Lake County Motorist

Suburban Chicagoland commuter and motorist weblog

Lessons learned from Thursday night’s commute

Good think I paid attention during Thursday night’s drive home (which was longer than a flight to Vegas), also known as “It Came from the Sky: 12-Hour Storm Edition”: The commute had much to teach.

For example:

  • Visibility can never be too low.
  • If a car is spinning its wheels after accelerating from a stop, the drivers in the following cars should immediately honk their horns, as the noise will give the offending car an instant boost of traction.
  • If you are bicycling down a busy street in the snow at night, reflective gear is unnecessary as the accumulated snow on your body will ensure motorists can see you.
  • Headlights, schmedlights.
  • A snow plow is not your friend and its passage must be blocked by your vehicle.
  • A Toyota Camry is just a Formula One race car in disguise.
  • The Three R’s Trifecta: Rear-wheel drive cars, road snow, and right turns.

But seriously, thank you to most of the drivers whose space I shared during tonight’s commute. Motorists overall were well-behaved and respected the road conditions. If only those wily snowflakes could be as well-behaved as those drivers.

Filed under: Commuting,

Behold! The flakes have power!

Who knew that a half inch of non-committal snowflakes had such power over the morning commute? These wily flakes were no match for salt, subzero temps and snow plows (wait, I didn’t see any snowplows). They wielded the power to stop traffic for miles around, with no other cause than their mere existence.

It’s January in Chicagoland and I figured motorists would have found their “snow feet” or “snow wheels” by now. Why oh why was traffic ever-so-heavy in Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire and Deerfield Wednesday morning? Fortunately, I didn’t see any accidents. So what was the culprit? Surely it wasn’t the little fluffy snowflakes rolling across the pavement. What was that? It was them? Those pesky snowflakes!

What was that? The snow slowed the speeders, too? Well, I guess that’s a good thing, considering the snowy road conditions. Ack! The snowflakes really do have the power!

(Really now: I advocate adjusting your driving pattern based on road conditions as well as the skill and ability of both vehicle and driver. Maybe that’s what people were doing, in more ways than one.)

Filed under: Commuting, ,

The new congestion: Freight trains

Driving north on Route 83 as of late, I’ve noticed red white and blue signs popping up in Mundelein yards. The signs list the slogan “People before Freight” and the Web address is maintained by the Barrington Communities Against CN Rail Congestion, a committee protesting Canadian National Railroad’s intent to increase rail traffic along EJ&E lines from 5 trains per day to 20. They have included Mundelein, through which the EJ&E tracks also run, in their campaign.

The EJ&E tracks cross several roads that may factor into my commute: Route 83, Gilmer Road, Fairfield Road. I don’t know what times of day this traffic would be heaviest, but increased train traffic during rush hours will slow my commute and I am not a fan of that idea. In my experience, commuter trains don’t cause as long of a delay as freight trains and thus any delay might be manageable, but freight trains are another story.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Rails, , , , , , ,

Route 120 planning meetings on tap this week

There are two Route 120 bypass planning meetings scheduled this week. Both will be held at Lake County Division of Transportation’s facility located at 600 W. Winchester in Libertyville.

Although I’d like to attend a meeting, my attendance is not an option as both are scheduled during business hours when I’ll be at work. Take note, Corridor Planning Council. I hope the council schedules some of the meetings for evening hours to encourage and increase public participation.

Meanwhile, we’ll await the meeting minutes… whenever they eventually come out. The most recent minutes posted on are from March 2007. Round Lake Mayor Bill Gentes, chairman of the Route 120 Corridor Planning Council, will hopefully post recaps on his blog as he has done in the past.

The Technical Task Force Meeting will be held Tuesday, January 29 from 2:30PM-4:30PM.

The Public Information Task Force Meeting will be held Thursday, January 31 from 1PM-2:30PM.

Filed under: Roads,

Gadget offers "real-time" traffic – and not much else

Eric Benderoff of the Chicago Tribune discusses the TrafficGauge, a $50 device whose sole purpose is to show current Chicagoland expressway traffic conditions. The device’s vendor claims that their customers appreciate having frequently updated traffic data. Well, who doesn’t? I just don’t think this device is the best way to access that data.

Here’s why I think this device is pointless:

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Technology, , ,

RSS Lake County Area Traffic Alerts

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS LCMotorist on Twitter

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS What’s Going On? Google Calendar

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Lake County weather

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.


Beyond Lake County


Commuter News

Da Locals


Gas Prices



Lake County FYI

Mass Transit


Road Geeks


Roadwork Updates


Urban Planning