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.
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