An Ike solution: Bury the Blue Line

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Let me preface this by saying that I am far from a structural engineer, urban planner or anything of the sort. This said, I have a suggestion for Ike expansion that seems logical to me though I have never heard it explored. Clearly, space is limited. IDOT wants more lanes and Oak Park doesn't want to and can't afford to give up the space.

I would suggest that instead of "Capping the Ike" they "Bury the Blue Line." If the Blue Line were to go underground around Central where the bottleneck starts and emerge near Des Plaines, it would free up considerable space at ground level. There would need to be some reconfiguration of the Blue Line ramps and stairs to go underground, plus other logistical work but over all, it seems plausible to me.

The space above could offer a fourth lane in either direction and likely enough room to have proper entrance/exit ramps on the right side. For anyone who has ever been to Boston, they were able to put their entire highway system underground in the Big Dig, and that city is old and complicated. Don't get scared about comparing Big Dig costs as that was a far more complex proposition.

Again, I am not an engineer, but rather than taking land away when there isn't any, I would suggest utilizing unused space underground. Just a thought.

Dave Enderle
Oak Park

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Mythbuster from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2012 4:45 PM

I agree in as much the Cdonovan's article states that the "Reason Foundation's" price tag is for some semi-private network of underground highways that will magically pay for itself via stiff tolls on rich commuters. But I have to ask, which part of "IDOT has already stated and showed that additional space outside the current footprint of the Ike is not needed to add another lane" didn't you understand?

Dave Enderle  

Posted: August 27th, 2012 1:26 PM

I read the article and find the costs to be worthy of political overspending at it's best. The proposal would be for just the stretch where the bottleneck occurs between Austin and Des Plaines. There is no need to tunnel the whole blue line.

Cdonovan2  

Posted: August 23rd, 2012 12:30 PM

Thank you Skippy & Mythbuster for your support for a 4th lane on the Ike. And, Mr. Slowiak I am glad to find someone else endorsing the proposal to use the CSX tracks. But, in response to Mr. Enderle's suggestion to build a tunnel, see the 7-19-12 Tribune article by Jon Hilkevitch about The Reason Foundation's plan to improve regional traffic in part by building tunnels for the "el". The estimated cost for the Eisenhower Tunnel? $4.8 Billion. Who paid for the study or will pay for the tunnel?

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 2:19 PM

Skippy: Good for you. I agree that there is more than enough room to expand the Ike.the Southshore runs an electric train on one track. I would like to see the north track of the CTA taken out and a single track w/switching operations between Laramie and Harlem. Since I am spending other peoples money how about raising the CTA over the CSX tracks from the same spots, and let the road work begin.

Skippy from oak park  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 1:12 PM

Brian, I'm a frequent customer of said Walgreens. No, I've never seen anyone charge their golf cart or any other vehicle there. In fact, I've taken to parking my SUV in that spot whenever I go, to see if anyone notices...so far, no one's said anything.

Mythbuster from Oak Park  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 12:39 PM

Skippy - The obstructionists' spokesman never misses a comment thread on the Ike and will not doubt be here sooner or later to tell us why 3 lanes are better than 4 and the crash hotspots associated with the anomalous left hand ramps are a figment of everyone's imagination.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 11:54 AM

Skippy: Ever see anyone charge their electric cars at the charging station at Waqlgreens at Oak Parkm and Madison?

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 11:52 AM

Skippy: Game on. The small group of Oak Park residents who want the bottleneck are the people who want us out of our ecologically gasoline driven dirty cars and on to bicycles and mass transit for everyone lead by the Village trustee who made the statement that Oak Park will not sacrafice for Naperville residents. They want to narrow Madison Street to improve transportation for bicyclists and pedestrians instead of drawing out of town tax money like Oak Brook does foe commerece.

Skippy from oak park  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 11:33 AM

OK, mythbuster, I'm game...who is this small group of OPer's, & what is their vested interest in keeping the bottleneck?? For my part, more lanes are needed, & I'm certain it can be done w/in the existing footprint.

Mythbuster from Oak Park  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 10:54 AM

IDOT has already stated and showed that additional space outside the current footprint of the Ike is not need to add another lane. The idea that additional space is needed is a myth perpetrated by a small group of Oak Parkers with a vested interest in maintaining the current bottleneck conditions.

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