Consultant: New Lombard library would have enough parking
There's enough available parking around the Helen M. Plum Memorial Library to accommodate plans to build a new facility on the downtown Lombard site, according to a traffic consultant hired by the library.
Still, officials say they're looking for additional parking before seeking permission from the village to demolish the building at 110 W. Maple St. and replace it with a roughly 50,000-square-foot facility with two linked pavilions.
While it will be months before a plan is submitted to the village, Lombard staff members already have raised concerns about parking. Since the proposed library will be larger than the existing building, it must add more spaces to comply with village code.
But a recent analysis of parking around the site could bolster the library's request for a variance.
The study by Vernon Hills-based Gewalt Hamilton Associates Inc. acknowledges the library doesn't meet the zoning parking requirements for the village. However, the study found the library has more than enough parking spaces for patrons if on-street parking is included.
The traffic consultant estimates the library would need 103 parking spaces for its customers once the expanded building opens. Meanwhile, the consultant says, patrons already have access to 117 parking spaces, including on-street parking along Park Avenue and Maple.
"So according to this study, the parking issue isn't as big a deal as it's been made out to be," library Trustee Gary Brenniman said during Tuesday night's board meeting.
But Joseph Huberty, the architect working on the project, said the village could disagree with the decision to include on-street parking in the calculations. He said the village soon will get a copy of the report so it can review the findings.
One point Huberty highlighted is that library patrons never used more than half the 117 parking spaces when the study was conducted. "So there's an underutilization of all the spaces that are identified for potential library users to park," he said.
Still, library officials say they will continue to explore options for additional parking.
"We have to hedge our bets," spokeswoman Sue Wilsey said.
The library, for example, has a long-standing agreement with the village where it could reclaim spaces in a parking lot on the south side of Maple, next to the Lombard Historical Society. But the lot is being used by the historical society and commuters, so officials must determine if the library can get the parking spots when the new building opens.
In addition to reviewing the parking requirements, Gewalt Hamilton did a traffic study and recommended how much space would be needed for vehicles using the new building's proposed drive-up service window.
Huberty said the study found the roads and intersections in the area have "more than enough capacity" to deal with the additional traffic generated by a new library.
Meanwhile, officials have pushed back the anticipated date for when Lombard's plan commission will review the project. Now the review is expected to happen in early December -- more than two years after voters approved a property tax increase for the project.
As part of the estimated $23 million project, the east pavilion will feature two floors on land the library entirely owns, but just one floor on land where the Lombard Park District has air rights. An existing plaza deck would be rebuilt.
Meanwhile, the new library's west pavilion would be two floors and include a large meeting room and a space for teens. An enclosed walkway would connect it to the other pavilion.
If the village approves the project, the west pavilion would be built first. Once it's complete, the staff and materials would be relocated there until the existing library is demolished and rebuilt.