Say "No" to Inevitability and Speak up for Sustainability

Comments to the OP Village Board on the Expansion of the Eisenhower Expressway by Jenny Jocks Stelzer I know that there are many complexities to dealing with the Eisenhower Expressway reconstruction, so I attended the recent village board meeting to speak up for the three complexities that are important to me, as a person who is invested in sustainability. Here’s what I said to our Village Board:

  1. Watch your language. “The potential widening of the Eisenhower” very quickly becomes “the eventual widening,” and then “the inevitable widening” in the public’s mind. The language of inevitability bulldozes those who are less informed than you are and, for better or for worse, the public is less informed than you are. So, it’s up to you, Village Board, to manage the discourse.
  2. We live here; we don’t just drive here. While the IDOT solutions may alleviate congestion or road safety problems, remember that myopic solutions often trigger the law of unintended consequences. It is not okay for us to accept the perceived inevitability of “more cars” when we live in an EPA-designated nonattainment area for the pollutants lead and particulate matter under the Clean Air Act. It’s actually not a controversy: breathing IS more important than driving.
  3. Don’t forget true sustainability. The widespread acceptance of the inevitability of more cars goes in one direction, fast. It is up to us to alter that trajectory of community disinvestment. Let’s support a plan that doesn’t incentivize the hours-long commute and makes possible a community’s development of its own economy. We want people to live and work in Oak Park, not just drive past.

These may be concerns you have, but you might be thinking, “She should have said ___, or focused on the very important point ___.” So, what can you do? Whatever you do, don’t sit back and accept the language of inevitability. Write to our local papers. Email our Village Board. Attend the board meetings and use your 3 minutes of Public Comment to speak up for sustainability.