I-355 Planning and Land Acquisition

I worked for many years on this road. It became a second interstate quality road around the Chicago metropolitan area.  It was originally planned to continue east to bypass Gary and Northwest Indiana. Unfortunately it did not go forward, and now another beltway will likely be much further south.  

Interesting story about the Interchange above. It connects I-355 and I-55 and provides for very dynamic land development.

Before I-355 was constructed access to the area was poor and there was little development.  The acquisition of the land and anticipated tollway construction substantially enhanced development potential. The new road provided great access to rapidly growing Dupage County.

I was the expert witness for the Tollway Authority. They were acquiring about 30 acres from the Santa Fe Railroad who owned the tract.  The attorneys wanted substantial damages for the acquisition with a total demand for over 7 million dollars. The Tollway offered 2 million dollars. So the difference between the offer and the demand was 5 million.  The owners attorney stood to get 40% of the amount over 2 million so they were very motivated.

The attorney was reputed to be the best land acquisition attorney in Chicago.  I stood between him and a 2 million dollar payday. He was very good and after a few hours I wanted to deck him, but of course that is bad for, 


Old Plank Road Trail

The Old Plank Road Trail is a very nice rails to trails development.  It took 17 years from the time we first wrote the Old Plank Road Trail Plan until you could ride a bike on the trail.

Click for more about the trail:  oprt.org

Interurban Rail

The interurban was an electric railway that was important in the eastern half of the United States from about 1890 to 1925. Interurbans provided passenger service between cities and towns.

Interurbans were a cross between a streetcar and a train. There were 15,500 miles of interurban rail in the US in 1915.

Interurbans in the Chicago region included the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad (North Shore Line), the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad, and the South Shore Line.

The South Shore Line that services Chicago to South Bend is one of the last operations still running in the US that began life as an interurban.  It still operates in Michigan City, Indiana down the middle of a street like a street car.  The equipment is now modern electric rail equipment.

The South Shore Line has flag stops. Back in the good old days you would flag a train and it would stop and pick you up.
I did this at Calumet Harbor, a desolate spot with no sign of any kind of train station.  I simply waived my hand and the seven car train stopped from 70+ miles per hour. I ran to the train and hopped off and off we went. People were surprised to see the train stop to pick me up.

At night people would light a newspaper so the train would know that a passenger wanted them to stop.  Now flag stops have a 

"push button located in or near the shelter to activate strobe light to signal train to stop. Please push button at least 5 minutes before scheduled departure time of train. Strobe light will turn off automatically after 10 minutes. Passengers should remain visible to engineer when standing at platform. There is no strobe at McCormick Place or 63rd St."



Comparing electric interurban railways and "steam railroads". The three major interurbans entering Chicago were not typical interurban lines, enabling them to survive well beyond the 1930's, when most interurban lines were abandoned.


"America's Last Interurban" continues to operate between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana.


Operated until 1963 between Chicago and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Operated until 1957 west of Chicago.


These three major interurban lines entering Chicago were once controlled by Samuel Insull, who also controlled various electric companies including Chicago's Commonwealth Edison, along with other interurban lines in Indiana, and the Chicago Rapid Transit Co.
Insull acquired control of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad Co. in 1916, the Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railroad Co. in 1926, and the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad in 1925. Insull resigned from control of all companies in 1932.


The more traditional interurban lines were more local in nature, and were basically extensions of city streetcar lines into the country, and on to other cities. Such lines typically ran alongside country roads, which generally were not paved at the time. But the paving of such roads in the 1920's and 1930's made the local interurban lines obsolete, with buses able to do the job more economically.


The first local transit routes in Chicago's suburbs were electric railways, including streetcar and interurban lines. Nearly all of these routes were replaced with buses during the 1930's, evolving to today's Pace bus system.


Local interurban lines did once extend beyond the Chicago area into northern Illinois. But outside the 6 county Chicago metropolitan area, public transit agencies were never approved, and local and interurban public transportation disappeared entirely.


Some of America's most comprehensive interurban railway networks existed in the Midwest states beyond Chicago.


Beyond the Midwest, the development of interurban lines was generally quite fragmented, except in the densely populated northeastern United States, where many local electric railways existed and interconnected.


The interurban industry is one of the most unsuccessful industries to ever exist in America. Included are misconceptions and myths, and what really happened to interurban transportation.

  1. Interurban - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Jump to Power collection by rolling stock – Most interurban cars and freight locomotives collected current from ... An example of this was the Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin where a ... AC transmission lines, and AC/DC conversion systems.

  2. CHICAGO INTERURBANS PAGE - chicago transit & railfan


    When one thinks of an electric interurban railway, one usually thinks of the ChicagoSouth Shore and South Bend Railroad (South Shore Line), generally ...

  3. Interurban electric rail -- Chicago Tribune


    The Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad, an electric interurban rail linethat carried passengers between Milwaukee and downtown Chicago, shut ...

  4. The Last Interurbans - Academic Web Server - Presbyterian College

    web.presby.edu › Academic Web Server › Jon Bell › Transit

    Jul 14, 2007 – A list of electric interurban railways in the US that survived until ... to Wisconsin, using a series of connecting interurban lines... 1957, Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, Illinois, Third-rail power; used 'L' tracks to reach Chicago's Loop ...

  5. Welcome to the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society


    We invite you to join the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society and explore First & Fastest ... in what is now known as the Chicago Hub Network of Amtrak, and our special publications. ... Want to find out about our new electronic publication?

  6. Winnetka's “North Shore Line” Electric Inter-urban Service


    Winnetka's “North Shore Line” Electric Inter-urban Service. Gazette ... Fifty years ago, an inter-urban, electrified railroad known as the Chicago, North Shore, and ...

  7. ELECTRIC INTERURBAN RAILWAYS | The Handbook of Texas ...


    The electric interurban industry in Texas totaled nearly 500 miles, the second ...About 70 percent of the mileage was in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where electric lines ... LeRoy O. King (Chicago: Central Electric Railfans' Association, 1982).

  1. Old South Shore (America's Last Classic Interurban Railway ...


    Apr 10, 2008 - Uploaded by GreenFrogVideos
    Purchase at -- www.greenfrog.com By the late 1970s, theChicago, South Shore and ... been the sturdiest of ...
  2. More videos for electric interurban lines chicago »



    THE ELECTRIC INTERURBAN IN ILLINOIS ... Two of the interurban lines spreading outward from Chicago competed with the automobile for many years by ...

  4. Interurbans - Encyclopedia of Chicago


    By 1910 a network of interurban electric railways connected many of the cities ... to the Loop over the Chicago Elevated Railway's Northwestern line until 1919.

Burnham Plan - American Planning Association

Attended the APA Conference in Chicago, which celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Burnham Plan.

The City looks great. It keeps getting better looking. And tourism has become very large. There must have been 50 tourist boats in the Chicago River and along Navy Pier - a huge increase from a few years ago.

I would estimate about 30% of the Burnham Plan was actually constructed. Many proposals were too difficult or costly for the City to undertake. But what was built substantially improved the City.

I think the city should still build a few more of his proposals. The second Pier should be built - would add public access and land into Lake Michigan. And this time it could be "Green" and sustainable, improving the natural environment while providing more public open space next to downtown and the lakefront.

And the central train terminal should be built, with better interface among all public transit systems and automobiles.

Chicago is a great city. And looking better every year.

The Illiana Expressway

The Illiana (Illinois and Indiana) Expressay is proposed to become a beltway around the southern portion of  Northeast Illinois and Northwest Indiana. We were working on this when I entered the planning profession in 1973 and we have been working on it ever since.  It takes a long time to go from proposal to reality.

Initial plans proposed the road must closer to the urban portion of the Chicago metropolitan region.


The road comports to Burnham's Plan of Chicago 1909.
Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago 1909 is over 100 years old. The plan was completed with the assistance of city planner Edward H. Bennett and artist Jules Guerin.

Image: Plan of Chicago 1909, illustration by Jules Guerin

  1. Burnham Plan of Chicago - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The Burnham plan was a plan for the future of Chicago city. The project was begun in 1906 by the Merchants Club, which merged with the Commercial Club of ...
  2. The Burnham Plan Centennial: Home Page

    The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams. Home · About the Centennial · Centennial in Review · The Plan of Chicago · Vision & Theme ...
    You've visited this page 3 times. Last visit: 5/31/12
  3. Images for the burnham plan

      - Report images
  4. Burnham Plan - Encyclopedia of Chicago

    The visionary Plan of Chicago (1909) creates pictures of a City Beautiful, calls upon civic character to realize the goal, and characterizes Chicagoans as a ...
  5. The Plan of Chicago. A Brief Summary - Chicago CartoGraphics

    BOLD PLANS. BIG DREAMS. In 1909, Daniel Burnham, Edward Bennett, and the Commercial Club of Chicago launched an era of big dreams for the Chicago ...
  6. Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City : PBS

    Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City is a film airing on PBS that tells the story of a dreamer who shaped some of America's best-known ...
  7. Without Bounds or Limits: Images of the Plan - Art Institute of Chicago

    To that end, Burnham often used lantern slides to display images of the Plan during his promotional talks. The precursors to modern-day projection technology...
  8. [PDF] 

    Daniel H. Burnham and Chicago's Parks - Chicago Park District

    File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
    and private firms throughout the region are coming together 100 years later under the auspices of the Burnham Plan Centennial to educate and inspire people ...
  9. Make Big Plans: Burnham Plan Centennial | Newberry

    www.newberry.org › ... › Digital Resources
    In images and text, this digital exhibit examines how The Plan of Chicago, or the “Burnham Plan,” contributed to the development and aspirations of the ...
  10. Burnham Plan 1905 - FoundSF

    Map of the Burnham Plan 1905. Notice the broad avenues and central meeting points. Daniel Burnham, the most prominent city planner of the day, made his first ...
  11. Replay: What Made the Burnham Plan of ... - The Urbanophile

    Apr 30, 2010 – As part of my Burnham Plan centennial celebration, I was recently prompted to ponder what made this plan successful. (Let us put aside for ...