By next fall, a bike path in North Riverside, paid for through a federal Transportation Bill passed by the U.S. Congress last year, is expected to run along 26th Street and Desplaines Avenue, and connect the Village Commons park with the Salt Creek Bike Trail.
Mayor Richard Scheck said at the Jan. 9 meeting of the village board’s Committee of the Whole that the bike path would likely run from 10th Avenue east to Desplaines Avenue along 26th street and then turn north on Desplaines to run to the Commons area before weaving its way through the east side of North Riverside and ending at Veterans Park near the North Riverside Park mall.
The route will require reducing 26th Street to three lanes of traffic from the current four lanes between First Avenue and Desplaines Avenue. There will be single eastbound and westbound lanes and a center turn lane to make space for the bike path.
“There are three types of transportation?”motorized, pedestrian and bicycle?”and we want to accommodate them all in North Riverside,” said village Trustee Gary Wittbrodt.
Along 26th Street there will be bike lanes on both the north and south sides of the street, but along Desplaines Avenue the village would like to place both north and southbound bike lines on the west side of Desplaines Avenue to preserve parking on the east side of the road.
The village is hoping to complete the first phase of the bike path, from 10th Avenue to the Commons by the fall of this year Mayor Scheck said. However that is contingent on the receipt of the federal money in a timely fashion.
In July, the federal Transportation Bill earmarked $1.9 million for North Riverside in order to complete the bike path and acquire property to create parking lots at strategic locations in the village.
One location suggested at the Jan. 9 meeting was along the Traube Avenue railroad right of way, which runs southeast-to-northwest from Lathrop Avenue to Desplaines Avenue. If the village acquires any property, it would be used to create diagonal parking on the south side of the street.
According to Village Administrator Guy Belmonte, the site was chosen as a possibility because it is proximity to the village municipal complex and a number of multifamily buildings.
“There are some condo conversions in that area along Desplaines,” Belmonte said. “We could also use it as a staging area for snow plowing, where residents could park their cars so we can plow the streets. It’s just a thought.”
Belmonte said he would approach railroad officials about possibly acquiring the property in coming weeks.
Bob Uphues contributed to this report.