Bloomington, Illinois, residents convinced their city officials to create a master plan for bicycling as their peers have done in the neighboring community of Normal.

The Bloomington City Council voted unanimously in mid October to connect the Constitution Trail to downtown and Illinois Wesleyan University via painted road sharrows and bike lanes. The council also agreed to work with the Illinois League of Bicyclists to create a citywide bike plan, according to Pantagraph.com in Bloomington.

In a letter to the local news site, Dan Steadman, president of Friends of the Constitution Trail, said his group would financially support Bloomington connecting the trail to the city’s downtown and Illinois Wesleyan University via Front Street.

 Mayor Tari Renner supports bicycle markings on city streets and connecting the popular trail to downtown as “a boost in the arm” for downtown revitalization and economic development, according to website.

The friends group’s unspecified contribution to that project and a bicycle master plan provides Bloomington with a “unique opportunity to create a plan at a fraction of the cost Normal spent,” according to letter writer and Bloomington resident Kevin Suess.

Normal paid $52,000 for its bike plan in 2008. The Bloomington City Council was told to expect its bike plan to cost no more than $11,700 with the friends group contributing $5,000.

Last summer Normal decided to create an east-west, bicycle/pedestrian-friendly route; one of  several in the town’s bike/ped master plan, Pantagraph.com reported.

The work in Normal started with improving safety at intersections, installing “share the road” signs and painting bicycle sharrows on streets.

While the Constitution Trail runs north from Bloomington to Normal, the west side of Normal lacked “designated bicycle routes to connect residents of the west side to libraries, education facilities, retail and medical services, Town Planner Mercy Davison told the news site.

Normal’s bicycle master plan also calls for signs directing people to the trail and town attractions, enacting education and enforcement campaigns as well as marketing the 25-year-old Constitution Trail regionally.