Dec. 23, 2016 – Planning and design work is set to begin for major improvements to Lake Street from Harlem Avenue to Austin Boulevard that will replace infrastructure that is at the end of its life cycle, while also improving walkability, accessibility and traffic flow along this important Oak Park corridor.
The year ahead will focus primarily on planning activities with any actual construction not likely to occur until 2018, with all work completed before Thanksgiving of that year. Final project details, including materials, costs and construction schedules will be reviewed by the Village Board before final construction plans are prepared and bids sought.
The project will include roadway reconstruction and resurfacing with concrete and asphalt, pavement markings, and curb and sidewalk improvements to better accommodate persons with disabilities along the entire route from Harlem Avenue to Austin Boulevard.
Major improvements are being planned in the business districts between Harlem and Euclid avenues, including sidewalks designed for increased walkability, curb and street crossing upgrades to better accommodate persons with disabilities, and updated vehicle detection equipment and traffic signal timing at signals to help keep traffic flowing smoothly.
In addition, elements typically referred to as streetscape enhancements are being considered for the segment between Harlem and Euclid avenues, such as street furniture, decorative sidewalks and crosswalks, improved street and pedestrian lighting, informational wayfinding signs, and segments of brick pavements used to highlight major intersections at Maple Avenue, Marion Street, Forest Avenue, Kenilworth Avenue and Oak Park Avenue.
Village staff already has been working closely with developers along the route to ensure their current work is within the standards set for future enhancements to Lake Street. For example, many of the sidewalk and landscaping improvements adjacent to the Vantage Oak Park development at Lake Street and Forest completed earlier this year will tie into the proposed 2018 work.
Construction will be completed in phases to allow the Village to first replace and refurbish aging water and sewer lines at various locations along Lake Street. Sewer mains need to be replaced between Grove and Euclid avenues, as will water mains and service lines to buildings between Oak Park and Euclid avenues. Staff will work closely with adjacent businesses to determine the best and most efficient manner to manage construction in the bustling downtown district.
Officials say planning discussions also will focus on how to improve Lake Street traffic circulation and capacity, while strengthening the roadway’s role as the community’s central tourism and retail corridor. More information about the project is posted at www.oak-park.us/lakestreetimprovements.