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posted: 8/29/2014 5:30 AM

Elk Grove Village wants input on future bicycle plan

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  • Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson says his town is already bike-friendly -- as evidenced by the annual "Bike with the Mayor" event he rode in last month -- but it's always looking for ways to improve.

       Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson says his town is already bike-friendly -- as evidenced by the annual "Bike with the Mayor" event he rode in last month -- but it's always looking for ways to improve.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

Elk Grove Village officials and local cycling enthusiasts are looking for the public's input on how their town can become more bicycle-friendly.

The suggestions they get -- whether it be adding routes, signage or bike racks -- could be incorporated into a village bicycle plan.

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Officials from the village, park district, and Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove -- who are involved in the Elk Grove bike plan task force -- have scheduled a public meeting for 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, to discuss the state of cycling in the village. A related survey will remain online until Monday, Sept. 8.

Elk Grove Village is home to a series of bike routes, including the popular Busse Woods trail. And until last year, it hosted the Tour of Elk Grove, drawing dozens of the top cyclists from around the world. (After eight years, officials decided to cancel the event because of a scheduling conflict with a race in Utah.)

The Friends of Cycling, a cycling advocacy group, performs bike safety checks and regularly hosts community rides, including a "Bike with the Mayor" ride.

Elk Grove may already be bike-friendly, but there's always room for improvement, said Mayor Craig Johnson.

Those on the task force especially want to hear opinions from the occasional bike rider, who may ride only once or twice a month, Johnson said.

"We bikers, we live and breathe it, so we think one way," he said. "But the vast majority of people (who say) on a Sunday afternoon, 'Hey dear, let's go for a bike ride,' we want to find ways for the average resident that is not a bike fanatic but enjoys biking at times to get some ideas behind (the plan)."

Dave Simmons, president of Friends of Cycling, said there will be maps and pencils at the public meeting next week for people to mark which roads and trails they use and which destinations they ride to. The backbone of the bike plan, he said, is to identify common routes, then propose ways to mark them on streets. That could include signage, curb cuts or road markings.

Johnson said existing signs that identify bike routes could be updated, with different colored signs for different routes.

The task force is also asking cyclists about possible locations for bike racks, and for their advice to make cycling safer.

After collecting public comment, the bike plan will be drawn up and considered for adoption by the village board and park board. Specific projects would require separate approval and funding sources.

Simmons said other towns have bike plans on the books, including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elmhurst and Wheeling.

"More and more these days, communities are adopting bike plans or bike and pedestrian plans because they realize especially with young professionals, it's attractive," Simmons said. "If you want to attract young professionals to your community who may not have cars or may not want to drive all the time, you have to make it safe for people to get around with nonmotorized transportation.

"Biking becomes part of the fabric of the community."

The bike plan meeting is at Pavilion Garden Terrace, 1000 Wellington Ave.

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