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The original item was published from 8/30/2019 9:44:00 AM to 8/30/2019 9:44:34 AM.

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Posted on: May 1, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Skokie Valley Trail


The Village thanks everyone who attended the May 29 Open House and July 16 Village Board meeting for the Skokie Valley Trail Phase I Engineering!  

Constructing the Skokie Valley Trail (SVT) has been a long-term goal of the Village of Northfield since its inclusion in the 1999 Comprehensive Plan.  The SVT is an uninterrupted linear multi-modal connection between Lake Bluff and the City of Chicago.  The multi-use path would run along the discontinued Union Pacific Railroad corridor, ComEd right-of-way (ROW), and existing Cook County Forest Preserve paths through a number of communities on Chicago’s north shore, including the Village of Northfield.  It is proposed to be a ten-foot wide asphalt path with a two-foot grass “clear zone” on each side.

Over the past 20 years, Northfield and other communities have unsuccessfully attempted to move the project forward using grant funding.  Some communities left the group to work independently and constructed or will soon begin construction on their segments. 

The only section left to be addressed is the 4.15 mile stretch from Northfield’s northern border to Old Orchard Road.  This segment runs through the Villages of Northfield, Wilmette, Glenview, and Skokie, which joined together in 2018 to secure an $188,000 Invest in Cook grant for the first phase of engineering.  The Village of Glenview is the lead agency on this phase of the project.

The SVT is intended to increase community walkability and provide convenient access to a number of community focal points, including New Trier High School, the Cook County Forest Preserve, and the North Shore Senior Center.  Our team of communities has submitted two grant applications to assist with funding the next phase of engineering, and construction is currently unbudgeted.  

To learn more about the project, visit the Village of Glenview (the lead agency) project page here.  If you have questions regarding the project, please feel free to call Assistant to the Village Manager Melissa DeFeo at (847) 784-3554.  

The Village has received questions regarding the planned Skokie Valley Trail (SVT).  To ensure all residents stay informed, we thought it would be helpful to provide you with answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Q: What is the SVT?
A:  The SVT is a linear multi-modal connection that stretches from Rockland Road in Lake Bluff to West Bryn Mawr Avenue in Chicago, where it links to the North Branch Trail.  

Completing Northfield’s segment of the trail has been a goal in the Village’s Comprehensive Plan since 1999, with little progress. In 2008, the Village partnered with the Villages of Glencoe, Glenview, Northbrook, and Wilmette to complete a Feasibility Study. This study showed that complete construction of the SVT would fill a critical transportation need as a dedicated off-street route for bicyclists and pedestrians throughout the North Shore.  The SVT was classified as a Tier One corridor by the Northwest Municipal Conference in their 2010 Bicycle Plan, indicating that its construction would provide the highest positive regional impact. In 2012, the SVT was voted a “regionally significant project” by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.   

Q: What are the three phases of the proposed SVT project?
A project of this sort encompasses three phases. In the first phase, engineers conduct an in-depth investigation of the project’s logistical, environmental, safety, and economic elements. In the second phase, detailed construction documents are developed. Finally, in the third phase, the project is constructed.

Working in partnership with the villages of Wilmette, Glenview, and Skokie, the Village of Northfield is currently conducting the Phase I study of the 4.15 mile segment of the SVT spanning from Northfield’s northern border to Old Orchard Road. The public input process of Phase I is ongoing. Engineers estimate that Phase I will be completed by late this summer.

The Villages of Northfield, Wilmette, Glenview, and Skokie have submitted grant applications for the Phase II Engineering for this project. If funding is received, Phase II will take about a year and a half to complete. Once the Phase II Engineering is complete, the final phase will be construction of the SVT, which will take about one year. The estimated cost for constructing Northfield’s 2.36 mile segment of the SVT is approximately $2.2 million. The Village does not currently have these funds budgeted, and without grant money, Northfield’s portion of the SVT will not be built.  

Q: Why is the Village considering construction of the SVT bike path?
Once constructed, the SVT will increase walkability in the Village and provide convenient access to a number of community focal points, including New Trier High School, the Cook County Forest Preserve, and the North Shore Senior Center. Northfield is one of the few Villages that has not constructed its part of the SVT. 

Q: Why is the Village seeking to advance this project now?
Completion of the SVT has been a long-term goal of the Village. Unfortunately, the Village has not had the financial resources to move this project forward and has been trying for years to obtain grants for this purpose. In 2017, the Villages of Northfield, Wilmette, Glenview, and Skokie finally succeeded in obtaining a grant from Cook County to assist with funding the Phase I Engineering of the only remaining section of the SVT that has not undergone a Phase I study.

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