The Bike Trail Poses Grave Risks to Children and Privacy Issues for Neighborhoods
JUNE 22, 2022, GLEN ELLYN POLICE DEPARTMENT COMMUNITY ROOM–Bike 53 held an informational meeting about the East Branch DuPage River Trail, (EBDRT or The Trail), a proposed bike trail to connect the Prairie Path and the Morton Arboretum. About 70 residents who live east of Route 53 between Roosevelt Road and Butterfield Road attended. DuPage County’s preferred trail alignment was presented by Sidney Kenyon—AICP, Senior Transportation Planner, DuPage County DOT.
The preferred path hugs the east bank of the DuPage River at Butterfield Road near Peace Lutheran Church, runs adjacent to approximately 26 homes in Butterfield east, then bridges the river at 22nd Street and Buckingham at Westfield School (map 1). (2—Source)
A proposed Bridge on the Westfield playground POSES RECKLESS Dangers to Children
“Constructing a bridge endangers Westfield’s status as a safe, secure, bordered, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) playground for neuro-diverse children such as those on the autism spectrum,” says Cathy Hosek, a mother whose children participated in the program.
A bridge falls under Attractive Nuisance laws—Attractive nuisance is a dangerous condition on a landowner’s property that may particularly attract children onto the land and pose a risk to their safety.
In addition, the proposed bridge regularly expects at least 5,000-10,000 (1) unvetted strangers (riders) from outside the area.
Sunnybrook Road, Secluded No Longer
The Trail’s preferred alignment (map 2 above) (2—Source) weaves around the Glenbard Wastewater Authority and deposits riders on the normally secluded Sunnybrook Road heading north. DuPage County builds asphalt trails 8'–10' wide and prefers 5' of green space on each side. (4—Source) The new asphalt pathway will likely take the parkways east of Sunnybrook up to and possibly including sidewalks (left side of the picture).
Thousands of Glenbard Road Trees TO BE Cut Down
The Trail curves west(2) on this quiet little road claiming thousands of beautiful 50-year-old trees on the north side of the street, taking away neighborhood serenity and privacy. Glenbard Road residents will be peeking right into the backyards of Maryknoll with an extra 5,000-10,000 (1) riders rolling through right between them.
Privacy Gone for Maryknoll Estates Homes
32 homes in total lose their privacy screen of trees bordering Glenbard Road and Route 53. (2) The neighborhood is prohibited fences and 5,000–10,000 (1) expected new bikers also gain easy access to Maryknoll’s privately-maintained trails that run through backyards.
The Maryknoll Estates landscaped entry doesn’t have the required 20' clearance for a bike trail. Thankfully, DuPage County cannot claim land for The Trail through eminent domain. (5) So will the County shift the Route 53 ten feet to the west?
A Parade of Strangers for butterfield east
The vast ComEd greenway behind Butterfield East is a slice of heaven that 5,000-10,000 (1) new riders will get to experience. At least 26 homes will have these strangers and The Trail right on their backyard property lines. (map 2 above) (2) The Trail also passes uncomfortably close to Butterfield Elementary School. (2) And who will provide security for the dangerous crossing at 22nd Street and Westfield Elementary School?
The growing homeless population also gains a safe and tended pathway through our neighborhoods from Butterfield Road to the encampments adjacent to the DuPage River and Roosevelt Road. (6)
At this time the residents of Butterfield East have received no public notice of The Trail. Many are not even aware of what is coming.
Find Another Way
Route 53 can be that other way!
LET’S ASK DUPAGE COUNTY TO CONSIDER ANOTHER OPTION
Bike 53 wants to sway DuPage County to make the alternate trail alignment along Route 53 their preferred plan. (2)
This isn’t the perfect fix for everyone. But together we can decrease the dangers with proper turn lanes, road markings, signage, and well-maintained asphalt.
With this alternate alignment, our schools remain safe. Our neighborhoods remain private. And we gain a safer place for our children to walk and ride along Route 53.
The alternate Trail Alignment
The map at left is from a DuPage County planning document. (2) At the June 22 meeting, the Bike 53 committee was informed another group was allowed to advocate against the Route 53 alignment “because bikers don’t want to ride near a highway.”
Isn’t the safety and privacy of our neighborhoods most important?
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