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IDOT, CTA officials to have town meeting on I-290 expansion near Oak Park

7/12/10 Oak Park,IL The Eisenhower expressway exit ramp at Harlem Avenue in Oak Park on July 12, 2010. The Village of Oak Park is considering trying to make the center exit and entrance ramps on I-290 at Austin and Harlem historic landmarks. (Rob Hart/Staff Photographer) The Village of Oak Park is considering trying to make the center exit and entrance ramps on I-290 at Austin and Harlem historic landmarks. This is related to the state's plans to eventually expand the Eisenhower. I'd like some photos of automobiles using the ramps during rush hour, probably Monday morning. Whatever angle you'd like to take to get those photos is fine. Maybe down on the CTA tracks nearby would work? Or there's the East Avenue pedestrian bridge over the Eisenhower, so you might be able to shoot the Harlem ramps.
7/12/10 Oak Park,IL The Eisenhower expressway exit ramp at Harlem Avenue in Oak Park on July 12, 2010. The Village of Oak Park is considering trying to make the center exit and entrance ramps on I-290 at Austin and Harlem historic landmarks. (Rob Hart/Staff Photographer) The Village of Oak Park is considering trying to make the center exit and entrance ramps on I-290 at Austin and Harlem historic landmarks. This is related to the state's plans to eventually expand the Eisenhower. I'd like some photos of automobiles using the ramps during rush hour, probably Monday morning. Whatever angle you'd like to take to get those photos is fine. Maybe down on the CTA tracks nearby would work? Or there's the East Avenue pedestrian bridge over the Eisenhower, so you might be able to shoot the Harlem ramps.

IDOT and CTA officials will have a town meeting with community residents on Oct. 29 to discuss plans for I-290 expansion near the Oak Park area. Read more in the release below.

State Senator Don Harmon announced today that Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider will appear at an October 29 town hall meeting he is convening to discuss the planned Eisenhower Expressway / I-290 reconstruction project. A top CTA official also will participate.

The town hall, to be held at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School from 7:30-9:00 p.m., will provide the community an opportunity to hear directly from Schneider, appointed IDOT Secretary in October 2011 by Governor Pat Quinn. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions about the agency’s proposed alternatives for reconfiguring lanes along a stretch of the Eisenhower between Racine Avenue and Mannheim Road.

IDOT has said it will choose a final “preferred” alternative by late 2014, and then begin detailed engineering leading to construction within the next few years. The CTA is conducting its own study of potential improvements to the Blue Line along the same transportation corridor.  IDOT held public meetings on the project Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 in Chicago and Forest Park, and is accepting formal public comments on the information presented at those meetings until November 7 at http://eisenhowerexpressway.com.

“This project has been talked about for years. But we are now at a critical juncture, hammering out project details that will affect the life of our community for decades to come.  I want to be sure that Oak Park’s voice is heard, and that our community has an additional opportunity to learn the details and shape future plans to the greatest extent possible,” said Harmon.

“We already have had an impact on the project by ensuring that any reconfiguration of the expressway will remain in the existing footprint—something that was not guaranteed when we started project discussions—and that potential future westward extension of the CTA Blue Line is included in the final plan,” he said.

Harmon urged Oak Parkers to continue participating in the process to advocate for community benefits as well as mitigation of impacts from IDOT’s proposal to add a lane in both directions and move exit and entrance ramps to the right sides of the expressway.

Possible benefits include expanded sidewalks with improved pedestrian and bicycle access and other usable space on some of the bridges to be rebuilt as part of the project, as well as upgrading of CTA stations and tracks. Harmon also called for all necessary environmental mitigation measures to deal with noise and air pollution.

The Oak Park Village Board held a special meeting September 30 at Irving School attended by more than 100 residents. The meeting surfaced a variety of viewpoints, with some residents raising concerns about IDOT’s process for evaluating alternatives and others supporting adding a lane to the roadway and extending the CTA Blue Line to relieve some traffic congestion. Harmon urged those seeking additional information on the project to visit either the IDOT Eisenhower project website or a dedicated section of the Village website, www.oak-park.us/your-government/village-board/eye-ike.

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