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Highlands Area Proposed Sidewalk

Project Update and Survey Results

On December 13, 2019, a letter was sent to residents in the Highlands neighborhood regarding the proposed sidewalk installation.  Forty-one (41) of the letters also included a survey to determine the “affected residents” support for the proposed sidewalk. In line with the Local Streets Sidewalk Installation Policy, “affected residents” are defined as property-owners directly adjacent to and abutting, on the same side of the street as, the right-of-way within which the proposed sidewalk is contemplated to be installed. 

Affected Residents Proposed Sidewalk Survey Results

Street for Proposed Sidewalk

Total Sent

Not in favor

In favor

No response

University Ave – on the West side from Old Elm to Hill St





Hill St – on the North side from University Ave to Summit Ave





Hyacinth Pl – on the North side from University to Krenn Ave





Krenn Ave – on the West side to provide connectivity to Old Elm Park and on the east side to connect to existing sidewalk south of the intersection with Hyacinth Pl.










Per the letter, no response to the survey is considered “not in favor of the project”. For the project to move forward, 75% support of residents were necessary.

Due to the lack of support for the installation of new public sidewalks and in accordance with the City’s Local Streets Sidewalk Installation Policy, the City will not consider a new request for proposed sidewalks in this area until after a 3-year period has expired.

The following are questions and answers pertaining to the recent petition to have a public sidewalk installed in select areas of the Highlands neighborhood, and information about the City’s Local Streets Sidewalk Installation Policy.  If individuals have additional questions, they are encouraged to contact Annette Cardiff, Assistant Director of Public Works at 847.926.1159 or via

Highlands Neighborhood Proposed New Sidewalk Q&As

1.    What is the Local Streets Sidewalk Installation Policy (“Policy”)?

The Policy provides guidelines for property owners to request installation of a new sidewalk. The intent is to determine if there is support to pursue installation of a sidewalk. If sidewalks are supported, they should connect to an existing sidewalk on one end. The policy requires a resident volunteer to submit a petition, on behalf of the neighborhood or affected properties to the City to initiate the request for a new sidewalk installation. The Policy requires 75% of affected residents on the side of street supporting the installation of the sidewalk. Only one survey response per property will be considered. A copy of the Policy can be found by clicking on this link: Local Streets Sidewalk Installation Policy

2.    Who are “affected residents”?

For the limited purpose of this Policy, “affected residents” are defined as property-owners directly adjacent to and abutting, on the same side of the street as, the right-of-way within which the proposed sidewalk is contemplated to be installed. For example, if there are 20 homes on west side and 16 homes on east side of a block, a petition supported by 15 homes on west side or a petition supported by 12 homes on east side is required to initiate the sidewalk process to be installed.

Please click here to view the Highlands Area Proposed Sidewalk affected residents.

3.    Will the sidewalk impact my front yard?

Yes. If supported, the sidewalk would be constructed on public right of way.   The sidewalk may impact tree removal or trimming, removal of private hardscapes or landscapes, relocation of fire hydrants, etc.  To identify if your property is impacted, please review the Highlands Area Neighborhood Sidewalk conceptual plan that was presented at the Open House on November 19, 2019. Based on the conceptual plan, the City depicted an approximate number of trees to be removed along with other impacts to individual front yards.

Please note the impacts shown are based on conceptual plans. Upon City receiving approval of the project by the Neighborhood and funding approved, a detailed design plan will be developed. The detailed design plan may identify additional tree or other private hardscape or landscape items.

4.    How are survey responses tallied - by street, block, neighborhood or some other method?

As noted in item 1., sidewalks are intended to provide connectivity to existing sidewalks. City does not intent to install “sidewalk to no-where” or in front of a “few houses”. The support for proposed sidewalk shall be a block of street that will connect to an existing or proposed sidewalk on an adjacent street.

 5.    Who would pay for the sidewalk installation, if approved?

The City pays for the design and construction costs of a new sidewalk upon approval by City Council. Upon City receiving 75% support for a new sidewalk on one side of street, City initiates work to develop conceptual engineering plans. An open house is coordinated to show the neighborhood the conceptual plan. The plan identifies impacts to trees, private property landscape and hardscape within City right-of-way (area where the sidewalk is installed), and other impacts due to installation of a sidewalk.

The City’s intent is to combine the construction of a new sidewalk with a roadway improvement installation in order to recognize economies of scale. The sidewalk construction costs would be included in the larger project costs that are included in the City’s annual capital improvement plan. The capital improvement plan is reviewed and approved each year by City Council.

6.    What is the City’s right-of-way?

A right-of-way is the City-owned strip of land from the edge of the street back towards houses approximately 3-ft to 10-ft or more. On a typical street, the right-of-way width is 60-ft to 66-ft. From the centerline of street, the right-of-way area is approximately 30-ft to 33-ft. Within the right-of-way, City and private utility companies such as ComEd, North Shore Gas, etc., improve and maintain streets, sidewalks, curb and gutter, storm sewers, public underground utilities, trees, private underground utilities, and other infrastructure. Since the width of a right-of-way varies from location to location, a survey is done to determine the exact dimension of a given right-of-way in a street.

7.    What is Flexi-Pave and why was only one area identified in the preliminary plans for utilizing Flexi-Pave?

Flexi-Pave is a heavy duty, flexible and highly porous material that is made from recycled tires, aggregate and a urethane product. The installation of this type of sidewalk is less intrusive and allows rain water to drain through it. Due to its flexibility, it also resists crumbling and cracking as a result of encroaching tree roots.  As a comparison, concrete sidewalks are less expensive and offer a more durable surface than Flexi-Pave. The City Forester reviewed the preliminary sidewalk design plans and determined that one area that was in near proximity to two Heritage trees would benefit by the use of the less invasive and more porous construction with Flexi-Pave.

One example where Flexi-Pave was installed in the Highlands area is the path that connects Euclid Ct (located opposite its intersection with Warbler Place) to Hill Street. The installation was successful and the product has performed well.

8.    How will I know if the project is moving forward and next steps?

City staff will send a follow up letter to the residents, who were invited to Open House meeting, based on the survey responses. Responses are due to the City by January 20, 2020. If the project moves forward, then next steps are outlined in item 5. If supported by 75% of impacted residents, then City will budget the project in the capital improvement plan. The City has a 10-year capital improvement plan, so the timing of the project would not be identified until the City’s budget process which begins each year in the spring.   Upon approval of the budget and project by the City Council, the project would be constructed. City will notify residents of the project construction date.

9.    If the sidewalk is installed, who will be responsible for snow removal?

The City encourages residents to clear public sidewalks adjacent to their property for minor snow falls. Based on currently policy, for snowfalls of 4 inches or more, the City plows all residential sidewalks. 

10. Will the proposed sidewalk encroach on my private property?

No, the sidewalk installation would be located on the City’s right-of-way. See definition of right-of-way in item 6.

11. How will my landscaping that is located on the City’s right-of-way be handled if the sidewalk construction moves forward?

Per City Code, certain types of improvements are allowed in the public right-of-way. However, these items are subject to a License Agreement with the City. During a City-authorized construction project such as new sidewalk installation or road rehabilitation project, residents are notified prior to the start of the project and informed that it is the homeowner’s responsibility to remove items within right-of-way that will be impacted by construction and relocate these items outside of right-of-way prior to start of construction project. The list of items include lawn lights, sprinkler heads or systems, invisible fences, metal driveway edging, brick driveways, carriage walks, stonework, boulders, landscape timbers, landscape beds, and other items. Prior to residents placing items back in the right-of-way, residents are required to complete a Special License Agreement.

 12.   How to request stop signs or other traffic calming measures?

The City follows the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) guidelines to install traffic related signs. For a stop sign, certain warrants such as accident history and traffic volumes are to be met prior to being recommended for installation. The City’s Traffic Management Committee (TMC) is responsible for reviewing, advising and making recommendations regarding the administration, provision, designation, and enforcement of traffic safety regulations and parking within the commercial, industrial, and residential or office zoning districts. 

Residents are invited to submit their request, in person, to a Traffic Management Committee meeting held at Police Department, 1677 Old Deerfield Rd, Highland Park, IL on First Thursday of each month at 11 AM. If you are unable to attend or would like to send your request via email or have a general traffic related inquiry, please contact Police Department Traffic Unit at 847.926.1119 or via email at

If you need additional information on above items or have general inquiries on the project, please contact Annette Cardiff, Assistant Director of Public Works at 847.926.1159 or via