Will the streets around Glen Ellyn’s business district have traffic that flows in both directions?
That will be for the village board of trustees to decide when final results from a two-year traffic study are presented to the board in a few months. On the heels of the 2009 Downtown Strategic Plan the board tapped KLOA to assess downtown traffic patterns and parking and determine the impacts of changing existing one-way streets to two-way. On Wednesday night a KLOA representative and members of village staff briefly outlined the study at a public forum. The study primarily examined the four roads surrounding the central business district – Main Street, Crescent Boulevard, Forest Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. KLOA studied daily vehicle counts at various locations in the central business district, as well as peak traffic flow and pedestrian flow.
Although the sparse crowd was not told if the consulting firm was leaning one way or another in their recommendation Bob Minix, the village engineer, said staff was leaning toward the idea of opening the streets up to two-way traffic.
Michael Worthman, a KLOA representative, said keeping the roads one-way improved traffic flow because the capacity of the roadway was maximized. But, shifting to a two-way flow improved access and circulation to the central business district.
“A two-way road is also easier to navigate for people not familiar with downtown Glen Ellyn,” Worthman said.
In addition to traffic patterns the study also assessed parking concerns in the downtown central business district. Worthman said the village could immediately increase parking along Duane Street by replacing the parallel parking spots on one side of the road with angled parking. He estimated that would add an additional 13 parking spots. Regardless of which plan is adopted, both traffic patterns would give the village 129 downtown parking spots, including the reconfiguration of spots on Duane Street.
The Glen Ellyn Board of Trustees will have the final say in whether or not traffic directions are shifted. Minix said the board will likely take the engineering study and residential comments into consideration before making a decision.
If the board opts to go with two-way traffic downtown, Minix said the change could be accomplished within six months time and have an estimated cost of $30,000 to $50,000, which would include removal of medians, re-striping the roads and creation of new signage. Minix said the village has a capital projects budget of approximately $4.5 million which could be used to fund the project.
Some of the residents in attendance said they wanted to see a more thorough presentation on how the traffic pattern change would impact downtown Glen Ellyn.
“I think there’s a lot to be explained still,” said Ken Kloss.
Kloss said village staff and KLOA did not lay out enough information Wednesday night to sway him one way or another on the matter. While the study indicated that two-way traffic flow would be better around the train tracks, Kloss said the current one-way flow allowed drivers to turn on side streets and work their way around if need be.
Pat Melady, a downtown business owner, said he was also not sure enough information was presented, particularly about parking. He said if the number of spaces was increased on Duane Street, that meant more people would have to cross the train tracks to come to the block of businesses that was the focus of the study. He also questioned whether or not the study should include the possibility of the addition of a downtown parking garage.
Melady said the village should also survey the merchants in the central business district to gauge their opinion on traffic flow.
“They need to feel like they have some kind of ownership in this,” Melady said.