Welcome to our live online chat with Times columnists Marc Chase, Rich James and Doug Ross. We'll be discussing the Illiana Expressway. We will be starting shortly. Please share your comments and questions.
This ought to be fun, but we're missing the Blackhawks.
Rich and I agree: Go Hawks!
Absolutely it should be build. Should have been built 30 years ago.
Good evening, Dave and/or Jan.
NIRPC obviously has a very important decision to make tomorrow. I keep coming back to the idea of this proposed roadways location and its considerable distance from the established industrial and transporation corridors. This route would encourage sprawl, something that good planning avoids. I have to say no to the Illiana.
I agree with Rich. The route should have been chosen decades ago, even it building it was delayed until now.
Sprawl can be good and bad. It is a necessary evil if we are to advance as a region.
I'm not sure this route really advances the region. I realize traffic is heavy on the established routes, but you get that on established interstate routes in every major metro area in the country. Building a toll road, that people will have to pay to use, in a location that far from the established routes just doesn't make good planning sense to me.
To me, the Illiana Expressway controversy shows what poor land use planning we as a region have had over the years. Think of the Valparaiso-to-Dyer corridor along U.S. 30. The lack of frontage roads on most of that stretch of highway has created a real mess. The same is true of not picking a route earlier for the south suburban expressway, which we're now referring to as the Illiana Expressway. But now we're stuck with what we have, so that's why the expressway needs to be built along the proposed route.
A vote for the Illiana is not a vote against the Gary Airport. The biggest myth about the Illiana is that it will result in the construction of an airport at Peotone. There never will be a Peotone Airport. Former Chicago Mayor Daley was emphatic about that at the recent One Region luncheon hosted by The Times. He knows what he is talking about.
Nor does this project exclude other infill projects to the north.
NIRPC, by its own plan, has a pledged duty to protect established urban and rural areas. Part of protecting diversity in our area means protecting the rural cultures of south county. That is just as much a part of our region's diversity as the northern urban core.
The thing with the Peotone airport is that the airlines don't want to use it.
I'm opposed to the Illiana, but I agree with Doug on Peotone. I don't think it has a snowball's chance in Hawaii of coming to fruition.
Have you driven in south Lake County lately? There's a lot of farmland, but it's getting gobbled up by subdivisions. All the more reason to build the road now, to direct future development.
Jan, the vote tomorrow will determine whether the project qualifies for federal funding.
A yes vote, Jan, would add it to the long-term plan and open the door for federal funding.
Sure, some folks in south county will be adversely impacted. I feel for them, but we cannot continue to sit still as a region. Look at the wonderful highway and commuter rail network around Chicago. It has resulted in tremendous economic development, i.e., jobs.
Once more, an expressway is a high-speed road. It can be either a tollway or a freeway. Limiting access points is what makes it an expressway.
Catching up on reading the comments already posted ...
You make a good point, Doug. Hundreds of farmers have sold their land, making way for subdivisiions.
Councilwoman Cid made a good point yesterday in the County Council's vote to oppose the Illiana. She noted all of the transportation assests we have in this area that are in dire need of attention: Crumbling rural road bridges, Cline Avenue, and the like. We need to take care of what we have before we spend hundreds of millions of dollars on new assets. If we focussed on enhancing more of the assets we have, we wouldn't need to be talking about the Illiana right now.
I'm not arguing with Christine Cid over the need to take care of existing assets, but that need not preclude developing more.
Unfortunately, Marc, we have too few highway assets in this corner of the state. It no longer is 1950.
But the Illiana will result in jobs - for north and south county folks.