Route 53 extension opponents hosting informational meeting in Long Grove
The extension of Route 53 through Long Grove and a larger portion of Lake County seems imminent, One Long Grove organizer Marcia Marshall says.
So the organization dedicated to fighting the proposed multibillion dollar project is urging residents to attend an informational meeting Tuesday addressing its potential impacts.
Long Grove Village Trustee Michael Sarlitto, along with environmental and transportation experts, will discuss the impacts the expansion would have on the community's surroundings and traffic patterns at 7 p.m. Tuesday, at Kildeer Countryside School, 3100 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove.
Talk of extending Route 53 north from its current terminus at Lake-Cook Road to Route 120 has been ongoing for decades, but the project has picked up steam in recent years. The proposed 12-mile expansion is expected to take the shape of a four-lane, "urban boulevard," or a limited-access parkway, according to Illinois tollway plans. It would cost as much as $2.65 billion, according to estimates.
Proponents have argued that the extension could significantly reduce traffic congestion in Lake County, lowering residents' commutes by several hours each week.
But One Long Grove, a group that backed a slate of Trustees Stan Borys, Bill Jacob and Sarlitto in the April municipal election, says the expansion, and the proposed economic developments that come with it, could create even more traffic.
"Clearly it's all about economic expansion, and has nothing to do with road relief," Marshall said. "Development means a lot more cars, not less."
Opponents also argue that the additional cost of tolls and a potential congestion fee would make the road too expensive for many daily commuters.
Representatives of Livable Lake County also will be at the meeting collecting signatures on cards that will be sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner, urging him to oppose Route 53 expansion.
Marshall said most residents One Long Grove has heard from are against the expansion.
"Most people aren't even aware of this project, which is just shocking," she added.
Other communities along the possible route of the extension, including Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer, Mundelein and Round Lake, also have raised concerns over the road's expansion.