Downtown Revitalization Project
ABOUT. The Downtown Revitalization Project is a set of public improvements designed to enhance the viability and pedestrian safety of Downtown Clarendon Hills. The project includes three components: 1) Prospect & Burlington Avenue Improvements; 2) Prospect Avenue Railroad Crossing Improvements; 3) Inbound & Outbound Train Station Improvements. Over the past several years the Village has applied for and been awarded approximately $8 million from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, the West Suburban Mass Transit District, the Illinois Commerce Commission Grade Crossing Protection Fund, and the Commuter Rail Division of the Regional Transportation Authority. These funds will cover close to 66% of the cost of all three components of the Downtown Revitalization Project.
The Downtown Revitalization Project started on January 6, 2020, and is expected to be completed in Spring 2021.
TRAIN STATION IMPROVEMENTS. On January 6, 2020, the Village hosted a groundbreaking ceremony in the south lot commuter parking lot. Shortly thereafter the village razed its old station, and in its place began to develop a cost-conscious commuter station that will offer more openness and amenities, improve safety, and better integrate with the surrounding landscape. The new station, designed by Legat Architects, includes canopies, enclosed waiting, and covered bike shelters. Additionally, the station’s parallel alignment to the tracks will provide much better views to approaching trains.
The design of the new station stems back to the community’s 2014 Downtown Master Plan, which explored land use and design to promote economic development. “We didn’t want to overstate the design of the station so that it took attention away from key buildings such as the village hall across the street,” said Mike Abraham, Chairman of the Village’s Downtown Design Review Commission. “At the same time, we did want the station to be a welcoming entry point to the village.” The resulting design, approved by both the village board and the Downtown Design Commission, not only keeps costs in check but also supports Clarendon Hills’ focus on outdoors and sustainability. It offers plenty of outdoor waiting options, as well as a green roof and rain gardens to reduce pollution-causing stormwater runoff.
Whereas the previous station was tucked away, the reoriented station better relates to downtown Clarendon Hills across the tracks. Community members will have views of the station from the village hall and surrounding Prospect Avenue, Burlington Avenue, and Ann Street. The pavilion-like design uses standard pieces of glass to keep costs down. Random vertical wood boards placed outside the glass create a more natural look, provide morning and evening solar shading, and imply a sense of motion. Unlike the classical brick train station that you see up and down the lines, Clarendon Hills’ new station is more subdued and ties into the landscaping. Structural systems were designed with the intent to prefabricate and replicate. Prefabrication, or manufacturing components before reaching the site, reduces material and labor costs, plus speeds construction and therefore limits the number of flagmen needed on site.
View From Village Hall Lawn
View From South
View From Southwest
PROSPECT & BURLINGTON AVENUE IMPROVEMENTS. The 2014 Downtown Master Plan (DTMP) a component of the Village’s Comprehensive Plan, listed multiple village initiatives addressing land use, design and economic development issues and goals set for the downtown area. One of the Plan initiatives establishes the following as a priority: "Improve safe pedestrian access to transit by improving pedestrian crossings over streets and the BNSF railroad at South Prospect Avenue." The plan also identified areas for future public plazas and linear parks, designed within a common theme/brand. Soon after the DTMP was adopted, the Village developed streetscape improvement plans for the streets adjacent to the commuter station property, primarily along Burlington Avenue and Prospect Avenues. With these shovel-ready plans in hand, the Village began applying for multiple federal, state and local grants to fund these improvements.
The purpose of this project is to enhance pedestrian safety, improve traffic mobility, and install aesthetic features and landscaping throughout the downtown area of the Village of Clarendon Hills. This will be achieved by shortening crossing widths by incorporating bump-outs, new crosswalk striping, adding drop off locations at the Metra Station, a new lane configuration along Prospect Avenue, and reconfiguring the intersections of Golf Avenue/Burlington Avenue into a single "T" intersection. The project of work consists of the following improvements:
- Prospect Avenue Improvements. There will be new land configurations along Prospect Avenue. At the railroad crossing, the reconfiguration of the north and southbound lanes will allow a shared bike lane and a northbound left turn only lane. North of Burlington, there will be two travel lanes, both being 16.8 foot shared bike lanes. Curb bump-outs will be constructed that will allow for shorts crosswalks at all legs of the intersections.
- Burlington Avenue Improvements. The intersection of Golf Avenue and Burlington Avenue will become a "T" intersection, closing off the portion of Golf Avenue that curves onto Burlington Avenue. The curve will be reconfigured. Angle parking will be provided along the east side of Golf Avenue.
- Railroad Avenue Improvements. Due to the narrow width of the roadway, Railroad Avenue may become one way westbound. The width of the road between curb bump-outs is 17.75 feet. The width of the travel way is 22 feet, and perpendicular parking will still be maintained along the north side of the street.
- Streetscape Amenities. Brick pavers will be installed at the crosswalks to delineate the pedestrian crossing locations. New bike racks will be installed for both the shoppers as well as commuters. Additional landscaping will be installed to enhance the area. 5. Railroad Crossing Improvements: New railroad gates for vehicles and pedestrians will be installed to provide additional protection at the Prospect Avenue at-grade railroad crossing.
On August 16, 2018, the Village Board authorized an agreement with Terra Engineering, LTD for Engineering Services for the Prospect and Burlington Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project.
RAILROAD CROSSING IMPROVEMENTS. On December 13, 2017, the Village received notice that it would be the recipient from the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) Grade Crossing Protection Fund (GCPF) for the installation of new railroad crossing gates at Prospect Avenue. Historically similar gate crossing projects have cost between $500,000 and $1,000,000. Under the GCPF program, the municipal benefactor would be responsible for 10% of the construction cost. The new gate system is scheduled to be installed as part of the Prospect & Burlington Ave Improvements in fall 2019. Coordination between the Village, the Illinois Commerce Commission and BNSF Railway is underway.