Wilmette, IL is an upscale community in Chicago’s North Shore. When most Chicagoans think of Wilmette, they imagine a commuter train community, nestled up against Lake Michigan, complete with tree canopies and walkable shopping. Great care has been taken to plan out this image of Wilmette, and homes in the eastern part of the village sell for a premium.
There is a second Wilmette, West Wilmette in which planning is anything goes. Instead of carefully laying out a plan, neighborhoods are a hodgepodge of different streets widths, walkability, traffic flow, and long-term planning. Case in point is Avoca West Elementary and Marie Murphy Middle Schools both on the western end of Wilmette. Both these schools were at one-time located near two lane residential streets that would make them ideal for children to walk to school. Both these schools have been neglected for years in regards to walkability and the village of Wilmette appears to take great pains to not develop a master plan that would complete the streets to these learning centers.
The Pedestrian Safety Committee wants to raise the awareness of the issues surrounding these schools. The first focus will be on Avoca West Elementary School. This school is cutoff from Wilmette students which live only 50 yards away in the following ways:
- An entrance into Wilmette has never been developed.
- Walking paths are chained off to disincentivize walking.
- Lake Ave has never been completed for walkability.
We call on the village to remedy these issues and get up to speed with complete street guidelines, to allow for all people to use the roads regardless of transportation choice.
Below is a slideshare link with images that highlights the issues in the area.