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updated: 8/6/2012 11:27 PM

Barrington seeks better bike, pedestrian safety

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As Barrington still strives to define itself by its small-town charm, officials hope planned improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists will help them feel less stressed by the village's increased motor vehicle traffic.

Even though Barrington is in the midst of a redevelopment project aimed at making its downtown more popular, the idea to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety predates that, Village President Karen Darch said.

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"I think this has really been a long time brewing," Darch said of a draft of the plan Monday.

The village board expects to vote Aug. 20 to send the plan to the Plan Commission for one or more hearings before a recommendation is made.

Final approval of the plan would take the form of an amendment to Barrington's comprehensive land-use plan.

Although the new plan identifies everything the village hopes to do, funding sources for most aspects of it remain undetermined. Village staff said these could be grants, village funds, assistance from the private sector or a combination of all.

Last winter, the Northwest Municipal Conference completed plans for a 20-mile bike path along Northwest Highway that would connect Barrington to Chicago. But Barrington's part in that project is only one aspect of its own internal plan.

One of the earliest parts of the plan, which may be implemented early this fall, would be to improve the pedestrian crossing at Hager Street and Lake-Cook Road, which is heavily used by Barrington High School students.

Another part of the plan staff thought could be handled relatively quickly is the removal or replacement of outdated signs, such as one on Grove Avenue directing bicyclists to a bike path that doesn't exist.

The plan suggests the village work with the Barrington Park District to extend a sidewalk from Prairie Middle School to Beese Park, past the football field and parking lot to an existing trail network.

Some other aspects of the plan include increasing the reaction time of the pedestrian crossing signal at the Barrington Area Library on Northwest Highway, adding a sidewalk and crosswalk on the east side of the Route 59 and Northwest Highway intersection, and putting bike paths on both sides of Lake-Cook Road from Eastern Avenue to Ela Road.

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