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Three-Mile Elevated Park in Chicago’s Westside is Finally under Construction

James Barclay By
Jim Barclay
   | Chicago News

Final design plans

The long awaited Bloomingdale Trail, rails to trails, or the 606 (whatever you prefer to call it) is finally moving forward – and in a big way.

The project aims to utilize the unused Bloomingdale train line that runs along Bloomindale Ave (1800 N) from Bucktown to Humboldt Park. Those Chicago neighborhoods will eventually be linked with Logan Square and Wicker Park, adding six public parks throughout the trail.

The 2.7 mile mixed use path will a boon to the city’s cyclists – providing a wonderful, auto-free space to ride on in the near west side of the city.

The trail will follow the original elevated train line and will serve “as both an urban oasis and a community connector for the […] neighborhoods, turning the physical barrier of old railroad embankments into a unifying park,” as written on the Trust for Public Land website, a national nonprofit that conserves land to be used for parks, gardens, and more.

New–or newly renovated–parks will exist at six spots along the trail with trail heads at Ashland Ave (1600 W) and running west to Ridgeway Ave (3750 W). With proposed athletic fields, dog parks and skate parks, there’ll be plenty to do off the bike as well.

The project has been a long time coming. It was first proposed in the 90’s when train use of the rails was discontinued. Rumors of its construction swirled throughout the Daley administration but it wasn’t until Mayor Emanuel took office that this project truly got off the ground.

Construction began with a ground-breaking on August 27th and the first of the six parks was already completed at Milwaukee and Leavitt. Work on the trail continues with updates regularly posted to the project’s website, along with maps, artistic renderings and history of the project.

The Bloomingdale Trail will be a much needed asset to the residents of the near northwest side–an area that currently lacks much cycling infrastructure.

It’ll also have a positive impact on the desirability of the western most neighborhoods–functioning as both a recreation area as well as a legitimate commuter route to professionals looking to bike to work (or at least the nearest train lines in Wicker Park.)

With more and more young families choosing to buy, live and raise children in the city, this will be a wonderful space to get out with family and friends, exercise and enjoy the city on two wheels.