1600 East Golf Road
Suite 0700
Des Plaines, IL 60016
Phone: 847-296-9200
Fax: 847-296-9207

Land Use Planning - Northwest Corridor

Thanks to a Regional Technical Assistance program grant from the RTA, the NWMC conducted a Land Use Planning study on behalf of the Northwest corridor communities. The Land Use study was geared to both ensure the future success of the transit investment and fulfill Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requirements. In evaluating potential New Start transit projects, the FTA closely evaluates the impact of new transit upon existing and future land uses. The FTA goal is to ensure that precious federal funds are used for projects that make the most effective use of land and deter sprawl. Our efforts were geared to meeting these requirements and we brought in a consulting team led by Parsons Brinckerhoff, a nationally recognized leader in transit oriented land use planning.

Participating communities identified 14 sites within the Corridor that have sufficient available land to accommodate a transit station and have strong potential for transit-oriented development in the immediately adjacent area. Since the planning effort at the time had not identified the Metra STAR Line as the locally preferred alternative, much of the land use planning was done on the conceptual prototype level. This means that potential station locations evaluated for this phase of the study were chosen because they represent land use patterns similar to other locations within the corridor (hence the descriptions such as "Suburban Catalyst" or "Pedestrian Pocket"). More in depth study of each individual station location will occur at a later stage in the planning process.

In December 2002, we conducted a series of community planning workshops that brought together stakeholders from the communities to identify future development opportunities for 7 of these sites (only six were included as part of the Metra STAR Line - the seventh was at Randall Road in Elgin). The result of these workshops were community-derived "blueprints" for development that include a mix of complementary land uses in a pedestrian friendly environment surrounding future transit stations. Parsons Brinckerhoff is producing a series of community-by-community recommended land use policies to make these transit-oriented "blueprints" a reality

A brief summary of the workshop results is shown below.

Arlington Heights Road - Suburban Catalyst
Busse Road - Industrial Development
Elmhurst Road - Pedestrian Pocket
Golf Road - Integrated Redevelopment
Meacham Road (Ikea) - Regional Activity Center
Prairie Stone - Office Park TOD


Arlington Heights Road - Suburban Catalyst

Existing Conditions at Arlington Heights RoadExisting conditions at Arlington Heights Road

Widespread suburban industrial, office, single-family residential and limited retail land uses surround the station area. The forest preserve directly southwest can provide an attractive view for redevelopment.


Possible Future Land Uses at Arlington Heights RoadPossible future land uses at Arlington Heights Road

Workshop participants saw this as an opportunity to gradually transform the traditional suburban land use pattern into a mixed-use compact development. The land north of the Tollway would become a pedestrian scale mix of medium to high rise condos/apartments and commercial centered around two small parks. High rise office towers would be located directly adjacent to the Tollway, serving as a buffer for the residential section. South of the Tollway, a series of high rise office buildings and a full service hotel would be clustered near the station, with new residential and commercial within a short walk.

Artists Rendering of Possible Future Land Uses At Arlington Heights RoadArtist rendering of possible future land uses at Arlington Heights Road



Busse Road - Industrial Redevelopment

Existing Conditions at Busse RoadExisting conditions at Busse Road

A considerably developed primarily industrial area that includes an airline fuel storage facility and rock crushing plant. The station area also includes some commercial and office space, single and multi-family housing north of the Tollway, and some restaurants and a hotel. The layout of major arterial streets creates both challenges and opportunities for development.

Possible Future Land Uses at Busse RoadPossible future land uses at Busse Road

Workshop participants wanted to create a strong destination and activity center comprised of office and retail uses just south of the Tollway. A plaza containing public art, plantings, benches, and cafes and/or street vendors could both serve as the centerpiece of the development and attract pedestrians from the surrounding residential areas. Warmer building materials, such as brick, would be used to soften the colder metal and concrete that dominate the area. An improved pedestrian connection to the north would also be included.

Artists Rendering of Possible Future Land Uses at Busse RoadArtist rendering of possible future land uses at Busse Road



Elmhurst Road - Pedestrian Pocket

Existing Conditions at Elmhurst RoadExisting conditions at Elmhurst Road

There is a significant amount of land available for redevelopment. The station area is bordered on three sides by manufacturing, industrial and other intensive land uses such as a petroleum tank farm, a regional sports complex, a water reclamation plant and large retention pond. A large mobile home park plagued by antiquated water sources occupies much of the remaining land within closely proximity of the station location.

Possible Future Land Uses at Elmhurst RoadPossible future land uses at Elmhurst Road

A convention/conference center with accompanying hotel would occupy the land nearest the Tollway interchange. A residential area surrounding a park would be also featured. Office and commercial would be introduced to the area. Most of the remaining land would remain industrial, with an increased density over the existing pattern.


Golf Road - Integrated Redevelopment

Existing Conditions at Golf RoadExisting conditions at Golf Road

Surface parking surrounds a mix of office to the immediate south, retail and commercial to the east, and office and light industrial to the north. Pedestrian activities are limited. The forest preserve south of Golf Road provides an opportunity to focus development.  The City of Rolling Meadows is currently pursuing a parallel study of transit oriented redevelopment opportunities for this location.

Possible Future Land Uses at Golf RoadPossible future land uses at Golf Road

Office development south of the station would intensify. Commercial and even some mixed use residential or condos/apartments could be incorporated into the redevelopment. New street patterns would facilitate the movement of vehicles and pedestrians.


Meacham Road (Ikea) - Regional Activity Center

Existing Conditions at Meacham RoadExisting conditions at Meacham Road

The Woodfield area serves as a major regional destination for employment and activities such as shopping and entertainment. Intermixed land uses include a regional mall, a Fortune 500 corporate campus, a small university, office, light industrial, bix box retailers, strip commercial, multi-family housing, hotels and restaurants. While the land use pattern is mostly auto dependent, trolley service connects most of the destinations.

Possible Future Land Uses at Meacham RoadPossible future land uses at Meacham Road

A major convention and hotel center is already planned for just north of the station location, utilizing much of the available land. Additional hotel and high rise office would complement the station area. Some of the existing residential could become mixed use development.

Artists Rendering of Possible Future Land Uses at Meacham RoadArtist rendering of possible future land uses at Meacham Road




Prairie Stone - Office Park TOD

Existing Conditions at Prairie StoneExisting conditions at Prairie Stone

Located near the southeast corner of a developing office park, a station at this location would be the transition point between the Northwest Corridor and EJ&E portions of the STAR Line. The area west of the EJ&E tracks is already developing with office buildings, while the eastern part at the station location is mostly vacant, with a single hotel within walking distance. The site is currently designed for vehicle access with some pedestrian elements.

Possible Future Land Uses at Prairie StonePossible future land uses at Prairie Stone

The area immediately adjacent to the station creates numerous opportunities to increase the planned density of office and commercial space. Although not call for in the current master plan, workshop participants identified the opportunity to include some residential north of the location. A park would be integrated into the design. Because this will be the transition point between the two STAR segments, this will most likely end up becoming a very large station with nearly rail storage facilities.

Artist's Rendering of Future Land Uses at Prairie StoneArtist rendering of possible future land uses at Prairie Stone