Chicago’s Lakefront Trail is the busiest trail in the United States, with peak daily usage reaching 30,000 people at key points.
The 18-mile trail mixes together people walking, running, biking and in-line skating for recreation and transportation.
But as any Chicagoan who has visited the trail on a beautiful day knows, its incredible popularity can also lead to heavily congested conditions and even crashes between people on the trail.
Through a unique partnership, the Active Transportation Alliance, Friends of the Parks and the Chicago Area Runners Association today released the findings of a study on public perceptions of Chicago’s Lakefront Trail.
The report, entitled “People on the Trail,” summarizes what trail users think about their trail experience and sets forth principles for a better trail, based on a community outreach process that engaged more than 1,600 trail users. Results from trail user surveys on satisfaction, congestion, conflicts and crashes are detailed in a series of eight maps in the report.
Key recommendations in the report include redesigning lakefront access points to make it safer and easier to access the trail and the lakefront, as well as alleviating trail congestion and reducing crashes by creating new paths to separate higher-speed bike traffic and lower-speed foot traffic.