Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Park District Announce Completion of the Lakefront Trail Separation Project on the South Side
Separate trails for bikes and pedestrians now open from 31st Street to 41st Street
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael P. Kelly today celebrated the completed section of the lakefront trail separation project from 31st Street to 41st Street. Construction continues from Fullerton to Ohio streets and 31st to 51st streets. Chicago’s entire 18-mile Lakefront Trail, which runs from Ardmore Avenue on the north to 71st Street on the south, will be separated for cyclists and pedestrians, and is expected to be complete in 2018.
“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,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This is an important step as we continue working to make the Lakefront Trail more accessible and more enjoyable for pedestrians and cyclists alike.”
Initial funding was provided by the Chicago Park District. Completion of the project was made possible by a generous donation from Ken Griffin, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Citadel.
“I am thrilled that the first stage of the Lakefront Trail Separation was completed by the start of the summer,” said Ken Griffin. “I look forward to the project’s full completion, which will allow cyclists, runners and walkers to enjoy Chicago’s lakefront.”
The project is designed to alleviate areas of congestion by separating the Lakefront Trail into two distinct paths. The bike trail, made of asphalt, will measure 12 feet in width and will be located closest to Lake Shore Drive. The pedestrian trail measures 20 feet in width with 14 feet of asphalt and 6 feet of soft surface mix on either side.
“I am excited to see this project move another step closer toward completion” says Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly. “The section between 31st Street and 41st street will give people a taste of what’s to come for the rest of the lakefront trail.”
The separate paths are part of continued investments to improve access to the lakefront on the city’s South Side. Bronzeville is undergoing a resurgence of public and private investments under the Mayor’s leadership following the opening of the 35th Street Bridge, Mariano’s grocery store and Ellis Park Arts and Recreation Center. Construction recently began on the 41st Street Bridge. Other recently announced investments include a new fieldhouse at Williams Park, significant upgrades to the Chicago Bee library branch and the Parade of Homes housing initiative.
The installation of 70 new light poles and landscape restoration will be finalized on the trail in the coming weeks. The lakefront trail from Fullerton to North Avenue and Oak Street to Ohio Street are under construction and scheduled for completion in late August.
Chicago’s Lakefront Trail is one of the busiest in the United States. Used by cyclists, joggers and people enjoying the scenery, it is estimated that more than 100,000 people per day use the trail during summer weekends according to a recent study by Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) and the Active Transportation Alliance (ATA).
Mayor Emanuel originally announced plans to separate the trail from Fullerton to Ohio streets and 31st to 51st streets in March 2016 when he unveiled Building on Burnham, a comprehensive vision to invest in Chicago's parks and open spaces. This plan follows the Mayor’s successful expansion of Chicago’s park system in his first mayoral term, which has already added 750 acres of new parkland, 256 new playgrounds and more than $800 million in capital investment from neighborhoods and private sources.