Bicyclists league mapping paths to Metra
BY RONNIE WACHTER firstname.lastname@example.org July 18, 2013 8:46PM
The League of Illinois Bicyclists is putting together pamphlets to distribute later this year that will show both riders and commuters thinking about riding the quickest, and safest, routes to the local Metra stops. | Sun-Times Media file
Tips for trying a bicycle-to-the-train approach:
You can lock your bicycle to a rack at either the Prairie View or Buffalo Grove stations.
You can also bring it aboard. Unlike the CTA, the Metra has no limit on how many cycles can be on a train, and you can keep it with you on the inside.
The proper etiquette is to wait until the other passengers have boarded. The best place to stand with your cycle is in the space created by flipping up the seats in the wheelchair area — as long as no one else needs that space. “If someone with a disability comes on board, you have to move,” Kilgore said.
Be patient with train riders who may disapprove of your cycle. “Most people are really nice about it,” Kilgore said, “but not everybody has bought into the idea that biking is a great form of transportation.”
Updated: September 18, 2013 3:36AM
The hardest thing about creating the how-to-bike-to-the-train brochures for the Buffalo Grove/Lincolnshire area was how to make the area look like something other than a nondescript suburb.
The League of Illinois Bicyclists is putting together pamphlets to distribute later this year that will show both riders and commuters thinking about riding the quickest, and safest, routes to the local Metra stops.
The League is making brochures for several Metra-served communities, and since each will have different maps, each will have photos of riders from the different areas; Gin Kilgore, program manager, said the best way to identify Buffalo Grove was to photographer models as they pedaled past the statues of buffalo.
“Buffalo Grove doesn’t have a strongly defined downtown core, so we usually try to take photos of really iconic images that really give the flavor of the town we’re featuring, so these don’t all look interchangeable,” Kilgore said.
She and Bob Pfeil, village planner, brought local bicycle commuters together July 2 to photograph them using streets, paved paths, Metra bike racks and the trains themselves on their way to work.
They had to push back the original, June 26 date, because they did not want images of riders pedaling through a flash flood. They shot at both the Buffalo Grove and Prairie View stations. Kilgore noted that, in most of the brochures the League has made so far, many of the models are that community’s public works and parks department employees, dressed in office attire to look like they are on their way to a cubicle; she added that Pfeil looked particularly sharp in a suit, on a blue cycle.
Sometimes, she said, she has to jump in front of the lens to add an extra body, but that a good turnout up here kept her behind the scenes.
“It was nice to sit back and let everyone else shine,” she said.
Pfeil is working with the League to create an expanded network of bicycling paths and lanes for Buffalo Grove; part of that will include making cycling a viable part of residents’ commutes, and part of that will include simply making residents aware of the option.
One of the objectives is to expand the mindset of suburbanites who think about transportation solely in terms of driving; taking a chain of residential streets would be a bad choice behind the wheel, Kilgore said, but might be a faster and safer route on two wheels.
“If you’re somebody who drives a lot, you might not know the lower-stress streets,” said Kilgore, who does not own a car. “I could tell you the best way to get there by bicycle, but I don’t know he best way to get there driving.”
The league will be working on its route analysis for months, she said, so the brochures will not be out until the end of the year.