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Navy Pier Flyover Misses Another Target Date

"The Navy Pier flyover, meant to connect Chicago’s north and south Lakefront trails, has hit another in a long string of delays that have pushed its completion to the end of 2019 at the earliest.

On Friday, the last day of summer, the project missed another target: The Chicago Department of Transportation failed to award a contract for the third and final phase of the project before the end of summer 2018."

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After reading this I am not so sure I agree with that assessment:

May be of interest, from:

The Flyover Delay

About 20 minutes into the interview, we got back on our bikes and rode south to check out the unfinished Navy Pier Flyover.

Emanuel warned that he would ride faster than me. I did not realize this would mean he would be Dave Stoller, the protagonist in the bike movie “Breaking Away,” and I would be … not Dave. While Emanuel was on a light Parlee, I was on a 20-year-old Giant Cypress hybrid, loaded down with notebooks and office clothes in panniers. Soon Emanuel and his security detail were out of sight. Fortunately, there was a nice pink and golden sunrise to watch over the lake, all by myself.

When we reconnected at Navy Pier, Emanuel apologized for going so fast. And then it was time to talk about the long-delayed flyover, which led to some colorful language.

“I can’t say how honked off and p---ed off I am,” Emanuel said.

The pedestrian and bicycle bridge, which will stretch from the Ohio Street Beach to the south side of the Chicago River, was started in 2014 after more than a decade of planning. The city had originally predicted it would be finished this year.

Emanuel blamed the delay on the state stalling on allocating local transportation funds during the budget crisis as a way of putting political pressure on the city. “The state screwed around with the money for two years,” he said.

Guy Tridgell, a spokesman for Illinois Department of Transportation, said that without a budget the state could not make the appropriation.

A source familiar with the Chicago Department of Transportation’s thinking said the state slowdown was a factor in the delay, but then IDOT worked with the city to allocate funds for the project. Another factor in the delay is the need for extensive repairs to the Depression-era Lake Shore Drive bridge over the river, according to CDOT.

Meanwhile... rather than blame state government and speed-shame a female reporter on his $10K plastic bike, the little village of Lincolnwood held to its schedule and opened the Touhy Ave bridge to the public last weekend, constructed start to finish in approximately 1 year.

(pasted from Chicago Tribune)

A couple weeks before the new overpass at Touhy Avenue in Lincolnwood was completed, Skokie resident John Mathew walked his dog south on the pedestrian path that connects Skokie and Lincolnwood and Chicago.

As he approached Touhy, he glanced at the huge, not-quite-finished overpass to his right, then abruptly turned around and headed back toward Skokie.

“I use the trail all the time, but it’s too much traffic at Touhy,” he said. “When I walk my dog or ride my bicycle, I turn around and go back when I get to Touhy. I’ve been waiting for this.”

The wait for many ended Oct. 11 when Lincolnwood leaders opened the new Touhy overpass after about a year of construction. The overpass is just the latest reflection of Skokie’s and Lincolnwood’s commitment to upgrading the Skokie Valley Trail.

“As I look at this bridge, I see more than just its physical structure,” said Lincolnwood Mayor Barry Bass at the ribbon cutting last week. “I see a bridge to a new and bright future for the village of Lincolnwood. I see a bridge — a connection — to growth and prosperity. I see a bridge with new opportunities for residents of this close village.”

But instrumental in all of these upgrades over the last several years has been a vision of expanding and connecting the trail so people from multiple towns can travel long distances and in multiple directions, leaders say.

Pedestrians and bike riders can take the Skokie Valley Trail from Dempster Street in Skokie near the Skokie Swift station south through Lincolnwood and into Chicago where it hooks up with trails operated by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

Skokie leaders say they are also planning to extend the trail north from Dempster to the Old Orchard area and provide many more miles of continuous pathway to the north.

That’s why it wasn’t only Lincolnwood residents who attended last week’s overpass opening, but Skokie and Chicago residents as well.

“The wife and I have walked this trail many, many, many years,” said Mike Levin of Skokie. “We walk this trail all the way to Foster in Chicago. We also go on the (forest preserves) trail and walk it back to Central. That’s a 10-mile loop.”

But Levin said that before the overpass opened, it was dangerous to cross Touhy, a perpetual problem.

Ultimately, Skokie resident Scott Holtz said, the trail will connect with the Cook County Forest Preserves trail heading north, which travels all the way to the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe near Highland Park.

The Skokie Village Board Oct. 15 was expected to approve as part of the consent agenda the hiring of Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LTD. for nearly $36,000 for more progress on the bike trail connection project.

New trail connections are planned for the southeast corner of Skokie Boulevard and Harms Road and Harms Road and Old Orchard Road and the sidewalk of the north side of Howard Street, near McCormick Boulevard, officials said.

The new Lincolnwood overpass then is just the latest amenity for pedestrians and cyclists. It extends well into the air with the “Village of Lincolnwood” name written in large letters over Touhy and features options for different color lighting at night.

“It’s pre-programmed to light up at the different holidays with different colors — Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Christmas,” said Jared Hamilton, resident engineer of the project. “A lot of people said they never thought it was going to look this nice. I’ve heard that a lot.”

The bridge crosses Touhy Avenue just east of Interstate 94 and west of the former Purple Hotel site near Touhy and Lincoln avenues. The $3.7 million project is paid for largely with a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant, according to officials. The village contributed $893,000 to the construction, they said.

But Bass and Lincolnwood Park and Recreation Board President Art Lovering said the bridge is really the culmination of a vision that dates back much further.

“The creation of this bridge was eight years in the making,” Bass said.

Funding for railroad property was secured in 2010 and was purchased the following year — long before construction of the overpass began, they said.

In total, Bass said, the village has spent nearly $12 million on the trail project — 80 percent of which came from federal funds. Only $1.2 million was spent by Lincolnwood, he said.

Bass and other dignitaries cut the ribbon to officially open the overpass. Many people in attendance swarmed onto the bridge, looking down on Touhy and safely crossing over for the first time.

“What has happened with this trail is really impressive,” said Phillip Stenza of Chicago as he walked across Touhy. “I cycle here all the time and this is big. Things just keep getting better. I’m counting on riding all the way into Wisconsin on this trail one of these days.”

The new Touhy Avenue overpass officially opened Oct. 11. (Mike Isaacs/Pioneer Press)

Lincolnwood built a bridge over a 4-lane street, but the "Stone Bridge" over the north shore channel (between Lincoln and Devon in Chicago) has been on the books for years and nothing is getting done.

Right, so they left a few details out of this.

First, sure, they built it in a year, but it's been sitting unbuilt for probably two.  That is, the trail went to Toughy, but since the bridge wasn't there, you had to go on a narrow sidewalk, wait forever for the light to change, cross the street, wander through a miserable construction pile, and then get back on the trail.  It was seriously horrifying.  That's why people don't cross there.

The Skokie Valley Trail is on the North Shore Municipal Plan long term planning agenda.  So this has been in the works for a long long time.

It's nice that there is a trail, but the crossings near it (Toughy and Lincoln are deadly.  The signals are hard to see or don't exist, so if you do want to visit a business there, you are taking your life into your own hands to cross at Toughy and Lincoln.

I use this trail and am grateful. It's lovely and Lincolnwood deserves credit. But like many trails, the NETWORK NEAR THE TRAIL matters, and the connected sidewalks/paths/lights need to be changed too.  Badly.  (Like, we all remember that someone was killed at the corner of Devon/McCormick recently because the lights don't match the usage of having a path there? On the border with Lincolnwood?)

Last point:  the lack of East/West paths is a bigger need than more N/S routes.  I mean, it's nice, but it would make 3 N/S paths in Lincolnwood.  Are the paths for recreation or transport or both?  It'd be nice if the answer is "both" if it were thought through more, which is what Schaumberg and Buffalo Grove appear to have done.

It's nice to see a Breaking Away reference, at least.

Yes, indeed! We need to find a way to use the term "Cutters" to our advantage...

I saw triangular shaped concrete support structures being erected in DuSable Park this morning. I believe plans are to have the overpass across Grand and Illinois open and available for use by the end of this year. Anybody have any better intelligence? 


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