CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Park District is exploring new safety options on The 606 Trail, after several incidents involving cars getting onto the popular jogging and cycling path this year, including when multiple people had to dodge a pickup truck zipping down the trail last week.
Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st), one of three aldermen whose wards include portions of The 606, vowed changes in an interview with CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas.
La Spata said a pickup truck exited the trail from the Western Avenue ramp on Thursday, after driving nearly 2 miles along the trail from the west trailhead at Lawndale Avenue.
“That is a dangerous position to put our pedestrians and cyclists in,” La Spata said.
People like Brennan McDowell had to scurry out of the truck’s way. McDowell said it was going about 30 to 40 mph with no headlights.
“I’m frankly amazed that nobody had gotten hurt from this car,” McDowell said.
“If it had been an isolated incident, that’d be one thing, but the 14th District tells us this was actually the 6th time this had happened this year,” La Spata said.
The alderman said a permanent vehicle barrier is not an option, because Chicago Police and Chicago Park District employees sometimes drive vehicles onto the trail for emergency or safety reasons, but he is pushing the Park District to install retractable steel poles known as bollards at openings that are currently wide enough for cars to get on The 606.
“Been in touch with the Chicago Park District already around that,” La Spata said.
He couldn’t give a timeline on when the job would be done, but said he plans on following up with the Park District every week.
La Spata said he’s grateful people are speaking up about the problem.
“I just want people to know that we take their safety on this trail really seriously, and we’re gonna press forward on this issue until we make whatever changes are necessary,” he said.
The Park District said they are exploring ways to keep unauthorized cars out.
Chicago police are still looking for the driver of that truck.