Commuters who bike to the Prairie Avenue and Congress Park train stations before hopping on the Metra will be able to secure their bicycles at new sheltered racks sometime in 2018, courtesy of grants from the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and the federal government.

Brookfield has been awarded $221,720 for the project through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program, which is run by the Federal Highway Administration.

The RTA will contribute roughly $14,500, leaving the village of Brookfield to fund the remaining $41,000 to install the racks.

According to Brookfield Village Planner Emily Egan, 12 inverted U-lock racks will be located under a shelter near the kiss-and-ride turnaround area along Burlington Avenue near the entrance to the Prairie Avenue Metra station.

The existing bike rack north of the Prairie Avenue stop, near the dragonfly sculpture will remain, Egan said.

Meanwhile, a shelter covering 24 inverted U-lock racks will be installed in a presently unused gravel area on the south side of the tracks just east of the Congress Park station entrance.

Both locations have limited bike rack space, which has led to some people locking bikes to any available nearby light pole, sign pole or tree.

“This has been a goal for Brookfield for a long time,” Egan said, pointing out that the need for more bike parking at Metra stops was something called out in the Brookfield 2020 Master Plan, which was adopted in 2004. “We knew this was a need.”

“The new covered bike racks we provide will not only be able to accommodate more bikes, but they’ll be protected better from the elements, since they’ll be covered,” she said.

It’s unclear exactly when the new racks and shelters, as well as any concrete work to provide a base for the structures, will be completed, but the work will be done in 2018. Egan said the work will likely be done in coordination with other grant-funded improvements in and around the Prairie Avenue Metra station.

Those improvements were supposed to have been made this year, but the village board decided to delay the work after construction bids came in higher than expected.

Brookfield wins planning grant

In addition to the grant for covered bike racks, the RTA also notified Brookfield last week that the village was one of nine communities awarded a grant through its Community Planning Program.

Brookfield applied for the grant to fund a transit-oriented developer discussion panel, which will be a joint effort between the village, the RTA and the Urban Land Institute, said Egan.

“Mainly, we’re looking at bringing in regional and national developers to showcase and highlight Brookfield, and create more awareness of what Brookfield has to offer,” Egan said.

Brookfield has hosted events for developers in the past; the village will host its third developer breakfast on Nov. 9. But those events have sought to connect with local developers. The grant-funded panel will seek a broader reach.

Village officials used its zoning modernization effort, completed in early 2017, as part of the basis for its application.

According to a press release issued by the RTA announcing the grant award, the objective of the panel “is to attract development to vacant sites and encourage infill development. The developer discussion panel will help the village determine goals and needs in order to best utilize the land.”