Mount Prospect mulls downtown parking, traffic proposals
Now that Mount Prospect is seeing downtown development proceed on the fast track, village officials are trying to come to grips with long-standing traffic and parking issues in the center of town.
Building new parking deck near the proposed Maple Street Lofts, adding extra pedestrian push buttons at downtown intersections and moving the stopping point for Metra trains were some of the solutions floated Tuesday.
Village board members heard the results of two studies -- a parking study conducted by Rosemont-based KLOA and a downtown transportation study overseen by Sam Schwartz Engineering of Chicago -- as well as recommendations from Public Works Director Sean Dorsey.
The most viable solution from trustees' standpoint appears to be encouraging train commuters using the Maple Street lots south of the tracks, which are 80 percent to 90 percent full, to start using the underutilized village parking deck to the north.
Dorsey suggests allowing commuters 100 spaces on the fourth and fifth floors of the garage, with 50 of those devoted to Mount Prospect residents who live north of the tracks, possibly at a reduced rate.
Other options include building a multilevel commuter parking deck adjacent to the proposed Maple Street Lofts at Prospect Avenue and Maple Street. The deck would contain 268 parking spaces, with 180 set aside for Mount Prospect residents. Sixty-three other commuter spaces along Prospect Avenue would be made available to residents only.
In an attempt to spur more use of the village's parking deck, Dorsey said, the village plans to pursue a pedestrian crossing at Busse Avenue and Main Street.
"I really like the idea of trying to attract people from the north side of the tracks to park on the north side and stay away from those (downtown) intersections," Trustee Michael Zadel said.
Trustee Richard Rogers said he wouldn't oppose opening the third level, as well as the fourth and fifth floors, of the village hall parking garage to commuters.
The study by Sam Schwartz Engineering showed that the proposed Maple Street Lofts -- an $80 million project featuring 300 new residences and 10,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space south of the tracks -- would not delay travel time through downtown intersections.
Kelly Conolly, senior transportation engineer with the firm, said the development would add 100 trips in and out during morning peak hour and 135 trips during the evening peak. Adding 100 commuter spaces to the village hall parking deck would reduce 40 to 45 trips that cross the tracks during peak times, she said.
The study said installing extra pedestrian push buttons, the relocation of the fire and police headquarters and arranging for Metra trains to stop east of Route 83 would reduce delays.