Work continues on vision for 159th Street
By Michelle Mullins Correspondent March 21, 2013 5:54PM
Updated: April 23, 2013 2:17PM
Business owners along 159th Street in Homer Glen say they want a center turning lane to allow traffic easy access to their businesses.
Their input was sought as the Illinois Department of Transportation is planning a $100 million widening project of the village’s main corridor from two to four lanes.
The village has hired economic development consulting firm Houseal Lavigne Associates of Chicago to create a master plan of 159th Street in conjunction with IDOT’s engineering phases of the project, which will run from Gougar Road to west of LaGrange Road in Orland Park.
The project is being done to help spur development of hundreds of vacant acres, officials said.
The village’s study will help officials create a unique identity through signage, lighting, landscaping and streetscaping. It also will determine what types of businesses should locate along the corridor and how to market the corridor to them, village officials said.
On Wednesday, the consulting firm invited residents, property owners and business owners to a public hearing.
The business owners said they are concerned about proposed mounted medians that would restrict access to their businesses. They also want the road and their businesses to be accessible during construction.
Residents who live in subdivisions off 159th Street said they also want to ensure the widened road will be easy to cross, traffic signals will be placed accordingly, speed limits won’t be dangerous and emergency vehicles won’t have trouble maneuvering when needed.
Residents and business owners also said they want landscaping that will beautify 159th Street and lighting that doesn’t interfere with the village’s Dark Sky Community designation.
Residents and business owners said they don’t want electronic billboards, excessive strip malls, dollar stores, pawn shops, tattoo parlors, heavy industrial or manufacturing sites or unimaginative big-box stores.
They are interested in a potential town center or the village hall being built along 159th Street.
Residents and business owners still can offer input through the village’s web site www.homerglenil.org.
The master plan will take six to eight months to complete, consultant John Houseal said.