The Chainlink

Today I rode the trail from the trailhead off the 83rd St. parking lot to 95th and from 105th to 111th.

The northern section has a little bit of tree debris north of 87th. There is no broken glass from the trailhead to 91st, and only a small amount from 91st to 95th.

The section from 105th to 111th had only small amounts of broken glass in a few locations, easily avoidable. It's the cleanest I've ever seen it. :) There are weed trees overgrowing the northbound lane in spots between 111th and 107th.

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In the last week, I've ridden part of all of the trail north of 95th and found most of it pretty clean, with the exception of a bit of broken glass around 94th near the corner of the Jewel parking lot.  I'd like to offer a big THANK YOU to the 19th ward office for their assistance in getting fallen trees removed and grass mowed in this area recently.  It looks a whole lot better now.

Today I rode it from 105th to the southern end in Whistler Woods.  From 105th to 115th, there was almost no broken glass, with the exception of a bad area on the south side of 115th St.  Just south of that spot, I discovered an ugly view. Some of you may remember when I posted last spring about discovering a clearcut area just east of the trail and south of 115th, then learned that an adjacent auto body shop owned the property and was intending to build additional parking there. 

They've recently built the parking lot, as shown in this satellite view (which does not capture the ugliness on the ground).  The good news: they used only a portion of the cleared land.  The bad news: they left mounds of construction waste and demolition debris behind, adjacent to the lot, including tree stumps and old railroad ties. 

This is completely unacceptable.  I'll be contacting the 34th ward office to request that the auto body shop get this cleaned up. 

The intersection of 119th and Halsted was surprisingly clear of glass - only tiny pieces in limited area.  The trail from 119th to 120th was very clean.  All street crossings from 120th to 124th had varying amounts of broken glass.  At 123rd, I encountered a cyclist sitting on a post, changing a flat tire on his bike.  He had just passed through the broken glass near 124th (tougher to see northbound).  He said it was his first trip on the trail and that he was on his return trip from Whistler, after an uneventful southbound trip. 

The posts at the trail access between the Metra tracks and 122nd are unchanged.  I had an unusually easy time crossing 127th st., thanks to a surprising lull in traffic.  The trail surface from 127th St. to 127th Pl. is covered with grass clippings, but no broken glass.  From 128th St. to the river, the problem of brush overgrowth is already returning, especially towards the river.

In this section of Whistler Woods, there is a large tree branch down across the trail.  It was too large for me to move without tools and assistance.  It is possible to detour around it off the path. However, since the ground is very soft from recent rains, I recommend doing it on foot to avoid creating deep ruts.

The transition from trail to parking lot is a little muddy and still somewhat of a hole.  The section of parking nearest to the trail is rather waterlogged from all that rain.  From the high water line of mud, I'd assume it was a bit deeper a couple of days ago.  If it stays dry, we should be okay for this weekend's ride.

NOTE: No port-a-john is on site at Whistler yet. 

Over the weekend, I got the following trail condition report from Peter Taylor:

I rode the south end of the trail this morning.

105th - 107th good

107th - 111th trail-wide glass patch ~200 ft south of the intersection at 107th

111th - 115th good. The fence just north of 115th is still open and surrounded with trash but no glass on the trail there. Significant over growth on the east side of trail

115th - 117th disappointing. Multiple glass patches, needs attention

117th - 119th disappointing. Slightly fewer glass patches, needs attention.

119th - 122nd good except for the low concrete posts on the east side of Emerald Ave that have not been reduced and had glass between them.

122nd - 127th OK but with one glass patch about 125th , needs attention

127th - bridge , clean but weeds really starting to encroach, needs attention.

bridge thru whistler good. looks like some one held a small bonfire on the trail 150 yds or so east from the parking lot. not much damage but a lot of cinders and ashes left. FPDCC should investigate.

What a beautiful day for a bike ride. When the trail is clean you can really enjoy it. On those long stretches you can really get your stroke going. I passed: two neighbors walking their dogs in different places, a mother and her sons one on bike and the other on scooter, a family walking with one boy on bike. A young boy said hello as he passed on his bike in recognition that we were both biking on the trail together. I spoke to an experienced rider going north as ! was going south, I invited him to find out more about FOMTT. Had another encounter with a lone woman rider in repose at the bridge to take in the river and MTC3 member Jewel and her goddaughter. I hope to have many more rides like these.

Sadly, my experience on the south end was a negative counterpoint to the above.  We rode the entire MTT last Saturday morning and the trail was in pretty good condition.  A bit of glass south of 119th-123rd.  By this Friday, the conditions were SIGNIFICANTLY worse!  At least 20 broken bottles from 127th St. north to roughly 115th.  The conditions were startlingly bad compared to just 6 days previously.  My bike club was appalled at how much worse it was (and these were 11-13 year olds!).

I called 311 to report it, but was less than inspired by the response from the operator.

Jane Healy

Thanks for letting us know.  We'll follow up with the park district.

Summer 2012:

I have been on the trail 3 times a week all summer from 111th to 83rd. Real good conditions, especially the quick removal of fallen tree limbs on multiple occassions. Thank you to someone on this.

I ride the entire length roughly twice a month. Miscellaneous bottle breaks here and there, but generally good. The results of the work days are still evident. 




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