The following letter was sent on June 2, 2018, to Mr. James M. Derwinski, CEO/Executive Director of Metra from ACTION in regards to Metra comments on the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha Corridor Environmental Assessment (EA)
Dear Mr. Derwinski,
On behalf of the Lake Forest Citizens for ACTION (Alliance to Control Freight Impacts on Our Neighborhoods), I am writing in response to Metra’s letter of May 18, 2018 withdrawing its original recommendation for a Third Track from south of IL Route 60 in Lake Forest to Route 176 in Rondout. While we appreciate Metra’s conclusion that the Lake Forest three-mile siding track is not needed for Metra’s “current operations,” ACTION and its supporters overwhelmingly oppose any freight-related expansion project at any time on this Metra corridor, regardless of how it is marketed, be it a “siding extension” or a “third main track.”
Metra’s “long term vision of creating a three-track corridor” would create serious safety, health and environmental hazards from the inevitable increase in dangerous and volatile freight traffic for the thousands of residents and sensitive wildlife enclaves from Lake Forest to Glenview.
ACTION supports enhanced commuter and passenger service to meet the needs of your area including many communities like Lake Forest. We believe that reducing freight traffic on this highly congested shared corridor would allow for any such expanded services by Metra and Amtrak.
A third main track that increases hazardous and harmful freight capacity along this rail corridor is in direct conflict with Metra’s On Track to Excellence Strategic Plan to “provide safe, reliable, efficient commuter rail service that enhances the economic and environmental health of northeastern Illinois.” As an alternative to constructing a costly third rail on the Metra District North (MD-N) Line, ACTION would strongly support exploring alternatives that separate commuter and freight traffic as a more permanent and safer solution than constantly trying to push more mixed use traffic through an already congested rail corridor.
ACTION would work with Metra to accomplish the safe, reliable, efficient commuter service your mission promises, recognizing the importance of securing adequate State level support to sustainthis goal. However, funding passenger rail improvements by way of expansion of freight traffic on the Milwaukee District North Line would come at the expense of the welfare of the very
passengers the mission seeks to protect.
Lake Forest ACTION/President
CC: Robert Lansing, Mayor, City of Lake Forest
Jim Patterson, President, Village of Glenview
Harriet Rosenthal, Mayor, Village of Deerfield
Frank Rothing, President, Village of Bannockburn
Sandra Frum, President, Village of Northbrook
Randall Blankenhorn, Secretary, Illinois Department of Transportation
Beth McCluskey, Director, Office of Intermodal Project Implementation, IDOT
Kirk Dillard, Chairman, Regional Transportation Authority
Leanne Redden, Executive Director, Regional Transportation Authority
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