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An interesting idea - Our view: Proposal worthy of consideration every minute of it

The Glencoe City Council is considering a proposed bike lane in the city. We’ve said before people riding bicycles in town are a good thing, one of the signs of a healthy and vibrant community.
Despite city hall’s extensive effort to draw people to a public hearing on a proposed bike trail Tuesday, Sept. 8, not even a handful of residents bothered to attend. Though understandable, that’s too bad. We’ve said it before – the world is run by those who show up. We hope they don’t complain if a bike lane is placed in front of their house and their on-street parking goes away. Who knows? Maybe there was a large group of people in their homes gathered around their computers watching the live-stream feed online.
Unlikely, but it’s a nice ideal.
During the discussion, Councilor Milan Alexander raised an interesting idea we feel is worthy of consideration. Please note, we didn’t say the idea should be unanimously passed immediately. We said it is worthy of discussion.
Alexander suggested the little-known, largely unenforced ordinance prohibiting riding a bicycle on city sidewalks in Glencoe. Apparently, Glencoe is not alone. There are plenty of other cities prohibiting people riding bikes on sidewalks.
Alexander’s proposal is aimed, we hope, at putting cyclists in a safer place than on certain city streets.
We understand there could be conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists. But we’ll argue conflict between a child on bicycle and a pedestrian is always a better scenario than a cyclist and a motor vehicle, especially in an era where drivers just can’t seem to put down their phones. The local police report in the past few weeks had contained reports of drivers receiving verbal warnings for driving while using a phone.
A cursory review of 16th Street, a primary route for children going to school, indicates sidewalks are rarely used by pedestrians or bicyclists. Yes, pedestrian and bicycle traffic on it will pick up now that school is in session. Perhaps bicyclists could be directed to one side and pedestrians directed to the other. As was noted during the Sept. 7 meeting, the existing ordinance is being widely enforced.
Ideally, when a cyclist encounters a pedestrian, the cyclist moves on to the grass to pass and then back on to the sidewalk. When a person driving a vehicle encounters a cyclist, especially on a street where vehicles are parked in front of houses, there is far less space for the cyclist to move to in an effort to avoid being hit, especially in an era of distracted driving.
A discussion of Councilor Alexander’s proposal could take place during a publicly-noticed city council workshop or perhaps a city council meeting. Whatever it takes to provide people the opportunity interested enough in the work of the city council is time well spent.
It's been suggested there are sections of sidewalks in the city so narrow even two pedestrians are challenged to walk side-by-side. There are also sections of city sidewalk in dire need of repair. Since the city owns these sidewalks within the street right-of-way, perhaps a conservatively-staged replacement plan for these narrow and dilapidated walkways could be considered.
We believe good ideas are worthy of public discussion and consideration. That’s not a radical idea. Anything that will promote cycling and public activity, fitness is worthy of discussion.
-jm