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"Eisenhower Expressway expansion project is the next big thing" is the headline of the Jon Hilkevitch article in the Sept. 28 issue of the Chicago Tribune. This news is bad because widening the Ike would have negative environmental and social impacts on adjacent communities.
The article says the Illinois Department of Transportation believes the long-term solution to the bottleneck between Mannheim and Cicero is adding a fourth lane each way. IDOT uses two flawed arguments to support its contention.
The first argument says the Eisenhower now carries more than 200,000 vehicles a day, but was designed to handle 100,000 a day in the mid 1950s. This argument ignores the future, where all of us will spend the rest of our lives. Because of the growth expected in DuPage and Kane Counties, IDOT must plan for much more traffic than 200,000 vehicles a day.
The second argument is the 8-6-8 rationale. There are eight lanes east of Austin, six lanes between Austin and Mannheim and eight lanes west of Mannheim. IDOT wants eight lanes the entire length. Depending on growth assumptions, a standard lane calculation procedure suggests 12 to 14 lanes, which is not reasonable.
Many trips do not require a car. Quality of life is better for people who have a choice of modes. Options such as extending the CTA's Blue Line and upgrading Metra and PACE service have a much greater carrying capacity with fewer negative impacts.
Kevin Brubaker and Rick Kuner
Citizens for Appropriate Transportation