Not good news:
The trail can be lonely and hard to exit from at night.
I know this has probably been talked about, but how can the 606 close at 11 p.m. and not open until 6 p.m. if it used federal commuting funds for construction?
You hear people try to pull the whole "the lakefront path closes at 11 p.m.," but I thought those claims were defeated by the same point---i.e., the lakefront path receives federal funds for commuting and has to stay open 24 hours.
I ask all of this because it makes a huge difference safety-wise, as people are going to respond to these type of instances with the whole "the rider should have known better since the trail was closed bit," though someone commuting home from work at 11:30 p.m. or to work at 5:30 p.m. obviously isn't doing anything out of the ordinary.
My take on this is that the city is trying to play it both ways. I think the federal transportation funding of the 606 mandates that it remain open at all times for travelers. On the other hand, the city likes the cudgel of a nighttime curfew in parks and on trails, so they can prevent homeless people from setting up lodgings, gangs from congregating or just regular folks hanging out drinking and disturbing the neighborhood all night. So the city usually turns a blind eye toward cyclists who don't seem to be making trouble and are moving through the area without stopping. And they use the curfew to move along those they think are a problem. I posted this to the forum just as awareness. I may well stop riding home from work on the 606 after midnight if I'm alone and not with a coworker, it's a bad place to be cornered or ambushed as you can't escape the trail easily.
if you read the whole article it says that the city code allows the use of park as a passage way after the recreational hours.....
Does anyone ride the 606 in the evening? I'm wondering if this is an isolated event or if we should be concerned with being on the trail during the off-hours. Also, does anyone know if police regularly patrol the 606 during the "open" hours?
I ride the 606 at night frequently in the area where this occurred , and I think this was probably a spontaneous event and not a "targeted" sort of thing. You do have to be aware like anywhere in the city, but if you're paying attention there isn't too many places for a group to really hide up there where you would be totally surprised. If you see a group ahead and your spidey sense starts tingling, turn around! Perfectly fine to do. If you don't have a spidey sense, well... Lern2City my friend.
In the colder months I have not seen any police presence late at night, but this past summer and fall there were bike patrols at that hour. They would tell you the park is closed, you tell them "I'm riding to X, getting off at X", and that's the extent of the exchange.
I know a few officers who work the lakefront at night. As long as you're moving along and respond as you suggested if they question you, most of them are fine with it there.
I hope that bike patrols on the Bloomingdale Trail become a more regular thing year round at night, and that they'll treat bike commuters reasonably there.
Spidey senses is my goto as well all throughout town, too bad it would have to be implemented on the 606.
It's good to know the procedure when dealing with patrols on the trail.
Streetsblog Chicago's article, recommending a 24/7 trail:
I am saddened to hear this news but not at all surprised. I frequently ride the 606 to commute from Lakeview to the the Grand/Western Metra station and at least once a week I find punks harassing users of the trail during the early evening hours. On more than one occasion I have had to stop and confront "kids" intimidating or physically assaulting innocent people. I have also waved down police to make reports but I don't think this had made much of a difference and I am certainly not seeing any increase in patrols. be careful if you decide to use the trail by yourself even if it is during daylight hours.