Sixty years ago, Oak Park was its usual pain-in-the-patoot self when it used every trick and connection it had to shape the path of the Eisenhower Super Highway, carving its way through the village. That's why we have the only left-hand exits off the Ike. That's why plans to have another exit at East Avenue were aborted leaving only those tall cement walls on the east side of the bridge there.
Now the Illinois Department of Transportation (aka the road-building lobby) is going through its endless charade of studying options for expanding the Ike through the near-west suburbs as it prepares for a total rebuild of the aging highway late this decade.
Keeping the Ike within its current ditch is the number-one goal of Oak Park's vigorous village government. Extending public transit options further west is goal number two. Adding a lane in each direction is only favored if the first two goals are met.
Now with its typical aplomb, Oak Park officials are seeking landmark status for multiple structures along the banks of the Ike. IDOT would be hard-pressed to widen the ditch if it couldn't touch the Maze Branch Library at Gunderson or the Conservatory at East Avenue. We're partial to the Volvo dealer at Harlem and Open Door Repertory at Ridgeland. Hell, landmark the whole stretch.
While they're at it, the village is also considering seeking landmark status for those historic left-hand exits. It would be worth pursuing this just to see the sputtering response from IDOT bureaucrats.
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