Evanston aldermen Monday voted unanimously to oppose a plan to build an access road along the CTA tracks for a planned subdivision north of Isabella Street in Wilmette.

Wendy Pollock, co-chair of the city’s Environment Board, said the land involved, which is owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, contains a grove of oak trees and that the swampy land provides an important water retention function after storms.

Carl Bova and Linda Damashek joined Pollock in speaking against the proposal.

Bova suggested that if the road went through, Evanston might have to upgrade its stormwater system to account for the lost rainwater storage capacity. Damashek bemoaned the possible loss of the natural serenity the wooded area provides.

While Isabella forms the boundary between Evanston and Wilmette for most of its length, at this location the municipal boundary is about 300 feet north of the roadway, so the parcel that the road would cross is in Evanston.

The MWRD has leased the land to the city, but a provision of the lease gives the MWRD the authority to build a road there.

Eleanor Revelle.

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, whose 7th Ward includes the site, said it wasn’t clear whether the MWRD, which was asked by the county highway department to approve the access road, would go along with the city’s request to reject the plan.

Revelle said the MWRD recently lost “a huge lawsuit” over an easement for a development in downtown Chicago and may be leery of facing another court challenge demanding access to a property the developer argues is otherwise landlocked.

Related stories

Effort to block Wilmette development continues (5/15/17)

Path to development sought through Evanston (11/4/16)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. By all means
    Certainly it is in line with the Council and the ‘do nothing for progress’ groups to reject anything like this.
    Instead of replacing a swamp with a road that leads somewhere, they want it kept a swamp for their mythical birds.
    If they really want to do something for the environment, prohibit all cars from Maple to Hinman, Emerson to Dempster. And close 25% to through traffic [i.e. make cul-de-sacs].

    1. Road to Wilmette Cul de Sac

      At the risk of adding more snark, this access road will be to land in Wilmette. The Village of Wilmette has refused access from Maple in Wilmette. Access from Isabella will destroy this little ecosystem. And this is for four big houses. All tax receipts to Wilmette. Nothing here for Evanston. I support the City Council

      1. Thank you

        I was trying to understand why access from the north was not possible.  Your comments are illuminating.

      2. Access Road Developer Possibilities

        Having looked at the overhead photo from Bill’s original article “Path to Development Sought Through Evanston” located here:  http://evanstonnow.com/story/real-estate/bill-smith/2016-11-04/76285/path-to-development-sought-through-evanston

        I would have to say the developer does have another option – purchase one of the homes off of Coulter in Wilmette, knock it down and put a road through from Coulter.  Of course, it is cheaper on the front end to add an access road…. we need only get rid natural habitat that helps us avoid increasing amounts of runoff.  How could there be a problem with that? 

      3. Right on, Bill Keesom!

        Right on, Bill Keesom! You nailed this issue right on the head… Thanks, Brian G. Becharas

  2. Council?

    Council should vote YES to the road if it can be a toll road. Say, two dollars each way.

    1. Road from Isabella

      Why not make it a $ 5.00 toll?    Let’s get some revenue for Evanston ! ! 

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