To the honorable Mayor Richard Daley,
This article is no April Fools joke. As outgoing mayor, I commend you for the excellent job you've done serving this great city. It is certainly a much-improved city from when you began your term.
As a parting gift, I'm leaving you this idea, which you can perhaps, set in motion, and will only augment your legacy.
Most cities, when they exceed capacity on the highways, can simply widen the roads. That obviously cannot happen here, given the infrastructure that's already in existence.
I am in fact referring to the Kennedy Expressway, which is a total mess in morning and evening rush hours.
Given the two-way rush hour these days, (just ask anyone who needs to go into the city in the afternoon,) it's not going to improve.
People who live in the city and work in the suburbs take the reverse commute. I frequently use the Edens to travel into town late in the day, to cover games at the United Center. The trip from Lake-Cook Road to the Kennedy-Edens junction should normally be 13-15 minutes. Between 4:30 and 6:00 that time can triple. And that's just in good weather. Rain or snow. Forget about it.
Naturally, the problem is having six lanes of traffic being squeezed into four lanes.
To make matters worse, there's nothing more frustrating than seeing the cars moving faster along the express lanes outbound, when you're creeping along on the inbounds side.
President Obama in his State of the Union address promised to free up more T.A.R.P. money for construction projects.
I propose that you strong arm the incoming mayor to hit up his old boss for a few billion of those dollars for......are you ready?
The BIG PLAN:
Double-deck the express lanes.
That's right. If you can't widen the road, why not build up? Something we seem to be very good at here.
No more closing the express lanes to reverse traffic flow.
Imagine express lanes that are open 24/7.
How do we do that? Well, you have to have two phases.
Phase One - take the present express lanes and add an upper deck with two lanes and a permanent connection to the Edens and Kennedy expressways. Perhaps you make the upper portion the inbound side and have an even more impressive view of the skyline.
Phase Two - solve the other logjam which is the portion of the Kennedy from the junction to O'Hare with a similar upper deck. This one however, has four lanes, two inbound and two outbound express lanes that connect to the junction and its only exit is at O'Hare and I-90 West.
Don't you think the Richard Daley expressway has a nice ring to it?