(Chuck Mahron of Strong Towns has a great perspective on one of our biggest infrastructure challenges. We begin with his definition of a common feature in American municipalities, examine how that effects us locally, and finish with his video presentation about the subject.)
“STROAD” [strohd] Noun.
“1. A street/road hybrid; the futon of transportation alternatives. It functions neither as a dedicated ROAD that moves people quickly between two places nor as a historically-proven multi-use STREET that provides a platform for capturing value.
2. The most financially unproductive type of transportation corridor that we can build; high cost to build, but financially yield very little return for the governments that must pay to maintain them.”
Example: Rollins Road
One of our biggest “connectivity” problems is how to deal with Rollins Road, which effectively (VERY effectively) separates the majority of RLB residents (to the south) from the “Central Business District” to the north. Already built-up to a large degree, this area is not bicycle/pedestrian friendly.
Over 20,000 vehicles per day, often travelling at near-highway speeds, really discourage the pedestrians, bicyclists, seniors and families who could otherwise EASILY handle a 10-minute walk to a local (downtown) store, eatery, park or Transit Station (train, bus, and taxi).
Think of the Rollins Road “experience” from Fox Lake To Gurnee. The first part of the trip is pretty speedy, very few stop lights, intersections, or businesses having traffic slow to exit or enter. Then we enter the Round Lake Area. Suddenly, the Road is lined with strip malls and retail plazas on either side. Curb-cuts at frequent intervals. Several traffic signals. On leaving RLB, average speed picks up, and it is once again a speedy trip to Rt. 45.
Most of the businesses in our village should not be clogging the travel arteries… they ought to be (as they are in towns and villages around the world) in and around an actual “city center” (aka: “Downtown”).
Once residents hop in their cars, it is just as easy for them to head out of town for all or part of their chores… as many of them do.
OBTW… the 2009 Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) for RLB calls for growing even more businesses along Rollins Rd to make it the major commercial/retail tax-base area for the Village. However, once the “Rollins/Rt. 83 Gateway” project is finished next year, the expectation of drivers along Rollins Road will be to blitz through our Village even faster.
Watch the video and tell us… should RLB focus on making Rollins Road even more congested with traffic entering and exiting, or should we start planning to gradually build the “downtown RLB” that was over-looked by previous adminstrations?