Friday, October 14, 2005

'Peoria's lack of rail vision'

I found this posted on the Peoria Rails Yahoo! Group:

If you look at Peoria, the growth areas are very far north Peoria, south of Pekin, near Morton, west of Peoria and near Mapleton. Now, where are the rail leaders that are buying the land near the rails and holding it so it can be built on by industries that will ship by rail? There aren't any.

Peoria will soon lose any hope of developing the Kellar Branch as housing and strip malls fill in around the tracks. The NIMBY's will not allow a car plant to build in Peoria that may provide jobs that pay more than minimum wage.

And the Peoria City Council, the Peoria Park Board and the Journal Star are perfectly happy with this situation. Jobs aren't important, unless it's selling sports drinks to the occasional cyclist who wanders into town for a ride.


Vonster said...

The rails and ties aren't worth snot but that right of way will be irreplaceable when the tme eventually comes for Peoria to institute rail mass transit. That line runs from downtown right out to the center of the growth areas up north.

Mahkno said...

*gasp* Something I can agree with Vonster on.... lol

Yep.. the city should not be surrendering the possibility of light rail. The existing rail corridors should be maintained and new developments should at least make allowance for new corridors.

Having light rail connect the surrounding areas (Washington, East Peoria, Pekin, Metamora, etc..) could be a boon for all. Busses only go so fast.

It will be far harder to secure the land later on.

Also... adding light rail could enable inner city kids to go to outlying schools.

Bill Dennis said...

We could have used from commuter trains during the bridge closure.

Or to get young people to Bloomington to get an inexpensive four-year college education.

C. J. Summers said...

Isn't it funny that we used to have electric streetcars that ran all over town (of course, the town was smaller then), but replaced them with busses in the 1940s? We tore out all the infrastructure and now it would cost a lot of money to reintroduce light rail.

That should be a lesson to the city not to throw away the Kellar Branch, but they won't listen.

Bill Dennis said...

CJ: AT this point, I'm inclined to think that it'spersonal on the part of so many people, and not just in the city government. There's also the Peoria Park District. There's also the muckety mucks who whisper in their ears. There's the powerful media.

There's also Guy Brenkman, who's got a bug up his ass (understandably). There's also that grant waving around out there like a red flag in front of a bull. They just cannot concerive of WANTING to turn down "free money."

Anonymous said...

I think people need an education about the importance of railroads - even in the 21st century.

Fact: Several U. S. air carriers are in Chapter 11 yet ALL U. S. freight railroads are solvent.

Fact: The US is still the largest manufacturing nation in the world and big, heavy stuff needs to be shipped short, medium and long distances. Locally, grain processors like ADM, Aventine and MGP are HIGHLY dependent on local railroads for their existence. Keystone Steel & Wire, which recently emerged from Chapter 11 and has regained lost customers, is also highly dependent on local railroads for receving raw materials and shipment of product nationwide. Caterpillar tractors are big and heavy and all of these shipped to export markets go by rail to West, Gulf and East Coast ports.

FACT: Metro Peoria is served by TEN railroads. There are few other cities in this country with that status.

Fact: Peoria is competing with the likes of Rochelle, Illinois, which is quite proactive in developing rail-served industrial sites - even building new track to access these areas. The city owns the railroad and connects with two Class 1's (BNSF and Union Pacific), thus allowing for rate competition.

Fact: Rochelle is served by its own shortline and two Class 1's; while Peoria-Pekin's Tazewell & Peoria RR connects with NINE others - BNSF, Canadian National, Central Illinois RR (for now) Illinois & Midland, Iowa Interstate, Keokuk Junction, Norfolk Southern, TP&W and Union Pacific. Peoria leaders seem to forget this, and towns like Rochelle attract major industrial developments, and the good-paying jobs that go with them.

Peoria is a bit small for commuter trains. Rail freight service is what matters.