Northbrook Developing Master Plan for Cyclists and Pedestrians

Northbrook Developing Master Plan for Cyclists and Pedestrians

To make biking and walking a more enjoyable experience, the Village is creating a Master Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. Based on feedback it has already received through the Village website, from interviews at high traffic locations including the train station, the YMCA, Library and Park District, and from input gathered at a recent public meeting, a draft plan will be developed by the consulting firm Alta Planning & Design with input from Christopher Burke Engineering. A preliminary existing conditions report is expected to be released this month for public comment after which the team will work on preparing the final draft.

Common themes that have been identified so far are that high speed, high volume roads present the biggest barriers, and that trail access is important, but gaps and barriers limit connectivity. Major thoroughfares present the highest stress for bikers and walkers, including Dundee, Willow, Lake Cook, Pfingsten and Waukegan Roads. Intersections with the highest number of bike crashes include Skokie and Lake Cook, Techny and Shermer, and Dundee and Landwehr.

Other input revealed that bikers and walkers want better and safer access to key destinations such as Northbrook Court and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Some respondents stated that walking for recreation anywhere beyond immediate neighborhoods is challenging.

“The Master Plan will give actual recommendations on how to fix the problems and empower the Village to make changes,” commented Tim Gustafson, senior associate with Alta. The consultants shared their initial research and unveiled some of the possible improvements at the public meeting last month. For example, when streets are resurfaced, improvements could include improved crosswalk ramps, bike lanes, or buffered bike lanes. Bike sharing similar to the Divvy program in Chicago is also under consideration.

Next steps include surveying community organizations, businesses and schools to identify opportunities to increase walking and biking. The consultants will also look for opportunities for improved access at transit stops, schools and parks.

The draft plan will be reviewed by the Public Works Committee and the Plan Commission in March followed by a formal public meeting in April. The Village Board is expected to vote on the plan in April or May.

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