Heavy Congestion, Gapers Delays Ravage Prairie Path During First Warm-Weather Weekend

by Dave Noble, City News Editor 
ELMHURST – Near-collisions, pulled hamstrings and profanity-laced verbal exchanges were among the traffic issues reported up and down the Elmhurst segment of the Illinois Prairie Path on Saturday as an estimated 4,500 walkers, runners and bicyclists flooded the trail during the first warm-weather weekend of 2016.

Travel came to a crawl in both directions during the morning rush hour when a family of five heading east from the Salt Creek Bridge rode bicycles side-by-side down the middle of the path.  Congestion in the area was alleviated when the family merged off at the Berkley Avenue exit.

Later in the morning, a man on a recumbent bicycle spun out into the grass just east of Spring Road while attempting to pass a woman pushing a baby stroller, temporarily closing down the eastbound lane and causing a westbound gapers delay.  Eastbound traffic was detoured onto Prairie Path Lane while authorities investigated the accident.

By mid-afternoon, long wait times were reported at each of the six lemonade stands in operation between Poplar Avenue and Route 83, with “Maddie’s Organic Strawberry Lemonade” averaging more than 40 customers at a time in line. 

Other issues reported throughout the day included a temporary lane closure near Pioneer Park while workers repaired a puddle, and an unannounced Elmhurst Police Department safety check near the York Street pedestrian crosswalk.  Travel times returned to normal around 4:00 p.m., with express lanes saving path users approximately two minutes from Berkley to Villa Park, and three minutes in the reverse direction.

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