LINCOLN PARK — A construction project at Fullerton Avenue and North Lake Shore Drive that will add 5.8 acres of parkland east of the current shoreline also will create separate lakefront paths for bicyclists and runners to ease congestion ... but only for 600 feet.
The Fullerton Revetment Project will add parkland near a busy intersection of the Lakefront Trail, protecting the drive from waves and making a grassy area for passersby to relax.
The separation of biking and running paths was requested by community members and passed on to the project's design team by the alderman, said project manager Charlene Walsh. The Lakefront trail becomes particularly congested at Fullerton Avenue (Walsh described it as "pretty intense"), where the path narrows and people stop at a water fountain, holding up foot and bike traffic. The path also is next to a busy intersection for cars and the Theater on the Lake.
Revetment Project designers took advantage of the extra space to separate the bike and running trails so bicyclists will be closer to the water while runners and walkers are closer to the street. The paths are split for 600 feet and then rejoin, creating less traffic around Fullerton Avenue. The traffic-slowing water fountain will also be moved, Walsh said.
There won't be strictly enforced rules for the paths, though, as runners and walkers will still be able to use the bike path.
Separating bicyclists and walkers is a popular, albeit largely unused, idea for Chicago's lakefront: Making separate biking and walking paths was the most popular idea on a list of 1,600 community comments about a North Lake Shore Drive makeover in 2014.
The nearby Theater on the Lake, 2401 N. Lake Shore Drive, will also get a revamp, and the Revetment Project will create more land where the theater can grow.
The project is expected to cost $31.5 million, which will be split between the Army Corps of Engineers, the city and the Park District. It is planned to be finished by Nov. 30, although landscaping in the park area won't be done until summer 2016.
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