The Chainlink

When will the Trail Separation project be completed?

So my girlfriend just informed me that she was in a bike-on-bike accident on the Lakefront Trail at Belmont. It's an area where separation has occurred and lines have been painted. But the old lines still exist and there is no transition from old to new lines, nor direction for pedestrians and bikers on which lanes to choose.

This area has bugged the crap out of me for a long while now. A couple of weeks ago, I honestly seriously considered creating my own stencils and bringing some paint out there and doing it myself.

So, anybody know when it's going to be finished? Or is this going to need to be a DIY project?

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I agree it sucks. Hope your girlfriend was not seriously injured.  Some complaints/updates at and

That stinks :( 

Many close calls there as well because of the line discrepancy. 

This isn't behavior that can be "enforced". Good design doesn't need enforcement. If it's done properly, people will want to use the correct trails (and it will be clear which trail is for which purpose).

If a public space requires mall cops out there on Segways yelling at people policing how they're using public space, either the designers screwed up, or the expectations of use aren't in line with what the public wants. 

The concrete bit at Belmont is one path, just like the trail to the north. The separation is south of Belmont. Just follow the yellow line, except on the bridge over Diversy Harbor. And don't end up going in a circle around the totem pole. Or take the longer 'bike only' path around Cricket Hill. Or the Montrose underpass if it's been raining.

What else am I missing?

Better markings will help separate runners and cyclists (except for Belmont to Ardmore), but just as dangerous are the narrower, bike-only sections of the LFT.  The new design allows for a total of only 3 cyclists abreast to safely pass each other, including oncoming cyclists.  In some of the combined sections, the lanes are so narrow it's not safe to pass at all if there is an oncoming cyclist. Combined with not having to worry about clueless runners pulling blind u-turns, cycle traffic is now faster with greater variance in speeds creating more passing conflicts.  Yesterday (May 15th) was the most chaotic I've experienced in my 2,400 round trips on the north LFT over the past 13 years.  There were many near-misses with oncoming cyclists and racers attempting double-passes regardless of conditions.  This is very dangerous for middled-paced riders like me. 

While the new configuration will reduce cyclist/runner u-turn crashes, there will now be many more-serious bike-on-bike crashes like the one I came across this morning just north of the pedestrian bridge.  Speed limits won't make a difference, instead, there needs to be common courtesy when it comes to passing safely.

True, the new bike trails are narrower, with mud bogs or sand for shoulders.

Agree, the new bike trail is only 12 feet wide, and is too narrow to safely pass another cyclist with any oncoming traffic. It should be wider. 

 I was on the LFP this weekend.  Belmont at the harbor is a garbage fire.  The markings are totally unclear as to who rides/walks where.

Yeah, that area sucks A LOT!

This sign is for a shared path. The goal of the lakefront trail separation project was to no longer have shared paths.

The trail separation is only going to be effective if the two trails are equal, yet separated. They should be next to each other as much as possible, and clearly marked.

If cyclists or pedestrians have to go out of their way to find the "correct" trail, they're just going to ignore the signs and use whichever one is more convenient. The routing should not force one of the two users to travel an extra distance over the other. 

The pavement markings should be extremely clear, and use a lot more green paint to differentiate the bike trail from ped. The intersections should use a different texture pavement on the bike trail to further differentiate it. At every access point, it should be easy to find the correct trail, and clearly obvious to users which trail is for which purpose.

The separation should be consistent. In the case of the Lake Front Trail, the bike trail should always be closer to the roadway, and the pedestrian trail closer to the lake. 

What they need is a lot more of this:

Combined with more of this:

The new bike path also shouldn't be longer than the original path. The lengths to which the Park district is going just to force traffic to use the Montrose underpass is getting ridiculous but at least the underpass isn't flooding like it was last month, even with all the rain lately.

Still gets muddy in there, though.


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