Transit improvements spur economic growth in Hoffman Estates
Further enhancements and public transit options coming this year on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway are expected to build on the economic growth brought to Hoffman Estates and surrounding areas by last year's completion of the tollway's five-year, $2.5-billion widening project.
A look ahead to those changes and other more village-specific plans highlighted Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod's annual Community Update to the Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce and Industry Wednesday.
The 2017 projects for the Illinois Tollway and Pace on Interstate 90 are so significant that McLeod included representatives from both agencies as guest speakers during his address.
Charlotte Obodzinski, rapid transit project manager for Pace, told chamber members of the bus-on-shoulder service that will start this summer. And in the fall, that service will be improved with the opening of a Park & Ride station at the Barrington Road interchange in Hoffman Estates, she said.
Twelve express buses will serve the station each hour. Among the routes will be a 22-minute service to the Rosemont Blue Line station and a 10-minute service to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg.
McLeod said the success and longevity of these services likely will depend on area residents using them.
"This is our opportunity to show that we really do want public transportation," he said.
For motorists already enjoying the completion of the roadwork on the tollway, their travel experience will be further improved this spring when the I-90 SmartRoad system goes live, said Rocco Zucchero, deputy chief of engineering for planning for the Illinois Tollway. Indicators every half mile will advise commuters of accidents and changing conditions ahead, he said.
As both a village trustee and mayor, McLeod said he's been an advocate of the tollway improvements -- particularly the interchange at Barrington Road -- for 30 years.
He cited the many new businesses that opened in 2016, including Main Event and the Duluth Trading Company. He also noted that German company Trumpf Inc. will complete its technology center on 5 acres of the 70-acre former AT&T campus this year.
McLeod said the village has received some inquiries about the future use of the AT&T building, but none he was permitted to speak about yet.
Residential development is also on the rise, McLeod said. "We're actually building homes again, which hasn't happened in a very long time."
Overall construction was at its highest level in many years during 2016, and June held the record for the highest number of building permits issued since the recession, he added.
Given that the mayor's update was held at the Sears Centre Arena, it was clear that the arrival of the Windy City Bulls D-League team was one of the biggest additions to the Hoffman Estates business community in 2017.
Sears Centre General Manager Ben Gibbs said the team has not only provided a stable sports tenant for the arena, but raised the facility's profile throughout the region. A bull-riding event the Sears Centre has hosted for the past decade sold out for the first time after the Windy City Bulls arrived on the scene, Gibbs said.