A Bike Trail Along The Entire Chicago River?

There are over one million Chicago residents that live within one mile of the Chicago river or one of its branches. The aim would be to create elevated bike paths that follow the Chicago river and connect the North and South neighborhoods of Chicago to the lakefront trail and to other existing trail networks in the city.

The action plan builds on momentum created by the wildly popular 606 Trail, as well as the city’s “Our Great Rivers” plan, which demonstrated pent-up demand for off-street trails.

“In addition to spurring economic development and creating opportunities for recreation and transportation, a river trail would allow us to connect to one another across neighborhoods” said Sarah Cardona, project manager with the Metropolitan Planning Council.

To become a reality the river bike trail plan would require partnering with building owners to gain access to private paths that already exist along the water; coordinating with developers to ensure trail segments are part of their site plans; and employing innovative solutions like on-street greenways and floating trail systems — used in Portland and Philadelphia — in areas where no land is available for a path.

The Active Transportation Alliance‘s just-released River Trail Action Plan, which envisions the development of a continuous 27-mile riverfront trail by 2030.



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