Widening the expressway has a small impact on congestion. There are 17 hours of weekday congestion now. IDOT project congestion would occur 16.5 to 16.75 hours on the general purpose lanes and 4 to 6.5 hours on the managed lanes.
Right-hand side ramps have negative impacts because homes are close to the expressway. Right side ramps move the source of air and pollution closer to homes. They tend to lower property values and property tax revenues. They make the social and visual connections across the corridor worse.
Joint planning is essential because every mode of transportation plays a role. The CTA Blue Line serves Captive Riders (no access to a car) and Choice Riders (access to a car, but choose transit). Wider and better-designed bridges encourage pedestrian and bicycle access.
IDOT has not considered all possible solutions. Lowering the expressway to bring the ramps down to grade level would improve social and visual connections across the expressway. Using part of the CSX right-of-way allows standard 12-foot instead of 11-foot lanes at the Oak Park Avenue Pinch Point. Wider bridges, better use of CTA and Metra lines, and information technology would increase transit ridership and decrease expressway congestion.
IDOT could finish the expressway project years before a Blue Line extension because of different funding sources.
IDOT can manage lanes to optimize traffic flow on the managed lanes or optimize revenues. Ideally, IDOT will optimize traffic but may optimize revenues to get something built.
The CTA's Compact Layout Conceptual Design centers each station under a bridge with a single access point. Current station designs have access at both ends. Two access locations are better. Having stations centered under Austin, Oak Park Avenue, and Harlem would eliminate entrances at Lombard, East, and Circle.
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