The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has asked for comments on the Purpose and Need Statement and the Round 2 Alternatives by Monday, May 20, 2013. Please submit written comments to Pete Harmet (Pete.Harmet@illinois.gov) and Mark Peterson (Mark.Peterson@illinois.gov) at IDOT.
Consider the following:
- IDOT's Purpose and Need Statement says nothing about the major impacts transportation has on livable communities — a serious omission.
- By focusing on transportation criteria, IDOT under-designed their alternatives. To do a fair and comprehensive evaluation, they should include all the environmental, economic, social, and financial impacts.
- All four Build Alternatives that IDOT wants to carry into Round 3 widen the expressway. At least one alternative should not widen the expressway. IDOT considered two versions of a multi-modal alternative suggested by Oak Park and Citizens for Appropriate Transportation (CAT) that upgrade and manage transit better, increase accessibility, and do not widen the expressway. Neither version scored in the top four because IDOT excluded important criteria.
- IDOT's proposed right-hand ramps at Austin and Harlem will negatively affect residential neighborhoods close to the expressway. Right-hand ramps move the source of air and noise pollution closer to homes.
- The village of Oak Park, CAT, and 80+ others submitted written comments to IDOT in June 2012. IDOT did not respond until 10 months later in late April 2013. Does a 10-month response time make you feel IDOT valued your comments?
- There are many ways to manage lanes. IDOT has not analyzed most of them.
- IDOT committed to a Context Sensitive Solutions process but has never had an architect or urban designer present concepts or designs.
- Using projections to the Year 2040, IDOT ranked the 12 Build Alternatives on each criterion from 12 (best) to 1 (worst). Differences among alternatives vary widely. IDOT used this ranking system to calculate averages, a procedure that treats every difference equal to one. Many differences are so small that projections 30 years into the future are unlikely to be helpful in selecting the best solution.
IDOT should revise their alternatives based on lessons learned in Round 2 so that they will perform better in future rounds. For more information, see the CAT website: www:CitizensForAppropriateTransportation.org. You can find IDOT's documents at www.EisenhowerExpressway.com/Information Center/Reports.
Citizens for Appropriate Transportation