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updated: 7/9/2013 3:08 PM

Sidewalks coming to Glen Ellyn; residents don't want them

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Sidewalks will be installed for the first time on portions of two Glen Ellyn streets, even though nearby residents are opposed to them.

The village board Monday agreed to sidewalk installations that will comprise about 2,200 feet in two Glen Ellyn neighborhoods: one southwest of the village's downtown, and another to the southwest of Stacy's Corners.

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It's part of an overall village effort during the past 18 years to install new sidewalks at the same time road construction work is being done.

"We try to look at the entire village and who's going to use that sidewalk," said Mike Colliander, chairman of the village's capital improvements commission, which recommended new sidewalks for portions of Oak Street and Brandon Avenue. "It's better to have a sidewalk than to walk in the street."

The commission recommended on a 8-0 vote in May that a sidewalk be installed on the south side of Oak Street between Western Avenue and Main Street "with emphasis on keeping the sidewalk closer to the street away from homes, but not sacrificing trees where possible." The work would cost about $90,000.

A separate 5-3 vote recommended sidewalk for the east side of Brandon Avenue between Hillside and Ridgewood avenues at a cost of $46,750. The commission expressed a preference for a 4-foot-wide sidewalk -- the smallest sidewalk width allowable -- though the village board agreed Monday to allow village management to decide if it should be increased to 5 feet.

Street resurfacing is scheduled to take place on both streets this year as part of the village's annual roadway improvement program.

On Monday, the village board affirmed the recommendations of the commission 5-1, with Trustee Tim O'Shea the lone opponent of the plans.

O'Shea echoed concerns of residents, many of whom have argued that the sidewalks' close placement to the road would affect pedestrian safety.

Glen Ellyn officials refer to such sidewalks as "carriage walks."

"I think Oak is too busy of a street to have that many sidewalks close to the curb," O'Shea said. "It's not required. It's not needed."

Resident Mark Miller, who lives on Oak, also said he doesn't like the proposed sidewalk's proximity to the heavily trafficked street, but he also doesn't like that it would zigzag through his front yard to avoid existing trees.

"I haven't heard a compelling reason yet to spend $90,000," Miller told the village board. "There aren't sidewalks all over town. I think that's one of the unique things about Glen Ellyn -- that things aren't uniform."

Miller and other residents of Oak submitted a petition to village officials in opposition to the sidewalk plans.

Trustee Pete Ladesic said residents are usually resistant to new sidewalks, but he's heard from some on Fairview Avenue who were pleased with the installations after the fact.

Trustee Diane McGinley said the sidewalks would be a villagewide benefit, particularly to pedestrians.

"People will come through your neighborhood that you haven't seen before," she said.

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