Chicago Bears’ proposed stadium site in Arlington Heights has Palatine and Rolling Meadows worried about traffic and costs – Chicago Tribune newstrendslive

The site of the proposed new Chicago Bears stadium is in Arlington Heights, but it’s right across the street from Palatine and Rolling Meadows, where officials welcome the proposal but are worried about the trouble and expense it could bring.

The Bears recently bought Arlington International Racecourse for $197 million. They propose building an enclosed stadium as part of a $5 billion development with apartments, condominiums, bars, restaurants and other businesses.

The massive 326-acre site is surrounded by residential neighborhoods and businesses, where the main concern is traffic. If the stadium holds 70,000 fans or more, as is common in the National Football League, Palatine Village Manager Reid Ottesen said that it could cause “gridlock” in his town.

Many of those fans likely would be coming in on Illinois Route 53, which runs through Rolling Meadows, and the four-lane Northwest Highway (U.S. Route 14), which runs from Chicago to Wisconsin, and through the heart of Palatine. Bears’ plans show the main entrance to the stadium coming from proposed new exits off Route 53 at Northwest Highway.

The road is lined with fast-food businesses, a post office and other businesses, with a residential neighborhood right behind them. Other nearby main streets are likely to become jammed as well, with people trying to cut through neighborhoods to get around the traffic.

That likely means roads will have to be widened with new intersections, along with new stormwater and sewer systems and other infrastructure, which may cost around $1 billion, Ottesen said.

Since the Bears are asking for property tax breaks and public subsidies for infrastructure, it’s not clear who will pay for that, with concerns that Route 53 could become a toll road, which Palatine residents don’t want to pay every day. Officials are also concerned that property owners would get hurt by losing part of their properties to new infrastructure.

“There could be positives for the community with the Bears coming, but we’re getting a lot of questions from residents,” Ottesen said. “Our overarching issue is traffic. We have to know it’s not going to bring us gridlock.”

Rolling Meadows officials are “cautiously optimistic” about the Bears coming, with opportunities for commercial development, City Manager Rob Sabo said, but are concerned about the costs.

Additional traffic and accidents due to the development would require extra police and fire personnel, equipment and emergency calls, he said. People trying to avoid driving will want extra bus service from Pace, and the Metra train station likely will need to be expanded. Salt Creek runs from the park site through residential and park lands in Rolling Meadows, and has flooded in the past, so stormwater retention will have to be addressed.

The Bears initially paid Arlington Heights $100,000 to pay for traffic studies and other costs. Rolling Meadows expects to have independent review of such impacts, and to be reimbursed for additional e

xpenses incurred because of the development, Sabo said.

The Bears have estimated that their multiyear megaproject would create thousands of jobs and generate more than $1 billion in annual economic impact.

Palatine Village Mayor Jim Schwantz, a former Bears player, and Rolling Meadows officials have met with Bears and Arlington Heights officials to express their concerns.

While Bears games on Sunday may be crowded, the greater concern is for night games and other events like concerts and NCAA playoffs that could clash with rush hour.

A 2010 concert at Arlington International Racecourse by American Idol winner Lee DeWyze caused big traffic problems. Neighboring Rolling Meadows closed roads for that event.

“We have far more questions than answers we need to address before we put our full support behind it,” Ottesen said.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.