CHICAGO (CBS) — City officials celebrated the opening of the latest stretch of an upgraded Lakefront Trail on the South Side on Friday, allowing cyclists and joggers more freedom from congestion in the summer.
Chicago Park District CEO Michael Kelly and Mayor Rahm Emanuel helped cut the ribbon formally opening a stretch of divided Lakefront Trail between 31st Street and 41st Street.
The separate paths for cyclists and runners are designed to minimize the potential for collisions on crowded areas of the lakefront.
“It will allow people to enjoy the lakefront without hearing ‘on your left.’ People can enjoy the lakefront without being scared about going out there and getting hit by a biker,” Emanuel said. “With a single path and over 100,000 people in the summer on a daily basis using it, that enjoyment became one that it was like rush hour in certain times of day.”
Bronzeville fitness buff and personal trainer La’Drissa Bonivel said things are looking up for lakefront visitors on the South Side, thanks to the separated trails, and new bridges crossing Lake Shore Drive.
“Now they can actually get over to the lakefront super-easy with these bridges that are being built,” she said.
A new pedestrian and bicycle bridge at 35th Street opened last fall, and the city has begun work on another bridge at 41st Street. Officials also plan to replace an outdated footbridge at 43rd Street, which is not accessible to wheelchairs or bikes.
Ald. Sophia King (4th) said soon South Side residents also will be getting a new dog park.
Construction also is underway on Lakefront Trail separation projects on the North Side, between North and Fullerton avenues, and between Oak and Ohio streets.
The city plans to eventually create separate running and biking paths along the entire 18-mile trail.
Plans are underway to separate the trail between 41st Street and 51st Street later this summer.
The full project should be completed in 2018.