This blog post is one in a series of stories featuring some of the great things happening in suburban Chicago communities. The stories will focus on Chicagoland communities that are on the forefront of the movement to encourage healthy, active transportation like walking, biking and public transit.
These are communities Active Trans had the privilege to work with as part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative, a federally-funded program aimed at creating healthier and more active lifestyles throughout the nation.
Residents of western Cook County know they live in a diverse area that varies greatly in terms of land use, demographics and economic status.
The West Central Municipal Conference is the voluntary association unifying the municipal governments in western Cook County.
The Conference leadership knew that bicycling was an important mode of transportation and recreation for residents and visitors in their area. Since they wanted a plan that reflected where people want to bike, they proposed a system that unites the many municipalities and destinations across the region -- a plan for a comprehensive network of facilities. So the conference asked Active Trans for help.
Active Trans partnered with the Conference to develop a bike plan for the region. Realizing that the best experts for bicycling in western Cook County are the people that live, work, and bike in the area everyday, Active Trans encouraged the Conference to launch an ambitious community engagement campaign.
The final bike plan is the result of input from more than 600 individuals who analyzed the hundreds of possible routes. They came to a consensus on a network of priority routes for bicycling in the region. This network, once completed, will connect all of the communities in western Cook County.