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Open house at GoodSpeed Cycle gathers input from cyclists, pedestrians

People attending the transit-oriented downtown planning open house at GoodSpeed Cycle on Feb. 3 gather around a map as Fiona Kennedy of Muse Community Design takes notes on their feedback about problem areas. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Cyclists and pedestrians shared information recently about various “sticking points” as they travel around downtown Homewood.

At a meeting at GoodSpeed Cycle in Homewood on Feb. 3, more than two dozen people gathered for the first hour of the two-hour open house hosted by Muse Community Design, the consulting firm working with the village on its transit-oriented downtown master plan.

According to Muse, transit-oriented development planning is meant to create “walkable, compact, mixed-use communities proximate to transit with a focus on reduced reliance on cars.”

Fiona Kennedy with Muse said the turnout was “fantastic” and she was happy to see people stay to talk even after completing the Muse activities designed to generate feedback. 

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“We are asking people their entry points to downtown and sticking points they experience downtown as a cyclist or pedestrian,” Kennedy said. “So far we have gotten amazing feedback on the creative ways people enter downtown to avoid 183rd. That’s been a really strong input.”

She said another common theme in responses was interest in better connecting downtown Homewood with downtown Flossmoor. 

Those who attended were given an opportunity to identify problem areas by adding pins to a map of the downtown area. In addition to 183rd Street, the intersection of Park Avenue and Dixie Highway just west of the viaduct, a T-intersection with two-way stop, got attention. 

Routher Montgomery of Homewood, who said he has been biking for about four years, paused while filling out a questionnaire to share some of his thoughts. 

“I’ve ridden all around Homewood and Flossmoor. What I’ve discovered is there are beautiful places to see,” he said. “Downtown Homewood is a great destination if it were easily accessible by bike or walking.”

He was among those who identified 183rd Street as a problem and wished something could be done to control speeding on the street.

“The speed limit is 30 (mph), but it would be better if it was lower,” he said. “If you put in raised crosswalks and just slow down the speed, reduce the width of the lanes, that would reduce the speed.” 

He also said protected bike lanes would be a welcome improvement to consider.

Mike Dickover of Homewood said he appreciated the event because it helped those who attended understand what options the village could consider for improving the downtown area. 

“I think there’s a lot of great information on … pain points that we can look to address in coming years,” he said.

Dickover was concerned, though, to learn about the possibility that a planned 183rd Street traffic calming project might not be completed because of increasing costs.

“I think that’s something that us as citizens need to really start to question and look to get that to the finish line so we can see that come to fruition,” he said.

Kennedy said the information from the open house would inform the final report from Muse. She said the firm plans to be at a spring event to be determined to unveil the results of its work.

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