For immediate release
May 13, 2017
Active Transportation Alliance
O: (312) 216-0484
C: (312) 563-1118
Advocates applaud kickoff of Lakefront Trail separation on North Side
New biking trail between Fullerton and North Avenue will make treasured place safer for all
Chicago, Ill: May 13, 2017 — Today’s groundbreaking was a great moment for everyone who enjoys one of Chicago’s most beloved — but congested — public spaces. The groundbreaking marked the beginning of a project that will create separate trail spaces for people biking and walking on the Lakefront Trail between North Avenue and Fullerton.
The North Side project is part of a larger plan by the Chicago Park District to create separate paths along the full length of the 18-mile Lakefront Trail by the end of 2018.
“This is one of the most congested segments of one of the busiest trails in the U.S.,” said Active Transportation Alliance Executive Director Ron Burke. “More and more people biking and walking along the lake is great news for our city, but we must continue to invest in trail upgrades to make sure everyone can travel safely.”
In coming weeks, the park district will be finishing construction on the trail separation project between 31st and 51st Streets — the first step in creating separated trails on the South Side.
The Active Transportation Alliance and the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) are advising the park district throughout the trail separation planning process. The North Side project involves paving a new trail for people biking between Fullerton and North Avenue. Between North and Ohio, the biking and walking paths will be side-by-side with painted buffers on the concrete surface.
When the trail section between Fullerton to North Avenue closes for construction on May 22, people will be directed off the trail between Diversey Parkway and North Avenue to marked detours through Lincoln Park. There’s enough surface concrete between Oak and Ohio for that trail segment to remain open during the construction period. Look for construction updates on the park district’s Lakefront Trail page.
Creating a continuous, quality Lakefront Trail has been one of Active Trans’ top priorities since our founding more than 30 years ago.
In 2011, we worked with the Chicago Park District on a study of trail usage that featured the most in-depth Lakefront Trail user counts to date. The study found more than 30,000 people accessed the trail daily at the busiest points, and we estimated more than 100,000 used the trail on a typical summer weekend, making it one of the busiest trails in the U.S.
Those counts became the foundation for our 2013 People on the Trail Report, produced in cooperation with the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) and Friends of the Parks. The report analyzed results from a survey of more than 1,500 trail users, bringing attention to the highest conflict segments of the trail and identifying separation as the top priority for users.
More than 1,700 people signed our 2014 petition to the Chicago Park District in support of trail separation and we worked with Lakefront Trail crash victim Megan Williams to call for separating the trail at park district budget hearings and in local media.
If you’re a regular user of the Lakefront Trail, Active Trans monitors trail conditions year-round with our @activetransLFT Twitter account and #ChiLFT. The hashtag tracks the many events happening on the trail and generates activity from the growing number of people who use the trail for commuting and other uses.
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About the Active Transportation Alliance
The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that advocates for walking, bicycling, and public transit to create healthy, sustainable and equitable communities. The organization works to build a movement around active transportation, encourage physical activity, increase safety and build a world-class transportation network. The Active Transportation Alliance is supported by more than 7,000 members and 1,000 volunteers. For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.