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     April 3, 2017      #28-92 a2z

More curb bump-outs planned for La Salle Street

There is very likely going to be more curb “bump-outs” on La Salle Street in Ottawa.

With a $1 million renovation of Columbus Street in downtown Ottawa set for this summer, the City Council moved Tuesday to seek bids to complete the rest of the streetscape on La Salle Street so it will match for a parallel length.

The Columbus Street project will stretch from the Veterans Memorial Bridge north to Lafayette Street, and $800,000 of the project will be paid for by a federally-funded Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant. The city will pay for the rest.

Columbus Street will feature Victorian street lamps and trees, as well as curb bump-outs, grass and flowers — much the way sections of La Salle Street now do.

Last month, at a City Council work session, Mayor Robert Eschbach proposed downtown La Salle Street be somewhat similarly finished all the way north to Superior Street. But after discussion, that was shortened to Lafayette Street, so the streetscape lengths of La Salle and Columbus matched.

Even so, none of the commissioners seemed particularly enthused about more bump-outs.

“I don’t like the bump-outs, I think they’re a pain in the butt when you’re driving and trying to park,” said Commissioner Dan Aussem. “But I’m fine with planting grass and trees and making it look nice.”

Eschbach countered that the streetscape continuation was called for in the city’s comprehensive plan, and also it supported the city’s botanical design and added to the downtown’s unique look.

“I think they make all the difference in the world,” he said.

Commissioner James Less said the bump-outs are a problem for handicapped drivers and passengers trying to exit their vehicles on the curb side.

Eschbach said the new La Salle Street bump-outs will only feature trees and bushes and not flowers.

But Tuesday, even though he voted to seek bids for the project, Less said he still had his doubts about whether the result of the streetscape extension on La Salle Street would be the same or less handicapped accessible.

The design is to be completed by McClure Engineering of Ottawa. The estimate for the work on La Salle Street without the landscaping is $100,000.

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