Thousands of drivers are cutting through Long Grove to avoid congestion. Residents don't like it.
Thousands of drivers trying to escape a frequently congested intersection on the Buffalo Grove-Arlington Heights border are causing concern among residents in a neighboring village.
At issue is the morning and evening rush-hour drivers using local streets in Long Grove to avoid Lake-Cook Road and Arlington Heights Road. Long Grove village board members and some residents say they've had enough of the cut-through traffic, but they don't agree on potential remedies.
"I think any suggestions that are reasonable are worth taking a look at," Long Grove Trustee Bobbie O'Reilly said. "We're stuck in a hard place. There's no obvious solution."
On weekday mornings, vehicles on eastbound Lake-Cook often bail about a mile before reaching Arlington Heights Road. Those drivers turn left onto northbound Schaeffer Road and hang a right at Checker Road in an attempt to reach northbound Arlington Heights Road in Buffalo Grove more quickly.
As they return home, many commuters have been going from southbound Arlington Heights Road to westbound Checker to southbound Schaeffer in the hope of reaching westbound Lake-Cook faster.
Long Grove Village President Bill Jacob said the traffic volumes on Schaeffer and Checker have become a safety concern, as well as a financial issue due to wear and tear of the town's streets.
"Residents in the morning and at other times of the day have a difficult time getting out of their driveway with the constant stream of traffic," Jacob said. "Cars aren't stopping at the (Schaeffer-Checker) stop sign."
Responding to a request from Long Grove residents, Buffalo Grove-based Vernon Township conducted a traffic study that found a combined 4,276 vehicles traveled north on Schaeffer from Lake-Cook on Oct. 1 and 2. There were 1,218 vehicles on Oct. 1 during the peak weekday morning rush time of 6 to 9 a.m. and 920 on Oct. 2.
Traffic on southbound Schaeffer headed to Lake-Cook was measured at 2,203 vehicles over Oct. 1 and 2. From the 4 to 7 p.m. evening rush peak period, 484 vehicles were counted Oct. 1 and 466 on Oct. 2.
Jacob proposed a pilot project banning right turns from Schaeffer to eastbound Checker from 6 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, along with police enforcement. But a village board majority did not immediately support the proposal and a vote was not taken at a meeting last week attended by about 30 residents.
Resident Bob Goldberg was among those who contends Jacob's proposal would be ineffective.
"I can tell you, where these signs exist in Buffalo Grove, I violate them during the times because the traffic on Lake-Cook is so horrendous," Goldberg said.
Some residents support restricting the hours for right turns from Schaeffer to Checker in an effort to make the area safer. Opponents countered it would cause more problems with drivers likely turning left from Schaeffer onto Checker, making a U-turn and proceeding to Arlington Heights Road.
Trustee Chuck Nora suggested looking into creating a one-lane "choker" on Checker similar to Long Grove Road. Vehicles alternate traveling in each direction where a section of Long Grove Road narrows to one lane from two.
Long Grove has received some assistance on the issue. In September, the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways increased by five seconds the time for left-turn arrows from Lake-Cook to Arlington Heights Road.
Cook County Board Commissioner Scott Britton of Glenview said Wednesday that he'd consider other ideas to assist Long Grove. His district includes the section of Lake-Cook Road at Schaeffer Road in question.
On Long Grove's end, the village installed a temporary radar speed sign in an attempt to calm Schaeffer Road traffic and hired Lake County sheriff's police to work a special three-week traffic detail.
"This is not over," Jacob said. "We're going to continue this conversation."
Average daily traffic volume is 36,000 on Lake-Cook just east of Arlington Heights Road and 43,400 on the west, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Near Schaeffer Road -- known as Schaefer on the Cook County side in Arlington Heights -- the Lake-Cook daily traffic average is 49,900.