Transportation

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The days when commuters to Itasca’s plethora of high-end businesses end up walking, biking or calling a taxi cab when they need to get from the Itasca train station to work in one of the community’s many employers are probably gone.

Beginning in early 2017, “DASH on Demand” electric vehicles, owned by Innova EV and driven by Innova employees, began operating from the Itasca Metra station. It was one of the first Innova EV implementations in the Chicago area.

The professionally-driven vehicles transport commuters between the train station and their particular employer, most of which are located within the Hamilton Lakes and Spring Lake office parks. Three Innova EV vehicles currently operate the route five days a week from 6:15 to 10:15 a.m. and from 3:30 to 7:45 p.m.

“This is a car ride service that connects Itasca’s various business parks to the Metra Station in Itasca,” said Nancy Hill, Itasca’s community development director. “It began operating in January and is getting lots of use now. Trips must be 3 miles or less and the fee is $3 per person, per ride.”

“We see this as a ‘last mile commute’ so that those coming in on the train to work in Itasca no longer have to walk or ride a bike to their employer,” she added.

“The Dash is an extension of mobility for short distances. The Dash gets you where you need to go for over 50 percent less than other rideshare services. And with our sustainable, 100 percent electric technology, you’ll be doing more than saving money — you’ll be doing a world of good for the environment,” the Innova EV website states.

“Those who want to arrange a ‘DASH on Demand’ ride can do so by making a reservation on Google Play or the Apple App store,” Hill said. “Those who live in Itasca and want to take the train downtown can leave their car at home and ride in an environmentally-friendly vehicle and those who live elsewhere and work in Itasca can commute to and from the train station more easily than in the past.”

In addition, during non-peak hours, hotels are using the vehicles to transport guests around Itasca and seniors are contracting with them
for rides to local physician appointments and other such nearby needs, Hill said.

“There are no fixed routes for these cars, but they must operate within Itasca or just beyond its borders because they will only go short distances,” she said.

Stay tuned, too, for other transportation innovations which are in the works around Itasca. Hill and her colleagues are constantly working to provide Itasca workers and residents with “last mile connections” between their homes and places of work.

It also bears noting that work on the five miles of the Route 390 tollway through Itasca will be complete by the end of 2017. Construction will have then completely moved east to Wood Dale and Bensenville, Hill said. When it is complete all the way east to York Road, traffic may go north to get on I-90 or south on York Road to Irving Park Road to get around the airport. In the future there may also be a parking lot or an airport terminal on the west side of the airport, she said.

“The completion of the Route 390 tollway will be a big change for Itasca residents, as well as its business owners and employees. I think that the largest benefit to our businesses – particularly those in Hamilton Lakes – is that they will receive much better visibility from both I-290 and Route 390. For some companies, that visibility is crucial. So we hope that the new Route 390 highway will bring more business to Itasca, which will increase of quality of life and keep taxes low for our 8,500 residents.”

“We also hope that the new Route 390 roadway will make moving through Itasca’s five square miles even safer for both our residents and those who work in our businesses and will bring about many more development opportunities,” Hill added.