Transportation study updates roadway, transit, pedestrian plan

By Noah Thornburgh

DeKALB — The DeKalb-Sycamore Area Transportation Study will be receiving public comments on three planning documents until June 3, according to a May 20 public notice.

The group determines the allocation of federal and state funding for public transit and highway projects in the metropolitan area. Its staff and committee members are from DeKalb, Sycamore, Cortland, DeKalb County, NIU and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The three documents are drafts of a four-year transportation improvement program, a 2019 active transportation plan and a 2020 unified planning work program.

Each year, the group must update its transportation plan with current and projected projects to continue receiving federal funding. DSATS Coordinator Brian Dickson said very little has changed from last year’s update.

A full listing of the projects and their costs can be accessed here, at the end of the “DSATS SFY20-24 TIP” file.

The Transportation Improvement Plan includes roadway, transit and pedestrian projects. Most of the funding for the roadway projects is from the Federal Highway Administration and Illinois Department of Transportation. Most of the funding for transit projects is from the Federal Transit Administration. The pedestrian project is funded by the Illinois Transportation Alternatives Program and the Sycamore Park District.

The total cost of the roadway and pedestrian projects from 2020 through 2024 will be $31,800,230. $25,144,180 is from federal funding, $3,431,000 from state funding, $1,838,500 from motor fuel taxes collected in DeKalb and Sycamore and $1,016,550 from local funding.

This is up from $29,564,100 total from the 2019 through 2023 Transportation Improvement Plan. Dickson said the total goes up every year as the cost projections adjust for inflation. In each Transportation Improvement Plan, the costs of the projects one to two years out are generally accurate, while three to four years out are less so, he said.

The Sycamore Park District plans to fund 20% of an asphalt trail as part of the Active Transportation Plan.

The Active Transportation Plan updates DSATS’ 2011 Bike and Pedestrian Plan, according to public documents. Dickson, who was involved in the preparation of the plan, said it lays out suggested projects related to bike and pedestrian travel for the next 20 to 25 years.

Any projects listed in the Active Transportation Plan are suggestions — only those listed in the Transportation Improvement Plan are receiving funding, he said.

The total cost of the public transit projects will be $32,128,361 from federal and state funds. No local funds are slated to be used. Huskie Line buses are included in the plan.

Dickson said DSATS is updating its Long Range Transportation Plan next year. This plan is updated once every five years, and assess and projects the system at least 25 years. He said DSATS is looking to hire consultants for the project.

An open house for the Active Transportation Plan will be held 5:30 to 6 p.m. May 28 in the Sycamore Park District Community Center, 480 Airport Road. Dickson said maps and paper copies of the plan will be available, and questions may be asked at the park district board meeting at 6 p.m., following the open house.

A public hearing for the plans will be held as part of the Technical Advisory Committee 11 a.m. June 5 at the DeKalb County Highway Department, 1826 Barber Greene Road.