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Only 24 percent of jobs in the region are accessible by transit in 90 minutes or less by a typical resident — and that number drops to 12 percent in the suburbs.

NW Side residents support trails and bikeways

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It was standing room only at the Trails and Bikeways workshop when more than fifty northwest side residents filled Gompers Park Fieldhouse on May 25. They rolled up their sleeves in small groups and recommended ways to improve trails and off-street bike routes.

A key part of our Chicago River Trail campaign involves directly engaging the public so that projects meet the safety and accessiblity needs of surrounding neighborhoods.

Ensuring that local trails are done well also creates the foundation for a 27-mile continuous trail along the river that all of us can use and enjoy. Frequent trail users and neighborhood residents have excellent ideas for improving walking and bicycling conditions.

Most of the workshop recommendations focused on specific projects and improving bike routes. Here are some of the suggestions we heard:

  • The completion of the Weber Spur Trail is crucial. This trail is a key northeast connection between the North Branch and North Channel Trail.
  • Create a bike hub at Foster and Weber Spur that supports restaurants, bars and bicycle shops
  • Bryn Mawr is an excellent on-street option to connect the Weber Spur with the North Channel Trail. Add bicycle lanes to Bryn Mawr and signage about this connection.
  • The Weber Spur needs to have regular access points like the 606/Bloomingdale Trail. Add access points at each mile along with signage
  • Install traffic calming measures on Foster Avenue and improve access to Gompers Park.

We'd like to thank Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th Ward) for co-sponsoring the workshop with us. This event is the first in a series of listening sessions the Chicago River Trail campaign will convene.

We are grateful for the participation of the Chicago Department of Transportation, Department of Planning and Development and the North Mayfair Improvement Association. It was valuable to have the expertise of city departments responsible for trail development and planning available to answer questions and listen to public input.

The strong turnout underscores the demand for more trail and bikeway networks in Chicago.

Trails improve public health, protect the environment and strengthen economic development. We're excited about the benefits that continued investments in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure will bring. 

Do you think your neighborhood would like to host a workshop? It'd be great to talk with you. Please contact Steve Simmons at 312-216-0472, steve@activetrans.org

Are you interested in supporting a Chicago River Trail? Sign up for updates here.