August 11, 2015 – Summer Update 2015 Newsletter
We know it’s been a while since we last touched base with you but we continue to make progress, completing construction for some projects, conducting design for others, talking to communities and advocating for critical funding.
We are eager to tell you what we have been up to in this newsletter. We look forward to continuing to work with you to advance the CREATE Program so we can see benefits in our local communities while strengthening the regional and national economy!
In This Issue
- $75M for 75th
- MPC Event Makes Case for CREATE
- CREATE Going to Work
- Digging in the Dirt
- The Nation Takes Notice
- Current CREATE Project Status
$75M for 75th
The 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project (75th St. CIP) is the single largest project to be undertaken through CREATE. Actually it’s a package of four projects that are linked together environmentally, encompassing improvements to roadways and train tracks in the Ashburn, Englewood, Auburn Gresham and West Chatham neighborhoods, which today intersect in ways that lead to creating passenger rail, freight rail and road traffic delays. The goal of the project is to separate the rail lines from each other and from the roadways they intersect.
The immediate funding need is $75 million for the final design phase. It is imperative to start the design in order to stay within budgeted costs.
The Project will result in:
- Decreased train idling and improved air quality in the surrounding neighborhoods
- Replacement or rehabilitation of 36 viaducts serving nearby neighborhoods, improving mobility, safety, and security
- Increased capacity at Union Station by shifting some Metra commuter rail service to another downtown terminal
- Elimination of a rail/roadway grade crossing, reducing congestion and improving safety for motorists and pedestrians
- Removal of conflicts between freight and commuter trains, eliminating 18,500 annual passenger hours of delay and increasing train reliability, speed, and capacity
MPC Event Makes Case for CREATE
You have to watch this video! It’s a short but powerful piece on the importance of freight in our region.
Last November the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) unveiled this video at an informative event titled, “CREATE: Freight Driving the Economy.” It featured Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, State Representative Elaine Nekritz, Jeffrey Sriver, CDOT’s Director of Planning and Programming, and Audrey Wennink, a transportation systems expert, from Cambridge Systematics. The panelists highlighted the need for improved freight movement in our region, serving the nation.
CMAP Data Visualization Includes CREATE
Earlier this year the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) launched a data visualization micro-site that simplifies complex transportation issues facing our region. They devoted an entire section to freight and several pages on CREATE. It’s a beautiful and easy-to-understand way of looking at CREATE benefits in our region.
Digging in the Dirt
Nine CREATE projects are currently under construction this summer. Here are some photographic highlights of projects in construction or completed this summer.
A Nation Takes Notice
CREATE has consistently received national attention as an example of a nationally and regionally significant project. Recently some of our partners, supporters and others have highlighted CREATE and its need to be completed.
Check out these articles:
Fixing Chicago, Trains Magazine, July, 2015.
Joe Szabo’s, CMAP Executive Director, editorial appeared in Crain’s (see below) as well as The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Detroit Free Press, South Dakota Argus Leader, Orlando Sentinel and the Portland (Maine) Press Herald
Freight system keeps Chicago moving and prospering; funding it should be a priority, Crains, May 6, 2015.
Metra, freight railroads push projects to untangle rail corridor, Chicago Tribune, December 12, 2014.
Massive Bridge Project Eases Intersection Critical for 911, Manufacturing, DNA info, July 20, 2015.
Current CREATE Project Status
Reinvigorating CREATE Facebook
We are improving our coverage of project construction and pictures, media attention, tours, etc. through the CREATE Facebook page. Don’t delay and Like us today!
In May 2015 the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) National Conference was held in Chicago. CREATE was highlighted both in a session titled, “Big Challenges, Big Teams, Big Solutions” and in a tour of critical projects.
If your organization is interested in a presentation or tour, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Belt Railway Company of Chicago
- Canadian Pacific
- Chicago Department of Transportation
- Illinois Department of Transportation
- Indiana Harbor Belt
- Norfolk Southern
- Union Pacific