Elmhurst returning $1.76 million grant for Prairie Path crossing at York Street

By Rachel Matuch
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 4/17/2019 5:01 PM

Seven years after receiving a $1.76 million grant for an underpass or bridge at the York Street crossing of the Illinois Prairie Path, the Elmhurst City Council voted Monday to return the money.

The city secured the grant in 2012 from the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference to create a grade-level separation between path users and motorists. However, the plan would have cost the city an estimated $1 million more above the grant funding.

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Alderman Scott Levin, chairman of the city's public affairs and safety committee, cited the cost and lack of resident support as two main factors in the decision.

The city has made other improvements at the site over the years, he said, and will continue to look at ways to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians on the path.

"When push came to shove, we didn't feel that it was a project that was well supported or that was worth tax dollars coming from the city," Levin said.

The plan to return the money passed the council with yes votes from all present aldermen; Dannee Polomsky and Michael Honquest were absent.

Kim Messina, the advocacy co-chair for the Elmhurst Bicycle Club, said consensus at the club was that neither a bridge nor underpass were the right solution to the safety concerns.

"It would have changed the whole landscape of the Prairie Path in that general area," Messina said, adding that there was no guarantee walkers and bikers would use a bridge or underpass instead of going around.

Messina said the club would like to see an alternative plan come to fruition: a safety median where path users could pause while crossing.

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