Local bike groups are praising the decision by Cook County to award a $40,000 planning grant for the potential expansion of the North Shore Channel Trail.

The trail now ends at McCormick Boulevard and Green Bay Road in Evanston. The proposed expansion would extend it to Gillson Park on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Wilmette.

The Wilmette Park District is the lead agency on the project and it is collaborating with the Village of Wilmette and the City of Evanston on the plans.

John Fervoy of the Evanston Transit Alliance says his group and the Bike Wilmette organization “have been working on this project for over five years and we’re excited to share the progress.”

The next step in the project is for the park district and the city to sign an intergovernmental agreement to provide matching funds for the county grant. They’ll then need to hire a contractor to carry out the study.

Wilmette Park District Director Steve Wilson said in a statement that the district looks forward “to exploring a connection that will enhance the North Shore’s active transportation work.”

And Evanston Deputy City Manager Dave Stoneback said the city is grateful to the county for the grant “and we’re looking forward to exploring the feasibility of connecting the channel trail to the lakefront.”

The North Shore Channel where it is crossed by Green Bay Road and the Union Pacific North tracks. Credit: Google

One of several challenges for the project will be figuring out a practical way for the new trail to cross under Green Bay Road and the Union Pacific North tracks at the point where the existing trail ends.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Another feasibility grant, lolz!

    Remember the $220000 one from 2008 that came up with the obvious idea to re-open one of the Yellow line stops in Evanston?!?!

    Still waiting on that to materialize….

  2. I love the idea, but respectfully this appears to go straight through the golf course. While canal shores does have a lot of hiking/nature trails, the traffic is plenty sparse enough that both walkers and golfers can coexist without much more than an occasional few minutes delay. If the extended bike trails would increase the trail traffic to look anything like what it is along McCormick, I can’t fathom the two could coexist. I wish them well, but a different path might be necessary.

    1. Perhaps more tunneling.

      Golf courses have enough berms and rises that a few undulations over rider tunnels is not going to be intrusive. As someone who rides in this area (and with a great struggle) I can tell you that this route is badly needed.

  3. This would be great.
    But any proposal that is pragmatic and fiscally sound isn’t a principle that the Evanston government follows

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