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 pic.twitter.com/BIm6lAxm


Tweet: Bike to work week is the perfect time to cut deep trenches in chicago’s bike highway. ‪#BikeChi‬ ‪#ChiLFT‬ ‪#B2WW‬ ‪#fail‬ http://twitpic.com/9vzdn8

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

Summary of transportation and transit changes because of NATO summit


The Lakefront Trail will be closed from Balbo Drive to 31st Street. 

The upcoming NATO summit will greatly alter how people travel in the Loop, South Loop, Museum Campus, and Bronzeville areas May 19, 20, and 21 (Saturday to Monday). Travel on the Kennedy, Dan Ryan, and Stevenson Expressways will be affected. Transit agencies and other news sources have posted all the relevant information, linked on this page. If you are traveling to these areas, or normally travel through these areas, spend time reviewing the below webpages. This post will be updated as information changes.

How will these changes affect you? Continue reading Summary of transportation and transit changes because of NATO summit

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

Grid Shots: Nature

Today is Earth Day. Although I’d argue that every day is earth day. The theme of today’s Grid Shots photo post is “nature”. When it comes to sustainable transportation, the most likely place you’ll discover the connection with nature is on a multi-use trail. And there’s where all of these photos were taken, by Joshua Koonce and Michelle Stenzel.


Cycling on Northerly Island. This used to be an airport and runway called Meigs Field until former mayor Richard M. Daley sent work crews in the middle of the night to bulldoze X’s in the runway. The island (really a manmade peninsula) is now a bird sanctuary. Photo by MS.


The Lakefront Trail is closed because of heavy wind and waves in October 2011. Photo by MS.


People walk on the Bloomingdale Trail. Photo by JK.


A guy rides his tricycle selling helado de coco, or coconut sorbet, in Humboldt Park. Photo by JK.

Grid Shots: Skyline edition

It’s a mix of cold and warm views of Chicago and Evanston skylines in this edition of Grid Shots.


The Evanston skyline is seen in the background from this view over the Chicago Transit Authority’s Howard yard for Red, Yellow, and Purple Line trains. Photo by Alton Park.


A foggy (or is that haze?) vista of the CTA Green Line taken from Kedzie Avenue. Photo by Ann Fisher.


Another view of the CTA Green Line along Lake Street, but this time from Ashland Avenue. Photo by Eric Pancer.


People swim and sunbathe on the concrete beach along the Lakefront Trail, a view of good times that are just around the corner. Photo by Michelle Stenzel.

Next week’s Grid Shots theme is “Art on the street” (April 8). See the full schedule. Submit your photos for consideration to our Flickr group; tag it with “art”.