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Trading one problem for another

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Trading one problem for another

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
December 12, 2009

Is the McDonald's (or the City) about to trade one traffic problem for another?

The Woodstock Independent carried an expansive article this week about the coming re-design of the Woodstock McDonald's, including a diagram of the new building and parking lot.

The big problem with the "McLeft" will be eliminated; actually, there are two McLeft's that will be eliminated.

The first is the exit from McDonald's onto Route 47 immediately at the traffic light. Drivers heading out with their orders turn left across three lanes of southbound traffic to go north. Often, they cannot see oncoming, northbound traffic, and then they stop in the southbound, left-turn lane (meeting southbound traffic head-on) and wait for a gap in northbound traffic.

Other traffic, heading for Bull Valley or the apartments just east of the Post Office, turns out of McDonald's and makes a wide right to get to the southbound left-turn lane. That creates its own set of problems.

OK, so that exit will be closed in the new plan, and drivers will have to find another way out.

McDonald's new plan shows a new entrance/exit on South Street. The big problem with this street cut is that it is too close to Route 47 and will create its own set of problems.

One problem will be that exiting drivers from the drive-through lanes may not be able to turn left promptly to go east a short distance to the light. Westbound traffic may not yield (Woodstock drivers are becoming famous for not yielding), and the eastbound lanes may be full with cars waiting at the light. The South Street exit from McDonald's appears to be right across the street from the exit from the bp station, which will cause conflicting traffic movements.

Also, drivers intending turn into McDonald's from South Street will encounter cars leaving the drive-through windows. This will cause entering drivers to slow or stop. When they slow, the risk of a rear-end accident on South Street will increase.

Should there be a rear-end accident on South Street, this will cause a huge traffic tie-up that will extend back to and into the signalized intersection.

A better arrangement would be to eliminate the South Street entrance/exit and from the new plan and route traffic into the restaurant on Fair Street.

The second "McLeft" is the entrance on Route 47 that will be re-designed into a "right-in/right-out" opening. This should, but probably won't, eliminate left turns by northbound drivers. No doubt that it will be properly signed. But drivers will ignore the signs, just as they do for the left turn into the Jewel lot across from CHASE Bank.

Now is the time to anticipate and fix these problems - before construction begins.

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