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New signs help bikers, hikers navigate trails

Monday, September 27, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON

For months, members of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation have organized public hearings, asking bikers what they'd like to see on the Cook County Forest Preserve District's trail system.

Their chief request was addressed last week, as the district unveiled more than 200 miles of newly marked trails, complete with map signs, intersection markers and other useful signs.

It's part of a systemwide overhaul, funded largely by state grants, that has hikers and bikers impressed.

"A lot of the recommendations we're getting are consistent with the changes happening now," said Rob Sadowsky, executive director of Chicagoland Bicycle Federation.

"The old sign markers were few and far between, and you'd come to an intersection and wouldn't necessarily know where you were."

The new signage has been a work in progress since spring, district officials said, and includes improvements to the district Web site, www.fpdcc.com, with users able to download color maps of trails.

In a news release, County Board President John Stroger said the new signs "will go a long way towards enhancing the experience of utilizing our trails, particularly for new users who are unfamiliar with the system."

With new signs come new trail rules: There will be a shift for riders and walkers to the right side of trails, which is consistent with other county trails, Sadowsky said.

Also, bikers younger than 14 will have to wear a helmet as of Jan. 1.

Sadowsky's group is continuing public meetings, with one scheduled for tonight at East Hazel Crest Village Hall. The aim is to influence the next series of upgrades.

"There are some connectivity issues with trails -- how to get from a trail to the CTA or Metra," Sadowsky said. "We plan to work on that and connecting one forest preserve to another."

 

 



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