Vote YES To Stop the Landfill
The vista pictured at the right, the shoreline in Berger Park, will be destroyed forever if Mayor Daley and Friends of the Park have their way and ram through the plan to extend Lake Shore Drive northward into Evanston, and southward to Promontory Point.
Voters in Rogers Park, Edgewater, and other areas affected by the beach landfill and extension of the Outer Drive will have the opportunity to vote on this issue again in a non-binding referendum that will be on the ballot on Tuesday, November 4.
The provision reads as follows:
Should the City of Chicago, State of Illinois and Federal Government prohibit lakefront expansion from Hollywood Ave. to Evanston that includes extension of Lake Shore Drive or establishment of any other roadways, marinas or harbors, housing, major landfill or commercial development?
The plans of Mayor Daley and the Friends of the Park to construct an immense landfill and extend Lake Shore Drive into Evanston have met with overwhelming opposition from residents of affected areas in Edgewater, Rogers Park, Evanston, and Hyde Park (where the infill will extend south). In the referendum of 2006, 88% of Edgewater and Rogers Park voters voted against the expansion, as did 80% of Evanston voters. In a more recent referendum in Hyde Park, 90% of voters voted against it. However, FOTP and Mayor Daley are undeflected by the overwhelming opposition, and are continuing their efforts to ram this costly and destructive boondogle down our throats.
The original plans include a marina at either Calvary Cementary, or at Devon and Sheridan, and the extension of the Lake Shore Drive Expressway north into Evanston and south to Hyde Park. A vast landfill will be constructed east of the expressway.
At stake are the beaches in Rogers Park and Edgewater, which offer the only beach access on the north side north of the Oak Street Beach. These beaches will be lost, replaced by an extension of Lake Shore Drive to the east, and infill that will extend Lincoln Park, which is already underutilized. If the plans are fully realized, a marina will also be constructed, bringing boat pollution and increased traffic to the area, with no gain for area residents who will lose a major amenity, our beaches.
Loyola University is pressing for the expansion, and Mayor Daley badly wants this. The desires and priorities of residents in the affected areas are of no importance to Daley, or , apparently, to the aldermen who are supposed to be representing them. The justification offered is the relief of the heavy rush-hour traffic on Sheridan Road, which will be replaced, if plans are realized, by even heavier and faster traffic, complete with additional traffic noise and pollution, where now repose our beaches.
Year 2006 estimates, subject to revision, peg the cost of the project at $300 Million. It will mostly likely be at least three times that, at a time when the city is having a difficult time funding essential services and maintenance of critical water, sewer, and road infrastructure. Moreover, it will add greatly to the ongoing cost of maintaining the lakefront, in an era of constricting energy supplies and reduced need for highways or demand for amenities such as marinas.
There is no justification for the construction of another marina to accommodate pleasure boats, or another high-speed, limited-access roadway. Demand for harbor space and highway traffic both will most likely decrease drastically in coming years as energy supplies tighten further, while the need for expanded and more efficient public transit is growing rapidly. Money allocated to this wasteful and destructive project is money badly needed for repairs to our dangerously decrepit and outdated water and sewer infrastructure, for repairs and expansion of our decrepit and inadequate public transit, and for the expansion and improvement of our underfunded, and steeply undermanned police department and fire department.
Tuesday's referendum is, as mentioned, non-binding, and much more work and citizen involvement is needed to block this project.