Author Topic: My missing IL corridors :-)  (Read 5925 times)

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Offline LpAngelRob

My missing IL corridors :-)
« on: June 06, 2009, 02:36:50 am »
Since this is my first post, I figured I should take extra time to introduce myself and avoid going straight into route Nazi mode. :-D

My name is Robert Guico, from Carol Stream, Illinois. Although I have not engaged in any long-distance bicycling, I do commute to work on a bike, and have a good understanding of differences in bicycle facilities. I also am working to build up miles on the weekends.

I am also an avowed roadgeek, and so here's where the routing comes in. =)

I understand how the corridors came about - connecting important cities and destinations with as broad a brush as possible, without regard to existing facilities, so as not to limit routing options within each corridor. Fair enough, but it still looks really odd for there to be just one north-south corridor through all of Chicagoland, which would almost certainly be routed on Chicago's Lakeshore Path (and you'll not get an argument from me about that!)

Here's where I think the existing trails could provide a useful guide. The Grand Illinois Trail ( is a 535 mile loop, utilizing both on-road and off-road trails. The north part of the loop connects Rockford with Galena (U.S. Bicycle Routes 40/45) and Chicago (U.S. BR 66) via either Lake County or DuPage County, both of which have marvelous rail trails. (I will confess that I think it would be appropriate to designate the Illinois Prairie Path, a significant boon to the area in many ways, U.S. Bicycle Route 36 :-) )

The south part of the loop is particularly significant as it follows the bluffs along the Illinois River, and mostly off-road. It links Chicago's south suburbs with numerous parks and state parks (Starved Rock, Matthiesen, Buffalo Rock, Hennepin Canal), and, well, is the part of Illinois I wish everyone could see when they're done with Chicago. But it appears to be too far north of U.S. Bicycle Route 40 to be considered.

U.S. Bicycle Route 40 is a worthy corridor, to be sure (Davenport - Peoria - Danville - Fort Wayne, IN). But the south part of the loop should be considered for U.S. Bicycle Route 38. And the northern part, U.S. Bicycle Route 36 or 34, depending on whether or not you want to get it confused with U.S. Route 34.

Pity poor Springfield. Apparently U.S. Bicycle Route 66 prefers Decatur over you.

I keep expecting a Chicago-Elgin-DeKalb (NIU)-Rockford-Janesville, WI-Madison, WI corridor of some sort... anyone else agree?

I'm pretty excited about this system. I hope it gets the recognition, traffic, and volunteers it deserves, and I'm willing to throw my hat in.


Offline bobclay99

Re: My missing IL corridors :-)
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2009, 01:35:57 am »
Robert you make some good points.  I wonder if the southern loop of the Grand Illinois Trail is really what was in mind for US 40.  It does pass through the Quad Cities.  Much of that route is already off road.  Perhaps the scale of the map was such that to show the corridors distinctly they made it appear farther south.  Regarding your Rockford to  Madison suggestion there is an alternative on the map.  US 66 must surely go through Springfield, not Decatur (although you are right it is not shown that way on the map.  THe IDNR, IDOT & LIB have a detailed Bike Route 66 showing a route close & sometimes on the Historic Highway 66.  This does go thru Springfield.  Aug 29-Sept 3 there is a pubicity ride promoting this route.  See for details.  Does anyone know of a more detailed definition of the proposed corridors?

Offline KerryIrons

Re: My missing IL corridors :-)
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2009, 04:34:43 pm »
(Nearly) each and every state could provide additional great routes that were "missed" in the creation of the corridor plan.  The plan has a route density that essentially guarantees that local riders will have suggestions to "fill in the gaps" in their area.  Of course, a state can have as many routes as they want within their borders. 

The corridor plan is aimed at connecting between states, not at identifying all the good possibilities within a state.  It will be up to each state to define the specific roads/trails that will be used for turning the corridors into actual routes, and the process exists to change the corridors as routes are implemented.  If states want more connections with adjoining states, they can work with their neighbors to do just that.

So, the process exists to change the corridors and for states to detail the routes as they see fit.  As implementation moves forward, there will be many changes (driven by the states) and opportunities for state level organizations to participate in the process.

Kerry Irons
Adventure Cycling Association