Meeting on Tuesday to discuss new segment and bridge on North Branch Trail


The dark green lines on the map above show two independent segments of the North Branch Trail that the Chicago Park District and Chicago Department of Transportation want to connect. Starting in Clark Park, a new path would go under Addision Street, along the east embankment of the Chicago River, and then over a new pedestrian bridge to California Park.

Open house details

Tuesday, December 4
6 – 9 PM
Revere Park Fieldhouse Auditorium
2509 W. Irving Park Road
Chicago, Illinois 60618

From the meeting notice:

CDOT and the Chicago Park District cordially invite you to attend this public meeting, which will include an open house, project presentation, and an opportunity for questions and feedback. CDOT is currently designing a new segment of the North Branch Trail, which would link existing segments in Clark Park to the south and California Park (and onward to Horner Park) to the north. The new trail segment would run under the Addison Street Bridge for safe crossing, along the east embankment of the North Branch of the Chicago River, and cross the river on a multi-use pedestrian bridge. The creation of this publicly accessible open space will link major existing parks, create pedestrian and bicycle access that would otherwise be difficult and dangerous, and fulfill objectives of the Chicago Trails Plan and the Chicago River Corridor Development Plan.

What the new trail segment would look like, from Addison Street to Irving Park Road.

The map above is from the Chicago Bike Map app’s custom designed map.

Pier pressure: is there an alternative to the $45 million Navy Pier Flyover?


Congestion on the Lakefront Trail at the Lake Shore Drive south bridge house leads to frustrating experiences, especially for those on wheels. 

The section of the Lakefront Trail between Randolph Street and Ohio Street Beach cannot comfortably handle the traffic present in the many congested areas around the Lake Shore Drive bridge, Navy Pier, and Jane Addams Memorial Park. The narrow width, awkward curves, and blind spots make for highly dissatisfied trail users, that includes the gamut of Chicagoans and visitors, using Segways, four-wheel pedal cars, skates, strollers, bicycles, wheelchairs, or their own feet. There’s not enough room for the number of people who pass through here. This section of the trail is used by individuals on work and social trips, as well as groups meandering from park to park along Lake Michigan. The City plans to build an elevated structure, called the Navy Pier Flyover, to bypass the congestion, but at an extreme cost. We propose a different project to meet the same goals of comfortable passage on the path with a much smaller price tag.

The main problem areas are at the north and south ends of the Lake Shore Drive bridge, on the sidewalk between the bridge and Grand Avenue, at the blind spot where the trail meets Grand at the corner of Lakepoint Tower’s parking garage, and in the congested area inside Jane Addams Memorial Park and Ohio Street Beach. The Navy Pier Flyover is a planned structure on the Lakefront Trail that will “fly over” these trouble spots. The Lakefront Trail path as it currently exists will remain open for those who don’t want to use the flyover. Additionally, an “off ramp” will be built from the overpass to Navy Pier alongside the Ogden Slip – this part is superfluous to addressing path congestion, but may be useful for some path users. The project does not sufficiently address congestion at Ohio Street Beach.

The Navy Pier Flyover is going to cost a jaw-dropping $45 million. To put this in perspective, in 2008 the Portland, Oregon, Bureau of Transportation estimated the entire replacement cost of its then 300-mile bike network at about $60 million. We propose an alternative solution to combat the same problems at a much lower cost, and with a far quicker construction time.

Continue reading Pier pressure: is there an alternative to the $45 million Navy Pier Flyover?

Tales from #bikeCHI: Park District repaves parts of busy Lakefront Trail during busy commuting week

Following #bikeCHI on Twitter is a great way to stay on top of what’s going on in bicycling communities or with  infrastructure issues that affect bicycling. A case in point: two people posted photos Tuesday and Wednesday of construction on the Lakefront Trail along with their brief complaints.


Tweet: City says screw ‪#B2WW‬. Let’s dig up Lake Front Trail and place barricades every few miles. ‪#bikechi‬


Tweet: Bike to work week is the perfect time to cut deep trenches in chicago’s bike highway. ‪#BikeChi‬ ‪#ChiLFT‬ ‪#B2WW‬ ‪#fail‬

Grid Chicago asked the Chicago Park District (not the City) why it was repaving during Bike to Work Week. A construction contract was recently undertaken and crews are “working feverishly” to repair parts of the Lakefront Trail before the glut of summer usage. The spokesperson didn’t have details on this specific detour but she said they were always provided in construction projects on the path.

Continue reading Tales from #bikeCHI: Park District repaves parts of busy Lakefront Trail during busy commuting week

New Lakefront Trail underpass at 31st Street beach and marina opened last Friday


Frequent contributor Calvin Brown sent these photos of the new underpass on the Lakefront Trail at the new 31st Street marina. View all the photos. The underpass and rerouting of the path should reduce some of the conflicts seen in the past: beachgoers cross the path without paying much attention to trail traffic; people (workers, I presume) driving on the path to access to the beach house and lifeguard shack.

Continue reading New Lakefront Trail underpass at 31st Street beach and marina opened last Friday

Top 5 lists: essential parks, walking, biking and transit stories of 2011


With a refreshingly ped-, bike- and transit-friendly new administration in power, 2011 was a banner year for sustainable transportation in Chicago. For Newcity magazine’s annual “Top 5 of Everything” issue, I submitted the following lists of the most important or interesting walking, bicycling, transit and parks stories of the year. Did I miss anything?

Top 5 Blossoming Chicago Park District Stories

After a mysterious two-year delay, design work finally starts on the Bloomingdale Trail

Chinatown’s serene Ping Tom Park expands north, nearly doubling in size

To fight obesity, 96 field houses get vending machines stocked only with healthy snacks

Planning starts for North Grant Park rehab; ideas include a skate park and a climbing wall

A freak summer hailstorm ravages the Garfield Park Conservatory, closing several rooms Continue reading Top 5 lists: essential parks, walking, biking and transit stories of 2011

Lakefront Trail lighting and (illegal) Bloomingdale Line access points


[These pieces also run in Time Out Chicago magazine.]

I recently fielded a couple different questions from Time Out Chicago readers about current and future Chicago greenways. I felt a little funny about giving people instructions on how to get up on the Bloomingdale Line, which is still Canadian Pacific Railroad property and has “No Trespassing” signs posted. But until the railroad does a better job of securing the line or the City of Chicago steps up and takes ownership of the right-of-way (which should be any day now) and erects more effective fencing, people are going to continue to go up there to stroll, jog and hang out anyway.

Continue reading Lakefront Trail lighting and (illegal) Bloomingdale Line access points