From an SJ-R article on the MacArthur extension project today:
“It’s the most significant change in our traffic patterns since we built the interstates and Veterans Parkway, because it opens up a whole new way to get in from Chatham,” said Moll. “It also opens up a huge new area for development. Our estimate is that there are 30 or 40 years’ worth of development because of this project.”Does this mean the commercial growth of the southwest side of Springfield, along west Wabash and down Veterans Parkway, is now groing to stop or dramatically slow down? For three decades now, this kind of growth has primarily been on the southwest side. In recent years, we’ve seen Dirksen Parkway north of Sangamon come to life but that’s been the only major exception to the southwest rule.
The Legacy Pointe “lifestyle” center at the south end of the extension is expected to provide a big chunk of the development. Work is slated to start next summer on the retail, commercial, residential and recreation project, which would be larger than Parkway Pointe shopping center once completed.
It also seems to me, just based on personal observation and nothing concrete like actual statistics, that the pace of new residential building has slowed considerably on the city’s west side. That may just be a pause due to things like shifting mortgage practices, a slumping housing market, and/or a coincidental “clam before the storm” of new subdivisions.
My uneducated guess is that the opening up of the area around the new MacArthur Extension will suck the air out of further commercial expansion in the southwest part of the city while, in the long run, new housing will continue to expand west from the city.