Community Design

Burr Ridge currently lacks a strong sense of “community” due, in part, to the preponderance of overlapping jurisdictional boundaries of the government units that service the Village. Because Burr Ridge has not actively sought to annex property into the Village, it has grown with very irregular municipal boundaries that make easy identification of the Village limits difficult. The Community Design chapter of the Comprehensive Plan seeks to establish a distinctive visual character for the Village’s major gateways and transportation corridors. This is to be achieved by the following policies, as articulated in the Goals and Objectives section of the Comprehensive Plan:

  • Landscape and develop the County Line Road and Frontage Road intersections, north and south of the Route I-55 interchange, the South Frontage Road and 91st Street right-of-way intersections with Robert Kingery Highway, and the Madison Street and Plainfield Road intersection as gateways to the community. Establish signage to identify other main entrance points into Burr Ridge.
  • Encourage individual subdivisions to design their entryway signs to include common features from the Village’s entrance signage, in order to unify and identify the subdivisions as being part of Burr Ridge.
  • Landscape the Frontage Roads to define and enhance their connections with County Line Road and buffer Interstate Route I-55.
  • Enhance the appearance of arterial streets within Burr Ridge.
  • Preserve the existing estate-type character of County Line Road in accordance with the County Line Road Overlay District, as amended through March, 1995.
  • Develop a continuous natural open space area along the Des Plaines River to define the southern edge of the Burr Ridge planning area.
  • Encourage tree planting on public and private property to enhance the wooded character of Burr Ridge.
  • Encourage burial of utility lines.

6.1       Subdivision Entryways

Burr Ridge has grown as a collection of subdivisions that maintain their own individual identities. While individuality is an important aspect of the community’s identity, many residents also want to establish a common Burr Ridge identity. One way to do this would be to encourage individual subdivisions to adopt a common unifying theme or common materials in their entryway signs. Unifying elements should build upon the gateway features used to identify the main entrances to Burr Ridge. Subdivision signs should include the words “Burr Ridge” in smaller font next to the subdivision name.

Consideration should be given to amending the Subdivision Ordinance to implement this recommendation by establishing a palette of materials or other common elements that must be incorporated into subdivision entrance signage. Older subdivisions could be encouraged to adopt such unifying elements as old entry signs are replaced. A more proactive approach would be to establish a funding program where the Village would pay a portion of the cost of replacing existing subdivision signs if they adopted the common elements in their design.

6.2    Gateways

Two types of gateway features are recommended. The principal gateways define the main entrances to the Village, which help to establish a sense of place for the Village. Principal gateways are generally located where major streets, carrying significant amounts of traffic, enter the community. The secondary gateways define the boundaries of the Village and differentiate Burr Ridge from its neighbors. These have been located at key intersections that define either the current municipal boundaries or the logical extent of Burr Ridge’s planning area. Recommended gateway locations are shown in Figure 9: Proposed Gateway Locations.

One of the short-term issues that will affect the Village’s ability to undertake gateway improvements is that many of the recommended gateway locations are not currently within the Village boundaries. Consequently, the design guidelines are intended to illustrate gateway concepts rather than specific design solutions.

Principal Gateways

The Plan proposes to create strong principal gateways in several locations, as shown in Figure 9. The gateway design should project a common image and theme. At the same time, it is important to respond to existing site conditions at each gateway location. The important features and issues that should be considered for each gateway design are discussed below.

The design for the principal gateways could consist of a combination of signage and landscape treatment. The signage should be rustic in appearance in order to reflect the desired rural character of Burr Ridge. The signs could consist of naturally exposed wood with a two post construction. The landscape material should be native to the area and consist of a mixture of shrubs and perennials with a variety of color and blooming trees. A combination of evergreen and deciduous trees could be used. Burr Oak tree groupings could be used for the principal gateways, given the use of the oak leaf as the Village emblem. Other landscape elements could include large field rocks interspersed amongst the landscaping. A rock wall with appropriate signage, could be constructed where there is adequate space and topography.  There should be a variation in the height and treatment of the rock wall to add to the wall’s prominence and visual appeal.

The locations of the principal gateways are as follows: 

a)   North and South Frontage Road and County Line Road intersections.

The I-55 and County Line Road interchange serves as the major entranceway to the Village. County Line Road also provides access to North and South Frontage Roads that serve the light industrial and commercial core of Burr Ridge. These areas are frequent destinations for workers and residents. The proposed gateway should serve the dual function of defining the entrance to the Village as well as the entrances of Frontage Road. The Plan, therefore, recommends establishing primary gateways at:

i)    The intersections of Burr Ridge Parkway and County Line Road, south of Route I-55.

The main civic and commercial uses are clustered around this intersection. Specifically, Village Hall and several professional offices are located to the west, and Corporate Park and County Line Square are located to the east of this intersection. Most of these uses are accessed from the Frontage Roads which branch off from County Line Road. Currently, the entrances to the Frontage Roads are not well defined and confusing. 

There is sufficient land adjacent to this intersection to establish gateway features. One possible location is on the southeast corner in the area adjacent to the detention basin that serves County Line Square. The detention basin has been identified as an important public space for the proposed redevelopment concept for County Line Square. A gateway element on this corner could emphasize the presence of a revitalized and enhanced commercial center.

Another potential location on the southwest corner is the grassy area just north of the Village Hall. This site is particularly appropriate because it is already publicly-owned and could be readily improved as a community gateway. The design could include a mix of signage and landscape elements as shown in Figure 10: Principal Gateway Improvement Concept. Given the proximity of the Village Hall, the southwest corner should include a community sign with information regarding Governor’s Home Town award and other community honors.

ii)   The intersection of Case Drive and County Line Road, north of Route I-55.

The gateway proposed at this intersection would define the north entrance into the Village. Light industrial and residential uses are located adjacent to this intersection and are accessed by North Frontage Road. Grassy strips located on the east and west of the intersection, similar to the Burr Ridge Parkway intersection, would be appropriate locations for the gateway elements. The gateway design for this intersection should also clearly identify the entrance to North Frontage Road. Consideration should also be given to replacing the existing concrete median with a landscaped median similar, to the median treatment south of I-55.

iii)  The I-55 Interchange.

The I-55 interchange could be enhanced through landscape improvements to visually improve the entrance into Burr Ridge. This could be achieved by planting prairie style landscaping within the loops of the interchange. Prairie landscapes typically require very low maintenance and would be ideal for the interchange location. The Village should also work with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to identify acceptable options for screening the fences with landscaping or replacing the existing fences with a more attractive alternative.

b)   Robert Kingery Highway and South Frontage Road

The intersection of Robert Kingery Highway and South Frontage Road represents an important entrance into the community from the west. Currently, a mix of commercial uses, including a gas station, are located east of the intersection. The existing Burr Ridge identification sign is not immediately visible from Robert Kingery Highway and there is no clear indication that there is access into Burr Ridge or to South Frontage Road from this intersection.  The grassy berm on the northeast corner of this intersection might be an appropriate location for the gateway feature. The gateway element should include signage clearly indicating the entrance to the community and South Frontage Road. 

c)   East side of Robert Kingery Highway at 91st Street

The Robert Kingery Highway and 91st Street intersection represents another long-term opportunity to define a gateway to Burr Ridge. Robert Kingery Highway (Route 83) is a major regional arterial and defines the western limits of Burr Ridge’s planning area. Since this intersection and the surrounding area are not currently within the Village boundaries, development of a specific gateway treatment will have to wait until the area is annexed to the Village of Burr Ridge. The design of the gateway feature should clearly indicate the location of Burr Ridge to the east of Robert Kingery Highway.

d)   Madison Street and Plainfield Road intersection

The southeast corner of Madison Street and Plainfield Road intersection represents an excellent opportunity to establish a principal gateway to Burr Ridge. The Planned Unit Development for the High Grove business park includes a provision for a prominent design feature at this location. Given the high quality buildings being built in the High Grove development, a Burr Ridge gateway sign would clearly announce then entry into an upscale community.

The gateway enhancement of the expressway interchanges and County Line Road intersections would have to be established in cooperation with Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Cook County, which have jurisdictional authority over them. The Village should also explore opportunities to jointly fund the proposed gateway improvements with IDOT. The proposed Village Hall gateway improvement could be undertaken as funds become available. 

Secondary Gateways

Secondary gateways could include a landscaped sign identifying the Village of Burr Ridge.  The Village already has several existing signs serving this purpose. These signs have a rustic design appropriate to the rural character of Burr Ridge. Landscaping to enhance these signs is recommended, as illustrated in Figure 11:  Secondary Gateway Illustrative Concept.

Existing identification signs are located at the following locations. These should be enhanced with the proposed landscape improvements.

a)     Intersection of County Line Road and 60th Street

b)     Intersection of 91st Street and Garfield Avenue (The existing signage at this intersection identifies the location of Rustic Acres, which houses the municipal offices.)

c)     Wolf Road and 79th Street

d)     German-Church Road, east of Arrowhead Farm

Additional secondary gateway signs should be located at the following locations: 

a)     Intersection of Interstate Route 294 overpass and Plainfield Road.

b)     Intersection of 91st Street and County Line Road.

c)     Intersection of 91st street and the proposed bike trail along Flag Creek. (This location is also presently outside of the Village of Burr Ridge, but is within its planning area.) 

The secondary signs would be most effectively implemented through a capital improvements program using general funds from normal Village revenue sources. Several of these gateway improvements cannot be scheduled until the proposed locations become part of Burr Ridge.

6.3 Streetscape Enhancement

Streetscape enhancements should build upon the Village’s desire for a rural character along the continuous streets that define the main edges of the community. While over time there may be additional streets that merit streetscape enhancement, initially, this effort should address the Frontage Roads, Madison Street and County Line Road.

Frontage Roads

The North and South Frontage Roads can be characterized as predominantly light industrial and office access routes.  The two lane Frontage Roads are accessed from County Line Road and run parallel to it before curving along the highway interchanges to run parallel to Interstate Route I-55. North and South Frontage Road present most travelers along Interstate Route I-55 with their only vision of Burr Ridge.

Landscape improvement along the Frontage Roads should be consistent with their character and function as an industrial/commercial access route. Additionally, landscape improvements should buffer the adjoining uses from Interstate Route I-55.  A system of signage should be established to better identify the access to the Frontage Roads.

The location and configuration of the Frontage Roads pose significant challenges in developing and maintaining landscape treatments. The proximity of the expressway, and the existing narrow planting bed, limits the type and extent of landscaping. Landscape improvements must be sensitive to traffic safety and associated considerations.

The Frontage Roads, with the exception of Bridewell Drive located within the Corporate Park, are owned by IDOT. Recent improvements to Bridewell Drive, including road widening, curb and gutters, were fully funded by IDOT and Cook County on the understanding that Burr Ridge would be responsible for future maintenance. The Village should negotiate with IDOT for similar improvements on other Frontage Roads in order to establish the proposed streetscape improvements.

Madison Street

The character of Madison Street changes from residential to commercial along distinct sections of the road. From just south of 83rd Street to Plainfield Road, Madison Street serves as a primary commercial route, providing access to several industrial parks and other commercial uses. Between 79th Street and 83rd Street, Madison Street serves as the dividing line between industrial uses to the west and residential neighborhoods to the east. South of 83rd Street, the development pattern changes to residential.

Along the residential portions of Madison Streets, streetscape enhancements should emphasize the naturalistic character of the residential environment. In areas where industrial and residential uses meet, streetscape improvements should provide an attractive buffer or transition between these uses. Streetscape improvements along the commercial portions of Madison Street should address parking concerns and curb cut requirements for the various businesses.

Madison Street is also significant, because it is the only realistic pedestrian and bicycle pathway link between the northern and southern halves of Burr Ridge. Thus, streetscape improvements should also serve to enhance the travel experience for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The streetscape enhancements along Madison Street can be incrementally implemented. However, an overall concept plan should be adopted in order to develop a cohesive streetscape. It should be noted that Madison Street has also been identified as a primary pathway route. Therefore, the streetscape improvements should be coordinated with the development of the proposed pathway system. The Pathway Plan is discussed in greater detail in the Transportation and Circulation chapter of the Comprehensive Plan. The proposed landscape improvements could be established as a part of a Village capital improvements program. Improvements located adjacent to vacant parcels could be required as a part of the subdivision and approval process. Finally, the Village of Burr Ridge could work with the Village of Willowbrook in jointly developing improvements along shared sections of Madison Street.

County Line Road

County Line Road extends north to south through the Village of Burr Ridge and its planning area. It is the main entrance to Burr Ridge and its primary focal point. County Line Road is subject to the provisions of the County Line Road Overlay District, as amended through March, 1995. These regulations are designed to protect the estate-type setting that exists along much of the County Line Road corridor. Minimum residential lot sizes of 40,000 square feet are required along County Line Road with front yard setbacks of 80 feet, except where an approved landscape plan is in effect. In this circumstance, the front yard setback can be reduced to 60 feet. These requirements are designed to help achieve open, uncrowded residential development in harmony with existing large lot uses.

Most of the County Line Road corridor is fully developed and no immediate streetscape improvements are recommended, with the exception of the gateway enhancements discussed earlier in this chapter. As part of the gateway enhancement effort, consideration should be given to replacement of the concrete median north of Interstate Route I-55 with a landscaped median.

Cook County is scheduled to undertake a major road improvement project between 79th Street and 91st Street, but County Line Road will remain a two lane street. Concurrent with these improvements, the Village is considering a pathway extension. When these improvements are completed, consideration should be given to naturalistic landscape improvements that would further enhance the rural character of the corridor. Any County Line Road streetscape enhancements should reflect the overall objectives of the County Line Road Overlay District, as amended through March, 1995.