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Sidewalks coming to Glen Ellyn, despite neighbors' concerns

Published: Friday, July 12, 2013 6:46 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:56 p.m. CDT

GLEN ELLYN – Sidewalks will be installed as part of street projects on Oak Street and Brandon Avenue in Glen Ellyn, causing concern among residents who say the sidewalk would encroach on their privacy.

"Nobody wants it; it's a privacy thing," said Missy McMaster, who lives on the corner of Oak Street and Euclid Avenue.

McMaster said that based on the layout of her property, the sidewalk would be located about three or four feet away from the last step outside her front door, bringing pedestrians close to her door and front windows.

Weighing residential concerns versus overall benefits to the village, trustees approved recommendations from the village's Capital Improvements Commission to place sidewalk along the south side of Oak Street between Western Avenue and Main Street and the east side of Brandon Avenue between Hillside and Ridgewood avenues.

"The overall needs of the entire neighborhood, the entire community, justified the benefits of having the sidewalk there," said Trustee Tim Elliott, who voted in favor of the sidewalks.

The recommendations were each passed 5-1, with Trustee Tim O'Shea as the lone "no" vote for both.

The 1,600-foot sidewalk on Oak Street will cost about $90,500, while the 560-foot sidewalk along Brandon Avenue is expected to cost $46,750.

McMaster collected signatures from her neighbors as part of a petition against the sidewalk on Oak Street. Of the 12 homes along the affected corridor, nine were represented in the petition.

The petition addressed privacy concerns and also stated that the sidewalk was unnecessary because there is a sidewalk that runs along the other side of the street.

"I think they want to make it all uniform, all the same," McMaster said. "I think that takes away some of the charm of Glen Ellyn."

In response to residential input regarding privacy, the recommendations approved by village trustees included placing the sidewalks as close to the curb as possible, in order to maximize the space between the sidewalks and homes, said Bob Minix, the village's professional engineer.

Even if the sidewalks are close to the curb, pedestrian conditions still will be safer than they are without sidewalks, Minix said.

The sidewalk installation will coincide with the Oak-Euclid-Forest-Alley Improvements Project on Oak Street and the 2013 Street Improvements Project on Brandon Avenue.

"There's less disruption because everything would be done as the same project," Minix said, adding that it will be easier to put in the sidewalk in conjunction with the street work, lowering costs and improving the look of the final product.

Sidewalks are expected to be installed on Oak Street by early September and on Brandon Avenue by Nov. 1, he said.

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