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Old Posted Dec 2, 2021, 6:18 PM
Chicago29 Chicago29 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
On balance I'm in favor of the Eisenhower project because of the CTA rebuild, the regional bike trail, the potential for a much better pedestrian experience around the rebuilt overpasses, and the "rough-in" for a future CTA extension.

However, the danger with this kind of thinking is induced demand. Many of the folks who take Metra or CTA right now because the Eisenhower is so congested will switch back to driving once the highway is widened. And with higher traffic volumes getting pumped through, then other sections of the expressway system become the new bottleneck. And so on and so forth forever. I guarantee the day the Eisenhower project is finished is the day IDOT will start looking at widening the Stevenson and the Kennedy.

Lake Shore Drive could be a good model here if they select the bus lane option - the rebuilt highway would actually be narrower than before (6 lanes instead of 8), but with a vastly increased transit capacity and a ton of additional park space built around the new highway.
What are the details with regional bike trail in the Eisenhower project?

I'm with you and probably most on here against full lane expansion to the major highways because of induced demand. However from what I understand with this project, this would only be adding a lane from the section of highway that has just 3 lanes, thereby changing what goes from 4-3-4 from 88/294 to Congress to 4 throughout. The backups at the 290/88/294 merger will likely always be troublesome, even with the other IDOT project building new ramps. But many of the bottlenecks arise from the 4 to 3 lane reduction further down at Harlem, and the left side entrance/exits at Harlem as well as Austin. Traffic is still going to be at max capacity during peak hours, but the flow would be improved without such a drastic queueing effect from thousands of late merging drivers per hour. I don't think *moderate* improvements of Eisenhower traffic will drastically encourage more driving. But I think it could have other economic benefits. Improved CTA speed and reliability of the Forest Park branch would do more to increase ridership more than lane expansion would decrease CTA ridership, if that makes sense.

I'm for the project just in the sense that it should benefit transit users along the Forest Park branch. If pedestrians and buses can more safely access Blue Line stops that's a win, especially when the neighborhoods that depend on the CTA here tend to be lower income. At the same time, I would hope greenlighting this project as a #1 priority would not completely ignore other transit projects of need. But I'm tracking the Red Line extension as the only other big dollar project.

And speaking of Harlem and Austin, does anyone know if the proposed interchange project there would be part of this larger Eisenhower project?-

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