Eyes on the Street: Lakefront Trail Separation Is Finished Between 31st and 41st

Photo: Patrick L. Pyszka, city of Chicago
Photo: Patrick L. Pyszka, city of Chicago

This morning city and park district officials cut the ribbon on the first completed section of the Lakefront Trail separation project between 31st and 41st Street. This provides a preview of what trail separation will look like on the rest of the trail between 71st and Ardmore – where there’s sufficient space to create different paths for pedestrians and bicyclists. Separation along the entire lakefront is slated to be completed in 2018.

In December, the city announced a $12 million donation from hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffith for Lakefront Trail separation. However, the work on this stretch from 31st to 41st was a $1.8 million project that was previously funded by Chicago Park District capital funds. Currently construction is taking place from Fullerton to Ohio and 41st to 51st, with work scheduled for completion in late August.

4th Ward alderman Sophia King speaks at the ribbon cutting.
4th Ward alderman Sophia King speaks at the ribbon cutting. Photo: Melody Geraci, Active Transportation Alliance

“Opening the trail from 31st Street to 41st Street greatly improves access to Chicago’s lakefront for the thousands of Chicagoans and visitors that travel the path each day,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “This is an important step as we continue working to make the Lakefront Trail more accessible and more enjoyable for pedestrians and cyclists alike.”

In general the separation project will result in a 12-foot paved bike trail located closest to Lake Shore Drive. The pedestrian path will generally be 20 feet wide with 14 feet of asphalt and six feet of soft-surface running trail on either side. The installation of 70 new light poles between 31st and 41st and the restoration of the landscaping should be complete in the coming weeks.

Signs direct trail users to the appropriate paths. Photo: Patrick L. Pyszka
Signs direct trail users to the appropriate paths. Photo: Patrick L. Pyszka

In other south lakefront new, construction recently began on the 41st Street Bridge, which had previously been delayed due to Governor Bruce Rauner withholding state funding.

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