By Aaron Rose
There’s a lot to like about the 606 Trail, scheduled to open, yes, on Saturday, 6.06.
An initial plan for a long stretch of obsolete industrial infrastructure, the commercial railway known as the Bloomingdale Line, and dialogue between the City of Chicago and the Logan Square neighborhood—with the least green space per capita in the city—led to the founding of the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail.
The vision and planning for what started out as the Bloomingdale Trail was a collaborative effort among community-based groups in Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park and Bucktown, The Trust for Public Land, the City of Chicago and Chicago Park District. More than a decade in the making, The 606 Trail creates a 2.7-mile-long transportation system and public park between Ashland Avenue and North Ridgeway Avenue that will bring 80,000 Chicago residents within a ten-minute walk of accessible public green space.
The vision for the project fuses public art and design, history, an alternative transportation route and park land into a new hybrid public space for a city whose official motto is Urbs in horto and, unofficially, the City that Works. It’s urbanature: it’s beautiful, and it’s practical.
I had the chance to see The 606 in progress—and it was, indeed, still very much in progress—in April, on a tour organized by the Society of Architectural Historians during their annual conference. The tour leader, Jean Linsner, The Trust for Public Land’s Exelon Fellow for Education, brought us out on the Blue Line to Damen and Milwaukee—a ten-minute walk along Milwaukee Avenue to The 606. Donning hard hats and orange vests, we entered the site just east of where the new Milwaukee/Leavitt Park will serve as an access point to The 606. Read the rest of this entry »