Eyes on the Street: Checking Out the New Weber Spur Trail

The Weber Spur trail near Devon. Photo: Jeff Zoline
The Weber Spur trail near Devon. Photo: Jeff Zoline

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The Weber Spur Trail is now open in the village of Lincolnwood. It runs along the old Union Pacific Weber Spur for one mile between the Lincolnwood/Chicago border at Devon Avenue to Touhy Avenue, by the Lincolnwood Town Center shopping mall and a few blocks west of the North Shore Channel Trail. The $955,000 project was bankrolled by federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (80 percent of the cost) and village funds (20 percent). Construction began in August 2016 and was finished in December. The path has five road crossings at Devon, Lincoln, Pratt, Central Park & Touhy Avenues. The busiest crossings are at Lincoln Avenue (US 41) and Touhy by the mall and its neighboring retail corridor. The crossings at Lincoln and Pratt Avenues each feature a push-button-activated flashing light for pedestrians and bicyclists to signal drivers to yield for them in the crosswalks.

The Weber Spur's northern terminus at Touhy. Photo: Jeff Zoline
The Weber Spur’s northern terminus at Touhy. Photo: Jeff Zoline

The northern end of the trail at Touhy Avenue already has a traffic signal with the intersection of St. Louis Avenue which leads into the Lincolnwood Business Park. The southern end at Devon Avenue does not have a signal or crosswalk, but is close enough to Pulaski Road/Crawford Avenue for people to safely cross Devon there. Once the Chicago section of the Weber Spur is built there will be a signal and crosswalk installed similar to the one for the Valley Line/ Sauganash Trail a few blocks west which features a flashing yield signal.

A barrier separating the Weber Spur from the North Branch Trail. Photo: Jeff Zoline
A barrier separating the Weber Spur right-of-way from the North Branch Trail. Photo: Jeff Zoline

Chicago’s 39th Ward alderman Margaret Laurino and U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley recently discussed upcoming plans to build the 1.3 city portion of the Weber Spur Trail from Elston Avenue to the City limits at Devon where it will connect with the existing trail in Lincolnwood. Additionally, a connection could be made at Bryn Mawr where it runs into the Valley Line / Sauganash Trail as well as near Foster Avenue where it meets the recently completed North Branch Trail Extension. These would both be an ideal spots for a bicycle trail junction.

Also, the unpaved Weber Spur right-of-way section between the North Branch Trail and Bryn Mawr has become an unofficial trail connector between the North Branch and Valley Line trails despite barriers placed along the intersection between the two. These concrete walls were placed by the Union Pacific Railroad, which still owns the rail corridor and is therefore marking it as private property. Additionally, The point where the Weber Spur crosses over the North Brach of the Chicago River is missing a railing along the east side of viaduct so it would be a good idea for barriers to be placed there for safety.

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Lincolnwood recently completed a mile of the Weber Spur Trail (upper right). When the Chicago portion is completed, it could link the Valley Line / Sauganash Trail and the North Branch Trail and have its southern trailhead at Elston Avenue. Image: CDOT

All-in-all, the one-mile stretch of the Weber Spur Trail in Lincolnwood represents a promising first step towards creating another useful route, which will come to fruition once Chicago builds it section.

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.

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