Cyclists see appeal in developing bike route from Marion to Carb - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Cyclists see appeal in developing bike route from Marion to Carbondale

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WSIL --  The Greater Egypt Planning Commission is working with the Illinois Department of Transportation on developing a plan for a continuous bike route between Carbondale and Marion. Right now, there are only small sections of bike route between two of southern Illinois's largest towns.

For Tricia Work, a bike route between Marion and Carbondale is appealing. An avid cyclist and owner of The Bike Surgeon, she's very familiar with the best and easiest bike routes across the region.

"I never go on busy roads and I think that's true for most people," said Work. "We look for the most isolated roads sometimes."

Route 13, the main artery between Marion and Carbondale has thousands of drivers. It's loud, dirty, and congested, which increases the risk for an accident.

"Cars that are not paying attention. People on cell phones unfortunately and that's number one," explained Work. "People that just drive too fast."

Most often, bikers are taking side roads and country roads to get between between Marion and Carbondale. Even those are often dangerous.

"We're looking at the accident data from 2010 to 2016, there were actually over 140 crashes involving bikes in Williamson and Jackson county," said Joe Zdankiewicz, transportation planner at Greater Egypt Planning Commission. "Upwards of 30 were serious injuries and there were a couple of fatalities."

A new section of bike route was recently completed in Carterville east of Division Street, and proposals hope to incorporate that into a plan for the future.

"So we want to try to incorporate all these pieces and sections of bike route into one continuous route," explained Zdankiewicz.

The plans for a bike route are still in the early stages. Choosing between several different ideas and determining how to fund the project in the future.

"We don't have any funding to build any parts of this yet," said Zdankiewicz. "But once an alternative has been identified and we have a plan to work toward, then we can begin applying for grants."

A meeting for local bike riders to make public comments is on September 28th at 6:00pm at the Greater Egypt Planning Commission office located on the north side of the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion.

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