ELPC, Sustainable Englewood Initiatives, Northwestern University Environmental Law Clinic and other community partners successfully negotiated a fair deal to reduce air pollution and increase parkland with the rail yard expansion in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.
CHICAGO – Englewood residents and advocates concerned about diesel pollution from a proposed rail yard expansion welcomed a September 2014 agreement designed to cut pollution, bring new green space to Englewood, sponsor sustainability efforts and bring job training in the neighborhood.
The agreement, reached through discussions with the City of Chicago and Norfolk Southern, requires:
- 36 of 38 trucks that move trailers around the yard to have cutting-edge pollution controls by 2018
- Immediate upgrading of a dozen pieces of lift equipment used in the yard to have clean engines or diesel filters
- Continued efforts by the City to address truck congestion that increases idling around the yard
- A $1 million fund, sponsored by Norfolk Southern, for sustainability projects in Englewood
- $1 million for job training and preparedness in Englewood
The agreement will also create a New ERA trail in Englewood. The park will convert elevated rail track to green space as part of a $30 million, 10-year project by the City of Chicago. Norfolk Southern has also agreed to make a contribution towards improvements to landscaping and green space at Sherwood Park in Englewood.
The Norfolk Southern project will expand an existing rail yard between 47th Street and Garfield Boulevard south to 61st Street, increasing its size almost 85 acres. Sustainable Englewood Initiatives approached the Northwestern University School of Law Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Environmental Advocacy Center and Environmental Law & Policy Center concerned that the project would sacrifice residential and green space, and increase air pollution in a community with one of the nation’s highest asthma rates. According to Respiratory Health Association, diesel pollution leads to over 20,000 asthma attacks, 680 heart attacks and about 570 premature deaths in Illinois each year.
For more on Sustainable Englewood Initiatives, please visit SustianableEnglewood.org.