In April, I had the opportunity to attend the American Planning Association conference which was being held in Chicago which also meant that I would have the opportunity to explore its transit system for the first time.
For those that love exploring transit systems, Chicago is a great place to go. Not only does it have its famous "L" system which is operated by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), but also CTA buses, METRA Commuter trains which included diesel trains out of 3 stations in the Chicago Loop area, electric line that runs south from a fourth station, the last true interurban line the South Shore, PACE bus service and loads of private bus operations.
|METRA Electric train at South Chicago (93rd Street terminus).|
On Sunday I had the opportunity to go on a mobile workshop studying Transit Oriented Development (TOD) along the Brown Line which travels northwest out of the Loop. Along the route we were able to see several instances of first generation TOD (long before anyone thought up that word), being revived and seeing new interest thanks to the revitalization of the Brown Line that took place a couple of years ago.
|Looking south from the Southport Station|
One of the stops on this tour was at the Southport station which is seeing not only revival of many of the classic buildings but also infill development. What I found interesting is that they are currently building new apartments in Chicago with no parking and not seeing the confrontations that have occured in Portland.
Overall, I rode all the "L"/Subway Lines except for the Green Line south of the Loop and the Blue Line north of the loop to O'Hare. Overall I didn't encounter any problems, the trains ran well although you could see why CTA is currently rebuilding the Red Line that is in the middle of the Dan Ryan Expressway since travel was very slow on that route and several times the trains literally would craw.
I also rode several METRA lines including the line out to Big Timber and then connecting to the line out to Antioch, the Rock Island line out to Blue Island and the METRA electric to South Chicago.