COLLEGE TOWNSHIP — After riding his bicycle to an open house to discuss ideas to slow traffic on Pike Street, Dick White offered his concerns about bicycle safety in Lemont.
The meeting attracted more than a dozen township residents, who could mingle with staff and Township Council members around large concept maps stretched on the township building wall. They showed trees, crosswalks, parking spaces and bulbouts, small peninsulas that narrow the street in some places.
The drawings show three blocks of Pike Street, between Dale and Elmwood streets, where concerns about slowing speedy passenger and large truck traffic and creating a safer environment for pedestrians have existed for years. Council at the end of December heard the results of a $15,000 Keller Engineers Inc. study that looked at potential design ideas.
The project is estimated to cost about $1.2 million and would require approval from the state Department of Transportation, since Pike is also state Route 3011.
White uses the route as a bicycle throughway and said he can generally ride on the shoulder safely. He said he’s concerned about the bulbouts, which he thinks may force cyclists closer to traffic.
“My general policy, as an elderly cyclist who isn’t riding very fast, is to try to ride to the right of the white line,” he said. “There are a lot of drivers who think that bicyclists don’t belong on the road.”
Engineer Kent Baker said the township can look into that, and consider somehow marking the road, using signs, or adjusting the bulbouts for cyclists, several ideas suggested.
Manager Adam Brumbaugh said the township plans to move slowly on any potential changes, and will proceed based on Wednesday night’s feedback, possibly altering the current design concepts.
“We have to start somewhere,” he told the crowd. “What are we missing?”
Parking was another focus. Michael Pratt, of Keller Engineers, said the concept removes spaces that force people to back onto Pike Street, and adds parallel parking. While 33 spaces would be lost, the plan adds 34.
There was some concern with the removal of private spaces in front of businesses and the addition of spaces anyone may use. Rick James, who lives at 710 Pike St., said he and others will lose control of those spaces.
“We have a quasi-territorial situation,” he said. “I have the right to tow you.”
James has lived on the street for more than 20 years. He and his wife, Jennifer, discussed the issue of heavy quarry trucks rumbling along Pike Street and Rick James said the calming would affect their ease of travel there.
“This is a great plan if it comes with weight restrictions,” he said.
Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter