Barrington Hills board shows opposition to bike lanes

The Barrington Hills board assured residents at a standing-room-only meeting Tuesday night that there are no plans to build bike lanes or widen any of the village's roads.

In fact, Trustee Patty Meroni asked the village staff to help craft a resolution preventing future bike lane proposals.

“We will have a resolution on the September agenda on restricting the building or development of bike lanes, bike paths on village roads within the village,” Meroni said.

Trustee Michael Harrington said every resident he has spoken to about bike lanes and bike trails on village roads has been against it.

“I'd like to provide our residents who are very concerned about this issue with some comfort and assurance that we're not going to pursue bike trails,” Harrington said.

“I have no problem with bikers,” he added. “I'm a biker myself. I have problems with bike trails.”

Several of the residents who spoke during the portion of the meeting allotted for public comment echoed Harrington's position.

Donna Hannay, of the 500 block of Plumtree Road, said residents are merely trying to protect their environment. She said that includes tranquil country roads that have a natural beauty and do not serve everybody.

“I do believe the people you are intending these bike lanes to be for are very active athletes. They are in their uniforms, many of them have insignia that they are with teams, and quite frankly if a poor mom and her kids tried to ride on one of their bike lanes I guarantee you they'd run them over,” Hannay said.

Since July, an organization called Don't Change Barrington Hills, founded by resident Mary Naumann, has distributed yard signs protesting potential bike lanes in the village.

Mary Marie Konicek was the only resident at the meeting who said that the yard signs, which feature an image of a crossed out bicycle, should be taken down.

“I find these signs such an embarrassment to our community,” Konicek said.

Konicek said she took part in the Barrington Honor Ride and Run, a bicycling event that raised money for rehabilitation programs for military veterans, and was embarrassed that participants had to see the signs.

Bill Gotfryd, the manager of the Barrington Bicycling Club, wrote an open letter to Village President Martin McLaughlin and the village board asking them to condemn what he described as calls to violence and actual, physical confrontations with cyclists.

“Further, I respectfully request that the Village officially instruct Village Police to undertake sensible and evenhanded enforcement of relevant traffic and criminal laws, including the protection of law abiding cyclists in Barrington Hills from dangerous and illegal motorist and pedestrian behaviors,” Gotfryd wrote in the letter.

Gotfryd, who lives in Lake Barrington, attended the meeting but did not address the board.

Bicyclists vs. bucolic suburb

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