More Debate on Whether Massive Randall/Algonquin Road Improvement Justified

A comment from “Just Some Guy:”

Steve – While I agree that everything you’ve said sounds correct statistically, in my opinion, we need to dig deeper in the analysis and additionally we need a chart showing the traffic load for each hour of the day (what’s the load at 7AM, 11AM, 5PM, etc) for this discussion.

Because while it’s true that if you divide the daily load of 38-40,000 vehicles by 24 hours, you do indeed get an hourly average of around 1650 vehicles.

So statistically you’re correct.

The corner of Randall and Algonquin Roads at 8:30 AM on August 30, 2016.

But of course in reality that hourly rate varies quite bit throughout the day.There are not 1600 vehicles at 2AM any more than there’s only 1600 during rush hour.

And while you guessed that there were 6800 at rush, it was only that, a guess.

So we need that chart.

I’M guessing that a chart will show that saturation occurs quickly at rush hours.

It would be interesting to see.

And BTW, you mentioned “That would be 6,800 vehicles per hour for four lanes”, but there’s only 2 lanes in each direction, important at rush hour when (at least on Algonquin Rd.), one direction is loaded much more heavily at rush hour than the other direction (IMHO).

So that’s really only 3400 in one direction.

If we apply your analysis method to the intersection of Algonquin and Roselle Rd, for example, then someone needs to be indicted for squandering all that money on such an elaborate intersection (right turn lanes, double left turn lanes, 3 lanes in each direction).

But I believe it was probably designed for PEAK traffic load (I admit I’m guessing here myself), not average hourly load.

Outside of rush hour, while it’s a busy intersection to be sure, all that roadway isn’t needed.

Of course, they had a lot of space for that intersection; the Algonquin/Randall intersection, not so much.

So it was easier to build.

So while I totally disagree with Pro that your were lying, I think we need to dig deeper in the data to see what’s really going on.

All I know is that Algonquin/Randall intersection is VERY jammed up most of the time during the day without the rush hour.

Rush hour? It’s bad enough on a good day.

Is it worth that much (let’s be honest, it’s really more like $100-150 mil)?

Well, since as you noted, traffic rates aren’t increasing, I’d say yes, because if it’s done right (HA! Whatever THAT means – different discussion), it should be good for a long time to come.

So do it and get it over with!!

BTW I’m also guessing that bridges aren’t designed using the “average load” method, but rather the peak load, plus some!

A reply from Steve Willson:

Dear Just Some Guy:

I agree with you, we absolutely should have hourly traffic counts.

In fact, it is derelict to proceed without this data.

Yet that’s exactly what the County is doing: making hugely expensive decisions without the data the Traffic Division should have given them.

In point of fact, I’ve tried for almost three years to get hourly traffic counts from the County without success.

Randall Road Traffic 2005-15.

So I’ve been forced to use estimates.

Fortunately there’s good data on the ratio of rush hour traffic to total traffic, which is how I came up with my initial estimate of 6,800 vehicles per hour during the peak period.

And, finally, early this year we finally got hourly left turn counts from the County.

Evidence from other traffic studies shows the ratio of left turns to through traffic is relatively constant.

That means we can now obtain a better estimate of through traffic during rush hour.

The ratio of daily left turns to total traffic is 7.9 to 1.

If you multiply the maximum number of left turns per hour south (415) by 7.9, you get about 3,300.

If you multiply the maximum number of left turns per hour north (388) by 7.9, you get about 3,000.

Add those together and you get about 6,400 cars per hour north and south total during rush hour. Subtract the left turns from the total to get through traffic.

That’s about 5,600 cars per hour at the peak.

So, in conclusion, the County has failed to provide hourly counts despite repeated requests and we now have two different methods of estimating peak traffic and both are lower than the capacity of the road.

Now, I want to ask you a question.

Do you think I’ve made a case strong enough that it is incumbent upon the County to provide strong evidence to contradict my conclusion, both about need and cost?

Or do you think the County should proceed to spend $97 million on the project without providing hourly traffic data and without explaining why the cost is a multiple of the average cost of building such roads in the urban areas of Illinois?


More Debate on Whether Massive Randall/Algonquin Road Improvement Justified — 6 Comments

  1. The glaring issue with this intersection is how there is just one turn lane northbound and southbound on Randall Road.

    Why not just widen it slightly, and have LH two turn lanes, and leave everything else as is?

    That is how Randall at 72 was reconfigured, and that improved significantly.

    $97 mil?

    Come on.

  2. Beyond the pure data that’s still needed, further analysis with that data would show the impact of congestion that is caused by turn lane overload.

    It also needs to account for the congestion impact of considerably more in- and out-flow to the adjacent businesses during peak times.

    Economically, the question should be considered as to how negatively impacted those businesses are during peak traffic periods.

    Some people avoid stopping simply because they don’t want to deal with navigating back out into it.

    And parents have concerns about their newly-licensed teens venturing into it, as well.


    Many of us make use of these roads during these peak times, and the added stress it causes is not something data will show.

    The data will also fail to show the impact congestion has on potential home buyers.

    We chose to buy east of 31 because of the prospect of twice daily facing awful congestion existing and emerging along the Algonquin Rd. corridor.

    I’ve never regretted that decision.

    I’m sure there were some who argued it was unnecessary to widen Rakow Rd, and that what was delivered was over-engineered.

    Frankly, I feel it was a tremendous success and, done right, so will updating Randall Rd.

    Steve, I admire, respect and am thankful for your persistence for data-based and fact-based decisions.

    I agree that these numbers should be available and considered.

    Yet, as I’m sure you’re aware, numbers are only part of the story, especially when addressing factors that affect the quality of life of thousands of people of all ages on a daily basis.

  3. There are clearly other roads needing more attention than this one.

    I’m with Grafton this issue.

    Another point that is rarely brought up is that people are leaving McHenry County and traffic has decreased and will continue to do so with the exodus.

  4. Drive throughout the county and it is clear 100m can be better spent elsewhere.

    Give the trajectory of taxes population and overall negative state of our county we can and must do better.

    I’m sending this from income tax free Florida here on a vacation looking at real estate debating here or Tennessee.

    Speaking of spent the night outside income tax free Nashville.

    The suburban areas of Nashville are booming.

    I am lucky enough to be able to live anywhere to work and in a couple of years my youngest will be in college or trade school (out of state naturally as Illinois colleges in state tuition is abysmal for the value).

    In my company most of us work from home and I’m the last one still in Illinois.

    The rest moved from here to Texas, Tennessee and Florida. None of them regret it.

  5. The issue isn’t whether, or not the Randall Rd./Algonquin Rd. intersection needs improvement.

    It isn’t now, and it never has been.

    The argument is about MCDOT going to extremes to pursue the grandest road improvement known to Illinois, where it’s not warranted.

    Taxpayer’s should have to pay this price, to indulge the idealistic dreams of county engineers. Eminclake, I’ll guess you’re new(ish) to the area?

    Rakow wasn’t widened, it was created.

    It didn’t draw this type of controversy, because it wasn’t as unreasonable.

    Those complaining about the traffic backup during rush hour.

    Compared to what?

    Traffic is heavier during rush hour everywhere.

  6. I think I’m on same page with Mr. Mutton.

    But Ms. Clarke has a point…

    Randall must not be a nightmare when passable.

    And it must be upgraded.

    But not a $97 million upgrade.

    For pete’s sake the Algonquin Bypass…where they cut into the side of a fricken hill, cost less.

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