* Just north of bridge to Whistler Woods, plants and trees are blocking about 1 foot on each side of the trail. In another month it will look like this picture from last year.
The 34th ward has given us a new safety feature: lights! From 107th to 125th, there are now lights along the trail.
I hope to ride the entire trail within the next week, and I plan to post a trail condition report at that time.
Last week Peter Taylor rode the trail reported bad conditions (glass and tree overgrowth) in many sections south of 107th. After information was provided to the park district and a 311 call was made, I rode the trail and found greatly improved conditions. Crews were out working near 107th when I did a brief trail ride on Wednesday.
There are very small amounts of glass in scattered locations, mostly around 119th and 124th. It is in small, easily avoidable spots.
Trees that were obscuring the view of eastbound car traffic on 107th have been cut back, making that street crossing much safer. Trees that were blocking the trail between 107th and 111th have been cut way back, so the trail is clear in this area. There is still slight overgrowth around 113rd-114th. Trees and weeds have covered the southbound lane just north of 119th. Weeds and trees have grown back around the edges of the trail between 128th and the bridge, but it's not nearly as bad as a year ago. The Boy Scouts' trim job in the spring definitely helped.
In Whistler Woods, there is a moderate amount of tree debris - leaves and twigs, with an occasional small branch. This should not pose a hazard for riders with wider tires, but I'd recommend some caution for riders with skinny tires.
Please come out and join us for our ride tomorrow. There will be two ride groups/distances: 18 mi (casual pace) and 47 mi (faster pace). Overall conditions are fairly good, and the weather forecast is cool and dry. Looks like a fine day for a ride.
Yesterday I rode the trail from 105th to 115th. There were patches of broken glass on the trail just north and south of 107th St, and several patches between 114th and 115th. Other than those patches, the trail surface was fairly clean. Tree and weed overgrowth is still an issue on the east edge of the trail between 111th and 115th.
Here's a recent ride report from Peter Taylor:
We got some good news this week. Following a meeting with Chicago Park District officials, we've gotten a pledge from them to start sweeping the trail weekly in colder months. This means that the trail will be much more rideable in winter. Thank you Chicago Park District!!!
I took a ride yesterday on the section from 105th to 115th. There was almost NO broken glass - just one significant stripe just north of 115th.
A lot of tree trimming and removal work has been done in recent weeks from 105th to 111th. Big thanks to Greencorps and the Chicago Park District for this huge project. They've thinned the dense growth, which addresses safety concerns about muggers having places to hide. They also removed a LOT of trash.
I noticed something else interesting along the way. The area marked in yellow below has been clearcut. Since that's such a landlocked parcel, I'm wondering if it's an expansion of either the school bus company or self storage place to the north, or if there are redevelopment plans for the dead mall to the south. Stay tuned.
I've gotten reports from Peter Taylor and Larry Unruh from the last few weeks that conditions have been good to excellent all the way down to 127th. I'd like to offer another big THANK YOU to the park district for starting trail sweeping and bringing trash cans to each major street crossing. People are using them, and there's a lot less trash along the trail.
Otherwise, it was a beautiful day to see sandhill cranes migrating towards Wisconsin. Did anyone else see them over the weekend?
I got a couple of updates since my earlier post. A friend who works for Amtrak says that post with 298 on it does look like a railroad mile marker, so we have a little piece of rediscovered history on this former freight rail line.
Also, the dead mall property at 115th & Halsted is being redeveloped as a charter school. I guess that solves the mystery of the clearcut lot immediately to the north.