[These pieces also run in Time Out Chicago magazine.]
I recently fielded a couple different questions from Time Out Chicago readers about current and future Chicago greenways. I felt a little funny about giving people instructions on how to get up on the Bloomingdale Line, which is still Canadian Pacific Railroad property and has “No Trespassing” signs posted. But until the railroad does a better job of securing the line or the City of Chicago steps up and takes ownership of the right-of-way (which should be any day now) and erects more effective fencing, people are going to continue to go up there to stroll, jog and hang out anyway.
Continue reading Lakefront Trail lighting and (illegal) Bloomingdale Line access points
Looking west on the Bloomingdale Trail from approximately Leavitt and Milwaukee. The Blue Line towards O’Hare crosses here. Photo by John Tolva.
The first public meeting for the Bloomingdale Trail, an elevated abandoned railroad line, soon to be an elevated linear park, happened last Thursday at the Congress Theater in Logan Square. This was the first meeting where members of the public got to hear from and meet the consultants the City of Chicago hired through a competitive bidding process.
The City awarded ARUP North America the contract to do Phase I engineering and Phase II design over a year after the company was selected. ARUP has nine subcontractors, several of which are based in Chicago (see page two of the FAQ). They are collectively called the “design team.”
Continue reading Where’s the next Bloomingdale Trail?
Thank you, Alan Brake.
Klein also reiterated the Emanuel Administration’s commitment to building the Bloomingdale Trail. While that project is routinely compared to New York’s High Line park, the Bloomingdale Trail is being conceived as a transportation artery, not a merely as a place for a romantic promenade. It will be the most protected bike lane of all. I can’t wait to take a spin down it, preferably using a shared bike.
From Share The Road, Slash The Parking.
I love the grittiness (c’mon, this is Chicago) of the old Soo Line along Bloomingdale Avenue.
New York City’s High Line is a place to see and be seen, but the Bloomingdale Trail will be a place to use. Ride a bike (bikes are banned from the High Line), jog, push a stroller, walk your dog, etc…
High Line designers were so concerned with cleaner aesthetics, the abandoned railroad viaduct is now beautiful enough to film a commercial (or something) featuring people doing Tai Chi.
[This piece also runs in Time Out Chicago.]
Traditionally the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has focused on making it easier to drive in the city, but new commissioner Gabe Klein has a different philosophy. Klein, a former executive with national retailer Bikes U.S.A., as well as Zipcar car sharing, came to town fresh from a stint as transportation director for Washington, D.C. There he launched a streetcar system, installed about 100 leading pedestrian interval traffic signals, introduced a circulator bus route and built the nation’s largest bike-sharing system.
Klein and Mayor Emanuel are promising big improvements to walking, biking and transit here, including building the Bloomingdale Trail elevated greenway, creating 100 miles of car-protected bike lanes, and rolling out a robust bike sharing system. They’re also working on creating bus rapid transit corridors and considering novel approaches to improve conditions for walking, including “pedestrian scramble” intersections.
I recently met with Klein, 40, in his CDOT offices, where he’d parked the bike he rode in on, a single-speed Masi cruiser with a beer-carrying crate. He discussed possible locations for ped scrambles and bus rapid transit corridors, the feasibility of the Bloomingdale and bike lane projects, the possibility of reopening the Queen’s Landing crosswalk, and whether he’d ever consider riding in Critical Mass.
Continue reading An interview with CDOT’s Gabe Klein
I ventured onto the Bloomingdale Trail this Independence Day weekend, an abandoned elevated railroad viaduct owned by Canadian Pacific. I encountered at least six other “trail” users in 30 minutes, including people on a stroll, a runner, and a person walking two dogs. I can’t wait for the day when I can ride my bike on a smooth asphalt path between neighborhoods without encountering noisy and polluting automobile traffic. Read on for updates on the contract and design process.
A Blue Line train passes over the (future) Bloomingdale Trail. Continue reading Bloomingdale Trail: A first time exploration plus development update