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October 30, 2000

Governor Ryan Announces Grants for Lakefront Trail in Chicago

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced a $2.1 million grant to the city of Chicago to create a new and improved bike trail on Chicago's lakefront between Belmont and Fullerton Avenues to accommodate more trail users.

Improvements include new running and bicycle paths, and a new bridge over Diversey Harbor. The project connects the Lakeview community to the Lincoln Park community.

In addition to the lakefront trail, funding for seven other projects in Chicago, Oak Park and Wilmette totaling $13.5 million was awarded by the Governor.

These projects are among 35 projects totaling $37.9 million in the Chicago metro region and the Kankakee area that the Governor announced today. They are funded under three related programs administered by the Illinois Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources.

"It's no secret that bike trails are very, very popular, " Governor Ryan said. "When this project is completed, people will have a safe and enjoyable recreational trail along Lake Shore Drive. I wouldn't be surprised if Mayor Daley gives this trail a ride on his mountain bike."

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) administers the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP), a federally funded program providing bike paths, pedestrian trails and other projects that offer transportation options other than traditional highway and mass transit. It is funded from a set-aside of federal highway funds and matched with local or state dollars.

The Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) funds projects that provide transportation options other than traditional highway and mass transit improvements. Typical projects involve bicycle and pedestrian trails that serve commuters, scenic and historic highways, historic transportation structures, transportation museums and landscaping.

Under Governor Ryan's Administration, the transportation enhancement program has funded more than 150 miles of new bike trails.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources administers the Illinois bicycle path grant program for local recreational bike paths, and the Open Land Trust (OLT) program that provides grants to help local governments preserve and restore open lands.

The recreational bicycle path grant program was established in 1989 under Ryan's tenure as Lieutenant Governor. Since its inception, more than 709 miles of trails throughout the state have been funded.

The OLT is a $160 million initiative of the Governor's that provides $40 million per year over four years for land purchases and improvements to protect the state's most precious natural resources. It is the largest open space acquisition and preservation program in Illinois' history.

The following projects in Chicago, Oak Park and Wilmette were also approved for funding in FY 2001:

  • Chicago Park District,
    $252,000 to improve a bicycle trail on Marquette Drive from Coast Guard Drive to Stoney Island Avenue. The improvements include lighting and signs (ITEP).

  • Chicago Park District,
    $200,000 to widen approximately 2 miles of the Lakefront Bikeway between 22nd and 39th Streets (IDNR).

  • Chicago Park District,
    $2 million OLT grant to acquire five acres of brownfields along the North Branch of the Chicago River east of the intersection of Foster Avenue and Pulaski Road. The project extends the Gompers wetland, allows for a wildlife habitat and river outlook, and includes the ecological restoration of the brownfields (IDNR).

  • City of Chicago,
    $8.6 million to rebuild a historic fa├žade on Wacker Drive from Lake Street to Michigan Avenue along the Chicago River (IDOT).

  • City of Chicago,
    $200,000 to develop under-bridge connections at Peterson Avenue and Lincoln Avenue connected by an asphalt multi-use trail that extends the existing trail at Legion Park to the Lincoln Village Shopping Center Riverwalk (IDNR).

  • City of Oak Park,
    $80,000 to rehabilitate a pedestrian overpass along Home Avenue over I-290. Improvements include curb cuts, a new ramp at the north end of the overpass, repair of the south ramp and pavement repairs (IDOT).

  • City of Wilmette,
    $90,000 for construction of the Sheridan Road crossing, a quarter-mile bicycle and pedestrian path along Sheridan Road from Central Avenue to the North Shore Channel Bridge connecting with existing paths leading into Gilson Park. The project will provide a save crossing of busy Sheridan Road and provide access to the park for pedestrians and bicyclists (IDOT).


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