Lake County Motorist

Suburban Chicagoland commuter and motorist weblog

Getting the roundabout on Route 120

Wednesday night’s Route 120 Land Use Planning Workshop was held after rush hour, all the better for westbound motorists to get a feel for the issue at hand: figuring out how to get all those people where they need to be, without damaging the community in the process.

As someone who had only seen scraps of information about the Route 120 bypass until [somewhat] recently, I was excited that progress was being made and information being shared.

The workshop, attended by a sizable group of elected officials, consultants, residents and other interested parties, kicked off with a presentation followed by smaller breakouts in which attendees could learn about plans in each of four “zones”, here from west to east:

#1: Lakemoor/Volo/Round Lake
#2: Round Lake/Round Lake Park/Hainesville/Grayslake
#3: Grayslake/Libertyville/Gurnee
#4: Gurnee/Park City/Waukegan

Zones 3 and 2, in that order, had the most attendees in the breakout sessions.

The presenters emphasized that this meeting was to discuss and share options, not finalized plans.

One option recommends building the much-talked-about Route 120 bypass as a boulevard featuring green space and with traffic controlled by roundabouts. To quell fears of another Golf Road – Northwest Highway nightmare, speakers assured attendees that modern roundabouts reduce congestion and result in safer intersections than traditional traffic signals – and maintain traffic flow better than the dreaded Des Plaines traffic circle.

Other Route 120 options include:

  • Doing nothing
  • Widening the parts that are currently two lanes to four lanes
  • And of course, building a bypass.

The bypass idea also comes with options:

  • A four or six-lane arterial route with traffic signals
  • The boulevard with roundabouts
  • A limited-access expressway.
  • The expressway idea didn’t sit well with attendees, whereas the boulevard idea received some support.

Throughout the workshop, the clear message from the consultants is that everything is up for discussion. Multiple maps were generated for each zone showing an array of development options. The same parcel of land could be modeled for commercial, residential, or green space on any of the given options. The consultants had the benefit of local officials and planners on hand to clarify plans and make corrections if needed.

Attendees expressed that maintaining green space – particularly wetlands and forest preserves – should be key to all options. The challenge was issued to the planners and consultants to figure out how new residents, retail, corporations and nature can coexist happily for decades to come.

Here’s hoping that as the plans are developed, the project publicized and the costs finalized, community awareness will increase. Not every resident will be interested or able to attend meetings, but they should in some way be alerted of this major multi-year project.

At the least, hopefully people will know what’s going on before the bulldozers show up.

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