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Unannounced Lakefront Trail closure at North forces cyclists to wade through sand

Cyclists detour around the fences at about 7:45 p.m. last night.

Earlier in the pandemic Mayor Lori Lightfoot shut down the Lakefront Trail for almost three months, so it was annoying that the section between Grand and North avenues was still closed for construction for several weeks after the trail reopened. Also irritating was the city's failure to provide a safe detour route for trail users. (So Streetsblog Chicago did that.)

Now the city is inconveniencing trail users with another project that probably could have been done while the shoreline path was closed. And once again they're not providing detour info.

On Tuesday, August 11, a Streetsblog reader notified us of an apparently unannounced trail closure at the bike-ped bridge over Lake Shore Drive near North Avenue to accommodate repainting of the span, lasting through this Thursday, August 20. When he passed by around 5 p.m. that day, the area around the bridge was fenced off so that people on wheels approaching from the bridge on the bike path were forced to detour through a roughly 30-feet-wide stretch of sand to get around the barricades and resume their trip. "I'm doubtful wheelchair users will have much luck," the reader said

Looking south on the bike path on Sunday evening at about 7:45 p.m.
Looking south on the bike path on Sunday evening at about 7:45 p.m.
Looking south on the bike path on Sunday evening at about 7:45 p.m.

He noted that there were no trail closure announcements on the path, and the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Department of Transportation didn't seem to have any info posted online about the disruption.

Asked whether this trail closure was announced in advance or a detour route provided, a park district spokesperson said the agency is not responsible for maintaining the overpass and suggested contacting CDOT.

Asked the same question, a CDOT spokesperson simply replied, "This permit was issued for work being done between 8 pm and 6 am Sunday through Thursday nights."

The Lakefront Trail has been officially closing at 7 p.m. each night since it reopened, so in theory an 8-to-6 closure shouldn't cause any problems for people abiding by that (arguably misguided) curfew. The Streetsblog reader said the trail was open under the bridge when he passed by yesterday morning at 8 a.m. But, again, the path was previously closed at 5 p.m.

So there you have it folks, another likely needless disruption for Lakefront Trail users with essentially no advance notice for the public and no efforts to provide a convenient or wheelchair accessible detour.

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