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Bike lane battle brews in Barrington Hills

Residents, village board dispute road changes

Published: Monday, July 28, 2014 10:28 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Tarah Thorne – tthorne@shawmedia.com)
Members of Don’t Change Barrington Hills have posted signs in favor of the status quo.

BARRINGTON HILLS – Haegers Bend Road resident Billy Quinn says he and his neighbors agree that bicyclists are often rude and do not follow the rules of the road in their neighborhood. And those are the reasons he cited for opposing bike lanes there.

At tonight’s Barrington Hills Village Board meeting, officials will again discuss a controversial plan for the proposed widening of and creation of bike lanes on Haegers Bend Road.

In a memo to the village, engineering firm Gewalt Hamilton Association said that so far, residents along Haegers Bend unanimously oppose providing right-of-way or easements for the proposed project.

"[I]t does not appear that reconstructing the road is a viable option," the firm said in the memo. "Accordingly, we will plan on limiting future improvements to patching and resurfacing within the existing pavement footprint of Haegers Bend Road.”

Village President Martin McLaughlin said the village was turned down for federal road fund assistance for a complete reconstruction of the road surface and for the bedding for Haegers Bend. That was because it did not have an alternative transportation or bike plan as part of the application, he said. It was decided at that time to start creating another plan, including a bike component, and submit the application again.

“My understanding is that the hope was to rate higher on the application and be awarded funds that would cover as much as 80 percent of the construction costs,” McLaughlin said.

He added improvements on Haegers Bend Road had previously been described as “deferred” because of potential development on the former Duda site.

“The condition has deteriorated to a point that it now needs more significant work,” McLaughlin said, adding the village now needs to look into ways of getting money, without affecting taxpayers, to fix the road.

He added his primary goal was to avoid increasing property taxes.

The proposed widening and bike lane plan drew opposition from residents, many along Haegers Bend Road, who did not want the landscape of the area changed.

Quinn, the Haegers Bend Road resident, is a member of the Don’t Change Barrington Hills group (www.dontchangebarringtonhills.com).

Although Quinn and his neighbors have their complaints about cyclists, Barrington Bicycle Club Manager Bill Gotfryd said cyclists are often accosted while riding through Barrington Hills. He said people have yelled and thrown things at the cyclists, as well as running them off the road.

“We want (the road) exactly the way it is,” Quinn said. “It’ll get resurfaced when it needs it and potholes will get fixed when they need to… I don’t want the change in Barrington Hills.”

According to the engineering firm memo, a petition containing 438 signatures opposing bike path, bike lanes and markings on village roads was submitted to the village. Feedback was also received indicating that neither a right-of-way nor an easement would be granted by property owners along the road.

All but one of 45 comment forms from residents of Barrington Hills were not in favor of bike lanes on Haegers Bend Road. Most of the support for the bike lanes came from Algonquin residents, the memo states.

The Barrington Hills Village Board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 pm today at Village Hall, 112 Algonquin Road.

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