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Downtown Glen Ellyn study includes intersection improvements, increased parking visibility

Published: Monday, May 20, 2013 3:51 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:48 a.m. CST

GLEN ELLYN – A downtown streetscape and parking study several months in the making was presented to the Glen Ellyn Village Board at a workshop meeting Monday.

As dictated by the grant received to fund it, the study provides a conceptual plan for downtown, rather than specific steps that need to be followed by the village.

Some aspects of the plan include installing consistent streetscape elements and adjusting their intensity to match each area of downtown and improving key intersections through curb extensions, additional landscaping or paver art.

Residents at the workshop meeting voiced concerns about moving the iconic horse trough from Main Street and Crescent Boulevard, which is included as an option in the plan.

"People love it, they appreciate it, they recognize it, they look for it, so I think whatever we do at that intersection, I think we should retain the horse trough in its current position," said Leland Marks, chair of the village's Historic Preservation Commission.

Dan Gardner, principal associate of consulting firm Houseal Lavigne Associates, said moving the horse trough is just one of a few possible options, not an official recommendation.

The study includes other options for the downtown area, such as mid-block crossings, portable outdoor dining, alleyscape and Prairie Path improvements, sustainable landscaping, site furnishings and streetlight standards.

Estimated costs of recommended streetscape improvements to both sides of a typical 400-foot block are $483,180 in the heart of downtown, $318,300 in the transitional area between the urban and residential areas and $151,500 in the downtown residential area.

The study was conducted by consultants Houseal Lavigne Associates, Gary R. Weber Associates, Inc., Engineering Resource Associates, Inc., and Walker Parking Consultants in conjunction with village staff and a steering committee formed to oversee the project.

The village of Glen Ellyn was awarded a $50,000 Community Planning Grant from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to fund the study, which is meant to advance the streetscape and parking recommendations of the village's downtown strategic plan.

Overall, the study found the current parking supply is meeting existing demand and does not warrant the building of standalone parking structures, although a structure that could be used for residential or retail purposes, as well as public parking, may be something the village will want to explore.

The study also recommends improving the visibility and accessibility of available parking.

However, some board members expressed concerns about the perception of parking in downtown.

"For us to keep saying perpetually that there's plenty of parking downtown goes right up against what our business owners and what our residents tell us," Trustee Robert Friedberg said.

Glen Ellyn residents had the opportunity to share their views of downtown through a visual preference survey, two online questionnaires and a public open house March 20.

Following the open house, the study's steering committee met April 10 to discuss the public feedback and voted to recommend that the village board approve the study.

Next steps include finalizing a plan by June 1, Village Manager Mark Franz said. Village staff will present varying recommendations to the board regarding implementation of options presented in the study.

Recommendations could include using the study to set standards for future developments that come to the village, piloting certain options, adding elements of the study to the village's 10-year street program or implementing options as part of regular maintenance, Franz said.

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