The Chainlink

Hey All--  I didn't attend this informational meeting: but was curious if any of you did, or had any updates from other sources.  

The Alderman's post states this project will be complete by "Summer 2014". Is there are more specific time frame - beginning of summer, middle, end, etc?  Has work begun?  Also, any info on the Weber Spur project?  I've seen a few threads on this topic here, but nothing much new in a few years.  Appreciate any info!

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PM Bob Kastigar. He posted the event and he is involved in safety issues in his ward. He may know more.

Thanks. Will do. Sent friend request so I can PM.  

Make sure to report back if you hear anything new or of interest.

Here's Bob's reply (thanks, Bob!)- I guess Summer 2014 was wishful thinking - event though that's what the Alderman's post says.

Bob: "

Here's a reply I posted someplace, I forgot where!

This is probably an incomplete summary; hopefully somebody can add more.  Despite the cold weather there was a pretty good turnout, maybe 30 people or more from all over the area. 

There were two people from the Cook County Forest Preserve District.  This whole path extension is within the boundaries of the Forest Preserve so they’re really gaffing the job.  Phase 1, the preparing and getting funding is complete (80% is federal funding).  Phase 2, the present stage, is for planning doing the actual work itself.  Phase 3, doing the work, should begin in the fall of 2014 and be completed in the spring of 2015.  

There was one representative from the Chicago Department of Transportation and also Ald. Laurino of the 39th Ward who was hosting this meeting.  The Alderman said one of her goals was to get the Forest Preserve and the City to work more closely together and have their efforts connect. 

There were several large printed maps on display, but no on-line maps were available.  The excuse was that the final work will still have some minor changes and they didn’t want to commit to a layout that can’t be changed.  (Trying to keep peace with the neighbors this path will go through?)

If you look at any of the maps on-line (and if you find any, post a link here) there will be a tunnel under Cicero and a bridge over the railroad tracks someplace south of Devon.  There will be river crossings that may be subject to flooding, in which case the present street path will serve as an alternative.  If the path gets muddy during the flooding there will be maintenance scheduled to remove the sludge from the path. 

Actually, a good part of the meeting went into discussing the Weber Spur extension, south of Bryn Mawr.  The planned Forest Preserve path will intersect with this Weber Spur path.  The alderman wanted to keep the focus on the path the meeting was to discuss, but the subject kept getting changed to the Weber Spur.  (I think bicyclist would rather ride a bike than go to meetings and think the Forest Preserve path is a done-deal, so lets get on with starting the next project, the Weber Spur.)

Some discussion came up about a on-street bike route from the Irene C. Hernandez picnic area at the south end of the extension (near where it crosses the Weber Spur) east to the lakefront.  Could be get a bike lane on Foster for this?

Work on the Weber Spur isn’t planned until 2017 so there will be three years between the completion of the Forest Preserve trail and the work on the Weber Spur.

Short meeting actually.  We got done around 7:15, so it only lasted for a little over an hour.

One interesting sidelight: Ald. Laurino first wanted the Weber Spur to extend south only to Elston Avenue and the bike lane.  Now she’s changed her mind and want to support extending the Weber Spur much further south than that, as far south as possible.  You can look this up on Google Maps, with the Satellite view.

No mention was made during the meeting of the “Stone Bridge” construction,  That’s in the 50th Ward."

I'm always glad to see more bike paths moving forward. I was at the meeting too but don't have much to add to Bob's great summary. The only thing that comes to mind is that a few of us pointed out that there are currently no good bike lanes leading to the southern start of the Forest Preserve path on Foster. There are bike lanes on Lawrence, Bryn Mawr and Elston, but bikers will have to use residential side streets to connect from these to the FP path safely.

Bob - Thanks for the detailed update.

Still confused: When will it be done? When might I be able to ride from Devon/Caldwell to Elston and avoid Milwaukee?


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