By Anna Lothson
The Village of Oak Park has applied for two federal grants, totaling around $250,000, to help aid bicycle projects in the community.
The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grants would be used for bicycle infrastructure projects, creating more bike storage near Oak Park's el stations. Other projects in Oak Park's bike plan include shared-lane pavement markings and green pavement markings on the Ridgeland Avenue intersections at Chicago Avenue and Division Street, the work scheduled to be done in 2015 to coincide with the resurfacing of Ridgeland.
A high-intensity activated crosswalk (HAWK) signal on Chicago at Lombard Avenue for safer crossings is another project on the village's list.
Village engineer Jim Budrick explained the most recent grant applications are for two bike-parking facilities that add more modern, covered shelters with more racks to areas near the Green and Blue lines. One project includes wall-mounted racks to accommodate more bikes; the other project would create a covered bike facility. These projects would more than double the number of bikes able to be housed near the trains, making it easier to park and ride without driving to the stations.
Budrick said the grants would help Oak Park with implementing portions of its 2008 bike plan, which will be tackled as funding becomes available. The facility projects, which this round of grants targeted, would create permanent facilities that are more advantageous to users.
Budrick has seen a decrease in cars at stations and biking as a growing trend. He hopes the grants will encourage that trend.
Grant application results are anticipated in July of this year.