Cyclists and pedestrians now have their own paths on the 18-mile Lakefront Trail. The work took just under three years since the announcement of the Lakefront Separation project back in 2016.
Construction began in the fall on the South Side and then progressed over to the North Side sections. Now from Ardmore Avenue to 71st Street the trail has two distinct paths for bikers and those on foot. Initial funding was provided by the Chicago Park District, but the city was only able to complete the project with a $12 million donation from billionaire Ken Griffin.
“Running along the lakefront is perhaps the most scenic, exhilarating experience any Chicago runner can have. Thanks to Ken Griffin, that experience is now enhanced not only for runners but cyclists, walkers, people with strollers and others,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent Michael Kelly.
Thanks Ken Griffin for providing the funds to separate the bike lanes from the running path on Chicago’s Lakefront trail. Much more enjoyable and much less hazardous! pic.twitter.com/rLR5RLnZqB— Dan Weinfurter (@danweinfurter) December 16, 2018
The Lakefront Trail is one of the busiest in the country. More than 100,000 people use it per day during summer weekends, according to a study by the Active Transportation Alliance.
Over the last few years the Lakefront Trail has had a number of investments including the updates to the 31st Street Beach Harbor, Steelworkers Park at 87th Street, the restoration of Theater on the Lake, the 35th Street bridge, and other infrastructure updates from CDOT to better connect people to the lake.
Other lakefront work such as the Navy Pier Flyover project is slowly making progress and will partially open on Thursday, according to an update. A portion of the path between Ontario and Illinois will be ready for public use then.
To celebrate the opening of the improved Lakefront trail, the city hosted a Lakefront Chill 5K in which hundreds of residents and officials ran, walked, and rolled. The 3.1 mile course was free for participants, and ran from Waldron Drive through Museum Campus, up to Monroe Street and back down the Lakefront Pedestrian Trail to end near Soldier Field.
- Lakefront Trail separation in Lincoln Park underway [Curbed Chicago]