The City of Lake Forest and the villages of Bannockburn, Deerfield, Glenview and Northbrook are hosting a symposium to discuss The Future of Rail Freight Traffic on Wednesday, October 11, 7-8:30 p.m. at Melton Hall, Waybright Center at Trinity International University, 2065 Half Day Road, Bannockburn. The program is open to the public and interested members of all involved communities are invited to attend. There is no charge.
The topic of freight being transported by local rail lines has generated increasing attention in these and other Chicago area communities. The operation of area freight yards, discussions on a freight-dedicated bypass rail line and more recently potential freight train impacts related to improvements outlined in the Chicago-Milwaukee Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor Environmental Assessment have raised concerns and questions by many residents living within proximity to rail infrastructure.
The October 11 symposium will address current freight issues, cargo being transported, safety and more, as well as what the Chicagoland area can expect in the future. A short presentation, followed by a Q & A session, will be moderated by Joseph P. Schwieterman, Ph.D., School of Public Service and Director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University.
The other panelists include Mark Walbrun PE, with Mott MacDonald, who is responsible for their Rail & Transit Practice in the eastern United States. Since 1975, Mr. Walbrun has led major North American passenger and freight railroad projects in Chicago and around the United States. He has completed planning, design, and construction management of railroad main line improvements, new intermodal yards, terminal facilities, commuter and intercity rail stations, high speed signal systems, bridges and viaducts, and new tunnels. He is the current chair of the Transportation Research Board committee on Shared Rail Corridors and holds leadership positions in other industry associations.
Laura Wilkison, Executive Vice President of Metro Strategies, has been slated for the second panelist. She is involved in regional planning and policy, economic development and infrastructure initiatives, and leads outreach and communication activities for major projects and programs. Ms. Wilkison has worked for over a decade on the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation (CREATE) program on behalf of the Chicago Department of Transportation.
Audrey Wennink, with the Metropolitan Planning Council, will serve as the third panelist. She directs MPC’s transportation efforts and leads the Regional Planning & Infrastructure Advisory Committee. She also worked on benefit-cost analysis, grant writing, and advocacy for CREATE, IDOT and the Association of American Railroads to improve freight rail, passenger rail and highway operations through 70 projects in greater Chicago.
“With our rail-freight system being constantly improved and modernized, it is important for citizens to more fully understand the dynamics of this mode of transportation,” comments Mr. Schwieterman. “Whether you are a commuter train rider, employed by a business that ships by rail, or just a resident living in a community that has a railroad, it is important to keep track of what is happening in this ever-changing sector.”
Submitted by the City of Lake Forest