Great to see CTA planners out in front of Forest Park’s village council last week offering an early line on the eventual remaking of the Desplaines Avenue terminus to the Blue Line.
Even better to see village commissioners raising substantive questions on a range of real issues related to traffic patterns, parking, pedestrian access and how this effort will tie to the simultaneous – if eventual – remaking of the Eisenhower Expressway.
The breadth of the questions reflects an awareness that the current configuration of this end-of-the-line transit station is a botch and always has been.
Traffic snarls in multiple directions on Desplaines. Pedestrians and cyclists maneuver at their peril. The entire station is sited at a remove from the rest of town rather than feeling any sense of integration with the village, and that creates mainly nuisance issues for passengers and police.
So while Mayor Anthony Calderone rightly noted that more detailed studies on traffic patterns will come later, commissioners were right to take the opportunity to surface their strong concerns because, really, how often will two top CTA planners be standing right there in front of you.
We’d raise these two concerns.
The CTA seemingly has a genuine need to expand its adjacent rail yard and maintenance garage which sit just past the station. But giving up 40 percent of the 1,000 current parking spaces is quite a dramatic trade-off, the impact of which needs more consideration.
We are strong supporters of mass transit and it can only be considered a massive misjudgment by regional, state and federal authorities and politicians that this once-in-a-century remaking of the Ike corridor does not actively extend the Blue Line to the west suburbs.
But it is vital that any repositioning of the station, the rail yard and the maintenance garage be accomplished with an eye to eventual extension of the Blue Line.
In the meanwhile, we like watching our local elected officials actively engaged in the discussion.
Less political lawyers
To a casual observer, it might seem an odd focus for a reform-minded school board majority to spend so much time first bouncing and then replacing a school district’s law firm.
But outside of hiring the right superintendent, choosing the right law firm to represent the district is at the top of the list of key decisions.
That is especially true when a school board, such as Proviso Township District 209, is also actively trying to remove the pervasive influence of politics from its operations and the incumbent law firm has been a major contributor to past board leadership. There is no way forward under those conditions.
The board now has five finalists for the post, not including the incumbent Del Galdo Law Group. We applaud the board for its focus points in evaluating firms which included a diverse staff, Spanish-speaking lawyers, expertise in student discipline and employee mediation.
These points all reflect the tenor this new board is rightly pursuing.