CFI Pot Bubbling

The McHenry County Transportation Committee minus Sandy Salgado.

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.

Todd Bright

Todd Bright

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.

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.

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.

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

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.”

Diane Evertsen

Diane Evertsen

“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

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.

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.

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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CFI Pot Bubbling — 30 Comments

  1. Citizens can only respond to information given. T

    he opaque process of the County Board Randall Road project has left us needing to piece together scraps of info from FOIA’s, county board meeting minutes, transportation committee minutes, and published budgets.

    I see nothing yet to contradict that the taxpayers of McHenry county will be on the hook for money spent to date, and yet to be spent, on Randall Road project.

    And it still appears to be BIG money.

    Mr. Chirikos, Ms. Miller, Ms. Yensen (and colleagues on the County Board):

    Many people would be happy to provide a forum ( Facebook, website, blog) for publication of accurate and up-to date facts about the budget spent thus far, the proposed budget, the precise percentage allocation which might be hoped for from federal funding, what are limitations and restrictions on federal highway trust fund grants, and the details of whether the project will be no- bid, or be competitively bid for, and what is the breakdown in spending on various aspects of budget ( materials, labor, legal, engineering/ consulting, land purchase, land purchase options, ‘public relations’, and other).

    We taxpayers look forward to hearing specifics from those in positions of power.

    Perhaps this project, when details are shared with taxpayers in the true spirit of transparency, will serve as a template for the analysis of future big spending proposals in McHenry County.

  2. Thank you for the report!!

    My initial observation is a simple – WTF!!!!

    Because Yensen is vice chair, I ask: The planned meeting with the three property owners is going to be secret, what is the difference between that and the SECRET meetings held this past weekend in D.C.?

    Wake up voters!!

    You have a dictator running the Transportation Committee!!

    Demand her resignation for a lack of transparency!!!

    Demand public participation and NO private meetings!!!

  3. Makes me want a public referendum on ANY public expenditure in McHenry County greater than $500,000!!

  4. I have talked to a lot of people in County Board District 1 and most say something to the effect, “What’s wrong with the intersection?”

    The people do not want this and yet it continues to be pushed down the throats of the taxpayers.

    I would have voted against this in Phase 1 and Phase 2 if I had the chance.


    Andrew Gasser
    Candidate County Board District 1


    Step One: Remove the unconstitutional surveillance cameras from the intersection. This will allow perhaps 2 additional cars to move through the intersection at each light cycle. Cuts revenue, but it saves millions, perhaps billions, in intersection analysis and reconstruction.

    Step Two: Add 4 to 7 seconds of green light to the Rt. 62 east and west bound traffic, and 4 seconds to the Randall Rd. north and west bound traffic.

    Step Three: Enforce the law. Cruise 3 or 4 unmarked squad cars in any direction on either road during the heavy traffic period. They will be able to identify and cite drivers causing delays due to distracted driving (texting, etc.).

  6. If Mr. Chirikos is referring to or when he speaks of websites with false information, I encourage him to contact me with what he believes to be false.

    Citizens, be careful not to focus too much of your attention to JUST the intersection.

    There is a frontage road component that needs to be specifically addressed.

    This component threatens to be the biggest part of any approved plan.

    Further, I would challenge Ms. Miller to invite the public to ALL meetings related to this project so that the public can be as fully informed as is possible.

    God Bless the Spirit of America,

    Joe Tirio

  7. If the County really wanted to be transparent they would have taped the committee meeting and put it on their website.

    It doesn’t take a genius or a fortune to tape a committee meeting.

    And they would have a special section of their website devoted to the project including plan documents, links to meeting minutes, financial information, etc.

    Here’s a Daily Herald article with some statistics.

    Not sure how valid they are or if anything has changed.
    1/21/2014 7:10 AM

    Lake in the Hills opposes Randall-Rt. 62 improvements
    by Madhu Krishnamurthy

  8. Dear Mark:

    Thanks for the link to the Herald article.

    I note in the article that the County’s own numbers show a decline in traffic on Randall Road.

    As for your question about what has changed, two things have.

    First, the Census Bureau has since released population numbers confirming that McHenry County, rather than growing like Topsy, as CMAP predicted, has been losing people, probably since 2007 or 2008.

    I would certainly think that might make one think that a sudden growth spurt is unlikely, but CMAP was not deterred, and stands by their growth model.

    Second, the price tag has gone up.

    “Alternative #1” in County documents, which is the main plan they have been pushing, is shown at $137.2 million.

  9. People are leaving this state.

    I have a neighbor and another friend cutting out and moving to Wisconsin!

  10. I’m very tired of hearing ‘it won’t be an open meeting’ – it should be but it is not.

    We’re spending the public’s money, and the public should be part of the plans.

  11. Does anyone have data on the fund raisers the Millers have had where wine is served?

    The main expenditures listed on their campaign expense reports are for wine.

    Interesting expense listed recently – tickets for Wally Dittrich to attend Mark Devries retirement party.

    The address listed for Wally is the MCDOT building.

    Wally is listed as a Design Engineer.

    Is the Board member who is the Chairperson of the Transportation Committee serving the taxpayers or County employees?

    Is the CFI and other Randall Rd. projects make work for the MCDOT like the Park and Ride parking lot which is rarely used?

    When a question was raised at the County Board meeting relative to MCDOT projects, Nick Provenzano said in effect: Don’t worry it is just a plan.

    Well here we are staring the expenditure of $135 million dollars in the face and it will NOT be stopped unless the taxpayers raise enough noise!!!

    Contact your members of Congress to stop the flow of transportation dollars to the irresponsible MCDOT which has Miller as the Chair.

  12. The funniest line in the entire story was Anna May Miller bloviating (I hope that is not too big a word for her to understand) about her “integrity”. If she had a shred of integrity, she and her family would quit feeding at the public trough so much. And they would be T-R-A-N-S-P-A-R-E-N-T (that means open, in case that ilk doesn’t recognize the word) in their dealings.

  13. Look, citizens will be hurt by this.

    Traffic count is down, McHenry County taxpayers WILL fund this, directly in part (despite what District 1 Gas Bag Chirikos says), businesses are extremely concenred about the effect on them.

    That also affects full and part time employees who, I don’t know, maybe pay taxes and keep the county going.

    That this is so close to reality just shows how out of tourch your “representatives” are.

    Maybe if local legislatros weighed in to defend the residents.

    Oh wait, we are talking Althoff, Tryon, Wheeler.

    Never mind.

    Good luck dear friends.

  14. My waitress at Crystal Lake’s Colonial Cafe just moved across the Wisconsin state line from Marengo.

  15. Although the horror is the amount of money spent already to pursue this possible solution to a non existent problem(anyone been to any of the northwest suburbs off of Route 14 lately and gone a few minutes slower during rush hour than the rest of the day?) the ignorance of Miller is screaming for attention.

    She refers to “non traditional media” and her intention to ignore it.

    What is “non traditional media”?

    Daily News on Comedy Central?

    Studies show there is a huge demographic who gets their news snacks from this show.


    In the Furguson MO tragedy MSNBC had a local taxi driver and long time local blogger on to comment on what is happening on the ground and referred to him as a local journalist.

    Social media?

    Statistics show 78% of people will read and believe things written on any social media platform before they believe traditional media outlets because a broad range of people may read and openly comment on the postings.

    What does this woman believe in?

    Print media?

    Is she aware it’s dying?


    Aren’t their ratings behind local Rockford news station’s midnight news recaps?


    So, anything stated by a radio jock is gospel but the input of your neighbors who pay for your folly means less than nothing to you?

    Ms. Miller, you are either incredibly ignorant, impossibly stupid, ridiculously arrogant or terribly uninformed.

    Clearly you are a very dangerous mix of all of these.

    Please keep engaging Mr. Chikros.

    This is a tough environ to step into because these people are active and informed but we all respect someone who respects us.

  16. There is another option, leave everything as it is!

    Surely, we can survive as we have for years without staring at our cell phones and watches to check the time.

    Heck, leave for where you are going a minute earlier.

    As far as the elected representatives in this area, get over yourselves and stop trying so hard to spend the TAXPAYERS’ money.

    It is NOT YOUR money to waste on unnecessary grand projects.

    Your heads are getting too big with power.

    Secret meetings and hidden audits that don’t have to be hidden is a sure sign of ego, not good governing.

  17. I love the comments by all AND the psychoanalysis of Ms. Miller by Priest.

    Mr. Walkup had a great idea about lying down in the intersection (on the FB article).

    The last post by anonymous hits it all home.

    Are these all the same decadent lunatics that brought us the worthless monoliths on Route Fourteen along with the bricks as expensive pavers?

    When I screamed about all of these years ago, it seemed no one cared. Now it seems EVERYONE cares. Kudos to the awake.

    Let’s roll!

  18. As I discussed in my comments on the other post on this topic, I think we may be on the cusp of a paradigm shift in terms of out migration to the far suburbs from inner city and closer suburbs.

    There has been a decline in both county population and traffic in that intersection over the past several years.

    Although this is still short term, it may represent a longer trend.

    There are two reasons to think this may be the case.

    One has to do with the aging of the baby boom population and their reassessment of living choices they made when they had young families, which I discussed in my other post.

    The second is the impact of the global economy.

    This implicates your view of the “recession” we have been in since 2008 and whether or not that is a temporary problem from which we will rebound as we have from past recessions, or is more in the nature of a “correction” than a “recession” to more accurately reflect our new place in the global market.

    Given that we have lost 2/3rds of our manufacturing jobs since 1980, half of which were lost after 2000, (and I am not blaming the political party which happened to be in the White House at those times as I don’t think that has anything to do with it), we no longer have a working base that is capable of sustaining the American Dream on the national scale.

    We can’t build an entire economy on selling things to one another that were made someplace else, and moving money around.

    We have to add value and that is done via manufacturing, invention, and growing crops. We are not Switzerland.

    We can’t all be bankers.

    This is why the real estate market collapsed.

    People who couldn’t afford it were given mortgages they couldn’t continue to pay long term.

    They couldn’t afford to pay because they had lost their jobs.

    The 2008 general economic collapse was the result.

    I think the current situation is more likely than not to represent the future status quo, and we will not pull out of it to resume previous levels of prosperity.

    If we do, that will be suspect as the underlying economics will not support it for the same reasons.

    It will just be another bubble.

    This means more and more people are looking to downsize and reduce things like their property taxes and gasoline bills associated with long commutes and lack of local public transportation options.

    Moving to smaller digs closer in is therefore increasingly attractive.

    CMAP understandably does not want to go out on the proverbial limb and support this until the data starts coming in.

    However, on the local level, we can take a more prudent approach to these large projects which presume a return to growth and prosperity neither of which may come to pass.

  19. Mr. Walkup, well stated analysis.

    So what can we do to survive, then eventually recover?

  20. Both, Mike Walkup and Donna Kurtz, have a lot of relevant information for the community.

    Take note everyone, they are the real advocates for positive change.

    Mike Walkups great, great, great grandfather was the original Sheriff in McHenry County.

    Mike and his family have been first hand witnesses to the evolution of our State and county governments.

    Most importantly, neither Mike Walkup or Donna Kurtz are part of the “Regime”

    Further, they have never participated or advocated the shenanigans that have led the way to higher taxes, and inappropriate or unworthy projects implemented in our county.

    They are the allies of the crusaders in the fight against corruption, as well as the people.

  21. For one big thing Miller has to be replaced.

    Also replace anyone who votes for the continuous flow and thirdly follow the money to see who will benefit from this union pushing project.

  22. Mike I too am fairly well equipped to survive the zombie apocalypse…it is the mid- range crisis which scares me.

  23. As all this babbling is going on, the news is still reflecting on the savages who beheaded an American reporter and did it on video for all the world to see.

    His “crime”?

    He wanted the world to know what was happening to the oppressed people in Syria.

    Here in little old McHenry County OUR “officials” are apparently doing whatever they can to keep things quiet.

    What part of WRONG don’t they understand?

    You folks were not elected to become kings and queens.

    Ratchet down your egos several hundred percent and use your brains instead of your personal agendas and egos.

    Just because you were elected doesn’t mean the public can’t loudly disagree with you right now.

    The word NO is being shoved in your faces over and over again and you just don’t want to see it.

    If the reporter had been my loved one I would have done whatever I could to keep him in America where muzzling and ignoring the people isn’t supposed to exist.

    Don’t ignore his sacrifice.

    He stood so much taller than the majority of our politicians – get a clue people.

  24. anon?

    There was no beheading.

    It was a fake. (Remember their game is to scare the Bejeezuz out of you.)

    Beyond that, I agree with everything else.

  25. Cindy, you may want to check with the parents of the reporter.

  26. Oh, he’s already dead or missing somewhere else, Cautious; but that video is a fake from the getgo.

    Never seen such bad acting.

    The ‘beheader’ is a really poor actor also.

    It’s a psy op.

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