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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On last Saturday's rainy ride, a group of us rode the entire trail from the 83rd St. trailhead in Dan Ryan Woods down to Whistler Woods. Overall trail conditions were good. There was almost no broken glass, just a few small patches of it. Tree debris was minimal in Dan Ryan Woods. There were a few low-hanging branches and grapevines north of 91st. From 107th to 117th, there are areas where one side of the trail is getting overgrown by trees. From 128th Pl. to the river, the trail is mostly overgrown by plants. The Whistler Woods section of the trail has enough tree debris to be a hazard to riders with skinny tires, so it's good to be cautious there.

I was happy that the amount of broken glass and trash was so minimal. Thanks to the park district for all their hard work with glass and trash clean-up!
The overgrowth just north of the bridge is now a bit worse than in the picture below.

Anne Alt said:
* 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.

In the past week, I've done a few rides from the 83rd St. trailhead to 95th and the 105th St. trail access to 115th.

The Dan Ryan Woods section (83rd to 91st) had no broken glass but typical fall forest conditions - lots of fallen leaves, twigs and small branches. If you're riding with skinny tires, watch out for those small branches. For anyone - if you're riding after rain, be careful around wet leaves. They're slick.

From 91st to 95th, watch out for occasional small patches of broken glass. It's mostly tiny pieces - hard to see if not lit up by the sun.

From 105th to 115th, there are patches of broken glass, with scattered tiny shards in between. The patches are not hard to spot and most are close to trail access points. The tiny shards are fairly invisible if not lit up by the sun. Grass has been mowed recently, and there's not much trash.
In the last few days, I've ridden the trail from the trailhead off the 83rd St. parking lot to 95th and from 105th to 111th.

The northern section (Dan Ryan Woods from 83rd St. trailhead to 91st) is in great shape - no broken glass, small amount of leaves and minor tree debris.

From 91st to 95th, there is some broken glass, mostly in the usual problem area from 93rd to 95th, especially next to the Jewel parking lot. There has been only minimal regrowth of thistles after our eradication attempts over the summer. Yeah!

From 105th to just south of 111th, there are bands of broken glass across the trail in several locations. Most pieces aren't large, so it's not easy to see unless it's backlit by the sun. There is graffiti in many locations on this section of the trail, which I've reported via 311.

Surprisingly, the bridge over I-57 between 105th and 107th has remained free of graffiti.

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.

Today I rode the trail from 127th to 105th.  There was very little broken glass anywhere on that portion of the trail.  There is some tree and weed overgrowth blocking the path at 124th, 119th, 115th to 111th and 111th to 107th.  Overall conditions were good.

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:

Saturday Dec 24 I made a preemptive strike on Xmas dinner by riding the MTT.  This warm weather should emphasize the need for year round maintenance on the Major Taylor Trail.  As long as the trail not iced over it is used not only by cyclists but pedestrians and dog walkers in the neighborhoods along its route.  Unswept glass is a community hazard.
From the 83rd street trail head south to 87th was fine.  I made a detour onto Dan Ryan Woods new paved loop.  It is quite nice and I can't wait until we see something similar at the Whistler Woods end.
The 91st to 95th section was not badly trashed but the difference in maintenance is striking.

At 107th street on both sides of the intersection for 100 feet there is some glass.  No change from my last report.
At 115th street on both sides of the intersection  but primarily north for 200 feet we have a real problem with glass. This section is non negotiable by bike.  No change from the last report and worsening.  We need intervention here because this glass presence is the result of loitering.  Because the Major Taylor Trail is Park District property Chicago Park District Security needs to put this spot on their circuit. 
117th to 119th varying patches of glass -- very poor rideablity.
At 121st in the bend just before the Metra tracks -glass. This is a regular hot spot.
For 100 feet south of the 122nd street intersection some one has been doing some demolition an using the trail to move debris so it has varying junkiness.
About 126th and the trail - another glass patch with poor rideablity.
The Whistler Woods section was spectacular.
I managed to make it home for a total of 17 miles ridden.  My Xmas present the next day was a flat rear tire, no doubt a slow leak from glass picked up in my many encounters on the trail.  The only glass I encountered in all my riding was on the above sections of the trail.  Most streets are cleaner.  This is VERY disappointing from the standard of the very good conditions we experienced in the summer.
One thing I would like to press as part of the Mayor's Streets for Cycling initative is that Chicago inact a bottle redemption system as we have had in the past.
Happy New Year to All!  And lets do something about these problems.

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.

Tree thinning and brush clearing north of 107th revealed something interesting - the marker shown below.  Perhaps it's an old railroad mile marker.  I'm trying to find out.

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.


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