Lake County forest preserve to consider bike share program request
Supporters of a proposed bike share program in the Grayslake area are asking the Lake County Forest Preserve District to contribute $19,000 as a sponsor, but it could be an uphill ride.
The Lake County Regional Bike Share Consortium says it has commitments from four entities and is looking for another partner for a proposed two-year pilot program to make rental bikes available in various locations.
The consortium, which includes the village of Grayslake, Grayslake Park District, Grayslake Area Public Library District and the College of Lake County, is asking the forest preserve district to sponsor a docking station to accommodate five bikes at the Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve.
Individual consortium members are committed to a station.
But Zagster Inc., the planned provider, requires five docking stations, which would accommodate 25 bikes, for a local program to be workable, according to a review of the request by the forest preserve district.
Forest preserve staff members say they support the concept of promoting a countywide bike share program but recommend against participation in a Grayslake-area pilot program, according to information provided to commissioners.
A lack of available funds in the budget, a transportation program that appears to be outside the forest district's core mission, and existing support in the form of trails and infrastructure at Rollins Savanna and elsewhere in Lake County are reasons cited not to participate.
The forest board's operations committee is scheduled to discuss the request at 9 a.m. Monday and its planning committee at 1 p.m. Monday at the forest preserve office, 1899 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville.
Grayslake resident Mary Klees initiated the idea of a bike share program more than two years ago. The pilot program would focus on Grayslake with the goal of increasing accessibility to recreation, education, work and commerce and the hope that eventually it would be expanded countywide.
Docking stations are proposed for the village Metra station and other locations. To start, bikes could be used by CLC employees who take the train to work, by students between classes, or by those who participate in sports at Central Park, for example.
"There are a lot of different scenarios," she said. "It's an opportunity to look at alternative transportation and health and wellness."
A grant application was unsuccessful, but planning has continued. Northwestern Medicine also has been asked to participate.
"It's just taking time to jell," said David Husemoller, sustainability manager at CLC. "We're looking for funding partners."
The target rollout is summer 2020, but unless someone is willing to front the startup funds, spring 2021 may be more realistic, Klees said.