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Nearly five children are hit by people driving every day in Illinois while walking or biking within one block of a school.

Des Plaines River Trail continues to improve

Users of the Des Plaines River Trail (DPRT) will be happy to hear that there are some exciting opportunities and improvements coming to the trail.

For starters, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and engineers from Terra Engineering hosted a public meeting last week to show people options for the trail to cross the Union Pacific railroad tracks between Golf and Central Roads near Oakton Community College.

This presentation is part of a larger engineering effort — that Active Trans and nearby communities have been a part of — to identify the best way to cross the tracks. Last week, the engineers showed a bridge design that could get pedestrians and bicyclists safely across the tracks. From here, the engineers will continue their work until funding is ready to start construction.

Additionally, Active Trans has been working closely with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) to study how to extend the trail between the Chicago Portage National Historic Site in Lyons and the Salt Creek Trail in Brookfield. As part of this effort, CMAP is asking trail users to complete a survey to gather feedback on this potential section of the DPRT. The survey will be open through mid-June, so take this chance to provide input!

Another exciting announcement about the trail is that later this year, Active Trans, the forest preserve, and the engineers from Christopher B. Burke Engineering will be hosting a public meeting to gather input from trail users on changes they’d like to see on the trail from Touhy Avenue south to the Illinois Prairie Path.

This is part of a larger effort that Active Trans and the recently-formed Friends of the Des Plaines River & Trail are working on to improve this section of the trail.

In addition to these exciting new developments, Active Trans, the Friends of the Des Plaines River & Trail, Comcast, and DePaul University recently partnered on a recent clean-up event along the trail (see photo above). We had a fantastic turnout and got the trail in great shape for the start of the season!

All of these efforts come as Active Trans and the Friends of the Des Plaines River & Trail work directly with local elected officials, government agencies, and community groups to find ways to improve the existing trail, create new connections, and extend the trail south to the Chicago Portage National Historical Site in Lyons, Illinois.

Once extended, Lyons is where the DPRT will meet up with other regional trails, like the I&M Canal Trail and a trail along the South Branch of the Chicago River (Active Trans is leading up advocacy efforts to connect all these trails).

If you’d like more information on any of these exciting DPRT news updates or want to learn how to join the Friends of the Des Plaines River & Trail, feel free to contact Matt Gomez, Trail Advocacy Manager, at matt@activetrans.org or (312) 216-0474.

See you on the trail!