Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SJR0031
Illinois General Assembly

Previous General Assemblies

Full Text of SJR0031  102nd General Assembly




SJ0031LRB102 18458 MST 26552 r


2    WHEREAS, Esteemed American architect Daniel Burnham
3envisioned the City of Chicago's future in the 1909 Plan Of
4Chicago with transportation, green space, and civic facility
5projects to beautify, connect, and harmonize the city center
6to the surrounding neighborhoods and specifically identified
7Congress Street as the "grand axis" to the west; and
8    WHEREAS, The Burnham plan, sponsored by the Commercial
9Club of Chicago, influenced how the city developed and set a
10standard for modern urban planning at a time of tremendous
11growth for Chicago, the State of Illinois, and the nation; and
12    WHEREAS, Chicago's growth, as then America's second city
13and a major industrial and business leader at the center of the
14nation with a growing and diverse population, ultimately
15resulted in the Chicago City Council approval of plans for a
16comprehensive superhighway system in 1940, to include and
17begin with the Westside route or Congress Expressway; and
18    WHEREAS, The construction of the individual sections of
19the Congress Expressway were completed between 1954 and 1960,
20with Mannheim Road to Racine Avenue being one of the oldest
21sections of the region's highway infrastructure and the only
22expressway to run under a U.S. Post Office and incorporate



SJ0031- 2 -LRB102 18458 MST 26552 r

1both a movable bridge over the Chicago River and a rapid
2transit line within the same corridor; and
3    WHEREAS, In 1964, the Chicago City Council renamed the
4Congress Expressway after former President Dwight D.
5Eisenhower, honoring his public service as well as his vision
6in proposing the interstate highway system in 1955; the
7roadway would later be nicknamed "the Ike" or I-290 to
8designate federal interstate 290; and
9    WHEREAS, The Eisenhower Expressway was an engineering and
10transportation achievement, but construction displaced
11Chicago's Near West Side neighborhoods, including Greektown
12and Little Italy, and, to the west, profoundly altered a
13Jewish neighborhood in West Garfield Park, which had been
14nicknamed the Jewish West Side, the Austin neighborhood of
15Chicago, the Village of Oak Park, and the Village of Forest
16Park, where 3,500 graves had to be relocated from the Forest
17Home and Concordia cemeteries; and
18    WHEREAS, The Eisenhower Expressway construction led to the
19departure of 13,000 families and 400 businesses from Chicago
20alone and the removal of over 100 buildings in Oak Park, where
21over time the below grade stretch of highway derisively became
22known as "the Ditch"; the displacement of neighborhoods in
23Chicago contributed to an eventual demographic shift in the



SJ0031- 3 -LRB102 18458 MST 26552 r

1percentage of African-American families concentrated in
2impacted areas; and
3    WHEREAS, The Eisenhower Expressway remains the western
4gateway to Chicago from the western suburbs and a primary link
5to O'Hare airport and the regional transportation network and
6still includes the vital assets of the Chicago Transit
7Authority (CTA) Blue Line, as well as freight railroad lines;
8Chicago and the regional transportation networks centered
9therein remain a transportation hub of the nation to this day;
11    WHEREAS, The Eisenhower Expressway, which is now more than
1260 years old, was originally designed to handle 40,000
13vehicles per day and now carries over 200,000 vehicles per
14day; it was ranked as the most congested highway in the United
15States in the INRIX 2020 Global Traffic Scorecard, and the
16average weekday ridership on the CTA Blue Line branch that
17spans the Eisenhower corridor increased by 8 percent between
182009 and 2019, from 26,496 to 28,543; and
19    WHEREAS, The Eisenhower Expressway reconstruction and
20modernization is a priority in the region's long-range
21transportation plan; in 2017, the Federal Highway
22Administration signed a Final Environmental Impact Statement
23and a Record of Decision; the CTA Blue Line and stations need



SJ0031- 4 -LRB102 18458 MST 26552 r

1modernization and repair and could explore further extension
2to accommodate growth in communities farther west; I-290 and
3CTA improvement and reconstruction costs are expected to
4exceed $4 billion; and
5    WHEREAS, The Eisenhower and CTA Blue Line reconstruction
6and improvements are, and should be, planned, designed,
7constructed, and managed as a multimodal, intermodal corridor,
8maximizing transportation assets, enhancing equity,
9connectivity, access, and opportunity for residents,
10commuters, and marginalized populations and protecting the
11safety of all users; and
12    WHEREAS, The Eisenhower and CTA Blue Line projects are an
13opportunity to reconnect communities and repair racial
14inequities and displacement caused by historic construction
15that emphasized transportation efficiencies without attention
16to racial equity, livability, community enhancement, and
17preservation; and
18    WHEREAS, The Eisenhower and CTA Blue Line reconstruction
19is an opportunity to expand open space and sustainable
20multimodal connectivity to develop alternative individual and
21mass transportation options, such as dedicated pedestrian and
22bike lanes designed to be interconnected but separated from
23vehicle lanes and rapid bus transit and the use of bridge



SJ0031- 5 -LRB102 18458 MST 26552 r

1decking and innovative technologies; and
2    WHEREAS, It is in the best interest of the State of
3Illinois to prioritize the planning, design, and
4reconstruction of the federal interstate I-290 Eisenhower
5Expressway and CTA Blue Line and obtain financial and
6technical assistance and partnership from the Illinois
7Congressional Delegation and the U.S. Department of
8Transportation; therefore, be it
12Corridor is a project of state, regional, and national
13significance that will improve multimodal transportation and
14connectivity and promote economic development; and be it
16    RESOLVED, That the goals of reconstructing the Interstate
17290 Corridor should include enhancements to racial equity,
18promotion of open space, community enhancement, and
19sustainable and innovative practices; and be it further
20    RESOLVED, That we formally request that the U.S.
21Department of Transportation provide sufficient resources to
22the Illinois Department of Transportation to begin engineering



SJ0031- 6 -LRB102 18458 MST 26552 r

1and advance this project expeditiously; and be it further
2    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
3delivered to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and all
4members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation.