Bike share program proposed for Fox Lake

FOX LAKE – The village of Fox Lake could look into developing a bike share program as a way to increase its appeal as a tourist destination.

The proposal is one of a few programs and 38.1 miles of new bike paths included in the Fox Lake Greenways and Bikeways Plan, which was approved Tuesday evening by the Fox Lake Village Board.

The plan doesn’t commit the village to any projects but lays out proposals and strategies on how to accomplish the projects.

The newly adopted plan draws on the village’s Comprehensive Plan and Downtown Lakefront Vision Plan, which identify major destinations within the village that residents and visitors would like to get to by bike.

Because those destinations include the downtown, the lakefront, schools and parks, the bike plan recommends starting in the downtown and expanding outward, and adding bike parking at Lakefront Park.

It also recommends pursuing a bike sharing program, which could be developed through a partnership with a local business.

“It definitely is a new and innovative recommendation,” said Tim Gustafson, a senior planner with T.Y. Lin International. “I think it could be an interesting item for the village to explore.”

The start-up cost for a small-scale program of fewer than 10 bikes is less than $50,000, according to a Federal Highway Administration report. On average, annual operating costs run between $12,000 and $15,000.

The most challenging of the proposed bikeways is along Route 12, Gustafson said. The path would connect the village’s bike system to State Park Road, which leads to the Chain O’ Lakes State Park.

The plan includes two layouts for how the lanes would be spaced and how wide the buffered bike lanes would be at the bridge crossing Nippersink Lake Channel.

One layout keeps the center turn lane, but narrows the lane to the 10-foot minimum. The other keeps the lanes to 11 feet but eliminates the center lane, creating instead a 4-foot buffer area.

Because Route 12 is a state route, planners T.Y. Lin International – who put together the plan with the village’s engineering firm, HR Green – ran ideas by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

IDOT officials were not comfortable with 10-foot lanes or eliminating the center turn lane, Gustafson said, and that will be something designers will have to keep in mind moving forward.

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