Another view of the bike lane controversy in Barrington Hills in which the opponents’ web site is linked to former Village President Robert Abboud’s company. (This is reprinted with permission of the web site The Barrington Hills Observer.)
Of Bikes and Blame- Part One: The Phantom Menace
July 28, 2014 by Barrington Hills Observer
There’s been a lot of commotion in our Village lately surrounding bike lanes, a traffic island, and about the cyclists who use (and sometimes abuse) our Village roads.
The catalyst for this upheaval was an April Plan Commission agenda item stating the Village Engineer was providing a “Bicycle Path Planning Report.” Residents along Haegers Bend, Plum Tree and Spring Creek Roads attended the meeting and were clearly upset with what they learned.
It was at that meeting it was revealed that an application requesting road repair funding from the McHenry County Council of Mayors had been submitted by our Village back in 2012 to reconstruct Haegers Bend Road. That funding request had been turned down. But the Village decided to reapply for funding early this year, and was looking to add dedicated paved bicycle lanes to the reconstruction project in an attempt to improve their chances for success.
No one on the Plan Commission could immediately address the numerous questions that the concerned residents had that evening since this was the first they’d learned of it, as the planning for Haegers Bend was under the purview of the Roads and Bridges Committee, not Planning.
Over the next few months, the Plan Commission members attempted to gather more background through painstaking questioning of the Village Engineer, Dan Strahan and the Village Administrator, Bob Kosin. Often these gentlemen are not very forthcoming with information, so the process was grueling, but gradually each meeting revealed more history, and with every new discovery, residents became more and more incensed.
During a subsequent meeting, residents learned that Spring Creek Road had been reclassified as a “FAU” route at the request of the Roads and Bridges Committee chaired by Trustee Patty Meroni. Also, Trustee Meroni had extended an offer to McHenry County to remove the traffic island at Haegers Bend and Spring Creek Roads in return for the FAU designation, which could again improve the Village’s chances for possible outside funding.
Meroni 06Starting in April, Trustee Meroni regularly attended Plan Commission meetings. If she was absent, Trustee Selman attended in her stead.
Since most of what was discussed during these meetings came as a result of actions by the Roads and Bridges Committee, we find it curious that Meroni had so much interest in attending, yet failed to participate or add any clarity during those meetings based on audio recordings from those meetings.
Over time some residents became increasingly frustrated and angry, so they took matters into their own hands. With the lack of forthright disclosure of information from those involved in the apparent political parlaying of their roads for outside funding, who could blame them?
Signs such as the one pictured at left began sprouting up in many areas in the Village that bicycle clubs frequent. Shortly after that, a website was launched by the leaders of those opposing bike lanes titled Don’t Change Barrington Hills.
The Observer noticed this website shortly after it launched and found it inexplicable how the group was blaming President McLaughlin for the bike lane initiative when we now see what Trustee Meroni and the former Village administration had been doing to our Village roads. After all, McLaughlin wasn’t even in office with the purported “land grab” that the website refers to was first hatched.
Perplexed by this absurdity, we asked our technology consultant to look into the phantom host behind this website. The following URL address was revealed:RGA Labs Host
Need convincing? Click here and look at the URL address in your browser before someone changes it.
For those who don’t know, RGA Labs is a company run by former Barrington Hills Village President Robert G. Abboud who lost his two-term seat to McLaughlin in the 2013 election. Since Abboud’s company website is hosting the anti-bike lane campaign, this clearly makes one question how much of a contribution the former president has made to the inflammatory and often misinformed content published on this website.
The Observer will be providing more in-depth coverage of this topic, including links to documents explaining what has actually transpired regarding our roads, in part two of this editorial.
In the meantime, we advise our readers to carefully consider the source of any information they receive on this matter.