As the Lakefront Trail separation project moves forward, it’s become clear the city should add guard rails to sections of the bike trail that run close to car traffic on Lake Shore Drive.
For the past several weeks we have heard from a handful of members and supporters concerned about the proximity of the newly separated trail and the busy lakefront highway. They noted some segments of the bike trail near 47th street are within several feet of cars travelling at 40 miles per hour or more.
Meanwhile, there were two incidents of cars driving off South Lake Shore Drive and crashing near the Lake Front Trail (see photo).
During our regular consultations with the park district on the separation project, we shared these concerns with city leaders. Also, several residents directly reached out to the city on this issue.
The general design for separation is to place bikes on the most direct route closer to the drive than the walking trail. The park district had a difficult task of balancing the preservation of existing green space and establishing trees along the route with considerations for the grade, or incline, of the path and flooding concerns.
After talking with Active Trans, Chicago Area Runners Association and concerned residents, the park district told us its goal is to install a guard rail wherever the trail is within thirty feet of Lake Shore Drive.
The park district is now talking with the Chicago Department of Transportation and Illinois Department of Transportation to figure out the best way to fund and install the guard rail.
Active Trans will continue to monitor the issue and talk with city leaders to ensure the guard rail is installed.
For updates on the Lakefront Trail separation project, visit the park district trail website and join our advocacy update email list.
Thank you to our supporters for flagging this issue for us and helping us advocate for better conditions for people biking and walking in Chicago!
Photo Credit: Shirlee A. Hoffman