Eyes on the Street: New Section of Lakefront Trail at Fullerton Is Half Open

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The new section of trail north of Fullerton. Photo: John Greenfield

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About a year ago, the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Chicago Park District kicked off the Fullerton Revetment project, which is building 5.8 acres of new parkland along the lake. The main goal of the $31.5 million endeavor was to replace the crumbling seawall. But it’s also making room for the partial separation of pedestrian and bike routes on a section of the Lakefront Trail that’s currently a bottleneck. Infill and revetment construction is wrapping up this fall, and landscaping should be done by next summer.

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A plan view of the project.

North of Fullerton Avenue, a section of the new path is already open, although the separate pedestrian walkway will only exist south of the avenue, west of the bike path. The soft-surface footpath will run for about 600 feet before ending at a turnaround at Fullerton. Workers have ripped out the old stretch of the trail north of Fullerton that hugged the Theater on the Lake, and walkers, joggers, and cyclists are now directed to the brand-new path segment.

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The old section of the path by the Theater on the Lake is now closed. Photo: John Greenfield

The initiative includes widening the strip of parkland along the trail by as much as several hundred feet via infill, creating a brand-new hump of land that’s sure to be a hit with sunbathers. Last summer, that area resembled a milky turquoise tropical lagoon, contained by a wavy wall of corrugated steel pilings. Crews have since filled in the lagoon with rocks and dirt, and are currently covering the area with sod.

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The construction site last summer — the lagoon in the foreground is now land. Photo: John Greenfield

South of Fullerton, trail users are still diverted to a temporary detour path. After the construction is finished, the new bike trail routing will take cyclists further east, away from the intersection of Fullerton and off- and on-ramps for Lake Shore Drive, which currently creates a chaotic “mixing bowl” situation. However, there will be access paths from Fullerton to the main trail.

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The unopened section of the trail south of Fullerton. Workers are currently laying sod. Photo: John Greenfield

It’s great to see this project coming to fruition, since it will add the beauty of the lakefront and make the trail a little less chaotic. Can’t wait to hang out hang out on the new peninsula with a blanket and a book when summer rolls around again.

This post is made possible by a grant from the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices, P.C., a Chicago, Illinois law firm committed to representing pedestrians and cyclists. The content is Streetsblog Chicago’s own, and Keating Law Offices neither endorses the content nor exercises any editorial control.

  • Definitely an exciting development!

  • duppie

    Rode it home last night. It’s a good start. I’ll withhold judgement until the entire trail is opened. Any idea when that will happen? Looks pretty close to completion.

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