Trail to connect community


Construction on the Kishwaukee-Kiwanis bike path that will connect the Prarie Park path with the path on campus near East Lagoon is projected to begin in May. This connection will be made in the area circled on the map.

By Morgan Fink

­DeKALB — The construction of the Kishwaukee-Kiwanis bike path is projected to be completed by the end of 2017 with construction proposed to start in May, said City Engineer John Laskowski.

“This is a missing link that is critical to getting the South side linked with the North side of town that doesn’t require a car,” Laskowski said.

The path will link two existing paths: Prairie Park on the South side of Lincoln Highway and the path on NIU’s campus on the North side of Lincoln Highway. There will now be a continuous off-street bike path from Hopkins Park, 1403 Sycamore Road., to Schnuck’s, 975 S. Annie Glidden Road., and the Hampton Inn, 663 S. Annie Glidden Road.

The project is in phase three of a three-part process. Phase one was design, phase two was requiring a right-of-way acquisition and phase three is the construction of engineering services.

The path will run along the North bank of the Kishwaukee River and continue beneath the Union Pacific Railroad tracks to an existing concrete structure beneath Lincoln Highway then up the West bank of the Kishwaukee River where it connects to an existing path on campus.

This path will provide regional connectivity to the current bike trail system, the Great Western Trail, as well as benefiting people who aren’t able to access traditional road networks, Laskowski said.

This may benefit not only students and residents, but also potential business owners.

“This can also be a potential business growth for the Hampton Inn if they choose to start a bike share program similar to NIU’s,” Laskowski said. “If future professors or students choose to visit NIU and stay at the Hampton Inn, they can rent a bike and ride all the way to campus and explore that way instead of using a car.”

A representative from the Hampton Inn was not available for comment about the connection of the paths.

The path is also not cost effective for the community. It is being funded with an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant which is being administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation and a local match funding the remainder of the project. The match funding allows up to a certain dollar figure, and the city is only responsible for 20 percent of the project.

“A new bike trail will be great for the community,” Matthew Cabrera, freshman computer science major said. “Being able to get places safely on my bike will be something to look forward to.”

Morgan Fink is a staff writer. She can be reached at