What, exactly, is the Illinois Bike Summit, one might wonder? It’s a large-scale meeting of roughly 300 bike-minded people, such as government officials, industry professionals and advocates, coming together from across the state to learn and network. Whether you are a seasoned pro, or interested in improving bicycling conditions, the event offers strategies geared toward municipal progression.
Epstein is pleased to be one of the sponsors for this year’s Summit, which will take place on Monday, May 7 at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Student East Center. The Summit will be comprised of multiple topic sessions and feature several speakers, including our very own Greg Osborne, PE, Vice President and Director of Civil Engineering.
Greg, along with Lubka Benak, Project Director at the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), will participate in the infrastructure portion of the Summit. Their presentation focuses on innovative solutions for closing challenging gaps in the trail network, which is a citywide linkage of non-motorized, multi-use pathways utilized by bicyclists, walkers and runners.
“The City of Chicago is working towards a continuous riverfront trail. There’s some trail in certain locations in the city, but it’s not all connected,” Greg said. “And there are a couple of locations where it’s really difficult – really expensive – to make a connection. You may have to build a bridge across the river or build out into the river.”
One such gap was what is now known as the Riverview Bridge, a multi-purpose bridge that will complete a critical link in the off-arterial trail spanning from the city core on the south to the extensive set of northern trails that stretch to the Botanic Gardens. Epstein’s design strategy involved the unconventional solution of disengaging the path from the riverbank and elevating the entire structure above the water level.
“Pulling the trail off the bank allowed us to save the trees, save the commercial properties, and didn’t require purchasing any property,” Greg said. The result was a bridge whose identity reflects the community’s culture and commerce, and preserves vegetation and riverbank stability.
The Riverview Bridge, upon completion, will connect Horner, California and Clark Parks. This project serves as the case study in Greg and Lubka’s presentation, outlining what one can do when faced with a difficult network gap.
In addition, CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Randy Blankenhorn will serve as the Summit’s keynote speakers. IDOT is also tentatively scheduled to announce the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant winners.
This is Epstein’s second time participating in the Illinois Bike Summit.