Scott Summers Opposes Roundabouts on Rt 20

This came from Democratic Party County Board candidate Scott Summers:

Why build big fixes when little fixes will do?

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) plans to construct four roundabouts in McHenry County, including two along Route 20.

Instead of embracing “big fixes”,  county board candidate Scott Summers suggests little ones.

Summers’ thoughts appear in the August, 2012 edition of the Marengo-Union Times:

To the editor:

The real estate office of murdered Jack Feldkamp is at the intersection of Route 20 and Harmony Road where IDOT plans a roundabout after just re-configuring the intersection.

Everyone knows that Route 20 is dreadfully dangerous.

A July 13th rollover near West Union Road resulted in yet another tragic death.

Something absolutely must be done about the highway’s bad gradients, poor sightlines, and substandard intersections.

Fortunately, the Illinois Department of Transportation gets it.

Unfortunately, IDOT now is rushing a big fix: two new roundabouts, to be constructed at the Route 20 crossings with Beck Road and Harmony Road.


Yes, roundabouts, where converging traffic enters a giant traffic circle at low speeds, and then spokes off in multiple directions.

Scott Summers

They’re used in other nations, but are rare in the United States.

Rather than leaping ahead to big fixes – indeed, completely unfamiliar fixes like roundabouts – we should begin with little fixes.

Here’s one: for a six month trial period, let’s reduce Route 20′s maximum speed between Garden Prairie and Hampshire to 45 miles per hour. IDOT could have signage up in a matter of weeks. The expense would be minimal.

Here’s another: IDOT and the Tollway Authority should incentivize drivers – truckers in particular — to remain on I-90 (and off of 20) by tweaking I-PASS software. Vehicles could be given partial rebates on tolls at Marengo and Belvidere if they effectively “connect the dots” between the Elgin and South Beloit toll plazas.

Roundabouts or not, Route 20 desperately needs improvements.

Let’s pull together and get them done.

On August 22nd, IDOT will hold a public meeting at Donley’s from four until seven.

Please bring your ideas.

(The letter may also be viewed online at at page 7.)

Scott Summers is a Democratic Party candidate for a District 6 seat on the McHenry County Board. His website is


Scott Summers Opposes Roundabouts on Rt 20 — 11 Comments

  1. I think Shawn Green made the same point as Summers about the use of roundabouts being predominately European and the lack of familiarity with them here makes them dangerous.

    Then Green was eviscerated as being an idiot to an anti-European militia nut.


    These IDOT engineers and experts should just drive through Wolf Road-Golf Road intersection, it’s like playing motorist kamikaze.

    We already have enough ‘foreign guests’ on the road who must have gotten drivers license from George Ryan who know nothing of the ‘Rules of the Road,’ are either gabbing on cell phones or texting, or ‘sitting-low-and-driving slow’ not paying attention.

    If IDOT builds roundabouts they should change their designation to IDIOT.

  3. Illinois already has the worst roads in the nation and now they want roundabouts.

    Has anyone from IDOT ever been to Cleveland or Washington DC and seen their roundabouts?

    It is an awful idea unless you are in the auto body repair business.

  4. I was at U.S. 20 and Beck Rd. this morning.

    It’s right where Donley’s Wild West is.

    Imagine a steady stream of traffic on U.S. 20 in both directions, forced to slow for the lower speed through the roundabout.

    Then imagine leaving Donley’s to “turn left”.

    You have to contend first with westbound traffic to even enter the roundabout and then fight with eastbound traffic in order to get into position to go east toward I-90.

    The Sheriff’s Dept. will have to buy a building for a command post and assign a deputy there 24/7 for the crashes.

    Thumbs down on this project! (But are we too late?)

  5. Route 20 is hardly DuPont Circle.

    While we’re lowering speed limits, why stop at 45 mph – bring it down to 30 mph, Scott!

    People are going to blow by at 45 because they can eek out a couple more MPH.

    So cut it all the way down!

  6. unfortunatley, unless MCSD camps out on rt 20, people are going to continue driving 65, 70 mph. I use the Harmony/Rt 20 intersection daily…which has a 45mph limit…I think Gus is the only person actually obeying it!

    I can’t tell you how many accidents I’ve seen over the years, or how many times I’ve nearly been t-boned by some idiot whipping around the corner.

    They just put a traffic signal in at Big Timber and Rt 20, which is long overdue.

    Why they can’t do that at Harmony and Rt 20 is a mystery.

  7. Joe H is right on the money- lowering the speed limit is a waste of time and resources.

    MBlue- I misplaced your email address when this topic came up a couple months ago, so sorry for never getting back to you.

    In a nutshell, my objection to roundabouts from the public safety officer perspective is this: Most fire and paramedic vehicles are equipped with a device that changes the traffic signal to green as they’re approaching the intersection.

    With a roundabout, they’ll have to come to greatly reduce speed to ensure there isn’t someone coming the other way who’s not paying attention, can’t hear the siren because their radio is so loud, or just doesn’t know what to do when an emergency vehicle is approaching.

    A traffic light, at least on 20 at Harmony Road, is the way to go. It will seem strange at first, but does anyone remember Randall Road ten years ago?

    All those lights around Algonquin Commons were a drag at first, but now it seems to move along pretty well (when there’s no construction).

    Route 20 will handle a light even better since the majority of traffic is going straight through rather than turning into commercial lots as in the case of Randall Rd.

    If it’s set up with the proper combination of sensors and timers, a light at Harmony Rd will be perfect.

    However, a traffic signal causes engines to idle, which leads to more CO2 emissions, which causes the Earth’s temperature to rise, which causes the polar ice caps to melt! Just being playful with the environmentalist push for roundabouts- which astonishes me that Mr. Summers is against them.

    Notice, however, he suggests lowering the speed limit instead of putting in a traffic signal or two.

    It’s also a shame to consider how much property will get taken away from the home owners and business owners who have land near these intersections if roundabouts are put in.

  8. Speaking as someone loosing some land, albeit it a temporary construction easement for the roundabout, the initial plans called for traffic lights and the installation of turn lanes.

    In the end, there isn’t really any more land being taken by the state for a roundabout than had been planned for a fully controlled intersection.

    The only building coming down is the Harmony Real Estate office, which would be gone under either plan, no other building will be taken down…although their lawns will become much smaller.

    I didn’t consider the argument you made re emergency vehicles before, they tend to be much much smaller in Europe, and I never took that into account when I’ve seen them buzz thru roundabouts before.

  9. I plan on attending the meeting Wednesday night.

    I am only guessing that IDOT must have a good reason (or a real bad reason) to use a Roundabout in lieu of a stoplight; but this seems to be a ridiculous idea considering the amount of traffic that uses Route 20 and Harmony Road and also the amount of trucks that are a part of that traffic.

    I think the congestion would be greatly increased during rush-hour and that this would pose a threat to all concerned in an emergency situation.

    Either way, the hills need to be addressed to accommodate either plan before they do anything.

    I hope to see a lot of you there.

    Karen Bogacz

  10. I use roundabouts constantly when visiting the St Louis area… at first, I also thought they were dangerous, but over time and experience, I like them.

    I don’t have to sit at a red light during low traffic times, waiting for a timer to let me through… just slow down, turn and roll through!

    Give them a chance, you’ll be begging for more roundabouts and fewer stop sign intersections…

  11. I’m opposed to the round about on us 20 fora different reason.

    I see truckers avoiding these by veering off onto Getty rd. and filtering onto the township roads; right by our houses.

    This will happen as truckers hate round abouts.

    I feel a stop light will save our property values and our lives.

    We will have a wild west show out on these roads.

    Nobody is addressing this fact.

    I feel the money trail should be followed on this one.

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