The 606 “Bloomingdale Trail” is a $95 million project in Chicago. This 2.7 mile elevated trail is for walkers, runners and cyclists.
The Bloomingdale Line was constructed in 1873 by the Chicago and Pacific Railroad Company as part of the 36-mile (58 km) Elgin subdivision from Halsted Street in Chicago to the suburb of Elgin, Illinois. It was soon absorbed by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railway (also known as the Milwaukee Road), first via a 999-year lease in 1880 and later with a fee simple deed conveyance to the same in 1900.
According to the official website: after the Great Chicago Fire Chicago City Council gave permission for the Chicago & Pacific Railroad to lay tracks in the middle of Bloomingdale Ave. (1800 N) to expedite the movement of goods from to the Chicago River.
Following the Chicago Fire, between the 1870s and 1890s, thousands were injured or killed each year due to treacherous rail crossings. “In response, elevating the city’s rail lines became a political hot button and a critical issue for social reformers. In 1893, the City Council passed an ordinance mandating that railroads elevate their tracks within six years. The Bloomingdale Line, now operated by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad Company, was one of the last to conform to the new ordinance, beginning work in 1910 and completing in 1913. In a testament to American and Chicagoan ingenuity, rail service continued uninterrupted throughout construction.”
At 2.7 miles, Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail is similar to greenway projects of former elevated rail lines include:
Official plans for converting the Bloomingdale Line into a public space date back to the late 1990s, when it was included in the City’s Bike Plan: The 606.