Cook Dupage corridor comments

Don't forget to send in public comments on the Cook Dupage corridor transportation study - the deadline is March 31. Access the comment form here. My comments are below.

Also, the state legislature will be holding a number of public meetings in the next couple days to gather input on the state budget. Blagojevich's proposal dramatically underfunds transit - the previous capital bill funded highways and transit at a 2:1 ratio, Blagojevich would set the ratio at 10:1. If you have a chance, attend one of the meetings and demand adequate transit funding.

Chicago: South Side
3/25/2008, 5:30 p.m.
Kennedy-King College Theatre
6301 S. Halsted St., Chicago

Chicago: West Side
3/26/2008, 6:00 p.m.
Bethel New Life Auditorium
1150 N. Lamon St., Chicago

Chicago: North Side
3/27/2008, 6:00 p.m.
Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center
Olson Auditorium, 836 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago

Chicago: Southwest
3/27/2008, 6:00 p.m.
Oak View Community Center
4625 W. 110th St., Oak Lawn

Cook Dupage corridor comments

What do you think of the proposed transportation system, overall?
I strongly support the public transit components, and oppose the highway components. The current task is to make up for decades of underinvestment in transit and facilitate the Chicago region’s transition away from car dependence. Public funds are needed to prepare Chicago for the low-carbon future, which will cripple our economy if we don’t have good transit options in place. Emphasis must be placed on reducing traffic congestion by moving people onto transit, not by expanding roads that will be just as congested in ten years.

I am concerned about some specifics of the public transit components. Why has the Mid-City Transitway been proposed as a bus line rather than a new El line? Does the projected ridership of an extended Blue Line justify the costs? I am also concerned about priorities. In what order would these projects be built? I believe the Mid-City Transitway should be first in line. I also strongly urge the commission to make public key pieces of information, especially projected ridership of the different extensions and an explanation of why the Blue Line and Inner Circumferential Rail Line were proposed as rail while the MCT was proposed as BRT.

What do you think of the major projects included in the proposed system?

Elgin-O’Hare Expressway East Extension to O’Hare
I believe highway extensions should be the lowest priority - public funds should be invested first and foremost in public transit, which has suffered from underinvestment for decades but is far better in creating livable and sustainable cities.

DuPage J Line BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)

Mid-City BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)
I strongly support the Mid-City Transitway and believe it should be the highest priority because it would expand transit access to the densest areas under study, would provide a convenient link between O’Hare and Midway as well as transfers between the Blue, Green, Pink, Orange, and Red Lines, and would extend transit to a number of low income communities that are currently poorly served.

However, I wonder why the MCT has been proposed as a BRT rather than a new El line. It would have far more riders than the Inner Circumferential Rail Line, yet the ICR Line has been proposed as rail. Making the MCT a bus line might also hurt the prospects for high-density development in the neighborhoods it serves, and would make it impossible to service high riderships. What are the ridership figures reviewed by the commission? The MCT has the potential to greatly improve transit in Chicago and extend high-density development to large parts of the city, but this opportunity may be lost if we settle too easily on BRT.

I-355 BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)

Inner Circumferential Rail Line
As stated above, I wonder why this O’Hare-Midway link has been proposed as rail, while the higher ridership Mid-City Transitway has been proposed as a bus line. The ICR Line seems like a useful addition, but should be a lower priority than the Mid-City Transitway.

I-290 HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) Lanes
I oppose the widening of highways, which only encourage further reliance on cars. These funds should be devoted to public transit, not more subsidies to cars.

I-290 BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)

Blue Line Extension
Given the low density of the suburbs, I am concerned that the potential ridership of a Blue Line extension may not justify the costs. I would like to see ridership figures, and would also like to hear more details about how far apart stops would be and how often the line would run. It might make more sense to build a BRT line that connects with the Blue Line. I’m not opposed to an extension, I just don’t think the public has been given enough information to justify the expense.

Other Comments:
I am concerned that the opportunities for public input have been too few thus far. I hope that the commission will provide much more information about why it made the proposals it did, and give the public many more opportunities to participate in this important plan.

I thank the commission for its work and applaud the cooperation demonstrated by the many public officials involved in the process. I hope that unified planning will continue in this spirit of cooperation, because our region will suffer terribly if it cannot expand transit options before carbon taxes and rising gas prices make car-only transportation systems obsolete.

1 comment:

kyle said...

I submitted my comments as well. That makes at least you, me and LVEJO entering progressive responses. Hopefully we weren't the only ones.