Road improvement work on Crystal Lake Avenue from East to Erick streets has one feature that is not sitting well with some residents in the surrounding neighborhood.
East Street's 50-foot proximity to the Union Pacific/ Metra railroad tracks requires a six-inch high median be constructed in order to meet federal safety standards.
The median would prevent eastbound motorists on Crystal Lake Avenue from turning left onto East Street.
Currently, drivers on Crystal Lake Avenue waiting to turn northbound onto East Street can cause a backup of traffic - resulting in motorists "queuing" or stopping on the railroad tracks, city officials said.
Included in city documents is a crash study conducted from 2002 to 2006 showing the intersection as a "high crash location" according to Illinois Department of Transportation standards at the time.
"In the four-year period analyzed, 47 crashes occurred in the entire project study area, of which 23 of these crashes (49%) occurred at the East Crystal Lake Avenue/East Street/railroad crossing alone," the study revealed.
At the Oct. 16th city council meeting, staff members said in September they visited with business owners located along East Street and most understood the safety concern and reasoning for implementing the no-turn median at the intersection.
Motorists and truckers will still be permitted to make right-in and right-out turns at the intersection.
One resident even suggested city leaders consider closing the road all together, creating a dead-end where East Street meets Crystal Lake Avenue.
JimTomasello, who lives at the corner of the intersection, rented a portable sign for his front lawn and hung the message, "The city screwed us" on it. Tomasello could not be reached for comment, and had removed the sign on Thursday.
Other residents, including some who have contacted Patch, welcome the addition of the median and said they are concerned about the number of motorists who routinely stop on top of the tracks.
Several neighbors attended the Tuesday, Nov. 6th city council meeting asking council members to seek another solution to improving safety at the corner. Some residents feared the no-turn restriction would send more traffic down Erick and Prairie streets.
One suggestion was to add more striping on the road.
"Well, we already have striping there," said Erik Morimoto, director of engineering and building for the city of Crystal Lake. "Basically, the council (on Tuesday) directed staff to contact IDOT to confirm with them that there is no other way to create a barrier."
In the meantime, the city has placed barrels at the site as a temporary median.
Improvement plans for Crystal Lake Avenue included widening the road, installing a center turn lane to ease homeowners ability to access their driveways and adding curbing, sewer lines and sidewalks. The plans were approved several years ago, and city leaders said altering from the IDOT-approved project could jeopardize the federal funding received for it.
In the meantime, a no-left turn sign was installed at the corner of East Street at Crystal Lake Avenue. In September and October, the Crystal Lake Police Department issued 111 citations/ warnings to motorists violating the new regulation.