The development of a new streetscape design plan for Chicago Street in Downtown Joliet is underway! The Chicago Street Corridor Plan is partially funded by a Local Technical Assistance (LTA) Grant which was awarded to the City from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). The project kick-off meeting on March 8, 2017 was a success (photos forthcoming), with Mayor O’Dekirk providing opening remarks, and the project consultant, Gingko Planning & Design, Inc. providing an overview of the planning and design process. Preliminary feedback was received from the Advisory Committee made up of various Downtown stakeholder groups including the Joliet City Center Partnership, Joliet Public Library, Joliet Area Historical Museum, Joliet Historic Preservation Commission, Rialto Square Theatre, Joliet Junior College, University of St. Francis, Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce, Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau, Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, and Downtown Property and Business Owners. The Plan focuses on the total redesign of Chicago Street public right-of-way, from Washington Street on the south to the Ruby Street Bridge on the north. An additional exciting component of the project is a Concept Plan for a totally refreshed Van Buren Plaza across from the Rialto Square Theatre that will provide a central gathering and entertainment space in the heart of Downtown Joliet. Enhanced pedestrian safety, additional on-street parking, new street lights, landscaping, and bicycle accommodations will be part of the Plan. The Chicago Street Corridor Plan will be developed over a 12-14 month period, with strong community involvement and input from local stakeholders, residents, students and civic leaders, as well as relevant agencies. Planned community outreach includes 3 Advisory Committee meetings, 1 Public Forum, and many small working meetings. The Plan is an opportunity to re-establish the identity of Chicago Street as:
- A Great Street that is Safe for All Modes: Pedestrians, Bicyclists, and Cars
- A “Must Stop” for Route 66 Travelers
- A Community Gathering Space for Year-Round Events
- A Showcase of Innovative Design in Landscaping, Lighting, Pavements, Crosswalks, Street Furniture, Public Art, Signage, and much more
The Chicago Street Corridor Plan is a Conceptual Design Phase which is scheduled for completion by May 31, 2018. Future phases for this project include the Design Development Phase and Construction Document/Bid/Construction Phase. The future project phases will provide more detailed specifications and costs, for a likely phased approach to construction over multiple years.
Chicago Street is one of our region’s most beautiful historic streets and is part of the world-famous Route 66. While the uses along the street have changed through the years, this classic street has never lost its beautiful urban scale. Unfortunately the current streetscape is approximately four decades old and in need of an update to accommodate current and future businesses and residents. The proposed streetscape concept calls for realignment and straightening of the street, additional on-street parking spaces, landscape planters, space for outdoor dining, updated lighting, new directional signage and gateway public art at key intersections. Key elements of the design for the new plaza/square include a large green space, flexible stage/raised seating platform, “red carpet” pavement connecting the plaza/square to the Rialto Square Theatre, a library garden which includes a storyteller’s corner, a water feature, unique lighting, seating nooks, and space for future large-scale public art. The new plaza/square will become the centerpiece of Downtown Joliet, attracting visitors and serving residents for decades to come.
For more information contact Mike Schwarz, Planning Director, at (815) 724-4050 .
April 18, 2018 Public Forum for the Chicago Street Corridor Plan
A Public Forum for the Chicago Street Corridor Plan was held on April 18, 2018 from 6-9 p.m. in the Caterpillar Auditorium of the Joliet Area Historical Museum. The Public Forum was advertised via a Media Release, flyers, e-mails to various stakeholder groups, and digital flyers displayed in a rotation on the City of Joliet gateway electronic message centers and on JCTV Channel 6. Approximately 75 people were in attendance. The project consultants, Gingko Planning and Design, Inc. and Ted Wolff Landscape Architecture, gave a detailed presentation and fielded questions from the audience. Attendees also had an opportunity to view numerous display boards (slides forthcoming) and a scale model of the proposed new square located across from the Rialto Square Theatre. The concept plans for Chicago Street and the new square received mostly favorable feedback. A few questions were raised regarding topics that included parking for the Library, trash receptacles, and the extension of Van Buren Street along the south side of the new square. The consultant is in the process of completing the final plan document for the Mayor and City Council’s consideration on May 14 (Pre-Council Meeting) and May 15 (Council Meeting) prior to the project grant deadline on May 31.