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updated: 11/15/2011 5:46 PM

Grant will allow Elgin to inventory sidewalks, transit stops

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The city of Elgin will get $100,000 worth of funding for a study of the sidewalk system and access to transit stops while only having to commit staff time if an intergovernmental agreement is approved by council members Wednesday.

The city applied for a grant from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and plans to hire a consultant to complete the study by next year.

"The study is really designed to inventory what we have, in terms of sidewalks and footpaths, and identify gaps in our network," said Steve Wasilowski, former chairman of Elgin's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC).

Wasilowski has been a member of the committee since its inception two years ago. The sidewalk network has always been a priority for him, he said, largely for three reasons: health, sustainability and public safety.

BPAC has advocated for more shelters near bus stops to make alternative transportation more attractive.

"We're not doing a lot to promote bus ridership when we don't have bus shelters," Wasilowski said.

Consultants hired for this project will inventory the sidewalks and transit stops in town, develop program recommendations to fill gaps and identify funding sources for future work. Public outreach will also be a component of the project.

Paul Bednar, the city's liaison to BPAC, said the committee will help consultants put together a five-year plan to prioritize which sidewalk gaps or transit stops need the most attention.

Council members are set to give preliminary approval to the intergovernmental agreement that would allow Elgin to work with CMAP for the grant at the committee of the whole meeting Wednesday. Once it is officially approved, the city can hire a consultant and begin the work.

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