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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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.

I meant - for that sign to be placed north of the big boat - in between the two red circles. 

I really have no effing clue why the Chicago Park District decided to designate the bike trail as east of Cricket Hill and north of Montrose, when the trail separation project was finished a year or 2 ago. I still believe IMO, that the designated bike trail should be just east of LSD in that area north of Montrose, and that this path shouldn't be designated for pedestrians. Yep, in favor of flipping the designations for which of the 2 paths is for bikes, and for pedestrians, in the area north of Montrose.

Agree 100%. This section of trail separation doesn't work and should be revised. No one (cyclists or runners) wants to detour around the east side of Cricket Hill, and on weekends that path is full of kids and park users anyways. Even if they flipped the designations it still wouldn't work, you'd just end up with a bunch of runners using the bike trail because they don't want to run all the way around Cricket Hill. 

In defense of the Park District, they are also trying to limit/eliminate the at-grade crossings at Montrose and Wilson (which are super dangerous, especially for bikes) without building new underpasses.  Due to lack of funding, they're stuck with the existing underpasses at Montrose/Wilson, both of which are too far East to be practical for trails running West of Cricket Hill. Even with the current design routing both trails through the Montrose underpass, there are still a lot of runners who cut through the grass and cross at-grade where the old crosswalk used to be. The existing underpass at Wilson is even further east and would be even more difficult to route a Westerly trail back to it and expect any kind of compliance. 

I forgot about that Montrose underpass, east of LSD. Now I see why the Park District routed the bike trail east of the original path, north of Montrose. I suspect a lot of bikers still use the old route, though.

Right on both counts Allan.  The trick is that as people lobby for safety solutions and then get them, it is a good idea to abide by those safety solutions, or it all unravels.  We see elsewhere that solutions are created to keep pedestrians and cyclists separate from cars, and then pedestrians separate from cyclists, and then some people just ride in the road anyhow like up around Marine Drive, and all that money, space and effort is for naught.

The more that happens, the less sympathetic the broader public becomes regarding cycling infrastructure. 


Rather than bitch about all the failures with this project, (I'd give it a D+ if it was a planning exercise in my civil engineering class) I'll shine a light.  

The south entrance to the pedestrian underpass at Oak St forces everyone away from the bike lane by removing access on the west side of the tunnel and only allowing it on the east side.  Awesome!

Did they do the same thing on the north access?  No, that would make too much sense.  

Anyway, that's my two cents.


The south entrance is a staircase, so it makes sense to only link it (east) to the ped path.

The north entrance is a ramp, which both cyclists and peds use, so it is correctly linked (east and west) to both paths.

I see a lot of joggers continuing on the bike path in this area to avoid going east of the stairs/ramp area. Your photo captures one doing just that.

I'm not sure if they're just doing this out of habit, because that is how the old trail was aligned, or if they're intentionally avoiding the area around the stairs because it's more crowded? 

I'd guess that it's a combination of being crowded and also that it introduces 2 turns into their path. Why do either when you can continue on the path you're already on?


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