Residents Reveal East-West Route Concerns at Lake Forest Bike Plan Workshop
Resident cites need for improved downtown bicycle traffic.
Lake Forest residents put their fingers on the map Monday night, in the first of three community workshops for a proposed bicycle master plan in the city.
Workshop participants at the Gorton Community Center were greeted with name tags, poster-size maps and placed in various groups, intent on pinpointing hazardous travel conditions for bicyclists, needed regional and local routes, and ideal bike paths.
Each group had a facilitator, many of whom were officials from both lake Forest and Lake Bluff.
A second workshop is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 2) at Lake Bluff Village Hall.
“We had a good turn out and a productive crowd,” said Lake Forest City Planner Megan O'Neill, who led an online survey conducted by both Lake Forest and Lake Bluff that drew nearly 400 responders.
“It will be interesting to see what info we get [from the meeting] and synthesize it into something useful,” she added.
The survey found the majority of bicyclists tend to ride for exercise, recreation and errands. Two of the greatest concerns, also apparent at the workshop, are east and west bike travel in Lake Forest and safety hazards, including those along busy roads, parking lots and various intersections.
Aside from the Robert McClory Bike Trail and North Shore Trail, the city doesn't have any other bike paths or road lanes; though, several roads are designated bike routes.
The groups pointed to intersections along Route 41 and Deerpath as often problematic. They would like to see better access to surrounding towns, various trails, schools, forest preserves and local landmarks, including the Chicago Botanic Garden and Ravinia Park.
“Bicyclists are third-class citizens,” said resident Jeff Rozak. “I'd really like to see better access for bikes in downtown Lake Forest.”
Barbara Cornew, north suburban coordinator for Active Transportation Alliance, a non-profit organization that works to improve conditions for bicycling, walking and transit, according to its website, complimented the groups and spoke about her organization's goals.
She also noted "every town is pivotal," not just Lake Forest, when creating a network of bike routes and trails.
Once the village of Lake Bluff holds its workshop, another one to coordinate with the plan's regional partners, including the Lake Forest Open Lands Association and Lake County, is scheduled for February.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” O'Neill said. “Not hard work, fun work.”