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Chicago opens first separated paths for bikers and runners along Lakefront Trail

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The first segment of the long-discussed project officially opened between 31st and 41st streets in Bronzeville

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Today, city officials announced the opening of new, separated bike and pedestrian paths along Chicago’s Lakefront Trial—a public amenity that reportedly draws more than 100,000 daily users during peak summertime weekends. After starting construction last fall, the newly-completed stretch runs roughly 1.5 miles from 31st to 41st Street and is the first segment to roll out the new, much safer pathways.

Ultimately, the full 18-mile trail—extending from Ardmore Avenue to 71st Street—will be upgraded by 2018, according to city officials. The project was a key goal put forth by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s second-term vision for Chicago’s parks and was jump-started by a $12 million donation to the Park District from billionaire businessman and avid lakefront cyclist Ken Griffin.

Meanwhile on the North Side, the stretch of path between Fullerton and North avenues is also under construction. South of Ohio, cyclists and pedestrians will eventually need to remember how to share as the trails merge into the single pathway of the Navy Pier flyover. Work on the yet-to-open elevated bypass has progressed rather slowly—taking longer to complete than the Golden Gate Bridge, notes John Greenfield of The Chicago Reader.