Area residents got a sneak peek at the possibilities being explored for Romeoville’s future Metra station and the East Side redevelopment during a Dec. 15 open house at Village Hall.
Konstantine Savoy, principal for East Side lead project consultant Teska Associates, said two alternative concept plans have been developed using feedback received during a Sept. 28 public workshop, along with input from the project steering committee, village staff, Metra and other transit agencies.
Residents were again invited to share their thoughts on the two proposals (outlined below). The next step in the planning process, according to Savoy, will be another meeting of the project’s steering committee, which will eventually settle on one of the alternatives.
“Beginning in early January, we’re going to start to finalize plans,” Savoy said. “Then we come back and have another open house where we present the final plan.” That could happen as soon as mid- to late February, Savoy added.
On Thursday, residents had questions about issues including traffic access, safety and bicycle trails on the new East Side, Savoy said.
A website dedicated to the project is available by clicking here.
East Side Alternatives
Representatives of lead project consultant Teska Associates presented two alternative concept plans for a revitalized East Side.
The first alternative:
- Includes retail and employment-generating uses, including business parks, concentrated near the future Metra station and intersection of 135th Street and Smith Road.
- Features the potential for a vocational school to allow students from across the region to use transit to access education and possibly internships at local businesses.
- Includes a range of residential uses with higher density, such as multi-family, closest to the Metra station, filtering down to low-density residential farther away from the station. Uses include condominiums, duplexes and townhouses in the high- to medium-density range and single family detached homes at lower densities.
- Maintains a portion of the existing 18-hole Big Run Golf Club as a nine-hole course along 135th Street. The remaining nine holes would be replaced with townhouses and single family residential units built in clusters.
- Maintains other existing uses are, including Bambrick Park and homes along Hidden Ridge Lane. The area west of the CN Railroad tracks remains intact, preserving the conservation area for the Hine’s emerald dragonfly.
- Includes a network of existing and proposed trails to enhance connectivity on the East Side.
The second concept plan, known as Alternative 2:
- Features a similar distribution of varying residential units, with the highest density closest to the Metra station and reduced density farther from the station.
- Offers similar concentration of retail businesses and employment-generating uses near the station and at the intersection of 135th Street and Smith Road. However, Alternative 2 includes a substantially larger area devoted to an employment center, creating greater opportunities for business parks and a vocational school to integrate into the natural environment as part of a campus setting.
- Redevelops Big Run Golf Club in its entirety, making way for an active adult residential use.
- Features a similar network of existing and proposed trails to enhance connectivity of the East Side.
Planning for Metra Moving Along
Also on Thursday, residents got a look at the progress being made during the Phase 1 study on the future Metra station, to be built south of the CITGO refinery near 135th Street and New Avenue.
Once again, residents got to view two alternatives for the station. Patricia Barker of Robinson Engineering said two alternative plans are under consideration for how commuters will get from the parking lot to the platform to catch their trains: a design utilizing a tunnel, which would go under the tracks, and an alternative bridge design.
A tunnel design would be by far the more costly of the two, Barker explained, since it would have to tunnel under crude oil pipelines connected to the nearby CITGO refinery.
“Right now, the preferred alternative is the bridge,” she said.
The station, slated to be built in 2014, will offer three trains in the morning and three in the afternoon along the Heritage Corridor line. The commuter lot will have 373 parking spaces, with the potential to be expanded to 636. A “Kiss ‘N Ride” drop-off/pick-up will also be built near the station.
Plase 1, which includes environmental studies, the narrowing down of design concepts and review by agencies including Metra, CN Railroad, Illinois Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, is scheduled to be completed in 2012, with design engineering in 2013.
Barker said residents have until Dec. 30 to enter their written comments into the public record by sending them to:
Village of Romeoville
Romeoville, Illinois 60446
Attention: Nathan Darga