This spring marks five years since backers of the Route 53 extension allowed themselves to feel a sense of optimism following the release of a Blue Ribbon Advisory Council report which endorsed construction of a four-lane “modern parkway” with a 45-mph maximum speed and a “context sensitive” design. […]
But even without taking sides, it’s fair to say that momentum on the Route 53 project — to use a generic name for what would actually be a Route 53 extension from Long Grove to Grayslake and a Route 120 bypass around Grayslake — is not moving in the direction of seeing the roadway turning its first spade of dirt […]
It’s also fair to observe that, if there is a current void of information regarding any progress toward Route 53 becoming reality, opponents of Route 53 have been filling it with their messaging. Periodic protests and public statements against the whole idea were echoed Tuesday with the release of a report from the consumer-watchdog United States Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), which included Route 53/120 on its third somewhat-annual list of “Highway Boondoggles” around the country.
“Year after year, state and local governments propose billions of dollars’ worth of new and expanded highways that often do little to reduce congestion or address real transportation challenges, while diverting scarce funding from infrastructure repairs and 21st century transportation priorities,” the report states, swinging for the fences.
“These projects, some originally proposed decades ago, double down on the failed transportation strategies of the past while causing harm to local communities and absorbing scarce transportation dollars.”
* Press release…
The Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association (IRTBA) today launched a major cable, radio, and digital ad campaign supporting the Illinois Route 53 expansion project.
The campaign features IRTBA’s first television advertisement of the year. “Works” highlights the significant benefits the Route 53 expansion project will bring to Lake County.
In addition to reducing congestion and traffic, saving the average commuter 20 hours per month, the Route 53 project will boost the Lake County economy by creating up to 30,000 new full-time jobs without harming the environment.
“The Route 53 project will enhance the quality of life for residents of Lake County by creating new full-time jobs and reducing traffic so residents have more time to spend with their families,” IRTBA President & CEO Michael Sturino said.
The content is, well, two initials. A major highway expansion that won’t hurt the environment? Please; that’s utter nonsense.
Besides, induced demand will choke the 53 extension — just like it will the Toll Authority’s widening of the Tri-State and the Illiana (God forbid it should ever be built).
The better, smarter options are to invest in transit and making it easier for people to get around without cars. Even more importantly, reduce sprawl by ending the spatial mismatch of jobs and homes; change suburban zoning codes that force the segregation of housing, retail/commercial and other uses.
Failure to adequately gauge and plan for the traffic patterns, population shift trends and economic engines of the future has been a frequent mistake both by regional entities and local governments. The Gary Airport pipe dream of course was a boondoggle of the first order and recognized as such by any sentient being. This Lake County Route 53 extension on the other hand does not really seem to fall into the boondoggle category.
CMAP put Route 53 extension at the top of its high priority projects. This is an agency that fought the Illiana tooth and nail, so their endorsement of 53 means a lot more than the typical PIRG knee-jerk reaction against any highway construction. Lake County needs this project if it expects to remain competitive.
-@ Northsider - Friday, May 19, 17 @ 1:39 pm:
===More highways = more traffic = more pollution.===
No. Not enough highways = traffic jams and stop and go traffic = more pollution.
More highways where needed = less stop and go = less pollution.
Cars give off more pollution stopping and starting then traveling at a steady speed.
- Realistic out west - Friday, May 19, 17 @ 2:52 pm:
It’s great Northsider walks to work, is a great seamstress who has cotton and wool along with food grown in his back yard, on top of outstanding carpentry skills to build his housing from the trees he cut from his back yard for his crops, because he obviously is self sustaining. Me, I live west nowhere near transit, don’t grow my own food and buy my clothes and can’t operate a hammer. I also have friends around the 9-county area, shop from brick and mortar to invigorate the economy and love the freedom of my car but hate to sit in idling traffic incfreasing polution.
Add a solid B. transit planning like this– more please! the take public transportation and ride a bike crowd does not seem to understand that the core of jobs in the Chicago area has been moving north and west of O’Hare for quite some time now and there is a strong need to get to the jobs. this addresses that need. People want the freedom of a car. People also need to move easily to doctors appointments and for some conditions, staying out of public transportation is a must. I avoid driving in central Chicago as much as possible because of all the goofy parking lane, bus platform, and bike lane approach that has stalled commerce in the form of car movement.someone smart should look at bottlenecks and address them. the public would be thrilled. traffic flowing well would not just reduce time wasted, but anxiety and rode rage.
DuPage, if life were that simple we wouldn’t need any education. More highways = MORE congestion not less. Or is Los Angeles a traffic free paradise? Lake County needs better planning not a boondoggle road builder’s plan. The last environmental impact statement proved building the road creates more problems than just doing the baseline improvements including widening arterial roads and adding turn lanes. And the $$Billions in savings can be invested in many better ways. Or left in the pockets of Lake County citizens.