The city of Chicago, IL recently released a citywide plan for trails and open spaces that will contribute to a network of community-led green infrastructure projects. The plan is intended to add 48 miles (~ 78 km) of new assets to an existing 79-mile (~ 127 km) network. The trails and corridors update can be viewed on the citywide vision map.
“An expansion of trails and open spaces is sorely needed across our neighborhoods to benefit existing residents and for the city to achieve health, economic, climate, and transportation goals,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “This vision and investment also positions Chicago very well to receive federal funding to complete many of these projects over the coming years.”
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) also has plans to reopen its Open Boulevards program in the summer of 2022 to reallocate street space for community events.
“Trails and parks are key to meeting many of CDOT’s Strategic Plan goals around mobility,” said CDOT commissioner Gia Biagi. “I am excited to partner with communities and provide CDOT’s expertise to get more projects funded, create local jobs, and bring vital economic development opportunities to more neighborhoods in the city. This vision will also greatly enhance the biking and pedestrian experience in Chicago as we invest in on- and off-street connections that create a seamless network around our city that is connected by our historic boulevard system.”
The individual projects will be locally ledwith planning and visioning support from the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), CDOT, and the Chicago Park District. The city is working closely with the community stakeholders to plan each project and identify funding for engineering and construction.
“The Chicago Park District is home to over 50 miles of multi-use trails that connect neighborhoods through parks in addition to hundreds of miles of trails within parks. These features support physical activities like walking, running, and cycling but also allow us to connect with our natural environment,” said Chicago Park District Interim General Superintendent Rosa Escareño. “We are excited to join Mayor Lightfoot in announcing the plan to construct, extend and enhance trails in our parks and across the city. Investments like these are important in making vital recreation opportunities and experiences accessible to the children and families of Chicago.”