BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Belleville residents living along South McKinley Drive say they’re being attacked from above by people using the elevated St. Clair County Bike Link.
The trail was built about three years ago along the MetroLink tracks. The residents who say they’re being attacked were surprised when they first saw the privacy fence because you can see through it.
“We’re getting attacked from the bike trail,” said Kip Ryan, dumping a large bucket of rocks that have been flying down on him from above. “Here’s an example of what’s been hitting our houses around here.”
Ryan says he’s lost two sliding glass doors and one window.
“Sunday morning at about 4:30 a.m., I had rocks coming through my door, in my bedroom,” he said.
Barrett Pazderka added, “…rocks just being flung from up here over this fence on three separate occasions.”
As Pazderka walked on his back deck, littered with rocks and broken glass, he says there’s almost no point in cleaning up.
“How many times do you pay for a window when you know it’s going to be rebroken?” he said.
Neighbors say they were surprised how easily you can see through the trail fence overlooking their properties. Instead of a solid fence, it has slat woven into the chain link.
“You can see how close we are. There’s no privacy,” Ryan said.
Barrett added, “We have a pool out here and you don`t really have any privacy when you`re barbecuing and everybody walking by is yelling down
The St. Clair County Transit District is responsible.
“During the design of the slatted fence on the elevation portion of the trail, engineers designed a type of the fence structure that could sustain an increased wind load at the higher elevation,” a spokesman said.
But that doesn't mean the conversation is over.
“We are happy to meet with any residents to discuss with the Metro Bike Link system to learn of any concerns,” the spokesman said. “During construction of the McKinley portion of the trail, (we) had close interaction with numerous residents on this section of the trail. We would like to maintain this ongoing communication with these residents.”
Belleville 7th Ward Alderman Phil Elmore says he’ll also step in to find solutions. He says police are looking for the vandals.
“We have an ongoing investigation. I hope it turns into an arrest,” Elmore said. “I would love to say that 100% of the people that walk this earth are good people but there are dumb people that do bad things.”
He says Belleville police now have a special ATV to patrol the trail.
“It’s relatively new. That was purchased by the ‘Tour de Belleville’ bike ride and this bike path is some 40 some odd miles now and it’s growing all the time,” Elmore said.
Elmore says the trail is supposed to improve both the community and property values. He wants to make sure it delivers.