The Carbondale Sustainability Commission needs you!

The Carbondale Sustainability Commission needs you! There are currently three vacancies on the Commission – including one for a student from SIU and one for a student from CCHS, the third position is at-large. Commissioners must live within the Carbondale city limits. Meetings are held on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 6pm. Anyone with an interest in advising the City on matters of green space, green energy, sustainable transportation or recycling is invited to apply by sending a letter of interest to acting Mayor, Don Monty at dmonty@ci.carbondale.il.us

Taking a look at the transportation aspect of the Sustainability Commission: we have been talking bikes! In April, Commission Chair Audrey Wagner attended the Illinois Bike Summit along with city staff Gary Williams and Chris Wallace. They learned more about the Illinois State Transportation Plans, methods for expanding Bike to Work events, and about the League of Illinois Bicycle Friendly University and Bicycle Friendly Business designations, among other topics.

The new Illinois Transportation Plan adopts a Complete Streets policy – meaning that all modes of transport must be considered when streets are built, resurfaced, or otherwise improved. To  explore this concept further, the Jackson County Health Department and city officials hosted a Complete Streets training given by Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance. Participants conducted a brief walking tour of downtown, and discussed way to improve bike and pedestrian accessibility in addition to learning about success stories and best practices from around the state. The program was held in mid-June and attended by numerous city staff from Planning, Public Works, Streets and Engineering, local cycling advocates, engineers from IDOT and Jackson County Highway Department, and Health Department staff as well. IDOT engineer Carrie Nelsen presented IDOTs current bicycle infrastructure plans which include bike lanes on Highway 51 through the strip and portions of downtown when that roadway is resurfaced, as well as an off-street, mutli-use path between John A Logan College and Giant City Road. The latter project is part of the expansion of Highway 13 and is not yet funded.

The Commission is speaking with the City about acquiring a Sharrow (shared lane marker with chevrons and a cyclist to show vehicles of all types can be expected in a lane) template for use on city streets to connect existing bike routes – particularly on Poplar road between Main and Walnut.

The City has a Bikeway Network Plan which was adopted in 2004. The Commission and the Jackson County Health Department’s Built Environment Action Team will be examining that plan to see whether changes or updates are warranted. The Built Environment Action team is a group started after Public Health and Transportation Consultant Mark Fenton led the Community Transformation Forum in February. The next meeting is July 16th at 3 pm at the JCHD back building. Angie Bailey is the contact person and can be reached at angieb@jchdonline.org or (618) 684-3143, ext. 134.

The Sustainability Commission encourages public comments and suggestions – you can contact us at sustainability@ci.carbondale.il.us  or stop by to any of our meetings. Be sure to check out our page on the city website at www.greencarbondale.com   

 
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