Miles to go before proposed bikeway corridor reaches Elgin
By Mike Danahey firstname.lastname@example.org @DanaheyECN February 16, 2014 4:08PM
Bicyclists make their wayu along the Fox River Trai lin South Elgin. More bike trails are planned for thorughout the region. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: March 18, 2014 6:07AM
ELGIN — While planners say that 58 percent of a possible Evanston-Elgin Bikeway already exists, when that route finally makes its way to the City in the Suburbs appears to be a long way off.
“I think someday it will be completed, but it is going to be many years from now,” Elgin City Manager Sean Stegall said. “We currently are working on other bike routes. This is not one of them at this time.”
“I don’t have any idea if this grand plan will become reality; but if it costs Elgin’s taxpayers any more money than what’s been spent here already (on bike trails), then my vote would be ‘no,’ ” Councilman Terry Gavin said. “If the people who wish to use this trail want it, then let them pay for it themselves.”
“I would just call it a long-range plan,” Active Transportation Alliance (ATA) planner Marissa Dolin said.
According to reports, Evanston recently completed work on segments of a bike route in that city which eventually would connect to the corridor that would make its way to Elgin, more than 37 miles away.
Even with such a corridor, getting from Evanston to Elgin by bike would take a great deal of time. Dolin said that a typical bicyclist travels 6 to 12 miles per hour. That means a rider would take at least three to six hours to travel one way between the two cities.
Dolin said the Evanston-Elgin Bikeway is one of 16 corridors that are part of the 2010 Northwest Municipal Conference (NWMC) Regional Bicycle Plan, on which the Chicago-based ATA worked.
Elgin is not a member of the NWMC, a Des Plaines-based regional council consisting of 42 municipalities and one township in Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane and DuPage counties. However, NWMC transportation director Mike Walczak said meetings were held involving staffs from that group, Elgin and Kane County to help develop the corridors. They are designed to link existing networks and to come near regional attractions of all sorts, from transportation hubs, shopping and recreation to offices.
“We were looking at employment,” Walczak said.
Each corridor would use existing trails, bike paths built alongside roads, bike lanes on roads, and designated streets to create longer routes. ATA’s Dolin said the corridors are designed for recreational users, for people getting to and from work, and for those running errands.
“The corridors are ways to offer transportation options,” Dolin said.
According to the aforementioned plan report, the Evanston-to-Elgin route would provide “a central east-west trunk-line in the regional system spanning from the Fox River Trail to the Green Bay Trail.”
Walczak said the two biggest challenges to getting the corridors completed have been finding funding and making sure area road work projects are coordinated with plans for the bicycle routes.