Roundabout Fallout

Wow, saw the first effects of the Monaville Rd / Cedar Lake Rd Roundabout Construction Project detours yesterday. Insane amounts of traffic on Orchard Lane right through the middle of the Country Walk Subdivision.

You know what? Orchard LANE can handle it, because it was really built as a “ROAD“, a traffic artery designed to move traffic at high rates of speed.
– Over-sized from curb-to-curb (drivers know “The wider, the faster!”),
– Gentle curves, with no sharp corners (allow maintaining high speed),
– no “on-street” parking (less need to slow down, not that we have actual “streets”),
no marked crosswalks in any part of the residential area, despite numerous intersections, strongly suggesting to drivers that Orchard Ln is not INTENDED to be “shared space” between cars / bikes / walkers (the only E/W crosswalk across Orchard Ln is at Rollins Rd, at the traffic light, with a pedestrian-initiated WALK signal),
– sidewalks set WAY back, which seems OK initially, but you have to walk / bike across a road / lane somewhere (clearly-defined separate spaces for different types of traffic),
– over-sized setback of homes from the street.

By design, everything says to the drivers “You can go fast here”! Too bad it’s all right through the middle of a 100% residential area, which instead should have been designed with a network of streets and shorter “blocks”, allowing more intersections and more options… including more feeders to the ACTUAL Roads, and other parts of the village.

Already saw lots of drivers challenged in turning left into the denser higher-speed flow (without the benefit of an on-ramp)! And good luck to children trying to cross Orchard Lane (on weekends especially) from the west on their way to the Skate Park, the RLAPD Sports Center, or simply to play with their friends on the other side of the traffic. That weekend Walmart traffic to/from Fox Lake will be all over Country Walk!

We might as well remove this sign at Orchard Park for the next few months as well. For all the reasons listed above, even though drivers know that they’re passing a park, there is nothing about the situation from their perspective which would cause them to naturally slow down (which good design would do).

Orchard Park Futility

Examples of these “traffic calming” techniques include:
– landscaped curb “bump outs” to help reduce traffic speeds and the distance required for a pedestrian to cross a roadway,
– narrowed streets,
– street islands (physical lane dividers) and marked, signalized crossings to enhance pedestrian safety,
– street trees, and…
– speed humps, or even better… raised crosswalks

There also wouldn’t NEED to be extra signage, radar-activated speed displays, and RLBPD speed-traps to remind drivers how fast they’re going if the traffic engineers (as part of the design team) were told that “Vehicles per hour” was NOT the most important design consideration for the middle of a residential area!

(Oh, for the “All they do is complain!” contingent, remember that a major part of all this is to raise awareness of just WHY our  problems of poor civic design are so bad (or even worse than we think), so that in the near future, as a community, we’re better able to discuss specific situations and better-appreciate possible fixes, especially as to why they’re worth the time, effort, and money!)

Over the next two months, drivers will come to know this as an acceptable (speedy) shortcut. Wait and see what happens when we add the Rt 83 and Rollins Rd detour traffic!


This entry was posted in Bicycling, Children, Planning, Walkability. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Roundabout Fallout

  1. Ryan Richter says:

    Agree with your comments. My folks live on Orchard, close to Monaville and I navigated the crossing of Orchard on my way to Orchard Park this past Saturday. I am dismayed, to put it mildly, that there is no pedestrian infrastructure to cross Orchard anywhere, particularly near Orchard Park and the Skate Park. And all of this is not helped by the fact that Orchard is wide enough to damn near be a STROAD – effectively it might be with the closure of Cedar Lake/Monaville and upcoming closure of Rollins/83. Personally, I’d love to see a narrowing of the right-of-way on Orchard with a dedicated bike lane or off road path, but I think it’s probably easier for the Village to place medians and/or islands. Public works and fire will complain about access and street maintenance, but hey, I live in Chicago and we’ve got fire trucks and snow plows navigating much narrower streets than Orchard just fine.

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