Trail users will be required to “Keep It Moving” for safe use
Today, the Chicago Park District announces plan to reopen Chicago’s lakefront trail. Beginning Monday, June 22, Chicago residents will gain access to the beloved 18 mile trail for commuting and exercise with the condition that users “Keep It Moving”. Permitting public access to the city’s lakefront trail is another step in “Protecting Chicago”, the City’s framework to cautiously reopen.
“The trail is one of our city’s most treasured lakefront amenities,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly. “We are excited to share plans to reopen the trail, encourage active living and provide guidance on how people can begin resuming activities safely.”
The plan, which allows trail use for commuting and exercise including walking, running and cycling from 6am to 7pm daily, requires users to stay in constant motion. Compliance is critical in order to mitigate congregating and achieve social distancing along the popular trail. To encourage proper use, the Chicago Park District will install visible signage along the trail to educate and remind trail users of rules. In addition, Social Distancing Ambassadors (SDA) will be stationed along the trail to educate the public and manage the flow of traffic. Ambassadors will actively engage park patrons providing guidance on appropriate social distancing, the importance of face coverings as well as other health and safety guidelines.
To effectively monitor and control use, the District will minimize access to the trail by restricting select entrance points including select bridges, underpasses and streets along the trail by fifty percent. Park Security will work in tandem with the Chicago Police Department and Office of Emergency Management and Communication to keep the trail safe under guidance from public health officials.
While the trail will open, lakefront parking lots will remain closed. All other lakefront amenities including outdoor fitness equipment athletic fields and beaches will remain closed while public health officials advise the District on options to open safely.
Due to the significant lakefront storm damage and high lake levels, three sections of the lakefront trail will merge to accommodate users. From Fullerton to North Avenue will be a shared trail. North Avenue to Ohio Street, trail users will be redirected to an on-street detour. From 43rd Street to 51st Street, users will merge onto one trail. Additional signage and SDA resources will be implemented along both stretches to ensure social distancing. The Park District will notify users as construction projects are completed in those sections and normal trail use is restored.
Last week, the Chicago Park District eased restrictions on select park facilities including lakefront parks west of Lake Shore Drive, inland golf courses and reopened park fieldhouses across the city.
The District strongly urges patrons to take precautions to protect their health and the safety of others while in our parks. Face coverings are required at all times. The District also urges patrons to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, avoid touching their face with unwashed hands and covering their noses and mouths when sneezing or coughing. Also, anyone who is feeling unwell should stay home, per Chicago Department Public Health order.
For more information on the Chicago Park District’s COVID-19 response plan, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com.