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Western Springs halts proposal for Flagg Creek bike path
Mar 30, 2017
David Heitz
Chicago Tribune
Pertains to Flagg Creek, Western Springs, Plainfield Road, 55th Street
The Western Springs Village Board has decided to hold off on any plans to build a pedestrian and bicycle path along portions of Flagg Creek after numerous residents spoke out against the project, saying it would have an impact on homes in the area and that the $116,000 for an engineering study is not a good use of funds.

The board decided Monday to table the phase one of the Flagg Creek Greenway Project for further discussion at the committee level, removing the item from an omnibus vote on agreed items.

Village President Bill Rodeghier said the decision was made after residents had contacted him and village trustees in opposition to the plan. More than three dozen residents also attended the board meeting to oppose the Flagg Creek plan.

Resident Bob Dorsey said he opposes spending $116,000 for an engineering study on a bike path, when he believes there more pressing issues for the use of the money.

"The debate we should be having is not whether we need a bike path, but how can we best invest village money, to address the needs of the people of Western Springs," he said, specifically noting any path on the east side of the creek would directly border houses and backyards.

Village Trustee Alice Gallagher said the project has been in discussion for several years as a way to connect the north and south portions of the village with a trail system, and give residents in the southern portion of the village the option to access the downtown area by use of the paths, rather than having to drive. The village had applied to the Chicago Metropolitan Area Planning Council for a matching federal grant to install the paths in the area near 47th to 55th Street east of Flagg Creek, she said.

As part of the grant proposal, Gallagher said the village was required to submit Phase 1 design plans, at a cost of about $116,000. The total project has a price tag of about $2.7 million, of which, the village would pay 20 percent.

This route would provide a link from residential areas in Indian Head Park and Western Springs across Plainfield Road and 55th Street to Fair Elms Avenue in Western Springs, where the local bicycle network leads to the Western Springs Metra station at Wolf Road and Burlington Avenue and also north to Bemis Woods, according to the grant application. The design would consist of a 10-foot wide pavement with 2-foot shoulders and clear zones, with the building of a retaining wall to create level areas for the bike path under the Plainfield Road bridge over Interstate 294.

Rodeghier said the project will go back to the village's Properties and Recreation Committee for more discussion on how to improve the plans. That committee will then need to approve updated plans before they are sent back to the Village Board.

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