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Trucks at QuikTrip, interstate shortcut, and Burnham ‘drag race’ concerns voiced before Village Board

LANSING, Ill. (October 5, 2023) – During the public comment portion of the Village Board meeting on October 3, two commenters took the opportunity to address the board about topics of concern, such as dangerous Burnham traffic, an emergency interstate access point being abused, and trucks staying overnight at QuikTrip.

Burnham traffic

A local resident named Marcella expressed concerns about the safety of travel on Burnham Avenue near her home between 172nd Street and the interstate.

“In the last two years, traffic has picked up exponentially,” she said. “All night long I hear cars screeching. … Just this evening I watched two cars drag race. … When the light changed, they floored it and both of them went flying by.”

Marcella said in her experience as a resident along Burnham, some drivers don’t seem to understand that the street is in a residential area. She also questioned why Burnham has four lanes with no middle lane, while a similar street like Wentworth has two lanes with a middle turning lane.

Marcella lives on Burnham Avenue and says the area near the Bernice Road intersection is dangerous for drivers and pedestrians alike. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

“If we could do something to remind [people] that this is a residential area,” Marcella said, adding that she saw a woman nearly get hit by a car while crossing near the Bernice and Burnham intersection.

Mayor Patty Eidam said she’s seen the same problem herself, and directed Marcella to speak with Lansing Police Chief Al Phillips further about the issue.

Interstate emergency access abuse

JoEllyn Kelley, owner of J.J. Kelley’s Restaurant & Pub, expressed concerns about an emergency interstate access point near her business, which is located at 2455 Bernice Road, adjacent to the interstate.

A gate kept the access point closed off until about two months ago when it was torn down, Kelley said, allowing cars to exit and enter the interstate through the shortcut.

A gate keeping vehicles from using the emergency interstate access near J.J. Kelley’s was torn down months ago, according to JoEllyn Kelley. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

“It’s scary. My family works there. I’m there. How do I know that someone’s not going to pull up, rob us, and then pull right onto the expressway and get away? It’s crazy that there’s nothing blocking that,” Kelley said.

Mayor Eidam affirmed Kelley’s concern, and asked Public Works Director Gary Richardson for an update on the situation. Richardson said he’d called the Illinois Department of Transportation, which is responsible for the interstate.

“We were going to put cement barricades there. [IDOT] would not allow us. [They said] if there is an emergency, police or fire would not be able to get through. It’s the same answer, ‘We know, we’ll get to it,'” Richardson said.

Eidam reiterated that IDOT is the decision-maker in such matters, but she did suggest that she or someone else representing the Village could call state representatives to get the issue addressed faster. “It truly is a safety hazard,” she said.

The short access road leads directly to the interstate. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

QuikTrip trucks overnight

As a neighbor of the new QuikTrip gas station, Kelley also said she’s noticed trucks parked at the location overnight.

“We have trucks overnight every night. … I’m talking about 40 or 50 trucks,” she said. “We know what goes on with all the hotels around there. The girls are coming over to see all the boys. It’s horrible.”

Many trucks can be seen in the large parking lot near QuikTrip in Lansing shortly after 8:30 p.m. on October 3, 2023. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Kelley referenced promises made by QuikTrip representatives years ago when they came before the Village Board to pitch their project, saying at the time they promised no trucks would be parked overnight. Village Administrator Dan Podgorski said QuikTrip did indicate that its lack of overnight facilities would discourage an overnight crowd.

The following is an exchange that took place during the January 19, 2021, Committee of the Whole meeting, between Trustee Jerry Zeldenrust and QuikTrip representative Andrew Smith:

Zeldenrust: “How do you regulate overnight truck parking?”
Smith: “We’re not set up for overnight truck parking. We have a limited amount of truck parking to make sure they’re in and out. We don’t have overnight facilities like showers or anything like that, it’s purely for trucks to stop on their way, fuel, get something in the store and then be on their way.”
Zeldenrust: “I guess my question is how does that get supervised, then?”
Smith: “Our employees are well trained on it. They’ll monitor it. I think the overnight facilities are really what encourage that. If we had a large truck parking lot, it would encourage them to stay longer, but the design of the site will regulate that more than anything.”

Podgorski told Kelley, “We’re going to be sitting down and talking with the police chief about what we can do to police it, but we’ll also reach out to QuikTrip and ask them what they can do to help solve and police their own issues that they’re having on the property.”

Trucks line the parking lot near the former Esporta Fitness (right) and new QuikTrip on October 3, 2023. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

About public comments and board meetings

Lansing residents can comment on any issue of importance to them during Village Board meetings. Meetings start at 6 p.m. at the Lansing Courtroom Complex, located at the Lansing Police Department at 2710 170th Street.

For a video primer on Village Board meetings, watch The Lansing Journal’s video below. (Public comment is specifically discussed from 8:42 – 15:02)


Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.


  1. Josh and Melanie do a great job of giving Lansing residents the news. That said it’s amusing to hear the elected officials deflect and put the solutions on others to solve the issues in Lansing. They literally asked HOW the QT would keep trucks from staying overnight and were assured it wouldn’t happen and yet they are surprised by the fact that it is happening. I’m shocked with all the hotels around a TRUCKSTOP they didn’t see this coming. Has anyone thought to just BLOCK OFF the parking at the fitness club and send the bill to QT?

  2. Matthew 7:15-23
    King James Version
    15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    What does the will of man look like? You won’t know until you are digging out from under it. I am being kind when I say that driving while blind never ends well. For future reference, God saw this coming. Include Him in your due diligence for all things Lansing next time.

    In Jesus name.

  3. Right there for all to read. The intent of a QuickTrip, Pilot, Love’s…etc., is to cator to the trucking industry drivers (see link here providing ammenities to freshen up, fuel up, and load up along with ample parking for an overnight nap. The rep for QuickTrip answered the question(s) presented to him by the Village Trustee by saying they (QT) were not set up for showers. What seemed to escape those with decision making authority for Lansing was all the surrounding hotels that house long-term residents who, for a price, will allow a hungry, tired, dusty trucker respite. Quick Trips doesn’t need to install bathing facilities. Lansing already had them ready for their arrival. How’s that for hospitality.

    P.S. The linked website was found after asking Google, ‘Does QT have overnight parking and baths?’ All of five minutes to search and read.

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