Bicycling in Palatine

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Biking is a popular activity, a moderate form of exercise within the physical capabilities of most people. However, it need not be limited to weekend outings on designated trails. Although cycling is often thought of as just for recreation and exercise, nearly half (43%) of all bike trips are destination-based—and many more would be if better facilities existed.

Biking can be a great form of transportation, especially for short, local trips. National data indicate that 27% of all car trips are one mile or shorter; 40% are less than two miles. When cycling conditions are improved, people are more willing to use bikes instead of cars for these short trips—which benefits their health, pocketbooks and surrounding air quality.

In July 2011, the Village adopted a Bicycle Transportation Plan with the goal of increasing bicycle commuting by creating a comprehensive and safe system of bicycle facilities that focus on travel to work, retail centers, schools, and recreational areas throughout the Village. With the help of a grant from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP), the Village has been able to make improvements to help Palatine become more "bicycle-friendly". These improvements include adding additional bike routes and installing new route signage and pavement markings. These improvements are expected to be completed in mid-June. Here are some commonly asked questions and answers about the Palatine Bike Plan improvements:

Q: Why is the Village installing bike routes when we already have bike trails?
A: The bike trail is considered more of a recreational route and does not provide full access 365 days a year. Additionally, use of Village streets as bike routes provides a more direct route to schools, shopping, parks, and connections with regional bike routes. 

Q: What type of lane markings are being installed on the streets?
A: There are two types of lane markings being installed. Shared bike/parking lanes are installed on streets that have on-street parking. The bicyclist can ride within the lane when cars are not parked there. There are pavement markings outside the lane to make motorists aware that bicyclists will ride in the traffic lane when cars are parked. These types of shared lanes provide an increased perception of comfort by the cyclist, decrease the likelihood of the occasional parked car being hit by another car, and encourage cars to drive down the streets at lower speeds. 

Bike lanes designate a portion of the roadway for bicycle use on sections of streets where parking is prohibited. There are pavement markings inside the lane to make motorists aware that vehicles are prohibited from using that lane. Bike lanes allow for more predictable movements by both cars and bikes, encourage better cyclist adherence to laws about riding on the right side of the road, increase bike usage while decreasing car/bike crash rates, and encourage cars to drive down the streets at lower speeds. 

Q: Why does the bike route suddenly end after a few blocks?
A: The Palatine Bicycle Transportation Plan consists of approximately 26 miles of bike routes. The Federal grant used on this phase covers approximately 12 miles of the plan. It is the full intent for the routes to eventually continue as planned. The full bike plan can be found by clicking here.

Streets that will be getting new lane markings as part of this project include sections of Illinois Avenue, Sterling Avenue, Wood Street west of Cedar Street, Wilmette Avenue, Winston Drive, Anderson Drive, Carpenter Drive, Cunningham Drive, Old Hicks Road, Gardenia Lane, Baldwin Road, and Colfax Street.

The Village will monitor the routes and record feedback from residents of any problems encountered as a result of these new lane markings. We are open to making changes should any of the routes become problematic. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Harry Spila, Director of the Community Services Department, at (847) 359-9027.

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