Five possible solutions to the west suburban area’s growing transportation woes were unveiled at a presentation in Cicero last Wednesday hosted by the Regional Transportation Authority.
The five conceptual options included a Hub and Spoke system, a Multiple Hub and Spoke system, a Grid Network, a Point to Point Network, and an approach utilizing new and improved uses of the existing regional transportation system.
Attendees were asked to apply green stickers next to the concept they most preferred, and red stickers next to the one they least preferred. They could also attach stick it notes briefly commenting on what they liked or didn’t like.
“The multiple hub and spoke system (concept 2) seemed to be the most appealing,” noted RTA official Bill Lenski Friday. “And the grid system. The point to point was the least popular overall.”
Following the first presentation Wednesday in Cicero, the Multiple Hub and Spoke System, or “concept two,” had garnered 16 “yes” green stickers and just one red, while the Grid Network earned four greens and one red. The Single Hub and Spoke approach received only one approval, with four preferring it the least. The Point to Point approach was preferred by only one attendee, and disliked by ten. Two people liked the New Use of the Existing System.
The multiple hub and spoke system would utilize a proposed Maywood/Loyola University Medical Center hub, connecting to a Yorktown, or Lombard hub. New direct lines of bus service, or “spokes,” would stem off of those hubs. “Mainline” rail service between Harlem Avenue in Forest Park and Highland Avenue in Lombard would provide a critical main link for the system.
“(Concept 2) is designed to directly serve the Maywood/Loyola Medical Center area, and Oak Brook, and the Yorktown area,” the RTA presentation stated. “With additional spokes or lines of service, and a well considered operational plan, this concept could potentially serve most of the other major employment centers in and around the corridor, (including) the Thorndale Cooridor, Elmhurst/Addison, Schaumburg, and Lisle/Warrenville.
Several Cicero presentation attendees commented positively on the Multiple Hub and Spoke System.
“It serves the reverse commute best,” read one note. “Fast and direct for commuters for employment,” read another. “It passes through where I (live), so I can get other places with out a problem; fast and direct,” agreed a third.
Lenski seemed pleased with the turnout as he waited for the second presentation to begin Wednesday. “We had two to three dozen people for the first presentation,” he said. Far fewer, perhaps half a dozen, showed up for the later presentation.
Lenski said the RTA will be accepting public comment on the five concepts via its website, www.cook-depagecorridor.com, for another two days, through July 6.
“There’s still time for the public to comment,” said Lenski. “It’s critical to have public comment on the study process.”
The public comments will be posted on the website soon after July 6 for people to review.
Over the next several months study staff will and RTA will boil the public input down into several themes, offering more detailed options.
“The plans will be more concrete, describing transportation modes and alignments,” said Lenski.
Lenski noted that there were distinct differences in perspective between Cook County and DuPage, where a similar study took place. Cook County commuters, he said, were most concerned with the issue of reverse commuting.
“Folks in Cook County were primarily concerned with travel options for destinations in DuPage and elsewhere in western Cook County,” said Lenski.
“In DuPage, it was pretty much the opposite,” Lenski added. “DuPage was primarily interested in DuPage.”
The study is the second phase of a three phase project intended to produce a publicly supported and viable plan for restructuring and improving vehicle and rail transportation options in the Cook-DuPage Transportation Corridor, a 300 square mile urban area that comprised 51 municipalities. Current transportation assets in the region include I-290, I-88 and I-294, the CTA Blue and Green Line rail systems, three Metra Commuter lines, and over 70 RTA bus routes.
More than 1,100,000 people live in the corridor, 750,000 jobs are located there, and 1.6 million work trips begin or end in the area.