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St. Charles gas station owner working with city staff to address safety concerns with redevelopment plans

The property is located at the southeast corner of South 11th and West Main streets

The owner of a gas station in St. Charles plans to work with city staff to address safety concerns related to the redevelopment of the station. The property is located at the southeast corner of South 11th and West Main streets.

The owner of a gas station in St. Charles plans to work with city staff to address safety concerns related to the redevelopment of the station.

The property is located at the southeast corner of South 11th and West Main streets. Plans call for a new gas station with three fuel pumps and a 1,440 square-foot convenience store.

Last month, a few alderpersons suggested installing a curb between the gas station and the sidewalk along Main Street in order to protect pedestrians walking in the area. In an email, St. Charles Community Development Director Russell Colby said city staff have not finalized how the requested separation between the sidewalk and site circulation would be addressed.

“We are working with the developer on this and they are to propose a solution for staff to review,” Colby said.

On April 18, the St. Charles City Council approved the redevelopment plans, with Fourth Ward Alderperson Bryan Wirball voting against the plans along with fellow 4th Ward Alderperson David Pietryla and 1st Ward Alderperson Ron Silkaitis.

The proposed curb was not part of the motion to approve the plans. Nearby residents also have raised safety concerns about the plans.

The gas station previously had three fuel pumps, but the middle pump was removed in 2016 because of a leak.

“We are concerned about the third pump and would ask that a curb or some kind of safety measure be added to keep kids and pedestrians walking on the sidewalk safe,” Mike Steinmetz and Jill Walker, who live on South 11th Street, said in a letter to alderpersons. “There is nothing now and vehicles travelling at 30 miles per hour turning into a small entrance creates a problem for me.”

Pietryla suggested that a 12-inch curb be added to the plans “so that we can protect any pedestrians walking on the sidewalk.”

“As the alderman for that ward and having many constituents reach out to me and knowing that children are walking by, I feel compelled to say something,” he said.

Colby told alderpersons a traffic study submitted as part of the project suggested there be some sort of separation between the sidewalk and the gas station in order to improve safety. Wirball also voiced his support for the installation of a curb.

“It would prevent cars from inadvertently going on to the sidewalk,” he said. “My understanding is that you are going to replace the sidewalk any way.”

In response, owner Mohammed Ali said the gas station has never been a high traffic gas station.

“It’s just a neighborhood gas station and we have not experienced any traffic congestion in that gas station in the last several years I have been running it with two pumps,” he said. “And no accidents so far.”

Silkaitis said adding the curb “seems like a simple solution.”

“We have an opportunity to fix something,” he said.

Ali said he will work with the city to come up with a solution. At the City Council’s Planning and Development Committee meeting on April 11, Ali said the third pump is not expected to increase the number of cars using the station.

“Adding an extra pump would not increase the volume significantly. It’s fail safe for us,” he said.

Ali said the third pump would provide back up in case there is a problem with the other pumps.