Sound walls, wider roads and consistent speed limits are just a few of the transportation ideas proposed by the candidates running for the Lake County Board's 19th District seat.
Incumbent Craig Taylor, of Lake Zurich, and advertising consultant Deborah Barry, of Deer Park, are seeking a 2-year term representing the district, which includes portions of Barrington, Deer Park, Kildeer, Lake Zurich and Long Grove.
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In response to Daily Herald candidate questionnaire, Taylor listed improving transportation as his top campaign issue to "reduce travel times, improve access to businesses and decrease road congestion." The Republican believes investing in roads not only will make traveling easier, but also will create jobs.
Taylor also has been a longtime advocate for the extension of Route 53 north to Route 120.
"It's needed," he said. "I don't know exactly what shape or form it's going to take, but at least the (Illinois State Toll Highway Authority) is looking at it in earnest."
Barry thinks plans for the 12-mile extension should be dropped. The Democrat described the Blue Ribbon Advisory Council assigned to the project as "utterly ridiculous" and noted the proposed 20-cent per mile toll.
"At five bucks a round trip it's obscene," Barry said. "There is no funding in place. We have to stop these kick-the-bucket-down-the-road projects. It's an idea whose time has passed because of finance."
Taylor said while he will continue to support the Route 53 extension, it is important to focus on improving existing roads such as Quentin Road and Route 22.
He noted his work on the widening of Quentin from Rue Royale to White Pine Road, saying officials were able to find a compromise with residents who opposed the project.
"The reason I say this is a success story is the project is moving forward," Taylor said. "We had some people who just hated me, and I think now I can say they have a bit of respect for me because we got them involved in the process, had a lot of meetings with them."
Residents on the Lake Zurich side of Quentin who wanted a sound wall put up are having their request granted, even having a say in the design. There will be landscaping and a bike path on the Kildeer side.
"This will be the first highway project that Lake County has ever done where they put in a sound wall, and that, I think, is huge," he said. "In the end, it's going to be a good thing."
Barry said transportation can be improved in the district in ways other than big road projects.
"I feel that the large road infrastructure push has just become like a self-fulfilling, self-perpetuating government project," she said.
Barry said she would like to make it easier for residents to get to more places via walking, biking, wheelchairs, golf carts, Segways or any other non-car form of transportation.
"We think of ourselves as car-bound, but in fact eight or nine months of the year we can be perfectly comfortable outside, and many bikers go 12 months of the year," she said.
"I want to improve the safety and visibility of bike lanes with barriers hopefully, if not maybe bumper strips or something to let them know they're encroaching on a bike lane."