the & they show zero movement.
    Every single thing from that era was overbuilt due to the fact they didn't have computers, didn't know the absolute minimums that were necessary for live loads & the science of failure analysis had yet to be created. The Portland Cement Association was just 6 years old when the embankment was built.

  • In reading this article and comments, I noticed that there is no mention of the need for elevators at the Purple Line Central street station. This station is ancient, dilapidated and very dangerous, particularly in the fact that many users of the station come from the Evanston Northshore hospital that is right next to it! Also, the Graham building which is literally feet from this station has a physical therapy facility and as such a lot of people with disabilities and injuries that use crutches, canes and walking sticks have to struggle up and down the steep long stairwells to access this station. If no other improvements are made to the Purple Line, this station MUST be improved. To do otherwise would be harmful to those who must use the station and would simply be unconscionable. We also need the doctors at Evanston hospital to help get a movement going to shout loud for fixing this station!

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