Lake County Motorist

Suburban Chicagoland commuter and motorist weblog

Best local government websites for commuters

There are over 50 communities in Lake County. As the demographics of each community varies wildly, so does the quality of each town’s website.

I checked out the web sites from a commuter’s point of view. Namely, I looked for the following:

  • Does the community’s website have a section dedicated to its road maintenance program (if it has one)? Usually, Public Works assumes this role.
  • Is road construction information easy to find on the community’s website?
  • Does the community provide electronic updates to residents regarding road maintenance, via the website, email or automated phone messages?
  • Is the community’s road maintenance web page updated regularly?
  • Does the community’s website provide exceptional convenience to residents who have road maintenance concerns?

Admittedly, there is variation amongst communities regarding the amount of road construction performed. It’s not fully clear to me as to which communities don’t handle road construction at all. Perhaps reader insight can help clarify these things.

I also emphasize that this is not a review of “Best Overall Community Websites.” I tried to focus primarily on the motorist/commuter features.

With that said, here are my picks for Lake County’s most informative community websites for motorists and commuters:

9. Highland Park (cityhpil.com)

Progress-oriented: Per Highland Park’s website, “In Fiscal Year 2006, the City launched a five year program to upgrade City streets. ” The City developed a Pavement Condition Index and assigned a rating to each city street. It sounds like an ambitious plan, and this Lake County Motorist is eager to see how it plays out. The web page hasn’t been updated since 2007.

The city provides a Capital Improvement Project web page listing planned roadwork projects, although it too hasn’t been updated since 2007.

Parking information is provided across numerous PDFs – too many PDFs, in my humble opinion.

Highland Park also has an online pothole reporting form, which I pointed out in a February 2008 post.

Cons: Roadwork web pages haven’t been updated in months. No detailed (and current) construction schedule provided – if it does exist on the site, I didn’t find it.

 

8. Lake Barrington (lakebarrington.org)

Many of Lake Barrington’s road services are provided by Cuba Township. However, the Village posted its Pavement Management Program map [PDF format] on its own website. There are no timelines provided, but it’s a start.

Cons: No roadwork timelines provided.

 

7. Vernon Hills (vernonhills.org)

Winter detail: Vernon Hills’ website includes the village’s snow and ice removal plan, presented as a massive 19MB PDF. I applaud the Village for providing such a detailed document to the public, but it would be nice if an abridged version were also available for download.

The Traffic Information Page provides helpful information about village traffic laws as well as educational resources. Vernon Hills even offers online bicycle registration!

Cons: I didn’t find a singular resource for roadwork updates on the site. No online parking ticket payment system.

 

6. Libertyville (libertyville.com)

Better in winter: Libertyville’s website didn’t appear to list any construction updates, but the site lists comprehensive information regarding snow plowing routes and timing. The site lists the specific streets the Village is responsible for plowing, comprising one of the most detailed lists of its kind among the community websites (Zion also provides a similarly detailed street name list).

Cons: No roadwork updates. No online parking ticket payment system.

 

5. Wauconda (wauconda-il.gov)

Wauconda publishes infrastructure construction updates to a dedicated section of its website. Projects are grouped as Approved or Planned. Road projects are a part of, but not the only component of, these lists.

 

4. Grayslake (villageofgrayslake.com)

Convenience for residents: Residents can file requests for many village services online, including pothole patching, street light repair, and restoration requests. Users can even request new street signs and (presumably) traffic signals online.

Grayslake accepts online payments for parking fines.

Cons: Grayslake’s Construction Updates web page provides only one-liner project descriptions and updates regarding village construction, including roadwork. I would like to see more comprehensive information provided on this page, such as project start date and end date. The web page directs readers to file a request for service to obtain more details – not very user-friendly for non-residents (or is that the point?)

 

3. Round Lake (eroundlake.com)

Ease of use: Round Lake’s Public Works web page includes construction project updates. As of 6/17/08, there is only one pending project listed, but once more projects are added you’ll find them listed here.

Residents may also submit requests for service via an online form.

Cons: No online parking ticket payment system.

 

2. Gurnee (gurnee.il.us)

Keeping residents informed: Gurnee’s frequently-updated website alerts readers to street sweeping schedules and snow plowing/road salting status.

Gurnee also provides comprehensive road construction updates along with a detailed project list. Users can sign up for Construction and Development e-newsletters via the village’s list-serv.

Gurnee also accepts online payments for parking fines.

Cons: No firm dates published yet for projects slated to begin “soon” such as Washington Street construction (which was delayed due to ongoing construction on the Route 120 bridge over I-94) and the Grand Avenue resurfacing. However, this is not a major “con”. The lack of firm dates is understandable, because some of these projects depend on other roadwork to be completed first.

 

1. Deerfield (deerfield-il.org)

Dig those construction updates: Hats off to Deerfield for posting comprehensive roadwork updates on the village’s website. The updates include a weekly Construction Forecast listing the work plans by-day, by-street. The village lists projects for which they are responsible, as well as those under other jurisdiction such as the ISTHA and the County.

The parking permit web page lists village parking fees for the Metra commuter lot.

Cons: The roadwork information is presented on a single, looooong web page. Navigation could be improved to make it faster and easier to find information about a specific road or project.

 

Honorable Mention: Zion (cityofzion.com)

No construction updates, but Zion lists every street that it plows during winter. Zion also has its own unique transportation feature – the Beeline Trolley. The trolley’s schedule is posted on the city’s website.

Filed under: Road Conditions, , , , , , , , , ,

48 roadwork projects get greenlighted in Lake County

Lake County is kicking 48 roadwork projects into gear. Funding will come from the quarter-cent transportation tax approved during the mass transit “doomsday” crisis of Winter ’08. Included are several key projects County residents have been eagerly anticipating. A few thoughts on those with which I am familiar:

1) Widening of Route 21 from 137 to Route 120 in Libertyville and Gurnee 

This is a major southbound bottleneck during the morning commute. Glad to see it’s on the list.

2) Widening of Routes 60, 60/83 and 45 in the Mundelein and Vernon Hills area

Yes! What a bottleneck. Route 68/83 even made my list of the ten worst Lake County backups (as the “Route 83 Rather-Not”).

3) Extension of Cedar Lake Road from Route 120 to Route 60 in Round Lake

This appears to have been the plan for a while, so let’s go for it!

4) Widening of Delany Road from Tanahill Drive to York House Road

The Delaney morning delay is awful, and the left-turn signal onto U.S. Route 41 never seems to last long enough. Widening is great, but can something be done about this intersection?

5) Widening of Washington Street from Hunt Club Road to Cemetery Road in Gurnee

Also much needed. Washington needs all the capacity it can get.

I haven’t experienced rush hour at the “Millburn Strangler” on Route 45, but having driven in the area I can understand how cars could stack up there.

6) Widening of Washington Street from Lake Street to Hainesville Road in Grayslake

Currently, traffic narrows from two lanes to one west of Lake Street, right before reaching the Metra tracks and Washington Street Metra station. It’s an evening commute bottleneck.

Projects about which I’m not so sure:

Intersection expansion and improvement at Wadsworth Road and Route 41 in Wadsworth. This one can be congested westbound during the morning rush if a train interferes, but there are much more congested intersections than this one; how’d it make the list?

Not sure if an underpass at Fairfield, Route 134 and the Metra tracks in Round Lake is as traffic-essential as the other projects.

The News Swami has a witty take on the whole mess of affairs, along with suggestions as to what projects should be added to the list. I heard a rumor that the repaving of the dark side of the moon – I mean, Grand Avenue near Gurnee Mills – has been given a “go”, but haven’t a link to share to prove it.

Filed under: Congestion Relief, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On the prowl for speeders

werecarBased on, ahem, recent personal observations, it’s a good time to advise my fellow motorists to watch their speeds and cease the reckless moves. And as a gift to you, I’m passing along a link to a well-known online speed trap directory.

Speedtrap.org lists traps for several Lake County communities. Lake County suburbs with several recent traps posted, and in which I personally have seen authority vehicles in similar locations include Deerfield, Grayslake, Lake Forest, Round Lake Heights, Vernon Hills, Wadsworth…the list goes on and on.

If this leaves you wanting more, ChicagoGasPrices.com‘s forum has a thread dedicated to Chicagoland speed traps.

Ummm……North Chicago?

The Tollway Authority’s website used to list roads targeted for enforcement in the coming weeks. I wish they’d resume this practice.

In Semi-Related News: It’s a full moon, and legend has it that lunacy is in the air. Let’s all try to keep the lunacy off the roads.

Filed under: Moving Violations, , , , , , , , , ,

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