Accessing the Lakefront Trail from Millennium Park

The Chicago Park District recently started construction on Maggie Daley Park and has fenced off a section of North Grant Park that many people had been passing through to access the Lakefront Trail.

We've heard from a few people who are now finding it difficult to bike to the Lakefront Trail from Millennium Park and the McDonald's Cycle Center, so we checked in with the park district and CDOT. The park district is recommending a detour via the Lakeshore East development and the Riverwalk to bike to the Lakefront Trail (see map below), and is working on detour signage to help you find your way.

Find a PDF of additional alternative route options for biking and walking here.

Since Maggie Daley Park is a multi-year construction project, we also asked about improvements to make the detour more accomodating. The park district says it's working with CDOT on signs to improve the connection under Lower Wacker and to clarify the traffic flow for people driving, biking and walking. CDOT is also looking into improving the path surface where Lower Wacker connects to the Riverwalk. What other improvements would you like to see on this route?

In the long-term, the rebuilding of North Grant Park will also provide an opportunity to create a more seamless and direct bike connection between Upper Randolph and the Lakefront Trail.

View Lakefront Trail Access in a larger map

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Won't use it.

Thanks Lee for your efforts on putting this together. But I won't use it. Nor will the ladies I know who used the bike park.

I was using lower Randolph to Peanut Park. Not a perfect solution. As cyclists needed a 2-way protected bike lane on south upper Randolph. Instead we used the sidewalk. But the Peanut route did the job safely in all weather and lighting conditions.

What concerns me the most about this new route (aside from it being longer and involving unlit underground streets) is biking backwards (salmon-ing) into "unexpecting" oncoming traffic. There are 4 blind turns to get up the hill. Conversely going down the hill, esp. in slick conditions has been very challenging and unsafe for me. Then on Randolph cars don't see me or safely allow me to crossing the 6 busy lanes of traffic.

I know many of the guys use the "short-cut". But I won't use that either. Too dangerous for me.

I have been bike commuting in Chicago year round since 1995. There is one reason why I can keep doing it. I don't take routes like this.

Since the contractors are doing no construction at Peanut Park (I assume they are paying the city for shutting down the park, to park their vehicles?). It would be fantastic if Ald. Reilly requested that the developers pay for a bike and pedestrian workaround. The first few days after the 20' fence went up, I saw tourists passing a baby over the fence, then climb it themselves. Not kidding.

Also could we get a left hand turn paint/lane on the hill (after the bridge) that leads to the River Route? It is difficult to simultaneously signal left with my arm and break while going downhill.

I now take the River Route to State Street. Starting next week I'll take the new Dearbourn protected bike lane (Thank You Gabe Klein!) directly to my office.

Thank you Lee for all your work on this. I know any solution is better than no solution. But wanted to let you know, I won't use it.

Lee, do you know whether

Lee, do you know whether bicyclists will be allowed to ride through the completed Maggie Daley Park? The renderings I have seen are devoid of anyone on bikes, and the issue is not addressed in the FAQ document on the Maggie Daley Park construction website. maggiedaleyparkconstruction dot org Thanks for any insight you might have.

It's my understanding that

It's my understanding that the Park District and CDOT are supposed to coordinate on a connection path from Upper Randolph to the Lakefront Trail at Lower Randolph when Maggie Daley Park is complete. We've called attention to this need several times during the planning process. It'll go through Peanut Park (east of Cancer Survivors Plaza/N. Field Blvd.), which is not part of the Maggie Daley Park project. But since Peanut Park is being torn up for the project though, it gives the city the opportunity to make a few changes that will make the connection easier to complete once construction is over.

Biking is currently prohibited in Millennium Park, but not Grant Park. As far as any changes to park rules, I've had no reason to think the Park District would be prohibiting biking after Maggie Daley Park is completed, but I'll try to confirm that with them.


Reroute for LFP South Siders


Is the reroute map suggesting riding in the street along Michigan Ave to access the bike center? The street traffic is dense and the CTA buses will eventually run someone over if the cabs don't first. I would hate to have to ride on the sidewalk there but I would in the interest of my safety.

Also, the MP bike reroute involves quite a bit of dismounting which is fine once riders are inside the park. Could we agree to place some traffic cones in a small lane on the bandshell side allowing us to SLOWLY ride into the bike center? The security will need to be notified to allow this if it is acceptable as a solution. It's Cyclocross right now trying to climb stairs, dismount and remount again in a quest to ride on to the destination. I don't look forward to this part of the commute and wonder why I don't keep riding directly to my job and park there.

Why can't we meet in the bike park with management to air our feelings and then have them approach the CPD and Alderman?

The suggested route is

The suggested route is highlighted in blue on the map and is nowhere near Michigan Ave. I also come from the south side... just ride the LFP north to the river path, then west, etc as shown on the map. It's a little out of the way, but there are no busy streets, buses, or dismounting/climbing required. Your will approach the bike station from its north side. Hope this helps.


Thanks, Jim... Do you know if the river path section is cleaned of snow in winter? Just looking ahead..


Thanks for this information. I've been just riding on Randolph straight east to the LFP, but it can be intimidating with high speed motor traffic. Sure is fast though. I think I prefer your suggested detour!

LFT Access From MIL Prk

I use this route regularly and reccommend it. But to save doubling back South to get on the trail, I don't take the underpass but use the Southwest Bridge tower stairs (carry your bike up) and proceed over the river on lower Lake Shore Dirve West Sidewalk to Illinois and cross over to the "trail" at lakepoint tower and enter Olive park there. It involves a carry but I think it saves a few minutes.

The last plans I saw for the

The last plans I saw for the North Grant Park Plan did not include a good bike connection between Upper Randolph and Lower Randolph to get to the Lakefront Trail? I hope this has changed in newer versions of the plans. Ultimately, I would like to see a two-way protected bike lane on the south side of Lower Randolph connecting to a ramp through the park to Upper Randolph and a two-way protected bike lane on the south side of Upper Randolph west to the bike station.

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