Letter to the Editor: Four-Lane Roads ... Not a Novel Concept
Glenview resident John Nicolau writes Patch to weigh in on the Willow Road debate.
As I’ve sat through past IDOT meetings about the future of Willow Road, I couldn’t stop thinking ... are four-lane roads some sort of rare, pioneering concept? No, of course not, but our Northfield neighbors are making them sound about as futuristic as high-speed rail.
IDOT isn’t talking about blazing any new trails by widening Willow Road from a two-lane traffic trap to a safer, more efficient four-lane road through Northfield. Four lanes are routine and everywhere you look in Illinois, including local roads here in the North Shore area like Dundee Road in Northbrook, Lake Avenue in Glenview, and Skokie Boulevard through Wilmette. So why should the drive through Northfield be any different?
We can’t lose sight of the fact that Willow Road is a major state-owned road, maintained and operated using our hard-earned tax dollars. It is not only Northfield’s private road and access ramp to and from the Edens Expressway. It just happens to run through their community, same as it does through Glenview, Winnetka, and Northbrook.
I completely understand the concerns that my neighbors in Northfield have raised about pedestrian safety, which is certainly the priority to me and everyone at the IDOT meetings. However, and somewhat ironically, Willow Road’s development and expansion can actually make the road safer than it is today for walkers and bikers alike. IDOT has described, in specific detail, how planned enhancements for Willow Road’s expansion would include replacing the current and outdated systems with state-of-the-art safety technology and improvements.
Widening Willow Road will also make local side streets, like those in my neighborhood, much safer. Additional lanes would make the road more efficient, which will stop drivers from quickly cutting through our neighborhood to avoid the gridlock on Willow Road that has gone on for way too long now. It’s about everyone’s safety and not about saving time, as my neighbors contend.
Let me reiterate, four lane roads are not a new concept. All the way down Lake Avenue, from the Edens Expressway west to I-294, we here in Glenview have a mix of residential, retail, recreational, multiple houses of worship, retirement facilities, and several schools. Lake Avenue has been four lanes for well over 30 years and was widened just a few years ago to accommodate increased traffic volume, as well as to implement more modern traffic features designed to enhance safety, including fencing to prevent crossing outside of a cross-walk and other technologies.
Bottom line? If we here in Glenview can navigate four lanes with a multitude of residential, retail, recreational, and academic facilities along Lake Avenue, I am confident that Northfield residents will be just fine with the same.
18-year resident of Glen Oak Acres, Glenview