It took less than two weeks for a warm day to close the Lakefront Trail and other parks as Chicagoans struggled with social distancing early in the pandemic. As of this afternoon all parks west of Lake Shore Drive have reopened and while the papers are reporting that the Lakefront Trail is still closed, it appears to be open north of Belmont to at least Irving Park.
By “appears to be open” I mean I was walking near Lake Shore Drive today and saw a handful of people on the trail and a handful of police officers just watching them. I decided to crossover and see if it was in fact open and walked from around Belmont Harbor up to Irving Park with no resistance. I waved at the police stationed by Irving Park and watched them let two cars pass by, so I am assuming they are well aware that I, and a few dozen other Chicagoans, were out on the trail enjoying the perfect weather.
Honestly, I hope and pray this is a long-term development. My mood improved about 500 percent just being able to enjoy the day in the park for a short amount of time. I already plan to go back later tonight to take some sunset pictures. As one of the many people in this city who doesn’t have a balcony or green space to themselves the lack of the park system all spring has been depressing.
It was truly lovely to see people responsibly enjoying this space again. Losing access to this gem in Chicago has made me appreciate it even more. From my vantage point it seemed like other Chicagoans agreed. In fact, the only creatures that looked a bit taken aback were the ducks who have now lost the dog beach to our canine companions again.