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Half of school children walked or biked to school in 1969, but only 13 percent were doing it in 2009.

Busse Woods trail overpass opens for bicyclists and pedestrians

In a victory for pedestrian and cyclist safety, a new pedestrian overpass opened this weekend connecting the northern and southern portions of the Busse Woods Trail. The new overpass is located in Elk Grove Village, just east of the intersection of Higgins Road and Route 53.

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The new pedestrian overpass in Busse Woods. Photo used with permission from Thomas Mulick, Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove

The bridge eliminates the last remaining roadway crossing along the heavily trafficked trail. The 11.2-mile Busse Woods bike path sees over 2.5 million visitors per year, and had previously included several roadway crossings on Higgins Road. Elk Grove Village officials said that the newly-bypassed stretch of Higgins Road, a 6-lane road where speed limits reach 45 mph, sees 40,000 cars per day.

The project for a safe crossing overpass had been on Illinios Department of Transportation's project list for years, but was given priority after the death of 46-year-old cyclist Rosaleen Waters, who was struck and killed at the crossing in May.

Waters’ husband Tony Waters attended the overpass ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, along with Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson and other state and county officials.

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The ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, November 22. Photo used with permission from Thomas Mulick, Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove.

Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove, along with Tony Waters, is planning to organize a Ride of Silence in 2014 in Rosaleen’s honor on International Ride of Silence Day, May 21. “We wanted to do something in her memory, but we are still working with the forest preserve to settle details,” said Dave Simmons, president of Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove and Active Trans member. “It will be a bittersweet occasion, but a good way to connect the community.”

Congratulations to Elk Grove Village on the great addition to the Cook County Forest Preserves trail system, which will undoubtedly benefit thousands of people who walk and bike every year. And many thanks to all the local advocates (including many Active Trans members) who help push for the bridge.

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