Proposed bike lanes on Elgin Avenue. (Courtesy Christopher Burke Engineering)

An east-west bike path leading from the western edge of Oak Park to the beginning of the Prairie Path has long been a dream, said Forest Park Village Commissioner Chris Harris.

He told the village council the village’s five-year infrastructure plan could make that dream a reality.

Working with Village Engineer Jim Amelio, from Christopher Burke Engineering, and Village Administrator Tim Gillian, Harris said he has “driven and walked the area to try to find a solution.”

Amelio gave the village three proposed plans to link a bike path from Harlem Avenue to the curve in Van Buren Street near the Grove Residences. Two involve reconfiguring Jackson Boulevard by removing the street-calming bump-outs and restriping protected bike lanes. The proposed Jackson Boulevard costs are high: Removing the four bump-outs alone would cost around $20,000 each. Other costs drive the Jackson Boulevard costs up to $239,000, according to the estimate.

A cheaper alternative involves turning the bike lanes south onto Elgin Avenue and proceeding west toward Desplaines Avenue along Lehmer. Just remarking the pavement would run about $22,800, according to the Burke Engineering estimate. This route already has less car traffic, and is a de facto bike path for cautious riders anyway. 

Mayor Anthony Calderone told Harris his proposal was being vetted by the village attorney to see if bike paths were included the non-home-rule sales tax infrastructure regulations set by the state.

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