The Bloomingdale Trail design team, a consortium of engineers, planners, artists, and horticulture experts from Chicago and around the country, presented their latest designs at the final public meeting on Monday night at the Humboldt Park field house. The elevated park’s design was divided into 7 segments and printed on enormous posters in two rooms. An eighth segment summarized the phenology planting concept and artwork scattered across the Bloomingdale Trail.
I inspected many of the designs and listened to people express their admiration, excitement, as well as lingering concerns. They included:
- How tall is the privacy screen? 10 feet; the privacy screen consists of a metal mesh wall covered in plants.
- Will traffic configurations change on Lawndale Avenue or Bloomingdale Avenue? Nope.
- How are fast cyclists going to be slowed down? This question has been answered identically at every meeting: the design team has implemented a variety of solutions including horizontal and vertical “deflection” that serve to calm traffic. In this author’s opinion, the mix of traffic (people walking, jogging, pushing strollers, rolling on mobility devices) will slow cyclists.
Enjoy the designs (view the full set of photos). When available, we will publish the digital versions of these images. A comment card at the meeting indicated that this was the final period for neighbors to make comments about the designs (email them to firstname.lastname@example.org). Read our past coverage of the project.
Update: Less than 2 hours after posting, the digital images are available. Download a 3 MB .pdf file.
Access point at Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Avenue
There are three points of entry at the Milwaukee and Leavitt acess point: (1) west side of Leavitt, north of the viaduct; (2) east side of Leavitt, south of the viaduct; (3) east side of Leavitt, north of the viaduct. Entry point (1) provides the most direct access for people cycling. Entry point (3) is a winding path up the hill. You can see the entry points in more detail in this photograph or on page 42 of last night’s slideshow (.pdf).
Walsh Park with dog friendly area and “wheel friendly event plaza”
I missed the presentation at the beginning of the meeting where this was shown on the projection screen. It looks to be a stage that can be used by kids and adults on scooters, bikes, skateboards, and wheelchairs when no planned event is occurring.
Privacy screens abound
You can see on the plans where the privacy screens will be built. They will separate homes and the Bloomingdale Trail when the homes are within a few feet of the viaduct. It’s depicted by continuous, short boxes with lines inside (don’t confuse them with the long dash, short dash surrounding the viaduct – that’s the project boundary).
You’ll be able to access the Bloomingdale Trail from both sides of Western Avenue.
The western end has two entrances: at dead end of Ridgeway Avenue, and from Lawndale Avenue. A spiral ramp will lead up to the western observatory, giving good views west down the railroad tracks or east down the Bloomingdale Trail. The hill reaches about 10 feet above the park level, and over 20 feet above the Ridgeway Avenue cul-de-sac level.
Grid Chicago is a blog about sustainable transportation matters, projects and culture in Chicago and Illinois, by John Greenfield and Steven Vance since June 2011. We switched to writing at Streetsblog Chicago in January 2013.
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