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Archive for the ‘Kane’ Category

With an expansion of Algonquin Road through the Barrington area all be certain in the next few years, Barrington Hills is urging a different approach, and we hope the Illinois Department of Transportation continues to give it serious consideration.

As Bob Susnjara reported Monday, Barrington Hills is pitching the idea of turning Algonquin Road into a so-called scenic parkway, a roadway that would fit into, rather than obliterate, the bucolic, natural setting of northwest Cook County. Algonquin Road cuts through Spring Lake Forest Preserve on its way to the northern Fox Valley.

“It should kind of honor the open space, natural setting that the Cook County Forest Preserve is trying to maintain and what we’re trying to maintain in our community,” Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin told Susnjara.

This is a new approach, and one that reflects the increasing interest in preserving the environment of much of the suburban area — hand in hand, of course, with finding better ways to move frustrating amounts of traffic on a daily basis.

Continue reading the full Daily Herald editorial here.

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With the widening of Algonquin Road through his town seemingly inevitable, Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin says he and other officials are pushing for it to be done as a scenic parkway rather than a typical four-lane state highway.

McLaughlin said he envisions Algonquin Road becoming Barrington Hills’ smaller-scale version of the George Washington Memorial Parkway near the nation’s capital or Merritt Parkway in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The section of Algonquin Road in question cuts through Cook County’s Spring Lake Forest Preserve from Dundee Road west to Route 25 and is a key east-west artery between the Northwest suburbs and the northern Fox Valley.

“It should kind of honor the open space, natural setting that the Cook County Forest Preserve is trying to maintain and what we’re trying to maintain in our community,” McLaughlin said of the widening planned by the Illinois Department of Transportation. “That’s what we’d like to see.”

IDOT has yet to secure funding for the proposed Algonquin Road expansion, but planning is well underway. Since the process began in late 2017, IDOT has decided to explore two widening alternatives, as well as choosing to keep the thoroughfare as is with just routine maintenance.

Read more here.

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The Illinois Department of Transportation will be conducting a second public meeting tomorrow, June 25th, regarding their, “Illinois Route 62 Phase 1 Study.” The meeting is scheduled from 4PM – 7PM at the Barrington Park District located at 235 Lions Drive, Barrington.

IDOT’s first public meeting on the topic was held November 9th, 2017, so clearly they are taking their time. For those wishing to review what was covered at that first meeting, click here.

Those wishing to explore IDOT’s website covering further information on their progress (or lack thereof), on plans to widen Algonquin Road to four lanes in Barrington Hills, click here.      

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The injured relationship between Kane County Board Democrats and the board’s chairman, Republican Chris Lauzen, entered the week as a light sprain but left on crutches after Lauzen described recent Democratic lobbying efforts as “pathetic.”

The confrontation occurred during a meeting of the board’s legislative committee, which is co-chaired by Democrats Jarett Sanchez and Matt Hanson. The committee’s focus during the state budget process was securing about $45 million for the Longmeadow Parkway to avoid the need to for a toll bridge to complete the project.

There are still pools of money in the state budget not yet attached to specific projects, but no money has been earmarked for Longmeadow so far.

Read more here.

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Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen blasted local state lawmakers for not delivering money for the Longmeadow Parkway that would help prevent the need for a toll bridge to complete the project, but at least one state senator said she never heard from him.

Now, expectations for any state funding might depend on whether lawmakers would contribute some of the member initiative money each received in the budget to spend on in-district projects.

The bridge will create a new crossing over the Fox River near the McHenry County border, but a lack of local funding, so far, will lead to a toll to pay for the bridge and future maintenance. County officials hoped to get about $40 million to eliminate the need for what is expected to be an unpopular toll.

“It does blow me away that this would be the circumstance,” Lauzen said Wednesday.

The lack of state funding is even harder to swallow because increases to the gas tax and fees for driver’s licenses and vehicle titles will push an estimated $73 million of additional money from Kane County residents’ wallets to state coffers each year, according to Lauzen’s calculations.

Read more here.

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Kane County Board members opposed to the Longmeadow Parkway project may not be able to stop construction of a toll bridge over the Fox River, but they may be able to make the tolls cheaper for local residents.

Board member Mo Iqbal on Tuesday called for Chicago-based Stantec Consulting to research the ability to identify local residents as they cross the bridge and charge them a cheaper rate than people who do not live in Kane County. Iqbal pointed out it’s not uncommon to charge different rates for vehicles of varying sizes, or even those paying by cash instead of with a transponder.

“There should be another category of resident versus nonresident,” he said.

Read more here.

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Over the years, we’ve seen the worst of townships, as when the separately elected township supervisors or assessors or road commissioners or clerks or boards do battle, duplicating costs and getting less work done for the public.

Recall, for example, the assessor in Antioch Township in Lake County moving her staff out of the township building and renting new offices after fighting with the supervisor. Or Algonquin Township in McHenry County almost running out of road salt after highway commissioner Andrew Gasser ordered a supply and the township board refused to pay for it.

We’ve also seen the best of townships, as when well-run food pantries or senior transit or general assistance programs provide safety nets for suburban residents who’ve run out of options.

With that in mind, we’re not fully in the growing “throw them out” camp that seeks to abolish townships as rural throwbacks not needed in the suburbs.

Read the full Daily Herald editorial here.

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