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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking at how urbanity differs between chicago and other areas in the country, I'm always struck by how arlington completely matches up it's skyline and it's density with the subway line running south-west from DC. That is true TOD and is something that chicago severely lacks. Our skyline and our density follows the lake. Even on the north and south side's lakefront hoods, the density doesn't even come close to matching the stops on those lines.

I know having aldermanic control over these areas can be a good thing, given the neighborhood destruction that has happened in the past. But ultimately, there needs to be a few areas where this takes a backseat to truly dense TOD.

1. Clybourn Corridor/SoNo

Centered around the North/Clybourn Red Line stop

This subway stop already has something like this incubating. But it could get strangled in it's cradle. I hope the alderman decides to promote real density here.

2. Garfield/Washington Park

Centered around the Garfield Green Line Stop

This is a blighted neighborhood, so theres plenty of vacant land. UoC has bought a ton of parcels and from the looks of it are looking for some very dense development.

3. River North

Centered around the Chicago Brown Line Stop

This is already roughly downtown, but also has a lot of parking lots, and given the roughly 20 to 30 story infill that's been going in here already, I'm optimistic about this area too. Now the all the Cabrini-Green 'browns' are gone, they're should be even less barriers to future development.

Anybody got anywhere else or any other ideas? Maybe instances of successful TOD in Chicago? Or especially pictures becuase I have no idea how to upload...

Basically, Chicago should have more of this. When I go up to the to the stop of the SkyDeck at Sears Tower, I want to look out and see dense clusters of buildings forming around the El stops.

That is all the speculation I have for now thank you...
 

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My Mind Has Left My Body
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I have a few spots where I think greatly enhanced TOD makes a good deal of sense even over other places.


Jefferson Park - With its Metra location, Blue Line, and if the Brown Line ever got extended it would have the best transit access away from downtown in the metro. It could make a great secondary business node for suburbanites who want to shave their time on the Metra down by 20 minutes. It would obviously also be convenient for many residents on the N and NW sides. Good location for traveling professionals.

Logan Square - Some of the same advantages as JPark but likely a more enhanced residential/retail node then a commercial one. Has great parks, boulevard system, and nice public spaces. Also has good transit times to either downtown/O'Hare. With the blue line underground to its NW it is more ideal for high density residential then neighborhoods along elevated sections. Stable and upcoming neighborhood.

Lake-Cook Road - There will be many who will want to locate their business and live in the north burbs. I think the Lake-Cook Rd. Metra stop has real potential to be a suburban TOD's equal to what Schaumberg is for the auto. The station is already above grade over Lake-Cook Rd. which is the largest E-W thoroughfare because a suburban TOD would still need to be readily auto accessible. It sits to a huge swath of underused and mediocre retail properties in the Deerbrook Mall complex. It also has the potential to serve as an express O'Hare stop for the north burbs. It would serve the interest of both Lake and Cook counties to see the district thrive as a commercial/retail hub.

Other areas where I would like to see marked increased density.......
- Grand and Chicago stops on the Blue Line.
- Between the Blue and Green Lines up to about Ashland or Damen I would love to see chalk full 6-20 story residential buildings when/if the market demands.
- Clybourn Red (is getting there piece by piece)
 

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The 35th Street intersection near IIT has a red line, green line and soon to be metra stop all within 3 blocks of each other. This area is prime for higher density projects.
 

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On the north side, it's all about the NIMBY's

On the south side, it's all about crime and perception.

There ya go..
This issue bothers the hell out of me, especially since I travel all the time. Regarding TUPs comment: Pretty much dead on. :bash:

Chicago is so downtown-centric it sometimes makes me sick. I imagine many people (NIMBYs) don't want increased densification in their neighborhood and fail to see the reason for TODs when downtown is downtown. To add to that, nothing ever gets done unless it involves tourists or white collar businesspeople. Unless there is a draw for these two types of people, it'll never happen. You know it's sad but true
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The 35th Street intersection near IIT has a red line, green line and soon to be metra stop all within 3 blocks of each other. This area is prime for higher density projects.
There is one office highrise there, built by IIT so there might be some hope here for high density projects. Unfortunately all of the residental there has been townhomes and three story condos. Although the retail at the bottom warms my heart, the height of the buildings given the location, sucks.
 

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There is one office highrise there, built by IIT so there might be some hope here for high density projects. Unfortunately all of the residental there has been townhomes and three story condos. Although the retail at the bottom warms my heart, the height of the buildings given the location, sucks.
There is a large (approximately 3 acres) site ajacent to the new metra station. I'm hoping for a high density project there. Maybe mixed use when the market comes back.
 

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The City
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The 35th Street intersection near IIT has a red line, green line and soon to be metra stop all within 3 blocks of each other. This area is prime for higher density projects.
^ The development near that stop has been pretty good.

IIT has a long term plan for a tech park there as well which eliminates much of the surface parking.

Along with that, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority that runs US Cellular Field plans to create a retail/entertainment district on 35th st north of the Cell. That is, in part, why they rehabbed the area around the crosswalk lately, to make room for future development. They have been talking about this for a few years but I don't know what is holding them back. A few sports bars/restaurants and perhaps a Sox-oriented paraphernalia store would be perfect there.

Of course, the only problem would be generating business during the off-season. Is there enough of a local population to support these businesses? Perhaps that is what is holding this development back...
 

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I agree with the need for denser projects near transit but those pictures of Arlington mostly show offices. It's unlikely that we'll see major new office buildings outside of downtown again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Maybe we should do the opposite. Bring transit to the density.

Transform the metra electric to the gold/grey line. They don't even need to be CTA cars just frequent rapid transit service.

Heres a biggie that I've never seen proposed, BRING BACK THE STREETCARS. Its been shown to work in portland, in SF, in Toronto, in Boston.

Return streetcar lines going down the length of Clark and Broadway going all the way up the north side.

take out the stupid central roadway down randolph in the west loop and put in a streetcar line.

I could go on and on. Streetcars are an integral part of chicago's history and we should return to that.

I think it's not much to ask to return to something closer to this.

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=301242h&s=5
 

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Heres a biggie that I've never seen proposed, BRING BACK THE STREETCARS. Its been shown to work in portland, in SF, in Toronto, in Boston.
I'd love to see this, but I'm guessing the return of street cars won't happen in a million years. Buses are just much more manageable and flexible. I simply can't imagine Chicago tearing up streets to lay rail and overhead wires when a bus route can do the same thing, and be modified easily. The thing with the cities you listed is, the streetcars never left...

Transform the metra electric to the gold/grey line. They don't even need to be CTA cars just frequent rapid transit service.
Metra Electric already is a somewhat "frequent" rapid transit service, at least as far as Metra is concerned. My problem is that Metra Electric really isn't connected to any other line, nor is the ticketing compatible with CTA...it defeats the whole idea of a "system". I'd love to see a through route on the Electric alignment, a sort of Howard-South Chicago route. That'll never happen. First thing's first, get rid of the ri****ulous 3-board RTA. Have one agency, rather than 3 fighting ones....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'd love to see this, but I'm guessing the return of street cars won't happen in a million years. Buses are just much more manageable and flexible. I simply can't imagine Chicago tearing up streets to lay rail and overhead wires when a bus route can do the same thing, and be modified easily. The thing with the cities you listed is, the streetcars never left...
I can agree on Toronto, SF and Boston about how they never left. But portland? They reestablished streetcars in 2000 after having been absent for nearly 50 years.

Similarily, Minneapolis has studied and applied for a federal new starts grant to create a streetcar system in thier nearby neighborhoods. They have already set up the light rail and are now complimenting it with streetcars. I'm from Minneapolis and I can see that MetroTransit isn't messing around.

AND, the idea that buses carry just as many people as streetcars is BS.
Streetcars retain far more riders than buses ever do becuase streetcars are apart of the neighborhood, they have a sense of permanence unlike Buses. Across the board, streetcars get better ridership numbers than buses. They may be more inflexible but I'm not saying we give up on buses all together. An optimal mix, with streetcars covering the msot congested spots is the best.

Metra Electric already is a somewhat "frequent" rapid transit service, at least as far as Metra is concerned. My problem is that Metra Electric really isn't connected to any other line, nor is the ticketing compatible with CTA...it defeats the whole idea of a "system". I'd love to see a through route on the Electric alignment, a sort of Howard-South Chicago route. That'll never happen. First thing's first, get rid of the ri****ulous 3-board RTA. Have one agency, rather than 3 fighting ones....
I completely agree with you. In a way, its a bit of a silver lining in the fact that the Twin Cities lost all of thier transit infastructure. Now that it is being rebuilt; commuter rail, Light Rail, Streetcars and buses are all governed under one central agency, MetroTransit.

Chicago, having retained most of it's heavier rail infastructure, has treid to consolidate with Metra and CTA but infighting and suburbs vs city arguements about money become this whole big shitpile.
 

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AND, the idea that buses carry just as many people as streetcars is BS.
Streetcars retain far more riders than buses ever do becuase streetcars are apart of the neighborhood, they have a sense of permanence unlike Buses. Across the board, streetcars get better ridership numbers than buses. They may be more inflexible but I'm not saying we give up on buses all together. An optimal mix, with streetcars covering the msot congested spots is the best.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE rail transit and I HATE buses. But I'm trying to think practically and what the CTA would actually try to accomplish. Also, I didn't say they carry as many people...they are just more versatile because it's not a fixed route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I know people are pessimistic about spontaneous TOD popping up around El stations, but I think at least along the main Branch of the Red Line, we have reason to be hopeful.

This decade, almost every stop had tranit proximate mid to highrise development going on right on the same block and certainly within walking distance. Although they may not be the best architecture, this is proof that NIMBYs cant sink the demand driven TOD going on at the Red line.

At the Granville stop, there is the Clarovista; 10 stories, 160 units with street fronting retail.

At the Byrn Mayr stop, there is the Catalpa Gardens, 11 stories, 128 condos.

At the Wilson stop, there is the Wilson Yards development; 8 stories, 170 units with street fronting retail.

At the Fullerton stop, DePaul has built Centennial Hall; 7 stories, 130 units, offices and a two floor Dominicks at the bottom.

The plans for the developments at the addison stop look like they are pretty epic in scale.

DePaul plans to build at least two more dorms directly adjacent to the Fullerton stop, adding 600 students who depend on transit right next to the line; both with stree fronting retail beneath.

Thats this decade. Now, I think that since the whole ice has been broken with developing profitable mid to high rises around these stops; this upzoning and high density building can continue. The next building boom could see many more of these types of TOD being built.

Does anybody share my optimism with the kind of change thats going on in the these neighborhoods?
 

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This decade, almost every stop had tranit proximate mid to highrise development going on right on the same block and certainly within walking distance. Although they may not be the best architecture, this is proof that NIMBYs cant sink the demand driven TOD going on at the Red line.
The NIMBYs have indeed made their voice heard along Broadway, though, which really could be a great transit boulevard.

BTW, here's an interesting link with then & now photographs of the three-mile Orange Line/Wilson Blvd. corridor in Arlington, where upwards of 30M square feet has been built since just 1996 even while car traffic actually declined. Oh, and the adjacent single-family neighborhoods weren't just untouched, but property values skyrocketed as improved amenities and transit service made the neighborhoods even more convenient. A great win-win story for everyone.
http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/7970/arlington-then-and-now/
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The NIMBYs have indeed made their voice heard along Broadway, though, which really could be a great transit boulevard.
Is there really that much resistance? What proposals have been shot down along broadway from Rogers Park to Uptown?

But I do absolutely agree Broadway could be a great transit boulevard; as time goes on, demand for living in the lakefront neighborhoods with El Access will only increase. I'd like to see the Aldermen work with the developers to make sure that there is a plentiful supply of housing to ensure that people aren't priced out of living in these lakefront hoods; while increasing density.

I'd like to see the CTA do the same thing they did with the Red Line main as they did with the Brown Line; total overhaul of the stations, ADA compliance and make sure they can handle more capacity so that the TOD will come.
 

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Broadway is just unpleasant right now. Apart from the Asian strip at Argyle, it's way too wide to be comfortable. It needs more frequent lights to allow better pedestrian crossing, and taller buildings so it's not so windswept and suburban.

It does have wide sidewalks, though, which could really become an asset if Broadway ever developed a serious string of pedestrian-oriented retail.

Seriously, though - it's sad that whenever I think about Broadway, I imagine myself trying to run across it between waves of traffic.
 

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There is one office highrise there, built by IIT so there might be some hope here for high density projects. Unfortunately all of the residental there has been townhomes and three story condos. Although the retail at the bottom warms my heart, the height of the buildings given the location, sucks.
Compared to surface lots and fields of vacant land, those 3-5 floor developments you are complaining about are high density. It seems that a lot of people here don't realize that you need a certain existing level of density coupled with an increasing demand to get an area populated with high rises.
 

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Compared to surface lots and fields of vacant land, those 3-5 floor developments you are complaining about are high density. It seems that a lot of people here don't realize that you need a certain existing level of density coupled with an increasing demand to get an area populated with high rises.
I don't believe you have to have a highrise at this site to achieve success or to have vibrancy. A 5 to 8 story mixed use building would be a success.
 
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