Upon obtaining public input on the first draft of the project Purpose and Need in the Spring of 2011, the Illinois Department of Transportation released a refined Purpose and Need document dated September 2011. The release of this document initiates a new review period allowing stakeholders an opportunity to provide additional comments on the document. The review and comment period is 30 days in length and all comments received during this time period will be incorporated into the public record for the I-290 Environmental Impact Statement.
A Purpose and Need is a concise statement of the transportation problems to be addressed. It contains a purpose sentence, reflecting the desired outcome of the project, and a description of the project needs. For the I-290 Study, the purpose of the project is to provide an improved transportation facility along the I-290 Eisenhower expressway multi-modal corridor. The five specific needs identified for the project include: improve regional and local travel, improve access to employment, improve safety for all users, improve modal connections and opportunities, and improve facility deficiencies.
The full purpose and need document started as a July 2010 outline that was further developed, discussed and detailed resulting in the Spring 2011 version of the purpose and need. The transportation problems or needs identified in the document were determined based on a combination of stakeholder input and detailed technical studies. The technical studies focused on an assessment of the existing transportation system to identify transportation needs that exist today, and those that are anticipated to exist in the future should no major improvements occur in the study area. Each transportation mode in the corridor was reviewed and documented as well, including the highway and arterials, commuter rail (Metra), CTA heavy rail transit, CTA and PACE bus service, and freight rail systems and facilities. The results of these studies, combined with stakeholder input, influenced the development of the Purpose and Need. Each of these need points is broken down into more detail as follows:
- Improve Regional and Local travel addresses the need to improve mobility, or the movement of people and goods, within the region and the study area. Regional travel is considered travel through the corridor that begins or ends outside the study area; while local travel either begins, ends or occurs entirely within the study area.
- Improve access to employment focuses on improving mobility for workers who reside in, work within, or travel through the study area. Current conditions in the study area give facilities limited ability to accommodate commuter markets and accessibility to regional jobs is expected to decrease between 2010 and 2040 as congestion along roadways increases.
- Improve safety for all users concentrates on reducing the overall frequency and severity of vehicular crashes in the study area; and, reducing conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians or bicyclists on facilities that accommodate these modes.
- Improve modal connections and opportunities addresses the need to improve connections between all modes within the study area, and to accommodate all modes through cooperation and joint planning with transit providers.
- Improve facility deficiencies focuses on addressing deficiencies in the condition of pavement and structures, as well as deficiencies of the current system in meeting current design standards.
The Purpose and Need serves as an important tool in the initial screening of alternatives. Those alternatives that do not adequately address the transportation needs will be dropped from further consideration. The remaining alternatives will be further developed, compared against purpose and need criteria as well as social, environmental, economic and cost factors. Stakeholder input will continue to be a significant factor in alternatives evaluation and testing.
Please click here
to view the September 2011 draft of the refined Purpose and Need. Additional comments on the refined Purpose and Need are due by midnight on November 30, 2011.