New Peoria housing building could power intersection closure

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Nick Vlahos

| Journal Star

PEORIA – When a housing development was started in northwest Peoria, there was one caveat: after all, only one street could access it.

That restriction would no longer apply at Williamsburg Oaks Townhouses, depending on what Peoria City Council might decide later this month.

A new residential structure, slated for development near the War Memorial and Mountello drives, would trigger the permanent closure of King James Road on Jamestown Road. Emergency vehicles would be excluded.

The King James-Jamestown intersection is open as it has been since 2004 when Williamsburg Oaks debuted. Also open is the other Williamsburg Oaks Access Point on Jamestown Road and Queen Frances Lane south of War Memorial Drive.

During a meeting last week, the Town Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that the council lift the restriction on King James Road, which is part of an 18-year-old agreement. On March 23, the council is expected to consider the recommendation.

Concerns from residents of the area prompted the agreement, but things have changed since then. Or maybe they don’t.

“We believe previous concerns about hazardous conditions or traffic congestion have not manifested,” said Leah Allison, a senior city planner for the city.

Williamsburg Oaks is made up of about 60 townhouses and maisonettes, Allison said. There was once a motorhome park in the area.

Williamsburg Oaks developer Prospect Enterprises plans to add two maisonette buildings and possibly a single family home. According to Bob Hall, an attorney for the developer, they would be built in open land along a cul-de-sac at the end of Queen Frances Lane.

“Two maisonettes are not much of an additional factor in generating traffic to throw a lot of extra traffic on King James,” Hall said.

Prospect Enterprises supports the status quo of King James Road, Hall said. This also applies to the Williamsburg Oaks Condominium Association and the Williamsburg Homeowners Association. This group represents property owners along Jamestown Road south of Williamsburg Oaks.

Jamestown Road ends in a cul-de-sac south of Prince George Court. The only access to this area and Williamsburg Oaks from the rest of Peoria is from War Memorial Drive at the Jamestown-Queen Frances intersection.

Hall suggested that all traffic in Williamsburg Oaks be serviced through this intersection, which would be neither safe nor practical.

Should there be any issues with the current King James version, traffic can be controlled by changes or signs on the sidewalk, Allison said. A closure on Jamestown Road can also be considered.

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However, there is no set schedule for the duplex construction phase that Hall said could take place on one structure at a time.

“These future phases have not happened and may never happen,” said Commissioner Ed Barry.