Two in a row

Over at Streetsblog, I have an article about how Chicago’s land use laws and design practices mean the city doesn’t get nearly as much out of its transit infrastructure as it might. In this instance, it’s about the Orange Line, but it really could be about any number of places. On the list I keep of potential posts here, “Oh my God Metra” has been staring at me for several months. Do you ever go to any of the suburban downtowns around Metra stations that haven’t been allowed to grow since 1920, forcing people and jobs out into the transit-dry hinterland? Does it make you cry?

4 thoughts on “Two in a row

  1. No, but I do go to LIRR stations that haven’t. It’s frustrating. A local one near my where I grew up was damaged badly by urban renewal. Another one I’m familiar with has seen development in the last half-century, but a lot of it is not really pedestrian friendly.,-73.527761&spn=0.025611,0.056605&sll=42.367614,-72.505491&sspn=0.199883,0.452843&hnear=Hicksville,+Nassau+County,+New+York&t=m&z=15&layer=c&cbll=40.769522,-73.527974&panoid=oXTcfWIRrEil_5zl8neZeQ&cbp=12,88.91,,0,-7.51

    SkyTrain in Vancouver has seen lots of development by new rapid transit lines.

  2. Yes, as a Californian who visits Chicago every summer and bike rides into Evanston (and north of) it does make me cry. No action around those stations and very low density. There is too much potential in those areas but not a local to know the reason against development. I’m guessing NIMBYism or wanting to sustain the quiet and sterile quality of life.

  3. There’s a lot of stuff about Metra which could make a person cry.
    1) They built a new Ravenswood station on the Metra line that parallels the CTA Brown Line, and did not place it anywhere near a CTA station.
    2) Hour long, two hour long gaps between trains any time outside of rush
    3) Single entrance cars with a high first step, making boarding and exiting slow
    4) Stations inside Chicago so poorly maintained I have to think this is the result of some suburban-city political pissing match. Ever seen the BNSF stop on Halsted? It is literally an uncovered asphalt strip between tracks, accessed through an unmarked stairway in the overpass.
    5) Suburban stations surrounded by an ocean of surface parking, no destination you can actually walk to from them
    6) Ticketing system stuck firmly in the dark ages. Hey, you gotta give the political hires something to do, might as well be walking the train punching paper tickets.

  4. Evanston and Highland Park have had a fair bit of construction around their main stations after the 1920s. Downtown Highland Park in particular had a spate of building in the late 70s and 80s, much of it office and retail, with a lot of new condos in the 90s and 2000s. Nevertheless, the development around many North Shore stations (which are generally the oldest and most built-up to begin with) is still a joke. Kenilworth, Indian Hill, Braeside(!), Fort Sheridan, and Lake Bluff might just as well be bus stops, let alone Zion and Winthrop Harbor. Yes there’s some small exceptions, but it’s a good point that little if any dense development has happened since before the depression around Hubbard Woods, Glencoe, Ravinia, Lake Forest, or even Highwood. The stasis is disappointing.

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