The Bloomingdale Trail is a three mile stretch of abandoned elevated freight rail line that runs through the Northwest side of Chicago. It passes through the gentrified neighborhoods on the east, like Wicker Park and Bucktown. It also goes through the changing neighborhood of Logan Square (where we have lived for the past 32 years), and the working class neighborhoods of Humboldt Park and Hermosa on the West.
Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail, a community group, is leading the effort to turn the line into a biking and hiking trail. For a neighborhood like ours, which has the fewest acres of active (as a opposed to passive) park space in the entire city, this would be a terrific thing.
There are eleven schools within a quarter mile of the trail and three are right next to the trail. At Yates School last March elementary students took part in a project to redesign the trail.
We’ve been told that wiithin a seven year time-line, seven access points to the trail will be designed and built with ramps and stairs, all ADA compliant. The access points, each within a quarter mile of the other, would include four new or expanded parks. The trail itself would be cleared, cleaned and landscaped.
Although it sits on city land, the elevated tracks are owned by the Canadian Pacific Railroad. But the city is committed to acquire it.
On a beautiful 80 degree Saturday afternoon, Anne and I acted as tour guides along the trail. We took half the group of thirty that signed up through the city’s “Places and Spaces” program. Another thirty were signed up for Sunday.
We were able to talk about what we knew about the trail, what we knew about the history of the city, particularly its working class history. And we were able to share the neighborhood we have lived in and loved for thirty years with others.
Just another day of teaching.