The answer you get depends on the question you ask. That’s why the current efforts by the Illinois Department of Transportation are so important to the future of the Eisenhower Expressway. The question, “How do we improve the Eisenhower?” is very different from the question, “How do we improve mobility?”
The question is formalized in IDOT’s “draft purpose and need statement,” which guides all future analysis. Citizens for Appropriate Transportation, working closely with the village, believes it should ask about mobility and should not favor one mode over the other.
Unfortunately, it does. IDOT’s proposed statement includes improving roadway infrastructure, but says nothing about transit infrastructure. IDOT did extensive capacity and accident analyses for the Eisenhower, but has not done similar analyses for the CTA Blue Line, Metra commuter lines or Pace bus routes. Without capacity and crash analyses for all modes, IDOT cannot do a rigorous analysis of impacts and a fair evaluation of alternative solutions for these two important criteria.
IDOT is focusing on transportation needs, but should also consider economic, social, land use and environmental needs related to transportation as well. For example, many households in the corridor have low automobile ownership rates, suggesting the need for better transit.
Over the past several years, many of you have expressed your concerns to IDOT and contributed your expertise. Thank you for your efforts. We will keep you posted.
Kevin Brubaker and Rick Kuner
Citizens for Appropriate Transportation