Downtown Naperville Congestion About To Intensify

Let the fun begin. For those of you who enjoy congestion, traffic jams, and searching for a parking spot, your time has arrived. Naperville’s Water Street District’s first store is opening officially on November 7.  Southern Tide, a clothing store based in South Carolina, will be followed by the opening of the Hotel Indigo by the beginning of December.

The development, which was approved nearly two years ago, is a 300,000 square-foot project, slightly less than three acres in size, bounded by the DuPage River to the north, Aurora Avenue to the south, between Main Street and Webster Street. It’s a short walking distance to the Naperville Municipal Center, which will make it convenient for members of the Naperville city council on those snowy nights after meetings, or after a night of celebrating in one of Naperville’s many liquor-licensed establishments in downtown Naperville. The only question is, which council member will be the first to have the need.

The approval of the development by the city council marked the shift from Naperville focusing on being a family friendly city, to becoming a destination for entertainment. With that shift, comes increased traffic, higher density, and more challenges for parking.

Naperville city officials have a tendency to make decisions which create unintended consequences including the forced installation of Smart Meters, and the 635% increase in refuse pick-up fees resulting in a class action law suit against the city. Some decisions cause intended consequences including an unending stream of liquor licenses being issued, and all the problems associated with the abundance of alcohol in a relatively small area. The Water Street Development will bring with it, both types of consequences, most noticeably traffic congestion and parking problems.

It’s probably just a matter of time before Water Street’s first store, Southern Tide clothing, comes before the city council requesting a liquor license. Let the fun begin.

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1 Comment

  1. Jim Haselhorst

    Nothing new in this post, just lamenting old lost battles. Fixating on the past does not help in dealing with the future. And the future of downtown, when the Water Strict District is completed, is more facilitates to support family oriented events downtown like the parade of lights, Last Fling, Art Festival, Weddings, etc. As well as facilities to support business meeting and conferences for downtown businesses and North Central College.

    The additional liquor licenses so far have been for restaurants that will close at 10pm. I can’t think of anything more family friendly then a restaurant. And while there is certainly the chance of a bar occupying some of this available space, none have been requested yet. So far it is restaurants, retail stores and banquet halls.

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