Transit Needs & News, Task Force materials
service of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Transit and Parking
Committee and the HPKCC website, www.hydepark.org
Our Transit website has been reorganized. Please visit successor page Transit Needs. To Transit website home.
Transit home page. About the HPKCC Transit Task Force. Contact us. Contact chairman. Chairman's transit blog.
Most news is now either in the Transit homepage or the topic pages given below.
In this page:
- Navigator to topic pages
- The big picture today
- Overview of transportation and parking concerns and goals
- Metra stations & amenities. More in Background, Metra Stations
- I-GO Carshare Visit the new I-GO page
- Walkable community/pedestrian-friendly commercial district, transit-oriented development, Lake Park Corridor and viaducts project. See also the Walkable page.
Bus changes home
including Task Force statements.
To Task Force 2004 Bus Routes and CTA Funding Workshops
To more on the CTA agenda of the Task Force, meetings with CTA managers and planners
To more on the CTA funding and bailout
To Chicago smart Cards and universal card prospects
other plans for Metra Electric enhancement
To Gray Line Metra Electric plan home
To January 27 House southeast transit hearing (consultations with legislators continue)
To Metra Stations, Metra improv'ts background. Metra viaducts, walls, Lake Park corridor
and bike routes and maps
To Dan Ryan plan issues
To Red Line Shuttle and what was implemented instead
To Parking Woes and Hopes
To Walkable Community page
To Walk to School page
The transit agencies are cutting projects in light of a growing capital shortfall- and guess who gets hurt the worst by Metra?
Metra is cancelling the new Electric Line 143-car fleet that included toilets for the only line lacking them, a lack that was cited by our elected officials as evidence of neglect of the southeast corridor and inner city and African American residents. Now we are stuck with an aging fleet. Also cut is a new fleet maintenance facility near University Park.
CTA has cut planned purchase of busses, railcar overhauls and trin signal improvements.
Congress did increase aid for Illinois Mass Transit by 28% (vs national average 45%) but the lack of significant increase for Illinois combined with the end of IllinoisFIRST funds ($260m a year) means a drop in RTA capital allotment this year from $900m to under $500m. If RTA can't scrape together another $125m match to garner a federal $500m, the capital allotment will fall under $100m in 2006.
So the agencies are going to Springfield again. But Rep. Hamos, one of the biggest voices in transportation, says there is no legislative consensus and any new funds must be part of a package of reforms in funding and spending. As quoted in Crains, "There's legislative interest that there be no federal dollars left on the table. What the federal bill has done is provide us with an incentiv eto set at he table to come up with a solution."
pedestrian and bike friendliness
6 Jackson Park Express Bus Dtn to 79th/So Sh
Service that is sometimes still spread too thin-and-seldom (esp. south of 63rd) but has gained enormously from reconfiguration and addition of more routes, esp. rush hour X28.
-routing of buses, particularly Lake Park viz a viz S. Hyde Park Blvd. From hearings to Task Force Workshops to aldermanic complaints, a majority including businesses, high rises and residents on gridlocked S HPB, thinks the #15 should return to Lake Park.
-ensuring buses use technological means and management to properly time arrivals and service level
-Other route improvements incl. #4/X4 by Michael Reese and late at night, late night dependability for #55, 173, comprehensive look at transport and transit options in the neighborhood including handling the U of C volume.
-Bus shelters- there are still a few corners with significant numbers catching the bus that do not have shelters.
A few bus drivers still seem not to take command of unruly situations although most drivers are
-Metra service improvement and long term hope for a closer and more useful linkup of Metra Electric into CTA and other area transit: South East Chicago Rail Enhancement Team (SECRET or' Gray Line Lite'). (10 minute headway 7 am-10+ pm, 30 cent CTA transfer/universal card) Being coordinated with other organizations and communities in the southeast corridor.
- Metra station and vicinity rehab and upkeep, full fleet of new cars with toilets
- Metra viaduct rehab, completion of embankment rehabitation
-Lakefront access from 57th beach north at regular intervals over Lake Shore Drive
An exploration under Gov. Blagoevich of a superagency for all northeast Illinois may or may not be going forward. RTA as we know it and Pace would be eliminated. Likewise CATS and NIPSI planning bodies would go into RTA or into the Department of Transportation, under the governor's control. Yet the legislature as a whole is loathe to address long-range, permanent state funding laws for transit--the very reason reason for impatience with the RTA Act.
In the end, the review committee did recommend merging Pace and Metra and some other coordinations but shied away from a superagency or visiting the regional formula for tax allocation to the service agencies.
route reconfiguration for description of the bus route changes that have
been going into effect and refined through 2003 and 2004.
These changes to the whole lakefront market, where ridership is increasing do, it seems, strengthen ability to get around faster, at more times (at least in some cases), and with fewer transfers. Routes are tailored more to the needs of smaller geographic and niche markets and more geared to getting people downtown and to connecting lines. The restructuring incidently may give Metra a run for its southeast side market. See the link for details and drawbacks.
Speaking of Metra...the stations and more, that is..The August, 2003 "expected" re-start of work was two years off the mark and finally in August, 2004 the last station, 53rd reopened--and there aren't even ticket vending machines at 55th and 56th then. See latest. The community's many organizations and aldermen, led by South East Chicago Commission and including a Conference representative, Jane Comiskey, started demanding station upgrade in the early 1990s and worked for many years to convince Metra to upgrade its stations in Hyde Park. Starting in 1998, HPKCC's Transit Task Force also lobbied for this and critiqued elements of the plans presented by Metra at a series of public meetings. Metra proposed a $12 million investment, in part to provide ADA compatibility and consolidate the main stop in the center of the neighborhood. After long delays and with fits and starts, the 51st and 57th stations finally opened--fortunately being the ones with elevators.
Worries remain about security on the new stairs, elevators (at 51st and 57th) 51st and 53rd seem the most worrisome, but there have been incidents at 47th, too. Neighbors of the 57th station remain wary about commuter parkers, who have created problems near 59th and 56th.
Below: 57th Street Station. Possible retail space is visible in left frame.
Commuters are asking for badly-needed stopgap repairs and improved security at 59th and a start of planning for general improvements to the station, platform, and viaduct below. The latter is the subject of interesting design concepts in the Chicago Park District/University of Chicago Master Plan/Midway Plaisance. Police patrols were stepped up because of incidents on the platform. Alderman Hairston seeks reopening of stair access at 60th Street, where the U of C built a public commuter parking lot. Campaign for Better Transit and Woodlawn groups want to take advantage of repairs at the 63rd station to market the station and make it a regular flag stop. As part of the SECRET project, the Transit Task Force supports rebuilding of all older stations on the South Chicago Branch. 2 now starting are in South Shore at Stony Island and Bryn Mawr.
Work in progress: 56th lower station, platform 57th-57th, 53rd as of December, 2002
TIF Advisory Council and aldermanic task forces, with Metra funds and CDOT, planning grant in hand, continue to study and seek funding for refurbishment of the uninviting Metra and Canadian National viaducts. (There are differences of opinion on preserving/replacing murals. At least the one at 56th is being preserved. Many of the murals do not last due to water seepage and exposure or are in the way of stabilization work.) With Metra having taken out turnstyles, it is unlikely there will ever be ticket attendants at 51st and 57th, considered by many necessary to security and good upkeep.
Istria is to open coffee shops (having toilets) late this summer or fall in the 51st and 57th stations.
Metra expects the first 26 new electric cars late in the year, part of a ten-year replacement program for the entire fleet--now blocked by expiration of a state bond program.
Metra is cracking down on spouses using the same pass--but the solution, making passes gender specific looks goofy and maybe unconstitutional? Wouldn't individual-specific be better? Meanwhile, the grace period for those not renewing passes is reduced to a half day, and those who board trains without passes and without buying from the station's machine or ticket seller will be charged $2 extra.
Letter from Richard Gill to the Herald, April 16, 2003 re: a strong article criticizing Metra station delays.
To the Editor:
Your April 9 story about the delays in Metra staion reconstruction has a headline "Metra: Long Wait for Trains." The headline is grossly misleading. It suggests that Metra has reduced its train schedule and created a longer interval betweeen trains. In fact, Metra ha not reduced its train service at the 53rd or 57th St. staions at any time during the station reconstruction period, and their servie has continued uninterupted during that time.
The Herald's story quotes a communtter as saying that Meta may suffer a permanent reduction of ridership as a result of the construction delays. Your headline, which wrongly suggests that train service has been degraded, coul have the same effect.
Visit our new I-GO Carsharing page.
In September 2005,
I-GO celebrated expansion of its Hyde Park fleet in a system expanding city
wide, partly as an antidote to high gas prices.
In November, the TIF Parking Committee heard a presentation from I-GO.
A unique, new car-sharing service that lets you drive when and where you want, just like owning a car. You have 24 hour a cess to I-GO cars located in the area. After signing up with the required avouchments and paying the $75 initial registration fee, reserve a car for 1 hour or more, and pay $6.00/hour plus $.50/mile. I-GO pays insurance, maintenance, etc. To apply online, visit www.i-go-cars.org. To receive an application or information by mail, call (773) 278-4IGO x227. I-GO is now located in the following communities: Andersonville, Edgewater, Hyde Park, Logan Square, and Wicker Park, Uptown, River North, E. Lakeview, and the Loop with more likely to come--1000 members and 25 cars by early 2005--both goals now reached. Hybrids are also now included in select sites.
Center for Neighborhood Technology is launched the program then reached out to the local transportation planning agency CATS. The operation is run by a firm very successful in Washington, D.C. CTA has recognized the value--program users are far more likely to use public transportation and bus/train use goes up when the I-Go cars are stored nearby--so CTA is setting up new I-GO park-and-get spots in lots by its stations and routes. Also, a federal CMAQ anti-congestion/anti-pollution grant and a grant from LaSalle will allow fleet doubling and enable the program to be operationally self-sustaining by a couple of years. The $410,000 spring 2004 grant will enable doubling the Honda sedan fleet and location in more neighborhoods. CDOT is highly enthusiastic, according to its spokesman Brian Steele.
There are now 27 vehicles and 15 sites. Cars in Hyde Park are located in the 53rd St. Lake Park city parking lot in the University of Chicago parking lot at 55th and Greenwood. Additional cars will be added in Hyde Park as needed according to CEO Sharon Feigon, who noted that Hyde Park was one of the early participating communities. I-GO was early touted by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, our Aldemen, and the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce.
Visit the Walkable Communities page for more.
The HPKCC Transit Task Force wants to see that some of the most attractive advantages of this community are maintained and enhanced. The ability of people to walk or bike to work, the store, events- or to move about recreationally- are increasingly pressed upon by both traffic congestion and its opposite: fast moving traffic on Lake Park, 55th, and other "auto oriented" arterials. The parking crunch and dilemma (add more and more traffic comes) add to the problem. Some of our intersections including along Lake Park are not well designed the handle this multiple challenge. Recently, studies and recommendations have been made for Lake Park. No funding is yet available, but there is funding to start rehabilitation of the dreadful (and in significant ways unsafe) Metra viaducts. Also to rehabilitiate the Metra embankments and retaining walls.
Some streetscape improvements have been made on parts of 53rd and 55th Streets. It is proposed in the Zoning Reform Ordinance to concentrate on keeping 53rd Street pedestrian friendly and taking advantage of enhancements for transit-oriented development. (New bus routes including on Lake Park at the commercial center and advocated-upgrades to Metra service may help- Hyde Park is at an ideal distance from downtown and termini along major road and rail corridors. But the many new bus routes in the neighborhood ply frequently narrow and at times of day congested streets. And why does the pedestrian-friendly zone for 53rd not extend west of Kenwood?)