Bicycle plan a step closer in Elk Grove Village
More bike paths, wayfinding signage and signals allowing cyclists to cross busy streets are all recommendations of a proposed Elk Grove Village bicycle plan, but funding and engineering obstacles may make the projects difficult to complete, officials said.
The 47-page plan has been developed since last summer by a task force composed of representatives of Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove, the village and park district.
The village board Tuesday expressed their early preference to the plan, and is scheduled to formally adopt it at the next board meeting March 24.
Elk Grove Village was home to the Tour of Elk Grove for eight years, attracting top cyclists from around the world, until it was discontinued it in 2013 due to a scheduling conflict with a race in Utah.
The bike plan, however, is meant to address the common, everyday cyclist, said Mayor Craig Johnson.
"This is geared toward the recreational biker. This is not a racecourse or meant for speed biking or anything. It's not to help guys ride the Tour de France," Johnson said.
The plan suggests the installation of sidepaths, or widened sidewalks, though acknowledges that would require the removal of landscaping and trees, relocation of utility poles and regrading of land. And the projects would come with significant costs, according to the report.
Among the proposed sidepaths identified as high priorities: Devon Avenue from Nerge Road to the Community Athletic Fields, Biesterfield Road from Arlington Heights Road to Beisner Road, and Meacham Road from California Street to Roosa Lane.
The plan also recommends installation of a bridge over Devon, east of Carlisle Avenue, to provide safer access to the Community Athletic Fields.
Street markings of bike lanes wouldn't be possible because major roads in the village aren't wide enough to meet legal minimums, officials say.
The plan does recommend signs and mile markers to major destinations, such as village hall, the library, Busse Woods and nearby towns.
The plan also suggests installation of a crossing signal at Devon and Ridge avenues that cyclists could activate by pressing a button.
In addition, an Elk Grove Bike Week is recommended for May, and could include the annual Bike with the Mayor and Ride of Silence events organized by the Friends of Cycling, and incorporate courses on bike safety and bike etiquette.
Dave Simmons, president of the Friends of Cycling, said getting the plan adopted is an accomplishment, but then the goal would be to find "low-hanging fruit" in the plan to implement.
"When there's more people out walking and biking, the community looks better," Simmons said.
Trustee Pat Feichter, a member of the bike plan task force, said the village would look at grant opportunities to implement some projects.
There's no specific implementation timeline for any of the recommendations, though the document says it's meant to have a life span of ten years.
"This is not written in stone," Johnson said. "It's a blueprint that can be changed as time goes on."