The Chainlink

How Should We Integrate the North Branch Extension with the street network?

As you probably know, the Southern Extension of the North Branch Trail is officially opening on Sept 21 but active now.  I am trying to get some community feedback on what we'd like to ask for in terms of integrating the trail with the street network as I will be speaking with some of the stakeholders in mid-Sept.  Have you ever biked from the city up to Chicago Botanic Gardens and had thoughts about how to improve it?  Read on, because I need your help!!!

(Background: The current trail head at Devon and Central in Edgebrook will extend the trail a few miles further south.  While the current phase is finished to Forest Glen Ave., a second phase has already begun and will extend the trail to Foster and Kostner, appox. 4400 W Foster.)

The terminus presents some problems for access:

 - Foster is busy with motorists speeding.  The road is basically a 4 lane highway designed for 40-45mph, even though the limit is 30mph.

- There is a light at Kostner, but it is 1-way  northbound, which is bad for anyone who wants to go south.

- In previous community meetings, the FPDCC has suggested using the path through Gompers Park to get back to the street.  But... this ends at a sidewalk, and the path is in pretty poor condition since it floods a lot.

- There are zero signs indicating safe biking routes near North Mayfair or NW Albany Park.  So while generally pleasant routes, and nice alternatives to Lawrence or Foster, they aren't "officially" on the map.

Do you have any experience with getting to the trailhead you'd like to see fixed?  Preference for on-street bike lines or quiet residential alternatives?  I have some thoughts but I'd like to hear from other cyclists.

(Note:  While I know the Weber Spur is coming too, I'd like to focus more on getting people to/from the existing trail since the Spur is likely years away.)

Please reply so we can get what we want!

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Right now I ride Bryn Mawr west then cut northwest on side streets following the bike route signs put in by the city.  I'd rather not bike on Foster.  Argyle is  a good east west street though it isn't that continuous.  

I also ride Bryn Mawr west to get to the NBT.  I am looking forward to the Weber Trail south being built to access the NBT extension.

I follow that route too, though I'll likely stay on Forest Glen and go a little SW to pick up the new trail on my next trip. The pavement on those side streets has deteriorated a lot in the last few years.

I wouldn't use Foster either.

Coming from Ravenswood, I either take Ravenswood Ave to Rosehill Cemetary and cut through to Bryn Mawr, or get on the North Channel Trail just north of Lawrence and take that to Bryn Mawr.

We tried to get a road diet a few years ago, but were unsuccessful.  The traffic counts were *just* over the limit of what is allowed.  The proposed remediation was a traffic camera, which has people slow down for the camera and speed elsewhere on Foster.  (Part of the reason the counts are high is surely because Bryn Mawr doesn't go through.)

There's a very pleasant way to get through on Carmen / Argyle / Ainslie from Ravenswood but it's not marked.

Convert Devon and Merrimack from a T to a + intersection with traffic lights. 

Improve dirt path to asphalt about 110 ft North of Devon and Merrimack to the west about 425 ft.

Just wanted to say thanks for starting this conversation, any and all improvements are appreciated!

In recent years we've been largely taking that trip with our daughter so we have been throwing all of our bikes on the roof racks and starting at the Devon trailhead as she's not quite ready to be biking on the major streets I would be taking from my neck of the woods (Avondale), which is Kimball or some other squirrelly route to Elston.

Is that irritating/borderline treacherous stretch of Devon going to be addressed for those of us coming from the south/southeast?  That would be fan-freaking-tastic.

Yes, it is.  The old route would drop you off near the east end of Edgebrook with no safe way to get to the trailhead.  The new route goes due south from the trail head along Central before crossing back into the woods.

Heading north from Elston you should be OK to access the trail; coming south is the part I'm worried about, so we'll ask for some clear signage to Elston.

Awesome.  Thank you!

Why is the Weber Spur so long delayed?  A public meeting was held about a year-and-a-half ago.

The distance from the North Branch Trail Extension and the bike lanes on Elston Avenue is 2,630 FEET. The Weber Spur already has the rails removed and already has gravel on it.

For a distance of about 3/4 mile it would be worthwhile to simply pave and provide entrances on the Elston Avenue end.  This is "years away"?,-87.7432151,16z



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