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updated: 1/13/2010 9:47 AM

Bike lane plan for Wauconda's Garland Road may be dead

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By Phil Collins

A long-standing plan to add bicycle lanes along Garland Road in Wauconda may be dead because village officials don't want to fight a potentially costly legal battle with residents opposed to the project.

Mayor Mark Knigge said he has been considering bicycle lanes there for at least four years. He said a handful of residents south of Bonner Road have clearly expressed opposition to having the lanes in front of their properties, and their willingness to take legal action if the village proceeds.

A five-foot bicycle lane on each side of Garland Road would run from Gossell Road to Homer T. Cook Memorial Park. The area is under an intergovernmental agreement between the village of Wauconda and Wauconda Township, so the two entities have been working together on the project.

Knigge estimates 90 percent of residents in that area are in favor of the bicycle lanes.

"(Garland Road) is a major artery to a large part of our community and more people would walk or ride if that was there," he said.

Trustees agreed at a committee of the whole meeting Tuesday that a potential legal battle would cost too much to the village.

"I think it's a great idea, I just don't see it (happening financially,)" Trustee Jean Mayo said.

The lanes would cost $575,000, a bill that would be reduced by a $245,000 grant the village obtained specifically for this project. Knigge said it would be troubling to lose that grant money, which he believes will expire at the end of the year if no progress is shown.

Knigge said multiple public meetings have been held about the lanes, and the board has tried to work with opponents. He said the original plan was for one eight-foot lane on one side of the road. Changing it to one five-foot lane on each side did not satisfy opponents.

If the village continues to deliberate on whether to proceed with plans, fees for all the professional services involved would continue to add up. Officials indicated their reluctance to put more money into a project that could result in a costly legal battle.