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A Mellow Bike Detour for the North Lakefront Trail Shutdown

For the latest phase of the project to separate bike and pedestrian traffic along most of the 18.5-mile Lakefront Trail, the section of the path from Berwyn to Ardmore (the northern terminus) was closed yesterday for construction to widen the greenway to 20 feet. This will allow the Chicago Park District to stripe separate, side-by-side routes for people on foot and cyclists. According to the park district, this work should be completed by mid-August, weather permitting.

The original plan for Berwyn-to-Argyle would have built a separate pedestrian path (red.) Image: Chicago Park District
The original plan for Berwyn-to-Argyle would have built a separate pedestrian path (red.) Image: Chicago Park District
The original plan for Berwyn-to-Argyle would have built a separate pedestrian path (red.) Image: Chicago Park District

The original plan was to create a wiggly new pedestrian path winding north of Foster Beach (which recently got a new pedestrian-only concrete promenade next to the sand) to Ardmore, running close to Kathy Osterman Beach, named for the late 48th Ward alderman and LGBT rights advocate. However, Osterman's son Harry, the current alderman, recently indicated in his ward newsletter that he put the kybosh on that idea. (H/T to Block Club Chicago for alerting me to this.) "The park district originally wanted to install the new pedestrian walkway in the middle of the green field between Bryn Mawr and Berwyn, which I strongly objected to," he wrote. Presumably he was opposed to the loss of green space and/or trees.

At any rate, during the path shutdown, pedestrians can walk between Ardmore and Berwyn on concrete along the beach. Cyclists can use the low-stress detour illustrated above, using Winthrop (southbound), Kenmore (northbound), and the semi-pedestrianized Argyle shared street and underpass. I recommend stopping along the way at one of Argyle's many Vietnamese restaurants for some pho noodle soup and an iced coffee -- perfect fuel for biking on a hot summer day.

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