Residents Express Doubt, Concerns Over Weiland Road Plans

Officials shared traffic projections and recommendations for long-term improvements Thursday night.

Revisions to the Weiland/Prairie road expansion plan were presented Thursday night along with an engineering firm’s recommendation as to which improvement option will best serve the community in the coming years.

Changes to the proposed roadwork include:

  • Scaling Weiland and Prairie down to two lanes between Aptakisic Road and Route 22. The original plan called for four-lane roads.
  • Narrower medians and designated lanes for experienced and inexperienced bicyclists on Weiland between Lake-Cook and Aptakisic.
  • The installation of a traffic signal at Weiland Road and Thompson Boulevard.
  • The elimination of noise walls at Deerfield Parkway and Route 22; the elimination of noise walls south of Deerfield Parkway; and lower noise walls at the southwest and southeast corners of Weiland and Pauline.

After reviewing three options for accommodating traffic, Bob Andres, an engineer at Civiltech, which the village contracted for the road study, said the best solution is to construct a connecting road between Weiland and Prairie roads. Such a road would have a minimal impact on existing residences and businesses, he said. It would require the acquisition of two homes and one business and the purchase of 16 other parcels.

The option is superior to widening Aptakisic Road to six lanes without building a connection road, he said, because while that option would not claim any homes or businesses, it would require the purchase of 38 other properties and the construction of noise walls.

Nearly 100 residents packed into the village chambers to learn about the plans and share their thoughts. Some asked in skeptical tones how the cost of the road project — which some claim will be $100 million — might be shouldered, while others expressed concerns about negative impacts on property values. And, after watching simulations of “now” and “then” traffic patterns, some said they don’t believe the improvements will solve rush-hour traffic woes that are exacerbated by the arrivals of trains.

“This is a toxic project, in my opinion,” said Buffalo Grove resident Tim O’Connor, who is among a group that organized in opposition to the expansion. “I haven’t heard yet a reason why this is a good project. All I’ve have heard is mumbo jumbo, consulting mumbo jumbo, and charts.

“I think the project right now is going to cost green space, a lot of money and upheaval in this community.”

A newly completed study by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning indicates that traffic on Weiland Road will increase 10 percent by 2040, while volume on Prairie Road will rise by 20 percent. Initial projections cited a 52 percent increase on Weiland and a 120 percent increase on Prairie by 2030. Factored into the projections are expectations that a number of roads, including Lake-Cook, Buffalo Grove Road and Route 53, will be widened or extended by 2040.

While some expressed doubt that traffic volume will grow considerably over the next three decades, Andres assured residents that it is likely, stating that actual traffic counts often end up above projections.

“The forecasts aren’t as wildly off as people think they are,” he said.

Public comments regarding the revised plan can be added to will be accepted through June 23. Comments can be mailed to: Village of Buffalo Grove, Mr. Gregory P. Boysen, P.E., 51 Raupp Boulevard, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089 or emailed to Boysen at gboysen@vbg.org.

Engineers will review the feedback and draft a recommendation. A meeting regarding highway noise is tentatively scheduled for October, which will be followed by a public hearing in November.

A comprehensive road project would require approval from the Village of Buffalo Grove as well as county officials. Village Manager Dane Bragg said expenses, which have not been determined, would be shared by the village and counties. Funding could be earmarked locally and could be complemented by state and federal money, he said.

Joseph M. Jason June 11, 2011 at 07:23 PM
Dear Village Trustees: This is my response to Dane Bragg and Janet Sirabian and other comments: I was also at the meeting. I felt that under the circumstances, my neighbors were as respectful as they could be especially since some of them were losing their yards and houses. The government bureaucracy and the waste of this project are appalling. $400,000 has been spent already. This project could cost $100 million or more. We are not a minority in the Village. For every one that was there, we know at least 10 others who are against the project. Buffalo Grove is the one who limited the mailings to certain residents. I know people who don't live in the Village who are against the project. This includes my sister. The true problem is the east west streets at rush hour. My suggestion is to address this project after Lake Cook and Buffalo Grove Road are widened and Route 53 is extended.
Art June 12, 2011 at 08:37 PM
I do not understand why people think that we do not need to address the growing problem of congestion on our roads. Try driving north on Weiland some morning. You can sit there for 15 minutes. Don't all those idling engines cause air problems? How about Buffalo Grove Road approaching Lake Cook? We need to connect from BG Road directly up to Weiland! Sorry Mr. Jason, simply widening Lake Cook Road will not help, as the problems are not just east west, and widening Buffalo Grove Road won't solve everything either (besides, how about the people who live adjacent to those roads? Don't they get a voice? While I understand the concerns that the Mirielle residents have about the new connector road passing behind their yards, how many of them, before buying their homes, bothered to check with the village to see what that land behind them was targeted for. It was not in the long-range plans as always being green space, it was earmarked as land for a road! No one loses their yard, just a road goes behind the yard. I think the county and the village have been listening, and have made major changes to scale this back without losing the most significant benefit of being able to drive THROUGH, without having to sit in turn lanes. Straight through driving will always move traffic better than turning.
Tim O'Connor June 13, 2011 at 01:23 PM
Art, you're the first person I've heard that's willing to comment about the value of the road. Are you willing to pay higher taxes for the project? Are you willing to sit in traffic delays for as much as 3 years while the project is executed? Do you really believe that a :90 second improvement through the northern extension of the project is worth $75 to $125 million investment? Do you think that homes should be acquired under eminent domain so you can drive THROUGH, as you put it, and I would add -- THROUGH PEOPLE'S LIVING ROOMS AND BACK YARDS, without having to sit in turn lanes? I'm all for capital improvements to BG. But I think that money can be better spent than is currently envisioned in the plan and it's revised form. It's simply too big and too expensive and minimizes a problem that occurs in the morning when school buses, commuters and railways are operating at their maximum load. I simply don't believe that this project is necessary, especially when compared to other potential projects like Deerfield Road (Riverwoods), Half Day Road (Lincolnshire), Milwaukee Ave (Libertyville) and so forth.
Art June 14, 2011 at 04:14 PM
Tim - may I suggest that you stop the NONSENSE of claiming that cars will be driving through people's living rooms and back yard. I've seen the plans, and I have not seen one that shows a road going through anyone's living room or yard. It does go BEHIND their property/fence, just like Weiland currently goes BEHIND many homes now, and just like Buffalo Grove Road goes BEHIND homes between, say, Thompson and Deerfield Parkway. You have not acknowledged that the land behind those homes was always earmarked to become a road, not stay empty land. Where does anyone state that the state, county, or village will levy HIGHER TAXES to pay for this? Won’t the project be funded from existing programs and revenue sources? As I said, the plans have been changed several times, scaling back (now 2 lanes instead of 4, for example). And the improvement in wait time isn’t 90 seconds. My earlier comment referred to sitting in stopped traffic (with engines running and putting out emissions) for 15 minutes at a time! Gridlock in our community is not conducive to growing our business tax base, nor to gaining back our property values. So yes, I do believe that investment in our infrastructure is of value. Just like I believe that widening Deerfield Road through Riverwoods is necessary to aid the east-west flow (although I'm sure the homeowners who live on that stretch would continue to fight it, even though it's been on the planning list for over 10 years).
Michael Weiser June 16, 2011 at 01:23 PM
Roads and bridges are not operating at near capacity. Since 90% of all car trips contain a single driver and 98% of all commutes contain only one or two people, the entire passenger sides of cars are doing nothing but impeding our progress. The better solution to end traffic congestion instead of widening and building new roads is to legalize lane splitting and fund the narrow car industry to encourage the manufacturing and driving of ultra-narrow cars like Commuter Cars' Tango and France's Lumeneo Smera. The owners of houses in suburban areas have the most to gain if we transfer to this type of transportation model. Besides ending traffic gridlock, benefits include more room on the roads for emergency vehicles and evacuations , ending our dependence on foreign oil, and increased property value as commute times go down. Narrow the cars to widen the roads. See www.deletetheseats.org for more information.


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