Chairman Lawlor Should Drop Controversial Rt. 53/120 Proposal Now

NBC-5 Exposes 53 Costs

LAKE COUNTY, IL., FEBRUARY 19, 2016 - We applaud NBC 5 for highlighting the enormous flaws in the highly controversial and extremely costly proposed Rt. 53/120 extension through Lake County’s valuable open space and precious wetlands.

Lake County deserves a forward-thinking plan that emphasizes public transit and preserves its open space and quality of life that Lake County citizens value and will make us competitive in a 21st century economy.  The data is clear that people are driving less, millennials and younger generations are seeking to work and live in walkable, bikeable communities with access to public transit. Corporations are locating and re-locating near alternatives to cars. 

The current proposal is a 20th century plan for a 21st century world. Lawlor’s plan counts on massive development to generate revenues, while pretending that we can magically avoid the vicious circle of roads, development and traffic that residents moved here to escape.

This report shows what we have been saying all along; the proposed Rt. 53/120 extension is unaffordable, unneeded and unfair, and not just for the communities along the corridor. Everyone in Lake County and drivers all along the entire tollway system will pay a heavy price to support this boondoggle project for the benefit of a few developers and land speculators. Lake County residents will pay higher taxes, higher tolls, new tolls, and suffer increased traffic on 41 (as drivers flee high tolls on 94 or 53), and the loss of open space and natural resources. If Lawlor gets his massive development, citizen property taxes will also rise to pay for increased services and infrastructure, as the proposed tax capture TIF grabs 25% of new non-residential taxes - with no end date in sight. 

We would like to believe Chairman Lawlor’s promise that he will “be on the other side” if this project does not respect the environment or the communities along its path, but it’s clear that he intends to keep saying that even when it’s abundantly clear that the project never will. We do not need to wait for $50M more to be spent on another Environmental Impact Study to know that this project would be environmentally devastating. The environmental community is 100% united in opposition to this project as environmentally destructive and the residents along the corridor are in agreement and have made it clear that this will destroy their property values and quality of life.  

We call on Chairman Lawlor to act now and do the right thing for Lake County and his constituents and put a stop to this devastating proposal before we waste one more dollar. We are willing to work with him and anyone else willing to put a stop to this catastrophic proposal, and instead, work toward a better future for our county.

Click to watch NBC-5 Investigates Battle Lines Drawn as State Studies Proposed Lake County Tollway  

Livable Lake County Coalition Sprouts

No Rt. 53 Tax Hike

It’s alive! The Livable Lake County coalition just launched its first campaign to foster sustainable living, growth and transportation in Lake County. Woods & Wetlands is proud to be a founding member. 

The current focus is a grassroots campaign challenging the proposed Route 53/120 extension in Lake County. As outlined by the Illinois Tollway Authority, the Route 53/12 extension would create financial hardsh

ips for residents (including a barrage of tolls and taxes), increase pollution-related health hazards, and impact more than 31,000 acres—more than in all of the Lake County Forest Preserves. 

Livable Lake County’s April 19 public launch came with a Facebook page, a Twitter page, an online petition and a GoFundMe campaign.

Within 10 days of its debut, Livable Lake County’s Facebook page had already garnered more than 375 likes.  By comparison, Clean Power Lake County’s Facebook page took nearly 18 months to garner 375 likes.

Woods & Wetlands hopes to raise $100,000 to hire a full-time organizer, provide yard signs and T-shirts for supporters, organize house parties, conduct polls and place advertising. So far, donors have pledged nearly $3,000 via Livable Lake County’s GoFundMe campaign and private donations.

In addition, more than 350 people have signed online and postcard petitions urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to reject the Route 53/120 extension.

To help the Sierra Club and Livable Lake County stop the economically disastrous Route 53 extension and protect our precious wetlands and open spaces:

 Remember, we are fighting big, well-funded interests! 

We're a team of volunteers enthusiastic about sustainability. Right now we're organizing to end pollution from the NRG coal fired power plant; Stop the Rt. 53 Tax Hike to save thousands of acres of open space in Lake County; Protect our region from Exploding Oil Trains; and Keep Coal Tar Sealants out of the Des Plaines Watershed. We would love to have you join us! We're the Woods and Wetlands Group of the Sierra Club, with 2000 members in Lake and northeast Cook counties in Illinois.


Health and Environmental Justice Forum

We helped bring members of the community together to learn about the health impacts of pollution from the Midwest Generation coal-fired power plant on the shore of Lake Michigan at the end of Greenwood Avenue. The event took place on June 13th in Waukegan at the North Shore Church of Christ, and speakers included leaders from the community, Respiratory Health, Little Village Environmental Justice, NAACP, and the Sierra Club, with a surprise announcement from a city alderman. Thanks to all of the Clean Power Lake County coalition members, especially Lake Forest LWV for producing this video. Watch and learn! 

This campaign is one of our three top goals for 2013. With your help we can win a closing date for Lake County's biggest source of pollution, and a transition plan to a healthier future. Please contribute to W&W. For future CPLC events, check our calendar.
For more information, visit the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign website»

Hike the FAP 342 Corridor

A group of 18 enjoyed a beautiful hike through these frozen wetland areas January, 2012. Stay tuned for more Outings through this secret public wildlife corridor that spans half of Lake County.

Salem Creek Creatures
Learn about W&W Outings - join the W&W Outings List.
You can do it Online or by e-mail: Just click Outings List to address an e-mail message to

Then watch for confirmation e-mails and reply according to the instructions.

Make sure these commands are included in the body of the message: 
SUB il-wwg-outings-forum firstname lastname 
(substituting your name) and send the message.


Chasing Arrows

Confused about what you can recycle? Not sure where to drop off that broken microwave? Wonder if you should bag those recyclables or just toss them in the bin?

In April we reported our success in defeating a plan to build incinerators in Lake County. Now everyone needs to pitch in to the best alternative - Recycling! Recent news reports reveal that plastics and steel  manufacturers need more of our trash to supply their needs. It's time for us to seize the opportunity and be one of those chasing arrows in the logo.

Recycling specialists from the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County provided a wealth of information at our May meeting. If you missed it, don't despair! You can still get involved with the Club to help increase recycling, and you can get great information anytime all about recycling in Lake County at their website at SWALCO».


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