How many times have you driven down Desplaines Avenue toward the Ike or the Blue Line and felt a certain unframed anxiety as cars turn and nudge, pedestrians look for a way through and then comes the bike, all this happening on an incline under the Blue Line tracks.
Last week though at the village government’s Open House for the Comprehensive Plan we met a young Forest Parker, John Carlisle, who is a grad student in urban planning. Whether it is because he walks to the Blue Line every day, has fresh eyes, or is studying urban planning, Carlisle urged a reconfiguration of that portion of Desplaines as part of the planning process.
Certainly since transit – the highway and the el – is on the list of topics for this updated plan this would be a worthy topic. Forest Park could do a much better job of drawing in the young talent we have here in part because we are at the end of the transit link to downtown’s universities and medical centers.
We agree with Village Administrator Tim Gillian that more outreach is necessary to make sure that the steering committee is widely representative of the village. He noted that local clergy and business people were not active in the open house outreach. They need to be included. But so do the local critics of village government who were at the event and also the unexpected finds who have good ideas and fresh perspective.
Watching the makeup of this steering committee will tell us much about the possibilities of this planning process.