Ashland BRT: Waiting for answers


East Village Association board minutes for August 19, 2013
Submitted by Meghan Quinn


Upcoming speakers
Neal McKnight will ask Catherine Garypie to speak in September about how to approach the BRT Environmental Impact Assessment. For October, we should ask the new LaSalle II principal.

Ashland BRT
The board discussed what stance should be taken, if any, on the Ashland Bus Rapid Transit. If there were an eventual vote, the Planning, Preservation & Development committee would make a recommendation in advance. However, we cannot take a stance at this point due to lack of information.

Some questions we still would like answers to are: Will there be a new line item in the budget? Can road dollars be used? CTA mentioned the Loop BRT as an upcoming example to look at, but there are one-way streets and no parking in those locations, making it a very different situation and hard to compare to the conditions on Ashland.

One of the crucial issues that will need to be addressed to gain support from EVA will be significant infrastructure upgrades/improvements on peripheral streets, as one of the biggest concerns is the rerouting of auto and truck traffic onto smaller streets. McKnight has spoken to Ald. Proco Joe Moreno, who is also currently undecided on the issue.

The next step is the Environmental Impact Assessment. One of our members is drafting language to advise our members on how to participate in that process and how to communicate with those running it.

While we aren’t ready for a vote yet, more hard data and answers to our questions will help us attempt to get there. If they could allay everyone’s concerns, of which there are many, and make the project work, this could be a great thing for our neighborhood.

Our next steps are to form a coalition of neighborhood groups, and collect a set of 10-15 questions that address everyone’s concerns by the end of August, so we can submit them for answers in writing.

Liquor license on Ashland
A grocer on Ashland has expressed interest in a packaged goods license. Moreno has sent his opposition letter, and EVA will do so within the next few days.

Membership
In the past, members purchased a yearly membership ($30 business, $20 family, $15 individual, $5 senior), but EVA would now like to provide annual memberships for a donation. The board discussed possible local causes to which a donation would garner a one-year membership. We would like the donation to go to the Wells High School Field of Hope project, which includes baseball and soccer fields and a dog park. An EVA membership gives one the ability to vote on issues at the membership meetings.

Meeting Commenced at 6:40pm, adjourned at 7:43pm. Board attendance: Neal McKnight, Peter Locke, KK Goh, Meghan Quinn, Gladys Anselmo, Greg Nagel, Scott Rappe, Stephen Rynkiewicz, Rob Schickel; Other attendees: Rich Anselmo, Marjie Issacson.

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