The Illinois Department of Transportation is gathering input from residents along the I-290 corridor from Racine Avenue in Chicago to the I-88/I 290 split in Hillside at a series of meetings in Chicago and Forest Park.
Stakeholders are asked to give input about transportation needs on the 13-mile stretch, which passes through Chicago, Bellwood, Broadview, Forest Park, Hillside, Maywood, Oak Park and Westchester. Input can address all modes of transportation, said a statement from Jae Miller of IDOT.
“Project stakeholders have identified the transportation needs of travel, including rail, bus auto and bicycle/pedestrians,” Miller said.
The release said IDOT recently winnowed potential reconstruction alternatives to four and says it will choose a final preferred alternative by late 2014. Although construction would not start for several years, some have have voiced concern that an IDOT decision to pursue a specific plan would be difficult to undo.
IDOT is considering moving exit and entrance ramps at Harlem and Austin avenues to the right side of the expressway, closer to neighborhoods. Reconstruction also could bring wider bridges across the Ike to create more room for pedestrians, cyclists and perhaps retail activity. Integrating Blue Line improvement and eventual westward extension might be another option.
The meetings will be in an open house format, IDOT said. Interested persons may attend anytime between 5 and 8 p.m. There will be a continuous PowerPoint presentation, and attendees will have the opportunity to view study exhibits and speak with IDOT and study team representatives on a one-on-one basis. A question-and-answer forum will be held at 6 p.m.
The presentation is also expected to address the partnership of IDOT and CTA for the Blue Line Vision Study, which will look at integrated improvements between Chicago and Forest Park.
IDOT’s open house forums take place Oct. 7 at the Marriott Hotel, at 625 S. Ashland Ave., in Chicago, and Oct. 8 at the Proviso Math and Science Academy, 8601 W. Roosevelt Road, Forest Park.
The village of Oak Park Board of Trustees will host its own meeting Mon., Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Irving School, 1125 S. Cuyler Ave. Doors will open at 6 p.m.
This meeting will include updates from village staff and transportation planning experts. Oak Park village officials have been actively monitoring the IDOT planning process for four years.
A representative from the CTA also will be on hand to discuss how the project might impact the Blue Line and ways to improve service, including potential westward extension.