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How to petition local government for a bikeway? It's raining, humor me.(8 posts)

How to petition local government for a bikeway? It's raining, humor me.Kristin
Sep 1, 2003 6:39 AM
As I pedalled along my carefully plotted course of lightly travelled, two-lane country streets, jetting toward the Fox River Trail, I studied the newly cleared landscape. How will the new outlet mall affect the area? How will life change for those of us who live in its soon-to-be shadow? Some indications of our new reality are already appearing. They have completely closed down a small, one-lane street which I favored for commuting. The Spokes store--who also used that street as part of its group ride--has been been forced to alter their route, which now includes busier avenues.

The street is in dire need or repair, however it is getting a complete make-over instead. This quiet, ambling country road will be transformed into a 4 lane highway that will carry shoppers from the east to the new discount meca. I ponder this as I swing onto Bilter, another 2 lane country road. The east end of Bilter has already been modified into a 4 lane road. Currently, its perfect for riding--freshly paved and lightly travelled--but it is a sign of things to come. In 2 years, on the west end of Bilter, the doors of the new outlet center will swing wide for its patrons. This now quite lane will widen and become a snarl of entrances and exits. The left hand turn will be a widow-maker manuever as we compete for space with Lexus-driving, soccer moms. But it is the only route to the Fox River Trail from our neighborhood.*

Who do I call in the city to ascertain what, if anything, is being done to address the use of that road by cyclists? Then, what is the best way to petition for a new or better plan if the one in existence is not adequite?

*Okay, its not the ONLY route, but the other involves a 90 degree turn in gravel onto a 18% hill topped by a rail that juts 4" above the path. I'm not sure if its safer to ride over it or walk over it. I know I've lost skin trying it both ways. In the end, I may find myself petitioning to have that section of trail repaved and having a track light installed. Currently, very few riders utilize that secion of trail specifically because of that rail crossing.
start with councilmemberDougSloan
Sep 1, 2003 10:08 AM
I'd start with your local councilmember. He or she should be able to help you with info, then go to bat for you if it's a good idea. Often, their staff can direct you to good information from the city planning department, public works, street department, parks, etc. Look up your councilmember and call.

Is there a local or statewide bike advocacy group?PdxMark
Sep 1, 2003 10:15 AM
They will often have experience with whom to lobby and what existing laws might justify or require improvement of bike facilities.
Sadly,Money usually winsPicshooter
Sep 1, 2003 12:27 PM
If your area is anything like SW Florida, money usually wins out in the end. Developers with deep pockets are tough to beat.. But never, ever quit trying!
Creativity counts. Bringing attention to your cause can help.
Return to Normal....4bykn
Sep 1, 2003 4:05 PM
Normal, Illinois that is. We have great roads all over, but you already know that. Seriously though, Doug has the answer. All you can do is contact your councilperson.

On another subject, did you get my reply to your e-mail?
Start with the League of Illinois Bicyclists...TFerguson
Sep 1, 2003 4:34 PM

They are very active in trying to obtain bike lanes, etc. If you get on their email list, you will know when all the public planning meetings are and when to contact your reps about important legislation.

The state has very funny concepts of accommodation for bikes. On Rt 31 they are making a two-lane road into a curb and gutter four-lane highway. To accommodate bikes, they are making the right lane one foot wider than the left. Gee thanks.

re: How to petition local government for a bikeway? It's raining, humor me.Heron Todd
Sep 1, 2003 7:05 PM
There are a number of local trail groups in that area that you can contact. I believe that both Kane and DuPage counties have a bicycle trail coordinator or advisory board. You can contact the League of Illinois Bicyclists for the proper contacts.

Todd Kuzma
Heron Bicycles
Tullio's Big Dog Cyclery
LaSalle, IL
re: it takes sometimejrm
Sep 2, 2003 12:28 PM
First thing to do is contact your state transportation department's community planning branch. Once in contact ask them about particular available grants for bikeway/path/lane study and or construction. There are usually two grant cycles over a individual fiscal year. The agency in charge of administering the funds is required to conduct workshops for individuals and grass roots oganizations to help with completing the grant application. Having participated in the process for the last 2 years as a adminitrator its a good program that elevates projects that would otherwise never be considered.