DeKALB – A busy sidewalk on Northern Illinois University’s campus will host two-way bicycle traffic this fall.
NIU officials plan to turn a stretch of sidewalk on the south side of Lucinda Avenue between Normal Road and Annie Glidden Road into a bike lane and pedestrian area. University officials will leave four feet of the sidewalk for pedestrians while using eight feet for bike lanes.
The bike lanes will be four feet wide in each direction with a painted median. The sidewalk improvements do not permit motorized vehicles to use the pathway, except public maintenance vehicles.
Before the DeKalb City Council approved the plan Monday night, some aldermen expressed concerns about pedestrian safety along the sidewalk.
“Those sidewalks are just jam-packed with kids,” 3rd Ward Alderwoman Kristen Lash said, suggesting university staff create some physical separation between cyclists and walkers.
Bill Nicklas, NIU’s vice president for public safety and community relations, said the plans meet Illinois Department of Transportation standards and were carefully considered.
“It would be safer on the sidewalk than it would on the street,” Nicklas said. “The impetus for this is the question of safety.”
Lash and 5th Ward Alderman Ron Naylor cast the dissenting votes.