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Geneva considers plan for bike path on Route 31

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – Geneva’s long-term plan was to have bike trails along Route 31 from Fabyan Forest Preserve to the south and connecting to the Fox River Trail at the Kane County Government Center.

Aldermen Monday approved advancing a goal to put in two bike lanes on Route 31, while addressing the narrowness of the existing traffic lanes. The concept was included in the city’s 2005 bike plan. Being included in the next fiscal year’s goals means the issue will be discussed and examined, not necessarily approved, officials said.

Bob Fitzsimmons, a resident of the city’s 5th Ward and Phil Bus, former director of the county’s transportation department, spoke to aldermen about addressing the bike path issue as the state will have to repave Route 31 in the coming years.

“This has been a concept for a long time,” Fitzsimmons said. 

Bus said Route 31 has narrow lanes, from 38.5- to 40-feet wide “and we’ve all had at least one white-knuckle experience on Route 31.”

Their proposal is to put in 5-foot-wide bike paths on either side, creating a two-lane road with one through lane and a turn lane.

The goal also would be to improve safety and reduce crashes.

The speed limits are 35 and 30 mph, but Bus said, “I don’t know anyone who has actually driven 30 miles an hour. If you’re going to the train, you’re going a lot faster.”

The restructuring of the road in their proposal would have a “calming effect” on traffic, allowing the road to maintain capacity of 12,000 to 14,000 cars daily, including trucks.

Bus said the goal is not to reduce traffic capacity, but to create opportunities for bike and pedestrian friendly connections to existing trails.

The proposal calls for landscape islands in some areas, but officials noted the city would have to pay for those – not the state – so the consideration would include cost of maintenance and upkeep.

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