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While the Chicago region’s population grew by 18 percent since 1980, the traffic increased by 66 percent in the same period.

Bike tour highlights Des Plaines River Trail study

Do you enjoy walking, running or biking on the Des Plaines River Trail in northern Cook County?

Many people do, and we expect many more people would if there was safer and easier access to the trail.

To create improved trail access, a coalition of groups — including Active Trans — is in the process of completing a study that will offer ideas on how to make access to the trail safer and easier./

The study focuses on four key areas for improvement:

  • Trail crossings

  • Trail surface

  • Trail access using all modes of transportation

  • Wayfinding

Over the past year, hundreds of community members provided valuable suggestions about trail improvements via an online survey.

Last week, Active Trans organized a bike tour on the trail with project steering committee members, public officials and residents from nearby communities. The ride provided a perfect opportunity to talk with these people about recommendations contained in the plan (see photo).

After setting off from Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, participants toured planned projects along Central Road and discussed ideas for how to address challenging crossings like the one at Milwaukee Avenue and Winkelman Road.

One of the great features of this project is the way it’s bringing together a wide swath of organizations and municipalities to work together to improve the trail: Northwest Municipal Conference, representatives from the cities and villages along the trail, transit agencies, CMAP, the Cook County Forest Preserve District, Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways and various consultants.

We look forward to completing the study and helping communities along the trail make it easier for everyone to enjoy this regional treasure.