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Feature Stories for October 5, 2000

The STAR is distributed every Thursday.  
The Crown Point Network offers a sneak preview of weekly cover stories.

Signs put break on local traffic

By Andrew Steele 
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - The City Council on Monday approved new stop signs for four intersections in the city, including Goldsborough Street at Court Street. 
    East- and west-bound traffic on Goldsborough has always stopped at West Street and for red lights at Main Street, but never at Court. 
    But many drivers on north- or south-bound Court Street expect Goldsborough traffic to stop, city officials said, leading to a higher-than-normal accident count at the intersection. 
    "I've been hit almost a dozen times at that intersection," Councilman Paul Bremer (R-1st) said. 
    Councilman William Condron (R-4th) said he absent-mindedly pulled out in front of a car at the intersection a couple weeks ago and was nearly broadsided. 
    Councilman James Wirtz (R-at large) was the only member to express reservations about the signs. 
    "It's getting harder and harder to move through this community," he said. 
    With stop signs on Goldsborough, "the distance is so short" between stops, Wirtz said. 
    City Engineer Jeff Ban pointed out that Goldsborough traffic will face the same set of lights and signs at Main, Court and West streets that North Street traffic does crossing the same streets. 
    "I've had a number of calls (asking for stop signs)," Ban said. "We've been looking at that the last six months." 
    The council also approved stop signs for Madison Street at 97th Place. "Madison is becoming a drag strip," Mayor James Metros said. "It's a beautiful four-lane road, real straight. The residents really need a stop sign to slow people down." 
    Stop signs will also be put up at Greenview Place and Driftwood Trail, and at Morningside Court and Greenview Place. 

END

Illiana expressway gets lift with public support
But officials warn that building would still be 10 years away

By Andrew Steele 
Star Managing Editor

MERRILLVILLE - The effort to raise support for the proposed Illiana Expressway continued Friday with a Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce forum on the topic at the Radisson Hotel. 
    Public officials and business people who support a new highway are trying to raise pressure on state officials to put the project on their lists of transportation priorities. 
    Friday's event featured a speech by Crown Point Mayor James Metros, who called south Lake County "more of a suburb of Chicago than ... a part of Indianapolis, Indiana." 
    In Crown Point, he said, "every (new) subdivision fills up with folks moving from Illinois over to Indiana because they find out taxes are lower here." 
    But they still commute to Chicago area jobs, congesting Exchange Road and the Borman Expressway even more, Metros said. 
    In addition to alleviating traffic congestion, a new expressway would reduce air pollution by allowing trucks to move through the area more quickly, Metros argued. 
    An Illiana Expressway would run between I-65 and I-57. The I-65 intersection would likely be between Crown Point and Lowell, Metros said. 
    But drivers likely won't see the relief for some time, he said. A recent meeting of Indiana and Illinois Department of Transportation officials led to a conclusion that, if planning for the expressway began immediately, it could be built in "maybe 10 years, more realistically 20 years," Metros said. 

 


    The route would have to be determined, right-of-ways acquired, environmental studies and engineering done, and contracts awarded before construction could begin. 
    And recently, the issue has become tied up with the third Chicago airport debate, Metros noted. 
    Gary Mayor Scott King has come out against the expressway for fear that it would aid the supporters of the Peotone airport site. King wants Gary's airport to be the Chicago area's third. 
    But Metros argued that expressway supporters should isolate the two issues, and concentrate on the problems the expressway could help solve. 
    "We have got a pollution problem, we have got a traffic problem and we have got absolutely no ability to move people," he said. 
    The Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce, like many business organizations and governmental bodies, has passed a resolution supporting the expressway. 
    One of the chamber's members, Bob Wilson, noted "a big, big wall between the Indiana and Illinois side." While people from Indiana are willing to come west to shop at places like River Oaks Mall, they won't come to Illinois "for the little stuff," he said. 
    Wilson thought the expressway would help with that. 
    Metros said officials and business groups need to continue pressuring state governments to provide funding for the project.

END

 

 

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