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Sunday, February 25, 2024
HomeNewsPlans for Green Bay Road improvements start to develop

Plans for Green Bay Road improvements start to develop

Kenilworth residents had a possibility to offer feedback on initial design concepts for improvements along Green Bay Road during an open house on Thursday evening.

Through the 90-minute open house at Kenilworth Assembly Hall, 410 Kenilworth Ave., information on the project was presented on detailed posters, together with opportunities to depart positive and negative comments and ask inquiries to representatives from engineering and design firms working on the plans.

In line with the Village’s website, officials have focused on improving Green Bay Road since 2022 when a revisioning process for the corridor was complete and concerns were raised related to traffic speed and pedestrian safety. With those concerns, Kenilworth officials teamed with the Village of Winnetka and engineering firm Ciorba Group to conduct a study of Green Bay Road between Kenilworth Avenue and Winnetka Road.

The concept plans developed from that study were presented Thursday evening.

Jodi Mariano, landscape architect with Teska Associates, said receiving feedback from the general public is essential as each Kenilworth and Winnetka determine how they need to move forward with any potential project.

Ryan Jacox, with Ciorba Group, goes over a design concept with some Kenilworth residents on Thursday.

“There are lots of agencies that they should coordinate with to make any improvements to the road — (The Illinois Department of Transportation) in addition to the Union Pacific Railroad,” she said. “And so, having that input helps to have those conversations with the agencies and form of move the project forward.”

Mariano said the feedback she heard from residents was “really useful,” and far of it centered on the security of the road and concerns about speeding traffic.

This included “a desire to calm traffic and to slow traffic down but still make it move efficiently while providing safer spaces for pedestrians and safer spaces in front of companies.”

That was a priority shared by Kenilworth resident Jeffrey Stafford, who said he liked one concept that would scale back the variety of lanes.

“I feel taking it from 4 lanes to 2 with a middle turn lane would help reduce the speed when people drive on the road,” he said.

Stafford also said he liked proposals that will add more parking and green space to the corridor.

Fellow resident Julie Garrison said she also liked among the concepts that will improve safety for pedestrians.

“I like that they’d enhance it with higher sidewalks, wider sidewalks and landscaping,” she said.

Garrison, who said she’s lived within the Village for greater than 30 years, also shared a number of concerns she had concerning the project, primarily that Kenilworth doesn’t have much room to grow.

“The problem is Kenilworth has a really small area, and it’s not going to get any greater for business development,” she said. “And now we have a really wonderful west side neighborhood, and this abuts right as much as the neighborhood.”

While she said there are proposed ideas that she likes, her biggest concern is that they’d cut into residential areas.

“We don’t want it to encroach on the neighborhood,” she said. “Obviously we don’t want it to affect property values. But to the extent that they will beautify it, I feel that’s great.”

One other longtime resident, Vince Dina, said he’s “all the time like(d) the established order” and didn’t necessarily see the necessity for any changes, but in addition said he thought some ideas were good, including the addition of more parking spaces.

Dina’s biggest concern was any potential costs and the way the Village would pay for anything in the event that they ultimately determine to maneuver forward.

“I’ve lived here 32 years and it’s been OK just the way it is,” he said. “I suppose, depending on the associated fee, perhaps it’ll be OK.”

Since the Green Bay Road enhancement project is being done collaboratively with Winnetka, Mariano said officials will hold a second open house to receive feedback from that Village’s residents. That open house will likely be held next Thursday, Feb. 15, at Tala Coffee Roasters, 93 Green Bay Road.

Mariano said any residents can attend the open house, no matter which community they live in.

Once each open houses are done, she said the planning agencies will return to Kenilworth and Winnetka to share all the knowledge they collected, while also continuing conversations with IDOT and Union Pacific regarding future steps.

“A project like this takes an extended time to get through permitting,” Mariano said, “and so having these meetings early on and having community input just helps the method move along more easily.”

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