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Well THAT's overdue - Jason Lindquist
Idle ramblings of an idle mind
Well THAT's overdue
The Illinois Department of Transportation finally got tired of the Village of Northfield stalling for 40 years. They're widening Willow Road to four lanes. IDOT held a press conference about it in Northfield, and didn't even bother to invite any village officials. The Village President calls it a slap in the face. That's exactly what it is. "We're sick of your shit, we're moving forwards."

That road is at least four lanes between Hicks Rd (US-14) in Palatine (as Palatine Rd) and Waukegan Rd (IL-43) (as Willow) on the Northbrook-Northfield border. It's a major east-west thoroughfare that entire length, with large retail presences in Arlington Heights and Northbrook/Glenview. The last 1.2 miles before the Edens Expressway (I-94), the 2-lane stretch in question, is a monumental bottleneck. Better planning would've widened Willow (or probably better, Lake-Cook) to an expressway decades ago. There's nothing but surface streets to carry east-west traffic, they're all heavily traveled, and this bottleneck made Willow the worst of them. Northfield has fought this for decades, crying "Think of the children!" IDOT did, and planned an underpass between the two parks (and neighboring school) where the youthful foot traffic is heavy. There's no reason Northfield couldn't have done that before I was born.
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tambreet From: tambreet Date: April 17th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
So nice of them to decide that just as they are wrapping up a major construction/resurfacing project along there. Although it sounds like the widening won't start for another few years.

Lincolnshire fought the widening of 22 for decades, but finally caved a couple years back. Willow does need to be wider, but I hate to see anything that further cements the car culture that's such a part of all the NW burbs.
jlindquist From: jlindquist Date: April 17th, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
With four years for the engineering studies (!!!!?!!) it'll be due for a resurface again by then. :-)

Agreed. We could really use some good transit options out there. Some kind of commuter train ring on the EJ&E tracks? Running new east-west track might have been possible 20 years ago, but that's probably dead before conception now. But some kind of express buses that runs down wider, faster roads like Palatine/Willow, Lake-Cook, and Half Day Roads? With "affordable" suburban housing extending west to Elgin, but a lot of jobs still remaining in the Schaumburg-Arlington Heights and lakefront corridors, there's no option but driving right now.

When I was contemplating that New Trier job years ago, the best options I could find was either living in the city (which I can't do for legal purposes) or way up by my parents and taking Metra. I dreaded the idea of driving from Schaumburg, even with the kind of off-hours I would have been working.

Lincolnshire finally caving on 22 was a big win. But you could argue they became obligated to do it, given the amount of development they allowed in the area. (Not to mention how big Stevenson had become. Did the Village ever tell them, "look, the road can't support the demand you put on it"?) I wonder if we'll ever see Long Grove cave on the 53 extension in our lifetime. :-)

Edited at 2008-04-17 07:01 pm (UTC)
tambreet From: tambreet Date: April 17th, 2008 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Buses and a train would be a start, but what they really need to start doing is building communities with public transit and/or walking in mind. In most of the little suburban villages they build, there is not so much as a gas station within 3-5 miles, so what choice do people have?

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