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Get ready for an improved North Branch Trail

We’re getting closer and closer to seeing the popular North Branch trail extended 3 miles further south, adding low-stress connections from the North Branch Trail to the Sauganash, Lakefront and Weber Spur trails.

Construction on the trail extension, which has been in the works since 2005, is anticipated to start in the spring of 2015 and will take approximately a year to complete. Many supporters attended the most recent public meeting in August, when the Forest Preserve District of Cook County updated the community on project.

Following the meeting, the project team updated the FAQ on the trail website with more details about the extension.

The existing 18-mile trail begins at Devon and Caldwell Avenues and travels north across 10 city and suburban communities, ending in Glencoe at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.

The extension will add 3 miles to the existing trail, south to Foster and Kostner Avenues. From there, bicyclists can connect to the Sauganash Trail to the north, the Lakefront Trail to the east and the planned Weber Spur Trail to the northeast.

This 3 mile, off-street trail is the missing link between the North Branch Trail and the city of Chicago’s bike network, which includes 230 miles of trails and bike lanes.

Stay tuned for further updates on the project.

Unfortunately, there's been some resistance to the project from a handful of local residents. To express your support for the project and sign-up for the contact list, email Forest Preserve Senior Planner Kindy Kruller at

The next community meeting — to be held in February or March — will focus on the construction process and will highlight any updated plans.

Another exciting development on the North Branch Trail is a new 1-mile connection on the north end of the trail, linking the Chicago Botanic Garden to the Green Bay Trail to the east (Active Trans staff were thrilled to be part of the recent ribbon cutting event for the trail). Learn more about that new trail connection.

This blog post was written by Roxanne Bertrand, Active Trans' Advocacy Intern