Oak Park to roll out bike lanes

Village has federal dollars in hand to bankroll new street markings

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

Are you a two-wheeler, sick of being bullied by motorists unwilling to share the road? The Village of Oak Park plans to fix that this summer.

Oak Park has been looking for years to paint bike lanes on some of its major thoroughfares to make life easier for cyclists. But progress kept getting caught in the spokes, and the idea sat shelved since 2008.

But trustees sideswiped the kickstand on Monday, setting in motion bike routes on three major east-west thoroughfares this summer.

The village board gave the go-ahead this week for the state to put out bids on Chicago Avenue, Augusta Boulevard and Division Street. About 80 percent of the $200,000 project is being paid for with federal dollars, administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The state approved designs for the work in January, and plans to nail down a company in March. If all goes smoothly, Oak Park could see bike lanes on those three streets by July, said Village Engineer Jim Budrick.

"Sometimes they do them quickly, sometimes they drag their feet a bit," he said. "But the goal is to get them done this summer."

Augusta already has "shared lane" markings in place, signifying that motorists must share the road with their two-wheeled counterparts. Budrick said those will be repainted, and signs will be added to further enhance the route.

Meanwhile, Division and Chicago will both get bike lanes just for cyclists.

The idea was launched in 2008 by a consultant the community hired to put together a village-wide bike plan. Oak Park originally hoped to have the work completed in 2009, but put the brakes on planning in late 2008 to save money in the face of a budget shortfall.

Oak Park is also looking to install covered bike shelters near the CTA Green Line stops at Ridgeland and Oak Park avenues. At Ridgeland, those would be part of an overall redesign of the viaduct at that intersection. Budrick hopes to have the shelters installed by the summer of 2012, and Oak Park is eyeing more federal dollars to cover that project.

Trustee Jan Pate expressed enthusiasm at Monday's meeting.

"We're probably not thinking much about bikes right now, but it's really, really exciting because that continues our commitment to make this community more bicycle friendly," she said.

Reader Comments

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Nancy Trock T-Renegade Fitness from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 10:04 PM

Just kidding. Maybe Oak Park could raise money for painted bike lanes by selling sponsorship block by block. Great for insurance agents, bike shops, etc. I smell an onion.

Nancy Trock T-Renegade Fitness from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2011 7:06 PM

Light Lane for cyclists is a new product (see it in the modern wing of the Art Institute). Not only a regular head/tail light, it shines bright lanes on the ground around the bike creating a visual footprint the size of a small car. Very cool and way better than spending $50,000 per mile for painted lanes which don't work well enough to justify the expense.

Lori Malinski  

Posted: February 11th, 2011 10:17 AM

As someone with a child at Mann School, I've seen several accidents on Divison between Kenilworth and Woodbine, and many, many near misses. This includes watching the crossing guard run for his life. There is no room here for a dedicated bike lane, bike lanes do not calm traffic. I see I'm not alone in being against this decision. Will we see increased police presence to enforce rules of the road?

Rich Schurr from Oak Park  

Posted: February 10th, 2011 6:33 AM

This is almost as big a waste of taxpayer dollars as $5 million for Marion street. I bike year-round and I AVOID busy streets. There are PLENTY of wonderful east west (and north south) streets in Oak Park that don't have traffic. If anyone is foolish enough to think that painting a line on a street somehow makes it safe then they are delusional. If OP wants to get serious about bike safety, do it right and install protected bike lines with a raised barrier between cars and bikes.

Bike Rider  

Posted: February 9th, 2011 3:23 PM

How about atleast 1 North-South route before you put in 2 more East-West ones?

Commenter from Oak Park  

Posted: February 9th, 2011 10:00 AM

If you've got enough guts to ride your bike on these city streets along with 2 ton vehicles then you don't need no stinkin' lines on the ground because you know -- oops!

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: February 9th, 2011 9:21 AM

I am neither for or against bike lanes per se, until all the facts are weighed. In order to make an informed decision, I am interested in learning how the village responds to the "immunity vs liability" issue presented by the Boub v. Township of Wayne case. I am also interested in research concerning the safety of youth bike riders relative to bike lanes. As a concerned parent, I wonder whether a thin painted line may present false security vs. 2-ton vehicles w/ cell phone-distracted drivers.

Boub v. Wayne Township  

Posted: February 9th, 2011 8:21 AM

If you are interested in reading about the practical effect of Boub please see: http://bikelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/boubdisincentiveriskexposure.pdf

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: February 9th, 2011 8:10 AM

As per the Illinois Supreme Court decision in Boub v. Township of Wayne, and the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act ("Tort Immunity Act"), when a municipality creates an "affirmative manifestation" for cyclists to use roads by way of signage or road markings, cyclists are then recognized as intended users of the road, and the municipality (taxpayers)is legally liable for lawsuits for injuries caused by unsafe, defective, or poorly maintained roads. Comments?

OP Resident  

Posted: February 9th, 2011 1:59 AM

I know the plan has been a goal of the Village Board. This seems like a good idea. I hope the trustess and OPPD would support an ordinace requiring helmets for bike riders. Or at least for children under 18. It's really a struggle to get your child to wear one when "none of my friends wear helmets" becomes part of the conversation. Besides, helmets offer some protection from head injuries or worse. Ride on!


Posted: February 9th, 2011 12:09 AM

I wonder if the taxpayers in the other 49 states are as enthusiastic as the village knowing that the federal gov't will subsidize 80% of the $200,00 cost for bike lanes and possibly even more for bike shelters next year. That should leave the village plenty of money to waste elsewhere. At least our kids will have nice new bike lanes available as they ride their bikes to their nearly bankrupt elementary schools

steve v. from oak park  

Posted: February 8th, 2011 11:48 PM

why doesn't the village require bicycle safety like they do swimming classes. the rules of the road apply to cyclists yet I see them being ignored constantly mostly out of ignorance. other township's have built dedicated bicycle safety courese's for a lot less money than what it will cost to paint lines on our street's with probably much more impact. I'm all for it if it keep's people safe, but if none of the riders in these lane's practice bike safety then they are just lines in the street.

JMK from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2011 10:53 PM

I'm not quite certain why Division was included? Between the 2 Schools and 3 parks this ought to be interesting. We just got signage so cars will stop for park and school goers. I don't see the cyclist obeying the signs. Field park will be an obvious place for a kid vs bike collision. BTW- Who really wants to bike down Division any way?

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