Barrington Hills Group Opposes Bike Lanes On Roads

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 21, 2014 4:05PM

2014_7_21_dontchangebarrington.jpg If you think some Chicago residents are virulently opposed to bicycle lanes, we ask that you head to Barrington Hills where a plan to widen roads in the suburb to accommodate bicycles has drawn staunch opposition from the suburb’s residents.

Most Barrington Hills residents opposed widening and adding bike lanes to Haeger’s Bend Road at a public hearing last Wednesday. They argue bicyclists already ride the road four to five abreast, ignore traffic signs and lights, and even urinate on their lawns. Bike lanes, they contend, will only encourage the behavior.

Some residents have even formed a group called “Don’t Change Barrington Hills” and have put lawn signs with the image in this post on their lawns to show their opposition.

"We have no obligation to a professional biking community, clad in spandex, who are regularly abusive to our residents and drivers, and urinate on our property. We have no obligation to out of town traffic speeding through our community. It is time we stood up and said NO MORE TRAFFIC!"

They claim widening and adding bike lanes is a violation of Barrington Hills’ Comprehensive Plan, which states residents act as “stewards for a quiet, secure and natural environment with a long term, sustainable use for open countryside living” and that Haeger’s Bend other roads eyed for bike lanes run through private property. One resident, referred to bikers as “insects” at the meeting, which should please Tribune curmudgeon John Kass. Because it doesn't get any more NIMBY than a town shouting, "Our sustainable quiet countryside living must be as car-friendly as possible!!"

The proposed bike lanes are part of a project to make the roads more accessible for bicycle commuters, but other fiscal considerations are at play. Haeger’s Bend has not been repaved in over a decade and the costs of patching potholes and other hazards on the road prevents Barrington Hills from fixing up other roads in the area. Not every resident is opposed to bike lanes. Rob Schaller, who commutes to his job in Deer Park by bike and uses Haeger’s Bend, said he’d like to see wider shoulders or bike lanes. Barrington Hills applied for up to $1.5 million in Surface Transportation Program funding two years ago. Adding bike lanes could open them up for more money.

Patty Meroni, a village trustee who is chairwoman of roads and bridges, said the opposition to the plan was “like (opening) up a Pandora’s Box.”