GLEN ELLYN – With snow still on the ground, it's difficult to imagine a Glen Ellyn where the road is dry, the sun is shining and it's a perfect day for a bike ride.
But the village is asking residents to picture that alternate universe just the same, as efforts to gather public input to develop a bike and active transportation plan are underway.
Led by planning intern John Carlisle and planning consultant Jake Rueter – who developed an initiative called Move GE to create a plan for the village – the engagement process began with an open house Feb. 5 at the Glen Ellyn Civic Center.
While Glen Ellyn's 2009 Downtown Strategic Plan does not specifically mention the development of a bike and active transportation initiative, it does discuss establishing "safe and efficient pedestrian, bicycle and automobile traffic and access patterns to, through and from the downtown."
The hope would be for the active transportation plan to also address biking beyond the downtown area.
"We do want to improve the bicycling network across the entire village," said Carlisle, who, with Rueter, is leading the initiative as a project for the University of Illinois at Chicago's master's degree program in urban planning and policy.
Currently, the biggest asset for active transportation in Glen Ellyn is the Prairie Path, Carlisle said. There also is a striped bike lane along Lambert Road from near College of DuPage to Roosevelt Road.
Beyond those riding areas, the village has signs that guide bicyclists along a route that brings them to some parks in town, he said. Initial public feedback indicates residents believe there is more the village could do beyond bike route wayfinding signs.
About 30 people attended the open house, and Move GE has received community input through a Facebook page and online survey as well. The survey will be available through Feb. 28.
"This is their plan," Carlisle said. "We're just helping to put it together. We're hoping to create the type of plan they want to see."
Move GE will look at whether changes should be made to the current, marked bike route and if additional striped bike lanes should be created in town. The feasibility of drawing more lanes will depend on street width, on-street parking and traffic in those areas, Carlisle said.
Based on feedback thus far, recommendations that could come from Move GE include:
• Creating connectivity between the Prairie Path and Great Western Trail
• Finding ways to help riders from the south side of town cross Roosevelt Road to get to the downtown area and train station
• Providing Prairie Path travelers with signs to guide them to Glen Ellyn attractions.
"I think it's an obvious goal that we want to create a more robust system," Carlisle said.
Benefits a plan could create include more travel options for community members, better safety for students and other bicyclists, improved quality of life and public health, and relief of parking congestion downtown, he said.
Whatever Move GE finds, its recommendations will need to be formally adopted by the Glen Ellyn Village Board of Trustees before any changes occur.
Carlisle hopes to have a draft plan completed in spring.
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