BLOOMINGTON — The city is looking at better connections for Constitution Trail to downtown Bloomington and Illinois Wesleyan University with its first set of shared-lane markings.
The City Council is expected to vote on Oct. 14 on a proposal to add “sharrows” on Front and Prairie streets. Sharrows, like those seen on School Street in Normal, are shared-lane markings that encourage bicyclists to use specific streets and give extra notice to drivers to be aware of bicyclists, said Public Works Director Jim Karch.
Mayor Tari Renner has pushed the idea and said the bicycle markings connecting the popular trail to downtown will be “a boost in the arm” for downtown revitalization and economic development.
Karch said that as proposed, a sharrow would run from near Robinson and Front streets along Front until it reaches Constitution Trail near Allin Street. At least one block along that route on Front Street would include a designated bike lane.
Another sharrow would run north on Prairie Street from Front Street to Walnut, along Walnut until it hits Park Street and north on Park Street to Emerson Street.
Karch said Front Street was chosen for the sharrow because it’s already wider than the current standards require and is under its vehicular traffic capacity. He said the proposed sharrows would not eliminate any street parking.
Karch said the new lane markings would “generate excitement for the community to get behind a bike plan.”
The City Council also will be asked to vote on proposal hiring the League of Illinois Bicyclists to develop a city-wide bicycle plan that would cost the city about $5,000 and take less than a year to complete.
The town of Normal in 2008 paid about $52,000 for its bike plan designed by Alta Planning and Design from Portland.
Karch said the bike plan would be formed after a series of public meetings and other outreach efforts to determine where the city should better accommodate bicyclists.
Bike BloNo, which advocates for bicycling as transportation, praised the shared lanes and bike plan proposals.
“Currently there isn’t a clear choice for cyclists to get from the Trail to Downtown,” said Mike McCurdy, a Bike BloNo leader, in news release issued late Monday.
Mary Ann Ford contributed to this report.