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    Posted: 22/February/2013 at 9:51am
I'm starting this thread to provide those who care to read about the Ike Rebuilding issue with what's been written about it. Included in it are references to what's ben termed social justice. For those of you who believe that term refers only to poor black people in Austin and Maywood, etc., you'd best think again. We're talking about anyone who lives east of the Cook-DuPage border. 

Those of us living in inner ring suburbs have been royally screwed the past half-century by federal and state policies on transportation and land use. For the past ten years or more, a growing number of organizations have been fighting back, demanding reasonable policies that look to revitalize our urban environment using this area's unique strengths.  

I'll be adding numerous links to reports and papers related to this crucial topic over the next few days. I expect the usual contingent of trolls and other jerk-offs to splatter their pointless waste on this post. But for those of you who are serious about informing yourself about the issues and possible solutions related to the Ike Rebuild, I hope this helps. 

I'll begin with the Center for Neighborhood Technology's Feb. 2012 report, Prospering In Place. It outlines the challenges and opportunities of recapturing the economic and social vitality our mass transit-based urban and inner urban ring suburbs enjoyed until the 60s or 70s. It's available at:

http://www.cnt.org/repository/Prospering-in-Place.pdf. Below is the introduction.

Prospering in Place: Linking Jobs, Development, and Transit to Spur Chicago’s Economy 

PLACES MATTER. But for decades our region disregarded its historic, compact, transit-served neighborhoods in favor of urban sprawl with its dependence on cars and cheap gas. When the economy was growing, the cost of this shift was less apparent, but stagnant incomes, high unemployment, and historic fuel prices have exposed the long term folly of this development strategy.

The answer to this problem is location efficiency: our legacy development pattern with its respectful use of scarce land and energy, its appreciation for interaction and community, and a high esteem for the mass transit system that served it so well. In this “back to the future” scenario, we live closer to where we work; take transit, rather than drive; strengthen walkable neighborhoods that meet needs locally; and celebrate the vitality of compact, diverse communities linked together by fast, convenient, and affordable transit.

Prospering in Place is CNT’s call to action. It embraces the goals of the Chicago region’s GO TO 2040 plan and translates them into a place-based blueprint for prosperity. It shows how to restore location efficiency and create new jobs and economic vitality based on our unique assets and advantages(.)



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Just the Facts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22/February/2013 at 10:15am
This coverage was in the Oak and Forest Leaves in 2011. It outlines concerns over how IDOT has been proceeding with Ike Rebuild plans. Forest Park would do well to pay attention. And I believe V.A. Tim Gillian has been. 

http://riverforest.suntimes.com/news/8851482-418/oak-park-preparing-for-ike-fight.html

Oak Park preparing for Eisenhower fight

By BILL DWYER wdwyer@pioneerlocal.com November 15, 2011 4:26PM

Updated: December 18, 2011 9:39AM

For the first time, Oak Park officials are talking openly about suing the state over its reconstruction plans for the Eisenhower Expressway.

The Illinois Department of Transportation’s release of a draft Environmental Impact Study — which includes plans for additional lanes on I-290 that could cut into Oak Park property — has galvanized the village board.

Village trustees and top staff met with urban planning expert Rick Kuner, founder of Citizens for Appropriate Transportation, for nearly three hours at the Oak Park Conservatory.

“This is one of those harmless-looking documents that isn’t harmless at all,” Kuner said. “You ignore it at your peril.”

The 20-page IDOT draft report, also called a Purpose and Need statement, outlines the purposes of design elements and the need for those elements. The finalized version, upon acceptance by the Federal Highway Administration, will serve as the governing document for subsequent planning.

Kuner and others have accused IDOT of having a clear preference for additional roadways over public transit options. The most recent Purpose and Need draft confirms that, he said.

With IDOT working diligently to control the wording and focus of any plan, Kuner said, Oak Park and the other seven municipalities in the near west suburbs must be every bit as diligent in making certain their concerns are included in any final document.

Kuner said there will be a public comment period on the draft sometime in December or into January. Afterward, IDOT will release the final Environmental Impact Study. The federal government will then file what’s called a Record of Decision in the federal register.

“That ends Phase 1,” Kuner said. The purpose and need study can be challenged, but with much greater difficulty.

“Purpose and Need really sets the ground rules,” said Kuner. “He who sets the ground rules can rig the results, and IDOT has a tendency to do that.”

“The reason this matters, the point at which this comes in,” Village President David Pope said, “…is if it’s incorporated later (and) not as a core part of the Purpose and Need, then it has far less standing in terms of providing an avenue to challenge the outcome of the process.”

Kuner pointed out that all of IDOT’s design alternatives involve additional traffic lanes. He also criticized IDOT’s unexplained merging of bus rapid transit (BRT) with heavy rail transit (HRT) into a new category, “high capacity transit” or HCT, which they use interchangeably.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that term (HCT) and I’ve been doing this for 40 years,” Kuner said.

“The proposals we see in front of us are not the proposals we want to see. We need to really step up,” said Trustee Colette Lueck, who called the looming decision “one of the most pressing issues facing Oak Park.”

EPA requirements

Kuner said IDOT should be adhering to the requirements set forth in the 1969 National Environmental Protection Act, which states planners should do a “rigorous analysis” of any and all potential impacts and make all efforts to “avoid, minimize and mitigate any negative impacts.”

He said he convinced IDOT to put the NEPA law wording in the original Purpose and Needs Phase 1 document, “(but) they dropped it.” He said their reasoning was, “it’s in the law, we don’t need to restate it here.”

Kuner said there are three main aspects of the process, all of which require close attention — the political, the technical and legal.

“This is a huge, big deal in terms of the short-term and long-term future of Oak Park,” he said. “If you’re not operating on all three fronts, then you’re in trouble.”

Oak Park has also insisted that IDOT adhere to the Fair Evaluation of Alternatives standard in federal guidelines, and that those alternatives be considered on an ongoing basis throughout the study and planning process. Kuner and Pope said that has not happened.

“We’re getting very slow responses from IDOT, who are inching toward where they need to be,” said Kuner

Pope, who agreed with Kuner on the need to address the issue on all three fronts, reviewed four key issues the village has insisted on:

• avoidance of taking more land from Oak Park and other communities,

• inclusion of a Blue Line extension west at least to Hillside, preferably to Oak Brook,

• economic development and land use benefits not just in Oak Park, but all eight near west communities,

• configuration of all expressway exit ramps so that adjacent side streets don’t become “raceways.”

Just how complicated balancing the legal with the political will be was apparent when Village Manager Tom Barwin suggested the board make its response to IDOT’s Purpose and Needs draft via formal board resolutions.

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http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/2-26-2008/Blue-Line-extension-gathers-steam/

This Wednesday Journal article is five years old, but offers good synopsis of rationale and benefits for Blue Line Extension.

Blue Line extension gathers steam

Extension tied to development of three key north-south transit corridors


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Just the Facts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23/February/2013 at 10:18am
THis Review article outlines IDOT's acknowledgement that buses aren't an efficient alternative to rapid rail, and that plans to actually shorten the Blue Line have been dropped. 

http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/11-16-2011/State-no-longer-considering-shorter-CTA-Blue-Line/

State no longer considering shorter CTA Blue Line

By Marty Stempniak

An idea to shorten the CTA Blue Line and have it no longer pass through Oak Park and end in Forest Park is being scrapped, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

For years, IDOT has been exploring ways to relieve congestion along the Eisenhower Expressway, including widening the interstate and extending the Blue Line west of the Forest Park stop, at 711 Desplaines. In September, village officials revealed at a meeting that one possible alternative was ending the train's Forest Park branch at Ashland, and transporting riders by bus the rest of the way west.

But IDOT recently crunched the numbers and found that travel times would not improve by switching solely to buses past Ashland, according to spokesman Guy Tridgell. Going forward, the agency is only considering rail lines along the Eisenhower, and would only use trains if they decide to extend the Blue Line past Forest Park.

"That idea is no longer going to be studied going forward," he said. "There wasn't enough of a difference in travel performance to warrant further study."


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Link to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's (CMAP) Increase Commitment to Public Transit section of the full plan from the Go To 2040 regional comprehensive plan.  

Explains thinking behind integrated rapid rail access, local economies and land use.

http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/documents/20583/64a57d78-3f95-4306-81c9-cbc3aa3df7b8

The entire Go To 2040 document is at: http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/2040/priority-capital-projects
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From CMAP's November newsletter:

http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/documents/20583/390192/MajorCapitalProjectsQuarterlyUpdateNovember2012.pdf/1076aa1f-25a2-42ec-9c4d-52af7ac420d3

I-290 MULTIMODAL CORRIDOR

Project Status: The I-290 Preliminary Engineering and Environmental (Phase I) Study started from a clean slate in Fall of 2009. The process will result in an EIS (Environmental Impact Study) for the reconstruction of I-290 from west of Mannheim Road to east of Cicero Avenue. The preferred alternative selection and EIS should be completed in fall of 2013.

Project Website: http://www.eisenhowerexpressway.com/

Overall Progress since Last Quarter: CTA is embarking on a study to develop a long term vision for the Blue Line in the I-290 corridor, and has secured UWP funds to do so. CTA provided comments in response to the proposed interchange designs, 1) saying that the transit project should be combined with the I-290 project for a multimodal project with multi-modal funding and 2) suggesting that the Circle Interchange project should be combined with the I-290 multimodal study. CTA reiterated that any plans for I-290 improvements should not impact Blue Line infrastructure.

CMAP’s Contribution since Last Quarter: CMAP participated in a Cook-DuPage Corridor study Policy Committee where the overlap between the IDOT I-290 study and the Cook-DuPage Study transit analysis was discussed in regards to transportation modeling. The CTA Blue Line study will become important to this discussion topic. Lastly, CMAP modeled the impact of congestion pricing on 290 as one component of its overall congestion pricing analysis. 

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