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New North Branch Trail Segment Will Soar Over the Chicago River

By Patty Wetli | December 5, 2012 1:50pm | Updated on December 5, 2012 1:51pm
 CDOT presents proposal for new segment of North Branch Trail recreation path
North Branch Trail Expansion
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ROSCOE VILLAGE — A new segment of the North Branch Trail will soon soar over the Chicago River — the latest piece of a riverfront path that could someday rival the path on Lake Michigan.

More than 30 residents attended an open house Tuesday night at Revere Park as the Chicago Department of Transportation presented final plans for the Addison Underbridge Connector, which will link Clark Park with California and Horner Parks to the north.

The nearly two-mile stretch, which will hover more than 16 feet above the water, will also include an underpass at Addison Street and a bridge that crosses the waterway.

"It's a beautiful stretch and the view, especially coming down Addison going south, it's a really beautiful view," said Janet Attarian, CDOT project director.

Ultimately, the agency would like to patch together the new section with an existing stretch near Devon Street and create a continuous riverfront path. But the goal that will be difficult to achieve because private property owners and industrial corridors that block the path at several key junctions, including Ravenswood Manor, Attarian said.

"It's not going to be something we can snap our fingers at," she added. "It's going to take some time. But these are some big pieces."

Construction on the Addison Underbridge Connector, which is contingent on the release of federal funds, could begin in 2014, she said. The trail would also take advantage of a separate project to reconstruct Irving Park Road where it intersects the path.

Though attendees expressed a few minor quibbles with the design — the path ends rather unceremoniously at Belmont Avenue and the northern section enters an already bustling area of Horner Park — the plan largely received an enthusiastic response.

"Overall, it just seems like a really good idea," said North Center resident Aaron Dellutri, 39. "I'm all for it."

Jacob Peters, 25, was excited by the possibility of a north-south route that would not only get motorists to ditch their cars but cyclists off of congested streets.

"I've gotten hit twice at Irving and Lincoln," he said. "[The trail] will be great for commuting."

Though Peters lives in Logan Square, he grew up in Ravenswood Manor and frequents the stretch of the trail between Lawrence and Devon Avenues.

"It's a great amenity up there," he said. "I could see it being 10 times more used down here."

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