Cycling Workshop Gives Lake Bluff Riders a Voice
Safety concerns, new trails among ideas passed on to Lake Forest, Lake Bluff officials.
Cyclists in Lake Bluff enjoy the quantity of connected trails and the low incidence of motorized traffic.
Conversely, those same cyclists dislike riding through the trail near Route 176 and Sheridan Road because of safety concerns due to the narrow bridge, the way it zigzags near the bottom of the trail there, congestion and lack of light and signs.
This is a sampling of the initial dialogue between city officials and residents attending a Master Bike Plan workshop Feb. 2 at Lake Bluff Village Hall. Another had been held Jan. 30 in Lake Forest.
- See related story: Residents Reveal East-West Route Concerns at Lake Forest Bike Plan Workshop
Attended by about 20 participants, the workshop engaged attendees by presenting the plan’s objectives, reviewing the recent survey results of Lake Bluff residential riding behaviors, and breakout sessions where riders conducted activities — from naming their top three riding destinations to identifying biking hazards to affirming “biking route wish lists.”
Residents participated for a variety of reasons, but most shared the same characteristic aptly stated by resident Bill Raymoure: “I’m here because I ride a lot.” Most of the participants seem to “ride” to the same destinations such as the Botanic Gardens, Des Plaines River Trail, Fort Sheridan, and Independence Grove.
Commonalities also were seen in Lake Bluff’s rider survey, matching the top responses of Lake Forest riders with residents from both towns citing “recreation and fitness” as the top reason for riding, followed by “destinations and shopping,” “commuting,” and “cheaper than driving a car.”
Village Engineer George Russell mentioned that some respondents also provided personal commentary, which was mix of statements left by riders and non-riders, on other ways to improve riding and pedestrian conditions. Non-riders noted, “Cyclists need to pay more attention.” Unsurprisingly, riders countered with “people need to pay more attention to riders.”
The creation of new trails might reduce the confrontations between the two groups. Lake Bluff native Nick Christofalos, who owns Activator Cycles, would like to see a trail that incorporates both Lake Bluff and Lake Forest.
“It would be great if a single-track trail was created that began at the waterworks plant, right off the bike path, and then the trail could go south of there, down Deerpath, near the Lake Forest golf course and back around to the plant,” he described. “A trail like that for avid riders like me would be greatly used and valued.”
More discussions are planned, but Christofalos was encouraged by the start.
“This was a very productive workshop,” he said. “I was really surprised to see so many people here. I think very positive things will take place as a result of this workshop.”