By Amanda Brennan
On Monday, city of Chicago residents received exciting news as city officials announced the reopening plan of the Chicago Lakefront Trail.
Starting June 22, the Lakefront Trail east of Lake Shore Drive will reopen from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily for running, walking, biking and rollerblading. Pedestrians must “keep it moving” and avoid congregating in groups.
Only the trail will reopen; parks and beaches east of Lake Shore Drive will remain closed.
To monitor the use of the trail, the Chicago Park District will reduce access to the trail by restricting select entrance points along the trail by 50%.
“The trail is one of our city’s most treasured lakefront amenities,” said Michael Kelly, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO. “We are excited to share plans to reopen the trail, encourage active living and provide guidance on how people can begin resuming activities safely,” he added in the statement.
As the coronavirus pandemic became increasingly dangerous in March, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot closed all city parks, trails and recreation areas to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Chicago is taking many precautions when opening up the city to avoid a spike in coronavirus cases. Last week, popular summer events such as the Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza and the Air and Water Show were canceled due to the pandemic.
If you are looking for a change of scenery and a sense of normalcy outside of Champaign, consider a day-trip to Chicago. Remember to bring your mask, hand sanitizer and water. When exercising on the trail, stay socially distanced and enter at one of the access points. Although the Chicago Riverwalk also reopened last week, you must make a reservation, enter at an access point and wear a mask. Close by, Millennium Park and Maggie Daly Park reopened today with safety guidelines and access points to enjoy the parks safely.
Closer to Champaign, there are also a wide variety of outdoor options like Allerton Park in Monticello, Kickapoo State Park, Turkey Run State Park, and even Meadowbrook Park and Crystal Lake Park even closer. Enjoy the summertime, but be aware, safe and courteous of others.
Photo by Connor Ciecko