By Chase Cavanaugh
The Illinois Region 1 Planning Council released a regional plan Wednesday that would encourage increased bicycle and pedestrian traffic in the Rockford area.
The plan incorporates data from many different studies and turns them into recommendations, such as connecting gaps in pedestrian and bike paths, implementing safety campaigns for cyclists, and improving the first and last legs of residential commutes.
Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning Executive Director Michael Dunn Jr. says the plan covers a wide area — as far out as Byron, Roscoe, and Belvidere. Thus many governments would be involved in turning the plan’s recommendations into projects.
“Everybody has a role in putting the plan to work and getting action items called out and to get it implemented and installed for the region,” he said.
Dunn says funding for projects could come from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, as well as local and federal sources. However, the plan remains a jumping-off point for future projects and studies.
The meeting also featured a presentation by Jason Wilde, the northern General Manager for LimeBike. This California-based “tech-mobility” company has set up bike-sharing programs in cities and 10 college campuses across the country, including the University of Notre Dame.
Wilde says what makes LimeBike unique is that it uses an app for customers to find, pay for, and park bikes. This allows the company to avoid running separate docking stations. Wilde is waiting for approval from Rockford authorities and hopes to set up shop within the next month.