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While most of you head east for a living, the opening of the Eola Road interchange on Interstate 88 just might make life better for those of you who use the Route 59 exit. Or may be some of you might use it for the first time this holiday season. It opened Saturday 10 years after it was proposed and six months after construction started.

The interchange is designed to decrease congestion on Route 59, and those coming and going to Aurora a fifth option to I-88.

Have you noticed any difference in traffic because of it? Do you think it will make a difference in traffic in Naperville?

After the alleged antics of one 67-year-old in Naperville last week, riding a bicycle downtown sounds like a life-threatening proposition. Naperville bicyclists say this incidient might be extreme but riding on congested streets has been risky for as long at they can remember. But some say the real problem is that bicyclists don't act like cars. They don't take the right-of-way and sometimes, they don't obey the rules of the road. One even said a driver said he should get his "toy" off the road, according to a story Sunday in The Sun.

What do you think? Bicyclists, what are your biggest fears riding a bicycle? Tell us your sad stories. Drivers, what aggravates you the most about those on two wheels? Anyone wish they'd paid more attention and hit a cyclist?

With the economy in a tail-spin, gas prices never guaranteed, and a changing world that just might make bicycling the cheaper and fitter way to go, could bicycle ever really replace cars as the rulers of the road. Tell us what you think.

A group of developers who own property near the Route 59 Metra station are planning to meet with the city to discuss a plan to turn their land into between 170 and 180 commuter parking spots, which they will sell to commuters for $8,900.

The owners estimate that with a loan, the spots would cost an average commuter $30 a month, while the city charges $120 for residents and $145 for nonresidents every three months for a permit in its lot.

There is currently an estimated two-year wait for a permit at the Route 59 lot, and a 6 ½ and nine-year wait for a permit in the downtown lots.

With these factors in mind, do you think it makes sense to buy one of these spots if the plan is approved? Would you buy one? Do you think they will sell out, and if so, how quickly?

DuPage County says it's going to experiment with a combination of salt and beet juice to help save money this winter when clearing roads of ice and snow. Sounds like a science experiment from junior high, but whatever works. And here in Naperville, we're all for saving taxpayer money.

Apparently the huge piles of snow from last year depleted stockpiles, causing salt prices to skyrocket. Last season, DuPage's highway department laid 33,000 tons of salt - 9,000 more tons of salt than originally planned. The Chicago area received 60.3 inches of snow from November 2007 through March 2008. The average is 38 inches.

Let's hope this winter doesn't bring that much of the white stuff. Officials say we won't, but county crews already used the mixture earlier this week, spreading about 2,500 gallons on the county's bridges, hills, curves and two-lane roads.

What do you expect this winter? Any better ideas than beet juice? How do you plan to prepare for the onslaught of freezing temperatures and snowstorms?

The city's Web site says that during construction on the intersection at 75th and Washington streets, motorists who live in that immediate area should use Modaff, Gartner and Olesen roads for north/south travel and Bailey Road for east/west travel as alternate routes. The projecct is slated to get under way sometime this month but will pick up steam sometime in March after the worst of winter is over.

A column Friday warned readers that traffic there, which already is difficult, will only get worse during the reconstruction project where lanes will be widened, turn lanes improved and a sound barrier installed for Maplebrook neighborhoods. But in the end, the headache should be worth the improvements.

Several readers expressed concern about taking any detour through neighborhoods where kids are walking to school and playing outside.

If you commute through this intersection, what are your detour plans? If you live in one of these neighborhoods, what is your suggestion for avoiding the area? What is your biggest concern about more motorists driving down your streets?


Naperville officials rallied along Route 59 Thursday to show their support for a capital bill that would include money to pay for widening the always congested Route 59. In case you've been living under a rock, Illinois stands to lose $9 billion in matching federal funds if the Legislature doesn't get off its fanny and pass a capital bill. We haven't had one here in eight years, and school buildings, roads and bridges are falling apart.

No politician wants to raise taxes, but no one wants to toss away all those hard-earned federal dollars, either. Naperville officials and local Rebublican legislators want you to contact Gov. Rod Blagojevich, state Senate leader Emil Jones and House Speaker Mike Madigan and tell them you want to see a capital bill approved by Oct. 1.

Will you do it? Will you bother to call or write your legislative leaders and governor? Would it make any difference in the long run? Would you do it if you knew their e-mail addresses?

City Council members Bob Fieseler (who comments on the Potluck forum as Councilman Bob) and Grant Wehrli want Naperville to partner with Argonne National Laboratory and Packer Engineering to develop alternative energy technologies such as hydrogen in citywide departments.

The initiative could also involve partnerships with public and private organizations to invite auto makers of hydrogen-powered cars to work in Naperville because of its technical talent base and the city's emphasis on clean energy sources.

We're talking not only the use of hydrogen-powered vehicles by, for example, the public works department, but possibly a hydrogen plant that would generate electricity.

Should Naperville pursue consideration of these ideas? How well is the city embracing alternative energy solutions--far more than other communities, well enough, so-so, or not nearly well enough? What level of taxpayer-funded commitment do you think the city of Naperville should make to renewable energy solutions?

Here's the latest sign of how higher fuel prices are affecting our daily lives: In Naperville School District 203, buses are making 25 percent fewer stops this year to reduce fuel consumption. Fewer stops means that for many children, their stops are farther from their homes. Only a block or so in most cases, the district says, adding that it is fielding many complaints from parents about this, Friday's Sun reports.

Parents, how do you feel about the new system? If you're negatively impacted by it, what do you think should be done? And taxpayers, what do you think? Should the district be commended for trying something that will save money, and positively impact the environment via reduced fuel consumption? If these type of changes are to become the norm, what should district officials consider as they implement them?

Metropolitan Planning Council is out with a report that says traffic congestion in the Chicago region is costing $7.3 billion per year in needless commuting time, wasted fuel, environmental damages and other effects of gridlock.

How much attention do you pay to these types of reports? We all know traffic stinks. How much do the findings in a report that took months or years to research and write affect your opinion on the topic?

The real questions remain: What will it take for you to change your driving habits? Have you ever considered car-pooling, using public transportation or other means to reduce the amount of time your vehicle is on the road? If the government wanted to get serious about reducing congestion, what incentives should it offer or investments in mass transit should it make to get vehicles off the road?

There's a nine-year wait to get a space in a commuter parking lot in Naperville. Think about that. Nine years. You could move here when your kid is entering kindergarten and he could be in high school by the time you finally get the call: "Mr. Smith, we have a space for you."

There are remote Park and Ride lots, which help. There are bus routes, which, if you're lucky enough to live within walking distance of, can get you to the train. But Naperville, with the two busiest stations in the entire Metra system, and oodles of parking decks for shoppers and diners downtown, has no parking decks for commuters.

Other towns do, like Downers Grove. Why, there's even government money available to help build such decks, you just need to ask Metra and they'll see what they can do.

The question is this: How much would you be willing to pay to park in a deck for commuters near the downtown train station? Three dollars a day? Five dollars a day? User fees would have to cover the costs, city officials say.

Also, the city is doing a study of the area around the Fifth Avenue Station. How important is it to you that the study include consideration of a parking deck for commuters? In other words, with sites like the public works facility ripe for redevelopment, what should be done with that land: parking deck for commuters, or something else?

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