Tree median to enhance traffic flow, look of area

By David Pollard

A median of trees bisecting Lucinda Avenue from Annie Glidden Road to the Kishwaukee River will cost the city of DeKalb between $1.6 million and $1.75 million.

Ronald Naylor, director of public works, said the median will be 15 feet wide and Lucinda Avenue would be widened to between 16 and 17 feet in width. He said the street would be widened to accommodate cars and buses.

Naylor said the sides of the street also would be landscaped. He said this will be done to enhance the overall aesthetics of the area and create a “homier” atmosphere.

“If it (the median) is designed properly, it will enhance the traffic flow,” he said. He also said a median would “provide and enhance” the safety of vehicles because they would not drive as close to each other as they do without a divider.

Naylor said the plan for the median was suggested to DeKalb city representatives by NIU master planners Sasaki and Associates. “The city is responsible for the street’s design, construction and payment,” he said.

NIU will participate in the construction and landscaping along with the city, Naylor said. John Harrod, physical plant director, said he is not sure if NIU will help fund the project.

“We’re working in cooperation with DeKalb to best serve the community,” Harrod said. He said NIU is currently working on the design itself, which is in the preliminary stage.

Harrod said the city of DeKalb is working according to a project schedule. He said he wants to maximize space in the median so pedestrians will have adequate walking space.

Other factors to consider in the construction of the median are landscaping and sidewalks, he said. Sidewalks in high traffic areas traveled by students from west campus will be widened, and as the sidewalk travels east on Lucinda Avenue, the sidewalk will be narrower.

The Campus Master Plan Executive Summary states in regard to the median plan, “Lucinda Avenue is an integral part of the campus open space system and not a boundary. This objective will be accomplished jointly with the City of DeKalb by avoiding street widenings that induce additional traffic; by upgrading the pedestrian/landscape edge; and by strengthening the development of the Anderson Hall area as a more integral part of the campus.”