Two Important Wilmette Meetings

Below is information about two important advocacy opportunities where your presence is urgently needed, and we ask for your attendance — please mark your calendars, and plan to attend one or both. For those of you who have never attended a public meeting, let one of these be your first. Wilmette residents, as well as residents of neighboring villages who ride to or through Wilmette, are equally encouraged to come and share views. Details below.

Bikeway Advisory Group November Meeting & Stakeholder Input
Monday, November 7, 7:30 to 9 PM
Wilmette Community Recreation Center, Rm. 107
3000 Glenview Road, Wilmette
Meeting of the advisory group appointed by Village Board President to evaluate whether the Village should develop a bicycle master plan.
Central Avenue Reconstruction Project Open House
Thursday, November 10th, 4 to 7 PM
Wilmette Village Hall
Initial public meeting as part of “Phase I” engineering of major, federally-funded Central Ave streetscape reconstruction and improvement project. Village staff and consulting engineers will be on hand to display options and take input.
Click here to see the Village’s Phase I plan document.
See additional details below.

3000 Glenview Road, Wilmette
Wilmette Community Recreation Center, Rm. 107
Monday, November 7, 7:30 to 9 PM
Bikeway Advisory Group November Meeting & Stakeholder Input

From the Village’s email to stakeholders:

The Village Board recently formed a committee of residents to assist in the development of a bicycle master plan that meets the needs of all roadway users. The advisory group has been tasked with developing recommendations on a community process and the scope of work for a consultant to prepare a comprehensive plan.  One of the first tasks of the committee is to identify the benefits of a Master Plan to the Village.

Summary: Wilmette is considering a budget allocation for the next fiscal year to fund a Bikeway Master Plan. A committee was appointed to explore this and to make recommendations to the Village Board. (See Tribune article here.)

We know that most residents of our Village support improving bike and pedestrian infrastructure, to make our lives in Wilmette more enjoyable and safer for our kids and us. (And not just safer for cyclists and pedestrians, but as the studies show, safer for drivers, too.) A slight fraction of Wilmette’s transportation-related spending is dedicated to “complete streets,” and a well developed plan can help us bring about a more sensible balance between the different modes of transport.

We also know from experience that people who want to maintain the status quo, and for whatever reasons oppose active transportation improvements, are likely to attend. This is why all of us need to attend and show support for active transportation. Being present at critical public meetings like this is the best way for our views to be recognized.

Obviously, we believe that there could not be a better time than now for a Bikeway Master Plan. (Or an Active Transportation Master Plan — that’s a discussion for another time.) A plan is a prerequisite to making real progress in this area: it becomes the blueprint for active transportation improvements, and opens the door to grant funding possibilities from a variety outside sources — which would potentially offset the costs of the plan and support significant improvements for our Village.

The plan and the improvements that would flow from it will promote a better quality of life in our Village, providing safer routes for us and our children, a cleaner environment, and greater opportunities for healthy activity. Moreover, study after study has documented the major economic benefits to communities that are walkable and bikeable: higher property values, greater resilience to economic downturns, and more local retail spending, among others. Year after year, the most bike and pedestrian-friendly places are also rated among the best places to live in the country. All of us see what is happening in Chicago and Evanston, and the world around us. It’s a no brainer. Wilmette needs to do this.

Please attend this meeting, and make a visible show of support. Remember, we are not supporting any particular projects here. Rather, we are supporting the Village’s inclination to start planning.

Central Avenue Reconstruction Project Open House
Thursday, November 10th, 4 to 7 PM
Wilmette Village Hall

From the Village website:

We are excited to inform you that the Village of Wilmette is planning comprehensive improvements to the Central Avenue corridor between Green Bay Road and Sheridan Road in 2018/2019. Village staff and our engineering consultant, TranSystems, will be available during the Open House to discuss the project and record your suggestions.
The general scope of work for the Central Avenue project includes the following:

• Road reconstruction
• Curb and gutter and sidewalk (if necessary) removal and replacement
• Drainage improvements
• Pedestrian and bikeway improvements
• Green infrastructure
• Streetscape enhancements in the Village Center
• Traffic signal replacement at Central and Wilmette Avenues

Click here to see the Village’s Phase I document.

Folks, this project is a big deal: more than $5MM of federally-funded improvements on Central Avenue, from Sheridan Road (near Gillson Park), past Central School, through the Village Center, and across the tracks to Green Bay Road. This is one of the most prominent and important routes in our Village, and a project of major scope.

This is a tremendous opportunity to bring creativity (and outside funding) to bear in order to modernize our public infrastructure. What we do on Central Avenue can improve the quality of life in our Village, enhancing opportunities for active transportation, promoting economic development, and serving as a source of civic pride and a template for future Village improvements. It is essential that many innovative, forward-looking ideas are brought to the table and considered by the Village.

Come to this public meeting, learn about some of the options the consultants have developed, bring your own ideas, and show support for including innovative bicycle and pedestrian improvements in this project.

We look forward to seeing you.

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