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    United Center does have better transit access than many NBA or NHL stadiums, but the parking lots that stand between the stations and the stadium make the walk seem further than it is. A station amidst the parking lots would make the lots more valuable as development then serving a temporary need for stadium only parking.



    It is the area served by the loop. Which is why most maps show the loop business district extending to the river and to Michigan Avenue.



    The Loop neighborhood is bounded by the Chicago River on the north and west, Lake Michigan on the east, and Roosevelt on the south. It is, of course, named after the elevated tracks that form a loop in the middle of the neighborhood:

    I think the neighborhood is what’s being referenced here.



    The reason I will vote for El Cerrito over Chicago isn’t because I am from here. It is because I know if there was a United Center CTA station, half this parking would disappear within a few years.


    Dan Reuter

    Nothing in the report about federal or state transportation policy that provided highways to access vacant land during a period of sunbelt migration. Local governments did not have the means to channel that growth in a sustainable manner for 40 years. It is an old tired representation of history. Atlanta is a 28 county Census defined region, Detroit one. The report and ranking does a disservice to the good community planning that has occurred by planners and citizens across the U.S.



    Good points. What about the Bulls’ new practice facility that is already (well) under construction? Isn’t that going up over the easternmost parking lot in the photo, between Madison and Monroe? I’m not 100% sure.



    Building a station at Madison and Paulina would certainly make sense, but as other have noted there are already two stations within half a mile (the blue line stop at Illinois Med. Ctr. and the Green/Pink Line stop at Ashland). Having two L stations less than .5 miles walk from the stadium is likely much better public transportation than most modern basketball stadiums have. And both stations would feed people back to the main Metra hubs in the loop with less than 10 to 15 minute trips.

    The problem has been that traditionally fans would not walk around the United Center area for fear of the surrounding neighborhood. And while that culture is changing now as the area gets much, much safer, it takes time to reverse those type of patterns in generations that grew up with the mentality that they would be mugged if they didn’t drive and park close.


    david vartanoff

    So precisely because UCenter has no station for the L trains going past, and El Cerrito merely has the station mislocated by 1000′ Chicago “wins”. Fun timing as I was there once again yesterday, arriving by BRT lite, visiting a bank, shopping for food and taking BART away. Certainly more ugly crossing the parking lot in front of the super market but the previous block length sidewalk is not very different from any other sidewalk adjacent commercial/shopping areas.
    As to the lack of TOD nearby, many lots are already built on so TOD would require bulldozing existing houses or commercial spaces.



    People who work at the sears tower/311 south wacker/the mercantile exchange building/etc. generally say they work in the loop. local usage > strict definitions


    Scott Sanderson

    Come on, there is only one street (Franklin) between Wacker Drive and the elevated tracks.



    Theres quite a long gap between those stations and neither is all that close to the United Center. Theres another gap to the south of there in the midst of actual urban prairie….


    the agency

    actually, loop is a reference to the tracks. at least by history.



    There’s a station on a rail line just out of the picture below on Congress and just out of the picture above on Lake.



    Maybe it’s some sort of misguided Chicago pride, but I’ll make the following arguments in defense of the United Center picture:

    (1) the area was surrounded by the Henry Horner Homes until about twelve years ago, and that series of housing projects was literally one of the worst neighborhoods in the city of Chicago; meaning, even though the area is only 1.8 miles from the loop, and is only around .5 miles away from an L station on Ashland, very, very few people would have felt safe walking around the area until 8 years ago or so (when the last of the towers came down). Considering the economy tanked in 2008, and you’re only now starting to see development in much more desirable places where other projects were leveled (like Cabrini Green), you will see a big change here, but it has taken longer than it otherwise would have

    (2) there are already several developments in the works for that area, including a new building for Malcolm X community college, which will eliminate at least two of the parking lots in the far bottom left corner of the pic. There are also developments in the works that would replace two of the lots directly north of the stadium on Madison St.

    In other words, this is a neighborhood that is very much in flux, and five years from now that pic won’t even be recognizable.



    The term “the Loop” generally refers to the downtown neighborhood of Chicago, not the L tracks. The western boundary for this area is the Chicago River, so yes, Wacker is in the Loop.



    Wacker isn’t “the Loop”.

    It is just over 2 miles from Wells to the UC.



    1.8mi from Wood to Wacker. So I think the description is accurate.



    The Chicago one has a rail line on the right side that doesnt even have a station for the Arena. To be fair, why would it, since theres nothing around the arena but parking….



    This is pretty cool, but I hope these bills can be consolidated so they don’t compete. Glad it is on the radar of our leaders though.






    rst1317, even with the data you cited, I don’t see a long-term downward trend in Twin Cities transit ridership.

    In the data you cited, each of the 4 Twin Cities transit agencies provided more trips in 2013 than in 2012. Metro Transit (the biggest) was up 0.39% in 2013 (despite 2012 having an extra day)–81.4 million trips (in 2013) vs 81.1 million (in 2012).

    True, 4Q 2013 was slightly down from 4Q 2012 (by 0.20% overall for the 4 agencies listed), but 12-month numbers are much more indicative than shorter periods.



    “less than two miles away from the Loop”

    Only for certain definitions of “Loop”.


    Emily Catherine

    I think the point of this topic is that surface parking lots are a very poor land use in urban centers. The numbers of people in a building have nothing to do with a specific need for surface parking. While surface lots might be a stopgap to get use out of blight demo sites until they are redeveloped, entire city blocks of unimproved surface parking have no place in dense business districts. Our existing parking garages are never full, & when drivers see 10 acres of surface parking lots across the street from their destination, as well as on-street parking, there’s little motivation to use a garage, and the expectation of driving to and parking immediately outside downtown destination persists, leading to resistance to valuable infill development. This lack of improvement means fewer people and fewer dollars per acre. When you park your cars where there should be buildings, say each space & access to it costs you at least 150 sq ft; that’s enough space for several dozen full time employees in an office tower. Each person working downtown generates their own economic output in that area. Tourists don’t come to our downtown to see our surface lots; every lot we replace with a restaurant, a hotel, an office building, or an event space makes the entire downtown more walkable, more viable, and more attractive, even if parking is very limited.


    Anne A

    “High-tech voice-control gizmos built into cars are less a solution than a “looming public safety crisis” unto themselves…”

    No kidding. And have you ever been in a car with a driver who was paying more attention to the dashboard display of their GPS navigation system than they were to traffic and street conditions around them? Yikes! A couple of times I’ve felt endangered enough by the driver’s distracted state that I asked him to either turn off the GPS or not look at it so that I could give directions instead. (This happened in locations that were very familiar to me.)

    It seems that the sources of distraction by various forms of technology become more pervasive and numerous by the day.



    Sorry if I offended you. That wasn’t my intent. I was simply trying to convey there is a reason all of those parking lots exist. Ugly? Yes. But, they have a purpose.


    Payton Chung

    Good point. Wall Street’s strictly delimited, single use “property types” might have made development more efficient, but don’t make for good city-building. There’s also not historically been much incentive for single-type owners, like REITs, to stop collecting their nice dividend-paying rent checks and push the property over to the “land held for development” side of their balance sheets.

    I’ve lately noticed a bunch of self-storage buildings that are in primo development locations, but I bet their by-the-spreadsheet owners don’t care.



    Those wide streets are wonderful for cycling in, though. You can ride most streets without fear of being crowded out by traffic, which isn’t the case in many other cities.


    Joe R.

    Seat belts are proven to save lives based on statistics. Bike helmets aren’t. If someone wants to wear a helmet that’s their business but it’s a fallacy to suggest not wearing a helmet is as dangerous as not wearing a seat belt. In the Netherlands 99% of cyclists don’t wear helmets, and yet their death rate is much lower than in the US where many cyclists do wear helmets. The key is infrastructure which makes bicycle-motor vehicle collisions far less likely.


    Joe R.

    A helmet isn’t going to do a thing for you in a collision with a motor vehicle. It’s not the fault of the helmet, either. It’s simple physics. There’s literally nothing which can protect a cyclist in collisions with motor vehicles. At best, helmets offer a minimal amount of protection in bike accidents at low speeds involving the bike only.


    Perry Cole

    Louisville is having probably the most objectionable parking fields.They should have developed one parking lot on each side of area rather than having different parking lots on different sides of areas.San Diego is better in this regard. Gatwick parking



    “Wearing a helmet makes good sense to protect yourself.” As does wearing a seat belt.


    Dave Weckl

    Not wearing a helmet (on a bike or motorcycle) is like not wearing a seatbelt: stupid. I don’t care if you are in the bike lane or the WO&D trail. Wearing a helmet makes good sense to protect yourself. But that is not the point of the article. The picture was amusing to me.



    I wear a helmet when cycling just because I would like to retain the ability to think if hit by a distracted (or violent) motorist. However, the wearing or not wearing of a helmet isn’t going to cause on accident. That’s like saying a car collision was caused by the operator not wearing a seat belt. Is sitting in the opposite lane poor etiquette? Yes, I will agree with you on that.



    Of course, there is a long history of terrible loss of life from bad drivers. drunk driving, running red lights, etc.
    I will probably drop off of this conversation now. Thanks and Bye.



    Gotcha. I’m sure that, back then, motorists never broke any laws.


    Dave Weckl

    Nice picture of the two bikers, without helmets, stopped in the bike lanes going the wrong direction. Classic of bikers in DC.



    You are right, I am off topic. It seems like some motorists and cyclists are at war with each other. 20-30 years ago, SF was not over run with the latter, out of control, and things like critical mass, which are just mob action.


    Markus Ferguson

    I can’t believe the State DOTs caused this to happen.



    I don’t know. Why do I see so many motor vehicle drivers blasting through red lights, stop signs, and totally ignoring all traffic laws, and then often giving the one finger solute (on the horn) to anyone that annoys them.
    (And what does this have to so with the topic at hand?)


    Mark R. Brown

    I assume you’re referring to “The Spire” project next to the light rail tracks. Hopefully something gets off the ground soon.

    And yes, the more recent Dallas photo is still out of date. There’s already a new 150+ unit apartment building in construction to the east of the highway shown. This area is part of the largest urban arts district in the country. Also, Hall is building a new office tower smack dab in the middle of the picture.

    I agree Dallas has some parking crater problems, but this is a poor example of one.



    The recession isn’t the only reason why many people are cutting back on driving. Making streets wider again will just encourage more people to drive and bring more congestion, which goes against sustainability goals. The point is to encourage more people to walk, bike, and take public transportation.


    Alex Brideau III

    Based on the hardscaping next to the red area walkways with lighting, I suspect that stretch of track is/was being held for a future station. Perhaps it may still be used for one if/when the surrounding area develops.


    Michael Andersen

    Good catch, Shaun. They’re not spaced properly because my sophisticated graphics software, Google Docs, doesn’t let you set arbitrary axis intervals. I decided it was better to have improperly spaced (but properly labeled) X-axes than to imply the existence of data points that DDOT didn’t have.



    Montgomery? I thought the largest bottleneck was Embarcadero.


    Shaun Jacobsen

    The x-axis on those charts are messed up. Why aren’t they spaced properly? I see the general trend but if there are disparities in the scale they need to be noted.



    That doesn’t add up though. Only a handful of metros have more than 10+% of jobs in their downtowns ( CBDs ). Transit use is negligible outside of commuting to downtowns. And even when it comes to downtowns, only about 1/4 of CBDs in the US have more than 20% of workers taking transit. OUtside of NYC and a couple other places, you could end transit and their would be little change.



    APTA’s data showins Metro Transit ridership dropping


    Alex Brideau III

    Rooftop swimming pools are fairly common even in Los Angeles, where the building codes are notoriously restrictive.


    Angie Schmitt

    Last year Tulsa ran away with it, and they used the other kind of photo.



    That Dallas photo is still out of date, but as a former VP for the landowner for that 12 acres of parking lots, I can assure you the biggest issue is not the highway. The issue is that they are an office company when they should be building residential. The apartments across the street are 8 storeys tall and fully occupied, and there is no reason to believe the same wouldn’t be true if the landowner/developer changed the development to be more accomodating of the market. Problem is, they don’t own a single residential building and have no expertise in that realm.