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Letter to the Editor: Willow Road Debate Continues, Northfield Has 'Change of Heart'

One Glenview resident sounds off on the expansion controversy.

Dear Glenview Patch Editor:

At the last in late
September, it seemed that Northfield stakeholders have had a noticeable
"change-of-heart" regarding this project.

The meeting focused on the Illinois Department of Transportation's proposed
toolbox of safety characteristics that the new and improved Willow Road
could feature, such as pedestrian countdown signals or curbed medians.
Throughout the discussion of each tool, there seemed to be a shift in
Northfield's long and loudly stated priority of safety, which we all want,
towards an increasing concern about "cosmetics".

I was surprised and a little bit confused that Northfield CAG members
appeared to change their concerns to how the safety features would look in
Northfield rather than how they would actually make the road safer for
pedestrians and drivers along their stretch of Willow Road.

One of the Northfield CAG members was concerned about the lighting along the
Willow Road corridor because it was mainly a residential area. Others were
concerned about the width of the proposed shared bike path and sidewalk,
suggesting we may not need a path at all if it would mean more concrete
along that stretch of Willow (i.e. less "green").

As a long-time resident of this area, I have attended multiple CAG meetings
over the last two years and I was impressed with both the number and quality
of safety tools that the state's department of transportation had presented
at the September meeting.  I naturally assumed that Northfield would like
them as well, considering their historical stance of safety at any/all
costs, be it environmentally or aesthetically speaking.

As the process nears an end, the focus must continue to be centered on
building the safest alternative that provides a long-term solution.
November 10th is the last CAG meeting and it's imperative that all community
members attend to ensure that IDOT delivers a safer AND wider Willow Road
that benefits the entire region.

- John Nicolau
18-year Glenview resident

Have something to say about Willow Road's impending expansion? Tell us in the comments or share with the community on Facebook!

Willie Wilmette November 07, 2011 at 05:28 PM
Maybe the residents do not like the bottleneck because cars idle there longer causing more pollution. Wilmette has two similar bottlenecks on Lake Avenue & Green Bay Road.
Willie Wilmette November 07, 2011 at 05:37 PM
Lake Avenue is four lanes between Ridge & Green Bay Road only if you count the turn only lane. Before the re-striping, there were 4 lanes & fewer backups. Northfield will get less pollution because the cars will move down the road. Northfield will get less irate (and safer) drivers. Northfield will get a higher quality of life.
Kate Rekett November 08, 2011 at 01:15 PM
I believe that at the last CAG meeting in September the Northfield residents were not backing down from the message of safety. I believe the Northfield residents were just asking questions for the sake of educating and familiarizing themselves with all aspects of the proposed plan. In no way does asking questions about what IDOT intends to install along the proposed new Willow Road in any way deter the residents of Northfield from the topic of Safety. Mr. Nicolau is reading too much into the questions of a few Northfield residents. Mr. Nicolau appears to making inferences in an attempt to further his cause which is to widen Willow regardless of its impact on the village of Northfield. I feel it is very inappropriate to criticize Northfield residents for asking questions about the lighting that will be installed and questions about how much pavement will be installed as the residents have every right to know all these things. They are relevant to both safety and the overall impact that this new proposed road will have on the community. Back of Mr. Nicolau and stop pointing fingers just to stir the pot - enough already. Let everybody focus on the issue at hand without trying to make things appear differently just for the sake of argument.
Donald Whiteman November 10, 2011 at 09:06 PM
According to IDOT's own data in the bar charts displayed toward the end of the meeting, the two lane with median option scored a higher safety rating than the four lane with median. In fact, it had the highest safety rating. The three lane, preferred option, was rated only slightly less safe than the two lane option, but it was rated higher than the four lane option. IDOT quickly moved the meeting to their two road option conclusions, the two lane with median and the four lane with median, conveniently burying the three lane option which I doubt we will ever discuss again. Safety has always been the number one priority to Northfield from day one. It's only IDOT and others who keep putting such a high priority on mobility at the expense of safety.
Earl Weiss November 10, 2011 at 09:13 PM
>>Donald Whiteman 3:06pm on Thursday, November 10, 2011 According to IDOT's own data ..........the two lane with median option scored a higher safety rating than the four lane with median. In fact, it had the highest safety rating. The three lane, preferred option, was rated only slightly less safe than the two lane option, but it was rated higher than the four lane option.<<< I wonder how much $ they had to spend to determine less lanes = greater safety. It's always a question of balance. Statistics can be misleading. You could say one option is twice as dangerous because there will be 2 accidents in 100 years as opposed to one every hundred years. Bottom line is that thoroughfares are meant to handle traffic and the NIMBY argument only goes so far.

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