Lake-Cook Road Path proposal narrowed to three options; public input sought

Public input is being sought as plans advance to build a multiuse path to bridge a milelong gap along heavily traveled Lake-Cook Road in southeastern Lake County.

The Lake County Division of Transportation is hosting a meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at Bernard Weinger JCC, 300 Revere Drive, Northbrook, regarding the proposed Lake-Cook Road Path.

Exhibits will be on display and project representatives will be available to discuss and answer questions during the open house-style session in which participants can drop in. Materials will be made available on the project website within a few days afterward.

The session is the second “public involvement activity” and follows a virtual public forum and survey conducted in August 2022. Possibilities to bridge the east-west gap between the Skokie Valley Bike Path in Highland Park on the west and the Chicago Botanic Garden/North Branch trail in Glencoe to the east have been narrowed to three possibilities from six.

“A lot ... goes into it before selecting a preferred alternative,” said Matt Emde, principal engineer/project manager for LCDOT. “We’re looking for public comment and feedback on the alternatives.”

The western limit at the Skokie Valley bike path is where the proposed Lake-Cook Road Path would tie into. A public open house regarding the project is planned for May 30. Courtesy of Lake County Division of Transportation

Connecting the paths would provide users with access to the Chicago Botanic Garden, Green Bay Road Trail, Robert McClory Path, Ravinia, Lake Michigan and a Metra station, according to the proposal.

Planners say they are looking for the best way to traverse Route 41 and the Skokie River with an emphasis on increasing safety and comfort of bicyclists and pedestrians.

There are obstacles. A sidewalk runs along the north side of Lake-Cook Road, for example, but has to cross Route 41 with traffic signals and off ramps as well as Skokie Boulevard — both major intersections. There is no sidewalk on much of the south side of Lake-Cook Road.

“It’s only a mile stretch but it’s actually very complicated once you get into details,” Emde said. “We want to make it safer and more accessible.”

Public input sought on proposed connection of Skokie Valley, North Branch trails

The Illinois and Cook County departments of transportation, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Chicago Botanic Garden, Northbrook, Glencoe and Highland Park are involved in the planning.

Besides a new path, the project would include improved crossing of the signalized intersections or separation of vehicles from pedestrians and bicyclists and the number of users is expected to increase when improvements are made.

The proposed path, located along Lake-Cook Road, is seen as the most efficient while minimizing impacts to local neighborhoods. It also aligns with Lake County’s plans to extend a trail west to connect with the Des Plaines River Trail, which traverses the county from north to south.

A preferred alternative is expected to be selected late this year or early next year, Emde said.

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