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Chicago debuts separated bike and pedestrian paths between North and Fullerton

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Work to overhaul the entire 18-mile trail is on track to be complete by 2018

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Over the holiday weekend, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined other City officials to cut the ribbon on a newly reconfigured stretch of the Lakefront Trail that features dedicated lanes for bikers and pedestrians. Located between Fullerton and North avenues, this Lincoln Park section is the second major segment of the trail to receive the makeover, joining a 1.5-mile stretch between 31st to 41st streets in Bronzeville that was completed in July.

Chicago’s Lakefront Trail is one of the nation’s busiest and attracts in excess of 100,000 daily users during peak summertime weekends. Over the years, it has been the site of some dangerous clashes between cyclists and pedestrians. It is hoped that the improvements will enhance both safety and public enjoyment.

“Opening the trail from Fullerton to North Avenues greatly improves access to Chicago’s lakefront for the thousands of Chicagoans and visitors that travel the path each day,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Trail separation does more than address issues of overcrowding, it builds a better future for one of the city’s greatest assets by ensuring Chicagoans and visitors are able to experience what the lakefront has to offer.”

Chicago Park District

The trail overhaul was a major cornerstone of Emanuel’s second-term vision for Chicago’s public parks and was jump-started by a $12 million private donation from billionaire businessman and avid lakefront biker Ken Griffin.

According to the city, the complete 18-mile trail stretching from Ardmore Avenue to 71st Street will be fully partitioned next year. The stretch of trail from the Chicago River to Roosevelt Road and 31st Street is expected to be completed next spring. Meanwhile, the northernmost segment between Montrose and Ardmore is targeting a summer opening.