Carpentersville Stakeholders Brainstorm Washington / Main Street Improvements
About 40 community stakeholders shared ideas last week on how to improve the intersection of Washington and Main streets in downtown Carpentersville.
The workshop discussion was hosted by the Kane County Planning Cooperative in partnership with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the village of Carpentersville, focusing on a health impact assessment for Carpentersville’s Old Town neighborhood.
The HIA takes a holistic approach to planning and problem solving that evaluates health-related evidence to inform a future decision. The importance of HIAs has been gaining attention as the connection between planning factors — land use, community design, transportation networks and food systems — have been tied to health issues such as asthma, diabetes and obesity.
Regarding the intersection — which many have described as a bottleneck, particularly during rush hour —the overarching goal is to improve traffic flow, and increase pedestrian and bicycle safety and access. Participants at last Tuesday’s workshop tossed around ideas ranging from the addition of a left-turn lane going north to making Washington Street a one-way street to building a roundabout at the intersection, according to an article in The Courier-News.
To learn more about the project and the upcoming process, visit the project website here.
Why Does Carpentersville Need an Old Town Plan?
The village’s goal is to engage key stakeholders in the discussion of Old Town and its future. According to the village of Carpentersville Comprehensive Plan “The Old Town Subarea has lost so much of its identity and history that most residents questioned where Downtown Carpentersville was during community outreach exercises.”
By focusing on Old Town, one of the five key subareas of the village, as identified in the comprehensive plan, CMAP hopes that this project will become a catalyst to spur and guide new development in the downtown area.
Founded in 1887 by Charles and John Carpenter, the town has grown from the industrial riverfront community with major expansions occurring in the 1960s moving east and 2000s moving west. As a result, Carpentersville has a diverse housing stock and is the home to many distinguished neighborhoods.
The historic section of town is called “Old Town” and has many of the original buildings that housed industrial companies founded in the late 1800s. Tom Roeser, president and CEO of OTTO, a manufacturer of electrical switches and custom communications devices, has restored several historic buildings; two of those buildings currently house his business Roeser has acquired a number of properties in Old Town and may be interested in acquiring more properties sometime in the near future.
The Fox River runs at a north-south direction virtually dividing the town into an east side and west side with the Main Street Bridge connecting them. The area is historic but its history is that of old manufacturing uses along the river that fell into a disinvestment situation in the 1960s and ‘70s. As noted above, a number of historic buildings are undergoing a transformation as OTTO is rehabbing buildings for light industrial use. With almost 600 employees, OTTO is Carpentersville’s largest private employer.
SOURCE: Introduction to Village of Carpentersville Old Town Plan
About the Carpentersville HIA
Located in Kane County, the village of Carpentersville‘s Old Town area has many historic strengths and community assets that provide a high quality of life for its residents, shoppers, and employees. During peak hours, congestion near the intersection of Washington Street and Main Street in the Old Town Area and compromised visibility at the Fox River trail crossing cause traffic and safety problems for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
The Carpentersville Old Town Plan, which was adopted in 2012 as part of CMAP’s Local Technical Assistance program, recommended transportation improvements for this intersection. The village of Carpentersville, in partnership with the LTA program and Kane County, is now conducting a Health Impact Assessment for the Washington/Main Streets intersection to examine options to address traffic and safety issues at the intersection and nearby Fox River trail crossing. when the KCPC partnered with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
- The Courier-News: Group meets to discuss ways to improve traffic flow in Carpentersville