Soles and Spokes Plan Documents

Aug 21, 2013

Soles and Spokes Plan

What is the Soles and Spokes planning process?

The Soles and Spokes planning process is to improve the ability to get around metropolitan Chicago by foot or by bicycle, including non-motorized access to transit services. Soles and Spokes also addresses the needs of people with disabilities. In the context of GO TO 2040's support of community livability, local support for transit, and regional mobility, Soles and Spokes provides technical assistance and data to improve the safety, convenience and frequency of walking and cycling throughout the region.

What is the process timeline?

The process is continuous. The project, initially envisioned as a stand-alone plan, is an on-going process to improve regional mobility and livability by supporting improvements to the walking and cycling environment, with an emphasis on transit access and accessibility for people with disabilities, consistent with the GO TO 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan. A work plan is developed for the process each year.


Walking and Bicycling Updates
The Walking and Bicycling Updates provide technical information, news, funding opportunities, and event information concerning non-motorized transportation planning, focused on metropolitan Chicago region. 

Community Briefing Papers
June, 2012. ADA Transition Plans for Your Community: Accessibility for People with Disabilities.

Bikeway Information System, on the CMAP Data Sharing Hub. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's Bikeway Inventory System (BIS) includes geographic-based datasets for bike facilities in the Chicago metropolitan area, including Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties in northeastern Illinois. The BIS has been designed as a geodatabase using ArcGIS. The geodatabase contains feature classes for each identified bikeway plan within the seven-county area. These plans have been developed and adopted by local governments, sub-regional Councils of Mayors (COGs), Counties, and, in conjunction with all the region's stakeholders, by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (The Regional Greenways and Trails Plan). The datasets, functions, and processes described herein represent the current state of our data and of the GIS system we use to analyze, map – and more broadly – communicate and coordinate bike planning efforts throughout northeastern Illinois.

Soles and Spokes Workshops and Conferences:

CMAP and its predecessor CATS have sponsored the following Soles and Spokes Workshops and Conferences:

May 1998 Conference: James Mackay, "Good Design/Bad Design of Bicycle Facilities"; Ellen Vanderslice, "Pedestrian Advocacy."

May, 2000 Conference: Peter Lagerwey and John LaPlante, "Bicycle Facility Training; Peter Lagerwey and Cara Seiderman, "Pedestrian Facility Training."

December 2001 Workshop: James Mackay, "Over, Under, and Across: Grade Separations and At-Grade Crossings."

May, 2002 Workshop: Richard Killingsworth and Wendi Kallins, "Safe Routes to School"

June, 2002 Workshop: Michael Ronkin, "Bike Lanes and Paths"

September, 2002: Greenways and Trails Workshop (Co-Sponsored with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources).

February, 2003 Workshops: Michael Ronkin, "Pedestrian Design 101" and "Pedestrian Crossings."

March, 2005 Workshop: Michael King, "Real Intersection Design."

October, 2005 Workshop: Michael Moule and Lois Thibault, "Designing Pedestrian Facilities for Accessibility" (Co-Sponsored by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals)

June, 2006 Workshops: Michael Ronkin and Fred Ranck, "How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan," "Designing Streets for Pedestrian Safety," and "Traffic Signal Operations for Pedestrian Safety."

June, 2008 Workshops: John LaPlante and Scott Windley, "Designing Pedestrian Facilities for Accessibility"

December, 2008 Workshop: Various Presenters, "The Nuts and Bolts of Implementing a Local Bikeway Plan."

October, 2010 Workshop: Peter Rusch and Hillary Isebrands, "Designing Streets for Pedestrian Safety."

October, 2010 Workshops: Melody Geraci and Stacey Meekins, "Safe Routes to School Community Workshops."

April, 2012 Brownbag Workshop: Jeffrey Tumlin, "Parking and Sustainable Transportation Planning."

August, 2012 Workshop: John LaPlante, "Designing for Bicycle Safety."

November, 2012 Workshop: John LaPlante, "Designing Pedestrian Facilities for Accessibility."



Soles and Spokes Plan Development Process

Past Activities


  • Kickoff
  • Initiated key data collection activities:
    • bikeways geodatabase
    • bicycle and pedestrian level of service
    • survey of municipal and agency practices in accommodating bicycles and pedestrians and providing 504/ADA Transition Plans (completed)
  • Planned public involvement activities


  • Public involvement workshop (January)
  • Web Survey (spring)
  • Completed bicycle level of service data collection activities
  • Completed bikeways geodatabase development


  • Completed report on existing conditions and regional trends. Report accepted October, 2004
  • Prepared reports on public involvement actitivities. Reports accepted October, 2004
  • Initiated draft of good practice guide.
  • Engaged in substantial outreach regarding report on existing conditions and regional trends:
    • Illinois Municipal League (September, 2004)
    • Break the Gridlock (October, 2004)
    • Council of Mayors Executive Committee (October, 2004)
    • Bikeable Roads and Trails Supporters (October, 2004)
    • Chicagoland Transportation and Air Quality Commission (October, 2004)
    • Shared Path 2030 Planning Information Forum: Safety Conscious Planning (October, 2004)
    • CATS Public Involvement Task Force (October, 2004)
    • CATS Community Mobility Task Force (October, 2004)
    • CATS Task Force on Seniors and People with Disabilities (February, 2005)
  • Based on public involvement and agency consultations, determined that additional data collection regarding pedestrian safety was necessary, including crash locations.
  • Established format for each area to be included in the "Action Plan:"
    • Policy Overview. Provide a brief description of topic area. Reference Report of Existing Conditions and Regional Trends or provide other information to explain importance.
    • Goals. Indicate what we propose for the region wants to look like. This information should be substantial.
    • Short-term actions. High-priority strategies for implementation within current resources and within 1-3 years. Refer to Best Practices document.
    • Strategic Recommendations. Strategies for implementation that may not be identified as a "short-term action." Refer to Best Practices document.
    • Performance Measures. Numeric objectives to achieve by implementing strategic recommendations. Refer to current data from Existing Conditions and Regional Trends Report when the data is available.
    • Soles and Spokes Leadership Community Benchmarks. Develop specific targets for communities to reach to be recognized as "Soles and Spokes Leadership Communities." This recognition is designed to encourage communities to implement strategic recommendations included in the Soles and Spokes Plan. Implementation of this plan feature should be at a reasonable level-of-effort for all involved.
    • Policy Support. Supporting documentation for policy elements from authoritative sources, e.g., FHWA, IDOT, the CATS Policy Committee, AASHTO, the Access Board, etc.


  • Illinois and metropolitan Chicago are designated a "focus state" and a "focus city," respectively, for pedestrian safety.
  • Geocoded 2003 pedestrian crashes for regional analysis.
  • Continued draft of good practices guide.
  • Supporting Soles and Spokes workshop: "Legal Issues under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act" (October, 2005)
  • Supporting Soles and Spokes workshop: "Designing Pedestrian Facilities for Accessibility" (October, 2005)
  • Further research on pedestrian safety. Participation with other pedestrian focus states and cities in Pedestrian Safety Track at "Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals" conference; seminar presentations archived at


  • Continued research on pedestrian safety
  • Supporting Soles and Spokes workshops: "How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan" and "Designing Streets for Pedestrian Safety" (June, 2006)
  • Establishment of "Bicycle and Pedestrian Strategic Regional System" in 2030 Regional Transportation Plan, including specific strategies to address pedestrian safety


  • Hiatus until November, 2007
To Top