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What is the best way to improve Chicago transit?

  • New buses, with more on-time service

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Faster trains

    Votes: 2 8.3%
  • Same system, but create higher density development around Metra/CTA stations

    Votes: 5 20.8%
  • Build new lines, ie Circle Line/ Mid-city line, STAR Metra line

    Votes: 6 25.0%
  • Extend more of the current CTA/Metra lines further outward

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Merge the CTA with Metra into 1 organization with 1 fare system

    Votes: 7 29.2%
  • Without changing overall transit funding, change the funding formula (CTA/Metra)

    Votes: 1 4.2%
  • Increase the price of driving--ie tolls on all expressways, etc

    Votes: 1 4.2%
  • Other (please teach us!)

    Votes: 2 8.3%
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The City
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so obviously more money (globally) will help, so we'll leave that one out. And of course, all of the above is certainly not going to be an option (since all of the options would help transit in Chicago considerably). But what do you consider to be the most important way to improve or "fix" Chicago's transit service?
 

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Are you in STL or back in DC??

Back on topic, I was thinking of"Increase the price of driving--ie tolls on all expressways, etc" but the best way is to destroy all of the (intertstate)highways in the city, but that wont happen.

Possible these two are the best way, Build new lines, ie Circle Line/ Mid-city line, STAR Metra line
Extend more of the current CTA/Metra lines further outward
(you should of made the choices, so we could vote more than 1).

Merge the CTA with Metra into 1 organization with 1 fare system. Horrible, everyoone is going to pay more than they are going for, but do this and destroy the highways = good. Finally a US major city without highways!! lol.... If this day come, I will for ever be great full. Plus, little pollution.

I am going to pick, Extend more of the current CTA/Metra lines further outward +

Build new lines, ie Circle Line/ Mid-city line, STAR Metra line, however, since its only one choice I pick Build new lines, ie Circle Line/ Mid-city line, STAR Metra line.
 

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i remember reading somewhere if you start charging more to ride the xpressways companies will just go into the suburbs instead of staying in the CBD.
 

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Build NEW LINES!!!! there is huge "el" service gap in chicago and even with the addition of the circle the whole system is still very Hub and Spoke oriented. Plus, it would be nice if they added two extra tracks to each line so we could have Express and Local service like NYC does. CHicago is VERy Very Very far away from grade A transit!
 

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Minneapolis
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"i remember reading somewhere if you start charging more to ride the xpressways companies will just go into the suburbs instead of staying in the CBD."

Makes sense.
 

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Minneapolis
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If they were ever going to build new lines, I'd like to see one closer to the lake front.. I'm not exactly sure how much I like the cirle line plan.
 

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Faster trains.

There's no use extending current lines, because they already reach as far as the dense part of the city (what good is it to run the Blue Line past O'Hare?).

There are certainly service gaps in the city, and the Circle Line is a great idea... but most of these outlying neighborhoods aren't dense and walkable enough to generate the ridership, either.

The main problem facing the CTA is attracting riders who use it by choice (as opposed to people who use it because they can't afford a car). If you make taking the CTA faster and more convenient than driving for the people who have a choice, then you can start getting more bang for your buck - in other words, more riders for each station or mile of track. With faster trains, you can also run trains more often, and carry more passengers per hour (and by extension, per day, per month and per year).

Chicago's elevated trains are noticeably slower than the mass transit in many other cities, and this is the CTA's biggest problem.
 

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I can see the benefits of express service to the airports, the circle line, and other capital projects. But long-term, if CTA is to remain somewhat healthy and if it is to increase ridership closer to its full potential, the city of Chicago MUST encourage developers to build developments that are transit-oriented throughout the whole city, centering on el stations. 60% of the system's ridership comes from the equivalent of 1.5 city-long lines (Red Line north, Blue Line to O'hare, and Brown Line). These parts of the system go through areas that are ideal for heavy rail. If development like this can be built on the other lines, the el could easily grab rider of close to a million a day instead of the 450,000 that is grossly under-potential for a system its size.
 

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pottebaum said:
If they were ever going to build new lines, I'd like to see one closer to the lake front.. I'm not exactly sure how much I like the cirle line plan.
But the lakefront most of the northside is very adequatly served. The circle line, and other lines that attempt to integrate train lines on a system that don't require those of us who live west to go down town or take a cross-town bus if, heaven forbid, we want to go up north, makes more sense then piling on train lines in an already well served area.
 

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what exactly is the mid city line? is it basically a circle line but closer towards CBD? i would much rather see that built then the circle if that is the case. but probably to increase rider ship i think service and frequency of the trains with sound development around the stations. offer incentives to live by a station.

i like what san fran is doing.

green gate.

When you move, look for compact neighborhoods, where good transit service and walkable streets cut driving substantially. You may then qualify for a Location Efficient Mortgage(SM), which makes more money available to people who purchase homes in dense neighborhoods where transit options are good.

does chicago already do this or is this something we can learn and implement.
 

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I'm no expert on the CTA, so I can only make general observations.

As far as I can see, the City of Toronto and the City of Chicago are almost the same physical size...almost the same population...almost the same age...same kind of weather...similar demographics and almost have the same kind of urban built form. They also both have large downtowns which command a large share of the regional draw. They both have a backbone of heavy rail rapid transit and a large web of surface routes.

In general, both cities should have transit that performs at around the same level, as the cities are so similar. Yet the TTC has a higher ridership, and manages to have a cost recovery of 80% or better, while still providing highly reliable service, with a high frequency, and for a reasonable fare. All this with ridiculously low funding from provincial or federal sources. Don't get me wrong...the TTC is always crying for funding, and suffering from it...it's far from perfect.

So what could be attributed to the disparity in the two systems?

I can only think of one glaring reason...isn't the CTA responsible for providing transit to many non-city proper suburbs?

The TTC can stay comparitably healthy, because it can balance profitable and cost efficient routes with money-losing routes. The TTC's jurisdiction is for the city proper only...the suburbs are on their own with using either their own transit systems or regional commuter rail, which are totally separate from the TTC.

If the TTC were burdened with trying to supply the same level of service it does for the city proper to the much less transit-friendly suburbs, it would bring the whole system down.

So basically, what I'm saying is....screw the suburbs...it's better to sacrifice them to keep a healthy city transit system. They built the suburban mess which does not support urban rapid transit very well...let them live with it....and let the better designed inner city enjoy the better transit benefits.

I'm sure there's more to it than that...but this seems to be a logical reason.








KGB
 

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the suburbs that the CTA does serve with rail transit have densities exceeding 12,000 people per square mile (city of chicago density). i wouldnt call suburbs like Oak Park, Cicero, or Evanston transit unfriendly. Skokie is an exception, but its huge park and ride station is quite busy.

the problem is Chicagoans prefer to drive instead of take transit. its a cultural thing... people in this culture on the whole just dont do rail. compare Amtrak to Canadian national rail. most canadian cities have excellent interurbans and city rail infrastructure. American cities on the other hand suck hard in that respect. the only cities in the US with system that could compare internationally are New York and Chicago... which is pathetic for the wealthiest nation on earth.
way to go us, with our dependence on the automobile. way to go.
 

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muted
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"isn't the CTA responsible for providing transit to many non-city proper suburbs?"

Not really. The CTA's jurisdiction, so to speak, is the city of Chicago, with some minor exceptions. Metra is responsible for serving the metro area.

CTA train routes:




Metra routes:


To answer the question posed by this thread, I think we need not only additional CTA train lines, but a line that would link up all the other lines. This so-called "Rainbow Line" has been tossed around as an idea, but has never managed to gain any momentum.
 

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I think Rail Clairmore told me that the city of Chicago provides the lowest percentage of funding out of any major city to the CTA. . . perhaps Daley can take advantage of the Skyway funds and increase that to help the CTA's operating budget. . . but first the CTA needs to review and overhaul it's management. . . and the poor attitudes of the bus drivers and rail conductors. . .
 

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Cynical post-collegiate
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Faster busses is key since they serve the bulk of the transit system. Greater reliability. I really despise it when busses double-triple stack, since it's inefficient and amounts to greater wait times.
 

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SSLL
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As much as I'd love to advocate extending lines and building new ones. I think the thing that will attract more and keep more is to provide more frequent/better service, and as important, provide a more integrated fare structure for suburban riders.
 

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simulcra said:
Faster busses is key since they serve the bulk of the transit system. Greater reliability. I really despise it when busses double-triple stack, since it's inefficient and amounts to greater wait times.
How can you make busses faster if they move with traffic? I think Chi-town is right, our beloved "El" system is antiquated and slow, something needs to be done about it.
 

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Cynical post-collegiate
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How can you make busses faster if they move with traffic? I think Chi-town is right, our beloved "El" system is antiquated and slow, something needs to be done about it.
Maybe not faster, but more efficient. Alot of routes I see have stops WAY too frequently. People can afford to walk an extra block or so.

Also advanced communications to avoid double/triple stacking of busses.

I don't see a problem with the El. The only problems I see are slow zones, which will all be dealt with in due time.
 
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