What does “streetscape” mean and why was this plan necessary?

Streetscape refers to the public rights of way associated with a roadway. This generally includes the roadway itself, sidewalks, parkways and the open spaces in-between. While necessary underground utility work was in progress, the Village made use of the opportunity to also improve the streetscape. Wilmette invested in its streetscapes to improve their functions and appearance and to make downtown a more welcoming place for shops and dining.

What kinds of improvements were included in the streetscape plan?

This project included planning for long term infrastructure improvements, The streetscape plan protected existing features, such as on-street parking, street lighting, hanging baskets and trees. New features included decorative lighting, sidewalks, traffic signals, roadway pavements, wayfinding signs, seating and plantings. Veterans Park improvements included pavement repair, lighting, seating and plantings. See the streetscape renderings here and photos of the completed work here.

Were special provisions in place during COVID-19?

The Village, design team and contractors took careful steps throughout all aspects of the project. Community members were invited to engage with this project in the way they felt most comfortable. The website provided online feedback tools. Public events and activities were available for virtual / remote participation. Face-to-face interactions maintained social distancing. Contractors maintained safety standards throughout construction activities.

How was this project funded and how will future improvements be funded?

This project tapped into two federal funding sources. The roadway improvements, both in the downtown and residential sections, were constructed with Surface Transportation Urban (STU) funding. The streetscape improvements in the downtown section, essentially including everything other than the roadway improvements, were constructed with Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) funding. New water main installation is not eligible under either federal funding source and was constructed with local Village of Wilmette funds.

What were the project limits?

The study area generally included the following:

  • Wilmette Avenue between the east side of the Union Pacific Railroad and Lake Avenue.
  • Central Avenue between the east side of the Union Pacific Railroad and Sheridan Road.