Naperville wants your input on intersection plan
A south Naperville intersection will be the subject of more public outreach as the city seeks federal money to support an expansion project.
Some residents near Book Road and 95th Street say they were unaware of previous meetings in May and September 2018, as well as last month, in which city staff members provided details about plans to widen the intersection.
So instead of approving the staff-recommended expansion option and a corresponding application for federal highway safety funding, council members on Tuesday directed the transportation, engineering and development department to conduct another neighborhood meeting to gather more input and report back, Director Bill Novack said.
The meeting likely will be after Labor Day at a south Naperville site such as the 95th Street Library.
"We'll do every effort we can to get the public engaged and get them to the meeting," Novack said Thursday.
The proposed project would add an extra lane on Book Road both north and south through its intersection with 95th Street and add dedicated right-turn lanes at all four corners. The work would cost an estimated $2.4 million, but up to 90 percent of the total could be covered by federal highway safety improvement funds -- if an application the city submitted this summer is approved.
The project is the most extensive of three options under consideration for changes at the intersection.
The middle option could add an extra lane on Book in each direction as well as two right-turn lanes, a southbound lane on Book and an eastbound lane on 95th Street, for roughly $2.2 million. The cheapest plan could skip the north-south lanes and only install the southbound and eastbound right-turn lanes for an estimated $1.2 million.
Novack said the city has been planning for years to address traffic safety and flow at Book and 95th, especially as surveys in 2008, 2012 and 2016 all ranked north-south travel delays as residents' top complaint. He told city council members there is a 48-second delay to get through the intersection now, and if left unaddressed, the wait could lengthen to an estimated 86 seconds by 2040.
Several city council members who live in the area or drive through said they agree the intersection needs work to be safer and flow better.
"It never fails -- it's two lights to get through that intersection," said council member Paul Hinterlong, who said he drives through during the evening rush to softball games at Frontier Sports Complex. "It does have its issues."
But Angie Rawley, who lives on Book Road, said people already "fly" down the road trying to catch a green light, and she's had to replace three driver-damaged mailboxes within the past three years.
"Being a family with small children, a big concern is safety," Rawley said. "Opening up this intersection will only attract more people to travel this road."
Nearby resident William Warren said a wider intersection will move traffic delays to new spots where the lanes must merge from two to one.
"I don't see how widening the lanes at the 95th and Book intersection is going to help your traffic flow if you have a one-lane bottleneck," he said.
Novack said a city analysis shows the proposed expansion option would reduce the delay at the intersection to an estimated 31 seconds in 2040 and would help decrease crashes there from roughly 20 a year to a projected 13.
He said the city's application for federal grant funding remains submitted but can be pulled if council members choose a different plan or call off the work. A vote on the intersection could come sometime this fall.