A popular gas station on Des Plaines' south side plans to expand, though at least one city alderman is concerned about the impact it would have on traffic.
The Speedway at 885 E. Touhy Ave. has plans to demolish a neighboring one-story office building to the east, then rebuild a larger gas station using both properties.
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At a recent city council meeting, 6th Ward Alderman Mark Walsten expressed concern over the amount of traffic currently on Touhy and the implications expanding the gas station could have.
"That's kind of scary. That's dangerous -- people screaming down Touhy and now they want to expand it and make it bigger?" Walsten said. "I have some safety concerns about that area."
Chris Kalischefski, president of Hoffman Estates-based Corporate Design and Development Group, which represents Speedway, said gas pumps at the expanded station are proposed to be in different areas, which would help separate car traffic from truck traffic.
Expanding the station's footprint would reduce the density of the site by a third, Kalischefski said.
"We want to expand our business and have a safer business and a better business, and quite frankly a more aesthetically pleasing business as well," Kalischefski told aldermen.
A traffic study is currently under review by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The review process will consider whether additional curb cuts might be installed or if there are plans for a barrier median on Touhy, according to George Sakas, the city's director of community and economic development.
To gain approval from city officials, Speedway will have to apply for a conditional use permit. The approval process that follows by the plan commission and city council would address development issues such as parking and traffic circulation, city officials said.
The council approved Speedway's zoning request to reclassify the neighboring office building property at 911 E. Touhy Ave. to allow the possibility for a gas station use.
Fifth Ward Alderman Jim Brookman, whose ward includes the Speedway, said he is in favor of the project, though he noted that the council will still be able to see blueprints of the proposed expansion before final approval.