McCaleb: Mind changed on Randall-Algonquin CFI

After initially supporting construction of a continuous flow intersection at Randall and Algonquin roads, I’ve since changed my mind.

Newspaper editors are allowed to do that, right?

I live on the south side of Crystal Lake, and drive Randall Road near Algonquin Road at least a half-dozen times a week. Roughly 20 percent of the time, I’m turning left on Algonquin. Yes, it can be a frustrating experience, whether you’re continuing south on Randall or turning left at Algonquin. It’s the same for northbound commuters.

But my and other motorists’ frustrations don’t necessarily justify spending so much taxpayer money on an experimental road design that many local government officials and businesses oppose.

As part of a $135 million project to widen Randall Road to six lanes from Ackman Road to the Kane County border – a span of about 3.5 miles – the McHenry County Division of Transportation proposes turning the Randall and Algonquin intersection into a continuous flow one.

Two traffic lights would have to be added, one on either side of Algonquin Road, and a few businesses displaced. But transportation officials say that commute times near the intersection would decrease by as much as 55 seconds. I’m not buying that, but I can see how travel times would be shortened somewhat.

If a continuous flow intersection were built, southbound vehicles turning left on Algonquin, for example, start turning several hundred feet before the main intersection at a crossover intersection. This would happen at the same time that both eastbound and westbound traffic on Algonquin Road is moving. The dual-moving traffic is why proponents say driving time would be decreased.

But opponents, including the village of Lake in the Hills and many businesses along the corridor, say a continuous flow intersection would be too confusing to motorists and would hinder access to those businesses.

I think motorists would be able to figure it out, but I share the concerns of businesses.

Hundreds of people are employed along that corridor, and the villages of Lake in the Hills and Algonquin count on sales taxes to keep other village fees and taxes down.

A couple of retailers have looked at the vacant Dominick’s building on the northeast corner of the intersection but were turned off by the possibility of a CFI.

In the end, I don’t think saving a few seconds of driving time is worth the risk to businesses or the added expense.

Of course, I could always change my mind. Again.

• • •

Congratulations and thank you to Vince and Pat Foglia, who were honored Friday night at Pioneer Center for Human Services’ annual Moonlight & Music fundraiser held at Crystal Lake Country Club. Vince Foglia is chairman and CEO of Sage Products in Cary.

During the event, former Congressman Don Manzulo presented the Foglias with the inaugural Make Change Award, given to a member of the community whose commitment to Pioneer Center surpasses all expectations.

“In a search for client work opportunities, Pioneer Center approached Sage Products and met with Vince Foglia,” Manzullo said. “Vince, with a heartfelt passion for helping others and an understanding of what working means to people, immediately agreed to partner with Pioneer Center by providing work for the clients.”

Manzullo noted that the Foglias also funded Pioneer Center’s client commuter lab, including specialized equipment for individuals with disabilities, among many other contributions.

On behalf of Pioneer Center’s Board of Directors, of which I am a member, we thank the Foglias for their commitment to Pioneer Center and for all of the other great things they do for the community.

• Dan McCaleb of Crystal Lake is executive editor of Shaw Media, which publishes the Northwest Herald. He can be reached at 815-526-4603 or by email at dmccaleb@NWHerald.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Dan_McCaleb.