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posted: 7/11/2014 1:01 AM

A more sensible idea for Rt. 53

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The evolving "Route 53 plan" is increasingly useless, unaffordable and illogical -- no longer fulfilling it's original or future promise.

Forty years ago, Wisconsin and Illinois shook hands. We'd build Route 53 north to connect to Wisconsin Route 12, an actual interstate, north of Richmond. Wisconsin built their segment.

The current 53 "plan" envisions a 45 mph four-lane parkway, probably excluding commercial traffic, extracting expensive tolls, and only ending at Route 120. It's also proposed new tolls on 53 north of Route 90 -- a road already bought and paid for.

Further, the tolls will heavily subsidize miles of improvements to 120, which should have already been completed and paid for decades ago.

Further still? Environmental protections are important. Yet I can't help think "environmental" considerations reflect property owner clout from Long Grove up to Mundelein -- that only their personal backyard "environmental" concerns matter. Yet the 53 corridor was plainly marked on township plats for 40 years.

But we'd now pay for the cake they'd wish to eat? Even the most rosy scenarios -- including prohibitive tolls and new tolling on existing 53 still show this fantasy falling far short of ever being affordable.

The proposed tolls, three to two lanes, 55 mph to 45 mph, and no commercial traffic?

Lesser traffic and income are forcing a new surge of vehicles onto Routes 83 and 12 -- obliterating the very solution for the problem this "plan" attempts to solve.

What if 53 North remains three lanes, 55 mph, and connects to Wisconsin Interstate 12? Not subsidizing miles of Route 120 improvements? Connecting directly to Lake Geneva and Milwaukee beyond? A few more miles of pavement, yet many thousands more willing and paying customers?

I know, too sensible, practical and radical for what Illinois has sadly become.

Dave Labuz

Island Lake