The Park Forest Board of Trustees adopted the proposed Park Forest Bike & Pedestrian Plan at the Dec. 8 Village Board meeting.
A Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) Local Technical Assistance grant application was written and awarded for the development of a Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan in October of 2013. Initial planning and preparations took place over the winter and the official Bike/Ped planning process was kicked off with a presentation by CMAP at a Village Board meeting in February 2014. A Bike & Pedestrian Advisory Committee was appointed by Mayor Ostenburg and included the following residents and staff: Al Sturges, Bonita Dillard, Claudette Hall, Craig Oberman, Danielle Gladstone, David Atkins, Peter Green, Erica Walker, Hildy Kingma, Kevin Headley, Larry Howard, Leslie Phemister, Margaret Lewis, Nick Christie, Patty Mangano, Rob Gunther, Sandra Zoellner, Sandy Isaac, Sarah Coulter, Shanna Mitchell. A project website was created and promoted and all documents related to the Park Forest Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan can be found at http://cmap.is/lta-park-forest-bike-ped.
The Bike/Ped Advisory Committee (BPAC) met on three different occasions during the planning process. In the first meeting in May of 2014 the BPAC was responsible for providing guidance and feedback on existing issues and opportunities, revising project goals, reviewing plan documents and identifying stakeholders who should be involved in the planning process.
Individual interviews of the BPAC members were completed and CMAP planners started work on outreach activities which included: a focus group meeting with bicycle group Folks on Spokes, a bicycle audit of the Village, Park Forest Art Fair tabling event and the Park Forest Kiwanis Pancake Day poster display. The second meeting of the BPAC, held in August 2014, was to review the Existing Conditions Report and as a result comments/revisions were given and the report was subsequently updated – this report is included in its entirety as an appendix to the Plan. The third meeting of the BPAC was to review the draft of the Plan and provide comments and approve the document to be adopted by the Board. A public outreach open house was held at Dining on the Green on November 19th which gave the public an opportunity to review the recommendations and make comments to be included in the final draft.
The bulk of the Plan makes recommendations for nine different facility types to create a comprehensive network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities in Park Forest. The nine facility types include: Multi-use trails, Sidepaths, Bike lanes, Shared lanes/sharrows, Signed routes, Sidewalks, Cut-throughs, Intersection treatments, and Wayfinding and directional signage. The recommendations include a description of the facility, design guidelines, typical cross-sections and recommended routes by priority with many diagrams, photos and mapped locations in the Village.
In addition to adopting this Plan CMAP is recommending that the Village create a formal Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee and adopt a Complete Streets Policy.
A Plan addendum is being developed as there are many other policy and program recommendations that can help to promote bicycling in Park Forest. These will be detailed in and will be put forth for adoption in early 2015. The contents of the addendum will cover the following: Coordination with the Village’s development regulations, Incorporation into the Five Year Capital Plan, Consistency with other ordinances, Community education about active transportation, Encouragement of bicycling and walking, Enforcement focusing on safe travel behaviors, Details of implementation along with a detailed matrix of implementation actions, with timelines and responsibilities clearly defined.
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for Park Forest will continue to move the Village forward in its sustainability goals by identifying concrete actions that the Village can take to improve and enhance active transportation networks, creating safe and enjoyable bicycle and pedestrian routes and encouraging sustainable local transportation. Specifically, this plan will seek to increase bicycling, walking and transit use, improve traffic safety, enhance local businesses and foster a healthier, more environmentally friendly community. The main goal of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan is to develop a comprehensive non-motorized transportation network that will serve the needs of all Park Forest residents, allow for safe travel at all ages, and connect neighborhoods to jobs, shopping, regional bikeways, cultural facilities, recreational amenities and activity areas.