Maybe one day Chicago will not waste its billions of dollars of transportation infrastructure, but until then, have this Next City article

This is the winter of my Metra-related discontent.
This is the winter of my Metra-related discontent. Credit: Eric Rogers

Service innovations like increased frequency don’t yet appear anywhere in the strategic plan, and a Metra spokesperson confirmed that the agency has no plans to move in that direction. In August, Streetsblog Chicago reported that one board member flatly rejected that kind of service expansion, claiming that running a single extra train during rush hour would cost over $30 million. (Aikins, however, reports that GO Transit spent just $7.7 annually to adopt half-hourly frequencies on its two biggest lines.)

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2 thoughts on “Maybe one day Chicago will not waste its billions of dollars of transportation infrastructure, but until then, have this Next City article

  1. On the $30m vs $7.7m figure, if not complete bunk, the difference likely has to do with total system capacity (at Ogilvie, Union station or similar), given he mentioned rush hour specifically. You can’t add a train if the station can’t unload them any faster.

    Looking at the impact of Metra service, Naperville is a very interesting example. The town blew up and surpassed a number of other suburbs, and I suspect a lot of that has to do with having an express train to downtown. This isn’t some super fast train, it simply makes no stops from Naperville to Union Station. I assume there are 3 tracks in order to accomplish this feat. In any case, a similar setup could shave commute times from other suburbs significantly (ex. Libertyville & Waukegan, similar mileage from downtown, currently take ~60 minutes on the “rush hour express” vs Naperville’s 35 minutes.) Of course if you don’t have the right-of-way, laying a 3rd track is kind of impossible…

    Similarly, many poo-poo’ed the CTA’s Brown Line overpass at Belmont announcement when they said it will result in red line trains every 4 minutes instead of every 6 minutes during rush hour or something like that. I guess the thought was, why spend all this money so I wait 2 fewer minutes? It wasn’t properly emphasized that every 4 minutes instead of 6 gets you 15 trains / hour instead of 10, a 33% increase in capacity.

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