Opinion: Make Chicago ‘world class’ for its residents

SHARE Opinion: Make Chicago ‘world class’ for its residents

Follow @csteditorials

Conversations around the proposed high-speed rail project from O’Hare Airport to downtown have prompted new proclamations about Chicago’s need to become a “world-class city.” Perhaps we should be prioritizing initiatives that would make Chicago truly world class, not just for those passing through, but for the millions who live in the city’s neighborhoods.

New Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans has called the multibillion-dollar project “essential infrastructure.” I would argue that while this project would be beneficial to our regional economy, “essential infrastructure” should prioritize those projects that directly affect the quality of life for residents in the neighborhoods, especially in this era of financial difficulty where priorities are crucial.

Many neighborhoods lack key telecommunications infrastructure such as broadband access and overall connectivity that could actually help spur development in those areas — particularly the establishment of small businesses who can enhance the quality of goods and services provided to a community.

OPINION

Follow @csteditorials

Maintaining our streets continues to be a challenge that affects transit time, quality, and safety (i.e. the major sinkhole that swallowed three vehicles on a neighborhood street two years ago). Developing innovative ways to minimize structural damage to our roads and decrease frequency of repairs could save the city significantly and improve transit time for residents getting around the city.

Reviewing the numerous cuts in service for CTA that have made it more difficult for residents to get work is essential infrastructure. Addressing the massive issues with our antiquated drainage systems that result in flooded streets, flooded parks, and flooded basements every time we’re hit with a major storm is “essential” infrastructure.

A high-speed rail project can be good for the city (though 30 minutes to or from O’Hare doesn’t seem like such a drastic improvement from the blue line or a taxi). But with the projected price tag and our city’s dire financial circumstances, it is perhaps prudent to focus our efforts on infrastructure projects that are essential to enhancing the quality of life and create more investment and development opportunities in all areas of the city — not just downtown.

Amara Enyia is a public policy consultant.

Follow the Editorial Board on Twitter: Follow @csteditorials

Tweets by @CSTeditorials

The Latest
Candace Parker reached another career milestone, becoming the fifth player in WNBA history with 600 career blocks.
The nearly 500 protesters also put tape over their mouths as a silent protest against social media’s “sensitive content” tag they say is being used to block news stories of Russian acts of terror.
A new report lays bare how far our state has to go since the disruption caused by COVID-19.
The boy was arrested moments after allegedly trying to take a vehicle from a man Saturday in the 3800 block of West Arthington Street.
“Let me put it this way,” Krishnamoorthi said Sunday. “I think that the Prime Minister of Japan said he gets a lot of advice from Rahm Emanuel directly.”