Chicago Awarded $2M Reconnecting Communities Grant

Community advocates say the city’s plan may not do enough to reverse the negative impacts of a major expressway.

1 minute read

April 19, 2024, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of Interstate 290 or Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago, Illinois.

The Eisenhower Expressway began construction in 1955. | Tupungato / Adobe Stock

The City of Chicago announced it received a $2 million federal Reconnecting Communities grant aimed at improving “community safety, cohesion, and quality of life through enhanced connectivity over and around the [Eisenhower Expressway],” according to a press release from the city.

In an article for Streetsblog Chicago, John Greenfield describes the city’s plans for the Interstate 290 corridor, which are light on details but include “improvements for people walking and bicycling on existing streets and paths surrounding and crossing the corridor, adding or enhancing pedestrian bridges and bicycle facilities.”

In response, Kyle Lucas, cofounder of nonprofit Better Streets Chicago, said the grant is a positive step. “However, this fails to address IDOT’s plans to widen I-290 further. $2 million for a few bike lanes, pedestrian bump outs, and bushes on top of yet another multi-billion-dollar highway expansion project will do little to address either the historical nor ongoing harms that highways impose.” Lucas adds, “Our leaders must get serious about investing in expanding and modernizing transit – like extending the Blue Line – instead of doubling down on the planning mistakes of the '50s.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 in Streetsblog Chicago

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