Dear Messrs. Harmet and Peterson:

As an Oak Park resident and an Illinois taxpayer, I am very troubled about IDOT’s evaluation of alternatives to relieve Eisenhower Expressway congestion.

My understanding is that the only alternatives you’ve evaluated involve the addition of one lane in either direction. This approach did not succeed when lanes were added to relieve the Hillside Strangler bottleneck. It only moved the congestion around rather than relieving it. If it did not work in that case, why should it work now?

It also does not appear that you have considered any other alternatives, which means that you can’t evaluate them. One approach that worked quite successfully in Minnesota was managing traffic demand for a very congested freeway by working closely with employers and other traffic generators within a couple miles of the expressway. This would also be a lot cheaper.

Why have you not considered demand management? As discussed at the recent Oak Park Trustee meeting, other alternatives include CTA Blue Line extension and improvements (including stepped-up security on the trains and in/near stations) and better Metra scheduling, high-occupancy vehicle lanes should be tested before being included or excluded in your plan.

Finally, it does not appear that the environmental impact has been considered and, therefore, has not played a role in your evaluation of alternatives.

All of this is very disappointing. This seems to be another example of one of my favorite aphorisms: If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. IDOT seems to have just one tool in its toolbox — building and expanding expressways. All congestion problems are therefore solvable only by building and expanding expressways.

Thank you for your consideration of my comments.

Judith Alexander
Director of Sales and Marketing
Beacon Research

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