Mount Prospect residents object to proposed pedestrian bridge over Northwest Highway to link parks
Mount Prospect leaders have been talking about building a pedestrian bridge over Northwest Highway to link Melas Park to Meadows Park for the better part of a decade.
And while it still needs funding and isn't close to construction, the long-standing proposal drew criticism this week from a representative of a nearby subdivision.
Nancy Fritz, president of the Northwest Meadows Homeowners Association, said at Tuesday's village board meeting that subdivision residents are adamantly opposed to the bridge, which also would cross the Union Pacific Northwest Line tracks.
The bridge, at one time estimated to cost $3.2 million, would extend from the northeast corner of Melas Park to the southwest corner of Meadows Park. Officials say it would provide a safer and more convenient connection between parks, schools and other destinations for Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights residents.
The village has completed a Phase I engineering study, and recently the village board approved a resolution to seek a $3 million Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant for the final design engineering and construction phases of the project. The grant would pay for 80% of engineering and construction costs.
"The people in my subdivision are going to be impacted, and I don't that's fair to the people who bought these expensive homes that border on a park," Fritz told village trustees this week,
She labeled the bridge the "roller coaster," a reference to the corkscrew design of the access point on the Melas side.
Fritz said that while she understands the concerns raised about the safety of children crossing from one side of the tracks to the other, she said few do.
"The largest group that ever crosses over in that particularly dangerous area, which is not too dangerous because the traffic is not horrendous, are the track teams," she said. "But I also think that they're old enough, they should be able to know how to cross a road safely."
She noted there is an underpass nearby at the Arlington Heights border.
Mount Prospect Mayor Paul Hoefert said a final decision on the bridge hasn't been made yet and further discussion will be held, "but I guess I would say ducks are being lined up."
Former trustee Steven Polit suggested the village consider a potentially less expensive solution, such as a stoplight-controlled crosswalk at Waterman Avenue connecting to a new underpass leading to Melas Park.