Join us for three engagement opportunities!
If you would like to share some initial thoughts, please feel free to do so below!
In 2010 the City of Rockford started its first 10-year plan that concentrated on establishing a system of bike facilities throughout the City. The first 10-year bike plan resulted in the creation of 45 miles of on street facilities, 21 miles of multi-use paths, and approved a Complete Streets Policy.
In 2019 the City of Rockford, began planning for its 2nd 10-year bike plan. The City established a steering committee that was made up of community members and organizations that included the following:
In November of 2019, the Steering Committee held a workshop that was open to the public to understand public concerns and help establish priorities for bike and active transportation amenities.
From the Public Engagement and Steering Committee the City’s Second 10-Year Bike Plan titled The City of Rockford Bikeway Implementation Plan was drafted and passed by City Council in 2020. Rather than continuing with large growth of the system, the new bike plan looks to balance expansion with increasing rider comfort by creating more bike lanes, multi-use paths, establishing traffic calming and installing bike detection at some signalized intersection.
The Highcrest Road Multi-Use Path was originally designed as an alternative to a path along Spring Creek Road. The Bikeway Implementation Plan lists it as a valuable connection from the Rock River Path to the East Side including Rock Valley College and Perryville Path.
Images from the 10-Year Bike Plan engagement efforts!
What is a Multi-Use Path?
A Multi-Use Path (MUP) or shared-use path is a bi-directional 10-foot wide path that can be used by both pedestrians and bikes. MUP’s are one of three types of bike facilities used in the City, the other two are Signed Bike Routes and Bike Lanes. MUP’s are the only bike facility that are separated from the roadway and therefore provide a higher level of safety for pedestrians and bikes.
Why is the City considering placing a Multi-Use Path on Highcrest Road?
The proposed path would serve as a valuable east / west connection to existing pedestrian and bike facilities, retail, places of employment, and community gathering spaces. Highcrest Road MUP, in addition to allowing access from the neighborhoods to the north and south, would provide access to the River Path to the west, and a connection to Spring Creek Road and the Bike Lanes on Spring Brook Road that ultimately lead to Rock Valley College and the Perryville Path to the east. The City has considered alternate routes along other nearby streets and has found these alternate routes to be either significantly more expensive, requiring more acquisition of private property, or to be more intrusive to the residents.
Why is the Multi-Use Path proposed on the south side of Highcrest Road?
Initially the City and their consultant looked at both sides of the road as possibilities for the proposed path. After a right-of-way survey and preliminary design considerations, it was determined that the south side of the road would be the preferred route as it required less private property acquisition, less impact to mature trees, and had better connectivity to existing and proposed facilities.
Will I have to give up part of my property?
Right-of-way (ROW) is property or area reserved for public transportation purposes like roadways, sidewalks or even railroads. All public roads are within ROW. The Highcrest Road ROW is already between 66 feet and 73 feet wide, which is fairly large for a two lane road. More than likely this is because Highcrest Road at one time was being considered for a four lane roadway. Four lanes of traffic on Highcrest Road are no longer planned, but the area reserved for the larger roadway still exists. The proposed path is within this area that many residents may believe to be their private property; however, it is actually within public ROW. Because of this existing ROW, the vast majority of the project can be done without asking homeowners to give up part of their property. The proposed path will cross in front of approximately 70 homes along Highcrest Road, of which we are only anticipating asking 7 homes for additional property. Nevertheless, homeowners’ yards along the path may look different after the project is completed. In addition, the path may require the removal of trees within the ROW, and some properties may require their front or side yard to be re-shaped or re-graded to accommodate the improvements.
The City of Rockford is leading this effort, and supported by The Lakota Group, who specialize in community engagement.
Fehr Graham is an engineering and environmental services firm, with a team of experts across many disciplines who work together to solve problems and improve the quality of life in the communities. Fehr Graham is supporting the City with engineering services and efforts. Learn more >