Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Reader: There goes the Englewood neighborhood

Quote from Joravsky's Reader article
Ben Joravsky writes about the rail yard expansion in Englewood:
At the moment, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's most ambitious economic development plan for Englewood is the expansion of an intermodal freight yard, where metal containers will be loaded from trains to trucks and vice versa. It's a loud, smelly operation that will have diesel-spewing locomotives and trucks rolling into the area day and night.

The current freight yard runs from 47th to 55th, roughly between Wallace and Eggleston. The expansion will take it south five blocks to 61st Street.

So the northeast corner of Englewood—a swath of land nearly two miles long and a quarter-mile wide—will be dedicated to a freight yard pumping smoke, soot, and other pollutants into the lungs, blood, and hearts of everyone in the surrounding neighborhood.

Norfolk Southern, the Virginia-based rail company that's developing the project, says the freight yard will be a boon for the city, creating several hundred jobs. Maybe so.

But it's the sort of large-scale, environmentally dubious endeavor you'd hope the city would sign on to only after careful independent analysis. Then we could determine—or at least discuss—whether the jobs are worth the health costs.

But so far the city's health department has commissioned no studies.

Just imagine if this were being proposed for the north side. I know—not in a million years. Still, think about it in relation to the recently completed brouhaha over Wrigley Field. The back-and-forth between the Rickettses and the locals dragged on for months as they wrestled over such monumental issues as how big the left-field sign should be.
This is something you should finish reading.

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