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Forum: Congestion pricing way to go

Updated: December 30, 2012 4:05PM



The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is urging Gov. Quinn, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Tollway Authority to commit to congestion pricing as a tool to manage traffic for faster, reliable travel times, as recommended in the “GO TO 2040” comprehensive plan adopted by the seven counties of northeastern Illinois.

With congestion pricing, toll rates in express lanes rise at times when more drivers want to use the highway and fall when demand is low. Supply and demand will help manage highway resources more effectively. CMAP has created www.cmap.illinois.gov/congestion-pricing, with information about the benefits to our region’s residents.

Five GO TO 2040 expressway projects lend themselves to this approach: the tollway’s new lane on the Jane Addams Expressway (Interstate 90); two new expressways (the Elgin-O’Hare West bypass and the Illinois 53 north extension/Illinois 120 bypass); and IDOT’s planned additional lane on the Eisenhower and Stevenson expressways. CMAP’s analysis shows that express-lane drivers during the morning rush on Interstate 55 traveling from Interstate 355 would reach downtown 25 minutes faster for $2.75.

In the past 20 years, 10 states have successfully implemented congestion pricing, and public support has increased as drivers become familiar with it. While express-lane revenue could help pay for some of a roadway’s costs, the primary goal of congestion pricing is to manage traffic more effectively.

Now is the time for our state and region to make a strong commitment to congestion pricing. It’s a crucial step to shorten travel times and maximize the benefit of these planned improvements.

Randy Blankenhorn

Executive director

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

Regrets growth of Black Friday

I work in the retail industry. I was asked if I wanted to start work for Black Friday at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving. My answer was “no,” because I held the dinner at my house for my family.

My 9-year-old old granddaughter thought it would be a good idea to cancel Black Friday, forcing people to spend time with family and friends.

I personally have never shopped Black Friday. I am 55 years old. I have no desire to. We as a society enable corporate America by allowing stores to open on the holiday. We should be visiting or playing board games or cards Thanksgiving night.

In my day, holidays truly lived up to their meaning. If you needed something, you might find a gas station or 7-Eleven open. Society goes backward in other areas such as fashion, music, decor. Why not go backward in celebrating the holidays?

Patricia Sedorook

Tinley Park



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