Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been teasing a reopening of Chicago's lakefront for weeks, and today she's presenting her plan. After being closed in late March due to overcrowding, the Lakefront Trail will reopen on Monday, June 22, allowing daily access from 6am to 7pm. Those hoping for some time on the sand will have to keep waiting—Chicago's beaches and lakefront-adjacent parks will remain closed for the time-being.
According to a press release, the Lakefront Trail will be open for "exercise and transit only, and no other recreational activities will be allowed." That means that walking, jogging, biking and rollerblading will be allowed, but you won't be able to sit down at your favorite spot along the trail to enjoy a lakefront picnic or admire the views of the Chicago skyline. The city's "keep it moving" strategy will be enforced by Social Distancing Ambassadors stationed throughout the trail to remind visitors about social distancing requirements and the use of face coverings.
To control the volume of people on the Lakefront Trail, only half of the more than 50 access points to the trail will be open, with Park Security, the Chicago Police Department and Office of Emergency Management and Communication representatives monitoring the closed entrances. The city has not yet announced which access points will be open, but you can expect a list in the coming days.
While much of the 18-mile Lakefront Trail features dedicated paths for pedestrians and cyclists, recent flooding and damage to the trail will require the separate paths to merge onto a single path from Fullerton to North Avenue and from 43rd Street to 51st Street. Additionally, between North Avenue to Ohio Street, trail users will have to take an on-street detour.
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