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Macomb to develop bike boulevards, off-street path

Bike boulevards include large images and wording painted on the roadway.
courtesy photo
Bike boulevards include large images and wording painted on the roadway.

A federal grant will help Macomb begin development of a bicycle and pedestrian trail system through the city.

“If we can offer that across our community to a wide range of folks, then we’ll be as attractive as possible for people to want to live in, work in, visit, and hopefully thrive as a community,” said John Bannon, Community Development Coordinator.

The $90,000 grant comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Thriving Communities program. Macomb is one of just 64 grant recipients nationwide.

Bannon said the city partnered on the grant application with the Macomb Park District and the McDonough County NAACP.

Bannon said the grant will pay for creating a bike boulevard that runs along Randolph, Pierce, and Pearl streets, which he called side streets that go through residential areas and that connect to the downtown area and other transportation options.

“We want to include the downtown, the City Center Bus Deport, and the Amtrak station on that route. I think it’s really important to connect those to the larger path system because a lot of people go to and come from those three locations,” he said.

A bike boulevard has signs posted along it in addition to having large images and wording painted on the road.

“The idea is to create an awareness on the part of motorists and cyclists that this is a shared roadway. It’s not purely for bikes. Cars will be there, and the drivers should be aware that there may be cyclists on the street (so) drive relatively slowly and relatively carefully,” Bannon said.

He said the city should be able to move ahead with the bike boulevards this summer.

The long-term vision, Bannon said, is to have an 8.5-mile off-street path that loops around the entire city. It would be a 10-foot wide concrete path that’s buffered from the roadway, and would connect to on-street bike paths and bike boulevards.

The off-street path is a multi-million dollar, multi-year project.

“We are currently applying for planning grants to generate the sort of detailed plan that would then make us eligible for the implementation grants at the federal level,” Bannon said.

He said the various projects should complement one other, and he recommends the city keep working to make the off-street path happen.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.