Tartan Reality purchased the old PNC Bank property at 1001 S. The rezoning has been approved and the site will now be developed.
During the city council meeting several council members voiced their concerns about traffic. We thank Councilman Coyne for making a motion for city Staff to address the existing traffic issues in the vicinity.
Media Coverage of City Council Meeting.
Media Coverage of the Planning and Zoning Meeting.
The proposed development plan includes a coffee shop (Starbucks-with a high volume drive thru) in the building closest to Washington Street and restaurants in Buildings B and C along with additional retail and office space. The proposed development will lead to a substantial traffic increase on adjacent roads including Sycamore Drive and Catalpa Lane. These neighborhood roads are not designed to handle the heavy traffic generated by businesses associated with B1 zoning. Upon investigation, no other Starbucks in Naperville has an immediate entrance on a residential road similar to Sycamore Drive. Additionally, the proposed entrance is directly aligned with an existing residential driveway. During peak use of this development, the two adjacent roads of Washington Street and Gartner Road both back up beyond the boundaries of the property. The Sycamore Drive entrance will see significant use as this road does not experience high volumes of traffic during peak times and will be used as a cut through. This is especially concerning as Sycamore Drive is currently used by Elmwood Elementary School for carline and students cross the road at several intersections as they make their way to school.
The 2013 traffic study of Gartner/Washington, suggested that a separate traffic study was recommended to "determine the implications of turn restrictions at the commercial access drives on Gartner Road and/or complete closure of the driveways." See https://naperville.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx for that and other conclusions of the zone 11 study. According to the Naperville Zone 11 Traffic Study done in 2013, Gartner Rd. travel speeds were significantly above the 85th %ile. The speed limit is 25 mph but average speed east bound (morning to the train station) is 37 mph. Think about that: cars are going 40 mph with children walking to school in the morning and we have two schools within a block or two of each other. Six years have gone by since this study.
Additionally, we now have increased to 2 crossing guards in the morning at Gartner and Modaff because of the traffic and safety issues. This street and neighborhood are busting at the seams accommodating huge volumes of traffic that it was not initially designed to handle. The city, according to it's own data and by placing a 2nd crossing guard, acknowledges there are speed and traffic issues but does little to nothing. Adding more retail shops and a Starbucks with a drive thru will on exacerbate this problem.
Looking at http://gis.naperville.il.us/Html5Viewer/index.html About 10 traffic crashes and about 20 non-crash related traffic incidents occur each year in the area of Washington, Gartner, Sycamore and Catalpa.
Traffic congestion due to poorly-managed development is a common enough problem that there are organized resources available to neighborhoods like ours. They can help us become informed and develop requests that have been implemented in other neighborhoods. Check out the following, enlightening link (one of many):
The lot at the corner of Washington and Gartner which was formerly the Marathon Gas Station has been purchased and they plan to put Fast Food at that corner. Unfortunately, if you look close at the Tartan plans you can see that traffic from this development will have access to our neighborhood roads. Since this property is also zoned OCI it will also have to go through the rezoning process but the decision will likely follow 1001 S Washington St.
The intent of B1 zoning is for a neighborhood shopping center. As such, only a single entrance/exit is warranted onto Washington and Gartner, not 2 which will be the result if the properties are redeveloped independently with business class zoning. Developing the properties separately is more akin to strip malls such as are on Odgen Avenue which is generally zoned B3, a General Commercial district. The combined acreage of both sites is only 4 acres. Naperville Plaza, zoned B2, has 10.5 acres and is laid out such that only a single entrance/exit is needed on Washington and Gartner. I see no benefit to the community to have the former PNC and Marathon Station properties to be redeveloped independently. Further the petitioner cites the 20ft setback trend along Washington north of the downtown to justify his requested 20ft setback variance. That area is heavily zoned B3 (General Commercial Business) and is further indication that the petitioner is not interested in developing a neighborhood shopping center catering to adjacent residential neighborhoods.