The Chainlink

Elmhurst has a strong bicycle trail network and many devoted bicycle riders, but this is what we have to deal with concerning a short link needed for the Salt Creek Greenway Trail:

 

http://www.safebikepath.com/

 

 

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It should be interesting to see how this "directional" route marking is implemented. I personally think it's a semi-win for the trail users. While the signage won't explicitly say to head north on Rex, it also won't deny cyclists the right. I rode the trail on Sunday afternoon and went north on Fairview(2 blocks east of Rex) going up and came back on Rex to Cresent to Fairview. I imagine if they'd banned bikes from Rex, it could start similar feelings on Fairview because bike traffic would all be re-routed to it. While it is a "void", this stretch is only a few blocks long and now it's your decision on what north-south street you want to take to/from Prairie Path Lane.

chrisc927 said:
The Elmhurst Park District has spoken. They chose Option #2 - the "multi-street" option.
"Option 2: To follow the alternative sanctioned by Forest Preserve District staff to install off-street signage at a northern point (such as a along the IPP) and at a southern point (somewhere south of Madison) to indicate that the trail continues ahead thus providing some general direction for trail users without designating any specific street(s) and complete the connection at Madison and Fairview."
The EPD's interpretation is that trail signs will be posted to indicate the direction to travel (north or south) without naming which streets to use. Trail signs will not display a street map. The trail route will be "a void".

The general consensus among cyclists in attendance was one of disappointment. One cyclist: "they punted".

EPD's website states: "...it has once again been named a finalist in the 2010 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management."

Ironically, of all the towns responsible for implementing the Salt Creek Greenway Trail, Elmhurst's implementation is hands-down the poorest.

Come to Elmhurst and bike The Void.
Personally don't feel "they punted" and am very satisfied that the Elmhurst Park District Board unanimously passed a motion to move forward by completing the trail in some fashion, against the imagined safety threats and very real "it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when" threats expressed by these resident drivers who call themselves "neighbors" and "bikers" but can't quite figure out how to earn those appellations.

imo, the biggest reason it's a win for cyclists is that it stops the proposed ideas of spending large amounts of tax money on installing a "bridge to nowhere" that routes path users between two waste treatment facilities. This would not have been used if built, as so many better route options exist. However, if it was built, we'd have had people telling us that's where we're supposed to be, not in "their" neighborhood.

It will be interesting to see what signs are posted, and how much information can be conveyed by showing the trails which exist and "you are here" markers, hopefully along with the street grid that provides many ways to connect the gap between the portions of trails.

Seems the Park District may also leave the wood chip trail as is for now and concentrate on connecting Madison, which will continue to split the minimal cycling traffic between Rex and Fairview, mostly. While the wood chips are good for runners and skiers and keeping the woods quiet, believe screened limestone would be a better compromise option. The paved path South of Madison was previously wood chip, is still marked as a ski trail, but is almost unusable as the Park District trucks plow it (which would be nice for winter bikers once it goes through to somewhere!) and there's crowning alongside, which leaves little room to ski properly where snow remains -- also the plow overshot onto the gravel last year and left a dangerous ditch near the transition point from gravel to asphalt east of Madison, not sure if this has been filled in yet, but completing the trail will fill it in. There was some talk that the approach from Madison & Fairview could be a "natural" trail which to me just sounds like a mudfest. It should be paved with limestone screenings (we've ridden it for years with rough loose limestone) or asphalt like what's south of it.

Problem with the current wood chip trail is that because it gets muddy after rains, it's often not a very good choice. Good thing about upgrading it to screened limestone would be that it would encourage the minimal bike traffic to go more different ways based on their own preferences. Slower recreational riders would choose the woods and limestone, while faster commuters and roadies may choose to go to Madison via Fairview or right up Hawthorne to Eldridge Park (also glad to say they're starting resurfacing work today on the block of Hawthorne north of Eldridge Park where I live, which has been getting pretty patched up and bumpy the last few years.)

Don't believe there's any way the public here would have supported a ban on bikes using Rex or any similar street. Wouldn't that be against state traffic law? (see note on a Geneva experience below)

Hopefully they will address the "danger" at Madison and Fairview appropriately, and by that I do not mean installing a narrow gate there as one Park Board member suggested in discussions. There should be enough room for two bikes going in opposite directions to pass each other easily, along with clearly marked stop signs facing in all directions. This will go a long way to calm the traffic that currently treats this corner as a high speed curve, hoping not to meet someone coming the other way, sometimes only "looking for cars." For buses coming out of the Ray Graham Center (my repurposed '60s grade school, Eldridge School) if those "professional" drivers can't be bothered to stop, that's a good revenue source... ticket them until they lose their jobs over it and then get replaced by people who can figure out how to stop. As that used to be my daily commute route, had chances to observe some of these fine "professionals" at their worst, running the stop sign, requiring evasive action on my part, and then bellowing at me to "get out of the way" when I clearly had the right of way.

During the public comment section of the meeting, I pointed out that improving traffic safety on Rex can be easily accomplished by changing Rex to one-way southbound, Crescent to one-way northbound and the blocks between them to one-way eastbound (Crescent) and one-way westbound (Prairie Path). Restrict parking to the left side of these blocks to allow a bike lane or sharrows on the right side, install signage and all way stop signs, and you've got a much safer situation. As safety to these people seems to be only a "concern" to be used to propel other agendas, not expecting we'll see the Rex "neighbors" petitioning the city for such cost-effective safety improvements.

imo, any funds remaining available for trail improvement should be dedicated to improvements to the current signage and routing situations at (in order of danger & so importance)...

1) Commonwealth & Butterfield

This is a tough crossing, as the eastbound Butterfield traffic has just come off a limited access stretch and though the speed limit has dropped from 45 to 35, speeds often have not, while the westbound traffic is "opening it up" in anticipation of the limited access road ahead. There are many turning vehicles, and sometime great "accidents" as evidenced by sirens and leftover piles of glass and plastic.

Going south, the crosswalk that the path routes to puts cyclists on the wrong shoulder facing frontage road traffic, much of which has just come off 6-lane 55mph Roosevelt, and much of which very frequently impatiently uses that very same shoulder as a right turn lane. I won't ride this, instead choosing to ride on the street using Commonwealth through the light, onto the frontage road and then making a left into the Office compound before heading back onto the path toward the Roosevelt underpass. Doing this can get horns honking and yellers yelling, but it's much safer, they can wait.

2) Villa from Thomas over CNW to 2nd

This 3 block stretch is a very murky connector. Coming off Thomas a wide crosswalk leads some cyclists across a resident's driveway to a standard width sidewalk (not really wide enough for easy two way bike passage) then over the CNW grade with a missing ped gate and across a number of residential and business driveways. When it gets to the crosswalk painted at 2nd street, there's little signage and _no curb cut_ for the crosswalk. Coming from the north on 2nd, you ride up to Villa to find that there's a crosswalk which ends at a tall curb. Experienced faster cyclists just ride Villa to get around this issue, taking the lane to get past the two rail crossings. Slower recreational riders wind up on this sidewalk, which sorely needs widening, curb cut, signal, and signage improvements which would remake this stretch into a path alongside the street that's usable for all.

3) Lake Street & Villa/Wood Dale

This is another big and busy intersection that requires crossing two streets - while there are good traffic signals, any bridge building funds would be much better spent and yield actual safety benefits by installing a flyover bridge from the SE to NW corners here.

--Jerome


-- Geneva note

Earlier this year, was appalled to see a no bikes sign coming into Geneva from the south on Route 31. Was the only traffic on the road when up ahead see a big no bikes sign and no idea given where you're supposed to ride to avoid the "dangerous traffic" that surely prompted the sign's installation. Rode through it, as understand such prohibitions are themselves against the law, and just need to be tested/appealed until they go away. Nobody "caught" me.

Has anyone posted about this before? It sure surprised me and seems like the sort of thing that should be pushed back on, at the very least for implementation of signage for an alternate "bike boulevard" route.
I love it when somebody, something---namely, government in this instance---makes the decision that they will not make a decision, hence wasting both sides of the argument's time with all the debate. I read this "decision" as "I will take no responsibility but the status quo." And we wonder why our current culture is producing nothing but mediocrity. Blah.

Tell me, how does this change one goddam thing about the path---for better or worse? Nothing is rerouted. Nothing is further defined (the connector) than it already is. Nothing is subjected to a maintenance/physical change. The only thing that was accomplished in however long this has been "debated" is that they want the money from a grant so they will only do what is necessary to get it. What a joke.
I just rode the Elmhurst section of SCGT today. There are still quite a few protest signs up. On the positive side, the EPD was busily working close to the Madison and Fairview connector, doing some berm work, I think.

Too bad about no improvement north of Madison, because the Eldridge to Madison stretch really looks great. The Maniolas, Bindons, Winters, and Rollins (and a few others) of this world really screwed up a good thing, and probably did not help their property values.
My two final thoughts on this:
1. The local anti crowd basically lost by winning on this issue. Now they'll have crowds of wandering cyclists on their streets looking for the phantom link between the SCGT and the IPP. Instead of quickly moving them along a designated street, the confused cyclists will quickly revert to their feral ways as they hunt for water, food and shelter amongst the mcmansions in the areas. Good thing the residents are more concerned with this than the growing heroin problem at York High School.
2. The anti crowd said the path extension or on-road route would diminish the values of their homes. Yet, three current listings on Sunnyside and Fairview tout the proimity to the IPP as an amenity. One of these listings on Fairview also sports an anti yard sign as well. Can a house have a conflicted personality?
Thanks very much to all of you supported the SCGT and improving bicycling in Elmhurst.
maybe critical mass can take a trip out to elmhurst?

now i just need to figure out what "imo" means.

Jerome Hughes said:


imo, the biggest reason it's a win for cyclists is that it stops the proposed ideas of spending large amounts of tax money on installing a "bridge to nowhere" ...
http://www.google.com/search?q=define:+imo
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/imo

imo it would be an interesting thing for CM to make a trip out here, guessing it's sort of beyond the range of CM though, at ~18 miles each way

http://bit.ly/gMapDelayToRex

--Jerome


Mark Kenseth said:
maybe critical mass can take a trip out to elmhurst?
now i just need to figure out what "imo" means.
Jerome Hughes said:


imo, the biggest reason it's a win for cyclists is that it stops the proposed ideas of spending large amounts of tax money on installing a "bridge to nowhere" ...
whether they punted or not is a matter of opi

Nicole Stanton said:
Daring to be vague, non-committal and wussy...sounds like a Gold Medal bike-friendly city to me. I can't imagine the residential area thinks this is a win either. I just want the end of that trail paved and pouring out onto Fairview asap. We've waited long enough. Hope it's soon!

chrisc927 said:
The woodchip trail is to remain as is. One of the commissioners specifically stated that he wanted the wood chip trail to remain intact.

The board mentioned that the issue of Madison/Fairview has to be resolved under the terms of the original agreement. I assume they meant the terms of the agreement for the $2.1M grant.

So basically nothing has changed. The wood chip trail will remain unuseable (for the most part) by cyclists. Cyclists will continue to make their way on any one of the 4-5 north/south streets.

Best of all the city will not indicate which streets to use to get to a point where the SCGT continues in earnest. Hopefully there will be a signage indicating when one leaves The Void so that one knows when to start looking for resumption of proper trail signage.

Since Elmhurst will not indicate which street to use, it will be interesting to see how county, state and non-governmental institutions publish this portion of the trail.
whether they punted

Jack Potter said:
whether they punted or not is a matter of opi

Nicole Stanton said:
Daring to be vague, non-committal and wussy...sounds like a Gold Medal bike-friendly city to me. I can't imagine the residential area thinks this is a win either. I just want the end of that trail paved and pouring out onto Fairview asap. We've waited long enough. Hope it's soon!

chrisc927 said:
The woodchip trail is to remain as is. One of the commissioners specifically stated that he wanted the wood chip trail to remain intact.

The board mentioned that the issue of Madison/Fairview has to be resolved under the terms of the original agreement. I assume they meant the terms of the agreement for the $2.1M grant.

So basically nothing has changed. The wood chip trail will remain unuseable (for the most part) by cyclists. Cyclists will continue to make their way on any one of the 4-5 north/south streets.

Best of all the city will not indicate which streets to use to get to a point where the SCGT continues in earnest. Hopefully there will be a signage indicating when one leaves The Void so that one knows when to start looking for resumption of proper trail signage.

Since Elmhurst will not indicate which street to use, it will be interesting to see how county, state and non-governmental institutions publish this portion of the trail.
am new to this ... try again ... whether they punted or not is matter of opinion, there is nothing in the motion or the statements to suggest that maps will NOT be posted; the reality is that maps WILL have to be posted to comply with the grant money; the only question is whether directional arrows will accompany the maps to make it more user friendly (i.e. so people don't have to stop to read a map), especially for those not familiar with Elmhurst. In any event, this action may become a de facto designation of Rex and Sunnyside because those two streets are the main ones that abut sleepy hollow park, the park that sits at the south ends of Rex and Sunnyside. It is one contguous park, so if the map directs people due north from Madison (where trail currently ends), then there really will be only two options once you get to that park. whether the Park District puts crushed limestone over the wood chip, or creates an alternative trail that makes its way winding a little east (more towards Sunnyside), it will still be an improvement; people should reserve judgment until they see a finshed product. Whether you like the wood chip portion or not, a little bit of work (in terms of tree trimming and filling in low spots) will make a significant impact. There's no doubt that the park district could have, and probably should have done more, but keep in mind that these ARE city streets, so at the end of the day, they really have primary jurisdiction over this issue. If there are alderman who truly want to have a say in this (as opposed to just grandstanding for voters), it is well within their purview to address the issue at the city level. If this is really a safety issue, and not a nimfy issue, then they should bring this to the city council and move for restricted parking so that there are less obstructions/distractions for motorists.

Jack Potter said:
whether they punted or not is a matter of opi

Nicole Stanton said:
Daring to be vague, non-committal and wussy...sounds like a Gold Medal bike-friendly city to me. I can't imagine the residential area thinks this is a win either. I just want the end of that trail paved and pouring out onto Fairview asap. We've waited long enough. Hope it's soon!

chrisc927 said:
The woodchip trail is to remain as is. One of the commissioners specifically stated that he wanted the wood chip trail to remain intact.

The board mentioned that the issue of Madison/Fairview has to be resolved under the terms of the original agreement. I assume they meant the terms of the agreement for the $2.1M grant.

So basically nothing has changed. The wood chip trail will remain unuseable (for the most part) by cyclists. Cyclists will continue to make their way on any one of the 4-5 north/south streets.

Best of all the city will not indicate which streets to use to get to a point where the SCGT continues in earnest. Hopefully there will be a signage indicating when one leaves The Void so that one knows when to start looking for resumption of proper trail signage.

Since Elmhurst will not indicate which street to use, it will be interesting to see how county, state and non-governmental institutions publish this portion of the trail.

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