Wheels In Motion For Bike Master Plan

The City of Peoria want to make it easier for people to get around on two wheels.

The city is paying Alta Planning and Design $81,193 to develop a bicycle master plan. The plan will provide a blueprint for setting up or expanding bike paths along streets across the city. While there are some roads that were initially intended to allow passage for more than just motor vehicles, City Manager Patrick Urich says the intent didn't pan out in many cases.

"There just hasn't been any integrated master planning process for this," City Manager Patrick Urich said.

The group Bike Peoria says now is the perfect time to put together a plan for bike routes, especially since the city is already in the process of improving and redeveloping roads.

"If we can plan in advance for better accommodations [for bicycles], it makes it easier on down the road," said Bike Peoria co-founder Eric Reiter.

Second District City Councilman Chuck Grayeb, who represents the most densely populated section of Peoria, praised the idea.

"It is imperative that we begin to rebalance the equation as it relates to the automobile on the one hand and the pedestrian, and bicyclist, on the other," said Grayeb.

The city has already budgeted $200,000 for each of the next four years to implement the plan once it's drafted. City Councilman Jim Montelongo, while not against the idea of making Peoria more bike-friendly, balked a little at the price tag.

"Where are we going to be coming up with the money to fund this project?" he asked.

Montelongo said he would like to see discussions about the bike master plan be had in conjunction with those about road improvement projects.

"We're talking about a multi-million dollar investment back into our infrastructure," he said.

The initiative was included in the Community Investment Plan, which was approved by the City Council as part of the budget process last November. A series of public hearings on the project will be scheduled in the coming months.

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