To make its streets more bicycle safe and bicycle friendly, Buffalo Grove could do a little or a lot, said the consultant hired by the village to draw up a plan.
Ed Barsotti, the executive director of the League of Illinois Bicyclists, told the village board this week that Buffalo Grove is already well on its way being designed a "bicycle friendly" community, because it already has a great network of arterial roads, side paths and trails alongside the roads.
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The key to going further, he said, lies with the collector streets, such as Thompson, Brandywyn and Old Checker.
These roads in general are 35 feet wide, with moderate traffic -- traffic counts between 2,000 and 4,400 daily -- and on-street parking, while permitted, is sparsely occupied.
The plan presents four options whereby the collector streets would be designated as bikeways.
• Option one: Continue to allow parking on both sides of the road and don't add a bicycle lane, but maybe pout up some signs. The problem with this option, Barsotti said, "is that you haven't really made an improvement for cycling."
• Option two: The width of the traffic lanes would be narrowed to permit a bicycle lane to be striped one on side of the road. On the other side, a shared lane would be marked, indicating that the lane is shared by bicyclists and motorists. Parking would be limited to one side of the street.
• Option three: The traffic lanes are narrower still, as is the shoulder on one side, with more room on the other side for bicycle use. Barsotti said it increases the "comfort level" for cyclists who are on the right side of the road here.
• Option four: Narrow the lanes even further, to 10.5-foot lanes, with narrower combined parking and bicycling areas, providing both traffic calming and comfort for cyclists.
The idea for a Bike Plan was proposed in June 2011 by Buffalo Grove's Ad Hoc Bicycle Committee. In 2013, a public brainstorming workshop was held. Meetings were also held by a steering committee.
The intention has been to look at the existing network, and prioritize what could be done for the village to achieve national designation as a bicycle friendly community, which is granted by the League of American Bicyclists.
Barsotti said the village already has made inroads on Pauline Avenue, east of Weiland Road, where striping was added on one side of the road. This, he said, turned out to slow down traffic there as well.
"It narrowed the effective width of the travel lanes, but it also provided a place for people to park their cars," he said.
Trustees, Lester Ottenheimer III said he is concerned that, with combined cycling and parking lanes, bicyclists might face the danger from drivers opening their doors.
But Barsotti said it actually does not increase that likelihood, but lessen it.
The village board will vote on the plan at a future meeting.