IDOT gearing up for statewide bike path study

2012-10-02T20:42:00Z IDOT gearing up for statewide bike path studyBy Kurt Erickson | kurt.erickson@lee.net pantagraph.com

SPRINGFIELD — The agency best known for planning and building interstate highways is poised to embark on a plan that could benefit those who get around on two wheels.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is seeking bids from companies to design a first-ever state bikeway plan, which could pave the way for an upgraded series of bicycling paths crisscrossing the state and local communities.

“If you provide the space, people will use it,” said Doug Oehler of Bloomington, vice president of the League of Illinois Bicyclists.

IDOT says it’s all part of the Quinn administration’s push to create a greener, healthier Illinois.

“It’s the first overall comprehensive bike plan for the state,” said Josh Kauffman, a spokesman for IDOT. “It’s a major milestone in the process to move forward with increased sustainability and environmentally friendly transportation options for Illinoisans.”

Illinois has hundreds of miles of bike trails, but has no formal, long-range plan for linking them together or for improving existing roadways to allow for the safe passage of bikers to get to work, exercise or to go shopping.

As an example, the plan could lay out policies for the state and local governments to follow when building new roads or upgrading existing thoroughfares. Rather than focusing solely on cars and trucks, the new or improved roads could include bike lanes.

“It will help to establish a baseline for the existing bikeway system,” Kauffman said.

Positive step

Bicycle advocates say it’s a positive step for the state to begin finding ways to link state bikeways with those now managed by local governments. They also say the plan could eventually lead to Illinois’ trails being linked with national bike corridors.

Oehler said he envisions the plan potentially allowing someone to ride across the state — north and south, east and west — on a number of bikeways.

He said rising fuel prices have already triggered more people to take up biking as an alternative way of getting to work or to the store.

“Any improvement in infrastructure — like providing shoulders or better access to roads — is good news to us,” said Oehler, who estimates he rides more than 4,000 miles per year.

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(9) Comments

  1. unchained
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    unchained - October 04, 2012 9:52 am
    You people that are against cyclist are just plain dumb. If you never have rode a bike any length of time, you have no right to judge. I have been riding a bike for 6 months and it has changed my life for the good. The benefits are amazing, you should try it. It shouldn't be a fight over whos rode it is, but lets share what we have to make everyone better. Oh I forgot, some people are too selfish to share, they'd rather think only of themselves. As far as the spandex, if you had any knowledge at all why they are worn, you would understand. These are shorts built especially for biking so you don't get chapped. Try riding on a seat that small for miles in a pair of jeans or regular shorts, and see what happens. And some people such as myself ride as many miles as we can and are into bike touring. So why don't you study biking and see what it can do for you.
  2. coreymattson
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    coreymattson - October 03, 2012 5:59 pm
    More bike infrastructure is definitely a positive all-around. Bicycling definitely deserves a governmental subsidy. I know some will be dumbfounded at this idea, but it should be admitted that all users of roads are subsidized by the government. License fees and gas taxes would never cover the cost of our roads; much of it comes from the general fund, which comes from multiple sources including sales taxes.

    Why a bicycling subsidy? Bicycle commuting cuts down on oil use and pollution, including ozone pollution (a growing problem here), and promotes good health. Encouraging bicycling helps everyone.

    After reading the comments, I also think it should be pointed out that bicyclists contribute more than their fair share to roads. Bicyclists also drive (some more... some less) which means they are also paying gas taxes. We also pay other taxes.... sales, state and income taxes. The argument that bicyclists aren't paying their fair share is a red herring. After all, by choosing to bicycle instead of drive on any given day, they are helping to maintain the road (cars, especially large trucks, do more damage to roads) and maintain the cleanliness of the air.
  3. Right57
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    Right57 - October 03, 2012 10:53 am
    This state is on the verge of bankruptcy, yet there is money to do a study for something the state cannot afford. Why not do a study on the IQs on the folks that come up with these types of ideas. This would helps the rest of us understand their thought process.
  4. BC
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    BC - October 03, 2012 9:32 am
    WAAAA, someone is getting something and I'm not, WAAAA.
  5. Red Rabbit
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    Red Rabbit - October 03, 2012 8:20 am
    20 miles is at the high end of a bike commute, and would take about an hour and a half, give or take, depending on your speed. How many people drive 30 minutes each way, and then spend another 30+ miles in a gym every day?

    Maybe it's time America wake up a bit and realize that driving 30+ miles to sit in a cubicle all day (or whatever your job is), turn around, and drive back at the end of the day is kind of silly. We spend billions of dollars every year making ourselves fat, polluting the atmosphere, and wasting resources to haul our 200 lb bodies, along with 4000 pounds of steel, aluminum, and plastic, to work no where near our homes. Move closer to work. You'll be amazed how much happier you are and how much more time you have... (Disclaimer: Does not apply to traveling salesmen or other traveling workers). :)
  6. Captain
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    Captain - October 03, 2012 7:55 am
    AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. ONLY IN AMERICA
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    ONLY IN AMERICA - October 03, 2012 7:16 am
    WAKE UP - ILLINOIS HAS NO MONEY - RECALL QUINN !!!!

    THE LIBERAL DUMBING OF AMERICA CONTINUES DAILY !!!
  8. real american
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    real american - October 03, 2012 6:52 am
    Im sure they will have to buy license plates, and insurance. The Democrats will need to find other revenue sources to pay for all this crap, and by mandating things like license plates, helmets, insurance, etc... for these bicyclists that will give them revenue from fines. What I want to know is, riding a bike to work is all well and good (and I see nothing wrong with it) IF you live in the same town you work in. How many people do you think work at State Farm but live 20+ miles away? No, I don't work at SF, just using them as an example.
  9. Market Street Lover
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    Market Street Lover - October 02, 2012 11:17 pm
    Can't wait till Quinn gets this thing built so I can drive my car down the middle of it and slow down all the bikers. Hopefully one of them runs into me for going too slow and I get to say "I have as much right to the road as you do!" Since IDOT is planning on building it, I wonder if bikes will have license plates, have to buy insurance, and all bikers must pay a peddle tax with an extra tax on ugly spandex tights.
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