The case for a kid-safe sidewalk and bike path PDF Print E-mail
stakeholder workgroups - WG3: Bike path and walk way
Written by Mark   

Executive Summary

Build Quentin Right proposes that a safe, kid-friendly sidewalk and bike path be built along the entire length of Quentin Road - from Dundee Road to Lake Cook Road. Planning and building the path must be an integral part of the Quentin Road reconstruction project lead by the Cook County Highway Department (CCHD).

  • The path must run along the east side of and be separated from Quentin Road.
  • The path must provide a safe connection among the currently unconnected neighborhoods off of Quentin Road.
  • The path must run from the intersection of Quentin and Lake-Cook Road to the intersection of Quentin and Dundee Road.
  • The path must include the section of road that traverses the Village of Deer Park.

CCHD presented a snapshot of their plan during an Open House presentation in December 2009. The plan did not contain a sidewalk and bike path that satisfies any stakeholder needs. Most of the proposed path would run within Deer Grove West through some of the most pristine sections of Deer Grove Forest Preserve:

  • It does not provide for kid-safe connectivity among the neighborhoods along the east side of Quentin Road.
  • It does not run from Lake-Cook Road and Dundee Road so it will not allow commuting bikers or walkers to travel safely on this north-south corridor.
  • It does not provide for a connection between the paths in the Deer Grove Forest Preserve with the vast recreational paths north of Lake Cook Road and south of Dundee Road.

The Quentin reconstruction project must include a satisfactory travel solution for non-vehicular commuters and recreational travelers - there are no safe alternatives that exist in the entire region.

The Context

While extensive sidewalks and bike paths exist north of Lake-Cook Road and south of Dundee Road, no connection exists between these two major streets. Walking and biking commuters traveling north/south have only one option: to share the 45mph Quentin Road without designated sidewalks or bike paths.

With the Deer Park Mall, a hotel, and several large businesses just north of Lake Cook Road, walking and biking commuters are forced to travel on Quentin Road on a daily basis as no other north/south connection exists in the entire area.

Visitors of the Deer Grove Forest Preserve coming from the north (including all neighbors along Quentin Road) can only reach the preserve by car.

The neighborhoods on the north east side of the street had been unincorporated for decades so that no urban planning took place. These neighborhoods lack safe connectivity amongst each other and children cannot walk to their friends' houses just a block away.

While within comfortable distance, students cannot walk or bike to their middle-school or high-school.

This situation became even worse when these communities were involuntarily annexed by the Village of Palatine a few years ago:

After the annexation, the Village of Palatine decided to vacate the only public lands that would have allowed for a safe walk and bike connection within the neighborhoods. The only connection now is Quentin Road. Since the annexation was very controversial, portions of the neighborhood pursued voluntary annexations into the Village of Deer Park, creating significant administrative hurdles for any solution.

The impacted area contains over 420 homes with at least 75 additional lots available for development. People who are forced to walk or bike along this section of Quentin Road are endangering their lives every day.

The Quentin Road construction project is the perfect opportunity to address the needs of all of these stakeholders as well.

The Proposed CCHD Solution

During the Open House presentation in December 2009, the Cook County Highway Department proposed a bike path mostly within the Deer Grove Forest Preserve on the west side of Quentin Road. This proposal does not meet the needs of stakeholders:

  1. The construction and maintenance of the proposed bike path in Deer Grove West would destroy intact oak woodlands in an Illinois Nature Preserve.
  2. Nobody lives on the west side of Quentin Road and this proposed bike path would not be accessible from the east side of Quentin Road. Hence, these residents would remain isolated from each other and from the preserve.
  3. The proposed bike path will not serve the needs of bicycle and walking commuters traveling north-south along Quentin every day. These commuters would have to travel through the meandering trail system in Deer Grove West to get from Dundee to Lake Cook on their way to work.

The proposed bike trail connection in Deer Grove West does nothing for the local residents, does not facilitate bicycle commuters, and is seriously inadequate.

Our proposed kid-safe walk and bike path

Build Quentin Right believes the following requirements must be met to serve the neighbors along Quentin, the users of Deer Grove Forest Preserve, and the pedestrians and cyclists in the surrounding communities:

  1. There must be a sidewalk and bike path, separate from the road, along the entire length of Quentin Road. The path must be located on the east side - where the people live - and needs to run continuously from Dundee to Lake Cook.
  2. The path must be separated from the road so that it is safe for children traveling by themselves.
  3. The path must connect residents to each other, to Dundee and Lake Cook Road, and to the existing trails in the Deer Grove Forest Preserve.
  4. The path must include a safe, direct route for pedestrians and cyclists to cross Salt Creek separated from the roadway
  5. The sidewalk and bike path needs to minimize its environmental impact on Deer Grove Forest Preserve and minimize the disruption to the natural habit.

Conclusion

The Quentin Road Project is a perfect opportunity to address the seriously neglected needs of residents along this stretch of Quentin Road, users of Deer Grove Forest Preserve, and pedestrians and cyclists from surrounding communities. By including a kid-safe sidewalk/bike path from Dundee Road to Lake Cook Road, the CCHD could demonstrate both vision and leadership by building a model road for future projects in Cook County and beyond.

Contacts

Please feel free to contact the authors by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with any questions, concerns or feedback.

Go to our website at http://BuildQuentinRight.com for additional information or to participate in our sidewalk and bike path working group.

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 March 2010 22:02