Residents find new ways to get across Naperville quickly
CAthy Janek For The Sun October 13, 2012 10:48PM
Cathy Janek, Naperville Sun Transportation columnist.
Updated: November 15, 2012 6:08AM
For those of us who need to get from north Naperville to south Naperville or vice versa, our choices can be somewhat limited to say the least. Very few arterial roads exist — only Route 59, Washington Street and Naper Boulevard span the entire length of the city.
As a result, some residents are forced to develop their own circuitous routes through town to get to their destinations. Most of these inventive routes would never come up even as a third alternative route on Google maps, but they work nonetheless.
My own convoluted journey from south Naperville to the Lisle train station each day (to my much coveted parking space) includes traversing from Knoch Knolls Road, north on Washington Street and east on Bailey and finally to Wehrli Road. By taking this route, I was able to avoid large backups at traffic lights. Consequently, even though I was traveling at lower speeds on streets riddled with stop signs, my commute time was still shorter. And I was certainly not alone. Many other motorists use the same daily route to reach 75th Street and expressways east of Naperville.
The homes on Bailey became so familiar to me I began to remember holiday decorations year after year and took careful note of the status of home projects.
For those traveling north from Naperville’s far southwest side, Book Road and Naperville/Plainfield are possibilities only until 75th Street, where the roads end or turn into other roads, requiring drivers to consider other alternatives.
While somewhat reluctant to give away her commuting “secrets,” one southwest side Naperville resident who travels to the I-88 corridor each day commented that there is NO good north-south road.
“There never has been. I have lived in Naperville for 23 years — and the north/south was not planned well. We can’t all use Route 59,” she said.
Her serendipitous route follows Book Road until it ends at Rickert. She then travels through Whispering Hills subdivision, where she undoubtedly faces a traffic circle or two that were installed by the city over a decade ago to discourage drivers from using the subdivision streets as a “cut-through.”
Meandering along Whispering Hills Drive, she makes a serious of lefts and rights before arriving on Mill or Washington. “Depending on the time of day (school traffic at Naperville North), I either make a left on Mill or on Washington,” she said.
This route is probably not what our city’s planners envisioned for commuters when they considered the development of Naperville. Councilman Kenn Miller stated that Naperville’s city forefathers didn’t realize that Naperville would grow so large and at such a rapid pace, especially south of 75th Street. He noted that he first became involved in local government in 1996 to address issues related to the rapid construction growth.
“It is unfortunate that Washington Street handles so much rush hour traffic that bottlenecks in our downtown area,” Miller added.
Naperville resident Ryk Koscielski’s commute to Alcatel-Lucent at the corner of Warrenville and Naperville Roads varies greatly depending on the time of the day. Living along Book Road since 1992, he has come up with different plans.
“In the morning, the traffic to Neuqua Valley can back all the way up to my driveway (which is more than one-half mile from 95th Street),” he said.
Just getting in and out of his driveway can be a challenge Koscielski said. He frequently takes an intricate journey through Naperville, passing through different subdivisions and north Naperville residential neighborhoods before reaching Lucent Lane. Other times he uses Modaff north to Gartner to serpentine over to Naper Boulevard.
Recently, the City Council voted against allowing restrictions to be placed on Washington Street southbound motorists who use residential streets to avoid the traffic light at Washington Street and Ogden Avenue. The request for restrictions was put forth by residents of the neighborhood northwest of Washington near Ogden.
Undoubtedly, as the population of Naperville continues to swell and traffic-related problems increase, the city will have the balancing act of meeting the needs of both residents and motorists.