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Work begins on dedicated bike lanes along Chicago’s busy Lakefront Trail

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Seperate high speed “commuter lanes” aim to prevent clashes between cyclists and pedestrians

Work on a long-discussed initiative to increase capacity and separate cyclists and pedestrians along the Windy City’s congested Lakefront Trail has officially started. Part of Mayor Emanuel's "Building on Burnham" vision for Chicago’s parks, this portion of the multi-phase plan calls for a secondary path to be built alongside the roughly 1.5 miles of existing trail between 31st and 40th streets. Expected to be complete by years end, this segment will cost $1.8 million and will be financed Chicago Park District’s capital improvement fund, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

When finished, the project would result in a 12-foot-wide cycle-centric "commuter trail" that will run closest to Lake Shore Drive plus a 20-foot wide combination asphalt/soft surface pedestrian trail to the immediate east. While the south side trail improvements will eventually stretch to 51st Street, work on divided paths on the north side between Ohio Street and Fullerton is also expected to begin in fall of 2017. That stretch of the trail will link-up with existing separated biking/walking paths created as part of the 5.8-acre Fullerton Avenue Revetment project.

According to an official release from the city, approximately seven of Chicago’s 18 miles of Lakefront Trail will be repaved and see improvements to finally separate cyclists from groups casual strollers. Combined with the much-needed (albeit somewhat slow-moving) Navy Pier Flyover project, the program should go a long way towards improving safety for all lakefront users.