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Citadel’s Ken Griffin kicks in $12 million to improve Chicago trail

Improvements to Chicago’s Lakefront Trail will create a separate path for pedestrians.

Chicago's beautiful — and busy — multiuse lakefront path is in line for a major upgrade thanks to the largesse of local hedge fund manager and philanthropist Kenneth C. Griffin.

The Chicago Park District will create a separate pedestrian trail closer to Lake Michigan and designate the existing path near Lake Shore Drive for bicycle traffic only thanks to a $12 million gift from Mr. Griffin, founder and CEO of Chicago-based Citadel LLC.

Chicago's Lakefront Trail is one of the busiest in the U.S., used by an estimated 100,000 cyclists, runners, walkers and sightseers per day during summer weekends, said a park district news release, citing a recent study by the Chicago Area Runners Association and the Active Transportation Alliance.

Accidents on the trail are common, among the mix of cyclists, runners, baby strollers, in-line skaters, erratic dogs, tourists and selfie-takers.

“This is an important step in making the Lakefront Trail safer, more accessible and more enjoyable for the thousands of Chicagoans and visitors that travel the path each day,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in the news release.

“Chicago is one of the world's most vibrant cities, and our lakefront is unparalleled,” Mr. Griffin said in the news release, adding “on a beautiful day, the Lakefront Trail should be a place where cyclists, runners and walkers can enjoy their activities without having to navigate around one another.”

The separation project encompasses the full 18-mile length of the trail and is expected to be complete in 2018.

This article originally appeared in the January 9, 2017 print issue as, "Citadel's Ken Griffin kicks in $12 million to improve Chicago trail".