Bristol citizens give views on Highway 45 shared path at board meeting

A view of the rural portion of the Highway 45 project with a multi-use path. /Wisconsin Department of Transportation drawing

Citizens at a Bristol Village Board meeting Monday presented their views on whether the eventual reconstruction of Highway 45 from Highway 50 to the state line should include a multi-use path along one side.

The path issue was not on the meeting agenda, but during citizens comments three citizens spoke in opposition to the path. One spoke in favor.

One option presented by the state Department of Transportation for the project is to have a paved path about 30 feet from the road to be used by pedestrians and bicyclists. State officials have said several proposals — some with paths some without — are being considered currently and that ultimately a decision will be made by the state DOT after consultation with the Village Board and consideration of public comment.

Chad Toney spoke as a representative of the Cherri Vista Dells neighborhood, which is located along the west side of Highway 45 south of Highway V.

Toney gave the board copies of a presentation and said that he and his neighbors object to the path because it will require taking of some property via eminent domain and removal of plantings, berms and fences that Cherri Vista residents have created over the years to screen their properties from Highway 45 traffic and noise.

In the written presentation and his remarks, Toney questioned who would use the path, called it a waste of taxpayers money and said it “basically intrudes on our space.”

Toney also questioned how village residents, and especially his neighborhood, have been informed of the proposals. The project is being “rammed through” in an “underhanded manner” he charged. At the close of his remarks he suggested a referendum on the path “makes sense.”

But resident Bob Helfferich had a different view of the path. An avid bicyclist who uses his bike for transportation, he presented the benefits of path systems. Such paths, he contended, improve the quality of life in communities that have them. Businesses along paths get trail traffic as customers. They also provide a safer enviroment for cycling, especially by children, who could get themselves to destinations by walking or riding a bike.

“Do you like your children having to walk in the street?” Helfferich asked. “This gives you an alternative to having to be a taxi.”

Most board members who commented said economics of building a path would loom large in their opinion of the path option. The state has said any paths or sidewalks  constructed as part of the Highway 45 project would be paid for 80 percent by the state and 20 percent by the village. The state will pay the entire cost of the actual road re-construction. The current timeline calls for the project to begin in 2015, but it has been put off in the past.

“I will be thinking about our economy when I make my decision,” Trustee Ruth Atwood said.

Village President Mike Farrell added that the board will have to consider what’s best for the entire village, not just any one constituency.

“We as a group have to represent the 3,800 population of Bristol,” Farrell said.



  1. Don't do the right thing says:

    A referendum? Are you serious? Why bother it will just get ignored by the Board. Allot of us need to step out and do some walking. Kenosha County is one of the most unhealthiest counties in Wisconsin, let alone the State being the fatest in the USA. A little exercise would go along way for all of us and along way for some of us. But we just pretend everything is fine and keep running around in our cars and trucks polluting the air and contributing to the energy crisis. A trail along 45 is the best option I have heard in a while and sidewalks in downtown Bristol are needed for safety reasons. I do not want to see another person who has been run by heavy equipment while riding a bike down the shoulder of 45, nor do I want to see another child who has been struck by a car along 45.
    If Cherry Vista doesn’t want the trails than fine don’t give it to them. As far as sex offenders, give me a break. The municipal code will restrict sex offenders from living or congregating next to the trail and if they do they were going to do it no matter what law was in effect, there are allot of sick people in this world. We have to stop being the Mayberry and little podunk town we use to be, we are a Village now and need to govern, operate and look like a village. Personal agendas have no place on this Board with regards to this highway project. It is in the best interest of Bristol to protect the lives, property, safety, and health of its citizens and all those who travel through our Village. Turning this down and letting the state put in culverts and ditches through our downtown area is foolish and than we should ask ourselves why did we even bother becoming a Village, waste, waste, waste. I am Tired of all the people crying NIMBY (Not in my back yard)!
    To the Village Board, do the right thing and listen to more than just Cherry Vista residents and the other 2 residents you always listen to, are these people afraid of exercise, afraid to get out and get some fresh air? The Board is accountable for shaping the future of Bristol and It is the right thing to do for the Health and Safety of all Bristol residents. The money isn’t the issue here its the people complaining about more people coming into Bristol. I have been a life long resident and Bristol was just fine before Cherry Vista Dells, it seems to me these people are transplants from down south who escaped to Bristol to avoid Gurnee, in turn they are turning this County in to Lake County.

  2. Matt says:

    I have to agree with the previous comment. All these “Illinois” transplants are trying to turn Bristol into a Gurnee. They whine about every little thing, all the while driving around in their $50k SUV’s. This isn’t Mayberry people. Ohhhh well, you lose a little of your back yards…….crybabies! Go back to Chicago!

  3. Ted says:

    I strongly disagree with the previous 2 comments. Why should the majority pay for something the minority wants. My hobbies are hunting and fishing which I must purchase a lincense. I must also register my boat and ATV to utilize them on WI waterways and trails. These “bicycle people” are not required to register their bikes and do not contribute in any form to the construction maintenance, or law enforcement of the bike lanes/paths. They already ride 3,4,5 bikes across on most rodes in Kenosha County and seldom obey the rules of the road. Now you want to invite these people to our backyards. I say leave them on the road. If you want trails like Madison, move to Madison. I sure you would not be open to having 58-108 feet of you backyard taken form you and no my property is not adjacent to HWY45. As for Sex Offenders, check the federal web site. There are 11 registered within several miles of Bristol. You really think 1 Bristol Cop will keep all the kids safe. He will be too busy responding to my calls every time I see someone using the shared path for the wrong purpose. You two talk about going back to Chicago or Gurnee. If you want sidewalks and paths why don’t you move there and leave “Rural Bristol” rural.

  4. Cherri Visa Resident says:

    Chad Toney may have presented his views and the views of a few others in Cherri Vista but was not a representative of the Cherri Vista subdivision. I have lived in Cherri Vista for 20 years and had no idea he was going to present his views at this meeting. I for one am in favor of this path. I think it would be nice to have this so individuals or families could have other options for walking or riding their bikes. Would be nice to be able to ride into town to the Bristol 45 Diner, to Progress Days and other events.

    As far as the ignorant comments regarding “Illinois Transplants”, I moved here because I liked the area and subdivision. Not trying to change or not change anything however improvements/changes can be good. Looking at a simple bike path not an airport or super highway.

  5. No Shared Path says:

    Matt and Don’t do the right thing,
    Are you two serious? A “Path to Nowhere” for the two of you and maybe a handful of others? Really??? Matt, you are correct, this isn’t Mayberry. Mayberry had ice cream parlors, barber shops, grocery stores and the like. Bristol doesn’t have any of that. What makes either of you think for a moment that anyone other than a slim few would use the path? If your mind is capable of a hint of logic, think long and hard about it before you inject your 3rd grade wit to comments regarding the utter and complete intrusion into people;s lives. Conjecture on your behalf that we are all fat and this shared path would solve it is absolutely absurd! We are in the 21st century my friend. As for the Illinois transplant comments, how old are we here? Listen to yourselves…what exactly does geography have to do with this matter? I don’t care where people are from, Bristol is an attractive community simply because of its rural nature, why would the people who moved here for that very reason, have to be subjected to the desires of a few people who think that coming 54 feet into our backyards, wiping away nearly 20 years of planting is a small matter. All for what? So you can walk on a Path to Nowhere? Be real! Get a life. Drive your Prius to a forest preserve…hug a tree there…drink your sodie pop…and dream of the days when we trusted our kids on major highways.

  6. No Shared Path says:

    Hey Matt, slight correction. My SUV cost more than $50K…sorry. BTW, what exactly does that have to do with the path? I am struggling with the correlation. Can you help me to understand the relevance of that part of your comment? Additionally, what leads you to believe that those concerned and/or directly impacted are from Chicago? Lastly, if we so-called “transplants” wanted to be like Gurnee, we would most likely be for the path…agreed? A quick word of advice, God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen to what you are saying, as it doesn’t make sense.

  7. Chad says:

    Cherri Vista Resident,

    Hi, I am Chad and I presented at the village meeting Monday. I made reference more than once during the presentation that I am representing some, not all residents of Cherri Vista. I am not so naive to believe that everyone is going to be in 100% agreement regarding this proposal. I welcome you and anyone else in the neighborhood to stop by for a visit. I will show anyone the direct impact to not only myself but others that are adjacent to the projected shared path. I will then ask you and anyone else to put yourself in my shoes and tell me how you would decide. I don’t think that anyone is opposed to the widening of Rt. 45 for the bicycle path, however, the shared path needs further thought and discussion. Again, I welcome you to stop by and share your thoughts.

  8. Chad says:

    Cherri Vista Resident,

    I have the presentation that was presented if you would like a copy. In it you will see right away that a lot of thought went into its content. The perspective that I presented wasn’t just from those view point of those directly impacted, rather, it took a more holistic viewpoint which included the entire community’s impact. Selfishly, I can say that the path impacts approximately 20 homes directly…the point that was presented painted a more complete picture. It included sections of our community that wouldn’t use the path for the simple fact that they are no where near it, i.e., Rainbow Manor, Lake George, rural sections that are miles from the projected path, etc. I would ask those that aren’t in the general vicinity of the path, “how often do you drive up to the path on AH?” I am willing to bet that the number that do is very small. A path up there makes much more sense as a bulk of Bristol’s population is up there. Another point that we presented at the meeting was the cost and how it could potentially impact families that are on a fixed income. Before we make decisions in the community that have broad impact, we need to consider ALL of the implications.

  9. Compassionate One says:

    I my self cannot speak for the cherry vista residents, but I would like to point out that if an acre of my paid for and well earned land were to be taken away from me, I would be very upset. The people that live in those homes that are effected should have a right to their land that they’ve paid for. I am sure some of those families have pets that get to stretch their legs in the yard and perhaps have children that play in the yard, and to take that away from them is just so saddening. Bristol does not need sidewalks south of Highway C, because who would trust walking 3 miles into town to go to that diner or even to progress days. We have 11 registered sex offenders in the village of bristol and I wouldn’t let my self walk down those paths, let alone my children. As for the exercise portion of the deal, why don’t we (instead of increasing all of our taxes), using that money for personal gym equipment for fitness. However, I do have to tell you that when I look around at the people of Bristol, I don’t see a bunch of unhealthy unfit citizens. And who are you to tell us how to live our lives? If someone needs the exercise, no one needs you telling them to get some. They/we are perfectly capable of controlling our own lives. If a resident decides that he or she needs exercise, there are plenty of parks and forest preserves to go to in the area. I will agree that a bike path is arguably needed, but not a sidewalk. Not only will these sidewalks intrude on these innocent peoples yards, but it will require the people who own those yards to shovel that portion of the side walks in the wintertime. Most of (if not all) the people who own a snow blower would have to walk all the way down the street in the bitter cold just to get to the place that needs shoveling/snow blowing. Older citizens who may live there would be in deep trouble if they have trouble getting out of the home. AND if they can’t get out of their homes, Bristol slaps a $150 dollar fine on them because they are in-capable of getting out of their home to shovel. That is NOT fair to them! And what about liabilities for those paths that run through those peoples yards? If someone falls and gets hurt, the people that own that lot are capable of being sued. Just my thoughts on the situation…

  10. Woody says:

    I am one who will be greatly affected by putting in a shared path. Clearly that is of no concern to some of you and I am certainly not here to try to change your opinion. The end result is you are either for a path or against it but tearing into someone’s opinion doesn’t make you right. I am opposed to any type of path going through my backyard and my reasons are not going to change just because you want to call me an Illinois transplant or say that I need to get exercise or need fresh air. You have no idea where I came from, what I do to get exercise or how much fresh air I get, frankly it’s none of your business.
    Perhaps there are other options than what is being proposed but there is a great concern about having to fund 20% of this project. Go ahead and start your attacks but some of us may not be able to afford this price tag. Perhaps in my household we went through what many Americans have gone through a little something called unemployed. It’s not a comfortable feeling and I have sympathy for those who are dealing with it currently. I am afraid of the tax burden along with the liability I might have to face if this path is on my property. You may commence with your “give me a break” comments but they are very real to me. You make the comment “not in my backyard” but that might be simple enough for you since you may not be facing that issue. You have choices and options to find places to walk I will not have any option but to deal with losing property and no way of gaining it back.
    As a Cherry Vista resident please understand we did not approach the board and say we were the voice for the entire subdivision. We do respect the fact that people do not feel the same way we do but please, if you ever want to stop by my place so I can show you the impact of what would happen to me I am the one who is always in their garage or driveway. I do welcome a peaceful conversation and would love to hear your take on this.

  11. Concerned... says:

    To: “Don’t Do The Right Thing” and “Matt”,

    What you are saying is complete ignorance! Seems as though maybe the two of you should move to “Gurnee or Chicago” if you want that type of environment. Leave rural, rural. As far as the sex offender remarks…Why don’t you give me your address and we’ll send the sex offenders to your back yard since it doesn’t worry you a bit! As a previous person commented, we have 11 of them here! A bit scary, wouldn’t it be? What kind of a parent are you that you would even allow/trust your kids to ride along 45, bike path/shared path or not? Seems you should care a little more! So worried about kids getting hit by a car but abducted, raped or something else, that’s okay? You want to think “that’s not going to happen” you’re ignorant because if/when it does happen, it’s TOO late. As far as impeding in our yards…put yourself in the “crying” ones shoes and you wouldn’t like it either! The liability (or would you be the 1st to try and sue for “getting hurt” in one of those backyards?), the upswing in crime, to name just a few are absolute negatives. Give me a break, if this were affecting you, I’m sure you’d be the 1st to object! As for the off-base and meaningless comments about SUVs and such, sounds a bit like jealousy and not relevant to this situation at all. And, exercising…please! If they want to lose weight, they will! Not because we have walking paths and you said they should!

    By the way, I fully and completely agree that this is the wrong thing to do! Our tax dollars poorly spent!

  12. Concerned and on Rt 45 says:

    I am one of the people that will be directly impacted by the changes on Rt 45. I have been told that they can come into my yard as much as 108 feet for the entire length of my yard. So worse case scenario they can take up to 3/4 acre of land from me. I have worked hard for everything I own and I don’t feel I have to give that much land for something that will be rarely used! I have also lived here for over 15 years and have paid taxes into the community. I am all for the resurfacing of the road, the turn lanes and the bike path. I don’t mind giving up some of my land if it helps with the safety issues. I DO mind giving up a large portion of my land so a few people can walk down a path. Not to mention I will have to shovel this path or receive a ticket. AND I am personally liable for any accidents that happen on the path which is no longer my land. I don’t like Gurnee, Chicago, or even Kenosha. I moved here because I don’t want sidewalks, I love the large lots and the rural feel. Chad Toney did preface his comments during the meeting with “I represent a few of the neighbors that live on RT 45 and not the community as a whole”. So for those of you who feel you were misrepresented –you weren’t! I am glad Chad spoke on my behalf and for those of us who are concerned. Thank you Chad!

  13. Bristol Resident says:

    Who is the clown “Matt” who clearly can’t figure out that 50 to 100 feet isn’t losing a “little” of my backyard. Why would I move back to Chicago since I never lived there to begin with and what in Gods name does that have to do with any of this?? If I didn’t want any property I would have moved to Chicago or Gurnee but instead I moved to Bristol where I currently have an acre of property. As far as me getting more fresh air, again another ponit that is none of your business but I do get a lot of fresh air while I am cutting my acre of grass and maintaining it.
    To the person who lives in Cherry Vista that wants the path I would argue that the path is not so simple as the impact to people’s personal lives and what I would consider an invasion, a simple path doesn’t impede on my property by almost 100 feet. Keep in mind that’s it’s not 100 feet from the current Rte 45 it will be from the widened road that will also include a turn lane. I would question you as to how you would feel about losing that much land but I guess since it won’t be going through your yard you don’t have to answer that question or worry about it. I sure wish I had that problem.

  14. Ron says:

    Let me start by stating that I am one of the BRISTOL & Cherry Vista Dells residents that will be impacted by the proposed improvements to highway 45 and for that and many more reasons I’m against it. I would like to thank Chad for representing us as I was unable to attend the meeting. Chad has done a great job stating the FACTS and doing it in a very PROFESSIONAL manner. THANKS CHAD!
    To “Do the right thing “& “Matt” I have a couple responses to your comments.
    1) It was good to see you repeatedly referenced “WE” in talking about fattest and unhealthiest. If you think people will suddenly start going for walks or bike rides because there’s a path you are sadly mistaken. Let alone along a busy noisey highway.
    2) Exactly how does putting in a shared use path from the state line to downtown Bristol help to reduce emmisions or aid in the energy crisis? How? Is someone going to walk or ride their bike from downtown Bristol to the Red School Cafe for breakfast? I think we all know the answer to that!
    3) I agree that the need for sidewalks in downtown Bristol are probably a good idea as many kids walk to school and it definitely is a safety factor. If you’re under the false impression that grade school kids from Lake George or Cherry Vista Dells would ride their bikes to school because their is a shared use path you are sadly mistaken. Not a parent in their right mind would allow that!
    4) A municipal code will keep registered sex offenders from congregrating near the trail?! HAHAHA Really?! Seriously?! Ask any police officer how they think that works and you get back to me.
    5) You have absolutely no right to talk about “NOT IN MY BACK YARD” because it’s NOT YOUR BACK YARD THEY ARE TRYING TO TAKE! If they want to go up to my property line fine I can’t stop that and I knew that when I bought my property. But they have no right to be able to just come in and take more! But if they do get to take it then I have to relocate my fence AT MY COST and all the years of landscaping are destroyed. How dare you use the NOT IN MY BACK YARD statement!!!!!
    6) Transplants from Gurnee and trying to make Bristol like it. Really?! The fact is we are trying to keep it rural which would be the opposite of Gurnee and what the heck does where you come from have to do with any of this? It’s about where we live not where we came from.
    7) Matt 50k SUV really that’s your argument?
    8) I’m an avid runner and I prefer to run on our beautiful and quiet country roads. It makes for much more enjoyable exercise instead of lisitening to the constant traffic that flys by on highway 45.
    9) Have you even looked at the plans presented by the DOT? The impact it will have on the surrounding enviroment? The loss of surrounding trees alone should upset you. Wetlands?
    When they say this project will be 100% funded they are correct it will be 100% funded by US! We all know nothing in this life is free and let there be no mistake this will cost every Bristol resident more in their taxes.
    To sum this all up YES I’m against this multi use path! Yes they want to take my land but I also see no use in building a shared use path that serves absolutely no purpose.
    Again my thanks to Chad for representing us and doing it very professionally!!!

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