The Arlington Heights Park District, dedicated to enriching the community by providing quality recreation, facilities and fun, is launching Lake Arlington’s 2014 season having listened and learned from residents and path users last year.
"Knowing the level of interest in the community about path usage at Lake Arlington, we decided the best way to get input on what should be implemented this year was to give everybody a chance to submit their own ideas," said Alann Petersen, director of parks and planning. The changes being implemented this season were heavily influenced by all of the input we received."
To strengthen the use, design, and safety of the Lake Arlington path, the Park District evaluated its performance last year. District officials actively solicited feedback from bicyclists, pedestrians and all path users through the end of September 2013. Feedback was collected both online and on-site at the boathouse and at events.
At a public meeting in October 2013, Executive Director Steve Scholten reviewed the performance of its Share the Path Interim Action Plan as a result of listening to comments and reading responses to an online survey taken by path users. Those in attendance also had an additional opportunity to provide input into potential path modifications for the 2014 season as well as any permanent modifications being considered.
Survey results revealed that the majority of path users at Lake Arlington are Arlington Heights residents and the majority of them are walkers. Joggers and runners, bikers and inline skaters are also representative of the average path user, in that order.
"The average path user at Lake Arlington visits daily and there is no one particular time of day. In fact, the path is used from dawn to dusk especially during the warmer months," said Brian Meyer, director of recreation and facilities. "And what we heard was that the majority of path users prefer the interim path modifications over the path’s original use plan."
The survey also revealed a few issues that users were not in favor of such as that there were too many signs installed and multiple path markings lent to some confusion among path users.
The following path changes will be implemented this year:
- Bicycles and wheeled users are required to use the outside lane of the path and to travel in a counter clockwise direction every day.
- The inside lane of the path is reserved for pedestrians, runners, strollers and wheel chairs traveling in either direction.
Park district officials will evaluate this year’s modifications and continue to encourage feedback from the community as it considers possible permanent path modifications in the future. Staff has been exploring grant opportunities that could offer funding assistance for future, more extensive pathway enhancements.
And, once again this year, the park district is expanding its education efforts, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists to share the path and to understand the pathway changes this year. Bicyclists, both adults and children, are encouraged to be aware of safe riding techniques, observe the rules of the path and follow the 8mph speed limit. Bicyclists and other wheeled-users are asked to be aware of the rights of pedestrians to use the path and to provide ample room when passing a pedestrian.
The boathouse is open from Monday – Sunday, between 9am – 7pm beginning May 1.
The public is invited to a Launch, Walk & Roll event on May 24th from 8am – 4pm. Visitors will learn about the pathway changes from park district staff, to receive free giveaways and enjoy demos from: Elite Athletic Development, Runners High N’ Tri , Mt. Prospect Bike Club, Wheeling Wheelmen Bike Club, Trotters of Arlington Heights, Angler’s International Resources, Village Cycle Sport and more. The Launch, Walk & Roll event is free to the public. No registration is required.
For more information about Lake Arlington visit www.ahpd.org or call 847.577.3059.