Mount Prospect renews discussion of pedestrian bridge connecting Melas, Meadows parks

Mount Prospect is reviving the idea of a pedestrian bridge over Northwest Highway and the Union Pacific railroad tracks to link Meadows and Melas parks.

The concept first was floated in 2018, but plans were shelved after the village was unable to get four other potential stakeholders - Northwest Suburban High School District 214, Mount Prospect Elementary School District 57, the village of Arlington Heights and the Arlington Heights Park District - to kick in $20,000 each for a $124,000 engineering study. Only the Mount Prospect Park District agreed to pitch in.

Mount Prospect village trustees dusted off the proposal Tuesday when they met as a committee of the whole.

Officials say the bridge would provide pedestrians a safe way across the busy four-lane stretch of Northwest Highway and the railroad tracks, especially students from nearby Prospect High School. The village board's online agenda packet Tuesday included three videos showing students dodging traffic to make their way across the roadway.

"They tell a compelling story," Village Manager Michael Cassady said of the videos. "You have got a real long gap where people can safely cross. Kids are like stormwater. They're going to go to the path of least resistance. So we thought it was a good value proposition."

Public Works Director Sean Dorsey said Itasca-based consultant Burns & McDonnell is willing to take on the study at the 2018 price of $124,000. The village's goal would be for the findings of the study - which would examine issues such as land ownership and cost - to help obtain federal grants and lure other stakeholders on board.

"We think it's the type of project that could be looked upon very favorably by funding agencies," Dorsey said. "It has a lot of kind of cool things that are going for it, one of them being that it connects to regional parks."

Cassady said the problem building consensus among the other agencies in the past was uncertainty over the project's cost. An engineering study would provide clarity.

"That would give us the detail we need so we can go to these boards with more precision on the ask," he said.

Several village trustees said they support the proposed study.

"I believe that it's something that's definitely worth pursuing," Trustee Michael Zadel said. "I'm hoping that we would be able to get some financial participation."

"My concern is that if one child gets hit and killed, $100,000 is going to sound pretty reasonable," Trustee Richard Rogers added. "I don't see how we cannot at least look at it."

But Trustee William Grossi expressed reservations about moving ahead without approaching the other stakeholders first.

"If we can't get $20,000 out of these organizations that have a lot bigger fund balances than we do, how can we expect them to contribute even if we do get grants?" he asked.

Mount Prospect pursuing Northwest Highway pedestrian bridge

Mount Prospect delays decision on pedestrian bridge across Northwest Highway

  Mount Prospect leaders say a pedestrian bridge over Northwest Highway and the Union Pacific railroad tracks would provide a safe connection between Melas and Meadows parks. Mark Welsh/
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