The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) held the second public meeting for the Eisenhower Study on May 18, 2011 at the Proviso Math and Science Academy in Forest Park, Illinois. The meeting was an open house format, and featured a continuous PowerPoint presentation and exhibit boards. The purpose of this public meeting was to obtain public input on the Purpose and Need and initial project alternatives. Stakeholder input will continue to be considered as the planning process moves forward.
IDOT has been gathering public input and presenting technical analysis through a series of nine Corridor Advisory Group (CAG)/Task Force (TF) meetings involving elected officials, community representatives, agencies and other interested stakeholders. Thus far, IDOT and stakeholders have identified the existing and future transportation needs and deficiencies in the study area for all modes of travel, including rail, bus, auto and bike/pedestrians. The results of the need analysis, in combination with stakeholder input, lead to the development of the project Purpose and Need. The following five need points summarize the project Purpose and Need: improve regional and local travel, improve access to employment, improve safety for all users, improve modal connections and opportunities, and improve facility deficiencies. By identifying the transportation problems to be addressed, the project Purpose and Need serves as a basis for evaluation of proposed project alternatives as the study progresses.
In addition to the Purpose and Need, an initial list of potential solutions was on display at the public meeting. Approximately 170 alternatives have been submitted by stakeholders over the course of the study including at Public Meeting #1 and the CAG/TF alternatives workshop. The alternatives were divided by mode for easier viewing and included: Heavy Rail Transit (HRT); Bus Rapid Transit (BRT); Commuter Rail; Automated Guideway Transit (AGT); Local and Express Bus; Expressway Improvements; Managed Lanes (HOV and Tolling); Arterial Improvements; Traffic Management; Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements; and, other alternatives. Stakeholders were encouraged to comment on the displayed alternatives or suggest additional alternatives or enhancements for consideration.
An Environmental Inventory Map of the study area was also available for viewing and comment. The purpose of this map was to assist IDOT in the identification of environmental features within the study area that must be considered during the evaluation of alternatives and for identification of potential impacts. Impacts to the identified environmental features will be avoided wherever possible.
Approximately 150 comment forms, suggested transportation alternatives, and website comments were submitted. Stakeholders comments included: the importance of addressing regional transportation; the desire to consider multi-modal alternatives to improve both vehicular and transit travel; improving highway access and safety; expanding transit options; improving bicycle and pedestrian access and circulation in the study area; and, positive feedback regarding the study process. Stakeholder input will also influence the development and evaluation of potential alternatives in the next steps.
Stakeholders are encouraged to continue to get involved in the Eisenhower Expressway Study by regularly visiting the project website, attending public meetings, and providing comments and feedback.