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Traffic sign for Jefferson Ave. near Target proposed by Naperville

Turning left from Target or Portillo’s onto West Jefferson Avenue can be a harrowing experience, especially during the lunch and evening rush hours.

The problem will only be exacerbated by increased traffic from the new businesses and stores expected to occupy Westridge Court and Heritage Square shopping centres, which will undergo a major renovation once final plans for the shopping district are approved. Block 59.

Before the situation worsens, the Naperville City Council this week asked staff to discuss the idea of ​​installing a traffic light in Jefferson, east of Route 59, with the businesses that would benefit from it.

That stretch has been the scene of many vehicle crashes, and the number has increased in the past three years, authorities said.

In 2022, six crashes were reported in Jefferson near the area where drivers enter and exit the Target store lot in the north and Westridge Court, home to stores like Cost Plus World Market, Bed Bath & Beyond and Painted Tree Marketplace, in south, Naperville police said.

That’s more than five crashes there in 2021 and three in 2020, the data shows.

The council took up the issue Tuesday night during discussions with Brixmor Property Group, which owns Westridge Court and Heritage Square, and has plans to remove existing buildings to create Block 59, a regional upscale dining and entertainment complex with a Community garden for events.

Andrew Balzer, Brixmor’s property manager, said his company was willing to contribute its share of a new traffic light, but would not cover the full cost.

Target, located north of West Jefferson Avenue, has refused any contribution, according to city officials.

Councilman Paul Hinterlong said when he talked to people about the Block 59 project, he was surprised to learn how many people drive to Target on Diehl Road in Warrenville because it’s easier to get in and out than it is on Jefferson Avenue.

Councilor Nicki Anderson said once the new Block 59 restaurants are ready, “I can’t imagine what a nightmare that will be from a navigation standpoint. I’d love to see something there sooner rather than later.”

To speed things up, Councilor Patrick Kelly suggested that the city come to some sort of funding deal with Brixmor and nearby businesses that would benefit from a stoplight.

Brixmor could pay half the cost, the council agreed, with city staff finding a way to finance the rest of the cost.

Bill Novack, the city’s director of Transportation, Engineering and Development, said Target might realize that a light is a good investment.

“They pay half; Brixmor pays half. That’s the easy fix,” he said.

Another option, he said, is to establish a special service area where money is raised to finance electricity. But for that to happen, she said, more than half of homeowners need to agree.

subaker@tribpub.com

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