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2 Worst Left Turns in Woodstock

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

2 Worst Left Turns in Woodstock

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
November 18, 2007

Where is the one place in Woodstock that has the two worst left turns? McDonald’s!

There is no doubt that traffic has increased horrendously since the McDonald’s opened in Woodstock. How long ago was that? Anyone?

Why does it have the two worst left turns? What are they?

The first is the left turn that northbound drivers on Route 47 make to turn into McDonald’s just north of the traffic light at Country Club Road. Regardless of how heavy traffic flow is in both directions, some drivers just “have to” turn left into McDonald’s for the Big Mac fix.

Some drivers will stop (legally, even if dangerously) in the inside northbound lane and wait until they can make their way across three southbound lanes, including the southbound left turn lane. And some of those drivers don’t even make their turn safely. They seem to figure that, if they can get across one of the lanes, then they can just make a run for the driveway and hope they won’t get hit by cars in the two southbound through lanes.

Other drivers, not wanting to block the inside northbound lane, will pull across the yellow lines and stop in the southbound left-turn lane, facing oncoming traffic. Then they only have to get across two lanes when they make their run for it. This is dangerous and illegal, but I don’t think the Woodstock Police have ever issued any tickets for it.

The other left-turn problem is when drivers exiting McDonald’s from the drive-through lane try to turn left to go north on Route 47. The exit is right at the intersection, and drivers sometimes will try to weave through three lanes of stopped southbound cars. Often they cannot see northbound traffic because of the size of stopped vehicles, and they will just stick the front of the car out into the northbound through lane (and hope for the best).

Other drivers, when traffic is lighter, will begin their turns from the exit and head north on quite an angle. In doing this, they are driving on the wrong side of Route 47, against traffic, while making their way across the three southbound lanes.

I contacted Woodstock Public Works, McDonald’s and IDOT to recommend that left turns be prohibited from northbound Route 47 into McDonald’s and also out of McDonald’s to northbound Route 47. No luck. No one has been killed there, so there is no interest - yet.

Another big problem is with drivers exiting the drive-through lane and striking out across two lanes for the left-turn lane, so that they can go east on Country Club Road toward the Post Office. Common sense would dictate that a driver not do that, but common sense goes out the window when you “must” make that turn and get home with your bag of Big Macs and fries.

Two-four years ago there was a plan to close the current exit from McDonald’s onto Route 47. McDonald’s would have had to create a new turn-around, so that drivers pulling away from the drive-through window would make left turns around the front of the restaurant and exit onto Fair Street. That stalled when the project for the new road behind Jewel down to McConnell Road faltered.

Currently, the City of Woodstock is trying to condemn land for roadway improvements, and McDonald’s is fighting those efforts. For sure, McDonald’s has outgrown that location. But where could it move that it would have room for a larger restaurant, adequate parking, and easy in-out for drivers? Maybe south of the Exxon station?

For now, when you are leaving McDonald’s, it’s necessary to pay very close attention to traffic flow. Remember, if you get in an accident leaving McDonald’s, your food will be very cold when you finally do get home.

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