Oak Park residents should see a bike plan-labeling pathways and safety measures throughout the village-by early fall of this year.

The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, a nonprofit, volunteer-based bicycle advocacy organization, is preparing that plan. The village board approved a contract with the federation last June (for $34,948) to create the plan.

The village conducted a public meeting in August to gather input from local cyclists. Attendees were asked their favorite bike routes around town and ways to make Oak Park more bike friendly.

The federation developed a bike plan draft, and will study traffic patterns to determine what actions to take, said John Wielebnicki, director of public works.

The plan includes a bike network map, which lays out the most traveled roads by cyclists, such as Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue. The federation and the community must determine what type of bike pathways and signage to create.

Encouraging villagers to bike more, adding bike safety signs, and more bike parking are also part of the plan. It also mentions linking to other bike routes in nearby villages. Wielebnicki said it’s likely the plan will be shared with bordering villages like River Forest and Forest Park.

Oak Park’s business community will weigh in on the plan by the end of summer. So will other local groups, as called for in the federation’s contract. Among other groups identified are the park district and school districts.

The federation will then hold another public meeting in late summer or early fall to present the plan to the community and gather feedback. The plan will be tweaked again, based on the response, and then presented to the village board sometime in the fall. The board could then implement whatever part of the plan it desires before adopting the 2009 budget, Wielebnicki said.

Most of the recommendations will be inexpensive, like painting markers on streets and adding various bike signage.

The plan also includes a “bicycle greenway” option, which is a multi-use path that’s primarily for bicycles. A greenway would be more expensive to carry out and is less likely to be created this year, Wielebnicki said.

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