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The art of the possible

Friday, Mar 31, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Synopsis of Sen. Rachel Ventura’s SB1653 as originally introduced

Requires the Department of Transportation, local authorities, or any responsible entity to erect and maintain hazard bars for all viaducts and underpasses with a clearance of less than 15 feet. Provides that the hazard bar shall hang at the same clearance level as the viaduct or underpass and at least 500 feet in front of the viaduct or underpass to alert motorists.

I get what she was trying to do there, but, as you might imagine, it did bring out a lot of opposition.

The Illinois Municipal League, the Township Officials, the Mid-West Truckers Association and the Illinois Trucking Association all registered in opposition to Sen. Ventura’s original bill.

Amendment 1 convinced the Illinois Municipal League to go neutral, but the others were still opposed and ABATE added its own opposition.

* So, she tried again. From Amendment 2

Low-clearance early warning device pilot program. The Department shall establish a pilot program to erect early warning devices on or near bridges or viaducts in this State. Early warning devices may include LiDAR, radar, visual signals, or additional signage. The Department may work with interested stakeholders to identify bridges and viaducts for the erection of early warning devices on roads outside of the Department’s jurisdiction. The Department may work with the University of Illinois on the pilot program. The pilot program shall include, but shall not be limited to, evaluating the effectiveness of early warning devices, developing design specifications, and projecting estimated costs. The Department may adopt administrative rules regarding the pilot program. The Department or local authority responsible for maintaining an early warning device may impose a fine on a motorist who damages an early warning device. The fine shall not exceed $1,000.

That second amendment convinced the two truckers’ groups to go neutral. Nobody else registered in opposition.

* Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) rose to speak on the bill today

I’d like to commend the sponsor as a freshman, the rest of us could all take a lesson from. When you let the committee process work, it works very well. You get a better piece of legislation. When you listen to the input from your colleagues, you get a better piece of legislation. When you take the time to amend it based upon that input, you get a better piece of legislation. This is a much better piece of legislation than it started.

I hope that we can all take a lesson from this freshman sponsor, and realize that shotgunning stuff through at the last minute really doesn’t help get anything done in the long term. So I’m very excited for this. And I thank the sponsor for actually taking the time to listen to members on both sides of the aisle who had very constructive input. … My mentor a long time ago, Rep. Bill Black, told me when you let this process work, it works very well. And this is an example of it.

Sen. Ventura’s close

I want to thank my colleagues for helping me through this very frustrating bill. But I’m happy to have it passed and maybe see less trucks jammed underneath viaducts and bridges in the future. Thank you for the ‘aye’ vote.

The bill passed 56-0.

* I bring this up because Ventura had a reputation in Will County as a progressive, rabble-rousing challenger of the status quo. Many people told me they were convinced she’d alienate her Statehouse colleagues and get nothing done.

So, needless to say, not a lot of folks probably had “Chapin Rose praising Rachel Ventura” on their 2023 legislative bingo cards back in January.

People can be wrong. People can also learn.

       

14 Comments
  1. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 12:04 pm:

    –Ventura had a reputation in Will County as a progressive, rabble-rousing challenger of the status quo.–

    Well, by now you see what the status quo is in Will County. It’s crazy land, from the county chair celebrating broken bones of others, to a county board member filing election lawsuits from mars - Gretchen Fritz was a current county board member when she filed her election lawsuit. Outside of Will County, Will County Democrats would be republicans.

    Rachel is the most rational person to come out of Will County politics in awhile. It’s no wonder she was constantly maligned within the county by those mentioned above, and is now seen to be the fairly normal person she is when out in the rest of the world.


  2. - lowdrag - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 12:09 pm:

    Apparently the big signs and big white letters usually painted on a viaduct isn’t enough.


  3. - Lefty Lefty - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 12:12 pm:

    What is the problem with trying to prevent trucks from getting stuck under bridges? Unfunded mandate? Resistance to LIDAR monitoring?


  4. - Lefty Lefty - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 12:15 pm:

    What is the reasoning for opposition to further prevent getting trucks stuck under bridges? Unfunded mandate? LIDAR monitoring or cameras?

    I’m sure it’s straightforward, but I don’t get it.


  5. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 12:17 pm:

    ===The pilot program shall include, but shall not be limited to, evaluating the effectiveness of early warning devices, developing design specifications, and projecting estimated costs. ===

    I hope someone involved in this pilot programs is familiar with the “truck eating bridge” on the Iowa side of the Quad Cities. Just about every warning device imaginable has been installed at just about every distance, including height triggered LiDAR warnings and several trucks a year continue to drive into it. It is very famous locally.


  6. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 12:22 pm:

    More of this please.


  7. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 12:27 pm:

    The “problem” with all these bridges seems to be GPS / related technologies. Check out 11 Foot 8 (Durham, NC). Check out Onondaga Lake Parkway (Syracuse, NY). They do worse things than route traffic down residential streets.


  8. - Mike K - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 1:11 pm:

    Long Grove: The (40+) hits just keep on coming…

    https://abc7chicago.com/long-grove-bridge-hit-again-il-news-crash/12293621/


  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 1:16 pm:

    ===People can be wrong. People can also learn.===

    If you go to Springfield to learn and not “teach”, you will get so much more done, and make so many more friends/allies

    This is always good to see and should be recognized.


  10. - Ares - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 1:20 pm:

    Problem with erecting a hazard bar is that it has to be able to withstand a truck hit or do a controlled collapse w/o falling on someone and injuring / killing them. This, in turn, requires a concrete foundation and heavy steel pole and bar(s). All this will cost money which must come from other worthy projects. Nevertheless, it sounds like we need more people doing what Sen. Ventura is doing.


  11. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 1:42 pm:

    There is always a way… for those looking for a way.


  12. - Hamilton - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 1:48 pm:

    To Chapin’s comments: when you use a complimentof one to passively scold others, it really reduces the positive impact of the compliment. Just let the freshman know they did a great job and leave it at that, please. Not everything has to be a political punch.


  13. - Techie - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 2:14 pm:

    Having some familiarity with Ventura, this doesn’t surprise me at all. While months ago I recall seeing some commenters on this blog ridiculing her, she has always seemed principled, but pragmatic and fundamentally interested in making things better, not ramming through an agenda.


  14. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 2:46 pm:

    ===to passively scold others===

    “I hope that we can all take a lesson from this freshman sponsor”


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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