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Village Reviving Route 30 Improvement Plans

Five years after completing a study on a 2.5-mile stretch of Route 30, New Lenox will get some help in finding new ways to improve the image, accessibility and downtown feel of the area.

The historic downtown area in New Lenox—mostly consisting of a few blocks along Route 30 west of Cedar Road—is historic more in the sense of having a "tired and dated" look than it is for being full of tradition and character.

That critique is part of a plan written five years ago that studied ways to improve a stretch of Route 30. Now, with help from a grant program, the village will revive these plans.

A walk along the crumbling sidewalks, which eventually end, reveals a number of vacant businesses, gravel parking lots and inconsistent facades. But there is potential. There are some successful, home-grown businesses in the area, and many people in town would like to see the downtown options expanded, not just for businesses but also for pedestrians.

For years, village leaders have worked with residents and business owners to form a vision for the Route 30 corridor, a 2.5-mile stretch that extends east on Route 30 from the Interstate 80 ramp to the .

From 2004 to 2006, an advisory group created the Route 30 Corridor Revitalization Plan, which aimed to identify problems with the area and ways to enhance it for the future.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, which is responible for producing a regional plan for land use and transportation, is tackling those issues with the village and many other area communities as part of its Local Technical Assistance Program.

At a land use committee meeting Oct. 17, village planner Robin Ellis said CMAP gave $60,000 to the village to hire a consultant who will help plan for some larger projects in the corridor and supplement the village planning department's day-to-day work.

Some of the key issues the village wants to look at are:

  • Cross-access between businesses;
  • Fewer curb cuts;
  • More sidewalks and bike paths; and
  • Improved landscaping and parking lots.

In the revitaliation plan, which was published in 2006, the advisory group writes that the corridor has a "lack of achitechtural character ... and a lack of pedestrian friendliness."

Your Feedback

In a 2004 workshop, the advisory group asked various questions about the area. Read a few of the questions below and leave your responses in the comments section.

  1. List three new private-sector projects, uses or developments you would like to see undertaken within the Route 30 Corridor study area.
  2. List three new public-sector projects or improvements you would like to see.
  3. What would you not like to see take place in the corridor study area in the future?
Kimberly October 18, 2011 at 12:44 PM
I personally don't have any valid suggestions for improvements along Route 30 in New Lenox, that is why they are paying big bucks to experts. I trust they will come up with something well received. Its a long time coming though, that area looks very run down, improvements are needed.
sells October 18, 2011 at 12:59 PM
I can't see any business being successful in that area, what with traffic going by so fast thru that stretch. And really, who actually walks thru that area?
Michael Sewall (Editor) October 18, 2011 at 01:07 PM
@sells, That's the challenge--right now that area isn't really friendly to pedestrians. So this study will look at ways to improve that and hopefully make it easier for people to walk around that area.
Todd Hyatt October 18, 2011 at 01:16 PM
How about making the business clean up around themselves. It does take much effort to pull some weeds and sweep up. Plus the rental store, which I use, looks like hell. The junkyard on Spencer almost looks better.
OrlandParker October 18, 2011 at 05:46 PM
Having recently traveled that stretch of roadway during the past couple of months...it really is in dire need of streetscaping. Businesses can help maintain their space, but really this is more enhancing what was characterized as having a "lack of achitechtural character ... and a lack of pedestrian friendliness".
JM of NL October 18, 2011 at 05:46 PM
I agree with Kimberly. Other than maybe having the businesses improving their landscaping and fixing their parking lots, there's nothing else I can think of. Let's let the experts tell us what other towns have done and have them give us ideas. Overall, I'm all for making NL a better place.
L. Smith October 18, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Good Luck to the team looking into this. If they get stuck, they should recreate New Lenox in the latest SimCity game and see what it comes up with!! And don't forget, the businesses get to deal with the aromatic waste water treatment fumes. New Lenox West of 30 is not without it's challenges!! Glad I live on the East side where the good retail is..
Bryan October 18, 2011 at 06:00 PM
The north side of Rt.30 is useless for business because of the railroad tracks. It would be a good spot for a bike/walking path provided a fence is installed between the path and the tracks. It would be nice to get this path up Cedar and connect to Plank Road trail, or have it go through the commons to Plank Road Trail, to get more foot and bike traffic. The speed limit on Rt.30 needs to be reduced. It's crazy trying to pull out of a parking lot with all of the traffic. It's a 35 MPH zone but in reality cars are going 40 plus MPH. That would be a start and will help attract business to the area.
Me October 20, 2011 at 03:54 AM
I like what Tinley park did with oak park avenue in regard to adding architectural character to the storefronts. This is something I would like to see here in new Lenox. What I don't want to see in this town is it be over loaded with businesses like orland/Tinley on LaGrange toad.
Me October 20, 2011 at 03:55 AM
LaGrange ROAD...lol!!!
Mike M. October 23, 2011 at 12:45 PM
Need to straighten 30 out at Cedar, move it south, create space between tracks and road for park like setting. Make a park where the old True Value land is along Cedar. Most important, move/fix the sewage treatment plant, at times the smell is unbearable. My wife and I call it the "Welcome to New Lenox" smell and until we fix it will be hard to take improvement talk seriously.

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