Bump in the road

Opinion: Editorials

September 10th, 2019 12:39 PM

Next week, officials from the Brookfield Public Library will head back to the Planning and Zoning Commission for what is likely to be a formality serving to delay the village board's approval of the long-awaited new library facility by a couple of weeks.

At issue is a traffic impact study completed by a Wisconsin-based firm whose licensure to do business in Illinois is unclear. The firm and the library say there's no problem. A state database, as of last week, indicated the license hadn't been renewed since it expired in 2017.

This isn't some fly-by-night outfit. The same company completed a traffic study for a previous version of a new library facility back in 2012 and there's no reason to believe that somehow their method for conducting such studies is suddenly flawed.

The main complain about the most recent traffic study, conducted last January, is that it was very cold on the days the study took place, and critics fear the data might be skewed.

Will a new library at 3541 Park Ave. attract more traffic? We suppose the hope is that, yes, it will do just that. But the fact remains that a library is just across the street from the future location right now and there's a traffic impact already.

The new arrangement, with a new off-street parking lot available, that at least that part of the equation might be improved somewhat from the one that already exists. As for actual additional traffic, we doubt that it will be significantly different enough to cause a serious problem.

And, if it turns out that the new library is such a hit that the village needs to address traffic patterns in that area, it can certainly do that.

That said, when the complaint about the traffic study first surfaced earlier this summer, it might have been prudent to simply seek a new one rather than let a small issue mushroom into a larger one.

While this delay is unlikely to have any impact on the approval and eventual construction timeline of the new library – which has seen overwhelming support – it wasn't necessary. In the push to get this project approved after so many years, officials may have felt like they didn't need another roadblock.

It's understandable, but a re-hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission is a way to clear that air. We're hoping that's just what it does.

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