Thursday, May 19, 2016 12:27 am
Letters to the Editor 5/19/16
ILLINOIS CLEAN JOBS
Thanks to Pat Yeagle for covering the Illinois NAACP’s “Just Energy Policy” roundtable at the Springfield Boys and Girls Club on May 5. The NAACP invited many organizations representing the environmental justice community throughout the state – as well as other entities that also care about a safe and healthy energy future – to respond to our plan and see how we can move forward to celebrate the successes and address the issues that hold us back.
Of all of the utility representatives invited, only our own CWLP answered the call. They also clearly recognize that it will take all of us across the energy spectrum to support a just transition to renewable energy and insure an effective challenge to climate change.
That being said, some of the utilities in our state have recently put forth energy bills which in many aspects negate the positive elements of the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill. Ameren, ComEd and Dynegy proposals could increase rates, reduce energy efficiency and seriously delay movement towards a safe energy future. Ask your representative in the legislature to support the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, HB 2607/SB1485.
We hope a great crowd will attend the city’s first CWLP public process meeting at city council chambers at 6:30 p.m., on May 19. It’s up to Springfield ratepayers to make this an active and invigorating conversation. Participation will determine our community’s energy future.
Diane Lopez Hughes, Chair
IL NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice
MACARTHUR, SOW’S EAR
I have read James Krohe Jr.’s article, “Why don’t we do it beside the road?,” and feel compelled to comment. MacArthur is no longer a marked route since IL-4, US-36 and US-54 were removed, and IL-54 replaced US-54 starting at I-55 on Sangamon Avenue and going to the Chicago area. However, it is still state jurisdiction since the state and city would have to agree on a jurisdictional transfer, and it is not in the city’s best interests to agree. MacArthur is not a local street but a heavy-volume commuter route with access to many businesses and the local street network, with a large number of left and right turns which require more street capacity. Bump-outs would never work on this street because that requires closing a lane.
Adding adequate sidewalks and bicycle lanes are highly desired but probably would require more right-of-ways, which in some locations would probably require buying out some businesses, which would be very expensive. Land is money, so I don’t think many land owners will donate land for the roadway. Shifting the pedestrians and bicycles to the alleys with that vehicle traffic is not desirable because of some sight problems, unsafely mixing the three together in the narrow alleys and the general lack of personal safety in alleys.
More landscaping is very desirable but most of the businesses were in place before the present zoning regulations required landscaping. However, landowners may be open to adding landscaping if they were compensated for it. Trees along the roadway may be feasible at some point but I doubt there will be groves of trees anytime soon since land is money.
I wasn’t able to attend the public meeting but a minimum improvement of the roadway of the roadway would probably consist of roto-milling and resurfacing the street, replacing the existing curbs with curb and gutter to improve the drainage and replacing the sidewalks where necessary to provide sidewalks that meet policy. Some driveway cuts may be able to be eliminated but access has to be provided to every property and the property owner has to agree to eliminate any curb cuts.
Yes, the businesses along MacArthur are a hodge-podge that has developed over a number of years under a variety of zoning policies or lack thereof. It will take time to possibly come to some solution. It is true that IDOT designs roadways to accommodate the traffic using it. This is not a local street. Overall, it is difficult and expensive to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Tyre W. Rees