Yes! Thanks to bike advocacy with organizations like Active Trans, the city wants to split the lakefront path. Super important in high traffic areas where the path is overcrowded.
Some stretches of Chicago's often-packed lakefront trail would get split into separate lanes for bikers and joggers under a plan Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to announce Tuesday as he tries to make the case for his stewardship of the city's parks.
The widening, which would happen from about Fullerton Avenue to Ohio Street on the North Side and from 31st Street to 51st Street on the South Side, doesn't yet have a price tag. And officials were vague about how it would be paid for, other than out of the Chicago Park District's budget the next three years.
The trail, which becomes perilously packed with zooming riders, inline skaters and runners on summer weekends, wouldn't be separated at some of the most heavily used areas near downtown and the museum campus because there isn't room.
Emanuel will talk about the widening Tuesday during a speech on his second-term plans for parks.
I must admit, I have hoped for this for many years. While on my rollerblades (it was the 90s) I got hit from behind by a bike, I had a pretty nasty crash - nerve damage, bad scrapes, trip to the ER, etc. I think the path is pretty overcrowded in the downtown area and could use the separation in high-traffic areas.
I like to use the terms "mincer" or "prancer" when I encounter one of these pedestrians moving swiftly.
I'm surprised they only want to widen it up to Fullerton. The path south of McCormick place is mostly fine with enough room for everyone.
When you do construction you have to plan for the future; trust me when I say that the 'extra' space on the trail will be used.
Call me pessimistic, but I can see this making the problem worse, or at the very least no better. Everyone thinks the lakefront trail is wider now, so more people go and the path is more overcrowded.
So, you're proposing that the LFT be put on a diet??
Very limited benefit without enforcement, and the city sucks at enforcement. Pedestrians will continue to do dangerous things in the cycling portion.
I generally avoid it for this reason but, against my better judgment, rode an approx. 3 mile stretch yesterday afternoon. For the most part, the weather kept people away, but I still came across 4 people walking shoulder-to-shoulder down the middle and several people who stopped to talk without moving out of the way, including a guy on a Divvy and a woman with an extremely large dog blocking 90% of the lane in both directions. They saw me coming 1/4 mile away and didn't move an inch.
First World problems.
Super excited! Like everyone else though, I hope they are good about enforcement. I agree the city sucks with enforcing rules and laws. Everyone still drives and uses their cell phones and no one gets tickets for jaywalking and of course parking in the bike lane... to name a few.
A follow up article from the Chicago Tribune:
This would be amazing! I love riding on the LFP year-round, but once the weather gets nice the path is congested with tourists and beach goers. Hopefully the cyclist lane will have big, bold words that state - BIKES ONLY - that will make the separation clear.
Wider lanes should help, but I don't think that separating the runners from the cyclists would help much if we consider the different scenarios that could cause a crash... When I ride the LFP I mostly have troubles with tourists who ride Divvys or other rentals in huge packs several abreast. In the warmer months I rarely ride my fast bike after 9 am on it...