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Jacksonville Park Foundation board member Peggy Davidsmeyer gives a tour of the trail leading to the Lake Jacksonville walk/run/ride bridge.

Jacksonville Park Foundation board member Peggy Davidsmeyer gives a tour of the trail leading to the Lake Jacksonville walk/run/ride bridge to cyclist Sandy Ballard.

The vote for a walk/run/ride bridge at Lake Jacksonville is scheduled for Monday night 12 September 2016, and a show of support is needed to get this item passed. Plans available to download from DropBox. With the bridge complete hikers/runners/riders will be able to go around the lake without risking IL-267. And families with small kids will have about a mile stretch of no/low+slow traffic road to walk or ride together in the woods.

What you can do . . .

  • Contact the Mayor and your aldermen (directory link) and express your support of the bridge, your experience visiting trails in other towns (and going to restaurants, shops and other pocketbook adventures while you were there). This project will not only be good for community health but also for the local economy.
  • Meeting 6pm Monday, 2nd floor of city hall. Process starts with study session, then vote comes later when meeting moves next door to council chambers.

Keep in mind the history on this . . .

  • When this walk/run/ride bridge came to the fore 2 years ago some residents of the lake subdivisions went through their county representatives to stop the project. The city attorney determined all this was on city land, and planning could progress.
  • After that and committee meetings former Parks & Lakes Chairman Alderman Bruce McDaniel asked Benton & Associates to donate a design for the bridge (thanks!).
  • That info and budget was used to request needed funds as part of this year’s city capital budget, and the bridge survived a challenge at that point.
  • Lately the counter argument has been the city needs to first do a trail to get campers to the concession stand and even around the entire lake, with the bridge as the final step — even though a lake trail has been kicked around since a 2003 city/county bike plan and for at least a decade as part of the city’s comprehensive plan, with no action.

Let’s pick the low-hanging fruit . . . Put in this bridge. Get a short trail for families to walk or ride. Get a way for confident bikers get around the lake on county roads without becoming roadkill on 267. Let the mountain bike club and others start volunteering to create trails at the lake which don’t require people to scramble over slippery concrete at the spillway to ford Big Sandy Creek. Get fishers easier access to more shoreline. Build on the short stretch for a trail around the lake or eventually a path into town. Open the lake for walking, running, cycling — for those who camp at the lake, and for the general city populace.

Post by Steve Warmowski, Friends of the Trails Initiative of the Jacksonville Park Foundation

The Friends of the Trails of the Jacksonville Park Foundation invites the public to tour the spot for a planned walk/run/ride bridge at Lake Jacksonville.

Volunteers will be on hand 5:30-6:30 Wednesday afternoon September 7 and 9-10 Saturday morning September 10 with plans for the bridge, and for a proposed bike transportation network. The final vote on the issue is expected at the city council meeting 6pm Monday September 12 (2nd floor City Hall). You can download lake plans via DropBox.

The designed and funded bridge is at the old West Lake Road crossing of Big Sandy Creek. The bridge plus the existing road bed would create a half mile of traffic-free path for families to walk or ride bikes, and enable people to run or ride bikes around Lake Jacksonville without having to travel on IL 267. Mountain bikers who made trails at Mauvaisterre Lake are chomping at the bit to put in trails at Lake Jacksonville that won’t flood. Plus fishermen will have easier access to shoreline close to the dam. And campers on the south side of the lake will have an option to get to the concession area without using their vehicles.

The area is city park land that you may visit at any time. Come during the tour time to get info, take a little walk in the woods to see the site for yourself and find out what you can do to make the bridge a reality. Use Facebook events for Wednesday and Saturday to spread the word. Or bring your dog and join in the simultaneous Dog Packs Wednesday and Saturday.

Directions from Jacksonville — take 267 south, turn left on New Lake Road, turn right on West Lake Road, go about 1 mile to parking lot.

Directions from Jacksonville — take 267 south, turn left on New Lake Road, after RR tracks and houses turn right on West Lake Road, go about 1 mile to parking lot.

westlakedam

Download plans. See the city’s comprehensive plan for references to a bike path around the lake. (Develop a trail system in Jacksonville for multi-purpose use around Lake Jacksonville on p 191, search the PDF for “bike” for other references.) Send feedback on the plans below. Thanks to Shawn Artis for creating the proposed bike transportation plan outline maps. Map of lake showing public land and existing/old roads ripe to be made into trails.

lakejax_hikebikelow

The Friends of the Trails of the Jacksonville Park Foundation invites the public to tour the spot for a planned pedestrian bridge at Lake Jacksonville.

Volunteers will be on hand 6-8pm Friday May 20, and 9-11 am Saturday May 21 with plans for the bridge, and for a proposed bike transportation network. They will be seeking feedback to pass along to the city’s Parks & Lakes Committee. You can also download plans via DropBox.

The designed and funded bridge is at the old West Lake Road crossing of Big Sandy Creek. The bridge plus the existing road bed would create a half mile of traffic-free path for families to walk or ride bikes, and enable people to run or ride bikes around Lake Jacksonville without having to travel on IL 267. Plus fishermen will have easier access to shoreline close to the dam. And campers on the south side of the lake will have an option to get to the concession area without using their vehicles.

The area is city park land that you may visit at any time. Come during the tour time to get info and provide feedback, and take a little walk in the woods to see the site for yourself.

Directions from Jacksonville — take 267 south, turn left on New Lake Road, turn right on West Lake Road, go about 1 mile to parking lot.

Directions from Jacksonville — take 267 south, turn left on New Lake Road, after RR tracks turn right on West Lake Road, go about 1 mile to parking lot.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 9.31.55 PM

Download plans. See the city’s comprehensive plan for references to a bike path around the lake. (Develop a trail system in Jacksonville for multi-purpose use around Lake Jacksonville on p 191, search the PDF for “bike” for other references.) Send feedback on the plans below. Thanks to Shawn Artis for creating the proposed bike transportation plan outline maps.

 

 

 

Harry Ford of the Morgan Cyclists sends out a list of suggested spring rides. “These are dates and times I will ride, and I invite and encourage all to come along. More emphasis will be placed on after-ride socializing–i.e., breaking bread and replacing liquids.” Your suggestions for rides, social opportunities, whatever are welcome throughout the summer.

Saturday February 27. 9:30am. Maple Syrup Ride.  Start at “Downtown” Murrayville and ride to Happy Hollow Farms (Pat Ward’s Place) to see and learn about collecting sap to make syrup and sample the finished product.  Then take advantage of the natural sugar buzz on the ride back to Murrayville. BONUS:  The M’ville soft-serve ice cream shop opens on Saturday. (Those who want a shorter ride:  I’ll provide an alternate.)
Sunday, March 13. 4:00 pm.  Celebrate Daylight Savings Time.  Meet on the west side of the square, aka Central Park Plaza.
Friday, April 1. 5:30 pm.  April Fools on Bicycles.  Just be ridiculous and ride. West side of the square, aka Central Park Plaza.
Wednesday, April 6. 5:30 pm.  Regular Wed. Ride.  West side of the square, aka Central Park Plaza.
Wednesday, April 13. 5:30 pm.  Regular Wed. Ride. West side of the square, aka Central Park Plaza.
Saturday, April 16. Road Trip. Mt. Vernon-Rend Lake.  If you’re interested, contact me for details.
Wednesday, April 20. 5:30 pm. 420 Ride. Regular Wed. Ride.  West side of the square, aka Central Park Plaza.
Saturday April 23.  The Bard on a Bicycle/Shakespeare’s Birthday . West side of the square, aka Central Park Plaza.
Wednesday, April 27. 5:30am. Regular Wed. Ride. West side of the square, aka Central Park Plaza.
Wednesday, May 11. 5:30pm.Regular Wed. Ride.  Woodson.
Wednesday, May 18. Ride of Silence.  5:30 pm–Pre-ROS Ride west side of the square. 7:00 pm–ROS.Passavant Hospital Courtyard on north side. (See ride of silence website for details)
Wednesday, May 25. 5:30 pm.Regular Wed. Ride. Woodson.
Sunday, May 29.  Camelot/JFK Birthday Ride. Woodson.
Note:  All early season rides are subject to zero rain or snow, temperatures above 40 F and wind no more than 12 or so.

Morgan Cyclists has regular weekly rides leaving from various locations, as well as weekend rides and other events. Download the application form for contact information and instructions on how to get on the group’s mailing list. All rides are helmet required, no SAG.

Protect the Melon! logo

Thanks to a generous sponsorship from the Morgan County Medical Society and Passavant Area Hospital all fourth graders in the Jacksonville community will receive helmets this year as part of the Protect the Melon! campaign.

The Jacksonville Park Foundation partners with Illinois College Professor Dr. Jeremy Turner in the Protect the Melon! campaign which encourages youth to wear a helmet when biking, roller skating, riding a scooter, skateboarding or any other wheeled activity. Illinois College psychology students help with a lesson on brain health, then everyone gets a helmet.

Links, tips and information on being a Melonhead is available at ic.edu/melonhead.

Illinois College student fits 4th grader with helmet. Photos by Darren Iozia

Illinois College student fits 4th grader with helmet. Photos by Darren Iozia

Dr. Jeremy Turner of Illinois College shows the result of a fall to an unprotected melon.

Dr. Jeremy Turner of Illinois College shows the result of a fall to an unprotected melon.

Student with helmet.

Student with helmet.

Thanks to Darren Iozia Photography for photos of the event. See more images on the Jacksonville Park Foundation – Town Brook Initiative Facebook page.  

 

The Jacksonville Park Foundation is working with the Pilot Club, Helmets First!, the Illinois College Psychology Club and others in the community to fund the program for future years. Contact Foundation President Steve Warmowski via jacksonvilleparkfoundation.com to help.

The Jacksonville Park Foundation focuses on health, recreation and families. Volunteers in the group have started several initiatives to improve the quality of life in the Jacksonville community such as youth health via the Jacksonville Children’s Garden; advocating for a bridge and path at Lake Jacksonville and a Town Brook recreational trail; creation of a new dog park through the Bark Park Initiative; assisting in fundraising for a new disc golf course; and other park enhancements. The foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization and is solely reliant on private funding.

You can contribute by making a check out to Jacksonville Park Foundation and mailing to Laura Marks/JPF Treasurer, Jacksonville Savings Bank, 1211 W. Morton Ave., Jacksonville, IL 62650.

Note: due to end-of-semester scheduling issues not all 4th graders received helmets in the spring campaign. We will work with schools to hand out the remaining helmets when school is back in session next month.

Link to initial story.

Volunteers have built up great trails on the east edge of Mauvaisterre Lake in Jacksonville (On Woods Lane, first bridge south of Country Club Road). Cyclists from all over the region come ride, you should check them out, too.

Here’s a different way to enjoy the trails — at night. Rides start about an hour before sunset. The bravest riders will hang around until after the sun goes down, strap on lights and ride into the dark. Arooooooo!

Please check the Jacksonville Recreational Trails​ Facebook page before the ride to make sure they’re not too muddy. Please respect the work of volunteers and don’t rut the trails. Updates on the group’s Facebook event. No registration — no sponsor. This is a crowd-sourced event on park land.

First ride is Friday July 31st. If you can’t make it Friday, come out Saturday.

Later in the year rides can switch to Friday, or Friday and Saturday (depending on feedback). Come on out and enjoy the trails with friends. Here’s the full schedule for the year.

  • July 31-Aug 1 7pm – Alpha Dog Ride
  • Aug 28-29 7pm – Back to School
  • Sept 25-26 6pm – Harvest Moon
  • Oct 30-31 5pm – Halloween Ride (wear a costume)
  • Nov 27-28 3:30pm – Work off the Turkey Ride
Work Day Audubon Woods Lane Bike Trails Sunday 121202 TownBrook Town Brook Photos by Steve & Tiffany of Warmowski Photography http://www.warmowskiphoto.com 217.473.5581 EWRM/The Image Works

Work Day Audubon Woods Lane Bike Trails Sunday 121202 TownBrook Town Brook
Photos by Steve & Tiffany of Warmowski Photography http://www.warmowskiphoto.com 217.473.5581 EWRM/The Image Works

Edited — Ride scheduled for July 4th called off due to the wettest June in modern Illinois history. Please respect work of volunteers and don’t ride and rut muddy trails.

Harry Ford of the Morgan Cyclists announces two new weekend events to the May schedule for the Jacksonville, Illinois bicycling club. All rides: helmet required, no SAG.

Sunday May 24th Hit the Brix – Inaugural Refractory Ride to Alsey. Woodson to Alsey and back again, 29 miles. Meet at the Triangle Club 9:30 Register/10:00 Ride. Want to add more miles? Start in Jacksonville and ride to Woodson in time for the 10am departure. Free snacks will be available at Alsey Community Park.

Saturday May 30th Around the Square – Around the Lake. Start downtown on East State Street off the square at 9:45 am. Route will go around Lake Jacksonville. End back downtown and join in the Downtown Celebration to get food and drink.

And don’t forget the final Wednesday 5:30 ride on May 27th. Meet at the Triangle Club in Woodson. See how to join and more about the bike club.

By Harry Ford

The League of American Bicyclist was founded as the League of American Wheelmen in 1880. Bicyclists, known then as “wheelmen,” were challenged by rutted roads of gravel and dirt and faced antagonism from horsemen, wagon drivers, and pedestrians.

In an effort to improve riding conditions so they might better enjoy their newly discovered sport, more than 100,000 cyclists from across the United States joined the League to advocate for paved roads. The success of the League in its first advocacy efforts ultimately led to our national highway system.

Today there are 20,000 direct members and a total of 300,000 including affiliate organizations who share the League’s Vision and Mission:

The Vision is a nation where everyone recognizes and enjoys the many benefits and opportunities of bicycling.

The Mission is to lead the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. As leaders, our commitment is to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice for change.

Anyone serious about improving cycling opportunities should consider joining The League—go to bikeleague.org/join.

By Harry Ford

The League of Illinois Bicyclists (LIB) is the statewide advocate for all Illinois bicyclists, promoting bicycle access, education, and safety.  Our vision:  “Illinois – Land of Safe and Enjoyable Bicycling for all.”
VISION STATEMENT — Illinois – Land of Safe and Enjoyable Bicycling for all.

MISSION STATEMENT — The League of Illinois Bicyclists is the statewide advocate for all Illinois bicyclists and bicycling; promoting bicycle use, access, education, and safety.

OBJECTIVES

  1. Maintain and increase access to public facilities for bicycles which will encourage their use for
    transportation, health and recreation.
  2. Educate bicyclists and motorists about their mutual rights and responsibilities.
  3. Educate bicyclists on safe cycling skills.
  4. Develop an active communications network at all levels of government throughout the state; to give voice to the needs of bicyclists.
  5. Increase the organization’s impact and effectiveness through strategic collaborations.

DHFandHeidionBike

The vision, mission and objective statements are, like most, a bit broad and abstract, but consider the following excerpts from LIB’s short- and long-term goals list to begin to see how they manifest in specific programs:

  • Ensure that all Illinois bicyclists and motorists are exposed to bicycle safety principles and “Share the Road” training, especially grade school and Driver’s Education students
  • Increase the amount of municipal bicycle planning assistance [to community planners].
  • Work for adoption of Complete Streets (routine accommodation of bicyclists and pedestrians) road design and development policies by local government agencies.
  • Work with IDOT to implement recommendations of the state bike plan.
  • Start a Capital Improvement Program campaign to review and provide bike-friendly suggestions to towns on their upcoming road project list.
  • Conduct a “mayors’ bike challenge” to enlist local officials to take the bikesafetyquiz.com quizzes and then encourage their constituents to do so.

In short, here is how LIB works for you . . .
LIB works with local, state, and federal officials on behalf of bicyclists.

  • Advocate bike-friendly road designs and policies
  • Promote trail development and funding at the local, state, and federal levels
  • Educate officials on why and how their towns can be bicycle-friendly
  • Develop bicycle safety education programs for cyclists and motorists
  • Serve on transportation policy-making committees
  • Propose legislation and other programs protecting cyclists’ rights on the roads

LIB works with individual bicyclists to guide their local efforts.

  • Make it easy for you to have an impact by distilling issues down to simple action alerts
  • For those wanting to get more involved locally, serve as technical, strategic, and organizing resource
  • Distribute information and answer questions on bike safety, bike laws, rides and clubs, and much more

Want to get involved in making Illinois – and Jacksonville – a “safe and enjoyable” bicycling place? Go to http://www.bikelib.org.

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  • May 2. Tour de Stooges. Lebanon, IL. A fundraiser for the Ridge Prairie Trail Initiative. Check it out at http://www.tourdestooges.com.
  • May 2. Ride the Ups and Downs. Elizabeth, IL. See http://www.goatscycling.com/events
  • May 6. Bike to School Day. Nationwide.
  • May 6. Morgan Cyclists Wednesday Evening Ride. 5:30. Triangle Club, Woodson
  • May 9. Three Lakes Ride. Galesburg, IL. Info as qscafe@hotmail.com.
  • May 10 Cyclo Femmes/Mother’s Day Ride. National. No local activity planned
  • May 11-15. Bike to Work Week. Nationwide. Just do it.
  • May 13. Morgan Cyclists Wednesday Evening Ride. 5:30 Heavenly Delight, Murrayville.
  • May 15. Bike to Work Day. Nationwide. Just do it.
  • May 17. Strawberry Festival and Berry Bicycle Ride. St. Jacob, IL. Great rides across the wide open spaces and a delicious ending with fresh strawberries and shortcake. Info at http://www.trailnet.org/calendar/strawberry-festival-and-berry-ride
  • May 17. Arlington 500. Barrington, IL. 500@cyclearlington.com.
  • May 20. Ride of Silence. Worldwide. Local info: We will ride as a group to honor riders who have been killed or seriously injured in cycling accidents. 6:30 pm at Passavant Courtyard and North Entrance.
  • May 23-34. Blackhawk Country Roads. Rockton, IL. rplantz@aol.com.
  • May 23-24. Pedaler’s Jamboree. Columbia, MO. Biking, music and fun on the Katy Trail. http://www.pedalersjamboree.com.
  • May 24. Bike the Drive. Ride Lake Shore Drive in Chicago WITH NO MOTORIZED TRAFFIC. Surreal, right? Get the scoop at http://www.bikethedrive.org.
  • May 24. Inaugural Ride to Alsey. Meet at Triangle Club in Woodson at 9:30 a.m.
  • May 27. Morgan Cyclists Wednesday Evening Ride. 5:30. Triangle Club, Woodson.
  • May 30. Around the Square – Around the Lake. Start Downtown on SE corner of the square at 9:45 am.
    Many other events are taking place throughout Illinois and the entire area. Do the research and pass the word along to others. – by Harry Ford