Lake County Route 53/120 Corridor Plan Approved By Blue Ribbon Advisory Council

Council to send final report to Tollway Board of Directors.

The Illinois Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council completed nine months of discussion and deliberation with the approval of a final report recommending the Illinois Tollway move forward with an Illinois Route 53/120 Corridor project in Lake County.

The group includes local elected officials, transportation and planning agencies and a diverse group of environmental, civic, business and labor representatives. The report will be presented to the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors in June. 

Co-chaired by David Stolman, Lake County Board Chair, and George Ranney, President and CEO of Metropolis Strategies, the Advisory Council’s work has focused on answering three primary questions:

  1. Is there consensus to move forward?  
  2. What are the scope, configuration and design elements of a new roadway?
  3. How should the project be financed? 

Council members adopted a resolution at the final council meeting acknowledging the necessity to build a 21st Century roadway in Lake County to serve the needs of residents and businesses. While the resolution and report are a significant step forward, the Advisory Council’s approval and continued support is contingent upon adhering to the design principles, alignments and environmental commitments outlined in the report.  

“We are confident that the recommendations presented in this report reflect the will of the diverse group of members that the Illinois Tollway brought together to finally help reach consensus on this project,” said Stolman. “We have made great strides through an open, transparent process that included tremendous public participation along the way.” 

“This is a significant step forward in road building,” said Ranney. “We have come together to outline a project that protects environmental concerns while creating a ‘modern parkway’ envisioned for the region.” 

In its final report, the Advisory Council agrees:

  • The Illinois Route 53/120 Corridor project should move forward according to the Advisory Council’s requirements.
  • The new Illinois Route 53 should be a four-lane, limited access, tolled parkway with a 45 mph maximum operating speed. It also proposes alignment options for configuration of Illinois Route 120 that should move forward for further study.
  • The project should be funded through the use of tolling, as well as the use of local revenue sources and other options, to be developed in coordination with local governments. Those options could include adjusting tolls on the north Tri-State Tollway (I-94) and tolling the existing Illinois Route 53 from Lake Cook Road to the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90).

The Advisory Council’s report outlines five key recommendations for the best way to move forward with an Illinois Route 53/120 Corridor project. These recommendations align with the group’s guiding principles, as well as scope, configuration and design elements agreed upon by the Advisory Council.

Key recommendations include to:

  • Create a transportation system that preserves the environment and nearby communities and enhances connectivity
  • Design a context sensitive roadway
  • Respect and preserve the land
  • Establish an innovative funding plan for an innovative roadway
  • Create a corridor plan and implementation strategy

The Illinois Tollway Board of Directors announced the creation of the Advisory Council on June 30, 2011 to develop regional consensus on whether to move forward with the project, the scope and configuration, the design and elements, and how it should be financed. The Tollway looked to the Advisory Council to recommend a series of best practices for an integrated, multi-modal, 21st Century corridor that is financially viable, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. 

The concept of the extension of Illinois Route 53/120 has support from local governments, transportation agencies and the general public. Lake County and 12 villages and city councils have passed resolutions of support and the project is included in Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s (CMAP) GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan. Additionally, in a 2009 county-wide referendum,  75 percent of voters favored extending Illinois Route 53.

Illinois Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council

  • David Stolman - Council Co-chair, Lake County Board Chair
  • George Ranney - Council Co-chair, President and CEO Metropolis Strategies
  • Gerald Adelmann - President and CEO, Openlands
  • MarySue Barrett - President, Metropolitan Planning Commission
  • Randy Blankenhorn - Executive Director, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
  • Jeff Braiman - Buffalo Grove Village President, Northwest Municipal Conference representative
  • Carolina Duque - Executive Director, Mano a Mano Resource Center
  • Chris Geiselhart - President, Lake County Audubon Society
  • Jacky Grimshaw - Vice President of Policy, The Center for Neighborhood Technology
  • Lynn Karner - Director, Lake County Building and Construction Trades Council
  • David Kennedy - Executive Director, American Council of Engineering Companies
  • Mark Knigge - Wauconda Mayor, Lake County Municipal League representative
  • Howard Learner - Executive Director, Environmental Law and Policy Center
  • Arlene Mulder - Arlington Heights Mayor, Northwest Conference of Mayors representative
  • Jorge Ramirez - President, Chicago Federation of Labor
  • Leanne Redden - Senior Deputy Executive Director, Regional Transportation Authority
  • Leon Rockingham - North Chicago Mayor, Lake County Council of Mayors representative
  • Maria Rodriquez - Village President of Long Grove and Vice-Chair, Lake County Stormwater Management Commission
  • Kathy Ryg - President, Voices for Illinois Children and former state representative
  • Michael Sands - Senior Associate, Liberty Prairie Foundation
  • Ann Schneider - Secretary of Transportation, Illinois Department of Transportation
  • Michael Sturino - President and CEO, Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association
  • Jerry Weber - President, College of Lake County
  • Doug Whitley - President, Illinois Chamber of Commerce
  • Suzanne Zupec - Chair, Lake County Transportation Alliance
  • Ex-Officio Member - State Representative Rita Mayfield, 60th District
  • Ex-Officio Member - State Representative Sidney Mathias, 53rd District
  • Ex-Officio Member - State Senator Terry Link, 30th District
  • Ex-Officio Member - State Senator Suzi Schmidt, 31st District

- Submitted by the Blue Ribbon Advisory Council.

Dave Bell May 20, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Just what we need, more arteries to facilitate sprawl that begets more development, population growth, sprawl, noise and pollution. As Joni Mitchel put it, "they take paradise and put up a parking lot." I'd like to know who these turn coat "enviros" are anyway. Clearly not real enviros, but the kind who make a lot of money off developing air-headed plans to mitigate the disastrous impact of humans; plans that in reality end up doing little but providing a warm fuzzy feeling to justify the destruction of open space and habitat. And what is up with the growing fiefdom of the arrogant Tollway Authority? Once upon a time it was supposed to sunset after all the bonds were retired. I believe that was back in the early 1960's. So much for bureauocracies that grow out of control from lack of responsible oversight.
Jose May 21, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Donny May 22, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Jose you don't need to yell about it.
Nightcrawler May 25, 2012 at 05:36 AM
The article states: "The Tollway looked to the Advisory Council to recommend a series of best practices for an integrated, multi-modal, 21st Century corridor that is financially viable, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible." By definintion, allowing hundreds of thousands of cars to delve further into the heart of Lake County is not envoronmentally responsible nor socially responsible by any means. And I have to completely agree with Dave Bell's post above. The cost of this project is astronomical. It won't pay for itself. If you want central Lake County to become another Schaumburg, where traffic barely moves and is so overdeveloped you can't breathe, have at it. Not to mention it will just be another cash cow for the state and Toll Authority, while we suffer all the side effects of it. Will it put more money in any of our pockets? No. Will it make the quality of life better for us in central Lake County? No. Will it bring more pollution, crime, overdevelopment along the corridor, overburdened schools and local roadways? Yes. I may be in the minority, but it doesn't take THAt much extra time to drive from the end or Rte. 53 into areas like Wauconda to justify this kind of ridiculously-priced toll road. Maybe if 50 percent of all the tolls collected went to Lake County schools and municipalities, that would be different. But ask any Toll Board member about that possibility and watch how fast they balk/laugh. That's all you need to know.
Nightcrawler May 25, 2012 at 05:46 AM
The article also states: "The Illinois Tollway Board of Directors announced the creation of the Advisory Council on June 30, 2011 to develop regional consensus on whether to move forward with the project, the scope and configuration, the design and elements, and how it should be financed." If anyone wants to write an interesting article, someone should start asking how this Advisory Council was formed, and who was included in choosing who would be on it. The article states they were created to explore whether this roadway is necessary or not, in a nutshell, yet it took them less than a year to all essentially unanimously agree it was with little disagreement. That is highly unusual for a proposed project of this size. This group of people is largely comprised of those who have long been on record for wanting this, as opposed to a neutral group of people who actually studied the facts, then came to an unbiased conclusion. Connect the dots is all I'm saying.


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