Citizens for Appropriate Transportation: IDOT, CMAP have competing visions for the Ike

The Eisenhower expressway exit ramp at Harlem Avenue in Oak Park on July 12, 2010. | Sun-Times Media File

The following release comes from Rick Kuner, chairman for the Citizens for Appropriate Transportation. According to its mission statement, CAT is a citizen organization formed in response to the threat of expanding the Eisenhower Expressway. Kuner, an Oak Park resident, transportation planner and former village trustee, has been an active voice in the discussions about the future of the Eisenhower Expressway.

There are major differences between what the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) think should happen in the Eisenhower Transportation Corridor.

IDOT is evaluating four Build Alternatives for the Eisenhower Expressway. All four widen the expressway by two lanes, but differ in how they manage lanes. CMAP has an Update Draft Go To 2040 Plan out for public comment. CMAP’s 2040 draft would exclude three of the four IDOT Build AlternativCues.

CMAP recommends congestion pricing (charging a toll) as an effective way to manage highway capacity. This recommendation excludes two of IDOT’s Build Alternatives – (1) add a General Purpose lane each way and (2) add a High Occupancy Vehicle lane each way for vehicles with two or more occupants (HOV 2+) because neither includes congestion pricing.

When reconstructing an expressway Federal law allows tolls, but only if the number of free lanes exceeds the number of tolled lanes. This excludes IDOT’s Add HOT 3+ lane (one new High Occupancy Toll Lane in each direction and toll the remaining lanes) because it has no free lanes.

The Build Alternative left is HOT 3+ (add one High Occupancy Toll Lane in each direction with three or more people in each vehicle).

CMAP’s list of projects that anticipate funding by 2040 includes rebuilding the Eisenhower Expressway, but excludes extending the CTA’s Blue Line west of Forest Park. No wonder people are confused. I’m 

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