FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2021
CONTACT: John W. Kieken, 708-302-5332
NorthPoint Proposal Grows While Draft Studies Shrink
Draft Study From Joliet Proves Rt 53 Cannot Handle NorthPoint
Chris Regis, Attorney for the City of Joliet, turned over two more documents to Plaintiff’s attorneys today. First is a Kimley-Horn “Traffic Impact Study” titled “Compass Business Park (West Side)” marked “DRAFT”, dated December 2021. Second is a NorthPoint site layout dated 12/07/2021 covering only 536 acres west of IL Route 53 showing 4.2 million square feet of warehouses. Plaintiff still has yet to receive any environmental impact studies.
The “obsolete” April 2020 draft traffic study obtained last week was 180 pages. This December 2021 draft is only 29 pages and yet the new proposal in front of Joliet City Council this time is 75% larger. The NorthPoint proposal gets larger while its studies stay in draft mode and shrink down to practically nothing.
This draft covers only 536 acres, which is less than 25% of the total acreage in front of Joliet City Council and less than 15% of the total proposed project, which is approximately 4,000 acres. Kimley-Horn refers to this as the “initial phase” of the proposed NorthPoint project. Is Joliet City Council really going to vote on this county-altering project next week without completed traffic and environmental impact studies?
As per this draft report, 17,000 vehicles per day are presently using Rt 53 near Millsdale Rd., and this 536-acre “initial phase” is expected to generate 4,980 cars and 930 trucks per day. Remember, this is only 4.2 million square feet. The total NorthPoint project, which is expected to be 40 million square feet, would bring 10 times the amount of traffic discussed in this draft. Ignoring the trucks, can IL Route 53 handle a QUADRUPLING of automobiles – 50,000 additional cars on top of the existing 17,000 per day?
They repeatedly state that all truck traffic must enter via a “driveway” at the Union Pacific railroad crossing on Millsdale Rd., while the second access point on IL Route 53 will be restricted to automobiles. Kimley-Horn says “stricter enforcement [of Millsdale] may be necessary to ensure trucks do not utilize this route.” Exactly how much will this additional traffic and police enforcement cost the City of Joliet taxpayers?
CS: Okay, so there’s no traffic impact study reflecting the current proposal in the hands of the City of Joliet right now?
Sjogren: That’s correct.
CS: Okay, and will it [Traffic Impact Study] be there before we meet in December twenty-first?
Sjogren: I’m not sure. We’re working with the City and the County on the scope of the study to be done.
CS: You’re not sure if it’s going to be ready for when they vote?
Only a month ago, with the City Council hearings scheduled for December 21st, they were still working on the scope for the Traffic Impact Study “to be done”. Based on what’s been turned over so far, it doesn’t appear as if any studies will be complete in time for next week’s hearings and vote.
The next court hearing will be in front of Judge Pavich in Will County on December 15th at 10:30 AM.
No Studies Exist, Joliet Releases Limited Documents to Stop NorthPoint
Chris Regis, Attorney for the City of Joliet, turned over some documents to the Plaintiff’s attorneys December 9th. Regis claims that Joliet does not have any other traffic studies other than a 2020 draft traffic study provided to Plaintiff’s attorneys that he called “obsolete” and no environmental impact studies. Yet, Joliet’s City Council plans to proceed with hearings on December 21st and vote on approving this massive project with or without environmental or traffic studies.
With more than 10,000 additional semi-trucks daily, the question is not whether there will be an impact on the environment, but rather what impact it will have.
Kathy Sons, attorney representing NorthPoint, appeared for the hearing and informed the court that she intends to file a petition for leave to intervene in the case.
Stop NorthPoint Files Emergency Motion to See Traffic Studies or Stop Hearings
On December 3rd, attorneys hired by John Kieken, co-founder of Stop NorthPoint LLC, filed a complaint in the Will County courthouse against the City of Joliet seeking injunctive and declaratory relief for denial of his Illinois Freedom of Information Act request for traffic impact studies regarding the NorthPoint project.
A follow-up emergency motion was filed on December 7th seeking to compel Joliet to produce the traffic studies before any hearings on NorthPoint’s annexation request can proceed.
“VERIFIED EMERGENCY MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER/PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION TO COMPEL JOLIET TO PRODUCE DOCUMENTS RELATED TO ANY TRAFFIC STUDIES AHEAD OF THE DECEMBER 21, 2021 CITY COUNCIL HEARINGS AND TO STAY THE CITY COUNCIL HEARINGS”
The motions come after revelations uncovered in recent Stop NorthPoint FOIA requests that raise serious questions about the impact of the massive proposed project.
Kieken is represented by the Stop NorthPoint legal team, Robert Fioretti, Richard Linden, and Peter Bustamante.
NorthPoint Gets More Sweetener Than Dunkin’
If you want to build a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru in Joliet, traffic studies are apparently required. However, Joliet officials are poised to approve a 4,000-acre industrial warehouse complex without any such impact studies. Maybe if Dunkin’ had included a fancy closed-loop drive-thru, traffic studies would not have been an issue.
On the heels of exposing plans for an Illiana-Lite Expressway as part of NorthPoint’s massive boondoggle, another email obtained by Freedom of Information requests by Kieken and Stop NorthPoint reveal that IDOT does not believe the area can handle additional traffic — closed loop or not.
Even as the number of traffic studies provided by Joliet for the massive project is zero, no less than the IDOT District 1 Engineer has stated emphatically that Route 53 simply cannot support a 20-million-square-foot development — and this is BEFORE NorthPoint announced the expansion of their project by nearly 1,000 acres last October. Now that the massive project is approaching 4,000 acres, it is estimated that it would contain 40 million square feet of warehouse space, which adds twice the traffic that IDOT already said this area cannot handle.
While discussing Compass Business Park on June 19, 2020, IDOT District 1 Engineer Anthony Quigley said,
“… IL 53 would not be able to support a 20 million SF development….”
He made additional comments regarding impacts to the general area:
“… The intersection at Lorenzo Road is getting over burdened with trucks. The interchange at I80 is even worse. It will be at least 5 years before the interchange at I80 is completed”
This not only directly contradicts repeated assertions by both NorthPoint and Joliet that the “closed loop” would alleviate traffic in the area, it supports CenterPoint’s objection that the project would drastically overburden local roads and intersections.
Of note, IDOT was well aware of the “closed loop” concept when having these discussions and presumably took into consideration the ~20,000 vehicles/day a project of this magnitude would add to Rt 53: NorthPoint had already been trumpeting their “closed loop” road for a full three years by the time of Quigley’s comments, which were made in spite of the loop’s supposed ability to somehow temper the traffic impacts and destruction to local infrastructure the project would bring.
The public deserves an opportunity to inspect the traffic engineering and traffic impact studies for this project before Joliet City Council conducts hearings on December 21, 2021. There is no basis for the city to keep this information secret and away from public view.
- Click here to read the Complaint
- Click here to read the TRO
- Click here to download the Joliet files – 12/09/21
- Click here to download the Joliet files – 12/14/21
For Questions and Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joliet plans to vote on the newly expanded NorthPoint boondoggle at the City Council Hearing on December 21 at 6:30 PM. Attendance at this hearing is critical.