Rockford wants to be more bike-friendly. Already the home of the beautiful Rock River Recreation Trail, a growing network of designated bike routes, and a Complete Streets policy (that is actively used), the City of nearly 150,000 is taking a major step forward in making bicycle travel safer and more convenient. And Ride Illinois is helping.
Over the past ten years, Rockford has been adding Bike Route signage and some striping to streets around the City. Most of the streets selected had earlier been shown as preferred routes in Ride Illinois’ Rockford Metro Bicycle Map.
It was time for the next 10-year plan, to improve the quality of the existing network’s segments and to add more. The City’s leaders upped the budget’s “Citywide Bicycle and Active Transportation Program” line item from $50,000 annually to $300,000 per year. Rockford staff hired Ride Illinois to develop its “Rockford Bikeway Implementation Study” with details to guide the next decade of investments.
Since October, Ride Illinois has studied over 500 distinct road segments in Rockford. Traditional, buffered, or separated bike lanes. Striped shoulders. Off-road sidepath trails. Bike Route wayfinding signs and 3-foot law signs. Our job has been to determine what’s needed and appropriate where, given each segment’s roadway geometry, traffic conditions, available right-of-way and other constraints.
“Rockford will win a national Bicycle Friendly Community award soon,” predicts Ride Illinois’s Ed Barsotti. Besides the City’s and Park District’s improvements to bicycle infrastructure, local advocates including I Bike Rockford are active with events, safety, and policy. And, many thousands of local driver education students – more than anywhere else in the state – have used our BikeSafetyQuiz.com in their classrooms.
Could your town use some expert help on how to become more bike-friendly? Ride Illinois has a long history of providing technical and strategic advice to municipal staff and local advocates, on bike-friendly infrastructure, education campaigns, Bicycle Friendly Community designation, and more.
Since 2001, we have developed comprehensive bicycle plans for 20 cities – from Mattoon to Morrison, Carbondale to Palatine, Springfield to Batavia. In addition to working as a consultant in these towns, we have also provided limited pro bono assistance to dozens more Illinois municipalities and trained government staff through the Illinois Bike Summit, our bike planning seminars (YouTube videos available), and our Municipal Bicycle Planning Guide.