Where I stand: Fifth Avenue development plans

My vision for the area around Fifth Avenue and the Naperville train station is to replace the surface parking lots and decrepit former public works building with a great place, a place that will enhance, not harm, the nearby neighborhoods. Again, it’s a question of balancing competing interests: more commuter parking would be nice, but not if it creates traffic nightmares nearby. The predominant land use probably should be residential, but we must remember that the Metra BNSF commuter trains are already very, very crowded.

The City Council and staff made a policy error identifying a developer before developing a coherent vision for the area. What public benefits is the City trying to achieve through the redevelopment of this prime land? Despite having attended countless meetings on this topic, I don’t know the answer. Apparently, neither does anybody else. These issues are more important than whether the City sells the property or enters into a long-term lease.

What is most important to you? How should Naperville residents benefit from the redevelopment of this prime land? Should we focus most on:

  • Maximizing the collection of property tax dollars from its new residents?
  • Protecting the existing neighborhood from traffic snarls and congestion?
  • Building more parking spaces for commuters?
  • Ensuring that the development has a range of home prices or rents, with some set-asides for affordable housing?
  • Creating a vibrant new “transit-oriented development” that kickstarts walkability and bike lane development?
  • Something else?

I’d like to hear your ideas. Write me at

4 Responses to Where I stand: Fifth Avenue development plans

  1. I would like less congestion, more parking and maybe affordable housing in terms of rental apartments. Do it for Naperville first and not Naperville last as seen in the downtown area.

  2. North Central College have bought Little Friends. Two major developments are planned within four blocks in the downtown district/historic district simultaneously…Council needs to have a proper plan for development in the area that considers all the factors in play…As far as more parking around the station….Downtown historic district areas are over run by student and staff cars, Little Friends has a policy of no longer extending their car park and leveraging a four hour parking restriction that Naperville Police will openly tell members of the Public that they do not have enough wardens to police the area…ALL SCHOOLS IN NAPERVILLE HAVE THREE HOUR RESTRICTIONS AND A NO PARKING POLICY AT CERTAIN TIMES EXCEPT LITTLE FRIENDS WHICH CREATES MAYEM IN THE AREA..NCC Little Friends and Naperville Council continue to abuse the area and the tax payers and residents of the area and idiots want to add more traffic….What is wrong with a park and ride…According to one person standing for election, people in South Naperville wont use it….Thus 5th Ave, NCC developments and Increased Car Parking are assured to make life in the downtown area. The councilman at large policy adapted by Council assures people in high density areas get greater say in the developments in other area…In other countries is NIMBY…Not in my back yard!…People in the downtown area have no proper representation because of a policy that i believe was put into operation while you were on the council after Two general votes!……Are you going to represent this area or make sure that people in this town know who represents them and their interests where they live as right now the entire system looks like a joke that i believe you may have been a part of bringing about!!!

  3. Why not put most parking under ground and a lot more bike lanes and bike stands. If you build the infrastructure correctly people will use it, ie more bikes and less congestion.

  4. Top priority should be protecting the existing neighborhood from traffic and congestion, and I don’t even live in the neighborhood. Too much of Naperville is jammed already, but that’s an area with lots of traffic as is. The planned developments would create a traffic headache for a main thoroughfare with scores of new residences, offices and retail there.

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Vote for Joe McElroy April 2
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Parade photo by Ron Hume; family photo by Brian Bates

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