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The Lakefront Path's intersection at Illinois Avenue is congested . . . and confusing

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The city's most confusing intersection for cyclists

The city's most confusing intersection for cyclists

Andrea Bauer

A five-minute bike ride from the Reader's former offices at 11 E. Illinois sits the entrance to not only Navy Pier but also to one of the Lakefront Trail's most confounding intersections for cyclists. Usually congested, the hybrid of sidewalk and bike path that begins at Grand under the Lake Shore Drive bridge and stretches south can be a hiccup for inexperienced cyclists heading east on Illinois to pick up the path. This is mostly because of the lack of discernible features that announce, "Ride your bike HERE."

My first attempt to make sense of the mess resulted in my wandering around Navy Pier for 15 minutes searching for the path's entrance, until frustration eventually boiled over, and I opted to stand at the corner of Illinois and Lake Shore Drive, bike in tow, and simply observe. Once I spied cyclists coasting up what appeared to be a narrow sidewalk, weaving through pedestrians, I deduced that was my route—and I was on my way.

Thankfully, in early 2011 the Chicago Plan Commission approved funding for the "Navy Pier Flyover," a bridge that will connect to the path north of Grand and south of the river and, hopefully, allay the traffic (and confusion) around the bizarre intersection. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.

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