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Des Plaines seeks input on proposed bicycle network
By Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/11/2009 12:01 AM

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Des Plaines residents will have an opportunity to give input on the city's proposed bicycle network Wednesday.

City officials will host an open house on the plan from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall, 1420 Miner St.

Ward 3 Alderman Matt Bogusz, chairman of the city's engineering committee, said the proposed bike network will ease the city's congestion and traffic problems, and help residents save money on gas.

"Every car we take off (the streets), it's one less car to wait behind a train," Bogusz said. "There's a lot of people who ride their bikes to work. Let's give them a safe way to do it."

The city's current bike paths and planned new routes are presently unmarked, said Tim Oakley, director of engineering.

"Some of the bike paths are actually trails," Oakley said.

The purpose of Wednesday's meeting is to finalize the routes. Officials plan to use a $155,000 federal matching grant to provide lane markings and signage for roughly 10 miles of bike routes throughout the city next spring.

"The idea is to connect points of interest, parks and schools together," Oakley said. "We're kind of following (through) with what the Northwest Municipal Conference put together because they have an overall bicycle network plan that connects suburbs."

Des Plaines' proposed bike network will connect the city's existing five miles of trails and paths with the new bike routes and make accessible key destination points such as the Cumberland and Des Plaines Metra stations, Big Bend Lake and ultimately the Des Plaines River Trail.

Next year, the city also plans to undertake some trail improvements, Oakley said.

"There will be gravel trails along the river in the forest preserve," Oakley said.

That city project on forest preserve property will be funded through state and federal grants, he added.

To view a map of the first phase of the bike network plan, visit desplaines.org/Services/Engineering/CIP/StageIBicycleNetworkMap.pdf.

Maps of the proposed bicycle network will be on display at the Wednesday open house. City staff and the city's consultant will be on hand to discuss the project and answer questions. Following the open house, the engineering committee will meet to discuss the bicycle network design.