The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 |

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Eye on the Ike - Noise Wall Update/Aesthetic Treatments

An update on the proposed noise walls voting process, as well as various aesthetic treatments related to the reconstruction of the Eisenhower Expressway will be discussed at a Village Board study session scheduled for 7 p.m., Mon., Feb. 22, in Village Hall, 123 Madison St.

Residents are invited to review the information provided below, then share their comments with the Village Board prior to the meeting.

Comments may be posted on this page until noon, Mon., Feb. 22, 2016. All comments will be provided to the Village Board prior to the evening meeting.

Comments will be moderated and will not appear immediately. Comments expressed on this page do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Village of Oak Park municipal government or its officers and employees. However, Village staff may reply to comments to clarify information or provide details that may be requested in a post.

Meeting Materials for Review


Submitted by Veronica on

I live on the south side of the expressway and was not given a vote regarding the I-290 noise barriers. I am in favor of the barriers. With the elevated on and off ramps will come increased noise and an ugly view of traffic! I am paying alot of taxes and I will be forced to move as it is not worth it if I can hear and see traffic when I take a walk around my neighborhood. Also it does not make sense to me that as a Village we would not install either no barriers or all the barriers in Oak Park. For example, it is going to be silly to have a barrier on the north side and not the south side of the I-290. Let's improve our residential neighborhoods and our lifestyle with the barriers and landscaping.

Submitted by Paul on

OP Village Staff and Board Members,
Aside from all the issues with voting eligibility for the noise walls, the fact that the outcome of mixed walls (i.e., sections with/without) will undoubtedly make south Oak Park an eye sore, and lower property values without any perceivable noise benefit - It would be great to understand why we are not fighting for previously proposed "decking" from Ridgeland to East, to expand Rehm park and serve as the best "noise wall".

Thank you.

Submitted by Bob Dame on

To the Oak Park Village Board.
I was not able to vote on the expressway project though only 2 blocks south of I-290, and if I was able to vote it would be NO for the following reasons.
1. A non-transparent noise barrier when viewed at street level to/from North or South of I-290 would disrupt the visual continuity of the Village, as well as continue the myth (real or imaged) between northside and southside residents.
2. Garfield and Harrison Streets hug the I-290 for varying lengths - having a physical barrier right next to the road would be claustrophobic to many drivers.
3. During the winter season, snow plows are able to pitch snow through the metal rails (if needed) whereas a solid wall would prevent that - on some sections of Garfield and Harrison there is minimal space along the expressway for piling snow.
4. Should a non-transparent barrier be installed, Harrison street would be shaded for much of winter thereby blocking the sun's rays to melt snow/ice on Harrison.
5. Are there any other alternatives that haven't been explored, such as electronic "noise noise"? Surely there are (or will be) other solutions in the near future to resolve this noise issue.
While I empathize with those directly impacted by living close to I-290, the creation of a physical non-transparent wall between North and South Oak Park will truly be an eyesore and aggravation to those of us interacting with this corridor on an almost daily basis.
Thank you for considering these issues.

Submitted by Beth on

I agree with your comment 100%, I use to live off of Garfield. And any WALL, would look horrible to the small town feel and look of Oak Park, and the snow plowing..would be impossible

Submitted by Citizen on

We live just south of 290, about a block and a half down. We purchased our home knowing full well that the highway was right there. It did not suddenly happen over night, and we were prepared to deal with the noise. Didnt everyone who bought a home along the Ike purchase it with the knowledge that the highway is right there? I voted no the first time around, I feel the walls will be an eyesore. I think it will cause more problems than it will solve.

Submitted by Christopher on

We live 3 blocks south of 290, no vote. I would vote no to the walls and or mixed walls though

It will certainly materialize the notion of south oak park and north. For school kids in oak park, that is going to only make worse a very real problem.

It will lower property values all around the walls, tangibly affecting everyone.

The amount of noise reduction, as observed from similar walls and set ups truly do not even come close to mitigating the noise pollution enough to warrant either said reasons, or the myriad of others that could be gone on with.

I would like to echo the decking, or capping, of 290 proposal, and am curious why that is not being voted on, or even mentioned about to the residents as a potential option.

The amount of parks that could be had, the streets that could improve transportation, the list goes on and on what good capping the highway over oak park could do. When I use my imagination thinking what architects might come up with.. It's like picturing the prettiest town on earth. That would be something worth coming together to talk about. That would be worth coming together to make and see happen.

Quite frankly the sheer thought of the "walls" disgusts me. Oak park is one of the most expensive Illinois suburbs to live in for a reason, or at least it used to be. The exclusive beauty and atmosphere of the town. Seeing walls when we walk around our neighborhood, instead of our neighborhood, would make me question the last 45 years we've been here, and why I'd want to continue living here.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Curious as to why IDOT is not being forthcoming with the results of their two rounds of voting. These walls will be so ugly and divisive to our community. Please do all that you can to keep them from being built. Also curious about the status of widened bridges, more space for pedestrians and bikers, etc.

Submitted by Sara on

I appreciate the artist renderings and photos of the possibilities for the sound barrier walls. However, all of the examples shown are looking at the walls from the highway. I want to know what the walls look like from OUR side of the walls. It is nice for them to be aesthetically pleasing to people passing by our nice village but it seems to me that community members are more concerned about how it will change the views we all have on a daily basis. Is it possible to get examples of what these different walls would look like from the village side?

Submitted by Michele Zurakowski on

I live one block south of 290 and was not able to vote. I would vote a huge NO. The noise reduction will be minimal and the divisive effect will be monumental. They will block the sky and be isolating. Honestly, if they go up, I will look to sell my house before construction starts.

Submitted by Beth on

Actually the hum of the traffic puts me to sleep. The train going by doesn't bother us either. To those who Want this Wall, When you moved by the expressway did you NOT expect traffic noise? That's like moving by an airport then bitch because there are airplanes. The walls will ruin the small town aesthetic of this old community. I am all for progress, NOT at the expense of the old neighborhood look and feel.
NO walls !!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Let's invest in our community rather than bandaid an issue and explore decking!

Submitted by Wisconsin Avenu... on

We have lived on South Wisconsin Avenue for over 25 years, two blocks south of I-290. Like many of the posters, we are also NOT in favor of the walls. I don't feel any walls will sufficiently muffle the noise, but I do feel it will further serve to divide Oak Park. I would urge the village to vote no on installing these walls.

Submitted by April on

IDOT’s voting method is completely flawed. Period. What can we as Oak Park homeowners do to have the vote thrown out? Here are a few reasons the voting approach is flawed and we as a village should pursue having it thrown out:

-Voting eligibility was determined based solely on decreasing of sound (by a negligible 5 decibels). No other factors were considered as an input to determine the voting population. They can call the walls “sound walls” all they want, but we cannot ignore the many other impacts that the walls will have.

-By limiting voters to only those perceived to be positively impacted by the walls, the vote is by definition biased. Since when are voting populations determined by including only those predicated to vote “yes”? What about the individuals that have strong potential of being negatively impacted by the walls?

-Not only is the overall voting population extremely small, but they have gone further to break up the vote. This creates the potential for some blocks to have walls and some not (ridiculous), however more importantly this creates an even smaller, less representative voting population for each section of wall.

-Non taxpaying renters (whether short-term or long-term) are eligible to vote, yet many long-term homeowners even within ½ block of I-290 are ineligible to vote. This project will impact our village taxes in the long term, and it will very likely have a negative impact on our property values. Not including all Oak Park taxpayers and especially not including all homeowners within a block or two of 290 is completely unjust.

-Properties perceived to benefit the most from the walls (those directly on 290, many of which are multi-unit buildings) actually get TWO VOTES!?!?! Really!?!? How can this vote be more skewed?

-So, multi-unit buildings directly on 290 get TWO votes for EVERY unit. For apartment building owners, this means the owner gets 1 vote per unit, while the occupants of each unit get the other vote for the unit. With voting populations this small, IDOT has essentially handed the vote for some sections of the walls to a few apartment building owners.

-The required response rate of 1/3 of voters is far too low. At least ½ of eligible voters should be required to count the vote as significant. This low percentage of responding voters decreases the voting population to unacceptably low numbers.

-There was a serious lack of education and awareness prior to the launch of the first vote.

-There have been eligible voters who have indicated they did not receive their mailing/ballot.

-The fact that the first vote produced such a low response rate is alarming. This raises huge concerns that the selected voting population is NOT invested enough in the outcome of this vote. On the contrary, hundreds of ineligible voters are hugely invested in the outcome of this.

Aside from the unfairness of this vote, I will add a few comments on the walls themselves. I-290 thankfully was built below ground level through Oak Park. And I’m pretty sure it has been there about 65 years. So, other than the people who have lived in their homes since the early 50s, 290 was not built after we selected our homes. Walking through our town within a block of 290, you can barely hear the noise, and you can see straight across the expressway to beautiful homes and trees and buildings and sky on the other side. I live 2/3 of a block away from 290 and usually forget that it is there. We have a wonderful place to live. It’s not broken, and we don’t need to fix it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

These proposed walls would be an incredible eyesore, graffiti magnets, and block so much of the community, let alone daylight. It would feel so claustrophobic. We live half a block off (property owners fully invested in the community; not renters who can just move on) and given NO vote. Anyone who lives here wouldn't live here if the expressway really bothered them. It is built way below street level so it already has huge sound walls; this just doesn't make any sense. I'm sad to say that if walls go up, we'll move out of town after our kids are out of school....before our property values start to drop.

Submitted by Anonymous on

We live a block off of 290 and take the train to work daily. The amount of graffiti on the lower portion of the train's retaining walls changes almost weekly. I am concerned that if they put up these walls that there will constantly have to be someone painting and cleaning up these canvases for graffiti. It will also block the view to the rest of OP and to the city, which I love feeling connected to. I believe most people knew what they were buying into when buying along the 290 corridor - and a wall was not a part of that. We didn't get a vote, but we would like to vote no.

Submitted by Alma Klein on

I live on the 900 block, just a few houses south of the voting zone. While I was not eligible to vote, I would like to add my voice to the chorus of NOs. I bought my house close to the expressway knowing I'd occasionally hear some noise. It really doesn't bother me or my neighbors. Tall, prison-like walls would be ugly eyesores and magnets for graffiti. I think it would be a tragedy.

Submitted by Lisa on

The walls would further divide a community that daily bears the scar of a highway running through it. I personally think that at least maintaining a visual connection between north and south of the 290 is an important part of helping to keep the community feel more unified rather than divided.

We have lived with the "noise" all these years, and would rather continue to do so than have impenetrable walls go up that block views and light.

Also for safety reasons we should keep sight lines clear. As a female I would hesitate to walk anywhere near those walls at night because they block visibility and create dark shadows.