A plan to convert a portion of Rockefeller Avenue into a parking lot for Riverside-Brookfield High School appears to be on the fast track after Brookfield village trustees on Monday night seemed to be in agreement on the latest plan.
Trustees, including those who previously favored a cul-de-sac that would have prevented traffic from flowing west on Rockefeller from Hollywood Avenue, were unanimous in their support. The latest proposal, unlike ones floated in January and February, allows traffic to flow freely down the length of Rockefeller Avenue.
“I’m thrilled with this recommendation,” said Trustee Linda Stevanovich, who was outspoken in her disapproval of a cul-de-sac for the lot. “I thought a cul-de-sac was dangerous and unreasonable. I’m glad everyone came to the conclusion I had.”
Under the current proposal, a one-block stretch of Rockefeller Avenue between Golf Road and Hollywood Avenue would become a parking lot for 108 vehicles. Currently, just over 20 student vehicles can be found parked along the street.
In order to accommodate two rows of head-in parking, the pavement along Rockefeller will be widened by 36 feet before narrowing again near the Hollywood Avenue intersection. The street widening would result in the loss of a sidewalk on the north side, while retaining the sidewalk on the south side.
The village has estimated that the cost to convert the street into the parking lot will be roughly $230,000. While Brookfield would pay the cost of the construction up front, it will be reimbursed by Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208, which is about to embark on a large-scale renovation campaign.
According to Village Manager Riccardo Ginex, work on the lot is expected to begin later this summer and end in fall. The village board and the high school will likely enter into an agreement to build the lot next month.
In January, Riverside-Brookfield High School Superintendent/Principal Jack Baldermann approached the village board about converting the street into a parking lot. As a result of the proposed school renovation, RB will lose its faculty parking lot in the northeast corner of the campus.
The school will be building a parking garage on the site of the current student lot, but requested the Rockefeller lot as a lower-cost alternative to building a second deck on the garage. The garage and Rockefeller Avenue spots could also be used for overflow parking for Brookfield Zoo, which is directly north, during the summer and on weekends.
Earlier, amid concerns that additional cars on Rockefeller Avenue might turn that street into a high-speed, westbound escape route for parents and students, Ginex presented the board with two plans that would have prevented traffic from flowing west from the lot.
The first was a traditional, circular cul-de-sac, while the second allowed for delivery access north on Hollywood Avenue for trucks heading for Brookfield Zoo.
Stevanovich complained that the cul-de-sac would create a traffic nightmare on Golf Road. Others stated that a cul-de-sac would limit emergency vehicle access from the west.
In order to gauge daily traffic counts on the street, Village Engineer Derek Treichel completed a traffic study in April that showed an average of 681 cars using Rockefeller Avenue on weekdays and 321 on weekend days.
Those numbers were enough to move Ginex to recommend allowing the street to remain open to the west.
“We can monitor any complaints or issues that come up over the next year and see if there’s an impact to the neighborhood that warrants a cul-de-sac,” Ginex said. “This will also allow the zoo access to the south [Hollywood Avenue delivery] gate they wanted.”