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updated: 1/22/2014 1:41 PM

Rolling Meadows not liking Walmart's traffic plan for market

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While at least five Rolling Meadows aldermen seemed Tuesday to favor Walmart building a Neighborhood Market and drive-through pharmacy in an old bowling alley, only two of them approved of the company's proposal to handle traffic exiting to Kirchoff Road.

Since July company and city staff members have discussed traffic issues for the market at the site of the former AMF bowling alley on the south side of Kirchoff at Plaza Drive. After Tuesday's meeting, the future of the project was unclear.

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Walmart's proposal, which city staff members expressed concerns about, involved putting in a second synchronized traffic light to regulate vehicles exiting the Walmart parking lot and the BMO Harris Bank before going onto Kirchoff Road.

Only Alderman John D'Astice of the 6th Ward and Robert Banger Jr. of the 5th Ward indicated in a straw poll that they were willing to accept the traffic proposal. But Mike Cannon of the 1st Ward and Jim Larsen of the 7th Ward said they supported the project, and Brad Judd of the 4th Ward seemed to favor it, too.

Gary Rozwadowski of the city's engineering consultant, Christopher Burke Engineering, said this plan would block traffic, including on Kirchoff Road, as far east as the Jewel-Osco on the north side of the street, and would cause problems in the lot of the proposed market.

Walmart representatives said traffic issues would exist for very short times during peak Saturday shopping and evening rush hours.

The council's concern over traffic, especially trucks, on Library Road -- which Mayor Tom Rooney said is not really a street -- led to the new plan.

At the end of the meeting City Manager Barry Kromstok said his staff members would continue to talk with the company. But John Bisio, director of public affairs and government relations for Wal-Mart, said he hated to speculate about the future of talks.

"I am encouraged by the very positive attitude and comments that we've received from the committee of the whole tonight," Bisio said. "In that respect I am hopeful."

However, he said company engineers have worked on the project and thought this plan made the most sense. And he told the council "any dramatic changes that we'd be looking at may very well have us going back to an internal review, and I'm not sure how much room we have to modify our plans at this stage."

Bisio also told the council that Walmart's real estate team had decided the long-vacant former Dominick's building a little east of the bowling alley was not economically feasible for the market. He said after the meeting that company representatives had investigated the Dominick's property before the developer signed a startup grocery store called Uncle Joe's. That anchor tenant has since fallen through.

Mayor Tom Rooney called the Wal-Mart traffic plan "awkward at best and counterproductive at worst."

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