Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by meh
During the next few weeks, there will be opportunities to give your input about what you believe should be the most important transportation projects in Lake County, IL. I attended one of these public meetings this week, and I was surprised to see that all of the priority projects identified thus far were highway projects. No transit projects had been identified.

The long-range plan for Lake County does show various transit projects, but it certainly seems worthwhile for them to hear a consistent message from citizens that transit projects should be among their priorities.

Upcoming meetings:
Saturday 3 June 2006, Wauconda
Wednesday 7 June 2006, Grayslake
Tuesday 13 June 2006, Lake Forest

Full meeting details are listed here: http://www.co.lake.il.us/dot/

If you cannot attend a meeting, you may submit comments via the web site, by telephone, or by e-mail. See the web site for more information. All comments must be received by 23 June 2006.

  by doepack
meh wrote:I'm not sure that the fact MDN inbound evening trains currently are infrequent represents a lack of demand as much as the limited capacity of the single-track Fox Lake sub.

The largest passenger loads definitely will be outbound in the evening, so Metra concentrates its resources on that. But while that part of Lake County is relatively rural, it also has some extremely congested roads, particularly the east-west ones. If there were viable transit options for suburb-to-suburb and reverse-commute transportation farther out on the MDN, Metra might find that there is demand there, too
Thought I'd move my response here from the locomotive assignment thread...

Since you witnessed no transit improvement projects identified at a recent meeting, then it's probably going to be that much harder to get people out of their cars in Lake County. As a result, Metra's primary role in Lake County's transit picture as just a suburb-to-downtown hauler in rush hours and nothing more will not change, even though it's potential can be more than that, but, as you noted above, the lack of sufficient capacity on the Fox Lake sub restricts that potential to a certain degree. To address the growing demand, Metra could add a second main to the Fox Lake sub, which would likely be accomplished by extending the current Grayslake siding north by a mile or two, but you can bet that the local NIMBY's will have much to say about that...

  by meh
The map distributed at the meeting shows that the baseline plan (projects "that are anticipated to occur by the year 2020") includes developing commuter rail on the EJ&E from Waukegan to Barrington and on the CP north from Rondout to Wadsworth. The EJ&E corridor would intersect the UP-North at Waukegan, the Milwaukee North at Rondout (not a current station), the NCS at "South Mundelein/Vernon Hills" (also not a current station), and the UP-NW at Barrington.

The paragraph beside the map states: "An essential ingredient is to redirect efforts from fixed-route bus transit service to providing interconnection throughout the county between Metra rail stations. In addition, the criss-crossing of commuter lines affords the opportunity to focus transit service at Rondout, Prairie Crossing, Waukegan, and South Mundelein-Vernon Hils as multi-modal hubs."

The plan shows the development of these multi-modal hubs at most intersections of commuter rail lines and at Lake Zurich. It shows increased fixed-route bus service along Waukegan Road (IL-43) from Lake-Cook Road to Gurnee and along Green Bay Road from Lake Bluff to Gurnee. And it shows establishing shuttle service between Lake Forest and the NCS/EJ&E junction; in the Gurnee area; and connecting Lake Zurich, Barrington, and Wauconda.

The Lake County Transportation Summit will follow these public meetings and at it local officials will vote to produce a "Consensus Agenda." Even though their agenda last year apparently did not list transit projects among their top priorities, this would not prevent Metra, Pace, and the RTA from pursuing transit projects in Lake County. And the printed announcement of this year's summit does state that "Lake County's elected officials will be asked to vote on the prioritization of State Highway add-lanes projects and Metra and Pace capital projects and additions to current transit service levels."

At the meeting I attended they did compile a list of projects and issues (both road- and transit-related) raised by those citizens making public comments, and a planner from RTA spoke briefly at the beginning of the meeting and was present to hear the public comments. Thus I think that it is worthwhile for additional citizens to voice their support of including transit projects as part of a balanced transportation system in Lake County. As noted in the first message, this can be done electronically or by phone as well as by speaking at one of the upcoming meetings.
What about extending the north line to gurnee. The trackage is already there and it would service both Gurnee Mills and Great America
  by meh
meh wrote:The map distributed at the meeting shows [...] developing commuter rail [...] on the CP north from Rondout to Wadsworth [and] shuttle service [...] in the Gurnee area
NIRCMAN wrote:What about extending the north line to gurnee. The trackage is already there and it would service both Gurnee Mills and Great America
Trains going up the CP C&M mainline to Wadsworth would pass through Gurnee, and the shuttle buses would connect the rail line to those "attractions."