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IDOT wants feedback on highway rest areas

State Journal Register

Thursday, October 12, 2017  |  Article  |  Doug Fink

Transportation (91)

Illinois transportation officials want to know what people think of the roadside rest areas and welcome centers scattered around the state.

From now until the end of the month, motorists can fill out a 20 question online survey (or a paper version for those who prefer it) to voice their opinions about the facilities.

It isn’t just for the Illinois Department of Transportation’s amusement.

“Many of our rest areas have reached a point where it’s time to evaluate their future,” said Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn in a statement. ”“We hope as many people as possible participate so our rest areas can better reflect the changing needs of today’s travelers.”

IDOT says it takes about 10 minutes to complete the survey. People are first asked to name the last rest stop they visited. After that, people are asked questions like why they stopped, what amenities they like at rest stops, how Illinois stops compare to those in other states and the like.

People are also asked if they would like to see private businesses be allowed to develop at or adjacent to rest stops, something that is not allowed by law.

“It’s really just a matter of getting feedback on the idea,” said IDOT spokeswoman Kelsea Gurski. “There are no certain plans in place. We’re just collecting as much feedback as we can.”

The survey is just one component of a broader study of rest areas that will include input from the trucking industry, obtaining traffic volume counts and talking with transportation officials in other states to see what they do. Illinois operates 30 rest areas around the state.

The survey is available at idot.illinois.gov. Paper copies are available at some rest sites or will be mailed if people call (402) 399-1405.

Deadline for completing the surveys is Oct. 29.

-- Contact Doug Finke: doug.finke@sj-r.com, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr.