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Village Vision News

Residents voice opinions about proposed bike path

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Village engineers David Harp and Matt Foster of BGM & Associates, Inc., hosted an open house at Village Hall in June to discuss the proposed bike path that would connect existing paths on Oakland Avenue and Hickory Point Road.

The event gave citizens an opportunity to ask questions and voice their concerns about the project in a public forum. By an informal count, there were 16 residents in attendance.

“This is a very preliminary plan,” Harp told the group in reference to the plans that were on display. “And, your comments are very important.”

Back in May, Foster told trustees about a grant program through the Illinois Department of Transportation called the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program or ITEP.

A full grant, Foster said at the time, would pay for 80 percent of construction costs, design fees and construction observation fees. Cost estimates when the project was initially discussed four or five years ago were $658,000, which Foster said have gone up since then.

The proposed connecting path cuts across Decatur Park District property near the corner of Hickory Point Road and Oakland Avenue, which would require an easement. Foster said he was confident the easement would be allowed.

The project consists of constructing approximately a half-mile of asphalt path 10 feet in width and a new bikeway bridge over Stevens Creek. There would be an at-grade crossing of Oakland Avenue and the connection between Oakland Avenue at Hickory Point Road. In addition, the project will be ADA accessible.

Several of the comments from those in attendance at the open house were about flooding concerns and visibility issues on Oakland Avenue at the Deerfield Estates subdivision.

“We are not into the design phase yet,” Foster said. “We are just seeking funding now.”

Larry Pickett, whose property would be affected by the project, said in reference to annual flooding in that area that, “Stevens Creek is going to own that bridge if you put it on the north side of Hickory Point Road.”

Pickett said moving across the road wouldn’t affect any residential property. He also told trustees at the June 20 board meeting that he’s seen the creek flood that part of the road some 30-35 times over the years.

Sid Audiffred told trustees he was opposed to the project because of the state’s financial problems whereby it’s having trouble even funding schools. He also didn’t like the idea of the village spending this type of money.

Max Hollinden acknowledged the “valid comments, but I applaud the efforts,” Hollinden said. “We walk that road all the time, and it’s dangerous, (with) a lot of traffic.”

According to an update included in the engineer’s report to trustees dated July 5, the application for the ITEP grant has been submitted, and funding announcements can be expected in early 2017.

If the project moves forward and is eventually approved, Foster’s best guess of when construction would begin would be some time in 2018.

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