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The Lake County Transportation Priority Plan is incorporated into the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) that is developed by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). CMAP is the regional planning agency responsible for identifying long ranges needs within the region and the coordinated plans required to meet those needs. The RTP serves as a blueprint for a future transportation system that will address needs created by expected future growth in a manner that is consistent with regional goals and Federal laws. The RTP assures that plans developed by one agency or municipality are compatible with those developed by other agencies or municipalities.
The Transportation Priority Plan in the Buffalo Grove area includes a number of arterial highway improvements in addition to the Weiland Road/Prairie Road project. The plan includes add-lanes improvements to Buffalo Grove Road, Fairway Drive, Aptakisic Road, Deerfield Parkway and Deerfield Road, in addition to IL Route 22, Milwaukee Avenue and Lake Cook Road. The Transportation Priority Plan is a comprehensive plan that will provide measurable traffic safety and operational improvement benefits to the traveling public.
At the local level, the Weiland Road/Prairie Road improvement project has been a part of Buffalo Grove’s Transportation Plan for more than 20 years. In 1995, Lake County and Buffalo Grove entered into an interagency agreement to pursue the eventual improvement of Weiland/Prairie Road, Buffalo Grove Road and Deerfield Parkway. In response to east-west travel needs, Deerfield Parkway was improved first, with an add-lanes project completed in 2006. The Village is the lead agency on the planning and design of the Weiland/Prairie project, and LCDOT will be the lead on an upcoming improvement effort on Buffalo Grove Road.
This area of Lake County has changed dramatically over the last twenty years and will continue to change in the future. The improvements listed above will respond to past and expected future changes with the goal of preserving and enhancing the quality of life for area residents.
Today’s travel demand on Weiland Road is already nearing the upper volume limit that can be safely and efficiently accommodated during peak travel times by a 2-lane roadway. Thus, with expected future increases in traffic volume, a 4-lane roadway will be needed to provide adequate safety and to minimize delays.
Because traffic volumes will increase in the area, it is better to anticipate change and prepare for it rather than react to it after it happens. The Village and LCDOT believe that improving the Weiland Road corridor is the best way to manage change by accommodating future travel demand on the arterial roadway rather than attempting to address it in a piecemeal fashion on neighborhood streets through less effective enforcement and traffic control measures.
For an existing roadway facility located within an existing street network that serves a partially developed suburban area, the fact that the roadway is improved or not improved, likely will not affect the amount or intensity of future land development. This is the case for Weiland Road. Regardless of whether or not it is widened, future area growth will likely be unaffected. Thus, the 2030 “build” and “no-build” forecast traffic volumes are expected to be the same whether or not Weiland Road is widened.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) predicts that by 2040, the Chicago region will see a population increase of about 2.5 million people (almost another City of Chicago) with the majority of that growth occurring in the collar counties, including Lake County.
Improving the capacity of arterial roadways within the Village will reduce the likelihood of drivers attempting to use residential streets to avoid travel delays during peak periods. There are several examples in Buffalo Grove of the consequences associated with an inadequate arterial street system. The Lake Cook Road corridor is the most extreme example, where traffic congestion not only affects residents’ choices of travel routes and travel times, but congestion spills over into adjacent neighborhoods during peak times, further affecting their quality of life.
Buffalo Grove and LCDOT realize that change is ongoing and that it is better to anticipate change and prepare for it rather than react to it after it happens. Through this project, the Village and the County hope to prepare for those changes and to be in a position to address them in order to preserve quality of life in adjacent neighborhoods.
If train delays are excessive, provision of a railroad grade separation structure is sometimes considered. For this project, only one railroad crossing was located close enough to a signalized intersection to consider the impact of railroad operations. The CN Railway crossing of Aptakisic Road is close enough to the Weiland Road intersection
to warrant railroad preemption of the traffic signal operations. Grade separation was not considered.
It is important to keep in mind that highway intersection design focuses on weekday A.M. and P.M. peak hour conditions to determine the needed number of lanes and storage bay lengths, as these hours typically represent the worst combinations of travel demand. During peak hours, the CN Railway refrains from running freight trains which cause the worst traffic backups. Metra operates only two passenger trains in the A.M. peak hour and 3 trains in the P.M. peak hour, so the impact of railroad operations during these times is limited.
It should be noted that the proposed dual left and right turning lanes at the Weiland Road/Aptakisic Road intersection will provide more storage for queued vehicles during train events throughout the day, thereby allowing traffic backups to dissipate more quickly after the train passes.
Finally, regarding future traffic backups due to train events, the CN Railway has indicated that they expect fewer freight trains to operate on the North Central Line once they have fully integrated the EJ&E Railway facilities into their freight operations.
Though traffic growth has indeed slowed over the past couple of years as a result of the economic recession, those conditions have not affected long range regional growth projections. Future increases in travel demand are directly related to the type and intensity of future land development. Though few vacant parcels remain in Buffalo Grove, Lake County is predicted to undergo a significant increase in population and employment over the next 20 years. Future (2030) traffic projections that have been provided to the Village by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) predict a significant increase in traffic volumes on Prairie and Weiland Roads. That increase is a result of not only area-wide growth in travel demand, but also due to the limited ability of nearby arterial routes such as IL Route 83 and Milwaukee Avenue to absorb additional traffic volumes compared to that of Weiland Road.
While it can be debated as to just how much traffic will increase on Weiland Road in the future, it is known that beyond a certain traffic volume threshold, a 2-lane roadway ceases to function safely and efficiently and that a 4-lane roadway is needed. Much of Weiland Road is already at that traffic threshold today. Thus, regardless of how much traffic increases, four lanes will be needed in the future to avoid increasing safety and operational problems and to protect adjacent neighborhoods from unwanted traffic.
Traffic volumes are already heavy enough on Weiland Road where it is difficult for pedestrians to cross during peak traffic times. Though the crossing distance will be increased with the proposed improvement, widening the roadway will increase the frequency of adequate gaps for pedestrians to cross. The provision of a barrier median will also provide a refuge area for pedestrians to cross during separate gaps in opposing traffic flows. In areas of heavy pedestrian crossing demand, the need for additional traffic control devices to improve pedestrian safety will be investigated.
Dramatic improvements are expected along Lake Cook Road as well, due to similar intersection expansions that are proposed and due to the extension of Weiland Road to Buffalo Grove Road south of Lake Cook Road. That extension is expected to reduce left and right turning volumes at the Lake Cook Road intersections with Buffalo Grove and IL Route 83, thereby improving the overall operation of Lake Cook Road.
The proposed improvement will increase the through lane capacity of Lake Cook Road by about 50% with construction of the additional through lane. The provision of dual left turning lanes at major intersections will decrease the amount of signal cycle time that must be devoted to these turning movements, allowing more green time to be devoted to the through movement phases. However, the through movements on Lake Cook Road at the intersections will at best receive only about 35% of the possible green time with the improvement.
At Raupp Boulevard, Lake Cook Road will still only have two travel lanes in each direction after the improvement; however, because the cross street travel demand is so low, the Lake Cook Road through movements will receive as much as 80% of the possible signal cycle green time. The longer green time will allow Lake Cook Road at this intersection to accommodate a comparable travel demand with fewer lanes compared to the major intersections to the east which must devote a larger proportion of cycle time to cross street movements. Though there will likely be traffic friction in the westbound direction at the lane drop in advance of Raupp Boulevard, it is believed the back-ups will be significantly shorter than occur today at Hastings Lane. Based on the magnitude of the travel demand along Lake Cook Road, however, the long term solution to congestion problems in the corridor is to extend the 6-lane roadway cross section further west.
Transportation improvements are designed to not only address existing traffic safety and operational problems, but to address future improvement needs that are expected over the life of the physical improvement. Typically, we plan for needs expected over a 20-year design life. In terms of intersection operation in urban areas, we design for a minimum acceptable level of service in the design year of Level “D”.
All of the signalized intersections along Weiland Road with the exception of the Aptakisic Junior High School signal and the IL Route 22 intersection presently operate at Level of Service “D” or lower during at least one of the weekday peak traffic hours. These Levels of Service are expected to degrade in the future under increasing travel demand. Under the “No-Action” Alternative, all but the two intersections mentioned above will drop to Level “E” or Level “F” during peak travel times. With operational levels this low, elevated crash frequencies and traffic diversions through neighborhoods can be expected if no improvement is constructed.
Due to the total cost of this project, it is likely that improvements would be constructed in stages as funding becomes available. The Weiland Road/Lake Cook Road intersection and the Weiland Road/Aptakisic Road intersection would be logical candidates for the first stages of an improvement.
Signal green time at major intersections is typically divided amongst four major users: (1) left turns from the major roadway, (2) through and right movements on the major roadway, (3) left turns from the cross street, and (4) through and right movements on the cross street. When a major intersection is congested during peak periods, some movements get short-changed in the amount of green time they are allocated in order to favor traffic flow for the major traffic movements. Typically, cross street left turns are short-changed first, followed by cross street through and right movements, and then, if necessary, followed by the major roadway left turns. This imbalance in green time allocations occurs at all three major intersections along Lake Cook Road.
When designing an intersection improvement, two strategies are typically considered to reduce congestion levels for various movements: (1) increase the number of lanes that serve a particular movement to allow more cars to flow during the same (or reduced) green time, or (2) leave the number of lanes the same but allocate additional green time to the movement by shifting time from other movements. The proposed intersection improvements at Buffalo Grove Road, IL Route 83 and Weiland Road apply both of these strategies.
All three intersections feature dual left turn lanes on Lake Cook Road as well as an additional travel lane in each direction. In addition, right turn lanes are proposed on Lake Cook Road at IL Route 83. Right turn lanes are also proposed on Buffalo Grove Road and on Weiland Road at Lake Cook Road (northbound Weiland Road would have a dual right turn lane). All of these additional lanes will increase capacity for these movements and allow additional green time to be shifted to the left turn movements from Buffalo Grove Road and from IL Route 83. With additional green time, the need to widen both of these cross streets to provide dual left turn lanes can be avoided. As can be seen from the Level of Service exhibits on the Village website, the proposed improvements at each intersection will result in dramatic reductions in vehicle delay compared to existing as well as future No-Action conditions. These delay reductions will also accrue to the left turn movements you mentioned.
Information on a number of environmental impacts was presented at the Public Information Meeting. Data on highway noise impacts, wetland impacts, flood plain impacts and right-of-way acquisition impacts were displayed on the exhibits. Other environmental studies for this project are still underway.
Subsequent to the December 15th meeting, the Village will modify the proposed plan based on public input and prepare a draft Environmental Assessment and a draft Combined Design Report for submittal to IDOT and the FHWA for their review and processing. Once regulatory and resource agency comments are incorporated into the environmental and design reports, the reports and the revised plan will be released for public comment prior to the Public Hearing which is scheduled for the fall of 2011.
Unwanted traffic can diminish community cohesion and the quality of life in affected neighborhoods. Control of unwanted traffic is a challenge that the Village faces regularly throughout the community. Since its founding, the Village of Buffalo Grove has been committed to improving the arterial highway network within the Village as a means of preserving neighborhood cohesion and quality of life. An adequate arterial street system will minimize the incentive for arterial traffic to divert from their desired routes and cut through adjacent neighborhoods.
There are several examples in Buffalo Grove of the consequences associated with an inadequate arterial street system. The Lake Cook Road corridor is the most extreme example, where traffic congestion not only affects residents’ choices of travel times and travel routes, but congestion spills over into adjacent neighborhoods and onto private property during peak times, further affecting their quality of life.
The Village cannot control the ultimate level of travel demand in the Weiland Road corridor by choosing to not widen the roadway. As traffic volumes increase and delays and congestion on the roadway become excessive, travel demand will begin to spill over into adjacent neighborhoods. Also, neighborhood residents will alter their travel paths to use the local street network for mobility instead of using Weiland Road in order to avoid travel delays, further affecting neighborhood cohesion and quality of life along the bypass routes.
Buffalo Grove realizes that change is ongoing and that it is better to anticipate change and prepare for it rather than react to it after it happens. Improving the Weiland Road corridor is the best way to manage the future travel demand rather than attempting to address it later on neighborhood streets through increased speed enforcement and traffic calming measures.
The Federal-aid process requires coordination with environmental agencies which includes environmental surveys and reviews to determine if there are any significant environmental resources in the project area and the significance of any impacts that would be caused by the project.
A feasible noise barrier must be tall enough and long enough to effectively screen the noise receptor location from noise generated by the adjacent traffic stream. Openings in the noise barrier for driveways or cross streets greatly diminish the effectiveness of the noise barrier causing the barrier to be not “feasible”. In some instances a barrier can be feasible, but the limited number or large spacing between impacted receptors that are benefitted by the noise barrier results in an “unreasonable” cost per benefitted receptor. Only potential noise barriers that are feasible and reasonable according to the IDOT and FHWA criteria have been shown on the plan.
In the past, municipal governments often made the decision to install or to not install noise barriers along a roadway. However, the most recent Federal regulations now state that a municipal government or a neighborhood organization cannot make the decision whether or not to install a noise barrier. The decision must be made by the residents (and only those residents) that would specifically benefit from a potential noise wall. Thus, benefitted residents and/or property owners will be afforded the opportunity to decide if they collectively want a particular wall or not. If a majority of benefitted residents fail to approve installation of the wall, it will not be constructed.
Acquisition of property is a four-step process:• Preparation of a Plat of Survey and Legal Description of property to be acquired. • Preparation of a Property Appraisal by independent professional appraiser. • Preparation of a Review Appraisal by another independent appraiser. • Negotiations and settlement.
The goal of every acquisition is to achieve an agreeable settlement amount. However, should the acquiring agency and the property owner be unable to reach agreement, the courts will decide the settlement amount.
The acquisition of property cannot begin until Design Approval for the Phase I environmental and design reports is received from IDOT.
In addition, a meeting will be held with residents who are benefitted from potential noise walls to solicit their approval or disapproval of individual wall installations.
Finally, after environmental and design studies are reviewed and approved by regulatory and resource agencies, a Public Hearing will be held to present the proposed improvement plan. The hearing is anticipated to held in the fall of 2011.
Once Design Approval is obtained, a decision can be made to move forward to Phase II design engineering and right-of-way acquisition. Because Weiland Road is under the jurisdiction of LCDOT and Lake Cook Road is under CCHD jurisdiction, it is likely that subsequent implementation efforts will be split into separate project tracks with separate project timelines under two different lead agencies.
Due to the large overall costs of even separate Weiland Road and Lake Cook Road projects, it is likely that implementation will occur in stages over a number of years through two or more individual improvement projects along each roadway. The decision to move forward with any portion of the Weiland Road/Lake Cook Road project will not occur until construction and/or engineering funding can be secured. Based on the current 5-year Highway Improvement Programs for both LCDOT and CCHD, no engineering or construction funds have been allocated as yet for this project.
In accordance with the 1995 intergovernmental agreement, the Village Board voted to undertake the current Phase I engineering study to identify a proposed improvement plan that balances the needs of the traveling public and the adjacent community. The Board agreed with Cook County to expand the study scope to include portions of Lake Cook Road.
The Village Board is awaiting the results of the Phase I engineering study. Though no further formal action is required by the Village Board regarding the Phase I study, they could elect to endorse the findings of the study upon its completion.
The next formal action of the Village Board would be to authorize Phase II engineering for part or all of the proposed improvement.
Therefore, in the best case scenario, improvements in the Lake Cook Road and/or the Weiland Road corridors could not be completed until sometime in 2018.