BUCKTOWN — Chicago drivers trying to get their car emissions checked are facing long lines as the two remaining Chicago testing facilities prepare to shut down.
And that means drivers will soon have to travel to the suburbs if they want to pass the state's emissions test.
After Nov. 1, the emissions facility at 1850 W. Webster Ave. and another at 6959 W. Forest Preserve Drive Dunning will be closed. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency plans to also close facilities in suburban Tinley Park and Elk Grove Village.
The changes will require North Side drivers to travel to the testing facility near McCormick Boulevard and Touhy Avenue in Skokie.
State law requires a testing facility to be located no more than 12 miles from a registered Illinois vehicle, according to agency officials, a rule the state says it will adhere to.
A spokeswoman for the state EPA said the closings are part of a new contract that will "streamline" the way the state monitors emissions from older cars and save taxpayers $8 million. The existing emission centers will add capacity in an effort to make the process less time-consuming for drivers, the state says.
North Siders and other Chicagoans who loved the proximity of the Bucktown facility are not happy about the closure.
"Chicago is a big city and it was convenient for people to come here since the facility is near the expressway," Portage Park resident Gabriel Jauridez said Monday. "I guess no one considered that part. I've always come to this one."
Kristen Klus, a Roscoe Village resident, says she will miss how convenient the Webster Avenue facility was to her home.
"I'm off on Mondays and the place was only a five-minute drive for me," Klus said. "Driving out to Skokie would take at least an hour."
Holly Conrad, a River North resident, had to leave her job early so she could go to the emissions facility. She found out about the closing through Facebook.
"This is crazy. Skokie is at least an hour away," Conrad said. "I know a facility isn't supposed to be no more than 12 miles away. Skokie is further than that. That's not very 'green.' They should keep at least one open in the city."
Drivers will still be able to take cars with on-board computers, model year 1996 or newer, at private testing facilities by appointment.
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