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Posted on: March 3, 2021

Downtown Glen Ellyn Streetscape Design Approved by Village Board

Streetscape and Utility Thumbnail

Over the course of the last 2 ½ years, the design consultants, led by Civiltech Engineering, have worked on developing design concepts and preliminary plans for the downtown streetscape and utility improvements project. By virtue of size and importance of the project, the streetscape design concepts were developed though an inclusive and exhaustive process that ensured all known streetscape element options were vetted, reviewed for long-term performance and maintenance, while being supported by the general public and key stakeholders to best represent the vision of downtown Glen Ellyn. 

The design concepts were developed with direction and assistance from Village staff, a Steering Committee, and Village Commissions including the Historic Preservation Commission, Environmental Commission, and Capital Improvements Commission, who helped formulate and provide specific recommendations to the Village Board. The concepts were developed with contributions from key stakeholders, including the Alliance of Downtown Glen Ellyn, Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce, local government partners such as the Glen Ellyn Public Library, and input from individual downtown businesses, customers and Glen Ellyn residents as a whole. 

The final design elements include herringbone pattern brick pavers for the parkway in the majority of the downtown and a narrow band of brick pavers in narrow sidewalk areas. Decorative crosswalks with clay brick pavers over a concrete slab will be used in the majority of the crosswalks. Granite and precast concrete were selected for the tree planter curbs. Approximately 50 16”x16” plaques will be installed in the parkway highlighting stories important to Glen Ellyn’s history.

The Board agreed to begin construction of Phase I in early 2022. Phase I includes Duane Street, Main Street south of the railroad tracks and Hillside Avenue.

timeline updated march 2021

To complete the streetscape and utility project, the Village anticipates using $17.23 million of available funding in the Capital Projects Fund and Water & Sewer Fund and issuing $7.138 million in General Obligation Bonds. Approximately 80% of the total cost of the project will be used to upgrade deteriorating roadways, sidewalks, and underground utilities, while the remaining 20% will cover the cost of the new streetscape elements and upgrades.

Downtown Streetscape and Utility Project: Envision the New Downtown Glen Ellyn

Check out this video showcasing the selected elements of the downtown streetscape and get a sense for what the new downtown will look like after construction is complete: 

The rendering shows the herringbone pattern brick parkway, a combination of granite and precast concrete tree planter curbs and plain concrete sidewalk. Many of the elements chosen for downtown were also the most popular elements selected in the public opinion survey conducted last fall. The video shows trees representative of the 26 species of trees to be planted downtown. The final list of selected trees, with guidance from the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, and with input from Morton Arboretum, the Glen Ellyn Environmental Commission and the Capital Improvements Commission and the Public Works Department, increases species diversity and contributes to the restoration of the oak ecosystem in the region.

Diverse Urban Forest Planned for Downtown Glen Ellyn

The upcoming Downtown Streetscape and Utility Project will be replacing and upgrading underground utilities as well as making geometric changes to roadways and sidewalks that will impact existing trees. The Village of Glen Ellyn wants to use this opportunity to upgrade growing conditions and plant a more diverse mix of trees that will thrive and be a lasting benefit for future generations of residents.

The Village has finalized the tree species list to be planted in downtown Glen Ellyn. The final list, as reviewed by the Morton Arboretum in concert with the Chicago Region Tree Initiative, the Glen Ellyn Environmental Commission and the Capital Improvements Commission, as well as the Public Works Department, increases species diversity and contributes to the restoration of the oak ecosystem in the region.

The announcement of the tree species list comes as the result of careful evaluation of the 109 parkway trees currently growing downtown. Nearly half of the trees were found to be in fair to poor condition and 66% of the trees were of only two species, Honeylocust and Pear. When the project is completed, downtown will be home to 115% more parkway trees.

The new streetscape design creates a more diverse mix of proven trees that will thrive in our environment and be better protected against future diseases and bugs. The new trees selected will be no more than 14% of any type of tree. The design will use a suspended pavement technology containing soil cells below the sidewalk to provide large volumes of planting soil that will support large tree growth without pushing up the sidewalk and causing tripping hazards. The new tree planters will also include an irrigation system to ensure trees have access to adequate water. In addition, each tree is being hand selected and placed approximately 35 feet apart with consideration to business entryways, outdoor seating, seat walls and distance to building roofs. The placement of trees will also consider design aesthetics, and strive to achieve a balance of uniformity through careful selection and grouping of trees with similar size, shape, fall color and other characteristics.

Glen Ellyn recognizes that a healthy urban forest provides critical urban infrastructure that helps reduce urban flooding, reduces the urban heat island effect and reduces air pollution. A healthy urban forest will enhance the shopping, dining and living experience within the downtown Central Business District.

To learn more about the urban forest, view a full list of the selected trees, see renderings and read about the overall project, visit the project website.

S Main St - Rendering

Rendering of the new streetscape on Main Street looking North. Source: Civiltech Engineering.

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