The McHenry County Transportation Committee minus Sandy Salgado, who was absent.
I attended my first McHenry County Board Transportation Committee meeting this morning.
Todd Bright, the lead man from Randall Road consultant firm TranSystems, gave an update on the project that Chairwoman Anna May Miller is vigorously pushing for a September 3rd decision on.
Two options are emerging:
- a Continuous Flow Intersection (CFI) with more “friendly” access points.
- a more traditional intersection with two left turn lanes in each direction on Randall Road with outside lanes like the right turn lane in front of Walgreens (which could be used to turn right or go through the intersection), plus triple left turn lanes on Algonquin Road in both directions. (See Florida DOT study on the topic here.)
The reason for three left turn lanes is that having only two left turn lanes would not allow enough cars to be stacked without eliminating access to Jewel, for example. Access for trucks to supply Caputo’s would also be impossible with only two left turn lanes.
Design of triple left turn lanes in Florida.
Randall Road, on the other hand, has room for very long stacking lanes for those wishing to turn left.
These plans will be shown and discussed with three of the corner stakeholders “next week,” according to Bright. He said the report would be ready “in mid-September.”
Intersection of Florida’s US 441 and NW 7th Avenue.
Nick Provenzano asked when the alternatives would be shown to Committee members.
“Why [them] first?” he asked.
Chairwoman Miller then commented.
She pointed out that the CFI idea was the original “preferred alternative.”
“The County Board agreed.”
Triple left lanes at SR 826 and A1A in Florida.
Then she pointed out that there had been significant push back and the decision had been made to analyze the improvements further.
Now, she said, “we have the feedback.”
Before presenting the findings of TranSystem, Miller explained that she wanted “community support” to be a [large] part of the “matrix” that will be presented.
“My concern is that if they have alternatives…we as the Transportation Committee should be keenly aware of those alternatives,” Provenzano replied.
“Can we go to the [stakeholder presentation]?” he asked.
Anna May Miller
The answer from Miller was in the negative.
It won’t be an open meeting.
She did say that she and Vice Chairwoman Paula Yensen had been regularly briefed on the work that TranSystems was doing.
But not the rest of the Committee, it was apparent.
They have been left out of the loop.
The stakeholders at the meeting with TranSystems will represent people from three of the four corners of the intersection of Algonquin and Randall Roads, according to County Administrator Peter Austin.
“I’m insulted we’re not going to see this” before the Committee meeting,” Provenzano added.
“There’s a lot of stakeholders.
“We are the number on stakeholder. We’ve been elected by 300,000 people.”
“I would agree on that,” Diane Evertsen said.
She compared the process with reading about some County business in the Northwest Herald before learning about it from County officials.
“That puts us in a very difficult situation.”
“And I don’t disagree with it,” Miller rejoined.
“We had a meeting with Management Services (Committee) and found information [about it] on a non-traditional media site,” she continued, rather obviously referring to. but not mentioning, McHenry County Blog’s article entitled,
The Humongous Building in Crystal Lake that County Officials Want to Buy for a Salt Dome
Then Miller got back to the subject at hand, the Randall Road project.
Referring to criticisms of the proposal approved by the County Board, Miller said, “We saw value in some of their challenges. The decision on the preferred alternative will come from this community [input].”
Paula Yensen and Nick Chirikos
“[This is a ] hot button issue,” said Democrat Nick Chirikos.
“We’re coming into election season.
“We see a web site now that has a lot of [false] information.
“I try to push back and all I get is extreme [comments].”
“I can’t meet with TranSystems.
“Is this CFI dead or not?
The corner of Algonquin and Randall Roads going west on Algonquin, where three left lanes are one suggestion to improve traffic flow.
“As far as I know right now, the CFI is still the preferred [Choice].”
“It’s getting very tense out there.”
Chirikos contented that the County was “not going to spend $135 million.
“It’s not going to all their money.
“We need to address those concerns publicly. We need to be [out front].”
“I believe my role is to shepherd this process and make sure of its integrity,” Miller replied.
She urged relying on “the science of engineering.”
One of the McHenry County Blog articles that Anna May Miller says will not influence her vote on the Randall Road project.
Again referring to McHenry County Blog without naming it, Miller said,
“I”m not going to be forced to make my decision on non-traditional media.
“On September 3rd we are going to [see the results of TranSystems study] and then [we'll] be taking it out to the community as a whole.
“Other County Board members have submarined the process,” she said and closed discussion.
“And, moving on.
“I’m closing the discussion on the subject at this time.”
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