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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.”
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.”
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)
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- 53-year-old Lansing man shot and killed at QuikTrip (August 3, 2023)
- Lansing approves QuikTrip gas station at former Kmart location (February 6, 2021)