DOWNTOWN — The Navy Pier Flyover promises to ease pedestrian and bike traffic Downtown, but construction before then is going to do the opposite for some people driving on Lake Shore Drive.
City officials plan to temporarily convert a lane of northbound Lower Lake Shore Drive to a new pedestrian and bicycle path during the flyover's third phase of construction set to start next year.
That means motorists going northbound on Lower Lake Shore will be down to one lane once the flyover's third phase starts.
The switch, first reported Wednesday by Streetsblog Chicago, is planned so that pedestrians and bicyclists who use the Lower Lake Shore now will have a path along the Lake Shore Drive Bridge throughout the flyover's construction.
The flyover will eventually take pedestrians and bicyclists over the Chicago River for a safer trip along the Lakefront Trail. People currently use a thin sidewalk along Lower Lake Shore to cross the river.
This map outlines the flyover's construction phases. [City of Chicago]
The flyover's third phase of construction is set to start in 2018, with the whole project slated to be done in 2019. The third phase of construction will close that Lower Lake Shore sidewalk so that it can be widened into the flyover.
Mike Claffey, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation, confirmed that the Lower Lake Shore lane reduction is in the mix.
The move is sure to annoy Downtown drivers, but Ron Burke, executive director of the Chicago-based Active Transportation Alliance, said it's the city's best option.
"Currently (the bridge is) a narrow tricky spot for thousands of people to navigate, especially during a busy summer weekend," he said. "It just makes sense once Phase 1 and 2 are done to create a better, temporary Phase 3 connection."