IDOT Wants Your Feedback on the Statewide Bike Plan

The website shows a proposed trail along Skokie Highway between Skokie and Lake Forest.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is heading toward its winter goal of completing the statewide transportation bike plan. A meeting in Chicago this July led to a slightly tense discussion about IDOT’s ban on protected bike lanes, during which a staffer deftly tempered the mood by saying, “We used to focus only on highways… you’re right, but we have been given direction to focus on all modes. We’re trying as a department to move away from old cultures.”

IDOT yesterday launched a website that collects geographically-specific feedback on the bike plan, a new part in their public involvement process. The website, built on the emerging MetroQuest public participation platform, asks people to pinpoint where “intersection design impedes cycling,” “lack of bikeways,” and areas that need better links. It also lets users note which of the state’s proposed bikeways they support, and mark routes with your preferred start and finish points that you think they should consider.

The survey will be online until November 12.

  • Anonymous

    My color-blindness prevents me from comprehending the color scheme of the various proposed/existing bikeways. But I filled out the survey to the best of my ability.

  • Section 3 is horrendous. And I want to be able to zoom -n further than allowed. And the colors are confusing. Oy.

  • Anonymous

    How about they upgrade the Green Bay Trail into an actual bike trail? That thing is pitiful. The trail disappears into streets and parking lots, it has awkward crossings, poor signing or designation, unpaved sections, narrow ROW, etc.

  • Mishellie

    The Des Plaines River Trail too – I mean they don’t need to go as far as pavng the whole thing, but maybe some railroad crossings that don’t involve carrying your bike over unsignalized crossings?

  • Oddly, they think there’s an ‘existing trail’ (which they seem to use for completely separated ROW) along a good stretch of Irving Park over by the lake. Several miles of it. What on earth are they thinking? There aren’t even bike lanes marked on the street in paint there. Google doesn’t even think there’s trails there (and Google is over-optimistic about bike infrastructure presence).

  • Ted King

    What about inserts that can be screwed to the ties for safer ped / bike crossings ?

    Found via Google using [ railroad ped crossing insert ] :

    Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access
    Part II of II: Best Practices Design Guide

    (FHWA, U.S. Dept. of Trans. page)

    http://www.rosehillrail.com/products/pedestrian-crossings/
    NB – The above panels are rubber. Concrete panels are also available from other vendors.

  • There’s nothing wrong with my color vision and I can’t understand it either. I can spot the dark green lines and the yellow lines, but the rest all bleed into each other. So it’s not just you. :->

  • Lisa Curcio

    This survey was difficult to understand and I have no idea if I actually conveyed what I wanted to convey when I filled it out. Given IDOT’s recent activities, it seemed almost Machiavellian.

  • Scott Sanderson

    I wonder how one is supposed to use the “missing link” icons. Say, for example, I want to covey that there is a lack of east/west bike routes for crossing the river and highway. Do I just plop one down on the North Ave bridge? Because that is what I did.

  • I didn’t actually use it yet but can you add comments to your “missing link” marker? I find MetroQuest sites great in theory but difficult to use in practice, not least of which is because the mechanics of the design don’t fill a large screen.

  • You should then just write a letter.

  • I despise Google Maps’s bicycling layer in Chicago. There are made up trails and bike lanes all over the place, including on railroad property for which you would likely be arrested quite quickly. My extended thoughts.

  • Mark it.

  • I’ve never ridden the trail – can you expand on this?

  • You can add comments, and this is what I did for the “missing links” I put in. I just put one on Monroe St near Millennium Park and wrote that there should be a safe link from the LFT to the Loop on that street, for example. I had a few more too.

  • Anonymous

    I did one for Monroe/LFT, too.

  • Anonymous

    You can let Google know about any problems you notice by clicking “Report a Problem” at the bottom. I reported that the map was not reflecting the two-way Dearborn bike lane, and they responded to me and fixed it.

  • Anonymous

    Ha, good to know!

  • Guest

    I think this is a great tool and find it interesting to see so many complaints here about something that is being done to HELP people with a passion for bicycling.

  • Mishellie

    You are pretty much crossing a railroad track which is live and looks like this: http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/audiohead/audiohead1105/audiohead110500012/9451964-turning-railroad-track-in-the-spring-countryside.jpg (this isn’t the specific track, but it is the same situation, carry bike up hill of rocks, and across live track. Totally unrideable and probably discourages people from continuing past that point. The one I know about is near Oakton Community College – somewhere near Golf road in Des Plaines.

  • Mishellie

    http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/audiohead/audiohead1105/audiohead110500012/9451964-turning-railroad-track-in-the-spring-countryside.jpg — this is what the crossing currently looks like (well, similar. This isnt a picture of the exact track, just one that looks like it, I don’t have a real picture.) Literally ANYTHING to smooth out the track and make it safer to cross would help. As it is now, I see a lot of people ride up to the track, think that they shouldn’t be crossing it/the path ends, turn around, and go home.

  • Fred

    I’ll bet $10 this is done intentionally. If they put in a specific crossing point, then they are liable if someone gets hit by a train. By not putting in a crossing point and all the ridiculous CYA safety equipment required by modern American litigious society they can hold the crosser liable if they get hit.

  • Tyler

    They don’t let you zoom in that much because, as they say, they’re looking for regional feedback, not specific routes.

    Though I agree the colors are very hard to pick apart.

  • Gagarin

    I’d like them to move toward not having the absolute worst highways in the midwest. That’s what I’d like them to move toward.
    Can we hire the people who do Michigan’s roads?

  • Ted King

    Okay, I think I’ve found your crossing. Use Google Maps to bring up this intersection :

    [ E Golf Rd and College Dr, Des Plaines, IL ]

    . Scroll eastwards and a little north until the “Kloempken Prairie” marker is just above and to the left (NW) of the center point. Then one can zoom all the way in. The satellite view seems to show that the crossing isn’t perpendicular. If so, that’s a breach of the FHWA guidelines that I linked to in my previous comment.

    Also, I found a trail overview here :
    Des Plaines River Trail: Lake County
    http://www.everytrail.com/guide/des-plaines-river-trail-lake-county

  • What aspect are you referring to?

  • Okay, is it this one here? http://goo.gl/maps/Q5nb0

  • Guidelines are just that: guides – are there rules or regulations?

    I didn’t know that right-angle crossing was part of the guidelines. The angle of the crossing looks to be just under 45°, which seems acceptable to me from my armchair.

  • My passion is for cheap, efficient, non-polluting transportation and I don’t want to accept something that’s difficult to use.

  • Ted King

    What it looks like is that the crossing was either unfinished (where are the ramps ?) or the contractor just did a quick + dirty trail blazing possibly due to budget constraints. At least this sore spot is on file at a mapping site that’s part of the latest planning process.

    Des Plaines River Trail Corridor Plan
    Northwest Municipal Conference
    http://www.smapapp.com/ListMap.aspx?CommunityID=6588381e-871a-440f-bf13-fee869acddcd (sMapApp map gallery)

  • Mishellie

    Yep! That’s the one. I like the text over the tracks that makes it look like the trail goes over them somehow. How do you get the google map links, if you don’t mind my asking?

  • Gagarin

    If you don’t know that IL roads (including interstates, 2 lane highways, bypasses, and even city roads in many cities) are among the worst in the country, I don’t know what to tell you. Other states have terrible and harsh winter freezes and spring defrosts and still have smooth roads yearlong, not crumbling bumpy patched messes.

  • I haven’t been to many other states lately to compare the quality.

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