A forum for comments about Naperville news and issues.

How can transportation be improved?

| 22 Comments | No TrackBacks

We are repeatedly told that public transportation is the wave of the future. As population increases and emissions and pollution become more important in the public consciousness, we will need new ways to cope. Traffic jams are getting more frequent, and road construction is far behind and doesn't appear able to catch up.

However, few people use public transportation. Pace is considering cutting 51 suburban bus routes, including five in Naperville. Most people have never taken or rarely take a bus, though some depend on them. The waiting list for parking spots at the train station takes years to reach the bottom. Besides that, the train is only practical for those who work in Chicago or somewhere else along the rail line, and many towns are nowhere near a commuter rail line.

Planners say the future looks like the area around Naperville's downtown train station, with high density residential and commercial property where everyone lives close to public transportation. But it seems likely most people will continue to live far from such locations.

So what can be done to improve transportation in the Chicago area? Can buses and trains be the answer or do we need another option? What other options would you suggest? Do you ever take public transportation?

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://blogs.suburbanchicagonews.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/6706

22 Comments

Naperville needs more train parking - I can't believe that Naperville didn't build a third station down at Naper Blvd way back when it could have. It's ridiculous. Multiple-year waiting lists? And yet there are TWO free parking garages for people to eat in restaurants and get haircuts? Now the parking fee at the train is $480 per year and they rent garden plot that are 3 times bigger for 6 months for $29. Naperville should bulldoze that asphalt company and add more parking at the train.
That said, the buses are a necessity. You either have to provide the parking or keep the bus routes - you can't have it both ways. And for the bozo who wants public transportation to pay for itself - What taxes are paying for all of the road construction, and plowing, and streetsweeping - they're not gas taxes, you freeloader! 75th and washington is being paid mostly with federal money - not gas taxes. The plowing is from city money - not gas taxes. Get a grip - public transportation gets people off the roads and makes everything better. What we really need is to somehow get the school districts to run activity buses so the teens don't need to drive or be picked up from sports, band, drama, etc. This is a huge portion of traffic.

In short - more train parking and more buses!

Uh Denny, these buses can't hold 85 passengers.
I don't know what buses you see in West Chicago.

Pace needs to get more creative with the routes. The current proposed routes eliminate any kind of service to areas south of 75th Street and Naper Blvd.

Why not try to combine routes, or have two pickups in the morning versus 3.

Or do what Downers does and privatize. Or provide incentives for people to take the bus versus parking.

If Pace could get brand new buses, msg boards, fare boxes and all the other toys, how come I can't get a ride to the train station?

I don't get it.

The council is not interested in adding more parking at the Naperville train station, and say use park and ride and bus transportion.

Get this, Pace wants to get rid of the bus route that I take to the train station.

I do my part not to drive, and if I have to drive I can't park.

This is ridiculous, do any of these council members work in the city?

Geeze this is so idiotic.

The answer to transportation problems is to develop a personal transporter that uses the science of anti-gravity and folds into a suitcase when you get to work.

The answer to transportation problems is to develop a personal transporter that uses the science of anti-gravity and folds into a suitcase when you get to work.

OK, here's the biggest scam going with our City of Naperville right now. Ready.

The City received 1.5 million in funds to help "green initiatives" and then we sponsored a "non profit" group that has a "car show" for green technology at Naperville Settlement see the group at this link. http://partnersforcleanchoice.org/

Then, this group goes and "sells" advertising sponsorship, which I can guarantee you raised nearly 100k. See $5k sponsorships and $1k.

So, where does the money go? Does it help change our behaviors or fill the pockets of a non profit set up to profit. I can guarantee you that the salaries of the above Partners for Clean Choice are doing very well.

I'm so tired of those of us working hard - then getting taken advantage of those who have a political agenda and make money at it.

It would be great to have the Naperville Sun find out how much money was raised at this event (this past Saturday), and where it went.

Can I start a company that runs around and tells people how to flush the toliet less and Mr. Alan Pool (City of Naperville Energy junkie and political activist, ie. he spends our tax dollars to promote a company that gives us windmill gas) will support my efforts. Can I get funds too?

The advertising industry is hurting badly. Especially locally. So is the local economy. Someone please explain how this past event helped us compared to a simply newsletter on the subject.

How many people showed up? How many were from Naperville? And how much and where did the money go from sponsors.

AMEN to the suggestion to put RIGHT TURN LANES and LEFT TURN LANES where they belong.

This would allow the artery roads to flow at the rate they were 'planned' on and would make life a whole lot better.

If one thing and one thing only could be done, that would be it.

In the past, I commuted to Chicago and found it to be difficult. Parking at the downtown Naperville train station was almost impossible, as there was a long wait list. Metered parking around the downtown area is fine only if you work 9 to 5, and only if you arrive before 6:00 a.m.. After that time, it's hit or miss and then you end up hoofing it from the parking garage. If you extend your day due to working overtime or dining downtown, you can expect to find a parking ticket on your car upon your return. When I first started commuting, I was on the wait list and there was not Pace service near my home. I racked up parking tickets and numerous phone calls to the NPD and city offered no solution. I started driving to the Belmont station, as there were parking spots directly across the street from the station for a monthly fee. Once Pace started the park and ride service, I took full advantage.

I no longer commute downtown regularly, so I don't know if the wait list for downtown parking is still a problem. When I commute, I use the lot at Wheatland Salem Church (95th Street and Book Road), and that lot is always full. The fees are reasonable and it beats trying to find parking in downtown Naperville. I won't even attempt to drive or bus to the Rt 59 Station, as traffic in the surrounding area is a regular nightmare. I cannot believe the city has not found a way to alleviate the problem. Longer light time would help. I don't know if they have found the red light cameras to be helpful from a traffic standpoint; I think it's only a revenue generator.

I think taking commuting options away will drive commuters out of Naperville to a town that is more commuter-friendly.

Public transportaion is nonsense. Individuals who take a bus, train or a combination of both, need to pay a fare which will cover all costs and provide a profit to the owners of transport.

If passengers cannot afford said fares, they should consider moving closer to their job. Commuters should stop mooching off the rest of us. Some commuters may say they contribute more in taxes to their local community,thus they are entitled to a subsidy. this is just nonsense.

PRIVATIZE ALL PARKING, BUS, AND TRAIN SERVICE.

By Anonymous on October 9, 2009 9:18 PM
Oh I am so glad CSI chimmed in on this topic, I knew he/she/it was an expert on this too. Thankyou for your wisdom and I will be voting for you come the next city council election...

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is called COMMON SENSE.

I guess I have it and you don't.

You don't need expertise to have common sense.

Look at our City Council. Since they have no common sense, they are always looking to increase taxes instead of decrease pay-roll, pension-rolls and expenses to balance the budget.

CIJ

Oh I am so glad CSI chimmed in on this topic, I knew he/she/it was an expert on this too. Thankyou for your wisdom and I will be voting for you come the next city council election...

Q
So what can be done to improve transportation in the Chicago area?
A.
Build an inner and outer N S lines that connect the train stations. The inner line could be accomplished like the NYC subway by placing a line directly below a N S street.

The outer line should probably run N S near 83rd or 355 also connecting train stations and shopping malls.

Q.
Can buses and trains be the answer or do we need another option?
A.
Almost no one rides the bus in the Suburbs (other than the am pm train service buses) because it's impractical and always will be. The trains make sense and are heavily used.

Q.
What other options would you suggest?

A.
Convert half of the fuel for trains, trucks and airplanes to 50% synthetic made from coal using proven technology that has been available since 1944.

This will help to fix our economy destroying trade imbalance, make us less susceptible to blackmail and extortion from oil producers, reduce the motivation to fight wars to keep oil flowing, create good paying jobs in the USA and drop the cost of gas and diesel for commuters.

Naperville should and must build more commuter parking spaces at our trains stations that can pay for themselves and make allowance in the designs to add jacks for electric cars when they become practical.

Looking at the voter maps from the elections, the Democrats control the high population density areas and little else. It is no surprise that they devise plan after plan and tax after tax designed to redisrtibute the wealth to areas that Democrats and their business partners control while stripping the countryside and suburbs of as much money and resources as possible.

The propaganda blitz led off with Al Gore's propaganda masterpiece "An inconvenient Big Lie" which played in our public schools.

The Legislative follow on; the giant income redistribution and job killing tax AKA "Cap and Trade", is currently stuck in the mud since it will drive the USA deeper into the depression we are in. Any reduction in pollution will certainly happen quickly from the economic collapse. This same exact legislation killed New Zeland and is killing the EU.

Needless to say, the Democrat's partners on Wall Street will be the middle men running the pollution rights market-exchange. Obama, a different kind of politician, received the largest contributions of any Senator from Wall Street. He apparently has a memory like an elephant when it comes to his friends.

Q.
Do you ever take public transportation?
A.
The train, and airplanes, an occasional taxi in the City. Suburban buses, never.

I have used the park and ride buses as well as the #685, which drops you off at any corner on its route. I much prefer the #685. All the park and ride buses are located at Route 59. Route 59 is a G zone train ticket (costs $10.80 more per month than F zone in downtown Naperville). Also, getting the buses out of the parking lot at Route 59 is horrible. I have been on the bus when it takes 45 minutes to get out of the parking lot. I am not exaggerating. The bus ride itself is not that long. But after arriving at the park and ride you have to drive home -- even more time. Getting dropped off at a corner near your house is faster, uses less gas and some families can get by with only 1 car. I do know of some people that don't even own a car because they take the bus to the train. I do not think encouraging people to drive to the train is the answer to park (and pay what the "market will bear") is the solution. Right now, if a bus rider uses cash to pay their fare it's $3.50 round trip, while parking is $2 per day. However, there are monthly bus passes and for local Pace only that's $30 per month. For the occasional rider there are 10-ride tickets (that give a bonus 11th ride) for $14 (this ticket is actually subsidized by the City of Naperville otherwise it would cost $17.50). Public transit is the way to go! If now they'd only stop this doomsday stuff!

Three things that can be done immediately to increase traffic flow are:
1.Synchronize traffic signals to eliminate continues stop and go driving.
2.Time signal lights as many are not reasonably controlled for turning and traffic flow.
3.Increase speed limit from 25 to 30 mph, which will increase traffic flow and also increase gas mileage enabling vehicles to running in a higher gear.

Vehicles are now getting 30-60 miles a gallon.

The 2010 Equinox, a sizable SUV, gets 32 miles a gallon and is very energy efficient and green friendly.

People want to drive especially in the suburbs, where bus service which is not economical, simply does not work, since the density does not support mass transportation

That leads us to why the City Hall will not build an income generating garage by the train station but will build non-income generating garages in the downtown area for the drunks who come from Chicago to party in downtown Naperville.

It seems like the Establishment Folks who own the majority of downtown have connections at City Hall. Just imagine the owner of that huge Promenade Building got away with almost no parking...no parking if you consider the street parking public which I do since the city maintains and cleans it.

The city could have required the Promenade Building to construct an underground garage where no additional land purchase would be needed. Where we would not have so many above ground eye sores....of course City Council Members consider Mr. Huber the eyesore with his pretty blue umbrella instead of the dull looking garage behind him. The city decided it was to expensive for the multmillionaire owner to build underground parking so they decided the taxpayers should pay for his parking needs. Unbelievable! Literally ridiculous and absolutely unfair!

I am not a commuter to downtown. But I feel for those commuters. Apparently, most of them are transferees who come to town for a few years and leave, except for a few like Diane G, a long time Naperville Native. Our establishment folks treat them like chopped liver even though many of them are executives who live in the McMansions and pay annual taxes of 40,000 to 100,000 for homes valued from 2 million to 5 million respectively.

These folks are willing to pay top dollar for a parking spot and yet are made to wait 9 years for a spot. By then they would have been transferred to another city or retired. Sometimes I wonder how CNN/Mony can rate us so highly when we can not even provide our commuters parking despite very high and rising taxation. I hope we did not bribe them to vote for us... Sometimes I feel we did since we don't even have tolerance for one HOMELESS MAN who does not bother anyone.

We sure don't treat our temporary residents with any respect despite not giving them any break on their real estate taxes.

I say build them a PARKING DECK. Unlike our establishment folks downtown, they don't want freebies at taxpayer expense. They are willing to pay $5, $10, and even $20 daily for the right to park and go to work. This parking garage may even be profitable but the City Council will not build it. Go figure!

Thank you!

CIJ

Anonymous on October 8, 2009 3:25 PM
---

thanks Anon. Just when I thought I had uncovered a partial solution you burst my bubble and let me know it's been tried - and apparently is failing. thanks.

I would be curious to hear from any users or non users of the park and ride why they like / or dislike it? It seems like it would be an easier method than fighting for the daily parking spots that don't ever seem to be available.

Anonymous One -
There are Park and Ride lots in both Naperville and Aurora.
Westell parking lot 750 Commons Drive, Aurora
95th Street (west on 95th, behind the industrial park and White Eagle)
Wheatland Salem Church at 95th and Book
Community Christain Church (big yellow box) on 34 and Rickert
Those Park n Ride lots have express buses that take people directly to the Route 59 train station.

It does seem that it would be an issue though if you live in the east part of Naperville since there don't seem to be any Park n Rides on that side of town.

I would say the biggest issue is that people don't seem to be using these lots to begin with. They are pretty empty overall. Now maybe there are some people who live near these lots who do walk to the lot to catch the bus. But for the most part, those lots are pretty open.

People who think that public transportation is the wave of the future live in urban areas...where it can work. As the past couple of decades have shown, public transportation can't work in suburban areas, and it never will. There are too many people going too many different places, and not enough money to fund buses going to all those places.

From my place of employemnt in West Chicago I usually observe at least one Pace bus (#747) as it passes every day. Some days I see two or more. Because of the super large windows on these buses it is very easy to count the riders. These are large buses and perhaps they could hold 80 passengers. The most I have ever counted on these huge buses is 4. More often there are less than two. I guess the average would be closer to one. This has been going on for over 5 years!
Therefore my question to Pace managers is why do they need such a big inefficient vehicle running between St. Charles and Wheaton? Would it not make sense to spend their money (or our money depending on how you perceive it) more efficiently? Maybe routes will need to be cut but thier are also other solutions.

Chris, I think the real question here is what needs to be improved in Naperville and the suburbs. Chicago pretty much has it down pat. There are lots of buses/trains to get you where you need to go. Many years ago when I was first married I lived in Chicago and we didn't own a car. We took the bus/El/walked pretty much wherever we wanted to go. The grocery store was 2 blocks away -- we walked.

Having grown up in Naperville I cannot imagine not having a car here. In addition, I am also one of those that relies on the bus to get to/from the train. And my bus route #685 is one of those that is proposed for elimination.

I cannot believe the nerve of Pace to propose eliminate of these routes now. Not so long ago the citizens of this metro area were asked to pony up more money for transit and we are now paying a higher percentage of sales tax for it. Also, the City of Naperville subsidizes Pace bus service because it is crucial to this area. There are not enough parking spaces, roads are already crouded and taking the bus is more environmentally friendly (less gas emissions as well as less gas consumed). In some families, they may be able to get by with only 1 car if Pace service is close to their house.

Over the past year I have noticed new equipment on the Pace buses. They now have video monitoring of the drivers and passengers. There are new fare card machines as well. All this equipment must cost money. Until money is funded for capital expenditures, Pace should use its funds for operations. I'd like to see more gasoline taxes used for transit funding. Transit is essential to our community.

THREE WAYS

1. Right turn lanes

2. Enforce limits on driveway access

3. Grade separation

I will use 75th Street as an example. This road was suppose to carry large amounts of traffic east west in the County (Ogden to the west, route 83 to the east). The speed limit was initial set at 50 miles per hour. A good concept. In fact, I think the road is designated as a Strategic Arterial Road.

But the above factors are forcing speed limit reductions (either formally or by traffic congestion).

Right turns cause one of the traffic lanes to slow down. People make turns at 10 to 15 miles per hour. So instead of free flowing traffic in the right lane, it is compounded by starts and stops. People jump to the left lane to avoid slowdowns. EVERY ROAD NEEDS A RIGHT TURN LANE. This should be built by the City's that connect their roads to this arterial road.

Curb cuts create MORE cross traffic to these roads. Based on its designation, there should be NO access points other than existing arterial roads. If there are access points, they should be right in, right out. Take a look at the development by 75th and Naper. The two shopping centers have no complete access to 75th Street. The two right in, right out access points have a right turn lane.

Sometime since these malls were proposed (around 1975 to 1980), the County compromised on intersection access. To the east, they allowed a complete intersection by the Wal Mart/Home Depot in Darien. Same in Naperville with the intersection east of Naperville Plainfield Road. These developers should not have been allowed these access points and worked out alternative access on existing roads (Manning and Naper Plainfield) like the developers along Naper Boulevard. Lastly, another major intersection was developed at Fort Hill Drive (it use to be only right in, rigth out). OK. But when the developers proposed the mall on the north, ANOTHER INTERSECTION was allowed, in close proximity to Route 59. The County should have not allowed this intersection. Instead, they should have gone back to Naperville and told them that they could have only one. They could have routed Fort Hill through the new development and closed the road to the east.

In short, the cross traffic that was NEVER to be allowed on 75th STreet is a MAJOR cause of traffic conjestion. While 75th Street is not as bad as Ogden, the damage has been done. And it might not be possible to correct.

However, going forward, the County should place a moritoriam on ALL new curb cuts on 75th Street. Secondly, all deficiencies within each community should be identified. These deficiencies should be the responsibility of the local communities (Naperville, Darien in particular). In order to get any changes to existing roads, these communities should develop plans to remedy the problems they have created or NO MORE CURB CUTS. This shows how planners TOTALLY ignored traffic matters.

Lastly, some of the intersections have too much cross traffic. In from the thirties to the fifties, IDOT (who was totally responsbile for arterial roads such as Route 53 and Route 59) built grade separations for the intersection of major roads (Rt. 53 and Ogden, Rt. 59 and Roosevelt, etc.). Notice how well these intersections work. Then money ran out and instead of doing things right, they do them cheap.

Where does 75th Street break down? Woodward Ave, Lemont Road, Route 53, Washington. Instead of four turn lanes in every direction and confusing traffic signals, 75th Street should have gone over Washington. Then the intersection would have been all traffic (turning and through) on Washington and turning traffic only from 75th Street. (There is not the room for larger intersections like at 53 and Ogden). More money, yes. Better outcome--significant.

The grade separation should also be considered for 75th and Route 53 (it's a natural with the hill east of 53). Instead, we are doomed to failed programs that have been created at Washington for decades.

How would this be implemented? Right turn lanes are not major funds. They could be done with existing budgets.

Access to Stategic Routes is a policy matter. Communities (Naperville, Darien) fight them because they want "economic development". Well it can be done. Kane County has limited access to Randall Road, the developers have to PAY MORE MONEY. We have overbuilt commercial space, let the strong survive, the weak fail.

And better roads (such as grade separation). Increase the gas tax. The state gas tax that is the primary driver of road construction (as well as County and City taxes) are based on a penny per gallon (state is 19 cents, county 4 cents, Naperville 2 cents--don't know the exact amounts). But these amounts have not been changed in years (the state last changed its rate in 1990). These taxes increase only with more gas consumption. Increase in drivers have been offset by more fuel efficient cars. To generate the same amount in inflation adjusted dollars in 2010 that were generated in 1990, this tax should have trippled (to 57 cents).

So why are inferior roads being developed? Because the revenues to finance them have not kept up with inflation. So we will get forty lane intersection at Washington and 75th instead of a more efficient grade separation.

With new technology, we should do like the Europeans do for cars. Make all roads subject to user fees. The problem is that everyone wants governemnet services, but wants someone else to pay for them.

At one time I took the train downtown each day, and parking at the station was always a problem and continues to be. A number of cities have "park and ride" facilities where commuters park their cars (typically 5-10 miles away) from the train station and shuttle buses go back and forth.

Currently there are open lots (or at least plenty of parking) at the old Home Depot facility on Rt. 59 just South of the train, the old Menards on Ogden, and at the mall on the NW corner of Naperville rd and Ogden. I can't believe that Pace or some other enterprising transporation company couldn't lease this and set up such a facility. There are no doubt safety and legal permits, etc. but with such a problem the city should be willing to investigate.

Pace could more easily manage the routes because it would just be back and forth between the same locations.

Leave a comment

Naperville Potluck

The Sun invites you to share opinions about news and issues. Have a question? E-mail us.  

Pages

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Chris Magee, moderator published on October 7, 2009 9:42 PM.

Should kids spend more time in school? was the previous entry in this blog.

Open topic is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.