Why a corridor plan?

When communities plan in isolation—or not at all—they miss the considerable benefits of planning in collaboration with their neighbors.

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Save the Date!

Wednesday November 12, 4-7pm

The Byron Colby Barn at Prairie Crossing
1561 Jones Point Road, Grayslake, IL

Wednesday November 19, 4-7pm

Lake Zurich High School Cafeteria
300 Church Street, Lake Zurich, IL

The purpose of the sessions will be to present an overview of the planning process and the analysis to date. The public is encouraged to come and review and comment on the materials as well as provide input on their priorities for the corridor.

With its population growth significantly exceeding forecasts, Lake County has seen traffic congestion become acute. In 2009, residents approved a non-binding referendum in favor of extending Illinois Route 53 north to Illinois Route 120 -- known as the Illinois Route 53/120 project. In 2010, the region’s award-winning GO TO 2040 comprehensive plan included the project on its highest priority list, and one of only five new major capital projects for the region to pursue, citing performance measures that show this facility as “ranking highest among all projects in its effect on regionwide congestion."

In 2012, the Illinois Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council recommended creation of a 21st Century urban highway. This modern boulevard would have a smaller footprint to minimize potential negative impacts while protecting the natural environment and preserving the character of Lake County.

As recommended by the Council, tandem committees have been formed to examine feasibility. The Land Use Committee is staffed by CMAP, and the Finance Committee is staffed by the Tollway, with Lake County assisting in the staffing of both. This site is dedicated to the Land Use planning effort. For information about the Finance Committee or the Illinois Route 53/120 project in general, click here.

About the Corridor Land Use Planning Effort

The Blue Ribbon Advisory Council recommended creation of a corridor plan that integrates land use, transportation, economic development, and open space. As the official planning agency for the seven counties of metropolitan Chicago, CMAP is uniquely qualified to lead the land use planning effort, whose Land Use Committee is co-chaired by Aaron Lawlor (Lake County Board Chairman) and George Ranney (Metropolis Strategies President and CEO), with membership drawn from the leaders of municipalities affected by the facility, the Lake County Board, the county’s economic development interests, and the environmental community. To a significant degree, the extent of collaboration between these stakeholders will determine how quickly the proposed project can become reality.

This effort will culminate in mid-2015 with a broad land use strategy for the entire corridor, along with specific land use plans for approximately 12 areas that are anticipated to undergo significant change as a result of the facility. The committee will be asked to recommend endorsement of the land use plan by corridor municipalities and Lake County before making a recommendation to the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors on whether the Illinois Route 53/120 facility should proceed.

Collaborative corridor planning for efficient land use and transportation

When communities plan in isolation -- or not at all -- they miss the considerable benefits of planning in collaboration with their neighbors. A better approach is to consider "corridors" that integrate land use and transportation for improved mobility, quality of life, natural resource protection, and sustainable economic development.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is working with Lake County and communities in the corridor along a future Illinois Route 53 and Illinois Route 120, as recommended by a Blue Ribbon Advisory Council of the Illinois Tollway. This corridor planning process is engaging municipalities to plan for the potential market-driven development that can result from such a major transportation infrastructure investment, as well as the potential impact on quality of life and the environment.

This animation depicts the potential results when three neighboring communities do not plan collaboratively. They are intersected by a major highway that brings increased traffic congestion, disinvestment in existing towns, and depletion of natural resources. Infrastructure costs more but is less efficient and effective. Each community's character changes in unpredictable and often unpleasant ways.

A more positive future can be achieved through the power of collaborative corridor planning. By working together to guide development, communities reap numerous rewards:

  • Residents can get around easily, with access to shopping and other amenities.
  • Businesses grow in existing communities with access to workers, infrastructure, and transit service.
  • Parks and open space are preserved and connected by greenways with access to trails for hiking, cycling, and other healthy activities.
  • Infrastructure investments achieve the maximum benefit from precious funding resources.

What this animation can't show is the actual corridor planning process. It involves patience and cooperation on the parts of municipal leaders, residents, businesses, and other stakeholders. The best way for each to achieve each community’s unique vision is to work closely with its neighbors and transportation implementers to maximize mobility and economic development while minimizing negative effects such as increased congestion and loss of open space.

Through the Illinois Route 53/120 Corridor Land Use Plan process (and the Illinois Tollway's parallel financial planning process), the residents and businesses of affected Lake County communities can -- in partnership with their municipal leaders -- define their vision for the future. As the planned extension moves toward Tollway approval and construction, those communities can reap the rewards for generations to come.

To get involved, please contact us.

About the Corridor Land Use Plan

The land use plan will consider a planning corridor within the area roughly bound by Lake Cook Road on the south, I-94 on the east, IL 12 on the west, and the Chain O’ Lakes on the north.

PDF map

The Blue Ribbon Advisory Council provided the following specific guidance for development of the land use plan:

  • Utilize a market-driven approach to assess the feasibility of future land use change, including analysis of employment trends, potential commercial and industrial development, and the housing mix that is likely to occur if the proposed Route 53/120 is built.
  • Balance economic development, open space, and community character goals across municipalities to encourage development of vibrant communities in central Lake County.
  • Formulate a multi-jurisdictional economic development strategy to ensure the best possible economic future for central Lake County. Address planning for development desired by targeted industries as well as business attraction strategies.
  • Provide strategies for communities to encourage mixed use, pedestrian-friendly and/or transit-supportive land uses where feasible in order to reduce congestion, air pollution, vehicle miles traveled, and GHG emissions.
  • Design the land use and transportation system to facilitate walking and biking, transit, increase local connectivity, and manage the increased local road traffic that will likely follow completion of the road and associated new development.
  • Develop an integrated open space system that not only includes the protection and restoration of conservation lands, but also meet residents’ and workers’ needs for recreation and open space in the corridor.

Note that this land use planning effort will not decide final alignments for Illinois Route 53/120. The preferred alignment and property impacts will be assessed as part of a future phase.

Benefits of the Illinois Route 53/120 Corridor Land Use Plan

Without adequate prior planning, new roadway development can often bring unwanted results because of a rise in traffic, disruptions to environmental systems, and lack of forethought about desired future land uses. The Corridor Land Use Plan should help ensure that, in addition to relieving congestion, the Illinois Route 53/120 project will integrate and preserve open space and natural areas, increase access to transit, promote effective development, and enhance economic development.

By reflecting the conscious choices of residents and their elected leaders, the land use plan will achieve results far more beneficial to communities than if land uses were determined only by market forces. The land use plan will protect community assets -- including vital natural resources and quality of life -- and identify opportunities to improve recreation, transit, and economic development. It will balance individual communities’ specific desires with broader strategies for quality of life and economic prosperity in the municipalities, in Lake County, and in the region as a whole.

Opportunities for Residents to Have Their Say

The land use plan effort will include public engagement specifically designed to involve residents, business owners, and others in a conversation about the corridor land use plan. A number of public workshops will be held in various locations throughout the corridor for the duration of this phase of work. This website will include interactive components in the future to allow for the public to provide input.

To stay informed via email updates, contact Elli Cosky.

  1. Outreach & Education  ❯

    February 2014 through June 2015

    During this phase:
    • Coordination with municipalities
    • Key stakeholder interviews
    • Stakeholder focus groups
    • Interactive web presence
    • Workshops at key milestones
    • Potential for “pop-up” and/or educational meetings for specific issues or opportunities
  2. Land Use Committee Meeting  ❯

    March 18th, 2014

  3. Land Use Committee Meeting #2  ❯

    May 8, 2014

    Lake County Central Permit Facility, 500 Winchester Road, Libertyville.

    Slides from the meeting. Other meeting documents:

    June 2nd Update
    Following the May 8th Land Use Committee meeting, the consultant team has refined the Study Area Boundary to incorporate suggestions made by the Committee.

    An exhibit showing the final Study Area Boundary is shown below. A higher resolution version of the exhibit can be downloaded here. Using the new Study Area Boundary, the consultant team is completing mapping and analysis of existing land use, market, environment and transportation conditions for the Existing Conditions Assessment.

  4. Land Use Committee Meeting #3  ❯

    July 21, 2014

    Lake County Central Permit Facility, 500 Winchester Road, Libertyville

    Slides from the meeting. Other meeting documents:
  5. Existing Conditions Assessment  ❯

    March 2014 through September 2014

    During this phase:
    • Build on BRAC process and results
    • Establish market, environment, land use, and transportation baseline
    • Identify natural and political limits on development
    • Identify hotspots - areas of potential significant land use change
    • Frame future detailed analyses
    • Conduct corridor workshops
  6. Detailed Analyses  ❯

    September 2014 through January 2015

    Activities include:
    • Analyze market, environment, land use, and transportation
    • Prepare & test alternative land use scenarios for corridor and hotspots
    • Develop environmental enhancement concepts and strategies
    • Conduct corridor workshops
  7. Public Input Session  ❯

    Wednesday November 12, 4-7pm

    The Byron Colby Barn at Prairie Crossing
    1561 Jones Point Road, Grayslake, IL

    The purpose of the sessions will be to present an overview of the planning process and the analysis to date. The public is encouraged to come and review and comment on the materials as well as provide input on their priorities for the corridor.

  8. Public Input Session  ❯

    Wednesday November 19, 4-7pm

    Lake Zurich High School Cafeteria
    300 Church Street, Lake Zurich, IL

    The purpose of the sessions will be to present an overview of the planning process and the analysis to date. The public is encouraged to come and review and comment on the materials as well as provide input on their priorities for the corridor.

  9. Draft & Final Corridor Plan  ❯

    February 2015 through June 2015

    Activities include:
    • Prepare corridor-wide land use and transportation plan, and more detailed plans for hotspots
    • Recommend new or modified policies, land use plans, and development regulations
    • Prepare draft corridor plan
    • Vet draft plan
    • Prepare Final corridor plan
    • Prepare plan summary document
    • Conduct corridor workshops
  10. Plan Endorsement & Follow-up  ❯

    Starting June 2015.

    Activities include:
    • Present, discuss, and seek endorsement of plan with municipalities & Lake County Board

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is responsible for advancing the next phase of the IL53/120 project?

The Illinois Tollway, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), and Lake County are partnering on a combined, two-pronged effort to examine the feasibility of the Illinois Route 53/120 project from a finance and land use standpoint. The Tollway’s feasibility analysis will primarily focus on financing, and CMAP’s efforts will be focused on developing a corridor land use plan. Lake County is involved as a partner on both of these efforts.

What is the Illinois Route 53/120 Corridor Land Use Plan?

The Blue Ribbon Advisory Council (BRAC) recommended the production of a corridor plan that integrates land use,transportation, economic development and open space. New roadway development can often bring unwanted results without adequate prior planning because of a rise in traffic, disruptions to environmental systems, and lack of forethought about desired future land uses. The Council recommends creating a corridor plan that is based on the integration and preservation of open space and natural areas, multi-modal connections, market-feasible development, and congestion relief. Specifically, the BRAC recommended the following as guidance for development of the land use plan:

  • Utilize a market-driven approach to assess the feasibility of future land use change, including analysis of employment trends, potential commercial and industrial development, and the housing mix that is likely to occur if the proposed Route 53/120 is built.
  • Balance economic development, open space, and community character goals across municipalities to encourage development of vibrant communities in central Lake County.
  • Formulate a multi-jurisdictional economic development strategy to ensure the best possible economic future for central Lake County. Address planning for development desired by targeted industries as well as business attraction strategies.
  • Provide strategies for communities to encourage mixed use, pedestrian-friendly and/or transit-supportive land uses where feasible in order to reduce congestion, air pollution, vehicle miles traveled, and GHG emissions.
  • Design the land use and transportation system to facilitate walking and biking, transit, increase local connectivity, and manage the increased local road traffic that will likely follow completion of the road and associated new development.
  • Develop an integrated open space system that not only includes the protection and restoration of conservation lands, but also meet residents’ and workers’ needs for recreation and open space in the corridor.
What is the area that is being considered as part of this land use planning effort?

The study area is roughly bound by Lake Cook Road on the south, I-94 on the east, IL 12 on the west, and the Chain O’ Lakes on the north. The land use plan and analysis will consider the area within a two-mile buffer study area of the IL 53/120 corridor bound by these limits.

Who is leading the corridor land use plan effort?

The corridor land use plan is being managed by CMAP and guided by a Land Use Committee consisting of representatives of the corridor municipalities and other stakeholders.

What will the Land Use Committee do?

The Land Use Committee will participate in and help guide the land use planning effort. At the end of the planning effort, the Land Use Committee will be asked to recommend adoption of the land use plan by corridor municipalities and Lake County before making a recommendation to the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors on whether the Illinois Route 53/120 facility should proceed.

What is the anticipated deliverable of the land use planning effort?

This effort will produce a land use strategy for the entire corridor (not parcel-by-parcel), and more detailed land use plans for areas expected to undergo significant change as a result of the construction of the facility. The plan will also include specific actions for implementing its recommendations.

What will happen at the end of the corridor land use planning effort?

The committee will be asked to recommend endorsement of the land use plan by corridor municipalities and Lake County before making a recommendation to the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors on whether the Illinois Route 53/120 facility should proceed. It will be up to the municipalities and the county to make land use and other decisions consistent with the land use plan created during this effort.

How long will the land use planning effort take?

This phase of work is anticipated to be completed in approximately 18 months, by mid-2015.

How will the Blue Ribbon Advisory Council be involved?

The BRAC will serve in an advisory capacity to ensure that the Tollway and CMAP’s efforts remain committed to the recommendations and resolutions set forth by the BRAC. The core team will meet with the BRAC at various points during the current phase of work to keep the council informed of progress and outcomes.

Why are we engaged in another land use planning process? Didn’t the Blue Ribbon Advisory Council process clear the way for the road to be built?

The BRAC process, report, and resolution established a common understanding and agreement about the principles, practices, performance standards, and design standards that should be used for subsequent steps, one of which is the land use planning effort, which was recommended by the BRAC report. Facilities such as Illinois Route 53/120 can have significant impacts on the area through which it runs, and the land use planning effort is intended to prepare adequately and appropriately to address those impacts.

How are CMAP’s land use planning effort and the Tollway’s feasibility analysis related to each other and to the Illinois Route 53/120 facility itself?

These are distinct efforts, but information and insight will be shared continuously. The representatives of the three agencies and the BRAC committee chairs comprise a core team to ensure coordination. The results of both efforts will inform the Illinois Route 53/120 facility project itself if it moves forward to construction.

This project has been studied and debated for many years, yet it has not been built. What is different this time?

Lake County’s population has well exceeded growth forecasts conducted 10-15 years ago. As a result, congestion and accessibility to employment centers in this part of the region is even more real and apparent than it was back then. Subsequently, the project has gained both regional and local momentum as evidenced by its inclusion in the region’s GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan (adopted in 2010) and Lake County’s 2009 approval of a non-binding referendum that favors the project be built.

Shortly after the adoption of GO TO 2040, the Tollway convened the IL 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council (BRAC) to bring together key project stakeholders (including environmental and transportation advocacy groups, the business community, and elected officials) to determine whether there was regional consensus on the project and whether the Tollway should move forward to develop a feasibility analysis. The BRAC’s work concluded with a resolution and summary report, released in June 2012. Consistent with GO TO 2040, the BRAC’s report recommended innovative design features, financing options, and market-driven, multijurisdictional land use planning. Specifically, the BRAC recommended that CMAP manage the development of a corridor plan that integrates land use, transportation, economic development, and open space (p. 67 of the BRAC Report).

The current phase of work builds on the progress of the BRAC and is intended to identify challenges and create recommendations regarding land use, open space, community character, and economic development before further progress is made with road design and engineering.

Will the public be involved in the land use planning effort?

The land use plan effort will include public engagement specifically designed to involve residents, business owners, and others with an interest in the project in a conversation about the corridor land use plan. A number of public workshops will be held in various locations throughout the corridor for the duration of this phase of work. This website will include interactive components in the future to allow for the public to provide input.

Who should I contact to learn more about the land use planning effort?

For questions about the Land Use Plan, contact Kristi DeLaurentiis at kdelaurentiis@metrostrategiesinc.com. For questions about the Tollway’s Feasibility Study, contact Cathy Valente at (630-765-0433 or cvalente@getipass.com).

Will the road be built in my lifetime?

The Tollway’s Feasibility analysis, which examines financing for the road, assumes construction of the facility would begin in 2018. However, moving towards construction requires completion of the Feasibility analysis and land use planning effort, after which the Land Use Committee will be asked to recommend endorsement of the land use plan by corridor municipalities and Lake County before making a recommendation to the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors on whether the Illinois Route 53/120 facility should proceed.

I don’t want this road to be built. Who should I talk to?

If you have comments or questions about whether or not the road should be built, please contact your county board representative.