Petition and opposition to the Illiana Tollway


The pressure is on for both sides of the fight surrounding the proposed Illiana Expressway in the FAR south suburbs of Chicago to garner enough votes to determine whether it will ultimately be included in the updated draft of the Go To 2040 regional plan for Chicago and the six counties in Chicagoland. Up until a few days ago two voting entities, the CMAP Board and the MPO Policy Committee were scheduled to hold simultaneous meeting and vote on the updated plan and the inclusion of the Illiana Expressway October 8. Crain’s Chicago recently reported that the MPO Policy Committee, chaired by Acting Secretary for IDOT Erica Borggren and Illiana supporter was moved to October 9. It is still officially unclear what the change was made, however it can presumed the change was made, because it is more difficult to go to two meetings.

Opponents of the Illiana have been putting up a strong fight in spite of support for the project by Gov. Pat Quinn and IDOT. The project has been voted one of the 11 biggest highway boondoggles by U.S. PIRG and the Environmental Law & Policy Centered sued in federal court to give the CMAP Board (which is generally opposed to the Illiana) the final say over the project, which would nullify the opinion of the MPO Policy Committee (chaired by Borggren and supportive of the Illiana).

It goes without saying I am fully opposed to the Illiana. It is an incredibly unsustainable project and fails to meet any criteria necessary for it to hit the triple bottom line of sustainability (economically, socially, and environmentally). The project has failed to gain the support of regional leaders including Cook County President Toni Preckwinckle and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, local organizations like the Active Transportation Alliance and the Center for Neighborhood Technologies, and even national organizations like the Sierra Club and Openlands. It is only supported by short-sighted state policy makers who continuously support investments in highways despite downwards driving trends and the other needs of the region.

As of now I endorse any leader and group that votes against including the Illiana Expressway in the Go To 2040 plan or expresses opposition to this project.

In hopes of creating a stronger voice against the Illiana expressway proposal I am also starting a PETITION against the project.

If you are opposed to the project please take the time to write letters to your County Commissioner or county governments, municipal leaders, the CMAP Board, Governor Pat Quinn, IDOT, and IDOT Acting Secretary Erica Borggren to express your opposition to this unwise project.


Rethinking nature for more joyful experiences

My friend recently posted this picture on his blog:

Rethinking Nature

As I looked at I recognized how whimsical nature is. If we really break down what things in outside are we see that in reality those things are a mix of strange, silly, and rather profound. It provides a renewed sense of nature’s important role in our lives. The natural world provides us the best entertainment around, but it also reconnects us with the fact that we are as much a part of it as it is a part of our lives. A forest affects our human existence as much as we do to a forest.

We need to continuously look for the amazing things we might find outside, because quite frankly that is what we need to do to form an appreciation of the natural world and hopefully a sense of responsibility for its health–and ours as well.

Light pillars over Ontario

A few such photos have popped up on social media this season, perhaps because of the unending cold in the Midwest and eastern portions of North America. Its always interesting to see the interactions between cities and natural phenomena. This is personally a testiment to my belief that cities shouldn’t been viewed in a vaccuum–humanity versus nature–rather as the natural built habitat of homo sapiens and thus treated as part of the natural world. I’ve never encountered somebody arguing that birds’ nests or terminte colonies are not natural because they’re built, why do we do the same with cities? Thoughts inspired by nature.


Light pillars form when a bright light (from the sun, the moon or man-made light sources) reflects off the surfaces of millions of falling ice crystals associated with thin, high-level clouds. The pillars, which are often mistaken for UFO sightings, are typically seen in polar regions and they might lengthen or brighten as you gaze at them.
Photographer Jay Callaghan shot the beautiful photo below, on his back deck in 25 February at 1:45 am , as he was looking northeast toward Chemong Road in Peterborough, Ontario.


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