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Chicago Needs The Lakefront Trail To Improve Safety For Runners

Update! The Lakefront Trail and 606 will open officially Monday, June 22!


Details on the opening of the Lakefront Trail: (See Chicago Park District official information HERE)


  • Open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Beaches and greens spaces along the trail will remain closed

  • “Keep it Moving” - Running, walking, biking, and similar. Gathering and standing on the trail will NOT be permitted.

  • Social Distancing Ambassadors will be stationed along the trail to educate the public and manage the flow of traffic.

  • The Chicago Park District will reduce access points by 50 percent to help with the management of the trail.

  • Lakefront parking lots will remain closed.

  • Fountains and bathrooms will not open on June 22.

  • Outdoor fitness equipment and athletic fields along the trail will remain closed.

  • Due to the significant lakefront storm damage and high lake levels, three sections of the lakefront trail will merge to accommodate users. From Fullerton to North Avenue will be a shared trail. North Avenue to Ohio Street, trail users will be redirected to an on-street detour. From 43rd Street to 51st Street, users will merge onto one trail. Additional signage and SDA resources will be implemented along both stretches to ensure social distancing. The Park District will notify users as construction projects are completed in those sections and normal trail use is restored.


Details on the opening of the 606 / Bloomingdale Trail:


  • Open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • “Keep it Moving” - Running, walking, biking, and similar. Gathering and standing on the trail will NOT be permitted.

  • Social Distancing Ambassadors will be stationed along the trail to educate the public and manage the flow of traffic.

  • Other details may be announced soon.


Details on the opening of the Riverwalk Trail:


  • Open from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. (Additional open hours for business along the Riverwalk)

  • “Keep it Moving” - Running, walking, biking, and similar. Gathering and standing on the trail will NOT be permitted.

  • Social Distancing Ambassadors will be stationed along the trail to educate the public and manage the flow of traffic.

From May 17, 2020:


Sign on your support for reopening the Lakefront Trail, and other trails HERE.


View our supporters HERE.


Chicago needs the Lakefront Trail to improve safety for runners. On May 11th, CARA provided a proposal to Mayor Lightfoot’s office to reopen the Lakefront Trail, and followed by sharing the same on May 14th to Alderman’s offices in Wards along the Lakefront Trail.


We understood the decision for temporary closure on March 26th. However, as more have begun to take time for a neighborhood run or walk to protect their mental and physical well-being, the closure of parks and trails such as the Lakefront Trail have contributed to overly crowded sidewalks in our neighborhoods. Our members, and those outside of the running community, have reached out to us describing the challenges of crowded neighborhoods where they are challenged to social distance. They describe choosing to run or walk in bike lanes or the street in order to maintain space from each other.


We believe the reopening of the Lakefront Trail, and other trails will have a positive result of providing the community additional space to continue positive behaviors such as running while social distancing. There is no physical activity better suited for this age of social distancing than running. Chicago has embraced running, now more than ever, as more than sport. It has not been for training; it has been our cure to combatting stress and it is protecting our mental well-being.


Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, CARA has been a strong advocate for COVID-19 related running safety guidelines. Our commitment to running safety continues and opening the Lakefront Trail is a step forward in our goal to protect the running community. Our proposal suggests a phased approach. Initially limiting the Lakefront to through traffic trail use only (running, walking, biking, and similar). Our proposal also addresses initial limited trail hours (5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.) that can later increase, as well as gathering size limitations that match the state’s phased reopening plan guidance.


Runners must continue to choose to run safely, and we respectfully ask our Mayor and city leaders to provide us the space needed to complete those runs safely.

The Chicago Area Runners Association, CARA, is a non-profit organization committed to serving and advocating for the local running community. With over 10,000 members, CARA is the nation’s third-largest local running organization, and for over 40 years, we have served as the voice of local runners.

COVID-19 Running Safety Guidelines

CARA Guidelines updated May 20, 2020

The Chicago Area Runners Association, CARA, is a non-profit organization committed to serving and advocating for the local running community. With over 10,000 members, CARA is the nation’s third-largest local running organization, and for over 40 years, we have served as the voice of local runners.


CARA urges everyone to practice safe social distancing and to commit to COVID-19 related running safety guidelines until Phase 5 is reached.


Download PDF

CARA COVID19 Running Safety Guidelines
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