No action take to allow changes on Touhy
by Jason Merel
The Lincolnwood Village Board of Trustees at its meeting Oct. 2 took no action on whether to allow proposed roadway modifications related to a development at 3720 W. Touhy Ave. in Skokie and told the developer to continue working with affected homeowners to ease their concerns about parking and safety in the village.
Tim Hague of Keystone Ventures is requesting concurrence with the proposed roadway changes in Skokie for a project that would bring in a medical building, a beef sandwich restaurant and a multi-tenant building that has not been leased yet.
Hague needs the village’s approval as he seeks a permit from the Illinois Department of Transportation that would allow restriping portions of Touhy and Hamlin avenues in Lincolnwood to create new left-hand turn lanes in each direction on Touhy at Hamlin, a new left-hand turn lane from southbound Hamlin to eastbound Touhy and a new left-hand lane from eastbound Touhy to an access point north of Ridgeway Avenue. The modification would require the removal of 15 parking spots on Touhy.
At the meeting, several residents voiced concerns about how removal of parking would affect their properties and that the reduction in clearance for residents backing out of their driveways on to Touhy would create a safety hazard.
The existing parking spaces are 7 1 /2 feet wide and the proposal would reduce the width to 5 1/2 feet. These parking spaces would be converted to a no parking zone that would function as a shoulder to the parkway rather than dedicated parking.
One resident said that trees limit his visibility when backing out on to Touhy from his driveway and that the extra 2 feet the parking spaces provide allows him a clear line of sight before entering the roadway. Other residents and Trustee Georjean Hlepas Nickell expressed concerns about how the restriping would affect snow and ice removal by IDOT.
A project traffic engineer said "There is a benefit to Lincolnwood because you’re making Touhy safer by adding these turn lanes."
However, Trustee Craig Klatzco said that he was concerned "that by adding the left turn lane, you’re going to increase the speed, because right now when you’re turning left, that traffic slows down because it reduces to only one lane." Concerns were also raised about an increase in traffic that the development would bring.
"We want to see business succeed but when that outweighs the benefit of the average homeowner, then it comes into question. If I had to inch out with my kid in the back seat of the car, I wouldn’t be so happy," village mayor Barry Bass said. Hague emphasized that Keystone Ventures pride themselves on being good neighbors and that they would continue to seek a resolution of residents’ concerns.
Also at the meeting, the board approved a resolution authorizing an agreement with Baxter and Woodman of Crystal Lake for the study of the village pump station infrastructure and operations in an amount not to exceed $61,000 after the station experienced a power failure over the summer that resulted in a critical loss of water pressure in the water system.
The village issued a system-wide boil order that was lifted on June 14 after it was found that there was no risk of bacteriological contamination. Over the past several years, the village has made several investments into the pump station including the replacement of two pumps and a new roof on the building
As part of the agreement, Baxter and Woodman will conduct a site visit, assessment of present conditions and data review, a draft report with recommendations to be presented at a board meeting and project management. This assessment is meant to identify natural and manmade threats to the village’s system, a core component being cyber security threats.
Also at the meeting, public works director Andrew Letson said that work on the North Shore outfall sewer be completed by July of 2020 instead of the end of the year after IDOT had issued a permit for the work 10 weeks after it was originally anticipated which caused a significant delay in beginning of the construction.
An item about Lincolnwood community branding was tabled until the meeting on Oct. 16.