Plan to examine the future of the Route 83 corridor
It runs along one of the busiest stretches of road in DuPage County.
Still, officials say the Route 83 corridor, from Devon Avenue in Bensenville to St. Charles Road in Elmhurst, faces numerous issues hampering its economic development. So they're looking to create a master plan to make the area safer for pedestrians and cyclists, more beautiful for residents and more appealing for developers.
"Route 83 is a significantly traveled thoroughfare," said county board member Sam Tornatore, who serves as chairman of the county's development committee. "I'd like to see it clean. I'd like to see it safe. And I'd like to see it ready for economic development."
The master plan will address issues and opportunities related to land use and transportation along Route 83, officials said. It will focus on the future of unincorporated areas "but do so in a way that reflects the needs and goals of property owners and adjacent communities."
To develop the plan, DuPage is partnering with the communities the corridor runs through -- Bensenville, Wood Dale, Addison, Villa Park and Elmhurst.
Starting this week, residents can provide input on their vision for the corridor during a public hearing scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Elmhurst city hall, 201 N. York St. Another hearing is planned for 6 to 8 p.m. May 23 at Bensenville village hall, 12 S. Center St.
"We're trying to get feedback from people who are living in the affected area," Tornatore said. "We want to know what they would like to see in the area."
Tornatore said the corridor has "significant potential" because of Route 390 (formerly the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway) and future western access to O'Hare International Airport. But there's also issues, including traffic safety and noise.
"You've got cars going down the road at 45 to 50 mph at all hours of the night," Tornatore said.
So, one goal will be to find safer ways to get pedestrians and cyclists across Route 83.
Another will be to determine how to clean up unsightly properties. For example, there has been an ongoing problem with people dumping trash on vacant parcels.
"We get the sheriff out there to patrol those areas," Tornatore said. "And we get code enforcement people out there to make sure there aren't any violations of the county's building code. But that's just putting a Band-Aid on the problem."
He said part of the master plan process will be to find long-term solutions.
Another goal will be to make the county's land development regulations consistent with those in neighboring municipalities. That would make unincorporated parcels more attractive to towns interested in annexing them.
"If what we do makes those unincorporated areas more attractive to the municipalities -- and the municipalities decide to bring them in -- that's fine," Tornatore said. "It's something that ultimately is going to benefit the entire county."
For details about the plan, visit PlanRoute83.org.