Bicycle, Pedestrian Access Improved with Paving of Lemont Road Bridge
November 15, 2011
By Amanda Luevano
Bicycle and pedestrian access to downtown Lemont and area trails was improved last week as the Illinois Department of Transportation finished paving the shoulder of the Lemont Road bridge.
Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) announced Tuesday that IDOT completed work Friday on the shoulder of Lemont Road from the bridge to Bluff Road. Improvements were made to make it easier for cyclists, walkers and joggers to access downtown Lemont to the south, as well as Centennial Trail and Waterfall Glen Trail to the north, according to a press release.
Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves announced during the village's committee of the whole meeting last month that Lipinski — an avid cyclist — noticed several issues near the bridge after taking part in former Olympian John Vande Velde's Tour de Lemont on Oct. 15.
Following the ride, Lipinski worked with officials from the Village of Lemont and IDOT to identify what needed to be done to improve safety for walkers and bicyclists.
"My primary focus as a member of Congress has always been on getting things done that help my constituents in their everyday lives,” Lipinski said in Tuesday's press release. “When Mayor Reaves and members of the village board reached out to me for help with this project, I was more than happy to work with IDOT to make sure the paving finally got done. This is another example of how important it is for everyone at the local, state, and federal levels to work together.”
Reaves said he hopes residents "will appreciate and utilize this safe option for connecting up with local trails."
The work completed on the Lemont Road bridge coincides with the village's recent work with the Active Transportation Alliance, which works to improve conditions for bicycling, walking and transit in communities across the state. The organization partnered with the village this fall as part of $48,040 health and wellness grant Lemont received from the Cook County Department of Public Health earlier this year.
Using grant funds, the Active Transportation Alliance assisted the village in creating an Active Transportation Plan. The organization sought input from the community through two public workshops and an online survey. A final plan is expected to be presented to the village board by the end of the year..
The village also used the grant to adopt a Complete Streets policy and establish safe park zones.
Steve Buchtel, executive director of Trails for Illinois and a coordinator for the Active Transportation Alliance, said the work on the Lemont Road Bridge is a major step in improving bicycle and transportation accommodations in the village.
“Getting the shoulder paved between the Lemont Road Bridge and Bluff Road offers a more comfortable connection for many runners and cyclists to the Centennial Trail and Waterfall Glen, and will get more people out on those trails — and more trail users into downtown Lemont businesses,” Buchtel said. “But more importantly, as trail opponents in Washington scheme to eliminate funding for safe connections, Congressman Lipinski gets it — he gets that safer trail connections help Illinois families turn around some major trends threatening our quality of life, like skyrocketing health care costs and the rise of diabetes and heart disease in adults and in our kids.
"Because the Congressman gets it, more people in Lemont can use their doorstep as their trailhead,” Buchtel said.
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