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Local

DeKalb City Council to vote on next phase of downtown sidewalk expansion

A sign is photographed July 6, 2017, in DeKalb.
A sign is photographed July 6, 2017, in DeKalb.

DeKALB – Plans to move forward with making the southeast corner of First Street and Lincoln Highway safer for pedestrians will be up for a vote during the City Council’s meeting Monday.

Unlike the sidewalks along Lincoln Highway, which are about 8 to 12 feet wide and separated by on-street parking, the adjacent First Street sidewalk is about 5 feet wide with no street parking.

In May, the council approved a design study to analyze northbound traffic on First Street, where the Cornerstone project will sit, to determine whether it’s feasible to eliminate the easternmost traffic lane and expand the walkway on the east side.

The first phase of the study, performed by St. Charles-based WBK Engineering LLC, analyzed the traffic buildup resulting from the removal of the easternmost lane and provided a total cost estimate of $399,000. This plan was contingent on John Pappas, the principal developer of the Cornerstone project, providing a $25,000 contribution to the study.

WBK’s findings determined that dropping the easternmost northbound lane is feasible in order to expand the walkway and could be accomplished with or without the addition of on-street parking. The study further concluded that existing and future traffic would not be affected significantly at the Lincoln Highway intersection or the railroad tracks to the south.

If the second phase is approved Monday, WBK Engineering will complete construction drawings of proposed improvements, including Illinois Department of Transportation permits and bidding documents. This phase, projected to cost no more than $67,500, would be funded through tax increment financing dollars, as would any construction resulting from the study.

The council meeting will be at 6 p.m. in the council chambers of the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.

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