I was there when they dug the big space in the earth for what became beautiful Lake Arlington. I remember the dedication ceremony. I remember my marathon-runner son telling me he had just gone four times around the "pond" with Walter Payton. And I remember lots of talk about how there were no funds to build a separate bike trail.
I've been running and walking the "path" for 20 years. The only time bike riders don't come inches from my shirt sleeve is when I'm out there in the ice and snow -- indeed, they're not riding then.
But let's not condemn bicyclists. Terrific, courteous and understanding people are riders. But when you get on that two-wheeler, you go -- it's easy to forget you're going 20 miles per hour. You bob and weave to avoid all the slow walkers, sometimes saying "On your left" or "On your right" and sometimes you're so in the moment you forget to say anything.
The point is the people on foot and the bike riders don't belong on the same path no matter the watchdog patrols and park district monitoring. The danger was discussed 20-plus years ago! If the park district referendum would have passed, would construction of a separate bike trail been a priority?
I've talk to Barbara Pagano -- she was a hearty, friendly and lovely woman. She loved her Lake Arlington. She did not have to die this way. Please everybody, together we must take steps to build that separate trail for our biking friends. No more tragedies! Be careful, alert and courteous.
Larry J. Powitz